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


OpenDocument Format (ODF) Shows That It Would Have Been Better If IBM Bought Sun

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bay port sunset

Summary: Oracle’s attitude toward (or dedication to) ODF compares badly to that of Sun, IBM, and probably even Red Hat

LAST year was a fascinating year for Sun Microsystems. It was almost acquired by IBM, but the negotiations fell through at some stage. IBM’s hardware business, office suite, and many other software products (Eclipse comes to mind) nicely complement Sun’s portfolio and even IBM’s commitment to MySQL would have been better and more natural than Oracle’s.

“OpenOffice.org and many other office suites support ODF free of charge.”IBM is not perfect. Heck, IBM is far from perfect and the word “perfect” is rather silly to bring up. As the TurboHercules vs IBM case reminds us, IBM is not a friend when it comes to software patents* (malice from TurboHercules withstanding), but IBM is a big proponent of ODF, for example. It’s one of those areas where an IBM-Sun merger would be suitable. The FSF is strongly in favour of ODF as it probably should be.

Oracle has rightly come under some fire for putting a price tag on an important enabler of ODF. This is bad move in general (not prioritising ODF), but maybe it would give reasons to just abandon Microsoft Office altogether. OpenOffice.org and many other office suites support ODF free of charge. Microsoft does not support real ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] or even OOXML, it only pretends.

Oracle start charging for Sun’s Office ODF plug-in


According to Oracle, the support cost is in line with Oracle’s support policy of approximately 22% of the license fee and is not mandatory. But the $90 per user license fee is required. As the plug-in was never open source, Oracle has not gone back on any open source assurances it gave. Oracle would not comment on the fact that the plug-in is almost as expensive as the cheapest edition of Microsoft’s MS Office suite.

Maybe if Oracle bought Novell (which is up for sale), then it would also charge $90 to download Mono. That would be nice.

Walt Hucks says: “I saw that coming back when Sun itself started requiring an account and mktg info to download the plugin.”

In better news regarding ODF, IBM’s Rob Weir points to ODF Fuzzer, which seems like a new tool that’s all about ODF.

ODF Fuzzer is a file format fuzzer developed to test star writer of Open Office.org. This will attempt to find security vulnerabilities, bugs and code flaw errors of the star writer. It uses byte mutation and insertion methods to create fuzzed files. ODF Fuzzer have a simple built in module to execute the star writer with the fuzzed files and monitor it’s behaviour.

There are also signs that Documents To Go will implement ODF support. The Product Manager says: [via Rob Weir]

Rest assured that many of the features you’ve mentioned (PDF, Google Docs integration, swirl zoom, localization, ODF support, etc) are being evaluated by our developers as we speak.

Here is what IBM’s Arnaud Le Hors wrote about Alex Brown’s [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] attempt to pretend that he did not expect Microsoft to disobey ISO [1, 2, 3, 4].

Well, let me give you a link to a prediction I made! In my post What Microsoft’s track record tells us about OOXML’s future of March 25, 2008 I wrote:

They can, and I predict will, ignore all these additions which are optional and stick to what they have. The only reason they were added was to remove reasons for National Bodies to vote against OOXML.

So, here we are. Two years later, Microsoft has done exactly that and Alex Brown is finally seeing the light.

One can only hope that the standards community will have at least learned a lesson from this sad story: you simply cannot take control away from a vendor who has a monopoly and isn’t willing to give it up through a mere standardization process.

One area where IBM has been helpful is ODF. It’s a shame that Oracle is not so serious about it, not based on its actions anyway. OpenSolaris comes to mind in relation to this strategy.
* Here is another new analysis of the TurboHercules vs IBM case and more lobbying from Florian Müller, who criticises multimedia codecs with patents in them (he does not seem fond even of Ogg) and has harsh words for the film “Patent Absurdity” [1, 2]. From Müller’s new blog (for which he has just created a Twitter account):

I regret having had to say all of the above and I can only hope that someone else will do something better at some time, maybe with a more realistic goal, maybe with a bigger budget. But realistically, software patents won’t go away until the call for abolition is supported by some of the major players in the industry. Theoretically it could also work with small and medium-sized businesses but in my experience that just doesn’t work because those SMEs who oppose software patents don’t want to spend any significant amount of time and money on it. As long as it looks to politicians like mostly a cause for the FOSS community without major economic interests behind it, it’s hard to see how change could be brought about. Watching “Patent Absurdity” just reaffirms that view. Unfortunately.

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 10/10/2015: IBM's Linux-based LC Family, KDE Frameworks 5.15

    Links for the day

  2. Benoît Battistelli's Office Accused of Institutional Harassment Against EPO Staff in New Letter to the Administrative Council, Calling for External Investigation

    A probe by an external and independent entity is sought with the aim of looking into systematic harassment against EPO employees who simply 'dare' to point out gross violations by their managers; staff protests at EPO headquarters in the Netherlands and Germany are scheduled

  3. Responses to Software Patents in India Though Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions

    India's famous skills, which revolve around software services and software development, are under attack by new laws which strive to grant foreign corporations de facto monopolies on software, even inside India

  4. Mobile Linux (e.g. Android) Still a Victim of Software Patents, No Peace in Sight

    A look at recent developments in the fight against mobile Linux (notably Android these days) and whoever is behind the patent attacks (not always as obvious as people are led to believe)

  5. Bad News for the EPO's Judicial Independence and Due Process in Next Week's Administrative Council (AC) Meeting

    A quick update about what's expected to happen next week when the Administrative Council holds a two-day meeting

  6. More Back Doors Found in Microsoft's Entrapments (Proprietary Software)

    Security flaws and even blatantly obvious loopholes for surveillance are identified in several of Microsoft's so-called 'products', which turn users (and their data) into the real product (to be sold to private companies or shared with spies)

  7. NASA Gives Back What It Took Away in the Form of Patent Monopolies for Private Gain

    Criticism of NASA's habit of clinging onto patents when it is actually the public which pays for everything

  8. The Coup D'état of Benoît Battistelli Follows an Imperialist Model, Threatens Opposition and Dissent

    SUEPO, the staff union, and boards that are independent from the EPO are both under attack and are constantly threatened by Benoît Battistelli and his goons

  9. Links 8/10/2015: Manjaro Linux Releases, Linksys WRT1900ACS, FOSS at NHS

    Links for the day

  10. Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

    Links for the day

  11. EPO Staff to Disrupt Administrative Council Meeting With Public Demonstration That Raises Awareness of Abuses

    The perception of collusion between the Administrative Council (AC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) leads to staff actions demanding investigation of illegal Board of Appeal (BoA) suspension/s (among many other things)

  12. OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That 'Normalise' Software Patents

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

  13. Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

    Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

  14. Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for 'Daring' to Legally Challenge the EPO's Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

  15. Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

    Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate ("embrace") Android to put its apps there ("extend") but ultimately to delete ("extinguish") Android

  16. Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

    Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk's absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli's iron fist

  17. Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

    Links for the day

  18. With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

    Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

  19. New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO's Benoît Battistelli

    Battistelli's bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

  20. Microsoft Customers Complain About 'Inevitable' Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched 'Upgrades'

    In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people's will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

  21. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

    European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

  22. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  23. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  24. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  25. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  26. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  27. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  28. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  29. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  30. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)


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


Recent Posts