“ISO is dead for software standards. Do you need an official funeral?”
–Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Summary: This past week of Document Freedom brings even more abysmal news for Microsoft’s corruption-riddled response to ODF (OpenDocument Format)
LAST NIGHT we wrote about attempts being made by Alex Brown to pass the blame to Microsoft, having actually helped Microsoft be where they are. What a fox. Does he really believe that people will forget what he did to promote OOXML while serving as a supposedly-independent participant [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21]? Tim Anderson, a longtime Microsoft booster, has mentioned Brown’s mea culpa and so did Andy Updegrove, who apparently foresees failure for OOXML.
In reviewing my RSS feed this morning, I found this interesting blog entry by Alex Brown, titled Microsoft Fails the Standards Test. In it, Alex makes a number of statements, and reaches a number of conclusions, that are likely to startle those that followed the ODF-OOXML saga. The bottom line? Alex thinks that Microsoft has failed to fulfill crucial promises upon which the approval of OOXML was based. He concludes that unless Microsoft reverses course promptly, “the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure.”
Andy Oram points out in the comments: “The OOXML battle is no joke; it had serious repercussions throughout the public setting. Microsoft launched its OOXML campaign in the mid-2000s at a time when several countries and US states (notably the state Andrew and I live in, Massachusetts) made real efforts to move to ODF for the public good. The fake standardization of OOXML helped Microsoft’s propaganda campaign to keep MS Office in government use, although I’m sure it wasn’t the critical factor. The movement failed and history has moved on. Microsoft avoided the loss of customers and the PR boost open source could have achieved had ODF gotten into government agencies. Now the question is whether desktop office tools will be replaced by Software as a Service, so there’s little point in refighting the old battle. But open formats are more important than ever, and the new power of the movement for transparent government can correct the historical grievance.”
“The fake standardization of OOXML helped Microsoft’s propaganda campaign to keep MS Office in government use, although I’m sure it wasn’t the critical factor.”
–Andy Oram, O’ReillyAs we pointed out before, fragmentation issues already plague OOXML (there have always been too many Microsoft implementations, none of which complied with the specifications). These are further exacerbated by the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], which revealed that Microsoft had hidden software patents affecting OOXML.
Some sources have spoken about a potential appeal in the i4i case (or a settlement), but OOXML seems to be dead in the water at least as a ‘standard’ because the i4i ruling is final, based on Reuters.
A federal appeals court denied on Thursday Microsoft Corp’s request that a full panel of judges rehear arguments in its long-running patent dispute with a small Canadian technology company.
One of the more troubling patent rulings in the past year involved a Canadian company, i4i, that held a patent (5,787,449) that appears to broadly (very broadly) cover editing a custom XML document, separate from the presentation layer of a document.
The 5th anniversary of ODF is less than a month away. From Rob Weir’s Web log:
We’ll be hitting a significant date next month. It was on May 1st, 2005 that Open Document Format (ODF) 1.0 was approved by OASIS.
I hope we can all take time to reflect on far we’ve gone, with the specification itself, with the quality and diversity of implementations and with world-wide adoption.
A lot of coverage about “Document Freedom” has appeared over the past week (included in our daily links), which is evidence of continued momentum for a real standard that everyone can use and many vendors have already implemented. According to this new gem from Glyn Moody, Tim Berners-Lee refuses to accept Microsoft Office files.
We all knew that Sir Tim was a total star, choosing to give away the Web rather than try to make oodles of billions from it. Some of us even knew that he contemplated using the GNU GPL for its licence, before being persuaded that placing it in the public domain would help it spread faster.
Tim Berners-Lee is also against software patents. █
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Summary: More of the usual gameplay from people who have made a career out of helping Microsoft expand its circles of influence/dominance
MICROSOFT’S “Insider Friend, ‘the Fox’” Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] is “Looking at the pubic review text of #ODF 1.2 pt 1″ and saying that “some bits still very ropey”
What an unsurprising statement coming from the man who essentially conspired to help Microsoft corrupt ISO’s integrity while he marketed OOXML around the UK.
“ISO is dead for software standards. Do you need an official funeral?”
–Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Moreover, just very recently Alex Brown was seen defending Microsoft’s deviation from ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — a deviation which is only fragmenting and complicating everything.
Brown is joined by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza. They are acting like Microsoft reps, to whom Simon Phipps (Oracle) replies with: “My view is that ODF should now just transclude the OOXML formula spec, but that’s probably controversial”
“To an outsider, it would probably seem clear that de Icaza is a Microsoft employee or partner who wishes that ODF just went away.”De Icaza seems very eager to keep smearing ODF, which is a threat to the top cash cow of the company whose board he serves (CodePlex Foundation board). A little conflict of interests there, no? Anyway, he is linking to his colleague Morten Welinder, who is dissing ODF and closing comments, possibly in order to prevent rebuttals from being posted. Rob Weir responded to de Icaza by saying: “The spec that vendors are implementing is linked to from the ODF TC’s homepage. Novell is on the TC. You know this.”
Maybe he’s playing dumb. After all, he also has loyalties to Microsoft, not just Novell. And guess who else is linking to de Icaza and his colleague (the ODF smear)? That’s right, it’s more noise which feeds those at Microsoft who participated in the corruption of ISO and various standards bodies around the world. They quote de Icaza as though he’s their special buddy (which he is, as he even helped bug resolution in OOXML). To an outsider, it would probably seem clear that de Icaza is a Microsoft employee or partner who wishes that ODF just went away. Why are other Microsoft agents like Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza linking to that same post, which is damaging to ODF and not even factual? It’s stuff like this, which makes the question rhetorical.
Miguel de Icaza writes in response to the call-out: “Another Rob Weir swing from Bombastic troll when discussing OOXML to nuanced and apologetic when it comes to ODF”
He’s starting to sound just like another one of those Microsoft employees who are smearing Weir (sometimes by creating smear blogs or calling for resignation).
Weir responds with: “ISO approval is not my success metric for ODF, but rather adopters, users and implementors. By those measure I’m pleased.”
“[I]t seems that Morten isn’t following the ODF development at all.”
–Jomar SilvaAddressing the actual source of the FUD, Morten Welinder criticises formula handling in ODF even though a lot of office suites (excluding Microsoft Office) successfully implemented ODF support for formulas that are also interoperable. Weir showed this using a table and several sample files about a year ago.
It is worth adding that the ODF smear comes from the same group (Gnumeric) that was helping OOXML get past ISO. We wrote about this at the time [1, 2], specifically when there were complaints about GNOME engaging or in general terms helping Microsoft in that regard (Jody Goldberg from Novell got actively involved for example).
Jomar Silva, who is a key person in ODF, says that “it seems that Morten isn’t following the ODF development at all. Simply pathetic !”
Let’s remember what these people are pushing for at ODF’s expense. OOXML is utterly flawed and it annoys so many users of Microsoft Office, based on this new analysis at INC.com: [via Bob Sutor]
For those using older versions of Microsoft Word, or other non-Microsoft word processing software, the new .docx format can be a real pain. It has caused dissension in some workplaces. How to cope with conflicting Microsoft Office formats.
It’s a funny article to read. Microsoft’s own customers loathe OOXML.
ODF is also important because it offers “equal opportunities”, as advogato.org put it:
It is possible to get people to listen if you want to instil Free Software principles, but they have to have a “handle” against which they are forced to act, within the organisation that they work. Or, if they agree with you in principle, but are otherwise hog-tied, they need that “handle” with which to justify their actions to their superiors.
Using the words “Discrimination” and “Equal Opportunities” in the same sentence seems to do the trick.
Jan Wildeboer says that “The ODF TC peeps should really read this gem,” which accurately dissects some of the deception from Microsoft and its promoters. Here is Miguel de Icaza hugging Jeff Atwood from Microsoft. The photo below (from Marcus Griep) is a very recent one and the description of de Icaza’s talk at this event (filled with Microsoft employees and content) goes as follows:
Miguel also showcased MonoTouch, building a simple program in MonoDevelop on Mac OSX, and demonstrating it in the iPhone simulator. Including lots of pro-Linux banter and some pokes at Richard Stallman, Miguel kept the audience interested and amused, which is exactly what the last presentation in an 8-hour day needs.
Yes, it’s the same guy we have come to know ever since he compared Stallman to George Bush. What does that make it his darling Microsoft? Either way, it’s nice of him to ridicule Stallman in front of an apparently Microsoft-dominated audience. It must be a new and entertaining pastime for them. █
From Marcus Griep
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Summary: Updates on ODF progress around the world, among developers, and in committees
THE NEWS about Slovakia choosing ODF (OpenDocument Format) was last mentioned in September and now we have Jan Husar stating that “OOXML didn’t made it into national standards and ODF can be used in any version!”
This message was passed on by Rob Weir and many other people who support ODF. Another person says that “In conference with the Dominican Republic document archieve from the ministry of culture about implementing ODF…”
There are few tiny reports about the ODF TC, including this from Dennis Hamilton. Jomar Silva is formally joining the discussion.
Over in Denmark, the anger and confusion are not over. We wrote about this last month and reports continue to pour, albeit they’re mostly/only in Danish:
There is also this report in Dutch and an accompanying photo.
A new version of lpOD has been announced, which is good news to ODF. [via vim expert Bart Hanssens]
lpOD 0.8 has just been released, together with its documentation. You can download lpOD 0.8 here.
lpOD — languages & platforms OpenDocument.
Definition of a Free Software API implementing the ISO/IEC 26300 standard.
This is also mentioned here and there are other new projects that advance ODF.
There is growing pressure on Quickoffice to support ODF on iPhone and Symbian.
I use some open office files in my thumbdrive, so that i can easily transition between my home pc (windows) and linux netbook (Asus Eee PC). I hope Quickoffice can support these files, so that I can also use them on my S60 phone (Nokia E71)
Androffice already supports ODF [1, 2, 3] and so does Officeshots, which has this new article on the subject. █
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Summary: As HTML5 is approaching, vendors continue in their attempts to gain ownership and exclusivity over content using formats and protocols
MICROSOFT’S control of the media is an important subject because it leads to “perception management” [1, 2], as exemplified in the previous post. Glyn Moody reveals that “the Editor of The Next Web Italy, @Contz, is “Junior PR at Microsoft Italy”; tiny conflict of interest there, perhaps…?“
It’s not just publications as such which are affected by Microsoft marketing people. O’Reilly and Microsoft decided to work together some months ago and now we find that O’Reilly is abandoning web standards and requiring that Web users install proprietary software to read books.
Safaribooks online were availabe in HTML-View for a long time and were accessible with free software.
Now the O’Reilly Safari team has decided to stop this and deliver online books in Adobe flash format only for online reading. As expected gnash does not work.
This means reading and browsing O’Reilly books online is no more possible with free software.
This is not about Microsoft, but it shows that O’Reilly lost its way. From a UNIX/Linux-oriented (and thus standards-friendly) origin it found its way into “Web 2.0″ and other such abstract nonsense.
Speaking of standards, Microsoft starts talking about Internet Explorer 9, which is another departure further away from web standards (DirectX in addition to XAML and ActiveX). Microsoft just cannot permit the World Wide Web to be interoperable.
Glyn Moody shares this new article about HTML5 and also looks with concern at the Open Web Foundation, where “open” is a deceiving term (Orwell must love this!).
The great promise of HTML5 is that it will turn the web into a full-fledged computing platform awash with video, animation and real-time interactions, yet free of the hacks and plug-ins common today.
While the language itself is almost fully baked, HTML5 won’t fully arrive for at least another two years, according to one of the men charged with its design.
In the mean time, Moody shows why the Open Web Foundation is not on the good side.
But independently of these details, there’s another big problem with the Open Web Foundation. The Mozilla Foundation has been pushing the idea of the Open Web for some time now; the appearance of this new foundation, with its agreement, is likely to muddy the waters around the concept of the open Web considerably. But then, that’s maybe what some companies involved in the OWF want…
Heise has some more coverage of the OWF. █
“Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”
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Summary: More OpenDocument Format (ODF) wins and an important reminder of people who try to harm it, sometimes while pretending to be “helping”
THE OTHER day we wrote about what Alex Brown had been doing in Wikipedia. For those who do not know Brown’s role in Microsoft’s OOXML fiasco, read [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21]. Regarding Brown’s edits (as we showed them a few days ago), one reader wrote privately to say, “I just wanted to let you know what Alex Brown appears to have done from those wiki edits (as far as I can go on the first page). All the criticism is magically gone. “whoops”.”
Right now he makes minor edits to ODF’s article, which is not as bad as the malicious edits from hAl, who got banned for his obvious warping of the ODF article, making it an ODF-hostile article.
But let’s concentrate on the positives, not the negatives from Microsoft and its known cronies.
The OpenDocument Web site introduces readers to two tools, Office-O-Tron and ODFPy, which Bart Hanssens describes as follows:
Office-o-tron is an online validator for office documents. It understands ODF (1.0, 1.1 and draft 1.2) and OOXML (“Transitional”).
Odfpy aims to be a complete API for OpenDocument in Python, essentially an abstraction layer just above the XML format. The main focus is to prevent the programmer from creating invalid documents.
Here is another one about Open Search Server:
Open Search Server is an open source search engine and comes with a suite of full text search algorithms. ODF is one of the supported formats.
There is a new article about this in Linux Magazine (also in German):
Open Search Server 1.1 with Synonym and ODF Support
The first stable release of the Open Search Server Java software now includes a Web and file crawler and uploaded documents can be searched. The server can handle MS Word and Powerpoint, Open Document Format (ODF), HTML, XML and PDF files.
From one of the European Union’s Web sites we gather that Norway is indeed very serious about ODF.
On 25 September 2009 the Norwegian Government adopted a new regulation on mandatory IT standards applicable to the entire public sector. As of 1 January 2010 open document standards will become mandatory for all public websites.
As the Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Heidi Grande Røys, stated, the new regulation ensures equal accessibility to the content of all public and communal websites. Users of any municipality or state will be able to visit the websites and read the documents regardless the type of software and computer equipment they use. It is a democratic right for all citizens to have equal access to public information and online services.
Some parts of the United States may be equally interested in ODF. Here is a reminder about the state of New York.
IBM’s Rob Weir gathers questions for the “State of ODF” panel, which he will moderate. Some people lend their voices to Weir and Dennis Hamilton continues his good work in this area. Bart Hanssens is also a major contributor, as opposed to those who are only pretending. They know who they are.
Weir and OASIS take ODF a step further into 1.2 while Weir and Hanssens are highlighting this new tool for verification of ODF signatures.
Via this page you can test the eID Applet Signature functionality. This test will demo the creation and verification of ODF signatures. ODF signatures are also supported by OpenOffice.org version 3.1.
KOffice 2 adds a mission statement placeholder to its Wiki while in Wikipedia someone removes the sentence: “The OpenDocument Foundation is not related to any entity doing standardisation work for the Open Document Format.” This is later readded and removed again. Test of patience?
“Ask Google Translate team to support ODF,” says OpenOffice.org and Weir speaks of the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC again. Microsoft and its cronies still try to ruin ODF from the inside or grab control of it. Clear evidence shows this repeatedly. █
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Summary: Just like a filmography-style mafia, Microsoft and its allies proceed from corrupting ISO to bashing ODF from the inside and trying to control it too
MICROSOFT MAY hope that people will forget what it did for OOXML, but the past returns to haunt as more abusive behaviour gets seen. In light of the i4i case for instance [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], Jomar Silva raises the point that Microsoft lied about patents in OOXML, with the assistance of its special friend Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
Here is what Silva wrote a few days ago:
They also defined the coordinator of the BRM, Alex Brown (who also played a crucial role in the outcome of OpenXML, but that’s subject for another post, because I didn’t revealed yet all I saw in Geneva), and he publishes on his blog a FAQ with the rules of the BRM. This FAQ also circulated as an official ISO document, and can be found here.
Look what is written in this document:
4.1 Will IPR issues be discussed at the BRM?
No. IPR issues in this process are the exclusive preserve of the ITTF. IPR decisions have previously been delegated by all the ISO and IEC members (NBs) to the CEOs of IEC and ISO, and they in turn have examined them and found no outstanding problems. NBs seeking reassurance in such matters must pursue them through other avenues than the BRM.
In other words, the CEOs of ISO and IEC (the highest authorities of the two entities) had assessed the intellectual property issues on OpenXML and found nothing, so no committee around the world have to worry about the issue… I remember that I’ve asked about it few times, and the answer was always the same: “Kid, you are doubting the CEOs of ISO and IEC ?”… but what about the i4i litigation ?
Most of the ECMA delegates I know are Microsoft employees or business partners of the company. This staff can be anything but “uninformed” and therefore I can’t believe that ECMA didn’t know the litigation too.
So, I change the question asked by Groklaw almost two months ago for a more direct one: Who fooled who?
We all know that all NBs was fooled, that the countries have seen their names used in an unscrupulous way and that all delegates and competent technicians has been fooled too.
I really hope to hear something from the cited parties cited, and I believe that all International Society expect the same. We no longer live in a world where a nonsense fact like this can be accepted, and I’ll not stop until I find an answer (and I know I’m not alone in this quest).
I also would like to know from the ISO/IEC what they have to say about all this. They knew the i4i litigation ?
To finalize, I appeal again to CEOs of ISO and IEC: The G-20 is a reality, and it’s never too late to correct an injustice !
In the comments, the president of the FFII writes:
ISO should pull down the ISO29500 immediately.
No one can implement this specification safely.
ISO29500 should be withdrawn “Now”.
Georg C. F. Greve, the founder of the FSFE, writes about the above: “The first rule of the #OOXML club? Don’t talk about the legal problems!”
Rob Weir has more to say about the role of Alex Brown:
Curiously, NBs were asked to make their final decision without actually seeing the text of the standard they were being asked to approve. ISO leadership denied requests from several NBs, a formal SC34 resolution requesting this text, as well as NB appeals, all which asked to have access to the “final DIS” text that would eventually be published. The ISO chief, in his response to the NB appeals, called the final text of OOXML “irrelevant” (prophetic words, indeed!) and would only permit NBs to have access to a list of over 1,000 resolutions from the BRM, many of which gave great editing discretion to the Microsoft consultant who would eventually produce the final text of the specification.
I discussed why the lack of a final DIS text was a problem back in May 2008:
We are currently approaching a two month period where NB’s can lodge an appeal against OOXML. Ordinarily, one of the grounds for appeal would be if the Project Editor did not faithfully carry out the editing instructions approved at the BRM. For example, if he failed to make approved changes, made changes that were not authorized, or introduced new errors when applying the approved changes. But with no final DIS text, the NB’s are unable to make any appeals on those grounds. By delaying the release of the final DIS text, JTC1 is preventing NB’s from exercising their rights.
Would you make thousands of changes to code and then not allow anyone to test it, and then release it internationally? Of course not. Doing so would amount to professional malpractice. But that is essentially what ISO did with OOXML.
Weir is very careful not to mention names (personalising issues), but it’s obvious who’s who, not to mention the current role these people play in derailing ODF. We shall come to this in a moment. To say that ISO was “gamed” is an understatement. ISO was hijacked and a lot of people corrupted and bribed. There is extensive evidence to show this.
On a more positive note, Bob Sutor (IBM) writes about new success stories for ODF, followed by feedback from Roberto Galoppini and also his colleague Rob Weir.
Roberto Galoppini also writes about the ODF plugfest and spreads the word now that the event is approaching.
The second in a series of events that will bring together implementors of OASIS OpenDocument Format/ISO 26300 to unilaterally test and discuss implementation issues of ODF with each other. All ODF implementors and/or those looking into the matter are invited to participate in this event on behalf of the Netherlands government and OpenDoc Society.
We wrote about those plugfests before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9 10, 11, 12]. Microsoft (and its ecosystem) attended plugfests to throw some criticism at this standard, which it hates but at the same time must watch over. Alex Brown’s friend, who has always been hostile towards ODF, drops Microsoft’s talking points to be used against ODF while Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh makes fun of ODF as well. Those who are not employees of Microsoft often feed the company by insulting ODF “by proxy”, so to speak.
“Those who are not employees of Microsoft often feed the company by insulting ODF “by proxy”, so to speak.”In the latest example seen above, we are witnessing a familiar old pattern of deception. As our reader puts it, “Microsoft is able to spin it as Microsoft vs 1 company (either IBM or Sun depending on the circumstances) with amnesia about the rest. Via OASIS, 600 companies, universities and government agencies were behind the initial development of the first try at a universal office format. About two dozen were taking the lead in development.” This politicisation of the issue (courtesy of Microsoft) has gone on for years.
Anyway, those who are speaking about the ODF plugfest now include Glyn Moody, Gwynne Monahan, Jomar Silva, Thomas Zander (Nokia), Rob Weir, and the “elephant in the room” Doug Mahugh. The Microsoft crowd is still trying to 'tame' or dethrone Rob Weir, so Jomar Silva sarcastically writes: “Oh my God ! Mr. Vadar is the chair of the ODF TC ! We must be the bad guys ! (M$ fan boys are impressive)”
Microsoft is still striving to control ODF like it controls ISO and Weir must be polite. That’s probably why he also omits names and does not write about the OOXML scandals as much as he used to.
Microsoft’s hijack attempts affect not only the ODF TC. Watch who is involved in the Document Interoperability Initiative: Microsoft, Microsoft allies, and Microsoft-funded groups.
* I’ll be covering the Office 2010 extensions (as was covered by the Office program managers in last month’s DII workshop in Redmond). I will also present the latest news on how we’re working to improve ODF interoperability between Office and other popular applications, and talk about our plans for the future.
* Alex Brown will be covering present and future plans for the Office-o-tron validator project.
* Klaus-Peter Eckert of Fraunhofer FOKUS will present the latest status of the document test library project and other work Fraunhofer is doing to improve interoperability.
Microsoft attempts to control the whole thing, including so-called interoperability. We showed a lot of evidence before [1, 2, 3].
Even in Wikipedia, ODF-hostile content gets injected into the article about ODF by the Microsoft folks, as last shown some days ago. Some references to Microsoft blogs are now being removed, as well as the poison that they have injected.
A more detailed account of how Microsoft subverts Wikipedia (on ODF) can be found in, e.g.:
Microsoft leads people to confusion, fear, and absorption of disinformation using those people who only pretend to be friends of ODF. Here for instance is a person who was unfortunately led to making a false claim given new software like Androffice. ODF does a lot better than Microsoft would have people believe. █
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Summary: The Linux Foundation has officially begun embracing Free video; The BBC dumps Real
ABOUT A day ago, the Linux Foundation took its big step forward and uploaded videos from LPC, not before Ogg versions were made available. We linked to the news a few hours ago, but given the value of what the Linux Foundation has done this time around, it’s worth praising in a separate post. Here for example is the talk from Linus Torvalds — a first among many that we shall post daily.
In other important news, last year we shared this video which shows why BBC media is so Windows oriented. Well, the BBC is now getting rid of RealPlayer options, so it is time to pressure for Ogg or Dirac support from the Beeb.
When streaming services are evaluated against these measures, we take into account where different formats might need to be implemented, evolved or deprecated.
Well, now is the time to adopt the freest format of all. It is neither Windows nor Real, that’s for sure. █
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“I’d put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1.”
–Steve Ballmer, 2001
Summary: Google creates more funnels to lead away from Microsoft software and formats/protocols; Microsoft takes aim at GNU/Linux
MANY migrations without permission seem to involve SharePoint, which is the most total Microsoft piece of lock-in, allegedly. There are some ways out however and another new one has just received coverage from Glyn Moody, who writes about a new Google Sites API.
Cracking Open the SharePoint Fortress
Assuming that I’ve not missed something here, this new Google Sites API seems pretty big to me: it offers a Get Out of Jail Free card to businesses that would otherwise find some of their content locked away in SharePoint. And once that data is liberated, there are plenty of open enterprise content management solutions out there that would be glad to accommodate it – without the lock-in, of course.
Here is some more new stuff from Google, which enables people to escape the Microsoft Office lock-in. [via Glyn Moody]
As interns on the Google Docs team this past summer, we were excited to be able to work on making Google Docs that much more useful for students like us. We’ve now added a bunch of back to school features which should help our fellow students make the transition from summer to school that much easier — and we hope they’ll be useful to you non-students as well!
There is support for equations now. Since Docs adheres to OpenDocument format (ODF), it will interact nicely with other ODF-compliant software, maybe with the exception of Microsoft Office that does mathematics its own way, thus breaking interoperability [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
Without Free software, there would probably be no Google. Microsoft realises what’s going on here, so its obsession with blocking GNU/Linux, the "most potent operating system competitor," promptly kicks in again.
Microsoft’s server and tools business in the coming year will focus on gaining ground in the high-end database and server market, helping users transition to the cloud and extending its dominance over Linux, according to the division president.
What about UNIX? And if Steve Ballmer says that 60 percent of servers run GNU/Linux, why use the expression “extending its dominance over Linux”?
Is IDG trying to imply that GNU/Linux is behind, that Microsoft is dominant in servers, and that Microsoft is the one with the momentum? Based on the latest results from Red Hat, the most dominant player in the GNU/Linux servers area, their profit is up 37% despite a tough economy, whereas Microsoft’s is down by over 30% for two consecutive quarters. It is very clear who has the momentum. Matt Asay has just published this post with the dramatic headline “Red Hat to collide with Microsoft,” wherein he claims that:
For years, Red Hat has happily sold Linux to Unix shops anxious to save money at equivalent or better performance. During this time, the company largely avoided Microsoft, which has tended to compete much higher up the stack. No longer. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer argues that one of Microsoft’s biggest opportunities lies in enterprise infrastructure and associated application development.
Red Hat, meet Redmond.
More recently, Red Hat told Microsoft to end the racketeering practices and also accused Microsoft of having patent trolls attack Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. As a nice new essay recently stated in its headline, we should not blame Microsoft; “It’s their nature,” indeed. They just can’t help acting like thugs. █
“We should whack them [Dell over Red Hat GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”
–Paul Flessner, Microsoft
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