Summary: Google is paying the very same people who helped Microsoft’s OOXML crimes, having also started using OOXML by default
TECHRIGHTS spent a lot of time showing that ECMA is seriously corrupt (we still have an “ECMA” category filled with stories about this laughable organisation). It basically is the moral of equivalent of a regulator who receives a bribe to not only turn a blind eye but also to publicly go to other regulators and glorify the one who bribes. So why would Google, a former ODF promoter (not anymore), pay ECMA money?
One has to recall what ECMA did back in the OOXML days — the time when Microsoft was going around the world bribing just about everyone in the process (business and governments) in order to rig votes, shame the opposition, etc. Microsoft showed a deeply criminal nature at that time. Now we’re left with FRAND-laden ‘standards’ which are basically not compatible with FOSS, as Andy Updegrove (Linux Foundation) explained the other day . It is clear why we need standards that everyone can implement  (it is good for manufacturers and purchasers, not for monopolists) and ODF is one such standard that still makes some headlines  and finds selective support from governments (even here in the Microsoft-centric UK ).
Google should really be promoting ODF, but it doesn't. This is one of the areas where Google disappoints in a very major way and adding insult to injury, Google pays ECMA right now . What has happened to the Google we knew until about 5 years ago? Except many hirings from Microsoft Google has hired many patent lawyers and done other dubious things. █
Fourth in a series of public-private exchanges jointly convened by the EC and EPO on the topic of ICT standardization and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), the “main highlights” are of particular note.
Jingle Bells. The UK government has spruced its open document policy up for Christmas.
The Cabinet Office began a public consultation on open document formats this week, three and a half years after it came to power promising they would be one of the first things it delivered.
The consultation might signify the government has renewed its commitment to the policy. It had struggled so much since the coalition’s first failed attempt to introduce it in 2011 that it seemed it would never deliver at all.
Summary: Microsoft Florian resorts to name-calling (Moglen compared to “Fidel Castro”) and demotes standards and Free software while claiming to do the opposite
HERE WE GO again. Since people are being cursed and the FFII is being smeared, it becomes less than reasonable to merely ignore Microsoft Florian, a troublemaking .NET developer and proponent of RAND (incompatible with Free software) who has begun promoting .NET in Twitter (he develops exclusively in .NET) and actively dividing FOSS communities. Pretence time is over perhaps. It just didn’t take long before he started passing around Miguel’s pro-Mono/.NET messages. Under pressure he also elaborated on his career (paid-for campaigning) and his usual defence is that he believes in the cause he is paid to support. If Microsoft paid him to campaign, then surely it would fit this description. He did the same for a football team until recently. In his defence he said: “I supported them in the stadium in Munich against Bayern on several occasions, and later in Brussels in one strategic context.”
Whether Microsoft pays him or not right now (he says that the lobbying “register is not only about affiliation. I haven’t done any non-exempt work in more than three years. If/when, I’ll register.”), some of his strategy is particularly distasteful. He constantly compares Professor Eben Moglen to Fidel Castro, e.g. with the following Twitter tweets:
- “Fidel most recently said the Cuban system doesn’t work. Such wisdom sets him apart from someone defending the OIN over and over.”
- “In Q&A at LinuxCon Fidel Moglen called IBM a “continuing friend”. Why didn’t he just tell the real nature of the relationship?”
- “Fidel Moglen called GPLv3 largely successful http://bit.ly/adH7TX If this is success, I’d like to see what he deems failure.”
- “IBM Foundation released video of Fidel Moglen’s speech praising OIN the week before Oracle sued Google http://bit.ly/adH7TX “
- “One way *not* to defeat software patents is with Fidel Castro-like speeches such as http://tinyvid.tv/show/2xrglw9dap138 “
We are not especially surprised by this because Microsoft Florian did such things before, implying that Moglen was a communist in Techrights comments.
“Florian Müller seems like the type of person who would pretend to support the very opposite policy which he actively works to achieve.”Is there any group at all in the GNU/Linux world that Florian has not smeared yet? He also smears the Linux Foundation by the way. The only company he ever defends is Microsoft, whose extortions he describes as “cooperative”.
“Don’t blame your own weaknesses on others, then you’d enjoy your life more and make good friends,” the FFII told him. He not only lobbies against Free software but also against open standards on the face of it. “Thanks for unmasking that you lobby against open standards,” the FFII told him at a later stage, “EIFv2 is not released yet and not about excluding RAND standards.” Here is the response.
“Bowing in to lobbyists of your kind,” the FFII explained, “the Commission would refrain to define it. Last year the ministers didn’t accept it.”
Florian Müller seems like the type of person who would pretend to support the very opposite policy which he actively works to achieve. His track record in that regard is extremely poor and well documented.
“For the past decade FFII has been defending “open standards” against lobby attempts to redefine the professional term” the FFII said. Yes, we have all seen this as Microsoft lobbyists pretend to support openness and standards whilst actually doing the exact opposite. It is important to guard definitions and expose imposters.
As an exercise in logic, the FFII asked, “What’s the difference between open standard re-definitions of @fosspatents and Hugo Lueders”? (see [1, 2, 3, 4] for background about Lueders)
Summary: Microsoft does not keep its promises regarding “Open Source” in .NET and its MVP Miguel de Icaza is trying to ram .NET into Web browsers
“Running Mono directly into the browser” is what our reader called this disturbing idea from Microsoft MVP de Icaza. Another reader explained that “Miguel de icaza wants .NET CLI to be embedded in browsers *Not really going through w3c*“
Is anyone surprised?
This is the type of thing that makes de Icaza a Microsoft MVP. It’s only becoming clearer over time who he’s really serving, no matter his denials regarding the question.
Elsewhere in the news (notably Slashdot [1, 2]) we find that Microsoft is faking “Open Source” when it comes to .NET (who didn’t see that coming?).
figleaf writes “Three years ago, with much fanfare Microsoft announced it will make some the .Net libraries open source using their Microsoft Reference License. Since then Microsoft has reneged on its promise. The reference code site is dead, the blog is no longer updated and no one from Microsoft responds to any questions on the forum.”
To Microsoft, this whole “Open Source” idea seems nonsensical or “cancer” and “communism”; it’s just for marketing purposes and this is not the first time Microsoft is caught lying about parts of its code being “Open Source” (Sandcastle comes to mind [1, 2, 3, 4]).
The news above only comes to show Novell’s participation in Microsoft’s agenda, which is harmful to the Web as a whole.
Watch what Novell keeps doing to OpenOffice.org using its fork [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Novell advertises its OpenOffice.org fork as just a Windows office suite with OOXML and Visual Basic. Here is what Novell’s PR team wrote some days ago:
The answer is OpenOffice.org Novell Edition for Windows. We’ve recently released the 3.2 version, which contains bug fixes as well as many improvements over both the previous and community versions.
If you aren’t already familiar with this offering, OpenOffice.org Novell Edition for Windows is an open source office suite that is the best choice for interoperability with Microsoft Office. In addition to excellent performance and integrated extensions, the newest version allows users to access and edit Google Docs documents. It also includes enhanced spreadsheet capabilities such as more rows, better VBA macros and improved support for OpenXML files, the default format in the recent Microsoft Office versions.
Meanwhile, promoters of .NET/Mono (de Icaza included) carry on advertising for a Novell colleague who wants an image editor for GNU/Linux to be .NET-based [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and thus promote Pinta , despite the known problems.
There’s a disturbance in the gadget force everyone. You probably aren’t aware of it because most you are Mac or Windows users, but those who’ve been using Linux on the desktop or on servers have known for some time that Microsoft has been bullying Linux software vendors with threats of lawsuits for infringing on their intellectual property (IP). Remedy: sign our “patent agreement” and share your technology in exchange for immunity.
Microsoft claims that most parts of what makes up the GNU/Linux OS infringes on Microsoft’s closed-source patent war-chest. To put it in simple terms, they claim that they came up with X process or X functionality first and they have a patent on that feature. I’m not a IP or patent lawyer, so I can’t get into specifics, but I can tell you that the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) movement prides itself on being open and sharing code with others to be used how one sees fit. And, if you make an improvement, to share that improvement back with the community. FOSS developers like to look at a proprietary app and say, we can make that… and not only can we make it, we’ll make it better through the inspection of thousands of users who will voluntarily test the code, kill bugs, improve upon the feature-set, and so on and so on.
This whole mess started with Novell, which is currently injecting actual patent traps into everything that uses Linux. █
FEW days ago we wrote about Microsoft people engaging with and entering "Open Source", possibly in order to change its agenda (although it could innocently be just a side effect). This is known as entryism and if there is no shielding against it, then the outcome can be fatal. One has to be careful of the sort of 'monopoly' on Free/open source licence statistics from a Microsoft-sourced company called Black Duck for instance. (Dis)Information is power and this power tends to be misused when put in the wrong hands. Deception and advertising is how those entities make a living. Likewise, to let former Microsoft employees decide whose voice counts in “Open Source” is rather risky. Last year we showed that Microsoft lobbyists (notably Zuck from Association for Competitive Technology) managed to infiltrate an “Open Source” panel where they subverted collective opinion to affect policies. We took it up to the European Commission and wrote about this in:
Nevertheless, why would such a site promote Microsoft’s agenda? It’s a Windows site and strangely enough, it is registered by The Economist:
The Economist Newspaper Limited
25 St James's Street
London, SW1A 1HG
Domain name: EUROPEANVOICE.COM
Manager, Domain email@example.com
25 St James's Street
London, SW1A 1HG
+44.2078360070 Fax: +44.8700118187
Administrator, DNS firstname.lastname@example.org
26 Red Lion Square
London, WC1R 4HQ
+44.2078360070 Fax: +44.8700118187
Registration Service Provider:
Nom IQ Ltd (trading as Com Laude), email@example.com
Address for Legal Service: Nom IQ Ltd (trading as Com Laude), 116 Long
Acre, London, WC2E 9SU. Com Laude is responsible for the registration,
maintenance and management of this domain name.
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 12-Jan-2010.
Record expires on 21-Jul-2012.
Record created on 21-Jul-1999.
Registrar Domain Name Help Center:
Domain servers in listed order:
Domain status: clientTransferProhibited
“ACT continues to push for software patents in Europe…” –Benjamin Henrion, FFIINot only ACT supports this event though. Microsoft’s “eskills” project is there too. Here is some background (more in another page with proof that it’s a Microsoft project in this document/leaflet[PDF]), which ties the project to “Jan Muehlfeit, chairman of Microsoft Europe and co-chair of the European”. We wrote about him in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] because of his lobbying in Europe. He is allegedly a former communist [1, 2], but that’s not the key point.
It is abundantly clear that Microsoft is actively working towards the goal of legalising software patents in Europe so that it can pursue Free software exclusion (taxing it or making it illegal).
The president of the FFII points to this new post and argues that “Neelie Kroes pushing for software patents in standards, Digital Commissioner Kroes proposes new EU policy of open standards” (she was lobbied by Microsoft).
From the introduction:
AN IMPORTANT POLICY PAPER, A Digital Agenda for Europe – A policy for smart growth and innovation in a digital society, HAS BEEN LEAKED OF WHICH AN EXCERPT IS BELOW. DIGITAL AGENDA COMMISSIONER KROES HAS PROPOSED A SERIOUS MOVE OF THE EU TOWARD OPEN STANDARDS AND INTEROPERABILITY. THESE PROPOSALS ARE ALREADY BEING ATTACKED BY HER COLLEAGUES IN THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION WHO REPRESENT ENTERPRISE, COMMERCE AND INTERNAL MARKET. NEVERTHELESS, THESE PROPOSALS DESERVE CONSUMER AND CITIZEN SUPPORT.
Neelie Kroes has been making many mistakes regarding software patents as of late [1, 2]. We also learn that “DG Enterprise is pro software patents, and hostile to real open standards. They defend patent holders such as Philips and BSA.” In the following new post we are reminded that in the UK at least, software patents are already forcing their way into the system.
In simplified terms the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) on the other hand follows law and practice in the UK instead where a patent for software can be granted only where the software has a technical effect.
In summary, Microsoft has not given up on changing EU laws to discriminate against Free software. This is a major issue that a lot of GNU/Linux-oriented Web sites continue to ignore. Sometimes, those who point this out are accused of sensationalism or FUD; such accusations are only proof of gullibility and they are counter productive. █
“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”
Summary: The European Commission is either unwilling or unable to understand how Microsoft uses software patents against Free software, even in Europe where such patents are illegal
Issue 56 features the outgoing Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. McCreevy’s pet project financial market deregulation was cratered last year together with the Irish model and won’t come back in the new portfolio. He assumes an ideological mission to defend the single market for his successor:
The job of the next Commission, I believe would be to stand against those who, for a variety of political reasons, some of them may be ideological or philosophical, whatever they’d be, block the Single Market. To not allow the Single Market, the European markets to be interfered with.
Indeed, there are such forces, for instance those who prefer protection of geographical indications or the member states patent offices which obstruct the creation of a community patent for the single market.
Microsoft front group ACT is lobbying for this as it enables Microsoft to bypass the law. It is more or less the same with EIF, which we mentioned in:
Microsoft is meanwhile patenting everything under the sun. Yesterday in Slashdot there was another new example:
“A newly disclosed Microsoft patent application — Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic — takes aim at fat people, proposing to generate fat avatars in gaming environments for individuals whose health records indicate they’re overweight, limiting their game play, and even banning them. From the patent application: ‘An undesirable body weight could be reflected in an overweight or underweight appearance for the avatar. Only requisite health levels are allowed to compete in a certain competition level. A dedicated gamer could exercise for a period of time until his health indicator gadget shows a sufficiently high health/health credit in order to allow reentering the avatar environment.’ Linking one’s gaming avatar to one’s physique, explains Microsoft, will produce healthy and virtuous behaviors in individuals. Microsoft also proposes shaping gaming experiences by using ‘psychological and demographic information such as education level, geographic location, age, sex, intelligence quotient, socioeconomic class, occupation, marital/relationship status, religious belief, political affiliation, etc.’”
“[T]he Microsoft “patent promise” is roughly useless for open source communities as it only gives protection for non-commercial uses…” –Simon PhippsIn reference to the FSFE’s complaint, Phipps writes: “The long war is finally over, without really correcting any of the injustices but with a few small concessions from a Microsoft that wants us to think it is contrite and changed. But the FSFE is right – the Microsoft “patent promise” is roughly useless for open source communities as it only gives protection for non-commercial uses; the very essence of open source is the alignment of fragments of (usually commercial) interest by many community participants. This should be the first thing Microsoft’s new head of open source addresses on appointment, but to do it will be tough since it will take air-cover at the highest levels to address.”
“The tail bit of the article seems to neglect the Apache perspective. It is, or at least was, about the Apache Foundation and its projects. What about the quality of Apache? What about the sustainability of Apache? Those are important.
“Microsoft’s Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartman works with the Linux kernel and got caught with his mouth open. Microsoft did a hit and run on him, with his own help.” –Anonymous“To look to another project, the Linux kernel, we see what can go wrong if a project lets naive people let jerks walk all over them. Microsoft’s Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartman works with the Linux kernel and got caught with his mouth open.”
“Microsoft did a hit and run on him,” argues our reader, “with his own help.” We wrote about this right here.
Our anonymous reader concludes as follows: “The assertion that code should matter, if taken at face value, should also then take into consideration the history of coding and engineering quality coming out of Redmond. Or should it? Maybe there is only One Microsoft Way for all projects and code quality should be a thing of the past.”
The Fedora 12 Constantine GNOME Live CD is Mono free, but installing GNOME from the DVD pulls in not only Mono itself, but also support for Windows.Forms (mono-winforms), which is outside the ECMA standard (and not covered under Microsoft’s horribly inadequate Community Promise).
While Constantine no longer includes Tomboy, it does still include F-Spot which is a .NET application.
Summary: OpenSUSE 11.2 (GNOME) has Mono installed by default, including non-ECMA parts like Winforms
OPENSUSE users ought to become licensed customers of Novell, too.
According to this, the Winforms problem [1, 2, 3] goes deeper under the skin of OpenSUSE.
What is interesting, is that by default openSUSE ships the Mono implementation of Windows.Forms from .NET, which is outside the ECMA standard (and not covered under Microsoft’s horribly inadequate Community Promise).
Furthermore, all of the afore mentioned applications rely on Windows.Forms (package “mono-winforms“) and want to pull it in as a dependency.
At some point, Novell intends to split the Mono package between free and non-free components, but that doesn’t appear to have happened yet.
Last month Jeremy Allison suggested moving Mono and Mono applications outside the repositories [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] because of issues such as this. █
For a few years the Vole had been trying to create open standards derived from its own XML-based file formats, such as XPS and Office XML. True, much of its work was seen as an attempt to stop competing formats, such as the Open Document Format. However Microsoft did get some support for its cunning plan.
As one person put it, “Microsoft granted patent “..document stored in a single XML..” [http://is.gd/2a8y1]. ODF uses several xml files .. so are we in safe??”
Another individual writes: “Not “new usage” for patents: #Microsoft #patents #fud against #ODF: http://is.gd/29nmu”
There is a fairly new video at YouTube where Jon ‘Maddog’ Hall talks about OOXML and ODF. Have a look.
Although we are seeing more ODF software, Microsoft carries on with OOXML and in the process of putting an office suite on-line, Microsoft proves that it is hostile not only towards competition but also towards Web standards. Yesterday from The Register:
Microsoft’s web Office: No love for Chrome, Opera
Apparently, Microsoft isn’t familiar with Google Chrome or Opera, or, for that matter, Internet Explorer 6 or the Windows version of Apple’s Safari. They’re not on the official list of supported browsers included in a recent blog posting by the Office Web Apps Team – a posting, ironically enough, entitled “The Office Web Apps Love Your Browser.”
Official support for the Office Web Apps limits that love to Internet Explorer 7 and 8; Firefox 3.5 on Windows, Mac, and Linux; and Safari 4 on Mac. And that’s it.
According to Mary-Jo Foley, Silver Lie (XAML) is making its way into this as well. This harms GNU/Linux users no matter which Web browser they use. It is time for regulators to impose open standards on Microsoft, and not proprietary formats that Microsoft pretends (and bribes) to be called “standards”. Microsoft’s ODF implementation is still deficient and harmful [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. █