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10.02.08

Links 02/10/2008: Red Hat Targets HPC, MontaVista Kicks Event Off

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Linux is Making Me Fat and Lazy

    Because of Linux I hardly have to lift a finger anymore, and because of it my health is suffering. I rarely hop up and down in a fit of temper, I don’t have to drive to the store to buy software, and I don’t get the aerobic benefits of spending hours on the phone with tech support, breathing hard and accelerating my heartbeat. I rarely make site visits anymore. I don’t even leave my chair, because I log in and do fixes and admin chores from home. I even have my remaining tiny herd of Windows users (close relatives only who bribe me handsomely) set up with VNC over SSH, Cygwin/SSH, or rdesktop. I alone have the passwords, mwahaha.

  • Build better blogs with Linux
  • Linux-Gamers.net Release Live DVD Version 0.9.4

    The developers from Linux-gamers.net launched a new version of their Linux games-focused live distribution.

  • Spread Linux platform launched

    The Spread Linux platform is officially launched! The idea is to provide a platform for people who are interested in Linux marketing. Our target is to spread the word to increase the market share of Linux. We invite you to share your marketing ideas. It’s very easy – just create a free user account and join our community!

  • 5 Best Free/Open-source Turn-based Strategy Games for Linux

    If you are already bored of playing chess, how about trying these highly entertaining and challenging free and open-source turn-based strategy games that you can easily get and install on Linux:

  • 10 must-have Linux office applications
  • Elive The Age Of Enlightenment

    It is a solid, full-featured OS in its own right, thanks to its Debian heritage, with Enlightenment making for a particularly tasty, if somewhat exotic icing on the cake.

  • OLPC / Amazon preparing to bring G1G1 to Europe?

KDE

Red Hat

Kernel

MontaVista/Embedded/Devices

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Charles Kalil, IT Manager for the City of Garden Grove 06 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

OOXML Leaked: The Stuff ISO Doesn’t Want You to Have (Updatedx9)

Posted in Europe, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Standard at 8:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Update: Marius has produced this HTML version which is easiest to browse and requires no large-sized downloads. Another reader, Tony Manco, has produced this HTML version (another mirror… and another) of the core of OOXML so that you can access the specs quickly.]

In light of the systematic abuse and the demise of ISO, which IBM loudly protested against [1, 2], we shall no longer let this process remain secretive. We finally have complete copies of the documents which the shenanigans keep behind passwords (unlike ODF which they attack). This includes 6 files, namely:

  1. 1080.pdf
  2. OfficeOpenXML-WordprocessingMLArtBorders.zip
  3. OfficeOpenXML-SpreadsheetMLStyles.zip
  4. OfficeOpenXML-DrawingMLGeometries.zip
  5. OfficeOpenXML-RELAXNG-Strict.zip
  6. OfficeOpenXML-XMLSchema-Strict.zip

[Note: appended at the bottom of this post we now have 1081c, 1082c, and 1083c.]

[Note #2: we now have a mirror listed at the bottom.]

For those who forgot the opposition to ISO’s bad behaviour, here is another new article about IBM’s action.

In a recent announcement IBM said that it would reconsider its membership in the hundreds of bodies that create global standards for everything from software to servers.

Another article says that “IBM Nixes Standards Shenanigans” and further to the exodus in Norway we also have Glyn Moody’s take.

A little while back I noted a provocative call from IBM for standards bodies to do better – a clear reference to the ISO’s handling of OOXML. Here are some other people who are clearly very unhappy with the same: 13 members of the Norwegian technical committee that actually took part in the process.

[...]

This particular saga is only just beginning…

Feel free to pass around (or even ridicule) those ~60 megabytes of lock-in, which Microsoft won’t let you see. This probably still contains many of the known flaws, which stayed in tact awaiting and even deserving scrutiny.

flickr:2400867976

Update (03/10/2008): we’ve just added 1081c, 1082c, and 1083c.

Update #2 (04/10/2008): this Web server sporadically goes down due to heavy load (over 10 GB of traffic today, plus lots of CPU and RAM). We’ve made a mirror available, so please use it instead, if possible.

Update #3 (04/10/2008): we now have an HTML version of the core of OOXML, but please use this mirror (HTML), which should be faster.

Update #4 (04/10/2008): the first mirror was downed by the load (thousands of OOXML pages combined with the Slashdot effect can do that), so here is a second mirror. If it’s down as well, come back later when there’s less hammering on the servers.

Update #5 (04/10/2008): third mirror of the HTML version, just in case.

Update #6 (04/10/2008): here is a mirror of the PDF (1080.pdf).

Update #7 (05/10/2008): here is a much better HTML version of OOXML (1080). We will have another one soon, but it comprises over 11,000 files, so this may put strain on the server.

Update #8 (06/10/2008): now that the load on the server has declined somewhat (tens of gigabytes in days), we decided that it’s safe to upload this graphics-rich HTML version of 1080 (comprising over 11,000 pertinent files).

Update #9 (07/10/2008): due to legal intimidation from ISO or its cronies, we have removed OOXML (also from the mirrors).

Eye on Microsoft: Various Picks from the Past Week

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Standard, Windows at 8:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.”

Bill Gates, 2004

A lot has happened with Microsoft while your humble editor was absent. :-) Here are just a few quick picks (with many more coming soon).

Putting Money Down and Making Reservations on the African Tables

Very recently we wrote about Microsoft’s ‘addition’ tactics being used against people in Africa [1, 2]. The company appears to be using money at the moment in order to ‘shield’ these territories from GNU/Linux.

Microsoft, Usaid team up to support ICT education>

[...]

Under the arrangement, Usaid will provide financing worth $2 million to help in procuring ICT tools like computers and others while Microsoft will help in designing and supply of software that will help in collecting data in the ministry.

Elsewhere in the world, Bill Gates, whose political crusade in the UN was spotted just days after his so-called ‘retirement’, is still keeping it cozy with the UN, which has favoured Free software for a while.

“I love the Millennium Development Goals,” he said, according to remarks posted on the Gates Foundation Web site. “I think they are the best idea for focusing the world on fighting global poverty that I’ve ever seen…Thanks to these goals, not only UN agencies but the world at large knows the key measures of poverty, hunger, health, and education. Some of the numbers are good and some are not. But the fact that the world is focusing on the numbers is excellent.”

Lost in IP

Microsoft is among the main factors (culprits rather) that imperil the adoption of and transition towards IPv6 [1, 2]. According to Vint Cerf, it’s time to hurry up.

The world is about to run out of the internet addresses that allow computers to identify each other and communicate, the man who invented the system has told The Times.

Cerf works at Google, which Microsoft is desperate enough to fight using what the Inquirer called “bribery”. The bad tactics are extended further and it’s summarised thusly:

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Microsoft’s attacks on Google have become very ugly.

Undocumentation

Shane did some wonderful work covering this over the weekend. For future reference — for it is very relevant to our research — here are some more coverages of this debacle.

1. Microsoft threatened on antitrust non-compliance

As surely as night follows day, so Microsoft is regularly upbraided for not complying with the US government’s landmark 2002 settlement for breach of antitrust laws.

Now, six years into a seven-year settlement monitoring process, presiding settlement judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has told Microsoft’s she doesn’t think it’s going far or fast enough in meeting the terms of the deal.

2. Judge: Microsoft documentation unfit for US consumption

Microsoft may have made a big push to settle many of the antitrust actions facing it around the globe, but those efforts have run up against a major stumbling block: the company’s inability to document the protocols need to interoperate with its own software. Documentation problems got Microsoft in hot water with the EU, and they’re now the only reason it continues to be under court supervision in the aftermath of its antitrust settlement. But, despite having interoperability become a corporate strategy, its documentation efforts came under fire in a court hearing earlier today.

3. U.S. judge tells Microsoft: Get on the stick!

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) came under sharp criticism from a U.S. judge on Thursday for being slow to produce technical documents it is required to give software makers as part of a 2002 antitrust settlement.

4. Microsoft’s interoperability documentation: A lesson in foot-dragging

[I]t’s frustrating that it has taken so long, and so much government pressure just to get Microsoft to do what is right for its platform business. Yes, interoperability may crimp Microsoft’s plans for its applications business. Even if so, it’s time for Microsoft to stop talking a big interoperability game and then choosing to ride the bench.

Jose_X wrote about this in his comment “Way to open up Microsoft!”

No Love for Standards

Web standards too have remained a blind spot for Microsoft.

Microsoft Live Search Maps hates Chrome and Firefox

[...]

Once again, Microsoft is caught doing services that work better with Microsoft’s own web browser, and offering a sub-par experience to anyone who dares not to run the firm’s Integral Part of the Windows Operating System – stand in line to buy your boxed copy of Vista please.

Microsoft is “Dying from the Inside”

So says a Microsoft employee, who posted this rant, which includes a revelation of $20 million bonuses under “a new plan.”

Suddenly I was very motivated to read the 8-K, in a pissed-off sort of way.

From the filing:

Item 5.02 Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers

The Compensation Committee of the Microsoft Corporation (“Company”) Board of Directors has approved a new executive officer incentive plan (“Plan”) for the Company’s executive officers. The Plan replaces the existing annual cash bonus and equity award programs for the Company’s executive officers beginning with fiscal year 2009.

The Plan allows the Compensation Committee to establish award programs for specified performance periods (e.g., one or more fiscal years). The maximum amount payable to a participating executive officer is a percentage of an incentive pool for a performance period. For fiscal year 2009, awards will be granted from an incentive pool with maximum funding of 0.35% of Microsoft’s fiscal year 2009 corporate operating income. The awards granted to each participating executive officer will be limited to a fixed share of the incentive pool, and these awards may be further reduced or eliminated in the discretion of the Compensation Committee (or in the discretion of the Board of directors, for awards to the Company’s chief executive officer, Steven A. Ballmer). The Plan specifies a maximum amount of $20,000,000 that may be paid under the Plan to a participating executive officer for one or more performance periods that end during a fiscal year. Award amounts under the Plan may be made in either or both stock awards issued under the Microsoft Corporation 2001 Stock Plan and cash. Vesting of stock awards will be determined by the Compensation Committee. The 2001 Stock Plan generally requires that stock awards vest over at least a three-year period.

[...]

Given the feckless vote of confidence that a bunch of screw-ups like Yahoo! got at their recent shareholder’s meeting, I don’t have much confidence in our shareholders challenging our leadership. Stock price? Don’t care, got mine. What kind of performance targets must the company reach to achieve the rewards? Not gonna tell you.

First SPSA. Now this. Microsoft is dying from the inside, and the folks sucking it dry have zero motivation to change things. It’s working out pretty damn well for them.

Here is some more information about these bonuses.

The big winner this year appears to be Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who received the biggest bonus and salary award.

Novell has also raised some similar questions and so does Apple.

Not even Apple can escape the fallout from the global economic crisis, with it’s shares tumbling this week. That hasn’t stopped Apple’s executive team reaping in more than 120 million dollars in bonuses though…

Microsoft and Debt

Joe Wilcox posted this bit of text about his concerns. Microsoft’s market cap sank by $24 billion in just 17 Days, having already fallen sharply beforehand (by up to — and at one stage over — $100 billion).

Microsoft is on the list. Today, the stock closed at $25.01 a share, down $2.39, or 8.72 percent.

It’s worth bringing up this new short article, which states: “Following the massive Wall Street sell-off, Microsoft on Monday called on Congress to revisit its bailout decision, saying government action is “vitally important.”” There’s some more talk about the urgency of action. Microsoft admits it is not immune and its friends at the BBC have pinned quite a placement about it in the BBC earlier today.

Microsoft might soon enter debt.

Revisionism

The BBC’s revisionism is something that we pointed out before [1, 2]. SJVN explains why this should be a major concern.

Let’s go one more step though. Let’s say you want to know, specifically, what happened in the trial according to ace Microsoft reporter, and I’m pleased to say my friend, Mary Jo Foley who covered the Microsoft/DoJ case like paint. In January 2001, a search on Microsoft DOJ and Mary Jo Foley would have found 1,820 records.

None of the first twenty, the most popular links, are still active in 2008. And, as far as Google 2008 is concerned those stories don’t exist. That means, for most people, those stories never happened. It means, in short, that if you rely on the Web for “The Truth” you’re relying on something that’s constantly rotting away and falling apart.

Many people still rely on the BBC’s coverage, which is wrongly synonymised with “truth” or “trust”. There are reasons to end this trust, however:

Here are examples of Microsoft executives taking or inheriting positions of power/influence inside the BBC:

Trouble in Europe

Some months ago we covered Microsoft’s threat that it may sue over its exclusion. Here are some relevant posts about it:

The story is being repeated with some new evidence.

Should European governments favor open-source software when they hold tenders for public contracts? Economists and policy makers appear to think so but industry giants including Microsoft argue that this would be discriminatory and are considering legal action to prevent this from happening.

Glyn Moody wrote about this too.

At first, I thought this Computerworld UK story about software vendors “challenging” proposed EU guidelines was just a typical Microsoft whine about the imminent loss of its stranglehold over the government sector in Europe.

It is such a bad loser: after having abused its monopoly position for years, essentially telling the world and his or her dog to like it or lump it, it now runs screaming to teacher as soon as there is any suggestion of the playground daring to stand up to its bullying.

Miscellany

The impact of Windows zombies may be costing the British public dearly.

UK banking losses due to fraud in the first half of 2008 hit £301.7m compared to £263.6m in the same period last year, according to the latest figures from UK banking association APACS.

Fraud abroad made up 40 per cent of total card fraud losses reaching £121.2m in the period, up 11 per cent of the £108.8m lost last year. That loss was through tactics such as the use of counterfeit plastic cards with stolen PINs on machines overseas that only check magnetic strips, not chips.

Microsoft partners are betrayed once again, which is not particularly surprising.

Microsoft today tried to convince UK channel partners that it’s working hard to simplify its licensing terms, but many resellers have grumbled that the firm hasn’t gone far enough yet.

Microsoft is also funding some scare factor, suggesting that not paying Microsoft will entail horrible consequences.

Companies that rely on unlicensed copies of Windows are more likely to experience system failures and lose customer data, Microsoft Corp. said today, citing a company-sponsored report.

According to the research, which was conducted by the Harrison Group Inc. but paid for by Microsoft, midsize companies — those with more than 24 PCs and fewer than 500 — were 43% more likely to have had a critical system failure lasting more than 24 hours if they used unlicensed Windows.

While Microsoft loves accusing others of ‘stealing’ (its software, which it willingly gives away anyway), it’s being accused of stealing slogans now.

G.ho.st, a startup that offers a hosted operating system, has accused Microsoft of violating a company trademark with its prominent use of the phrase “no walls” in its recently unveiled US$300 million Windows marketing and advertising campaign.

That’s about all for today. There’s lots more on the way.

Novell Befriends Microsoft, Attacks Red Hat and Ubuntu

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stating the obvious, but presenting new evidence

InfoWorld (of IDG) presented a reasonable question when it doubted Novell’s open source citizenship.

In New models, challenges for open source businesses, Neil McAllister asks, “Does offering proprietary, albeit innovative, technologies built on top of open source mean Greenplum is not a ‘real’ open source company? I leave that for you to decide. Is IBM an open source company? Is Novell? Is Google?”

Novell is not an open source company, by its very own confession [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s therefore surprising that Matt Asay, for example, is still comparing Novell to Red Hat as though they are comparable. Novell’s proprietary components are much larger, and yet dying [1, 2]. Regardless, Asay has explained how Microsoft and Novell tried to harm Red Hat together, without much success thus far.

In selling longer-term deals, Red Hat is successfully blocking competitive pressure from Novell, Microsoft, and other companies that might want to cut into its accounts.

Red Hat is not the only company that Novell is attacking along with Microsoft, particularly on the server side. That recent Greg K-H incident is still causing unrest in Ubuntu. Why attack those who participate in peer production and not those who persistently attack this peer production?

It’s a shame really because Novell not only has negative influence on the Linux Foundation [1, 2, 3, 4], which it funds. Novell has the Foundation just attack Solaris and Sun [1, 2] (despite Java and OpenOffice.org, among other things) while inviting Microsoft to the table [1, 2, 3], calling for respect to this thing.

Novell and Greg K-H turn out to also have influence on OSU, which has just gotten itself a new Advisory Council.

CORVALLIS, Ore. th The Oregon State University Open Source Lab, home to growing open source communities, today announced the formation of its new advisory council. Featuring leaders from global open source projects and vendors such as Apache, Perl, Drupal, the Linux operating system, Google, Novell, Acquia and Joost, the advisors will assist the Open Source Lab with its overall strategy, service development and outreach to industry partners.

[...]

Greg Kroah-Hartman. A senior fellow at Novell, Kroah-Hartman is a maintainer of the Linux kernel, the core of the open source Linux operating system. He is also an author of articles and books on Linux development.

The above is worth noting because Novell is likely to welcome Microsoft into the OSU, just as it always does. Novell is Microsoft’s ticket.

Going back to Greg, here is an article claiming that “Greg K-H Attacks Canonical.”

Greg Kroah-Hartman of Novell accuses Ubuntu supporter, Canonical, to be non contributing to the development of Linux kernel.

Using the offensive word “nerds” (geeks without social skills), the following article puts things in another perspective. Once again, Greg’s behaviour is being criticised.

Interestingly enough, Canonical seems well aware of its lack of kernel work. In a response to Kroah-Hartman’s talk, Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu’s CTO, writes, “No one, certainly not Canonical, has ever claimed that Canonical does as much Linux development as Red Hat or Novell.”

Zimmerman goes on to call Kroah-Hartman’s talk “trolling.”

So what does Novell do for GNU/Linux anyway, other than bashing its server and desktop leaders, whom its engineers obvious envy? It seems like a lot of Novell’s work revolves around Microsoft, whose technologies it embeds inside GNU/Linux against people’s will and interests. Microsoft has already said that it did not port Silverlight to GNU/Linux because of Novell, which works hard on “poor man’s Silverlight” instead.

Microsoft officials have said MIcrosoft planned to support a variety of operating systems and browsers with Silverlight. The company released the Beta 2 version of Silverlight 2 for the Mac in June. Microsoft has given Novell its blessing (and some help) on the Silverlight port to Linux, codenamed “Moonlight.”

This demotes GNU/Linux, making it a second-class citizen [1, 2] simply because Novell is permitting this to happen. Novell is not interested in the desktop; it’s incorporating and promoting Microsoft technologies (patent poison) on everyone’s desktop instead. As further indication of this, how about yesterday’s post from Miguel de Icaza, who will present Mono at a Microsoft conference (presenting for Microsoft/Novell not for the first time by the way).

As usual, Microsoft uses Novell as its excuse that ‘it plays nice with FOSS’, provided one has software patents and a common agenda to harm companies like Red Hat. Here is a new article which demonstrates just how it works.

Microsoft was a company focused on intellectual property claims where “not more than two years ago claimed that Linux software infringed on some of its 235 patents,” said Jay Lyman with The 451 Group. Yet, he added, it’s hard to argue with the work that the software giant is doing with Novell, and of the presence it has on SourceForge, the development and download repository of open source code.

Indeed, the company announced the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center this year, which was essentially a unification of the Open Source Software Lab opened in Redmond, Wash., three years ago, and the Microsoft/Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Mass., a year ago.

While the Center may not physically be one building, the unification “was really an opportunity for us to pull the work together to be very focused on a few areas,” said Tom Hanrahan, director of the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center.

With a total of 15 staff between both locations, the Center is funded by Microsoft but resourced by both Microsoft and Novell. The Cambridge Lab, for instance, has an even split of Novell and Microsoft staff.

Why not rebrand it to reflect on the fact that the lab serves Microsoft in excluding Free software? It’s all about patents and it’s about selfishness, selective punishment.

Microsoft Novell

Novell’s Market Cap Falls Below $1.75 Billion

Posted in Finance, Novell at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s value declines by more than 12%

It has only been weeks since Novell’s market cap fell below the $2 billion mark. Novell is still in a freefall, which makes one wonder how long it may take before Microsoft just 'buys out' that WordPerfect lawsuit.

Based on Novell’s shape in the financial market, it’s hard to deny that Novell is still a dying company and Novell is clearly concerned. Surely enough, some people will point out the general weakness of the market, caused mainly by greed and fraud. It’s no excuse though because Novell may be an integral part of this problem with past allegations of fraud.

Novell's stock falls

Quick Mention: Microsoft is Hijacking ODF

Posted in ECMA, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So we were right all along. Details in Groklaw:

Guess what the SC 34 committee, the ISO/IEC committee responsible for OOXML, is up to now? I call it a takeover attempt of ODF, according to my reading of the published notes of the most recent meeting held yesterday, October 1st, and starring a document titled “Request to JTC 1 for alignment of OASIS and JTC 1 Maintenance Procedures.” Uh oh. That sounds polite, but it is what it is. An attempted coup. They have already sent a “Liaison Statement” to OASIS. Surrender or else, what? SC 34 asks JTC 1 “to establish with OASIS a synchronised mechanism for maintenance of ISO/IEC 26300 and to inform SC 34 of the outcome.” I gather they think they can do a better job of maintaining ODF than OASIS. What will JTC 1 do, do you think? You doubt they will hop on to this wonderful plan?

I gather the hope is, if the takeover were to succeed, that SC 34 would get to maintain ODF as well as Microsoft’s competing parody “standard,” OOXML. How totally smooth and shark-like. Under the guise of “synchronised maintenance”, without which they claim SC 34 can’t fulfill its responsibilities, they get control of everything. So utterly Microsoft. Microsoft yearns for interoperability, it seems. More like yearning for ODF’s air supply to be … well, you know.

[...]

Why do I say Microsoft, when this is SC 34? Look at this, will you? It has a list of participants in the July meeting in Japan of the SC 34 committee. The committee membership is so tilted by Microsoft employees and such, if it were a boat, it would capsize. In fact, I’d say it already has. Of the 19 attendees, 8 are outright Microsoft employees or consultants, and 2 of them are Ecma TC45 members. So 10 out of 19 are directly controlled by Microsoft/Ecma.

[...]

Mr. Durusau, Mr. Brown, and all you guys, listen up, please. That isn’t the goal. Microsoft being “more open” isn’t the appropriate end goal. If it’s your goal, you have utterly failed. The goal is a standard that anyone can use equally, a truly open standard, available to both proprietary folks and FOSS. Microsoft being “more open” but not really fully interoperable and always a little bit ahead of everyone else in its ability to use a “standard” is by no means enough. We’ve lived in that kind of Microsoft world a long time now. We don’t need “standards” that replicate it.

OOXML patent issue prompt

Links 02/10/2008: GNU/Linux Computers Reach More Developing Countries

Posted in News Roundup at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Developing Countries

GNU/Linux

Releases

Newsletters and Such

KDE

Ubuntu

Mandriva and Derivatives

Gentoo

Servers

F/OSS

Applications

Apple

Finance

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Charles Kalil, IT Manager for the City of Garden Grove 05 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Microsoft’s OOXML Corruptions Have Ruined Standard Norway

Posted in Africa, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML is fraud

ooxml_demo_4.jpg

We have presented more than enough evidence to accuse Microsoft of rigging votes, bribing, manipulating, bullying, lying, blackmailing and so forth. It should not be disputed that Microsoft behaved in the most appalling of ways, so even Standard Norway, whose protest is shown at the top, simply cannot forget how it got nailed by Microsoft shenanigans. In response, there is a letter and a mass exodus there. Well-known people leave in protest.

13 members of the TC in Norway has left their Standards Body in protest. They say that the Standards Body has lost its credibility in the IT area. Remember that Standards Norway was voting Yes with the support of only 2 companies (Microsoft and Statoil), and against the will of the rest of the technical committee.

[...]

Oslo, Monday 29 september 2008

We, the undersigned, are ending our cooperation with Standard Norway.

It is the play when organizations should have our common interest aimed to fail the task. Through the work of OOXML Standard Norway has shown, with a clear margin, that they are not fit to represent Norway in the ISO.

“Standardization of formats for content on the Web is more important than ever. A large part of mankind’s communication is done digitally, and all – ALL – to have the ability to read and write these formats,” said Haakon Wium Lie.

Standard Norway chose to defy their own technical committee and vote yes to a specification that is immature, useless, and unworthy to is called an ISO standard.

To Standard Norway has carried this process we consider that the organization has lost its credibility in the IT area. Standards Norway has set its own commercial interests ahead of what is most societies server, technological and academic advisable. “By participating in a further work in Standard Norway will we lose our academic credibility,” said Arne S. Nielsen.

Therefore, we choose to stay out.

We end our cooperation with Standard Norway because:

* Standard administration has taken the option to emphasize 37 letter from Microsoft partners more than their own technical committee.
* Standard process in Norway has been unpredictable and playing rules have been changed by the administration along the way.
* SN and ISO have committed a series of violations of their own rules and other irregularities in the OOXML process.

The undersigned:

1. Haakon Wium Lie
2. Martin Bekkelund (NUUG)
3. Petter Reinholdtsen (NUUG)
4. Linpro AS v/ Trond Heier Linpro AS v / Trond Heier
5. Bjørn Venn
6. Steve Pepper
7. Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen
8. Henning Kulander
9. Axel Bojer
10. Geir Isene
11. Thomas Malt
12. Anthony Lardahl (NUUG)
13. Knut Olav Bøhmer Knut

We can all thank Microsoft for having achieved the goal of spoiling the establishments of standards.

In better news, countries that adopt ODF will be meeting in South Africa to advance the standard.

Among those attending the workshop will be Peter Strickx on behalf of the government of Belgium, Carlos Machado of Brazil which is well advanced in adopting ODF and Tan King Ing who will talk on the OpenOffice.org migration in the Malaysian public sector.

It turns out that Brazil, which embraced ODF, has also got its own OpenOffice.org derivative and it has already been spread to 2,000 schools.

This is affirmed in practice by articles on BrOffice’s website, describing how the Digital Program of Paraná State has installed 40,000 copies of BrOffice.org at 2,000 state schools, which is 95.24% of the schools of in the state of Paraná. Another impressive number is that the House of Representatives of Brazil saved R$5 Million (USD$3 Million) by adopting BrOffice.org as their office suite.

As sales of Microsoft Office decline, it’s clear why Microsoft needed to bet the house and the farm on new lock-ins. Microsoft Office is among the few products from Microsoft that are still very profitable. Much of the rest is a total disaster, financially speaking.

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008

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