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. Links 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

    odenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android



  3. Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

    News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft's crimes in China



  4. Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

    Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors



  5. Ruling Against 'Abstract' Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

    Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court



  6. Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

    Links for the day



  7. New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

    As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate



  8. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  9. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  11. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  12. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  13. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  14. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?

    Renewed activity in FOSS-leaning legal site Groklaw amid numerous victories for FOSS



  15. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  18. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  19. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  20. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  21. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  22. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  23. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  24. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  25. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  26. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  27. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  28. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  30. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert


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