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Microsoft and ODF: “Not Just Beer”

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drinking man
Microsoft wants to talk about it over some booze (c/f schmoozing)

Teaser: Guess what conference is attended by pro-Microsoft folks who have been publicly attacking ODF along with friends at Microsoft?

“Not just beer,” called it one of our readers, who made interesting observations about Microsoft’s intrinsic behaviour.

“It could be useful to have some comments on freedom by high-impact political philosophers from various regions and eras. It would put into context what Microsoft folks are doing.”

Samuel Adams once argued, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

“They’re really trying to build out that 5th column,” says our reader.

“My beer reference was a bit on the free-as-in-speech v free-as-in-beer theme, but also left the possibility to comment that maybe Samuel Adams, the beer, is more well known nowadays than its namesake the political philosopher. If you think of the impact his words have on western civilization, it’s quite a big deal.

“My beer reference was a bit on the free-as-in-speech v free-as-in-beer theme, but also left the possibility to comment that maybe Samuel Adams, the beer, is more well known nowadays than its namesake the political philosopher.”
“If you think about how much communication is electronic, then control of that communication becomes control of the population. A lot of freedoms that generations fought, killed and died for, especially during the 1700′s, have been taken for granted and subsequently abridged under the disguise of ‘technology’. The threat the Microsoft movement poses for all computer-using businesses is obvious enough, bottlenecks and gatekeepers are barriers. However, the same bottlenecks and gatekeepers are also equally or moreso a threat to basic democracy.

“Just look at how ineffective e-mail has become during the last 5 years because of Microsoft Exchange’s failure rate combined with 90% of mail traffic being spam churned out by insecurable Windows machines.”

Looking around at ways by which Microsoft controls means of communication using proprietary document formats, we find that Microsoft keeps busy trying to destroy the new standard, ODF. Dennis E. Hamilton is now speaking to the Microsoft promoter Jesper Lund Stocholm, telling him that “It is not possible to change IPR Mode without shutting down the ODF TC and chartering a new one. Not practical.”

Why is Microsoft even bringing up such a subject? Because it holds software patents that can harm ODF [1, 2, 3, 4] and OASIS takes preventive measures?

Other Microsoft figures who defend Microsoft’s attack on ODF interoperability [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] are being discussed in the comments here. One comment reads (regarding remarks from Alex Brown):

So in others words, I get from this guy the following;

Microsoft can expend a great deal of energy bastardizing existing standards from any area, such as ISO, or defacto ones, like oh I don’t know, kerberos. Thus making such standards that;

a. works only with their stuff.
b. works partially with the existing standards everyone else uses.


c. works with existing standards only if you jump through who knows how many hoops.

Yet, they, Microsoft cannot after expending all the effort on the above, finds it impossible writing to a standard or adhering to its spirit?

Hmm, it surely must be my imagination because there does seem to be an awful lot of ODF bashing lately.

So we have Jesper Lund Stocholm, Alex Brown, and who else is missing from this typical list of ODF offenders? Well, there is a Dutch ODF conference at the moment and it is attended by Microsoft-friendly folks who have been publicly attacking ODF along with prominent friends at Microsoft.

Judging by the heading which says “not just beer”, it was curious to find this.

One of the motors of the anti-ODF whisper campaign still pretends that he belongs in an ODF event. He just wants to go for beers, he claims. We are acutely familiar with this pattern.

People’s memory span is not as short as he wants it to be [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. He is there to cause trouble and help Microsoft.

Regarding Microsoft’s latest attacks on ODF, GreyGeek writes:

And you say Microsoft doesn’t lie?

Read the article and see the evidence for yourself.

Another person writes about the “New kinder Microsoft”:

Anyone that thinks that Microsoft is a friend of FOSS should pay very careful attention to what they are doing with ODF.

The new Microsoft is a worse version of the old Microsoft.

It ought to be added that Novell is helping Microsoft here. This morning I received the following message:

Le Fri, 12 Jun 2009 10:58:17 +0200,
"Charles-H. Schulz" <charles-h.schulz@laposte.net> a écrit :

> > 
> > 
> > Hello Michael,
> > 
> > 
> > Le Tue, 09 Jun 2009 19:11:57 +0200,
> > Per Eriksson <pereriksson@openoffice.org> a écrit :
> > 
>> > > 
>> > > Hi Michael,
>> > > 
>> > > Michael Meeks skrev:
>>> > > > 	Not at all. All our OO.o changes are available under the
>>> > > > terms of the LGPLv3, and we would be more than pleased for Sun to
>>> > > > accept them under the terms of the project license.
>>> > > >
>>> > > > 	Sadly they refuse to do so, without Sun owning the code.
>>> > > > We're eager for a truly independent & representative foundation to
>>> > > > own the code, but not Sun - cf. flamewars ad nauseum on this
>>> > > > topic :-
>> > > 
>> > > Thanks for the reply. It wasn't meant to be rude.
> > 
> > 
> > That's awesome news, Michael; does this mean that the custom filter
> > for OOXML developed by Novell and Microsoft will be under LGPL v3?
> > Did you put the mono stack and Silverlight under LGPL v3?

Novell is on Microsoft’s side. That’s why it helped OOXML, as well.

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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. NotZed said,

    June 12, 2009 at 10:21 am


    Maybe Meeks should have a word to the mono guys across the floor:

    (from http://mono-project.com/FAQ:_Licensing)

    Why does Novell require a copyright assignment?

    When a developer contributes code to the C# compiler or the Mono runtime engine, we require that the author grants Novell the right to relicense his/her contribution under other licensing terms.

    This allows Novell to re-distribute the Mono source code to parties that might not want to use the GPL or LGPL versions of the code.

    Particularly embedded system vendors obtain grants to the Mono runtime engine and modify it for their own purposes without having to release those changes back. “

  2. aeshna23 said,

    June 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm


    The peculiar thing about this information is that it should make it obvious to any thinking person that Novell is in bed with Microsoft in a way contrary to the interest of Linux. Yet, some people will continue to ignore and deny this fact. I really don’t understand the intellectual cowardice of so many people.

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