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

01.08.09

Factual Mistakes in Byfield’s Article on Office Suites

Posted in Deception, Fork, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We already wrote about this subject a couple of weeks ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Coming a little late to the party is Bruce Byfield, who still has a vendetta against us [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

We haven’t the time (nor the desire) to do a full rebuttal right now, but a few points are worth making:

  • Byfield repeatedly uses the term “anti-Novell lobby” to daemonise critics, but he never bothers to name them or to link to these critics. He wants to present his own version (or rendition) of their voice without giving readers the opportunity to interpret or judge for themselves. Over at OStatic, Sam Dean went on and deleted (censored) a polite and informative comment from me, which was about 30-40 lines in length. It explained what Novell was doing with Go-OO[XML].
  • Regarding patents, Byfield writes: “And considering that OOXML is now an ISO standard — no matter what dirty tricks might have made it one — the idea that it, at least, could now be used in patent violation cases seems logically inconsistent.” Byfield may not understand patents and the OSP from Microsoft, which does not elude RAND. Being an ISO standard does not prevent patents from being an issue. As always, there is also disregard for more idealogical considerations, which passively endorses corruption.

There are many more points worth making, but we lack the time to address them.

The author has a long track record of defending Novell and that, by association, means badmouthing “Boycott Novell”. Frustration is probably not a factor here, but let’s remember that Byfield mostly writes for Linux.com, which is no longer publishing articles (for now). That can’t be good news to him because that’s how he makes a living.

“There is nothing more that can be done. Everything we do is now available to licensees as well.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Imaginary Property Officer

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

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

Pages that cross-reference this one

49 Comments

  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Gravatar

    To be fair, he criticized Novell as well. I don’t think he took either side of the argument. Seemed pretty unbiased to me.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Gravatar

    What is your point of balance/equilibrium? Bias is a dependent thing. It’s not like maths. It’s not a rule of nature.

  3. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Gravatar

    An honest person can’t help but say bad things about the M$/Novell deal. A dishonest person can say the same things and also write hatchet pieces like “Boycott Novell, Freedom Fighter or Den of Paranoia.” Roy’s links show what kind of writer Byfield has been. Even now, I have a hard time telling if he’s just deluded or if he does these things intentionally.

  4. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    Another factual error, “OOXML is now an ISO standard.” The non standard that M$ bribed and bullied through ISO is not the format used by M$ Office. Indeed one large problem with OOXML is that the standard is incomplete, contradictory and impossible to implement. This is a separate issue from patents and M$’s intent but just as important and many people pointed it out at the time.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Gravatar

    There are four separate ‘OOXMLs’.

  6. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Gravatar

    Yeah, because no-one ships a non-ratified version of ODF :D

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    You get the option.

  8. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Gravatar

    Cross fingers that ODF 1.2 is compatible with OOo 3.0, then. Otherwise having to pick between two versions of ODF 1.2 is going to be really confusing :)

    (There’s a serious point in here: bitching about OOXML compatibilities between Office versions is one thing; but the truth is that no suite reliably deals with non-native file formats. Comparing Office’s ODF support with KOffice I think will dishearten some people)

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Don’t worry, Alex Lund Stocholm. I’ll be careful.

  10. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Calling me names doesn’t help your position.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I didn’t realise his name was an insult.

  12. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Gravatar

    I didn’t say I was insulted, I’m just noting that you’ve resorted to name calling.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Your argument for OOXML was a slur against ODF. RMS did not like it when Miguel used the same strategy.

  14. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not an argument for OOXML. It’s not a slur against ODF either; since it’s the truth.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s not the point as you divert discussions about OOXML into ODF discussions, just as you love turning Novell discussions into Sun discussions.

  16. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Pointing out your hypocrisy isn’t “diverting discussions”.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Gravatar

    It is, for the same reason that saying “Apple is evil” to divert attention away from Microsoft crimes is counter productive.

  18. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not counter productive if you’re accusing them of the exact same crime, Roy. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Gravatar

    When the standard applies to *you*, not *them*. I’ve nothing to do with those companies.

  20. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Gravatar

    No, but you claim to not apply double standards.

    Furthermore you’re in denial about the state of ODF interop, it seems. Even as the best choice, ODF has plenty of room for improvement.

  21. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s no double standard here. OOXML is impossible to implement and has zero community feedback. Using it is just about as much work as trying to reverse engineer M$’s old binary formats. ODF is a complete and well documented standard that groups like KDE, Gnome and Google can implement and everyone has a chance to participate in the change process. ODF efforts are far ahead of OOXML efforts and that’s the way things will remain.

  22. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Gravatar

    @twitter: community feedback, etc. excellent point. Impossible to implement; less so.

    ODF isn’t technically ahead of OOXML; ODF is winning because all industry players are supporting it.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Gravatar

    OOXML *is* impossible to implement, unless you are Microsoft.

  24. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Gravatar

    For “impossible to implement”, it sure seems rather implementable by OOo/Go-OO to me… I think Gnumeric and AbiWord implemented OOXML support as well.

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  25. towanowitsch said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Pointing out that you are wrong is unfair, right? This is like the good old times in the east: “The party (Roy) is always right (even when it is wrong)!”

    Lying for the good cause and writing shit is still lying and writing shit, Roy, and you’re not helping FOSS with that behavior.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Gravatar

    They haven’t. By that yardstick, ReactOS is the next Microsoft Windows.

  27. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Gravatar

    towanowitsch,

    Are you one of the SUSE lads?

  28. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Gravatar

    AbiWord and Gnumeric do have OOXML import support fwiw. Export support for AbiWord was a GSoC 2008 item, not sure if it was implemented though. Not sure about Gnumeric export ability.

  29. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Gravatar

    It should also be noted that the Gnumeric devs stated that implementing ODF support was more difficult than implementing OOXML support. So “impossible to implement” seems like quite a bit of a stretch to me.

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Gravatar

    They already had stuff for .doc.

  31. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Gravatar

    So what?

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Reuse of stuff.

  33. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Gravatar

    I thought you said it was impossible to implement?

    Besides, all office suites support the old binary formats.

  34. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Not properly.

  35. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Am I to trust your word on that? Or can you provide links to someone who has actually attempted to implement OOXML “properly” in OOo/GOffice?

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Gravatar

    You can do the research and report back if that matters to you.

  37. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Gravatar

    So then you are admitting that you have no facts to support for your assertion?

  38. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m busy catching up with stuff at the moment. Remind me later.

  39. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Gravatar

    Consider this a reminder.

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Gravatar

    Given a parser and/or a tokeniser for .doc, it may be possible to extract analogous elements from OOXML and treat them similarly, whereas ODF does things the Right Way by reusing existing standards, which a project like AbiWord is less likely to have already implemented.

  41. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Gravatar

    That doesn’t answer the question.

    I’m waiting to see evidence that OOXML is “impossible to implement”.

  42. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft OOXML is more than just basic support for paragraphs and pictures. Has has Windows-specific bits, legacy stuff (Word 6, 97), DRM and so on and so forth. it’s a total joke, but it does not prevent you from defending it.

  43. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Gravatar

    Just defending it from inaccurate accusations.

    I’m all for ODF, but I’m not going to hide my head in the sand and pretend that OOXML is evil, that it’s impossible to implement, that it kills innocent babies, or any other nonsensical things.

  44. Troy said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Gravatar

    I wouldn’t worry too much about anyone taking anything Byfield has to say seriously anyway. He’s a crappy writer who’s lousy at hiding his personal agendas.

  45. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    Troy: sorta like Roy? ;-)

  46. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Gravatar

    You are a hypocrite, Dan.

    May I ask why you leave hundreds of comments in a site that you hate?

  47. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Gravatar

    Because you play this site as if it were a legit news site, yet when you are called on your inaccuracies and outright lies, you claim “this is just a blog” as if that’s some sort of excuse.

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Gravatar

    Differences in opinion require no “correction”. You try to impose your interpretations upon others.

    As for nitpicking, you could do the same in poor media like the BBC (they have notoriously bad coverage of technology).

  49. Jose_X said,

    February 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Over at OStatic, Sam Dean went on and deleted (censored) a polite and informative comment from me, which was about 30-40 lines in length. It explained what Novell was doing with Go-OO[XML].

    I got the feeling something similar happened to me (based on when I commented and when comments of others went up) here http://ostatic.com/blog/novell-delivers-moonlight-1-0-for-rich-media-on-linux . I recognize that I already did get a chance to speak my point earlier. It’s always possible they simply do not like rebuttaling to go on for a long time. The author of this piece was Sam Dean (it’s an ad for mono).

    The last comment I submitted that was not posted was:

    *****
    toshok, you understand that groups like Tivo and Linus (?) and many others would probably consider that LGPL gives them the rights to embed and distribute all they want.

    They might reason as such: the LGPLv2 gives full distribution rights (?) so long as certain conditions are met, and these conditions don’t specifically include the requirement to make modifications physically possible or easy.

    Maybe a court would side with Novell and not Tivo; however, Novell’s interpretation does not seem to be supported by the LGPLv2 text; it appears to be a contradiction, making it a bit unclear what the actual license of moonlight is: LGPLv2 or some bifurcation of that license with Novell’s new requirement?

    >> We’re the copyright holders, we can apply whatever license terms we *want*.

    That is correct. The allegation was in part that Novell had not licensed as LGPLv2. I haven’t seen anyone challenge their ability to pick their license. The confusion is in not knowing what license Novell actually did pick.

    Novell can remove the confusion by picking LGPLv3, I think, or by clearly writing out a new license (see http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#ModifyGPL ), or by sticking with LGPLv2 but putting their interpretation and any other advice elsewhere from the project license file or clearly marked as “nonnormative”.

    Moonlight is meant to be distributed and used. This way patent infringement kicks in. This way Microsoft’s huge investments can be leveraged by them and are not wasted. Developers, developers, developers, developers. Let’s all be good chaps and chip in to help preserve the monopoly lock-ins.

What Else is New


  1. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  2. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  3. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  4. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  5. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  6. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  7. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  8. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  9. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  10. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  11. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  12. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  13. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  14. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  15. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  16. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  17. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  18. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  19. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  20. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  21. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  22. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  23. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice



  24. EPO-Connected Writers Are Using Alternative Facts or Fake News to Promote the Unitary Patent in British Media

    The misuse of publications for the purpose of lobbying by Battistelli and Team UPC (a small group of opportunists looking to exploit change that they themselves introduce) is worth noting, for its frequency is on the rise again



  25. Microsoft Has Not Managed to Blackmail Huawei Over Android and GNU/Linux, But Its Trolls/Satellites Are Trying

    The story of Huawei gets more complicated, even though software patents are losing their teeth and notorious patent trolls are altogether losing their patents



  26. IBM Has Become an Enemy of GNU/Linux and a Loud Proponent of Software Patents

    IBM's poisonous policy on patents, which has long been incompatible with Free/Libre software, has gotten even worse and the company now takes the lead in lobbying for patenting of software



  27. Leaked: European Patent Office a Fire Hazard Waiting to Cause Tragedy (Possible Deaths)

    The EPO has known for a while that is was not in compliance with regulations, but as usual -- flaunting immunity and impunity -- nothing happened



  28. For Valentine's Day, Battistelli Learns to Stop Worrying and Love to Lie

    Battistelli lies about patent quality once again, incidentally on the very same day that serious leaks regarding patent quality got published (and need distracting from)



  29. India Cites Public Interest in Patent Case Where Embargo Attempted Against Local Drugmaker

    India turns away a foreign corporation that attempts to use patents to shut down (or destroy the business model of) an Indian company



  30. Links 14/2/2017: Linux Lite 3.4, GNU Health 3.0.6

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

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

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

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts