EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.06.08

Be Careful Who You Trust (on Document Standards)

Posted in Africa, Asia, Deception, FUD, ISO, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A possible disinformation campaign is observed

Yesterday we published a quick post just to point out the not-so-obvious. We warned readers about Microsoft's systematic denials and attempts to rewrite history. It’s not a new tactic, but it appears to be repeating itself and making a comeback (assuming there was ever a cessation), so prudent bystanders are right to be cautious. Courtesy of some findings from Groklaw, we bring you the latest things that you ought to be aware of (some are new, but some are just very recent).

In a sarcastic fashion we recently wrote about “Agent Alex” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] and “Agent Patrick” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It’s not our own convictions, but a collection of others’ who feel similarly. It’s about influence that Microsoft apparently gains inside circles that instruct and make decisions. Remember Tim Bray's story.

One nugget of information that we almost missed entirely last week is this (Ed’s note: this is not Peter Brown of the FSF):

I found it quite disturbing that Peter Brown, one of the members of the board of directors of the OASIS, was basically saying that multiple standards were a good thing and that it had always work out like that. Then he basically questioned the whole concept of open standards, and in doing so made the point right that coining the term “openness” for everything was diluting the value of that notion. To make a long discussion a short one, Peter Brown’s point was that nothing should change in terms of standardization processes, and that it was not even worth a try, and in trying to convince the audience he used the good old allegory of the plugs and their different formats depending on the country and continent. Apparently not for Mr. Brown who thinks it will always be that way, and that somehow, somehow, it is useless to design too many standards (note the incoherence with his first concept) , because in the end, well, it’s useless. I also noticed that Mr Brown, who sits at the board of directors of an SDO (Standards Development Organization) that fosters the development of many Royalty -Free standards such as ODF, declared that it would be nice to “have all kinds of open standards that come with a Royalty -Free Intellectual Property mode” and “all kinds of open source implementations that will always be free for everybody” practiced some irony that I cannot enjoy as it simply shows a deep misunderstanding of the relationship between FOSS and Open Standards, and more generally, an ignorance of the concept of freedom and the absence of monetary value of software and information.

Peter Brown might be another character worth keeping an eye on.

Moving on to Patrick Durusau who, according to Open Malaysia, can say the darnest things at the worst of times, mind the opening of his latest letter [PDF] that essnetially protests against the appeal (yes, believe it or not). It reads: “Appealing ISO/IEC 29500 will not benefit anyone, no matter how the appeal turns out.

A satirical translation of the above would be : “Appeals against a corrupt process are just a waste of time. Let the corruption just be.” Pardon what seems like an impolite response, but when someone sidles with (or buries) the sheer corruption we have witnessed, there is little room for sympathy. In fact, be reminded of what Open Malaysia said just days ago:

“Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).”

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

To add more to this little fire:

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.


Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.


I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

Here is a slightly older rebuttal that addresses Patrick Durusau’s point-of-view, which seems to align with that of Peter Brown.

Patrick’s logic, if not his argument, is based on the idea that the problems that keep FOSS software from including such standards (usually royalty-based), is their own problem, and not the concern of the ISO or any standards body. Basically, if you want to give your software away, then that is your problem, everyone else has wizened up to the idea of charging for software, and paying royalties for standards, why don’t you?

Patrick states that “Microsoft has no obligation to make OpenXML implementable under GPL,” which is a true statement. However, since OpenXML is not implementable under any FOSS software license, isn’t it something the ISO should have considered when approving a standard?

Thanks Patrick, thanks a lot.

This is a very disturbing observation given that Sun Microsystems makes a transition to an open source strategy (including the GPL) while employing this guy who tolerates deliberate exclusion of the GPL. It’s an anti-competitive move against Microsoft’s #1 threat.

Getting back to Durusau’s latest letter, does he not not feel shy in the face of 4 countries that appealed, including the world’s second- and third-largest nations? Does he know better than them? As the following new article from South Africa shows, it goes deeper than “appealing ISO/IEC 29500 will not benefit anyone.” It’s about the right to compete and not be dependent, especially if you live outside the country where Durusau resides.

Emerging markets back SA [South Africa]

[...]

“Emerging markets are showing strength, and we are proud that SA was the leader in the appeal initiative. The emerging markets represent the majority of the world’s population, and the ISO is now at a crossroads,” says Shuttleworth Foundation fellow Andrew Rens.

He says the ISO will have to make a decision to either stand firm, or support the appeals of the emerging markets. “If they decide to be objective and independent, they will have the backing of all those who are following the appeal process, and several others over and above that.”

[...]

“It will be extraordinary if the secretary-general does not allow the appeals to go through. It would put the ISO in disrepute,” says Rens.

He says the backing of Venezuela, India and Brazil are critical for SA. “The number of countries appealing makes our concerns valid. It shows that we were right to appeal.”

Let the following photo remind you of the role of geography in this debate.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

You may think that South Africa’s press quoting the Shuttleworth Foundation is no credible thing. But if you want to see something ugly, here is a pro-Microsoft article from India that seemingly just attacks the stance of professors who complained (and eloquently explained) what Microsoft did to them. The article puts in scare quotes their ‘problems’ and indirectly accuses them of ruining India’s industrial image (or “shooting itself in the foot,” as the headline dramatically states).

“To Microsoft and its business partners, there’s a lot of money at stake.”Like many such articles, it selectively weaves Microsoft’s ‘taking heads’ quotes in (Burton Group, Microsoft employees and so forth). Had we known more about the reputation (or lack thereof) of this media source, we would be able to tell if it’s merely a ‘plug’ in the media. It sure happens a lot in the west. We saw similar accusations about parts of the Filipino press too. As stated in the IRC channels a short while ago, “It’s less of an article and more of a protest on behalf of Microsoft. The language is disrespectful in places.” It’s brainwash at best.

Speaking of disinformation, Google News is still filled with some. People have complained on the face of it, but Google is not responsive. Microsoft et al may have gamed the ODF (“opendocument”) feeds for over a year, or so one professor believes. Lots of anti-ODF articles made it in while others were missed, left out.

We wrote about it several times before and offered some evidence. Another person who was in touch at the time complained to Google and also warned friends of his who work there that by recruiting ex-Softies they ‘poison’ themselves (manual intervention and tweaking seems involved with SERPs).

It all comes back to the seminal point of this post: be careful what you read and whom you trust. To Microsoft and its business partners, there’s a lot of money at stake. A lot. The cost of fines and public embarrassment is relatively low. Disinformation is inexpensive and FUD too is a question of economics, as Jim Zemlin emphasised last year.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/3/2017: Debian Project Leader Elections, SecureDrop and Alexandre Oliva FSF Winners

    Links for the day



  2. His Master's Voice, Jesper Kongstad, Blocks Discussion of Investigative and Disciplinary Procedures at the EPO

    The Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation is actively preventing not just the dismissal of Battistelli but also discussion of Battistelli's abuses



  3. Heiko Maas and the State of Germany Viewed as Increasingly Complicit in EPO Scandals and Toxic UPC Agenda

    It is becoming hard if not impossible to interpret silence and inaction from Maas as a form of endorsement for everything the EPO has been doing, with the German delegates displaying more of that apathy which in itself constitutes a form of complicity



  4. With IP Kat Coverage of EPO Scandals Coming to an End (Officially), Techrights and The Register Remain to Cover New Developments

    One final post about the end of Merpel’s EPO coverage, which is unfortunate but understandable given the EPO’s track record attacking the media, including blogs like IP Kat, sites of patent stakeholders, and even so-called media partners



  5. Everyone, Including Patent Law Firms, Will Suffer From the Demise of the EPO

    Concerns about quality of patents granted by the EPO (EPs) are publicly raised by industry/EPO insiders, albeit in an anonymous fashion



  6. Yes, Battistelli's Ban on EPO Strikes (or Severe Limitation Thereof) is a Violation of Human Rights

    Battistelli has curtailed even the right to strike, yet anonymous cowards attempt to blame the staff (as in patent examiners) for not going out of their way to engage in 'unauthorised' strikes (entailing dismissal)



  7. Even the EPO's Administrative Council No Longer Trusts Its Chairman, Battistelli's 'Chinchilla' Jesper Kongstad

    Kongstad's protection of Battistelli, whom he is supposed to oversee, stretches to the point where national representatives (delegates) are being misinformed



  8. Thanks to Merpel, the World Knows EPO Scandals a Lot Better, But It's a Shame That IP Kat Helped UPC

    A look back at Merpel's final post about EPO scandals and the looming threat of the UPC, which UPC opportunists such as Bristows LLP still try hard to make a reality, exploiting bogus (hastily-granted) patents for endless litigation all around Europe



  9. EPO Critics Threatened by Self-Censorship, Comment Censorship, and a Growing Threat to Anonymity

    Putting in perspective the campaign for justice at the EPO, which to a large degree relies on whistleblowers and thus depends a great deal on freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and anonymity



  10. Links 25/3/2017: Maru OS 0.4, C++17 Complete

    Links for the day



  11. Judge and Justice Bashing in the United States, EPC Bashing at the EPO

    Enforcement of the law based on constitutional grounds and based on the European Patent Convention (EPC) in an age of retribution and insults -- sometimes even libel -- against judges



  12. Looking for EPO Nepotism? Forget About Jouve and Look Closely at Europatis Instead.

    Debates about the contract of Jouve with the EPO overlook the elephants in the room, which include companies that are established and run by former EPO chiefs and enjoy a relationship with the EPO



  13. Depressing EPO News: Attacks on Staff, Attacks on Life, Brain Drain, Patents on Life, Patent Trolls Come to Germany, and Spain Being Misled

    A roundup of the latest developments at the EPO combined with feedback from insiders, who are not tolerating their misguided and increasingly abusive management



  14. It Certainly Looks Like Microsoft is Already Siccing Its Patent Trolls, Including Intellectual Ventures, on Companies That Use Linux (Until They Pay 'Protection' Money)

    News about Intellectual Ventures and Finjan Holdings (Microsoft-funded patent trolls) reinforces our allegations -- not mere suspicions anymore -- that Microsoft would 'punish' companies that are not paying subscription fees (hosting) or royalties (patent tax) to Microsoft and are thus in some sense 'indebted' to Microsoft



  15. Links 24/3/2017: Microsoft Aggression, Eudyptula Challenge Status Report

    Links for the day



  16. Bernhard Rapkay, Former MEP and Rapporteur on Unitary Patent, Shoots Down UPC Hopes While UPC Hopefuls Recognise That Spain Isn't Interested Either

    Germany, the UK and Spain remain massive barriers to the UPC -- all this in spite of misleading reports and fake news which attempted to make politicians believe otherwise (for political leverage, by means of dirty lobbying contingent upon misinformation)



  17. Links 23/3/2017: Qt 5.9 Beta, Gluster Storage 3.2

    Links for the day



  18. The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation Has Just Buried an Innocent Judge That Battistelli Does Not Like

    An innocent judge (never proven guilty of anything, only publicly defamed with help from Team Battistelli and dubious 'intelligence' gathering) is one of the forgotten casualties of the latest meeting of the Administrative Council (AC), which has become growingly complicit rather than a mere bystander at a 'crime' scene



  19. Nepotism at the European Patent Office and Suspicious Absence of Tenders for Big Projects

    Carte blanche is a French term which now perfectly describes the symptoms encountered in the European Patent Office, more so once led by a lot of French people (Battistelli and his friends)



  20. “Terror” Patent Office Bemoans Terror, Spreads Lies

    Response to some of the latest utterances from the European Patent Office, where patently untruthful claims have rapidly become the norm



  21. China Seems to be Using Patents to Push Foreign Companies Out of China, in the Same Way It Infamously Uses Censorship

    Chinese patent policies are harming competition from abroad, e.g. Japan and the US, and US patent policy is being shaped by its higher courts, albeit not yet effectively combating the element that's destroying productive companies (besieged by patent trolls)



  22. 22,000 Blog Posts

    A special number is reached again, marking another milestone for the site



  23. The EPO is Lying to Its Own Staff About ILO and Endless (Over 2 Years) EPO Mistrials

    The creative writing skills of some spinners who work for Battistelli would have staff believe that all is fine and dandy at the EPO and ILO is dealing effectively with staff complaints about the EPO (even if several years too late)



  24. EPO’s Georg Weber Continues Horrifying Trend of EPO Promoting Software Patents in Defiance of Directive, EPC, and Common Sense

    The EPO's promotion of software patents, even out in the open, is an insult to the notion that the EPO is adhering to or is bound by the rules upon which it maintains its conditional monopoly



  25. Protectionism v Sharing: How the US Supreme Court Decides Patent Cases

    As the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) starts delivering some decisions we take stock of what's to come regarding patents



  26. Links 22/3/2017: GNOME 3.24, Wine-Staging 2.4 Released

    Links for the day



  27. The Battistelli Regime, With Its Endless Scandals, Threatens to Crash the Unitary Patent (UPC), Stakeholders Concerned

    The disdain and the growing impatience have become a huge liability not just to Battistelli but to the European Patent Office (EPO) as a whole



  28. The Photos the EPO Absolutely Doesn't Want the Public to See: Battistelli is Building a Palace Using Stakeholders' Money

    The Office is scrambling to hide evidence of its out-of-control spendings, which will leave the EPO out of money when the backlog is eliminated by many erroneous grants (or rejections)



  29. In the US Patent System, Evolved Tricks for Bypassing Invalidations of Software Patents and Getting Them Granted by the USPTO

    A roundup of news about patents in the US and how the patent microcosm attempts to patent software in spite of Alice (high-impact SCOTUS decision from 2014)



  30. “Then They Came For Me—And There Was No One Left To Speak For Me.”

    The decreasing number of people who cover EPO scandals (partly due to fear, or Battistelli's notorious "reign of terror") and a cause for hope, as well as a call for help


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts