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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  3. 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'



  4. 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



  5. 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



  6. 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



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





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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  11. 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



  12. 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



  13. 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



  14. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  17. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

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



  18. 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



  19. 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)



  20. 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



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

    Links for the day



  22. 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)



  23. 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



  24. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  25. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  28. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  29. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  30. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    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