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

05.11.09

On Microsoft’s Software Patents and ODF Fragmentation

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We should design some of our extensions explicitly so that IBM can’t run them under OS/2. We need to put real thinking into this.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

MICROSOFT’S INCURSIONS INTO ODF have made a lot of headlines recently because they cause more harm than good to ODF; they fragment it, as usual. Previous posts on this subject can be read chronologically in the following order:

  1. Microsoft’s ODF ‘Support’ is a Scam
  2. Embrace, Extend, and Microsoft Wants to Toss IBM Out of ODF
  3. Microsoft Fragments ODF While Trying to Paint it as “IBM Thing”
  4. Microsoft ‘Patents’ ODF Whilst Also Harming It
  5. ODF Alliance to Denounce Microsoft This Week?
  6. Reader’s Article: The Microsoft Patent Threat to ODF

As it shows above, the most recent debate revolves around software patents, which Bill Gates planned to use against OpenOffice.org. In relation to Microsoft's Costa Rica patent, one reader tells us:

That “single file” phrase is the clue. Sounds like the same patent that was denied in the U.S. and South Africa. As I recall, it was approved in New Zealand. I don’t know whether that’s been undone or not.

While it’s possible and conformant to create an ODF document as a single flat file, that isn’t the way ODF is implemented in all the major apps. A zip container is used to store a series of separate files that make up the document, each containing a different type of data.

The Microsoft patent application was ridiculous in terms of prior art. In essence, what was claimed is the creation of a compound document in a single flat file. A compound document is a document that combines different markup specifications in a single document. There was nothing novel about doing compound documents in a single flat file. E.g., the world has been embedding CSS in HTML files for many years. And as far as claiming originality because it’s done with XML, we have familiar examples like CSS embedded in HTML.

There are so many markup standards out there combined to create compound documents that the world just laughed when that patent application surfaced. The USPTO found no novelty in the claims.

At this stage it’s proabably worth adding that the Gartner Group, which was corrupted by Microsoft, is still sort of promoting Microsoft’s patents publicly, just as it did before. Here is a Gartner analyst lobbying for software patents pretty much by questioning the stance of Free softwarers on this matter. Free software obviously does not pay Gartner’s wages, so even In Re Bilski did excite Gartner all that much:

For those who thought that Bilski closed the door on business method and software patents I’d suggest that there still some way to go on the issue.

Returning to office suites, Microsoft employees (and their familiar friends) can still be seen publicly chatting about ODF, but their personal attacks on IBM’s Weir get no sympathy, not even from the most moderate among observers.

For those of us who have been following the Great Document Format Wars, Gray is being disingenous. To a large extent, ODF has come as far as it has because of Rob’s (and other ODF TC members) fantastic work on it.

As for personal venom, it takes two to tango. Microsoft is certainly no blooming lily where personal attacks are concerned. After all, it takes two parties to build a healthy working relationship. On this, Gray cannot place the blame solely on Rob’s shoulders.

Given how ODF has flourished under Rob’s leadership, there doesn’t seem to be any meritorious reason for him to vacate the Chair.

This whole confrontation is not over yet. The problems which Microsoft has introduced in the market due to Service Pack 2 have yet to show their full impact.

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

What Else is New


  1. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  2. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  3. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  4. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  5. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  6. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  7. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  8. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  9. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  10. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  11. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  12. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  13. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  14. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  15. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  16. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  17. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  18. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  19. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  20. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  21. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  22. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  23. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  24. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  25. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  26. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  27. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

    PO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days



  29. Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  30. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli's Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

    Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour


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