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08.26.10

OOXML Revisionism (Updated)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Wikipedia at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Official portrait of President Reagan, 1981

Summary: Controversies around OOXML gradually vanish, at least in Wikipedia; the UK is encouraged to embrace ODF for savings

Ronald Raegan’s page in Wikipedia (and other reference readings) is a good example of gradual whitewash of one’s career. See the “history” and “discussion” pages. One by one, many scandals disappear from the face of historical record and thus from public awareness. What does that have to do with OOXML?

In the years 2007-2009 we wrote almost a thousand posts about document formats, particularly about Microsoft’s crimes (bribes, extortion, etc.) in this area.

“…even Microsoft tries to distance themselves from OOXML these day.”
      –Rob Weir
The FFII has just warned that, based on Wikipedia changes, Microsoft is managing “to get rid of controversy” (we are not suggesting that Microsoft paid for these edits like it did before).

Alex Brown too played a role in such games and IBM’s Rob Weir told me today that “even Microsoft tries to distance themselves from OOXML these day. [...] Thinking of the recent OData/OOXML article”

Separately, Weir pointed to this new article about benefits ODF would bring to the UK. The figure of £51,000,000 gets mentioned.

Do you really have to standardise on ODF, I asked? Won’t the existing Microsoft formats do the job just as well?

Now Maxwell has got in touch. He’s got an interesting story to tell – and his council is one which is thinking very seriously about how to get the cost of IT in local government pushed down. The logic: reduce those costs, and you don’t have to cut other services when you’re faced with an across-the-board reduction in your grant from a central government bringing in austerity measures.

I spoke to him earlier today and asked if he was serious about the necessity of ODF being mandated before real change could happen – and how much the savings could be, and what’s happening with local government. Here’s how he explained it – and these thoughts are going to be expanded in a paper that he is preparing to release next week with much more detail.

The British police ought to seriously consider ODF now that it cuts expenses. This would also improve security.

Update: here is more coverage on the topic (“Money makes the Wikipedia go round”).

The Open XML process is a great case study why Wikipedia is not always reliable, when money comes into play. Even before the heated phases of the Open XML discussions at ISO a scandal rocked the Wikipedia scene. Rick Jelliffe disclosed in his blog that he was offered money by a company to edit the Open XML article. At that is exactly how this article looks until this very day, a honeypot for young wikipedians who want to watch the dirty tricks.

Throughout the controversial phases the editing process demonstrated a clear bias of professional editors towards a certain corporate agenda and pushed the Open XML article towards a “shadow article” as a target, close to advertisement. So regardless what was changed by the ‘ordinary guys’ would be reversed, step by step.

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 27, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Gravatar

    Interesting. The Guardian article Councils ‘could save at least £51m’ with shift to ODF and open source has two assumptions worth bringing attention to. First, is how Microsofters like Capita mandate what the Council uses rather than the Council, being the paying customer, mandate what the information system they buy does. Second, that scandal is glossed over.

    Perhaps the best savings to be had from open standards and Free software is the removal of the shysters, snake-oil peddlers, and frauds that pose as IT consultants. Microsoft products have no place being substituted for information technology. People that do it are causing national distress. The people who stand by and do nothing are not much better.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    (can’t edit a comment)

    Based on the quotation in the article, the Council looks like it might be much better off without Capita around bleeding them and throwing spanners in the works.

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