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


Novell Being Bribed by Microsoft to Support OOXML is Not News

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell gets 'bribed'

Summary: Groklaw, which helped Novell in its case against SCO, finally calls Novell a “community rat”; the company is being slammed from many different directions

IT IS surprising that Groklaw presents this as news. At “Boycott Novell” we have covered this for years and provided extensive evidence, too. Anyway, here’s a quick roundup of what was up last week. Following the good news from Russia people recall he nastiness which surrounds OOXML. The FFII tells Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat:

@jwildeboer Do you remember how pissed #Microsoft was when KdV referred to #OOXML as an example for a royalty-free licensed std?

Harish Pillay from Red Hat writes:

I think I need to get the SPRING Singapore to deem the OOXML vote invalid in light of these M$-Novell abuses – http://ur1.ca/2n3c7 #fb

Let us remember what Microsoft did for OOXML in Singapore before the manager quit. Microsoft was bribing many organisations and companies to support OOXML. Essentially, Microsoft was buying friends. One of those bought ‘friends’ was Novell, which not only supported OOXML as a result of a large payment. Other examples include Windows and Moonlight, to name just a couple we wrote about. Look at Novell’s new announcement of a security product; the subtext says: “Latest version extends privileged user control, tracking and auditing capabilities to the Windows platform”

Yes, Windows. That’s what they add, eh?

Here is more new Windows software from Novell, which resembles this post from rPath. How about this new release from Novell? Or the new vulnerabilities? Or the press release whose headline says: “Novell Joins Microsoft Windows Azure Technology Adoption Program to Test and Validate Novell Cloud S”?

To quote the opening paragraph:

Today Novell announced it has joined the Microsoft* Windows Azure* Technology Adoption Program to address cloud security challenges through the Novell® Cloud Security Service. Microsoft and Novell will work together on pre-release, non-commercial, internal testing and validation of Novell Cloud Security Service on Windows Azure with a goal to deliver a consistent access, security and compliance management framework for applications hosted on Microsoft’s cloud application platform, Windows Azure.

Over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones wrote in response to it: “Because who doesn’t think of Microsoft when they think about security online? Snort.” We wrote about this earlier today. Jones is right. She also denounced Novell recently [1, 2], having given this company the benefit of the doubt for far too long. For the “Boycott Novell” site this is major progress and IBM’s Rob Weir already uses Groklaw to inform people that Novell is trouble, that it’s essentially a traitor. “I just now saw two updates on Groklaw article,” wrote gnufreex in our IRC channels, “PJ finally calls Novell what it is: Community Rat”

To quote from this update to a post we cited before:

Update 2: Simon Phipps tweets that Miguel is sincere even when wrong, and so we should all lay off him. And he provides a link to Miguel responding on his blog now also.

I provide the links so you can reach your own conclusions. But here’s mine. The damage from Mono is real, regardless of motives. And the community is foolish not to say so and mean it. This isn’t about personalities. What does motive have to do with it? Sincerity can be more dangerous. And this is about danger. It’s about the community trying for code that is safe for everyone to use, unencumbered by Microsoft patents. If anyone is endangering the community with encumbered code, we need to defend against it. I don’t care about sincerity.

And why, pray tell, would it *ever* be all right to offer the community such encumbered code deliberately? If you follow the links in the article linked to above about him saying OOXML was superb, you will find him suggesting that to be safe, everyone download Mono only from Novell, due to the patent situation. Is that acceptable on any possible level? Not to me.

But let’s address the sincerity issue. Can anyone reasonably really think OOXML is superb? Superb how? Because it’s not. As a standard, it’s failed. The way you measure a standard is who can use it, how many do, and whether it works as passed. If it were superb, Microsoft wouldn’t have to hire Novell to make it sorta work, now, would they? No one uses it. Novell was hired to make it look like they do. Lots of folks use ODF, yet here’s Miguel once again complaining about alleged flaws in ODF and saying that OOXML is fine because ISO approved it. Puh lease. We got a window into the kinds of things Microsoft did to make that happen. Many consider that vote tainted.


The unalterable truth is that something awful happened. Something that we can’t ignore now that we know about it. And it cannot be justified. Not to me. As usual when awful things happen, Microsoft money is there in the center of the tableau, and so when we pull back the curtain suddenly, we see folks with their pants down and their hands out. I’m speaking of the company here. And to me, at least, it’s disgusting. Doesn’t it frame the sale of the 882 patents to a Microsoft-organized consortium in a clearer context? How could Novell do that, we asked. Now we know. It was part of a larger picture. We know now what we are dealing with inside the community. So it’s time to face up to it and start to plan on how to deal with it. As usual with problems, the first step is to acknowledge the problem honestly. And the problem is, not to put too fine a point on it, how to deal with Community Rats, corporate or otherwise, taking money from Microsoft and then subtly deflecting the community away from its goals. And now there is a new category: those who are sincerely misguided into thinking that doing deals with Microsoft won’t damage the community in the end. It doesn’t matter at all if they are sincere or not, even if they don’t even comprehend the problem. What matters is the damage that results or can result. I expect Novell would argue that what they did was a good thing. But can anyone argue that the 882 patents are not damage, regardless of Novell sincerity?

Incidentally, there is still time to sign up with OIN and get protection from those patents. The deal doesn’t close until January.

Groklaw’s job is to notice danger, particularly legal issues, and then tell it out. And I certainly will continue to do exactly that.

“Microsoft is funding our OpenOffice team to develop open source code that will improve the OOXML,” gnufreex quotes Miguel de Icaza as saying. Microsoft MVP de Icaza uses the term "Conspiracy Theories" to deny the obvious but mostly fails and Groklaw explains why. In Twitter, Weir writes to Microsoft MVP de Icaza:

Your were a Novell VP. It is hard to excuse yourself claiming ignorance of corporate agreements in this area.

And also:

You have your own independent standards arm staffed by NOVL engineers but not party to NOVL agreements with MSFT?

To one delegate who is supportive of ODF Weir writes:

I just don’t understand his argument. “I had bad judgment even before I was paid, so don’t criticize me for taking the money” ??

Rob Weir initially just cited Groklaw’s analysis where he also commented (there are over 500 comments there so far):

Anyone remember Microsoft, OOXML and Sweden? 1st time was a mistake. 2nd time an inter-corporate agreement . http://bit.ly/g8fvgQ

In Groklaw he writes

Back in August 2007 there was an uproar when it was found out that a Microsoft employee had offered “marketing support” and “additional support in the form of Microsoft resources” in return for Microsoft partners joining the Swedish national body, SSI, to influence Sweden’s vote on the OOXML ballot.

When that story broke, Microsoft’s Tom Robertson defused the crisis by saying that this was an unauthorized act of a single rogue employee:

“Microsoft corporate policy expressly forbids financial support, of any kind, to third parties for their participation as a member of a national body voting on the ISO/IEC standardisation of Open XML. This policy is widely communicated throughout the company and will be reiterated going forward”

So what does it say when we find out now that Microsoft signed an agreement with Novell, and as part of that agreement explicitly remunerates them for participating in the standardization of OOXML? And this was not low level employee acting alone. This was a inter-corporate agreement, no doubt reviewed and approved at the highest levels at Microsoft.

Here is Weir explaining his stance to Jason Brooks, whom Microsoft gave an expensive laptop. Speaking of buying votes, eh?

Weir writes:

But this agreement explicitly called for Novell to participate in ISO meetings. It even stated how many they had to attend.

And also

Surely there are ways of promoting a standard short of paying someone to participate in ISO?

Further in this discussion:

You would need to ask Microsoft why they articulated their corporate policy that way.

And then:

I have not found any ISO participant who says that it is a good thing for a company to pay another to participate in ISO.

Later on he says:

But I’m still pushing. Maybe Gareth will break down and give you a quote on why this is good for ISO?

And finally:

Remember, ISO is quasi-official, produces standards that via regulations have the force of law in some places.

Here is another reference to the long story of bribery from Microsoft:

I’ll give you a clue. A bribe comes with conditions.

He says to a colleague:

“Novell participating in the standard evolving in a manner that is consistent with the needs…” then lists Microsoft’s priorities.

And also:

Participation in ISO is not cheap, especially international meetings A company that subsidizes 3rd parties can bias results.

Then, to another person he points out:

So you see where it calls for Novell to participate in ISO meetings, and gives quotas for how many meetings they must attend?

A rhetorical question:

So are you saying then it is OK for one company to pay another to join and participate in an ISO committee?

Later he writes back to SJVN:

Well, that is the tragedy of ISO, that it is increasingly the collision of standards idealists and large corporations.

A broader picture:

Compare to US politics: via bribery laws, disclosure requirements, COI rules we can handle the involvement of corporations in politics

There is a lot more from him. Weir has been very active amid these developments, especially right before Christmas. He is one of the victims of this massive pile of Microsoft corruption which Novell was a part of. Groklaw regrets helping Novell and Jones goes as far as thinking of shutting down Groklaw because she feels betrayed. To quote some portions from a touching Christmas Day post:

I took a few days off from writing any articles, partly to try to make a serious dent in transcribing the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits. We’re in the home stretch, and a quiet weekend, marking on a curve, is perfect. I know there’s lots going on, other than work.

I also needed to take some time to think about the recent discovery about Novell taking money from Microsoft and contractually agreeing to show up at Open XML standards meetings and events. Should Groklaw stop helping people like that, I asked? Is it time to shut Groklaw down? If not, is there a way to carve out helping Linux and FOSS, which is what we are about, from helping self-interested executives and board members so that in essence we end up being used by them so they get larger piles of money because we worked ourselves to the bone and then they repay the community with such a deal as this?

Yes, I’m furious. Or I was. I always tell you the truth. And the truth is I felt used and abused. How could Novell enter into such a deal? Then top it off with selling 882 patents to a Microsoft-organized consortium? Why do I bother, I wondered? More seriously, I asked myself should do I ask you to help? We’re all volunteers here. No one pays us, and I feel a responsibility not to ask you to do anything that isn’t worth doing. So I had to think this through.


Is it intentional? Or does the heart find ways to justify what people want to do because they personally benefit? I leave that part to God. I can’t read hearts. I analyze behavior only. But I see results. It’s depressing to find out that community members are so easy to buy off, which is how I view it.


We’re in the Library of Congress, and we need to finish, I believe. It’s in that spirit that I’m back to working on the Comes exhibits until it’s done. So if there are no articles for a bit, that’s the reason why, but Groklaw will continue. I’m disappointed in Novell, but I didn’t start Groklaw for Novell, so I need to get over it and focus on the issues that matter to Groklaw, which have not changed just because Novell has made it harder to succeed. That’s the bottom line.

Needless to day, the Microsoft boosters came to this debate too (Jesper Lund Stocholm was obviously one of them) and there is a lot to be found in comments and in Twitter (plenty more where that came from). IBM is not happy with this part of Novell that has helped Microsoft and secretly helps OOXML to this date.

The FFII links to Groklaw and says: “Groklaw on why they were right about Novell”

Do not forget that “Boycott Novell” was also right about Novell a long time ago.

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


  1. twitter said,

    December 27, 2010 at 11:18 am


    Perhaps the ISO will finally take some corrective action.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m sure it already has (ensured that next time the corruption will be less visible to the public).

What Else is New

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    Many IRC logs

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

    Links for the day

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

    Links for the day

  11. 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%

  12. 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

  13. 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)

  14. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  15. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  16. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  17. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  18. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day

  19. Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

    Links for the day

  20. Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

    Links for the day

  21. Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli's EPO in Germany

    The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO's cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

  22. EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

    The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

  23. Europe's Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

    A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

  24. German Press Explains EPO Investigation Unit (I.U.), Struggles to Openly Speak to the Secretive EPO

    The secretive Investigation/Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further studied/explored by a recent article from junge Welt, an old and well-established German newspaper (since 1947)

  25. Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

    Links for the day

  26. Translation Needed of Article About EPO Threats Against SUEPO's Elizabeth Hardon

    A call for translation of an important article that may help shed light on the modus operandi of the Investigation/Investigative Unit of the EPO, which works with Control Risks Group (CRG), the 'British Blackwater'

  27. Media Filled With Spin and Lies Amid Microsoft's Admission of Internal Usage (and Modification) of GNU/Linux

    Further analysis of Microsoft's admission that it uses Linux internally and the media's poorly-researched response to that

  28. EPO Management Justifies Censorship (Even of Journalists) Using Its Vice-President Željko Topić

    The Topić connection to EPO-imposed and universally-induced censorship not just of news sites but also sites which speak about the censorship itself, or dare question the integrity of the EPO's management

  29. Changes at Techrights

    A few short notes on how we are going to re-align the site with disruptive trends, notably patents-related

  30. EPO President Benoît Battistelli Compared to Famous Criminals on European Television

    The Belgian TV network featured a show which was making fun of Battistelli earlier this month


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