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Novell: From OOXML Opposer to OOXML Embracer (a Post-Sellout Novell)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…While another state officially moves to OOo/ODF

Novell supports OOXML simply because it's contractually obliged to do so. It made itself a slave of Microsoft in exchange for money. Watch what Novell’s Web site said about data formats before signing the deal that nuked criticism of Microsoft (Web pages disappeared or got replaced).

From the site, like it used to be until ca. 2006:

“Why all the fuss? Modern governments generate a vast number of digital files. From birth certificates and tax returns to criminal DNA records, the documents must be retrievable in perpetuity. So governments are reluctant to store official records in the proprietary formats of commercial-software vendors. This concern will only increase as e-government services, such as filing a tax return or applying for a driving licence online, gain momentum. In Microsoft’s case, security flaws in its software, such as those exploited by the recent Blaster and SoBig viruses, are also a cause of increasing concern.”

Amen to what used to be one of Novell’s brightest moments.

That explains why OOXML is so dangerous (and why decision makers should read that 1,600+ paper about its internals before deploying it), and it explains why we should rather use ODF instead.

He mentions security, which indeed may be a problem.

In the above, Wolfgang Lonien uses the Munich example. Watch this about SoftMaker Office 2008

Beim Einlesen und Exportieren von OpenDocument-Dateien bleiben Zeilennummerierungen erhalten.

The case study of Munich aside, the big new conversion comes from Malaysia again (arguably a ‘domino effect’). The State of Kedah embraces ODF and Free software.

A case study submitted to the Open Source Competency Center by the Center of Information Technology, Office of the Chief Minister and State Secretary of Kedah, has indicated that OpenOffice.org has been installed in 70% of the computers in the Kedah state government agencies. There are currently 2,202 installed seats and by the looks of it, the numbers will just keep rising!

Should it therefore be surprising that Bob Sutor suggests OOXML is a dead-end format?

During the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, I met with Bob Sutor, IBM’s vice president of open source and standards. We discussed document standards and the implications of ISO’s controversial decision to grant fast-track approval to Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format.

Allegations of procedural irregularities in the OOXML approval process have raised serious questions about the integrity of ISO. Some national standards bodies complained that their views were disregarded or ignored during the OOXML ballot resolution meeting because of unreasonable time constraints. Some critics fear that the problems that arose during the ISO evaluation of OOXML will contribute to disillusionment and apathy towards open standards.


I asked him if he thinks that ISO approval of OOXML will drive implementors and adopters away from ODF. He has seen no evidence of such a trend and argued that uptake of OOXML has been slow. He claimed that the complexity of the standard has deterred acceptance and said that Microsoft’s next-generation office suite hasn’t significantly accelerated usage of OOXML in the wild. The vast majority of existing documents are already in the old binary formats and he contends that many users of Office 2007 still save new documents in the binary formats to accommodate compatibility with the older version. He thinks that implementors want to tap into that massive legacy document base and don’t see much value yet in supporting OOXML in their software.

More about these latest events here:

Government officials often point out how cheap licenses have become. Better competition drives the margins down. Good for Yoon Kit and his Schadenfreude humour. Good for Yoon Kit as a tax payer. Good or bad for business? That depends on your interests. From a procurement perspective you need to avoid all vendor dependencies, reduce procurement costs and put the vendor in chains if you can. A behaviour as moral or immoral as when you are on the sales side and attempt the opposite. Microsoft early understood the need to regard interoperability control as crucial for its business. The awareness among procurement agencies is on the rise to pay similar attention to the strategic importance of procurement policies and interoperability promotion. But also on the sales side of the medal it is a fight between one and many.

it is true that OOXML faces some high barriers now . But… remember what Microsoft’s Mahugh said in Malaysia about OOXML (in the Fast Track):

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!”

Selfishness is passé. Novell’s gradual demise is proof of this.

Links 14/08/2008: New Linux RC; AMD Might Do UMPCs

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish








Linux Hate Content in Digg or Just Microsoft Munchkins?

Posted in GNU/Linux at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Use [...] the Internet, etc. to heighten the impression that the enemy is desperate, demoralized, defeated, [...] associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny”. Just keep rubbing it in, via the [...] newsgroups, [...] make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Watch this user account in Digg.com. As you can hopefully see:

  • It’s used to troll GNU/Linux topics
  • It contains insidious messages (e.g. Resider murder)
  • It uses my (warped) photos
  • It’s being used to harass me directly

People have complained a lot about Slashdot, especially recently. Digg is the same. There are several more examples like this here (further down in the updates). About 4 such accounts got terminated before (the staff confirmed they were replications/abusive). As we pointed out the other day, Microsoft hires agencies to do its trolling.

Links 14/08/2008: Legal Victory for Free Software Licences, FOSS in Polish Education

Posted in News Roundup at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Pardus 2008: A touch of refinement

    My experience with Pardus was quite positive. The attention to detail, right down to skinning Amarok with the Pardus colors, is matched by the elegance of the installer and the efficacy of Kaptan and PiSi.

  • Canonical’s Power Play

    So the takeaway from LinuxWorld seems to be this: Watch out for Ubuntu and community Linux in general, coming soon to an enterprise near you.



Windows Binaries in Linux








Leftovers (Apple)

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Sterling Ball — businessman, guitarstring impressario, and Free Open Source Software advocate

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 13th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell Keeps Lusting After Software Patents, Microsoft Sued for Patent Infringement

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why does Novell keep pursuing software patents?

Method to dynamically determine a user’s language for a network, patent No. 7,412,374, invented by Christopher Jean Seiler of Pleasant Grove, Matthew Gerrit Brooks of Orem, Olin Sayre Atkinson of Orem, James Mark Norman of Pleasant Grove, Boyd “H” Timothy of Provo, and Timothy Paul Schmanski of Lindon, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

Here is the patent’s abstract:

A portal system identifies a language in which content can be displayed to the user. Possible languages can be determined from one or more of identity information for the user, a container for the user’s directory entry, and the user’s location. The determined languages can be ranked, and the highest-ranked available language can be selected for content display to the user.


Filed: January 30, 2002

Well, it was granted only days ago.

There are those who believe that Microsoft wanted to capture Novell for its patents portfolio, which can be used against UNIX/Linux ‘outsiders’. What if Microsoft bought Novell?

Elsewhere in the news, it turns out that Microsoft’s new addition has just been sued. It’s about patents again.

Datallegro, a data warehouse maker in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft, has received a lawsuit, claiming that Datallegro’s current CEO aided the company in infringing on a key patent.

The company which Microsoft acquires here uses GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software extensively. Here are the details:

Perhaps the most interesting is that DATAllegro doesn’t even support SQL Server at the moment. It was built on Ingres and Linux. Microsoft claims that it selected DATAllegro because its architecture is “open” and therefore easiest to port to SQL. But it certainly seems that by selecting an MPP player proven to scale beyond the capacity of the competitors (and one built on Linux no less) Microsoft has snipped the head off a competitor while filling in a hole in its offerings for SQL Server 2008.

The Microsoft-obedient (or “talking heads”) have some coverage of this too:

The role of patents in the Novell/Microsoft deal remains a mysterious one. There are no specifics being disclosed.

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer

Dell’s ‘BlackTop’ is Based on SLED 10: Does Dell Pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux?

Posted in Dell, HP, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell has begun booting GNU/Linux ‘by default’ on many of its new laptops. However, it was disappointing to find this information in an article which looks at Dell’s exciting new technology:

The OS itself is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10…

This is not the first time Dell uses SLED.

Let’s step back and remind ourselves that Dell joined the Microsoft/Novell deal. Does that mean that Microsoft partially ‘owns’ that fast-boot operating system? Are buyers paying Microsoft for the ‘privilege’ to use GNU/Linux no matter what O/S they choose? We already know that Microsoft is paid for those Ubuntu PCs from Dell, but that’s for codecs (at the least).

Don’t allow Microsoft to control (elevate) the price of its competition.

It’s a shame to see the Big OEMs going down this route. Yes, it’s the same with Hewlett-Packard and here’s an article from a few days ago.

HP has started shipping a $500 mini-notebook pre-installed with SUSE Linux.

Great. Pseudo choice… Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Linux.

There is nothing wrong with other distributions.

That’s not how GNU/Linux is supposed to happen and its adoption come about. As the Infinite Hands song goes, there’s no room for Microsoft, for SCO, or for anybody else to control, to charge and to manipulate GNU/Linux. They sure will try. It’s a form of market distortion. Novell welcomes this distortion. Maybe it’s part of a plan.


While Everyone is Sleeping, Mono Sneaks Into KDE

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono is greed

We have already been tracking the progression of this for while [1, 2]. The latest KDE Commit Digest sheds light on the latest patches from Richard Dale, who adds: “How should mono KDE apps be installed? Should they be installed into the bin dir, or they should they be started from a C++ shell like Ruby KDE apps?”


Development Tools

Richard Dale committed changes in /trunk/KDE/kdebindings:
* Add an Akonadi C# binding
* In the list of headers for the Akonadi smoke lib qualify the names with the akonadi directory
Diffs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (+ 64 more) Revision 836460

Richard Dale committed changes in /branches/KDE/4.1/kdebindings:
* Promote the Smoke, Ruby, kalyptus and C# kdebindings from the trunk to the KDE 4.1 release branch.
Diffs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (+ 619 more) Revision 836531

Richard Dale committed changes in /trunk/KDE/kdebindings/csharp/ktexteditor:
* Add a port of the KWrite shell to C#

* There are some problems to be solved:
* Accessing some functionality requires qobject_cast<>’s
* How should mono KDE apps be installed? Should they be installed into the bin dir, or they should they be started from a C++ shell like Ruby KDE apps?

* Couldn’t see how to convert this call:
QTextStream input(stdin, QIODevice::ReadOnly);

* The KUrl.List class needs more work to be usable with drag and drop
Diffs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (+ 4 more) Revision 837777
View Visual Changes (to 7 files)

To repeat what Groklaw told KDE developers a week ago: “I told you. I told you. I told you. If you look at the go-oo.org site, you’ll see Mono and “OpenXML” being pushed. Please watch out, KDE. He says they want to share code between Gnome and KDE. Patents are still an issue, in my view. There is no new Microsoft. And I believe Microsoft plans to use their patents at some point, upon which Novell will suggest safety in their arms.

Novell recently announced that it was hiring more KDE developers and OpenSUSE advertising in Akademy 2008 stands out.

Gates on SUSE


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