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12.03.08

Quick Mention: Novell is Helping Microsoft OOXML Again

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well, Microsoft paid Novell a lot of money to have headlines like this pushed into ZDNet and for dead proprietary formats to float with Novell's endorsement.

Microsoft boosts OOXML compatibility

[...]

The enhancements came out of the Document Interoperability Initiative (DII), a working group set up in March between Microsoft and companies such as Novell, QuickOffice and Dataviz. The object of the DII was to boost the interoperability between Office Open XML (OOXML) and rival XML-based document formats such as the open-source OpenDocument Format (ODF), which was already a ratified ISO standard.

[...]

John McCreesh, an evangelist for OpenOffice.org, the main open-source competitor to the Microsoft Office productivity suite, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that he was surprised to hear Microsoft was continuing to work on OOXML’s compatibility.

“The feeling had been that OOXML was dead in the water, so it’s interesting to see that Microsoft is still trying to revive it in the marketplace,” said McCreesh. “The response in the marketplace [to OOXML] hasn’t been that encouraging, but they’ve clearly decided it’s worth another push.”

[...]

The passage of OOXML through its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ratification process attracted criticism from many observers and national standards body members. Some national standards bodies objected to Microsoft’s perceived tactics in getting OOXML ratified, while arguing that there was no need for a second XML standard after ODF.

The author, David Meyer, ought to have gone further and shared the stories of corruption behind OOXML. Being shy about crime makes one’s job safer, but it doesn’t make decent reporting.

OOXML is fraud

“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

“The ISO process, brutal and corrupt as it was, has been covered to death by everyone.”

Tim Bray

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181 Comments

  1. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

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    Somewhat surprising that an OpenOffice.org evangelist doesn’t know that Sun are also continuing to develop this “dead in the water” format. Perhaps the evangelism should begin at home.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

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    …“dead in the water” format.

    For governments it’s a rarity. Can you name governments that formally adopted OOXML?

  3. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 10:39 am

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    I can as it happens, but I don’t see why it’s relevant, because you’d tell me how they’d been bought off. It’s beside the point.

  4. neighborlee said,

    December 3, 2008 at 10:46 am

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument_adoption

    ” The OpenOffice.org Suite and the KOffice Suite promote the OpenDocument Format, as it is used as their default file format. ”

    Nato is largely behind it and its the default FF for OO, so I would call that a pretty decent standard wouldn’t you Alex.

    ” …brought together representatives from several industry groups and technology companies, including Oracle, Google, Adobe, Novell, Red Hat, Computer Associates, Corel, Nokia, Intel, and Linux e-mail company Scalix. (LaMonica, November 10, 2005). The providers committed resources to technically improve OpenDocument through existing standards bodies and to promote its usage in the marketplace, possibly through a stand-alone foundation. ” : so much for all that, but at least RMS gets that, along with Mono being something to avoid , doesn’t he Alex.

    Again you gloss over some very important points but we have come to expect that , so continue on and continue to lose credibility here,and for your beloved mono which is canned in the default installs of debian and fedora, and we all appreciate their efforts to keep us all free dont we ;)

  5. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 10:56 am

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    @neighbourlee: this article is about OOXML, not ODF, except that Novell are being castigated for improving interop into ODF (and Sun have a blind eye turned, as per usual).

    So I wouldn’t be so hasty to put words into my mouth, given I doubt that you have done anything to help develop ODF.

    As for Mono being “canned” in the default install – check your facts; they’re wrong.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:05 am

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    No Mono in Fedora 10 (“Cambridge”) Live CD

  7. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:11 am

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    @Roy: the word I was drawing attention to was “canned”.

    Emacs isn’t in the default install either. That doesn’t make it non-free software or in any way undesirable.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:21 am

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    Poisonware can be Free software too. They are not mutually exclusive.

  9. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

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    For some non-FSF definition of “free software”, sure, potentially there is undesirable software which is technically free.

    I haven’t seen anyone show any loopholes in our definition of free software, though.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

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    Think about GPLv3 and patents.

  11. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

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    The GPLv2 and v3 are not “the definition of free software”.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:41 am

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    They are not. They are licences that obey a set of conditions/requirements.

  13. stevetheFLY said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

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    All this just disctract’s from the essential statement of Roy’s; that M$ paid Novell to work on and promote OOXML. And that claim is as unproven as it was the first time Roy made it.

    It’s a blatant lie. Roy Schestowitz is a malevolent and sneaky liar; he always was and always will be; not matter how many times proponents of that majority of FOSS-users who don’t think slander is a good means to promote FOSS disprove him.

    You won’t get the truth out of a liar, especially not if he thinks his cause is just…

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  14. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:47 am

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    @Roy: precisely. So problems with the GPLv2/3 don’t point to problems in the definition of free software.

    I was asking for a problem with the definition; not problems with licenses. You seem to be indicating that the FSF have got it wrong because they allow “poisonware” to fit the definition…

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:49 am

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    @Alex: I was talking about the GPLv3 as an example of a licence that strives to close a loophole, going beyond the FSD in a sense.

    @eet, your writing style never changes, no matter how much you beautify it.

  16. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

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    @Roy: how on earth does the GPL close a “loophole” in the free software definition?

    Sorry, that’s just simple nonsense. If there was a problem with the definition, it’s the definition which would be fixed.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 11:57 am

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    You’re putting words in my mouth. I did not make such claims. Your augmentation style is becoming weaselish.

  18. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 12:03 pm

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    @Roy:

    You said “poisonware can be free software”. I say, not without our definition of free software being incorrect, and asked you for an example of where it was wrong. You dodged the question by raising the GPLv3.

    If there is no problem with the definition of free software – and you seem to be back tracking from that – then the problem must be your definition of “poisonware”.

    That’s actually quite likely.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

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    If pedantry if your last resort, then your argument is weak.

  20. Ian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 1:20 pm

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    Maybe someone can clear this up for me. What’s the benefit of pushing OOXML hard or at least the perception of pushing it hard when Microsoft Office itself was really the driving force of people using one file format(doc) over anything else, free or otherwise?

  21. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

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    @Roy: I’m really quite sad, but unsurprised, that you see defence of the definition of free software as “pedantry”.

  22. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

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    Am I the only one who finds it mildly amusing that Microsoft have a proper Free license (as per the FSF and the Debian Free Software Guidelines), and GNU have a non-free license (under the same DFSG rules)?

    I wonder if Roy would acknowledge that Ms-PL is a Free license, marked as safe & GPLv3-compatible by the FSF

  23. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm

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    @Jo: it’s been pointed out numerous times, but it’s not good enough for some unspecified reason.

  24. landofblind said,

    December 3, 2008 at 2:58 pm

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    It’s incredible that you have no shame nor do you see how hypocrite you are.

    In another post you unashamedly promote proprietary and DRMed software for Linux, and right here you’re protesting about peanuts. About a “closed and proprietary” file format (NOW AN OPEN STANDARD).

    You’re the worst enemy of FREE SOFTWARE, OPEN STANDARDS and JUSTICE.

    You are an LIAR and an HYPOCRITE. When will you be ashamed of your behavior?

    Don’t you like OOXML? Then don’t use it!

    Do you know the concept of choice and free will?

    If people want to use, develop and promote OOXML it’s their choice.

    But you don’t want choice. NO! You want everyone to follow your narrow and hypocritical definition of “FREE”.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  25. twitter said,

    December 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm

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    The Free Software Foundation has a nice free software definition, AlexH. The Novell/M$ deal violates the spirit of all free software by using patent extortion to limit who can share and contribute to free software. Mono is more fuel for that fire because it’s a direct copy of M$ technology and an ill informed court might side with M$ and Novell when they persue other distributions.

    Coming full circle from this pendantic distraction, OOXML is dead in the water. Everyone but M$ is moving towards ODF as both the Windows [2] and Office franchises sink. Indeed, Microsoft is failing.

    So, AlexH, why do you try so hard to heckle Roy? Your hair splitting is only second to your verbosity, judging from the number of posts you have around this site. Is it true that you are also G.Michaels? How many nyms do you have here?

  26. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:05 pm

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    @twitter: surprisingly, I’m very familar with the FSF definition.

    Roy claimed that something can be “poisonware and free software”. I don’t think that’s fair or correct.

    You think it’s ok to try to divide the free software community in two, for no specified good reason?

  27. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

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    (I will note, for clarity, that the definition already takes into account the ill effects of patents etc.)

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

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    AlexH is not G.Michaels.

  29. twitter said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm

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    No, it’s wrong to extort and divide people. Documenting that wrong is the purpose of this site. Try not to put words into Roy’s mouth.

  30. Slated said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm

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    @twitter

    AlexH looks like another “Steve Barkto” (Ref: the infamous “Barkto Incident”:

    http://www.pjprimer.com/jihad.html

  31. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm

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    @twitter: I wasn’t putting words into his mouth. He said that free software may or may not be poisonware.

    I find it difficult to see how software may meet the free software definition yet somehow be harmful.

  32. AlexH said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm

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    I can see that people (probably one person in reality) are now more interested in attacking me than attempting to address the issue. Good night.

  33. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm

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    Novell exploited a loophole, thus turning Free software in existence (e.g. GNU and Linux) into something like hybrid.

  34. twitter said,

    December 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm

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    I’ve never seen anything but attack from you AlexH and you seem to waste your whole life doing it. You have posted a dozen times in the last six hours in this single thread. Really, do you do anything else?

  35. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 4:20 pm

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    you seem to waste your whole life doing it. You have posted a dozen times in the last six hours in this single thread. Really, do you do anything else?

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/tomdynia/Ironymeter.jpg

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm

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    There’s a difference between participation and heckling.

  37. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 5:15 pm

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    You don’t allow “participation”, Roy, because anyone who isn’t singing your praises is accused of working for “the enemy”

  38. xISO-ZWT said,

    December 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

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    @AlexH & jo: Visit the irc, get answers quicker. Comments take too long.

  39. Ian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm

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    I’ve never seen anything but attack from you AlexH and you seem to waste your whole life doing it. You have posted a dozen times in the last six hours in this single thread. Really, do you do anything else?

    Do you?

    If Alex is wrong or mistaken, then all you or anyone else needs to do is actually confront him with a proper argument. Wouldn’t it be a lot more productive and interesting if there was a real back and forth instead of paranoid whining about shills, dupes, and all that?

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 5:49 pm

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    This comprises a lot of nitpicking and suppositions. It’s not always fair.

  41. Ian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:01 pm

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    This comprises a lot of nitpicking and suppositions. It’s not always fair.

    Have you ever considered that some things you post could be interpreted the same way by others? I’m not trying to discount everything you post, but you have to admit that different people don’t necessarily see things as black and white as you might.

  42. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:11 pm

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    Some people identify creases more often than others. They point these out for purposes that seem like disruption and outright dismissal, as opposed to constructive help.

    Negativity in hostile comments can be seen based on patterns. It’s not a judgment drawn from just a couple of comments here and there, so intent matters.

  43. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:20 pm

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    Again, you have never shown an iota of interest in “constructive help” which isn’t supportive of what you’ve written (which may be completely false). You will defend anything you write to the death, regardless of falsehoods, and accuse anyone who disagrees of *at best* “nitpicking” (a word which gives you carte blanche to simply ignore what they say)

    BN has systemic problems which prevent it from being a serious, useful resource for those opposed to, say, patent exclusive deals. Be a personal blog, or a serious site, but don’t keep jumping between the two when defending what you write – because you do not and cannot achieve both at the same time.

  44. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm

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    Again, you have never shown an iota of interest in “constructive help” which isn’t supportive of what you’ve written

    I do listen to what you say and I am sometimes convinced, which changes my writings. There are examples.

  45. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

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    Roy’s motto is and has always been “shoot first, don’t even bother asking questions later”

  46. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm

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    Roy’s motto is and has always been “shoot first, don’t even bother asking questions later”

    And that’s one of the items on the list

  47. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm

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    Hecklers unite, I see.

    Having fun?

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm

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    By the way, this post is about OOXML, but you prefer not to discuss technology.

  49. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:42 pm

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    I do believe that AlexH was trying to discuss OOXML until you and twitter attacked him in your best efforts to derail the discussion.

  50. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:45 pm

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    What’s to discuss? Plenty of points have been brought up in the past about OOXML which you won’t acknowledge (going against the documented realities) or ignore.

    Personally I agree with some of your criticisms of it, but usually not for the same reasons, and definitely not with the same extreme slant.

  51. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:55 pm

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    You promote .NET.

    I would not expect you to describe polite criticism of Microsoft as anything but “extreme” (never mind endless evidence).

  52. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

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    You promote .NET.

    I would not expect you to describe polite criticism of Microsoft as anything but “extreme” (never mind endless evidence).

    By the way, this post is about OOXML, but you prefer not to discuss technology.

  53. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:10 pm

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    Funny that. Let’s talk about the subject of the posts then.

  54. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:31 pm

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    Oh, lookie here:

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/leader/0,1000002982,39569673,00.htm?r=8

    Yet as the code is released on Microsoft’s CodePlex pages under the GPL 3.0-compatible Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL), it’s as good a piece of official Microsoft open source as you’ll find.

    Microsoft is already polluting the space with its E.E.E. licence

  55. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:35 pm

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    What’s the specific problem with Ms-PL, exactly?

  56. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:41 pm

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    We have been through this before.

  57. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:52 pm

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    Jose posted something which is seemingly unrelated (or confused, or both).

    What, specifically, makes a DFSG, FSF and OSI-approved GPLv3-compatible license an “embrace, extend, extinguish” license?

    Would you call the Apache License 2.0 an “E.E.E license”? Educational Community License 2.0? Freetype Project License?

  58. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm

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    I pointed to one relevant comment among many (quite arbitrarily). I just know we discussed it to death and I suspect that thread covers many of the key points.

  59. jo Shields said,

    December 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

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    Well, I just read as much of that as I could stomach (someone needs to learn the meaning of the word “concise”), and it appears no actual answer was given, beyond the usual demagogy and subject-changing. No surprises there.

    Why not just say “it’s evil because it has Microsoft in the name” and leave it at that? Trying to prove it with broken logic just looks sad.

  60. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 8:22 pm

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    Jo,

    Always remember that Microsoft competes and its interests are its shareholders’. Do not believe for a second that Microsoft’s licences are there purely to respect Freedom. They have another purpose to serve. The clothing may seem nice now, but future versions can be made more aggressive to achieve business goals… of Microsoft. The Ms in Ms-pl is Microsoft.

    Do not forget Microsoft’s decades of negatives history (ethical track record). They have spoken about changing… for over a decade now.

  61. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 3, 2008 at 8:45 pm

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    That has nothing to do with whether or not the MS-PL is a Free Software license or not.

    You changed the subject again because you know you can’t win.

  62. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 9:23 pm

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    The subject was not changed.

  63. comatose_mouse said,

    December 4, 2008 at 2:19 am

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    Whaddaya know, ABIWORD can now save to OOXML. No Novell-affiliation that I know of. ^_^

    http://abisource.com/release-notes/2.6.5.phtml

  64. jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 2:26 am

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    Microsoft needs to work for its shareholders. That’s not a shock, that’s a legal obligation. And it’s also the case for Novell or Sun or Red Hat.

    Dan is, as per usual, spot on. Regardless of your hate of Microsoft Corp, it really doesn’t stop them from having a true Free Software license. Or are you assuming you know better than the FSF?

  65. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 3:47 am

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    Alex and the rest:
    Yo know Microsoft found the way to attack Free Software (its only remaining competition in MSFT’s core business) through Patents, thus rendering Free Software de facto non-free, by attaching to it royalties and liabilities. Novell helped them in this effort in exchange for 348+ million bucks. MSFT also strived to corrupt the ISO in order to derail ODF adoption. Novell is also helping MSFT force feed a format (OOXML) nobody asked for, and which has “undisclosed liability sheets” attached, thus trying to render its other main core-business competitor (OpenOffice.org) de facto non-free (OOXML has patented technologies attached). GPLv3 is a good attempt to close the patent loophole that renders Free Software (even software that sticks to the letter of the Free Software definition) de facto non-free. That is why Microsoft (and others, it seems) shun the licence.

  66. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 3:51 am

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    “Microsoft needs to work for its shareholders. That’s not a shock, that’s a legal obligation. And it’s also the case for Novell or Sun or Red Hat.”

    Yaeh, sure. Shareholder profit cannot be the ultimate goal that justifies every and anything.
    NOT if that is damaging to the rest of the industry, the society and the public interest at large. The profits of a minority cannot justify unethical actions of any company.

  67. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:06 am

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    Well, the general analysis doesn’t tend to extend much beyond “it’s Microsoft and therefore bad”. While that’s a decent rule of thumb, it’s no better than that, and certainly not a useful argument.

    Some corrections to the above: yes, Novell “exploited a loophole”, but it was in the GPL, not the FSD, as I said repeatedly.

    I would love some reasoned argument – not based on “OMG Micro$oft lol” – as to why the MS-PL isn’t an acceptable license.

    Everyone else is happy with it, including the FSF.

  68. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:10 am

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    @SubSonica:

    The free software definition already takes patents into account. If you cannot use a piece of software without a controlling patent license (or licenses), it’s not free software.

    In general, I think you’re confusing a number of issues. For example, when you say “OOXML has patented technologies attached” – that’s just factually incorrect. Let me show you why:

    You’re arguing that OOXML is damaging OpenOffice.org, but OOo’s main developer – Sun – is developing that feature. If you think OOXML has patent problems, then you’re effectively accusing Sun of pushing those problems into OOo.

    I disagree vehemently with that notion.

  69. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:12 am

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    I would love some reasoned argument – not based on “OMG Micro$oft lol” – as to why the MS-PL isn’t an acceptable license.

    Everyone else is happy with it, including the FSF.

    Not true. It advises against its use.

  70. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:20 am

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    @Roy: they ask people not to use it on new software and to prefer the Apache license. However, they also say there is no problem using such software – it’s free and GPLv3-compatible.

    Their advice against it isn’t based on the license; they want to reduce license proliferation, and that’s good.

  71. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:39 am

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    Their advice against it isn’t based on the license; they want to reduce license proliferation, and that’s good.

    But that doesn’t fit the agenda, so must be denied.

    OOXML has patented technologies attached

    Yet, funny thing is, those patents are pretty much null & void.

    Ms-PL, like Apache 2, includes a full royalty-free patent grant, so there is no “patent risk” in the browser extension being mentioned. Additionally, OOXML is covered by Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise, which includes an irrevocable worldwide patent grant for anything implementing the spec.

    So it might be a crap spec, it might be surplus to requirements, but what we have right now simply is not the patent-related risk some would paint it as. A bit crap, sure, but that’s as far as it goes.

    As AlexH said, do you think Sun would be adding OOXML support to OOo3 if they expected to get sued for it?

  72. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:45 am

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    OOXML is covered by Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise

    OSP is not transferable. MSFT shuns GPL virality and fights it whenever it can:
    “This is a personal promise directly from Microsoft to you, and you acknowledge as a condition of benefiting from it that no Microsoft rights are received from suppliers, distributors, or otherwise in connection with this promise”

  73. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:59 am

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    @SubSonica: it generally doesn’t matter if it’s transferable or not, so long as it is a. available to everyone and b. perpetual.

    Did you see my point re: Sun?

  74. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:01 am

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    @Alex
    “then you’re effectively accusing Sun of pushing those problems into OOo.”
    No I’m not. I’m accusing Microsoft pushing those problems into everyone else (including Sun), with Novell’s help (they rushe to implement their own OOo-OOOXMLized version for “interoperability’s” (and 340 million bucks) shake . Nobody asked Microsoft to invent a fake standard. It would have sufficed for them to implement native support for ODF into MS Office. Of course that would have doomed their document format-based consumer lock-in, so instead they decided to create a second lock-in mechanism (OOXML) and force-feed it into the public through twisting ISO’s arm.

  75. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:04 am

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    The OSP is worthless for many purposes.

  76. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:04 am

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    “@SubSonica: it generally doesn’t matter if it’s transferable or not, so long as it is a. available to everyone and b. perpetual.”

    It does, Alex. It does A LOT. And you know it perfectly. That is the mechanism that has allowed Gnu/Linux and Free Software to grow so quickly and not to be controlled by a single company/foundation/group of people. Because everyone can develop on top of it and pass the Freedom to the next iteration of improvers or forkers… of course that is not in the best interest of Microsoft or other would-be monopolists so they try to marginalize and downplay the importance of the GPL and the FSF at every opportunity.

  77. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:12 am

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    @SubSonica:

    Licenses are quite often not transferable. The mechanism of the licenses does not matter so long as the result is the same.

    Going back to the other point you side-stepped; if OOXML was dangerous/patented, Sun wouldn’t be putting it into OOo. It’s as simple as that.

  78. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy:

    The OSP is worthless for many purposes.

    So what is it that Sun are relying on to put OOXML in OOo?

    Their patent agreement with Microsoft?

  79. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Gravatar

    Minor point….. Aren’t MS adding ODF to Office 2k7 service pack 1?

  80. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Gravatar

    @Jo: yes, and they’re also active in the development of ODF 1.2.

    Hopefully they will drop OOXML; undoubtedly they won’t in Office 14, but maybe 15…

  81. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Gravatar

    There was never a need for MOOX. As for Alex, he merely repeats an old discussion.

  82. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Gravatar

    SP2, my mistake.

  83. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Gravatar

    There was never a need for MOOX.

    Nobody here would disagree with you, including your critics

    As for Alex, he merely repeats an old discussion.

    Was that also just a twisty maze of topic changes and demagogy, with no final outcome beyond “i say so so i win”, as with most “see previous discussion”s?

  84. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Gravatar

    Facts are facts.

    You can’t say “OOXML has patent problems”, but ignore the implication that OOo would have patent problems because Sun are putting OOXML into OOo.

    That statement makes no logical sense; it’s an incoherent and unsupportable position.

  85. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Gravatar

    Facts are facts.

    All facts are equal, but some are more equal than others? ^_^

  86. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Gravatar

    Why did Novell do this and why did Sun?

  87. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Gravatar

    You’re the man with all the answers, Roy. You tell us!

  88. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Gravatar

    Novell was paid for it by Microsoft. Sun came in later, after Novell had force-fed OOXML along with others. It was a chicken-and-egg thing.

  89. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: let’s say for the sake of argument they did it for very different reasons.

    If there is a patent problem with OOXML, it doesn’t matter one jot why they did it. You don’t get rid of a patent problem by being “pure of heart” or whatever.

  90. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Gravatar

    The patenter matters a lot.

  91. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Gravatar

    The patenter matters a lot.

    Then explain why when Novell do it it’s dangerous, but when Sun do it it’s fine!

    No wonder these “discussions” go on for so long

  92. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Gravatar

    Sure. But neither Novell nor Sun are the patenter in question, so that is irrelevant.

    “Sun’s OOo is ok” and “OOXML has patent problems” are logically inconsistent positions. Which one is it that you don’t subscribe to?

  93. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Gravatar

    Sun (or ODF) does not mind if FOSS succeeds. The same can’t be said about MOOX, which is a red herring.

  94. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Gravatar

    “Going back to the other point you side-stepped; if OOXML was dangerous/patented, Sun wouldn’t be putting it into OOo. It’s as simple as that.”
    I don’t have the answer to that question. But I wouldnt bet for MSFT coming to terms with the FOSS community.I think this was due to the fact that MSFT managed to inject OOXML throught the ISO, seeking to keep lock-in on governmental institutions that follow ISO standards. Microsoft thus can leverage its installed base in order to discourage governmental intitutions looking elsewhere for standards-compliant office software, so it was a lose-lose situation for OOo: If Sun decided not to implement OOXML governments would have one less reason to consider shifting to its Free office suite. At the same time, implementing OOXML would give the format an undeserved importance and would keep Microsoft document-format lock-in alive.
    Maybe SUN made a wrong decision on that one, I cannot know for sure. Unless software patentability is altoghether forbidden or the day comes when MSFT goes to full war and sues someone implementing OOXML (or maybe a Sun-MSFT patent pact gets unveiled) we wont have more elements to judge and MSFT will be able to keep fearmongering patent-infringement-and-litigation threats against competing companies and its customers alike.

  95. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Gravatar

    That doesn’t answer the question. Is Sun’s OOo ok, or does OOXML introduce patent problems? It’s a simple question, Roy.

  96. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:49 am

    Gravatar

    Hahaha, by that definition Novell’s efforts for OOXML must also be OK with you.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  97. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Gravatar

    Matter of fact; nobody in FOSS exactly _likes_ OOXML but most are pragmatic enough to try and support it because us Linux-users will be in trouble if we cannot at least open OOXML documents. Abiword even supports saving to OOXML, no idea why, but they think it’s good to have a broad formats support…

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  98. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Gravatar

    maybe a Sun-MSFT patent pact gets unveiled

    There’s an ancient one, but Roy doesn’t report on it. http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-135246.html is what you want to be reading, I think.

  99. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Gravatar

    Abiword even supports saving to OOXML, no idea why, but they think it’s good to have a broad formats support…

    Secret back-room bribes for all the people on http://svn.abisource.com/abiword/trunk/AUTHORS ?

  100. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Gravatar

    That doesn’t answer the question. Is Sun’s OOo ok, or does OOXML introduce patent problems?

    Motives for introduction are different, regardless of the consequences.

  101. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I’ve heard they are even planning on .doc-format support for a future release – oh, those MS-whores of FOSS… ;)

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  102. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Gravatar

    Motives for introduction are different, regardless of the consequences.

    Answer the question.

    Is Sun’s OOo ok, or does OOXML introduce patent problems?

  103. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: “regardless of consequences”?!

    What is the consequence of Sun implementing OOXML? Does it introduce patent problems?

  104. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Gravatar

    http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-135246.html

    Well, if that doesn’t call for a ‘boycottsun.com’-domain, I don’t know what does! :)

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  105. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Gravatar

    @Steve: honestly, those kinds of comments don’t help much.

    Sun aren’t a company who should be boycotted (particularly at this difficult time for them).

  106. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Gravatar

    BTW: Alex, AFAIK as of OpenOffice.org 3.0.0 (SUN’s version), it does NOT have support for OOXML built-in (and that is good news for me) they have just implemented an import filter.

    As far as Sun doesn’t implement patented OOXML subsets maybe they would be OK, but then, Microsoft would always be able to keep a non-fully compatible or EEE’ed subset of the fake standard, whereas Sun will keep wasting valuable resources trying to catch a moving target.

    http://www.noooxml.org/patents
    http://holloway.co.nz/microsoft-and-standards-can-other-vendors-implement-ooxml.pdf
    “Microsoftowned or Microsoftcontrolled patents that are necessary to implement only the required portions of the Covered Specification that are described in detail and not merely referenced in such Specification.
    http://urltea.com/11gg?microsoftopenspecpromise [40KB, HTML]
    However as many parts of the specification are deemed nonrequired
    by Microsoft (optional components) it’s clearly stated that vendors other than Microsoft can only implement a subset of OOXML without infringing patents. That required parts of the proposed standard are undisclosed and therefore not “described in detail” not only technically prevents other vendors, but it also legally encumbers any vendor wishing to implement OOXML. As a consequence anyone attempting to fully implement the OOXML specification lays themselves and their customers open potentially to legal
    action by Microsoft.”

  107. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Gravatar

    Is Sun’s OOo ok, or does OOXML introduce patent problems?

    It’s an issue of control, with or without patents.

  108. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Gravatar

    Well, if that doesn’t call for a ‘boycottsun.com’-domain, I don’t know what does!

    They didn’t sign a deal involving GNU/Linux.

  109. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: so there are no specific patent problems with OOXML?

    @SubSonica: OOo 3.0 most certainly does have support built-in; I’m not sure what distinction you’re trying to draw by calling it an “import filter”.

  110. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:17 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: so there are no specific patent problems with OOXML?

    See the comment SubSonica.

  111. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:17 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: Yes, it IS built in. I use it in the office to open .docx-documents that come in from customers. The version is the official win32-build from SUN.

    @AlexH: I forgot the -tags; the winking smiley doesn’t translate well into a graphical smiley on this site, it seems.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  112. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Gravatar

    …and it swallows anything in tags. I wrote ‘irony’-tags.

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  113. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: would you be good enough to make clear your actual opinion?

  114. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Gravatar

    Regarding what exactly? Do you want to tell the long story again? I’m willing.

  115. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:28 am

    Gravatar

    AlexH: Try to save as oooxml or export to oooxml. You can’t (unless you are using Novell’s version or some add-on). But you can open an ooxml file (import)

  116. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy:

    I’m asking for your clear opinion on whether implementing OOXML introduces patent problems or not.

    @SubSonica: that’s because saving in binary formats is far more accurate at the moment. The need is to read files in those formats, not save into them, for that reason.

    It’s still the case that it is being imported natively, not converted somehow.

  117. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Gravatar

    I’m asking for your clear opinion on whether implementing OOXML introduces patent problems or not.

    Yes, potentially. Microsoft has patents on OOXML.

  118. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Gravatar

    So you’re saying that Sun’s OOo has a potential patent problem?

  119. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, potentially. Microsoft has patents on OOXML.

    So why are Sun setting a patent trap against free software by including support in OOo? You believe that’s what OOXML support counts as, right?

    And how about Abiword?

  120. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: that’s because saving in binary formats is far more accurate at the moment.

    I don’t know what is the reason. What I meant is that OOMXL is not “fully” suported (import/export, read from/write to), just import/read, excuse me if I didn’t explain myself right (I am not native english speaker). Anyway that does not change the fact that, as I said before:

    “As far as Sun doesn’t implement patented OOXML subsets maybe they would be OK, but then, Microsoft would always be able to keep a non-fully compatible or EEE’ed subset of the fake standard, whereas Sun will keep wasting valuable resources trying to catch a moving target.”

    ““Microsoft owned or Microsoft controlled patents that are necessary to implement only the required portions of the Covered Specification that are described in detail and not merely referenced in such Specification.
    http://urltea.com/11gg?microsoftopenspecpromise [40KB, HTML]
    However as many parts of the specification are deemed nonrequired
    by Microsoft (optional components) it’s clearly stated that vendors other than Microsoft can only implement a subset of OOXML without infringing patents. That required parts of the proposed standard are undisclosed and therefore not “described in detail” not only technically prevents other vendors, but it also legally encumbers any vendor wishing to implement OOXML. As a consequence anyone attempting to fully implement the OOXML specification lays themselves and their customers open potentially to legal action by Microsoft.” ”
    Also please review the link provided avobe:
    http://www.noooxml.org/patents

  121. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Gravatar

    So you’re saying that Sun’s OOo has a potential patent problem?

    Read what it says on the OOXML tin. I’m not ‘making’ the news.

  122. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Gravatar

    So you’re saying that Sun’s OOo has a potential patent problem?

    Strawman.
    That is quite what Microsoft (not Roy neither I ) is saying, and they want everyone to buy that fear. Don´t attribute that to Roy or OOXML critics.

    Roy and I argue that Free Software providers would better stay clear of MSFT-related technologies whenever they can. I cannot choose for them, but of course I can (and do) express my opinion and crisitize ddecisions I consider wrong or damaging in the long term.
    The same applies to AbiWord and to mono in Gnome.
    With ODF we had a golden opportunity to break document lock-in and stop playing catch games with MSFT always changing proprietary formats, and by having ODF as ISO26300 standard SUN and the FOSS community very much gained the initiative in the docuument battle of the software wars.
    As in many other occassions MSFT has only be able to overturn this through corruption.

  123. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Gravatar

    Read what it says on the OOXML tin. I’m not ‘making’ the news.

    You’re harder to get a straight answer from than a room full of MS licensing experts.

    You DO “make” news. That’s the problem. You don’t objectively report, you provide heavy opinion – but being an opinion column whilst refusing to state those opinions clearly is dishonest.

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

  124. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: I just find it extremely silly to lambast one company – Novell – for “developing OOXML”, when the main effort in OOo is from another company, who are seemingly immune from criticism.

    Personally, I wouldn’t criticise either of them for meeting the needs of free software users. But I do think that this double-standard begs the question of why. Cui bono – why does one get carte blanche?

  125. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Gravatar

    They use the same strawman to defend Mono/.NET, vilifying the site/portraying it as FUD rather than FUD-fighting.

  126. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Gravatar

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

    And here you are doing this again (last reply was to SubSonic).

  127. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Gravatar

    “So why are Sun setting a patent trap against free software by including support in OOo? ”

    Strawman again. It is NOT SUN, but Microsoft the one setting patent traps for everyone. Software patents are like a field full of landmines. Microsoft plants the mines and afterwards it tries to sell the you the map or make you pay for crossing the field (extortion)…

    “You believe that’s what OOXML support counts as, right?”
    BIG STRAWMAN.
    Obviously not. What interest you have in making BN readers believe we think so?

  128. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Gravatar

    So you refuse to answer the questions?

    Yet fail to see why people consider BN less than honest as a resource?

    That’s just sad

  129. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: you keep saying that OOo potentially has patent problems due to a recent feature.

    If that’s not Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that you’re trying to spread, then I don’t know what is. Microsoft don’t need to rattle their patent sabre when they have people like you to scare free software users for them.

  130. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Gravatar

    Which questions?

    BTW, it’s those that spread .NET/Mono that cause harm, not those who warn about the dangers.

  131. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Gravatar

    lambast one company – Novell

    You know perfectly why we lambast Novell: For shortsightedly signing an agreement that would serve Microsoft as justification for extorting other companies and threat its users through patent-infringement-lawsuits threats.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR NOTHING NOVELL

  132. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Gravatar

    AlexH,

    Your weaselish tactics are back. How many times in the past did you try to blame Microsoft FUD on me?

  133. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Gravatar

    Which questions?

    Any. Ever. Without simply linking to somebody else’s subjective opinion, or changing the subject to something irrelevant in a blatant and amusing display of demagogy not usually seen outside Fox News.

    In this specific case:

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

    BTW, it’s those that spread .NET/Mono that cause harm, not those who warn about the dangers.

    Oh Roy, you’re just a blueberry muffin of fun.

    By the way, this post is about OOXML, but you prefer not to discuss technology.

  134. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Gravatar

    Technology has carriers and motives as well.

  135. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Gravatar

    Technology has carriers and motives as well.

    And which question is that an answer to? You wouldn’t be changing the subject would you? Or would pointing that out be counted as heckling?

  136. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Gravatar

    Just ask a question. I’m still trying to keep track of this thread.

  137. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Gravatar

    Just ask a question. I’m still trying to keep track of this thread.

    For a third time (though ~identical questions have been asked by others and ignored, so the total should be >3):

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

  138. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Gravatar

    “Personally, I wouldn’t criticise either of them for meeting the needs of free software users. But I do think that this double-standard begs the question of why. Cui bono – why does one get carte blanche? ”

    Maybe you are right. But it was Novell the one which opened that can of worms for its sole benefit (not the community at large).
    I, personally, don’t feel very comfortable with Sun buying MySQL or Nokia buying KDE. Money is too an important factor for these players here (companies), but as I said before the fact that a decission makes you earn money (in the short term, anyway) does not mean that decission is wise, ethical or “good”. Remember Free Software is a matter of freedom, not price.

    Cui Bono? Follow the money. Obviously Novell and Microsoft benefit from this. Novell chose to partner with Microsoft and damage the rest of the FOSS community, we all know that Microsoft will very likely disregard Novell the very moment it is not useful for them anymore or if Novell ever tries to compete with them. I have been threatened by Microsoft, I am a user of software not covered by such an agreement as the one Novell signed (and was paid for), and Microsoft has been legitimised by Novell (no matter the lame attempt at damage control Novell execs tried to do afterwards), not by Sun or others.
    Anyway this site is about THAT pact in particular. If you want me to critizice other deals other companies signed with Microsoft, maybe you should direct me there and we can discuss on those sites.

  139. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Gravatar

    “meeting the needs of free software users”

    As I said before MSOOXML was totally unnecesary. No one needed that format and nobody asked for it. But Microsoft had to push it into the ISO in order to keep their monopoly lock in. So the rest of the companies were driven to support it. I think it was Novell the one that was going to fork OOo. Did users need that? Really? Nobody, BUT NOBODY used MSOOXML at that time… Or was it Microsoft the one who needed badly another product supporting the format in order to be able to justify it being standarized?

  140. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: of course, I agree with you to some extent about corporate ownership, but actually the owner isn’t that interesting.

    Nokia are a huge patent threat, but their ownership of Qt isn’t worrying – Qt is free software and comes with a patent grant. Sun are on their last legs and will probably be bought by Oracle unless they decide to buy Novell (either is possible imho). Oracle are also a scary company.

    But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the rights you have to the software. If it’s free software, that means that patents etc. do not prevent you from using it. If patents become a problem, it stops being free software.

    What is wrong-headed is to tarnish free software just because of who contributes to it. What matters is whether or not the software is free.

  141. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Gravatar

    I think it was Novell the one that was going to fork OOo. Did users need that? Really?

    Spend some time with an OOo packager. Short answer: “yes, soon, please”. Though most would prefer a non-profit foundation (like Gnome). OOo is Free Software, but is not a community project.

  142. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: OOXML was the default format in Office 12 / 2007, which was released in November 2006, and wasn’t approved by Ecma until December. ISO followed that.

    The standardisation process is purely a political / marketing thing; if it had failed in either process it would have still been in the market place as a default format and users like me would still be stuck receiving documents in that format.

    I totally agree with you that it would be much better that they’d used ODF rather than their previous XML formats.

  143. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Gravatar

    One of the 2k7SP2 promises is asking you at install time whether you want to use ODF or OOXML as the default format. I wonder how many people will pick the latter – and how the text will be worded to slant it that way

  144. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Gravatar

    If it’s free software, that means that patents etc. do not prevent you from using it. If patents become a problem, it stops being free software.

    That is precisely the cause of our concerns. And there precisely is the threat, which Microsoft is trying to exploit.

    As about Free Software: I don’t want to be just “free to use it”, for that purpose freeware suffices. I want to be able to modify the software, to study it, to do with it whatever I want and to re-distribute it, giving back to the originators or making it to bloom elsewhere by someone who takes it and improves or forks it…

    “What is wrong-headed is to tarnish free software just because of who contributes to it. ”
    I dont tarnish anything: I just say “danger Will Robinson” that could be used by Microsoft in a lawsuit against any of us!!!, and that includes MSOOXML, same as Mono, Silverlight, C# and any other technology trying to mimick or play catch with Microsoft proprietary technologies: Although MSFT always sell their “new” (often just lame copycats) technologies as a way to “meet their customers needs”, the reality is that they keep developing new, ever changing, and uncompatible versions for pure commercial reasons, in order to keep their dominance position in the technology industry…
    Maybe if all FOSS companies stayed together against the software patent threat, fighting against it and against the companies that benefit from it,it would be OK if some tried to develop free versions of MSFT technologies, since Microsoft position would be much weaker…

  145. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Gravatar

    Just becaus Roy suffers from a short memory and ‘selective reading’, here is a reminder of the questions he avoids to answer. I quote:

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  146. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Gravatar

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

    Strawman and bait.

    Alex, stop defending the corrupt ISO, thank you.

  147. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Gravatar

    That’s what I love so much about you Roy: always an answer straight to the point! lol

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  148. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Gravatar

    Politicans at least both to say ‘no comment’. :D

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  149. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: if you’d bothered to actually read what I wrote, I said that people would be using the format whether or not ISO approved it, because the software was out before the format even was submitted.

    Sorry, that’s factual, and it’s not a commentary on the process ISO put the format through.

  150. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Gravatar

    Once more for those forgetful ones among us:

    Is OOo3 a risk, due to OOXML patents? Should people avoid OOo3? Do Sun have an “agenda” in introducing those risks?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  151. Jo Shields said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Gravatar

    Strawman and bait.

    All three questions? I thought they were quite straightforward, actually. But I admit, I never expected a response – because you simply don’t provide them. That’s one of the many reasons why BN is considered less than honest.

    Who’s the strawman, specifically? Given the definition of “strawman”, what am I presenting, in lieu of what, when presenting my argument?

  152. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Gravatar

    “OOXML was the default format in Office 12 / 2007,”

    docx, etc != MSOOXML
    Microsoft decided to change MSOffice format to stay incompatible with competing products that were becoming “good enough” at working with previos binary formats. They also tried to benefit from the “XML” buzzword, trying people to make forget the incompatibility nightmare their policy of changing formats every 2 years or so caused in many customers.

    “which was released in November 2006, and wasn’t approved by Ecma until December.”

    On the other hand Ecma is to standards what a Degree Mill is to universities.
    They knew ODF was going through the ISO so they bought the Ecma seal of approval in order to at least “have something”

    ” ISO followed that.”

    You seem to imply that the ISOization of MSOOXML was a natural consequence or some sort of natural unavoidable process. It was not. When ODF was actually endorsed by ISO as standard 26300 and many governments started to look elsewhere and to consider options not provided by Microsoft (public institutions are most probably the single biggest source of MSFT revenue) Microsoft started to feel the heat of the competition and had to RUSH their unfinished format through the ISO (we all remember the fastracking maneouver, the 6000+ pages of hardly finished documents, the mockery of the process at the votation of the problems, the lobbying and pressures to citizen’s elected representatives, the protests by policymakers in many countries)

    “The standardisation process is purely a political / marketing thing; if it had failed in either process it would have still been in the market place as a default format and users like me would still be stuck receiving documents in that format.”

    Do not downplay the importance of what Microsoft did to the ISO. In fact through corrupting the whole standarization process, it destroyed the ISO reputation and destroyed a very important element for agreeing to true technical standards that allow true competition. It was not just a political thing, and if MSOOXML would have been adopted anyay is not so clear since MSFT had to DESPERATELY PUSH it through the ISO in order not to jeopardize either one of their main sources of income (public institutions) or their monopoly chokehold on the market by being forced to support ODF (For Microsoft becoming compatible means becoming replaceable, thus they push for the “interoperability” ever moving target)

  153. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Gravatar

    @SubSonica: just for clarity, my only point about the standardisation process was that it followed the product release; I make no other comment about it.

    Yes, MOOXML!=Ecma OOXML or whatever, but the differences are basically trivial – the ISO changes are much bigger, but in any event, you want to be compatible with the app, not the format (imho).

    The basic point is quite simple; MS Office – like it or not – is the market leader. If people save files from that app, free software users need to be able to access those files. There’s nothing wrong with that, it enables people to use free software.

  154. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Gravatar

    What kind of pragmaticism do you expect from people who earnestly tell you to get a different job if they happen not to work for a free-software company?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  155. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Gravatar

    @steve: I’d tell you exactly the same thing though :P

    Pragmatism is about your own choices, not about those you give to other people (imho).

  156. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Gravatar

    The basic point is quite simple; MS Office – like it or not – is the market leader.

    So was slavery, but we don’t have much of that anymore.

  157. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Gravatar

    Roy, “slavery” in this instance is only giving people the option of proprietary software to read certain data.

    Giving people a free software option is getting rid of “slavery”.

  158. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Gravatar

    Sorry, my analogy was not expressed well enough. The point I was trying to make is that the market share of Microsoft Office — however illegally it was obtained — does not give it the privilege to instruct ISO and the market.

  159. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Gravatar

    “you want to be compatible with the app, not the format (imho).”

    Strawman.

    Quite on the contrary: Its Microsoft the only one who wants to be compatible with the app (mabe you work for them since you seem to assume their needs so fast that you think everybody thinks the same?), not the format so they can keep using their classic EEE market tactic. If you stick to the format you will always be compatible, not the other way round.

    Precisely what ISO is about is companies sticking to specifications (the format) in order to enable competition and compatibility (not just “ineroperability”). Of course that is the last thing Microsoft wants.

  160. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Gravatar

    It’s a bit like ActiveX. So when will Microsoft abide by Web standards anyway?

  161. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Gravatar

    God, the hypocrites! ActiveX is optional, being able to open MS-Office documents is not! Had you ever worked in your lives you’d know that if you cannot open .doc (and as of late, .docx) formats your are out of business in a jiffy.

    Subsonica, Roy; do you happen to not be part of the work force?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  162. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Gravatar

    Look, it’s a lovely idea that you could ignore what format Office writes, but right now it’s cloud cuckoo-land.

    ODF doesn’t stand a chance – believe me, not a chance – if the key ODF apps are not compatible with the market leader.

  163. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Gravatar

    ActiveX is optional

    Tell this to people whose intranet/bank requires it.

  164. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Gravatar

    ODF doesn’t stand a chance – believe me, not a chance – if the key ODF apps are not compatible with the market leader.

    They are. They typically support the binary formats.

  165. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: that’s great for sending people stuck on Office your document. It’s useless for reading those .docxs that people create and/or send you.

    Remember, users don’t say “.doc file” or “Office 2003 XML”, etc. They say “Word document”: to them, it’s all the same.

  166. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Gravatar

    As even users of Office say, resend as binary.

  167. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Gravatar

    As even users of Office say, resend as binary.

    Nah, I’ve never heard them say that. They were astounded when I would tell them that I couldn’t open their ‘Word document’ and probably considered us a bit backward.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  168. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Gravatar

    I also have never, ever heard of anyone saying that. I suspect it’s a Roy neologism.

    Google finds three results for “resend in binary”, and one for s/in/as/.

  169. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Gravatar

    I didn’t put that in quotes. There are variations of that statement like “I can’t open it” or “what is docx?”

  170. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 4, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Gravatar

    No one in Windows land calls it docx. Everyone I have ever dealt with in business calls it “word document” like AlexH and steve have already mentioned.

    Half the time when I ask for a word document, I get docx these days. Luckily I can read them with OOo. When I make my changes and send it back, I can usually get away with sneakily re-saving as .doc and therefor “trick” them into continuing further back-and-forths using the old binary .doc format.

    In the past I’ve tried asking people who sent docx to save as the old .doc format instead, but that generally ended up as an exercise in futility so have given up.

  171. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 4, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Gravatar

    Regardless of whether or not you like the docx format, people have a large amount of their data in that format. As application developers, the OOo, KOffice, GNOME Office, etc developers should support at least reading the OOXML format.

    It would be extremely handy if the office suites handled saving in that format as well, but for now isn’t a requirement (and may never become a requirement, depending on how MS Office w/ ODF support plays out). So long as there exists a file format that can be universally read/written, read-only support for OOXML may be good enough. Currently that universal format is the old .doc format, but maybe it will become ODF.

  172. SubSonica said,

    December 4, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Gravatar

    MSOOXML is not so widelyused as Microsoft would like (And would like you to think). In more than 4 years I have received only 1 email containing docx at work, and one excel file that I had the user instructed how to save as the legacy format. I don’t think MS had the success it wanted with their new format. Lots of people are still using the old formats of Office 2000 or switching to OpenOffice.org.
    On the other hand I see more and more sites publishing documents in ODF format (specially presentations and handbooks), along with PDF.

  173. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Gravatar

    What upsets me is the apologists’ transformation of market share for Office into the preconceived idea of OOXML prevalence. They are helping Microsoft.

  174. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Gravatar

    Oh, don’t be ridiculous.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  175. AlexH said,

    December 4, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: no-one’s saying that it’s prevalent, it’s not.

    The reality is, though, that many people are using the format – knowingly or not.

    In order to get off the format, you have to be able to convert documents in it.

  176. twitter said,

    December 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    It is stupid for free software people to waste time on OOXML development and distribution. OOXML is an unworkable failure and patent threats outweigh any benefit. Only Novell and other M$ bribe buddy people have a reason to promote OOXML, and even their “protection” does not last forever. The purpose of OOXML is to maintain M$’s failing file format dominance, something every free software advocate should fight. M$ should be forced to support ODF, HTML and other reasonable standards instead.

    OOXML is both a marketing and technical failure. It is a technical failure by design, as was M$’s previous binary formats. OOXML allows binary inclusions and inherits all of the contradictions of multiple versions of M$ Office without sufficient instructions to resolve them. At its worst, it includes references to the printed output from older versions of Word as such without actual measurements of print or instructions that make a difference, such as printer and fonts used. This is why ISO’s OOXML specification is more than 7,000 pages long and completely unworkable. No version of it will ever work better than Word did, and that’s the point, M$ Word will be the defacto standard for people dumb enough to accept OOXML. The problem for M$ is that people are not so stupid and are not using OOXML, even if they use M$ Office. Free software users are even less likely to use it.

    What’s more important than that for free software users is that parts of OOXML are under M$’s patent threat. While recent US decisions are undoing this threat, the mechanism of patent enforcement are still strong enough to cause considerable damage to distributions that use OOXML. Until software patents are abolished, they can still be used to halt distribution and cost “unlicensed” distributions plenty of money.

    These things are obvious when you think about them. You guys can split hairs about who’s doing what, OOXML will never be workable. The details, including the rather mindless heckling seen in 100+ comments above, all support the general contention: M$ is evil and everything from should be avoided. If M$ wanted to “interoperate” they would GPL their code and use reasonable standards instead of filling the world with bullshit.

  177. stevetheFLY said,

    December 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Lengthy blahblah about how evil it is doesn’t change that we unfortunately still need to open the files in the format people actually use.

  178. G. Michaels said,

    December 4, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Gravatar

    For those BN readers who are not familiar with what’s going on here, some context with which to consider the post above by ‘twitter’ (the online persona of this guy and the “heckling” and “nyms” claims. “twitter” is well-known on Slashdot, where he operates 14 accounts used to shill and disrupt, as well as game the system to his advantage.

    In my (humble) opinion this person should not be taken seriously. Neither should I, but then I’m not pretending to be engaged in the discussion at hand.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  179. RyanT said,

    December 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Gravatar

    The initial thing that started this argument seems to me a misunderstanding on AlexH’s part.

    Roy never said anything about problems with the free software definition, or that the GPL practically is the free software definition. He simply said “poisonware” was not mutually exclusive to free software. This does not suggest a problem with initial definition i.e. there is some loophole in the definition that needs to be addressed, no different than an effeminate man does not necessarily mean a problem in the biological definition of a male.

    The intent was that poisonware itself is a corruption of free software – something that masquerades under the ideals, or seems to adhere to the ideals, when in actuality is intended as a way to lure users/developers to another platform. Similar in concept to a trojan horse, or more fitting, a delicious but poisoned cake.

    And before anyone starts, this is not a statement in support of either side – just clearing a misunderstanding that seemed to happen at the beginning of the comments.

  180. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Gravatar

    G. Michaels,

    In my (humble) opinion this person should not be taken seriously. Neither should I…

    That sums it up. Your comments were never on topic and I shall flag your comments for being just personal attacks.

  181. G. Michaels said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Gravatar

    I shall flag your comments

    That’s OK Roy, you need to do what you think is appropriate. Your readers can look at my posts and decide if they represent stalking or helpful warnings, and whether or not they’re willing to trust someone who readily enlists the aid of liars and hypocrites to promote their website – and more importantly, to engage in attacks on other people here and elsewhere.

    The targets of your constant attacks (and I’m referring here to people, not corporations) know who you are, so they know who is smearing them and they can choose to defend themselves if they see fit to do so. But they’re not necessarily aware of members of your club who, having been pushed and laughed out of other communities for disruptive behavior, now run around the internet and do the same with (apparently) your consent while hiding behind who-knows how many false identities. Not to mention the petty insults.

    I wonder where you took a wrong turn and went from informing people about your chosen cause, to attacking anyone and everyone who doesn’t march to the same drum you think is correct?

    Your red tag is your argument that what I say here is not welcome by your readers, and that’s OK. So far I believe otherwise. I will stop when that ceases to be the case.

    And heck, who knows. I might even say something on topic now and then.
    Of course the responses I see you have for other people rather lead me to believe that nothing other than gushing praise and robotic consent is welcome here, so I’m not sure what the point of that would be. Cop-outs like “oh you must work for Microsoft” or insulting attacks and smears from your nymshifter friends and collaborators are enough proof of that.

    But this is your blog, and that’s your problem. What your collaborators and boosters do in your name elsewhere is everybody’s problem, unfortunately.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

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