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02.21.14

In Another Attempt to Derail British ODF Policy Microsoft Calls Its Systematic Bribery “Internationally Recognised”

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft wants us to embrace the criminal’s standard, not a real standard

ODF format

Summary: Microsoft strikes back against the British government for ‘daring’ to consider something other than proprietary software with proprietary formats

CRIMINAL organisation Microsoft, which is renowened for its illegal activities and collusion with other criminal entities, is calling its syndicates in the UK to go retaliate against British politicians who favour Free/libre software, fair competition, British companies, and real standards. This was predicable because it happened before (e.g. watering down of policies). It’s Microsoft’s way of “doing business”. Corruption is the de facto standard when it comes to Microsoft deals with the British government (various departments). We included evidence in over 100 posts over the years.

Microsoft’s latest retribution attempts are centred around the requirement of a standard. Microsoft wants us to believe that its crime-riddled proprietary formats, collectively referred to as OOXML, are in any way ‘standard’. They’re not. Not even in the UK. They’re corruption. Recall that even Britain’s BSI faced lawsuits over this corruption, as we covered in old posts such as:

Having been found to be bribing governments (probably as big as China's, not just banana republics), Microsoft should watch carefully its next move in the UK. If it attempts to bribe officials again (even ‘soft’ bribery), then it will receive a lot of blowback but no jail time, as it’s exempted from punishment for such crimes and Ballmer ran away on time.

Microsoft says that choosing ODF “sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard,” referring to OOXML in the latter part. Well, everyone who watched this carefully knows the huge levels of corruption involved there, including bribed officials, rigged voted, etc. Nobody really considers OOXML “internationally recognised”; except Microsoft boosters and fake ‘journalists’ perhaps. Those know are informed recognise it as an internationally-recognised case of systematic crime by Microsoft. Here is a summary of just some of these crimes (counted up to an early point in time).

The British press says “Microsoft hits back at government’s open source plans,” noting that “Microsoft has urged its partners to pay closer attention to what it describes as the government’s “ill-considered” proposals to move to a more open IT model.”

Here again we see Microsoft acting by proxy. We saw that before. Whenever some Free software house (small business) in the UK receives some business from the government Microsoft sends out its proxies/partners as though they are some kind of “task forcex” (Microsoft terminology), commissioned to destroy any traces of non-Microsoft in the public sector. It’s an act of cleansing and it’s very well designed and occrdinated by the Redmond-based convicted monopolist.

“Last month,” the article gives context, “the government hinted it was considering moving away from technology such as Microsoft Office in favour of open-source offerings in an effort to break supplier “oligopoly”.”

Yes, indeed, and what’s wrong with that?

“According to Microsoft,” says the article, “the government is currently undergoing a consultation on plans to mandate the use of Open Document Formats (ODF) and to ditch Microsoft-developed Open XML (OOXML).”

Yes, indeed, because that’s the ethical and technical thing to do. We are going to take part in this consultation and we are going to urge our readers (especially British readers) to do the same. Microsoft is certainly going to use its proxies to bombard those in the consultation (sometimes it infiltrates those who assess the process, too, in addition to sending template letters to ‘DDOS’ the process, occasionally with sockpuppets) and the words from Microsoft are especially appalling because OOXML is a story of bribery and corruption, OOXML is not really a standard. Marketing, deception, revisionism, personal attacks etc. are going to be used by Microsoft to try to make it look like ODF is all about IBM and OOXML is ‘the’ standard. In reality, it’s not an international standard but an international case of crime (that tte European Commission was assigned to handle). Hundreds of examples can be given to show this, including bribery, entryism, retribution, bullying, etc. If OOXML was a real “open” standard, then how come when I leaked it (as if one needs to ‘leak’ standards) Microsoft and its cronies threatened litigation against me? So much for “open”… they were hiding the technical flaws and the fact that it’s just a scam (cannot be implemented by anyone but Microsoft, which also did not implement it, ever).

A Cabinet Office representative stated in response to Microsoft’s comments: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we’re committed to opening up government procurement to a wider range of suppliers. We want to see a greater range of software used and for departments to choose what is right for them and the users of their services.”

Simon Phipps, who back in the days of these Microsoft crime worked at Sun, calls for people to participate in the consultation. Any Updegrove, who was at the forefront back then as well, says “[t]he deadline is next Wednesday – make sure you’re heard!” We will be writing a letter and we urge others to do the same, possibly over the weekend. Talking about Microsoft’s crime and the rogue process should not be a taboo; justice has a lot to do with it. If the UK moves to ODF and embraces Free software, then other nations will use that as an example and follow suit.

01.29.14

UK Government Seems to Be Serious About Moving to Free Software and OpenDocument Format This Time Around

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: British politicians finally decide that by throwing away Microsoft spyware (in favour of FOSS and ‘cloud’ spyware like Google Docs) savings can be passed to the British public

AS ONE who works with the British public sector, I have heard some truly disturbing stories about FOSS projects being derailed by outside intervention (Microsoft partners, lobbyists, etc.) and seen some for myself. This is not a gentlemen’s club; it’s a fierce, manipulative race for domination. Those who are enjoying overpriced contracts with the government would never let go.

Earlier today there was this report in the British press [1] about something that requires looking at the date stamp. The headline says “UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source” and it seems like a blast from the past. On many occasions before the government said it would transition to FOSS and ODF (on which there were workshops), but it hardly ever happened. Is this time different from the previous times? Let’s wait and see. Microsoft sure is lobbying and probably setting up “task forces” or “response teams” (Microsoft’s terminology) with the sole goal is derailing this policy by all means necessary (ousting those involved has been a common strategy).

Meanwhile, suggests this piece of news from Belgium [2], the “Dutch city of Ede spends 92 percent less (!) than its peers on software licenses” and owing to FOSS use a “Dutch town lowers IT cost 24% vs peers” [3]. Fantastic, but it’s consistent with what Dutch researchers showed more than half a decade ago (Microsoft partners demonised them and criticised/ridiculed their reports). In other news from the same source [4,5], “Finnish schools using open source reap savings” (no surprise here either). Remember what BECTA did in the UK? As we’ve argued many times over the years, the UK is likely to be the last country in Europe to migrate to FOSS, but it would be pleasing to be proven wrong.
Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source

    Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.

    Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.

    But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the “open document format” (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.

  2. Dutch city of Ede spends 92 percent less (!) than its peers on software licenses

    The city of Ede, the Netherlands, currently has an annual total ICT budget of six million euros. According to the Dutch Berenschot benchmark for municipal ICT costs, that is 24 percent less than other municipalities of comparable size are spending. Drilling down shows that most of this reduction can be explained by Ede’s extremely low spend on software licenses: only 56 euros per full-time equivalent employee (FTE) instead of 731 euros. That’s a very impressive 92 percent less than average. Such a large reduction was achieved by moving from proprietary to open source software.

  3. OSS use Dutch town lowers IT cost 24% vs peers

    Public administrations that switch to free and open source software can expect a large reduction of their ICT costs, a study published on Joinup shows. The annual ICT costs for the Dutch municipality of Ede are now 24% lower than its peers. “Most of this reduction can be explained by Ede’s extremely low spend on software licenses: only 56 euros per full-time equivalent employee instead of 731 euros. Such a large reduction was achieved by moving from proprietary to open source software.”

  4. Finnish schools using open source reap savings

    Municipalities in Finland that have switched their schools to Linux and other open source solutions are saving millions of euro, says Jouni Lintu, CIO of Opinsys. “Typically, our centrally managed open source computers are at least 40 percent cheaper than the proprietary alternative. The total savings could be 10 million.”

  5. Finnish Schools Save Big With FLOSS

    I’ve seen it repeatedly. New systems cost half as much and migrating old systems costs a fraction of that. The saving in money is important but so is the saving in time. In a typical school the effort could drop from many hours per week to minutes.

01.10.14

Corporate Press is Burying LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org, States Exclude Them

Posted in IBM, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LibreOffice

Summary: Free/libre office suites LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are mostly ignored by the corporations-funded media, despite having new major developments such as Web-based versions

OBJECTIVE reporting is the key to fairness and justice. Without it, we are left with incitations, half-truths (censorship by omission), and agenda/indocrination disguised as ‘information’. Interestingly enough, IDG (paid by Microsoft) decided to pretty much ‘vanish’ Free software. LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org get no mention in an article about Microsoft Office alternatives [1]. Is the author dumb, misinformed (e.g. never heard of Free software), or is he driving some kind of Fog Computing agenda? Whatever is the case, we have to counter such deficient ‘reporting’. The consequences of such poorly-executed ‘journalism’ include states where Microsoft is found guilty of evading tax simply excluding non-Microsoft users from doing their taxes, as this new article reveals. Titled “Microsoft and your tax returns”, this article says that “The Excel “macro” feature used in tax forms released by the Income Tax department means that free software — such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc. that otherwise support Microsoft Excel files, not to mention cheaper alternatives from Microsoft itself, like MS Office Starter Edition — cannot be used on those forms.

“In short, any tax payer trying to file income tax online in India has a fairly expensive dependency on Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Windows.”

in Australia and elsewhere Windows may sometimes be required for tax purposes, but not Microsoft Office, which is a lot more expensive. So this is quite a scandal. Muktware, a news site run by quite a few writers from India, shows that there are many Free/libre alternatives to Microsoft Office [2].

There is a very disturbing trend where those who abandon Microsoft Office (which is a good thing in itself) move to other proprietary software with surveillance, for instance the City of Boston, which moves 76,000 city employees to Google Apps [3]. Why not choose or consider Free software, as the City of Largo apparently does [4]? Maybe bad reporting leads people to the wrong alternatives, or in other words to traps. It was the same with IBM’s proprietary traps (Lotus) half a decade or so ago.

Despite getting a cold shoulder from Novell/SUSE, LibreOffice is doing all right with a new board [5,6] and online version (comparable to the above) [7,8]. Apache OpenOffice is still very much alive, as IBM (main steward) claims [9] and there are new releases of LibreOffice coming [10]. Why is the corporate press mostly ignoring that? This may be a rhetorical question.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Moving to Office 365? Dig deep into your options first
  2. Best word processors for GNU/Linux

    Word processing is an important part of work – and not just office work; everyone needs word processors at some point. This is the first article in the series ‘Best Open Source Apps’ and here I will talk about the most popular open source word processors for GNU/Linux: AbiWord, Calligra Words and LibreOffice Writer. I didn’t take OpenOffice Writer because it is not all that different from LibreOffice Writer.

  3. Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps

    Every Boston city employee from police officers to public school teachers now have a Google Apps account.

  4. Dave At City of Largo Reports Looking At NX and LibreOffice 4.1

    While the trolls here constantly tell us how essential that other OS is people in the real world keep rolling along comfortably with GNU/Linux, LibreOffice and making unfettered (by M$’s EULA) use of the hardware they own.

  5. A New Board for a New Year
  6. The Document Foundation Elects New Directors
  7. Rollapp’s Online LibreOffice Nearly Ready for Prime Time – But Not Yet
  8. Now you can run LibreOffice in a browser
  9. Latest Stable LibreOffice 4.1.4 Released
  10. Apache OpenOffice 2013 Mailing List Review

    I did a quick study of the 2013 mailing list traffic for the Apache OpenOffice project. I looked at all project mailing lists, including native language lists. I omitted the purely transactional mailing lists, the ones that merely echo code check-ins and bug reports. Altogether 14 mailing lists were included in this study.

12.26.13

Google Should Boycott ECMA, Not Pay ECMA

Posted in ECMA, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Too many hirings from Microsoft?

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

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 [1]. It is clear why we need standards that everyone can implement [2] (it is good for manufacturers and purchasers, not for monopolists) and ODF is one such standard that still makes some headlines [3] and finds selective support from governments (even here in the Microsoft-centric UK [4]).

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 [5]. 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.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. When FRAND meets FOSS: Bottom Up or Top Down?

    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.

  2. One charger to power nearly every laptop coming from standards group
  3. OpenDocument ODF Support Coming To The Web

    WebODF is a new open-source projet that allows ODF document files to be displayed within a web-browser. WebODF is used by the new OwnCloud release for its collaborative, web-based ODF file editing.

    WebODF is similar to PDF.js, the JavaScript library for rendering PDF files natively in the web-browser, but this project is of course all about supporting the Open Document Format.

  4. Christmas comes early for the Open Document Faithful (ODF)

    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.

  5. ECMA Is Working On Standardizing Google’s Dart

    ECMA International has formed a technical committee to work on a standard specification for the Dart web programming language that’s developed by Google as an alternative to JavaScript.

12.10.13

Microsoft Shows That Corruption Pays Off

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al Capone mugshot and Steve Ballmer

Summary: The company which aids crimes of the state is protected from having its crimes treated as such; just like big banks that receive bailouts rather than jail sentences, Microsoft receives document formats monopoly rather than embargo

SEVERAL years ago it was rare and unusual for one to receive OOXML files, but nowadays this is becoming common. Microsoft corruption paid off. Not a single person was sent to prison, let alone put on trial or an antitrust probe. It sure seems — as Microsoft would would gladly demonstrate — that very large corporations are above the law and if they are eager to engage in fraud and corruption, then they will get away with it, provided they are close enough to government (Microsoft — like Cisco and AT&T — is somewhat an NSA Trojan horse).

A few days ago a good British journalist wrote about Open Document Format, reminding us of what many people forgot. I could never forget ODF because I wrote almost a thousand posts about this area and I saw a huge amount of Microsoft crime going on without punishment (let alone any promise of punishment). This saga helped show that no matter how much crime Microsoft commits (e.g. bribing governments) some governments will continue to protect it. US officials will even act like Microsoft marketing people, almost as if they are trying to set up spying posts in other countries. They would go as far as trying to portray ODF as "anti American" because it can reduce dependence on Microsoft’s back doors-friendly operating system.

Earlier today Glyn Moody asked,” where did ODF disappear to?”

As Moody put it: “Readers with good memories may remember various key fights over the years that were largely about ODF and OOXML. The first round culminated in the extraordinarily shoddy fast-tracking of OOXML through the ISO standards process. Then we had a big battle over open standards in general, which also involved ODF and OOXML, where the UK government performed a dizzying series of U-turns.

“That was over two years ago, and it struck me that after years of sound and fury, and all the work the open source community put into supporting ODF and open standards, we have recently heard nothing about the use of ODF by the UK government. That is, OOXML seems to have won be default. Indeed, it is striking that practically every document from the UK government is in OOXML format: for a while, there was an attempt to offer ODF formats too, but clearly people in UK government have given up even pretending to be fair here.”

Remember that as long as Microsoft protects criminals who do it with impunity (state support) it will continue to be protected by the Establishment. For anyone who thinks that technical merits can be used to win an argument, well… politics is not hinged on logic. The NSA and NSA-funded GCHQ show us that politics is not even hinged on law. Outlawed practices (cracking, viruses, etc.) and digital disorder (like OOXML) is okay when those in power say they need it.

11.15.13

Oracle Continues Its Destruction of Free/Libre Software, But Projects Like LibreOffice, MariaDB, and Ceylon Show That Popular Free/Libre Software Just Can’t Die

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Java, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Larry Ellison: “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We'll Simply Take It.”
Larry Ellison: “We Have to Exploit Open Source.”

Larry Elllison on stage
Photo from Oracle Corporate Communications

Summary: Oracle’s latest casualty is commercial support for Glassfish JEE Server, but replacements for Java continue to multiply

Oracle has hardly been friendly towards FOSS, and that’s putting it very politely. Oracle actively attacked some FOSS (like Android) and shelved some important FOSS projects like OpenOffice.org, eventually turning it into Apache OpenOffice and then turning its back on it. In addition, Oracle’s abandonment of Java products seems evident [1] (Glassfish JEE Server this time), leaving the likes of Red Hat to bridge the gap [2], joining the likes of Google with Dalvik. Oracle has been a disappointing steward of Java and Java-based projects, so when it comes to branching off in different directions, that’s just fine. As for MySQL, MariaDB — like LibreOffice — helps keep it somewhat safe from Oracle’s neglect [3] (a lot of applications out there still depend on MySQL [4,5]) and there are some big new storage players [6,7] which jeopardise Oracle’s core business (MySQL was an Oracle rival, but so was Postgres, well before Apache Cassandra and and Apache Hadoop).

It remains hard to explain why Oracle turned its back on OpenOffice.org like this. Back in the days Oracle put its weight behind ODF and even opposed OOXML, which is a growing problem [8]. Now we have two options [9], both the IBM-backed [10] Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice, which is mostly driven by users’ needs (see [11] from Charles-H. Schulz), has frequent releases [12], and is focused on innovation [13], not profit. There are smaller players in this lucrative area of office suites, both Free/libre [14] and proprietary [15], but none is as important as what used to be StarOffice. Nothing other than OpenOffice.org could really challenge and replace Microsoft Office in businesses (from proprietary lock-in to freedom and standards).

The important thing we can learn from all this is that when software is free in the licensing sense it is extremely difficult for aggressors like Oracle to kill. The licence of the code protects the software; developers can take the code and continue the work elsewhere, as long as there is enough demand to drive development. There is another lesson to be learned here. For a business, it is a lot less risky to choose Free/libre software as chances of discontinuation are fairly low, especially when the software is well-established (like Linux and Apache).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Oracle abandons commercial support for Glassfish JEE Server
  2. Red Hat ships piping hot Ceylon to curry favor with Java-weary devs

    After more than three years of development, Red Hat has released version 1.0.0 of Ceylon, its homebrewed, open-source programming language that’s designed to be a replacement for Java.

    Early on, Ceylon was billed as a “Java killer” by some, but lead developer Gavin King has denied that doing away with Oracle’s platform was ever his intent. In fact, even the earliest builds of Ceylon produced code that ran on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

    Instead, King sought to create a new language that could run alongside Java but would be based on more modern class libraries and would have a syntax more amenable to defining user interfaces – something King believes there is “no good way” to do in Java.

    In its current form, King describes Ceylon as a “cross-platform” language. The 1.0.0 release, announced at the Devoxx conference in Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday, includes compilers that can output either Java bytecode or JavaScript.

    That allows the same Ceylon source modules to run on either the JVM or a JavaScript execution environment such as Node.js, interchangeably. Or, a Ceylon program can be written to target only one of Java or JavaScript, in which case it can interoperate with native code written in that language.

  3. Oracle’s nemesis MariaDB releases sleekest seal yet to beta

    The news came out at the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference in Stanford, California on Wednesday, one month after El Reg reported that Google had assigned one of its engineers to the MariaDB Foundation. News of the swap was not an official announcement by Google, it came out during a presentation by Google senior systems engineer Jeremy Cole on the general state of the MySQL ecosystem.

  4. MySQL Performance and Tuning Best Practices
  5. MySQL Security Best Practices
  6. Cassandra 2.0: The next generation of big data

    Apache has just released Apache Cassandra v2.0, the latest version of its popular highly-scalable, big data distributed database.

  7. Hortonworks to seek IPO within two years, CEO says

    The Palo Alto, California-based company is a Yahoo Inc spin-off founded in 2011 by a team of software engineers working on Yahoo’s Apache Hadoop implementation.

  8. Shall we waste twelve more years promoting Free office suites instead of open office formats?

    Twelve (TWELVE!!!) years ago I asked OpenOffice users “Are you advocating OO correctly”. Six years ago I said the same things in a different format. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a perfect proof that that kind of advocacy IS right, but so far has been never practiced enough.

  9. Apache OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice

    Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the modern descendants of OpenOffice.org. For the last few years, almost all Linux distributions have included LibreOffice as their default office suite. However, in the past eighteen months, OpenOffice has reappeared, newly organized into an Apache project, and free software users now have the choice of two full-featured suites instead of one.

  10. IBM Support for Apache OpenOffice

    The latest, and most significant, enabler of enterprise use of Apache OpenOffice is our IBM Support for Apache OpenOffice offering. Although individual end-users and even small businesses can easily deploy Apache OpenOffice on their own (75 million downloads testifies to that), larger enterprises with more complicated and demanding needs benefit from the kind of expertise that IBM can provide. So I’m glad to see this offering available to fill out the ecosystem, so everyone can use and be successful with Apache OpenOffice, from individual university students, to small non-profits, to large international corporations.

  11. Users: the Final Frontier?

    A few weeks ago we started to have a quite interesting discussion on the LibreOffice project’s marketing mailing list on how to engage users in our community. Readers of Moved by Freedom – Powered by Standards may remember that during the LibreOffice Conference of 2012 in Berlin, the marketing strategy had already defined that the mission of marketing for the LibreOffice project was not to market a product but rather to grow the size of the community of contributors, improve the communications and raise the brand awareness of LibreOffice. This strategy was clearly reaffirmed during our second marketing workshop in Milano in September 2013.

  12. LibreOffice 4.2 Alpha 1 To Bring Many Improvements

    LibreOffice was bumped today for version 4.2.0 Alpha 1, the next major update to the popular open-source office suite.

  13. Forget about meeting customers’ expectations: Innovation comes first

    … and so does pesky market research. The IT bubble has been spreading the word about this Forrester report and as you can imagine it got many of us wondering what it really means. Well it got me wondered about a few things too, but perhaps not for the same reasons others twisted their heads around..

  14. AbiWord: The little word processor that could
  15. Pages 5: An unmitigated disaster

    It certainly is not intended for people who, like me, appreciated the combination of simplicity and power that was the hallmark of previous versions of Pages. I realize that it must be hard to maintain the right balance between simplicity and power when you try to add more features, more customizability, and so on. But Apple’s engineers appear to have chosen to keep the emphasis on “simplicity” at the expense of “power”. They have not just neglected to add features to bring the feature set of the application closer to that of a word processor like Microsoft Word. They have actually removed many features for no apparent reason other than to bring the application in line with its iOS counterpart, which is, inevitably, much less powerful.

    [...]

    I guess that, in an era of mobile, touch-based computing, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Apple engineers to understand that document writers spend most of their days with their hands on an actual keyboard, and providing easy access to functionality via the keyboard is particularly important for them.

10.24.13

Procurement Corruption: Followup on “Open Bar” Contract Between Microsoft and the French Ministry of Defence

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The NSA-friendly back doors chosen politically, barring technical considerations and assessment

Flag of France

Summary: Forced disclosure of administrative documents in France reveals a secret Microsoft deal which is purely political and not technical

FOLLOWING our coverage of Microsoft and spooks collaborating (two months before the NSA leaks began), APRIL (software freedom advocacy group in France) sent us what it called a “[f]ollowup on “Open Bar” contract between Microsoft and French ministry of Defence,” stating:

you wrote a few months ago an article about the “Open Bar” contract
between Microsoft and French ministry of Defence

http://techrights.org/2013/04/21/nato-and-microsoft/.

FYI We published last weeks news documents. These documents show that
choosing an Open Bar contract was indeed the result of a political
decision which clearly was made before the feasibility and risks studies
were being performed.

Read on :

http://www.april.org/en/open-bar-contract-between-microsoft-and-french-ministry-defence-new-documents-support-political-game

This page says: “This framework contract, which was signed without any open call for tender or competitive procedure, granted right of use on some Microsoft products and associated services for the duration of the contract, i.e. four years. It was signed in complete secrecy, despite numerous negative opinions, and was the subject of several leaks to the press.”

“Taking advantage of this information, we made two successive requests for administrative documents. The first one obtained a partially usable response. We are now publishing the released documents resulting from the second one.”

This is very fascinating and it can give clues as to what happens in other countries. France is generally considered one of the most FOSS-friendly countries in the world when it comes to the public sector (based on Europe-wide assessment from professional assessors it was ranked first). Microsoft's assault on standards, which include ODF, was very interesting in France because then too it involved political corruption and involvement by Nicolas Sarkozy, who was close to Microsoft executives. This led to OOXML apologism and adoption [1, 2],

It is clear that Microsoft is intimidated (poor Microsoft!) if not deeply shocked to find the French police moving to GNU/Linux. Other proprietary software vendors are becoming “legacy vendors” as some call them [1] and as proprietary systems show massive failures in the British public sector, e.g. [2], we are likely to see more nations embracing Free/libre software (new example in [3,4]), with ODF leading the way in many cases (LibreOffice gets more support [5,6] and development effort [7]). Speaking of the UK, things change here for the better and just yesterday the UK Home Office became a client of the company I work for.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Does Open Source’s Rise Spell The End Of Traditional Software Vendors?

    It’s clear that open source is shaking up the technology industry. What isn’t yet clear is how this impacts legacy vendors.

  2. Abandoned NHS IT system has cost £10bn so far

    Richard Bacon, a Conservative member of the committee, said the report was further evidence of a “systemic failure” in the government’s ability to draw up and manage large IT contracts. “This saga is one of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector.

  3. Finland Gets Free/Libre Open Source Software
  4. Open source search engine for Finnish libraries and museums

    A recently unveiled search engine for accessing the collections of Finland’s archives, libraries and museums was built on open source, announces the country’s National Library. “The advantage of open source is that it enables organisations to work together to develop a system without limits, contracts or procedures.” The engine itself is also made publicly available.

  5. Studio Storti joins The Document Foundation Advisory Board to Complement the Launch of the LibreOffice Division

    The Document Foundation (TDF) announces that Studio Storti is now a member of its Advisory Board. Studio Storti is the largest provider of open source solutions to the Italian Public Administration, and is launching a LibreOffice Division to support migrations from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice.

  6. CloudOn joins The Document Foundation Advisory Board to Accelerate LibreOffice Availability on Mobile Devices
  7. LibreOffice 4.1.2 RC2 Finally Fixes the TIFF Import

10.18.13

Oracle Hates Free/Libre Software

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.”Larry Ellison

Summary: A roundup of news about Oracle, which took and ripped apart many valuable Free/Open Source software (FOSS) projects

MATT ASAY, who sells FOSS databases (a disruptive force), points out [1] that “Oracle Still Hates Open Source Software” because, based on some reports [2,3], The United States’ Department of Defense is being lobbied by Oracle to avoid FOSS. Remember that Oracle has roots and connections with the CIA/NSA. This is an organisational position, not some opinion posted by an employee in some personal blog. Oracle’s current position on patents is also troubling.

As pointed out by some [4], VirtualBox is oddly enough one of the few FOSS projects which Oracle did not shoot in the back [5], maybe because it helps run proprietary operating systems. Most famously, Oracle chose to litigate with software patents over Java and pretty much abandoned OpenOffice.org, passing it to Apache at the end. Microsoft Office is widely loathed by technical people [6], so Oracle missed a real opportunity here. South Tyrol wants to be using ODF/LibreOffice [7] to avoid layoffs (through savings) while LibreOffice conferences [8] and workshops [9] show that despite SUSE stepping out of backing/support for this project (just like Oracle), FOSS is just too hard to kill. Too bad for Larry Ellison, who can’t just buy FOSS out of existence

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. News Flash: Oracle Still Hates Open Source Software

    Oracle wants the U.S. Department of Defense to believe open source costs more and is less reliable. Too bad the DOD knows better.

  2. Oracle tells the military to buy their products instead of using open source

    Oracle has never been shy about promoting its products. The Register is reporting today that Oracle is recommending that the military stay away from open source apps.

  3. Oracle says open source has no place in military apps

    Oracle has popped out a white paper that may well turn some heads, because it contains robust criticism of open source software.

    Titled “The Department of Defense (DoD) and Open Source Software” and available here as a PDF to those with Oracle accounts or here in Dropbox, the document’s premise is that folks in the USA’s Department of Defense (DoD) could think it is possible to save money if they “… avoid buying commercial software products simply by starting with open source software and developing their own applications.”

  4. VirtualBox 4.3 Lets You Run Many Cutting-Edge Platforms at Once

    It’s been interesting to watch which components of Sun Microsystems’ portfolio of products–many of which were open source projects–Oracle has chosen to embrace or abandon since its acquisition of Sun. One project that it hasn’t jettisoned is VirtualBox, which has just arrived in a new version 4.3. The popular hypervisor is now tuned to work with operating systems that have just arrived, including Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X 10.9 ( “Mavericks” ), and it’s also tuned to work smoothly with Linux distros. The new version also supports multi-monitor setups and touch interfaces conventions.

  5. VirtualBox 4.3 comes with New Multi-Touch Support, virtual cam and more

    Oracle announced the release of VirtualBox 4.3, this is a major release that comes with important new features, devices support and improvements

  6. Why Microsoft Word must Die

    I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion.

  7. Avoiding layoffs motivates South Tyrol province-wide switch
  8. Slides for my talk at LibreOffice conference
  9. LibreOffice Marketing Workshop Milano 2013 – an overview

    This year saw, among other conferences, the second marketing strategy workshop for the LibreOffice project. While a workshop’s slides tend to be rather short and relatively unimportant, I intended to publlish some feedback that’s on the Marketing Pad as well as my own impressions about the state of marketing activities in the project. My slides emphasized what was going wrong more than what was right but it was nonetheless useful to start the workshop on that basis.

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