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09.23.08

Microsoft with/against VMware, with/against standards

Posted in Asia, ECMA, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Virtualisation at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Self-serving love/hate relationships

Remember Brett Winterford [1, 2, 3, 4]? The guy whom Microsoft gave a free journey to Redmond (he lives far away in Australia)? The guy who writes for the already-Microsoft-biased ZDNet and soon after his visit to Redmond unleashed some outrageous articles echoing Microsoft’s accusations against IBM and ODF? Well, the same guy has just published an article with a curious headline: “VMware vs Microsoft: Place your bets”

Place your bets??? This is not a casino. VMware is miles ahead of Microsoft. All that Microsoft has got is an anti-VMware propaganda campaign and "a Slog" for some inertia. Features that Microsoft continues to drop (it’s merely vapourware) VMware had half a decade ago. ZDNet did this type of thing very recently to promote Silverlight at Flash’s expense. But watch this from the latest article:

VMware chief executive and president Paul Maritz says he is not particularly concerned about competing with Microsoft on price. The price of software is important, he said, “but only up to a point.”

Pamela Jones at Groklaw seems to concur with what we’ve been saying for months [1, 2, 3, 4]. Yesterday she wrote: “There is something very fishy about this story. It’s like a manufactured “dispute”, and considering the new CEO at VMware is a retired Microsoft executive, Paul Maritz, who worked for Microsoft for 14 years, and considering some feel VMware may be violating the GPL, and considering the nasty things VMWare said about Open Source and code licenses in its most recent SEC filing, I can’t help but wonder what’s up. This one is worth watching closely.”

Groklaw also found this in VMware’s SEC filing:

Some of these competitors have in the past and may in the future take advantage of their existing relationships to engage in business practices that make our products less attractive to our end users. For example, Microsoft has implemented distribution arrangements with x86 system vendors and independent software vendors, or ISVs, related to certain of their operating systems that only permit the use of Microsoft’s virtualization format and do not allow the use of our corresponding format. Microsoft has also implemented pricing policies that require customers to pay additional license fees based on certain uses of virtualization technology. These distribution and licensing restrictions, as well as other business practices that may be adopted in the future by our competitors, could materially impact our prospects regardless of the merits of our products.

Here is a comment from the Winterford article:

Netscape? VMware?

Almost as bad as the ODF VS OOXML debacle. Or could it be worse?

http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8722482021.html

dead format walking?
Microsoft’s controversial OOXML document format is not going anywhere, observes Jason Brooks in a blog posting at eWEEK. Brooks points to discrepancies between the ISO-approved version of the format and that used in Office 2007 in suggesting that OOXML hardly measures up with ODF (Open Document Format).

Forget the DOJ. They’re too busy trying to cover their own A$$es. Besides, they’re all on the take anyway, just like everybody else in Washington DC and Redmond Washington. Not to even mention Wall Street.

Last night Pamela Jones wrote: “Here’s how my brain processes this [Rob Weir on ODF translation]: the OOXML folks are deliberately trying to increase the amount of “issues” found in ODF, using a process that normally isn’t used that way, translations and errata. Look for them to later announce such issues, like an OOXML “Get the Facts” style of “comparison”. Why might they want to find fault? They want, I believe, to force ODF into their hands and control. Just saying.”

There are some other reasons for mistrust here.

India and ODF

On the brighter side of things, India takes its obligations a step further and it may soon neglect Microsoft formats in favour of ODF.

Open Document Format (ODF) could find its way as becoming an open standard for e-governance projects by the Indian government and help its supporters grab key government IT business, according to government officials and industry sources.

There’s a sad ending though.

Microsoft Killed Standards

ISO Sold Out to ECMA

Does Microsoft want to kill standards? Well, it has many reasons to, as it would benefit from the demise of standards. In a way, its mission was accomplished because IBM might be quitting standards bodies, according to this report from the Wall Street Journal.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based computer maker is expected to announce the review Tuesday, according to company officials. IBM has become frustrated by what it considers opaque processes and poor decision-making at some of the hundreds of bodies that set technical standards for everything from data-storage systems to programming languages, those officials said.

Groklaw is equally disappointed by “what Microsoft wrought.”

There will be a summit meeting of experts in the field from around the world, by invitation, in November under Yale’s auspices to discuss recommendations for improving standards setting. What hath Microsoft wrought! Well, they don’t say that. I’m letting you hear my inner thoughts. If you have any ideas that you hope the experts will consider, now is the time to speak, right now, right here.

Here is another summary with predictions.

The Wall Street Journal is publishing an article mentioning the OOXML fiasco, and the intention of IBM to leave some standards organisations (ECMA Microsoft-proxy is probably on the shooting line). With the disgusting Microsoft committee stuffing and the non-reaction of ISO, I would say this is something I should do now in terms of protest. The current way to define standards behind closed doors, closed rooms, and with archaic methods of patching standards proposals outside of the public eye is something that should be reformed.

The press release from IBM is appended below.


IBM ANNOUNCES NEW I.T. STANDARDS POLICY

To encourage improved tech standards quality and transparency, and promote equal participation of growth markets in globally integrated economy

ARMONK, NEW YORK . . . September 23, 2008 – IBM today announced that,
effective immediately, it is instituting a new corporate policy that
formalizes the company’s behavior when helping to create open technical
standards. Such standards enable electronic devices and software programs
to interoperate with one another.

In the globally integrated economy, open technical standards are integral
to enabling the delivery of everything from disaster relief services and
health care, to business services and consumer entertainment. They enable
governments to create economic development platforms and deliver services
to their citizens.

The tenets of IBM’s new policy are to:

  • Begin or end participation in standards bodies based on the quality and
    openness of their processes, membership rules, and intellectual property
    policies.

  • Encourage emerging and developed economies to both adopt open global
    standards and to participate in the creation of those standards.

  • Advance governance rules within standards bodies that ensure technology
    decisions, votes, and dispute resolutions are made fairly by independent
    participants, protected from undue influence.

  • Collaborate with standards bodies and developer communities to ensure
    that open software interoperability standards are freely available and
    implementable.

  • Help drive the creation of clear, simple and consistent intellectual
    property policies for standards organizations, thereby enabling
    standards developers and implementers to make informed technical and
    business decisions.

IBM encouraged members of standards communities to adopt similar
principles, which are more stringent than required by existing laws or
policies. IBM’s new standards policy promotes simplified and consistent
intellectual property practices, and emphasizes that all stakeholders,
including the open source community and those in growth markets, should
have equal footing as they participate in the standards process.

IBM described steps to put these principles into action. For example, the
company will:

  • Review and take necessary actions concerning its membership in standards
    organizations.

  • In the regions and countries where we do business, encourage local
    participation in the creation and use of standards that solve the
    problems and meet the requirements of all affected stakeholders around
    the world. We will advocate governance policies in standards bodies
    that encourage diverse participation.

  • Work for process reform in standards organizations so that proxies or
    surrogates cannot be used in standards creation and approval.

  • Collaborate with standards organizations and stakeholders to streamline
    and consolidate intellectual property licenses and policies, with a
    focus on enabling software applications to become more easily
    interoperable by the use of open standards.

IBM’s principles were inspired by the results of an online conversation
facilitated by IBM during the summer of 2008, in which 70 independent,
forward-thinking experts across the globe — from academia,
standards-setting, law, government, and public policy — debated the
question of whether standard setting bodies have kept pace with today’s
commercial, social, legal and political realities. Actionable suggestions
to modernize their processes were offered during the six-week discussion
(research.ibm.com//files/standards_wikis.shtml), with an eye toward
increasing standards transparency, fairness, and quality.

An invitation-only summit is planned for November, under Yale University’s
auspices, that will flesh out recommendations from the online discussion
and begin steps toward improving the standards-setting environment.

“Common, open and consensus-based technology standards from reputable
standards bodies help ensure that each of us can easily purchase and
interchangeably use computing technology from multiple vendors,” said Bob
Sutor, IBM vice president of open source and standards. “The ways in which
they are created and adopted provide reasonable assurances that disparate
products will work with one another, and withstand the test of time.”

Software patents protest in India

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