OOXML Revisionism (Updated)

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

Official portrait of President Reagan, 1981

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Richard Stallman Reiterates Threat of Mono, Wikipedia Censored by Mono Boosters

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Wikipedia at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman at the launch of GPLv3

Summary: The belittling of Richard Stallman follows his reminder of the Mono problem and Microsoft apologists play a part in it

IT IS NOT news that the FSF formally discourages use of Mono (and Moonlight which depends on it). Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza carries on bragging about new features in Mono 2.8, which is essentially co-developed with Microsoft now.

Freedom champion Glyn Moody spoke to Richard Stallman earlier this month and revealed that Stallman had not changed his mind about Mono. To quote the relevant bits:

GM: Could you please explain the problems with Microsoft’s .NET? Is all of it equally problematic, or just some, given that Microsoft has made its Open Specification Promise for parts?

RMS: Eben Moglen told me that “open specification promise” is not something we can rely on.

For the C# language that was standardized by a standards committee, Microsoft was required to make a stronger commitment. But that does not apply to the rest of .NET.

GM: Against that background, what is your current advice to people in terms of using .NET technologies, and why?

RMS: You shouldn’t write software to use .NET. No exceptions.

The basic point is that Microsoft has patents over features in .NET, and its patent promise regarding free software implementations of those is inadequate. It may someday attack the free implementations of these features.

The Source has responded to this by writing:

Team Apologista refuses to honestly acknowledge that the patent promise covering .NET is insufficient. In fact, a favorite tactic of Mono Apologists is to mention some other technology (usually AJAX or FTP) and then pretend the Mono situation is similar to AJAX, and so if one is opposed to the former, they must also oppose the latter, or are ignorant/hypocritical/whatever.

The truth of the matter is that .NET is NOT under the same “promise” that these other technologies are, so this ruse is inaccurate. Shockingly, Mono apologists continue to use this faulty “defense”.

Additionally, much of .NET (and corresponding portions of Mono) are NOT covered by any promise whatsoever – and despite Team Apologista’s occasional concession on this point (often with vague promises to “split” Mono into “covered”/non-”covered” portions), I feel it is not unfair to say Team Apologista downplays this distinction.

At a later point The Source showed that Mono boosters are censoring in Wikipedia, suppressing criticism as others did before them.

Today I was looking through the logs and it struck me I haven’t seen any Wikipedia traffic of late, so on a lark I went to the site and saw someone had (anonymously of course), removed the link to my site, with the following “explanation”:

The Source and BoycottNovell are not trustworthy “news” sites and are known to be anti-Mono/anti-Novell propagandists.)

Note that same users edit history; every edit (excluding a handful back in 2008) is a .NET/Mono-related topic and in every case that I bothered to look at are all non-factual and (in wiki-speak) non-NPOV edits.

Especially devious is how this individual edits articles to downplay patent concerns for Mono, while emphasizing the issue of patents for Portable.NET.

Gotta let people know where they can get that “IP peace of mind” I guess.


This is just more of the same from Team Apologista. Today I was looking through the logs and it struck me I haven’t seen any Wikipedia traffic of late, so on a lark I went to the site and saw someone had (anonymously of course), removed the link to my site, with the following “explanation”:

The Source and BoycottNovell are not trustworthy “news” sites and are known to be anti-Mono/anti-Novell propagandists.)

Note that same users edit history; every edit (excluding a handful back in 2008) is a .NET/Mono-related topic and in every case that I bothered to look at are all non-factual and (in wiki-speak) non-NPOV edits.

Especially devious is how this individual edits articles to downplay patent concerns for Mono, while emphasizing the issue of patents for Portable.NET.

Gotta let people know where they can get that “IP peace of mind” I guess.


This is just more of the same from Team Apologista.

Watch the comment which says:

There is no excuse for removing criticism from Wikipedia, no matter how controversial the subject is.
Heck there is even this on Wikipedia:
So whoever made the change you describe should instead have created a new section on the Moonlight page, called “Criticism”, and moved the content there.
Or created a new page called:
and moved the content there, and linked to it from the main Moonlight page.

Needless to say, I am disgusted by this form of perception management, it has a stench of Microsoft.

But let’s go back to Stallman’s criticism. It appears as though Florian Müller — as misguided as he is when it comes to the subject of Microsoft — has decided to personalise and mass-mail journalists (as usual) with his thoughts on “RMS’s call to boycott .NET, C#, Mono, DotGNU” (notice the strength of the words).

“Avoid .NET and C# at all costs.”
      –FFII President
“It’s kind of predictable that you and some others will interpret my latest blog posting (on Richard Stallman’s call to boycott .NET and its free implementations) in a certain way but that consideration can’t limit me in my expression of opinions,” Müller explained. “I doubt that RMS’s advice to developers hurts Microsoft but the people who do DotGNU, Mono or software running on top of those platforms may be hurt by it, at least emotionally. And for no good reason because .NET isn’t less free than Java or PHP, as I explain on my blog.”

Müller misses the point entirely for reasons we explained before. Maybe he is trying to miss the point, but deliberate misinformation is too hard to prove. Müller is conveniently ignoring Microsoft’s past and he is whitewashing instead, due to an irrational fixation. This latest post of his makes his irrational defence of Microsoft even more apparent and one of our readers broke Godwin’s law when he described what he saw here. There is more of that in the IRC logs.

“Avoid .NET and C# at all costs. Platform dependencies all the way,” told the president of the FFII to Müller, who replied with: “Platform dependencies are a different topic, I just said #swpat aren’t a particular problem of .NET, C#, Mono, DotGNU.”

Michael Widenius, the founder of MySQL who had Müller as a sidekick while serving a Microsoft board, is currently debating the whole “open core” mess and he says:

To me it’s clear that just because some of your product(s) is available under an open source license, you can’t claim to be an open source company, as that would make the term meaningless. Under such a definition even Microsoft would be an open source company, as some of their products are now available as open source.

On what platform/s? Under what conditions? What about software patents? What about Microsoft’s history of criminal abuse? Does that not count?


ODF Roundup: Norway, Germany Migration, ODF 1.2 Support, and ODF 1.1 Interop Profile

Posted in America, Apple, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, Wikipedia at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Overview encompassing 3 weeks of ODF progress and victories

IT has been a long time since our last ODF update, so here is a long post catching up with key events and developments.

According to Peter Krantz, a seminar on ODF took place at Copenhagen Business School one week ago. Bart Hanssens and others noticed it and Hanssens has added this event to the ODF Web site at XML.org.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: 12 Jan 2010 – 09:30 – 15:00
Event Type: Conference

According to published reports in Norwegian and in English, Norwegian Broadcasting moves to OpenOffice.org and ODF. This is great news, but it’s nowhere as big as the news from Munich, which was mostly covered in German (rarely in English). Coverage includes:

There is a lot more about this coming from individual people, with one person saying: “congrats to the #limux team for the complete switch to #odf #linux”

Wikipedia has been updated to reflect on this and the debate carries on. Over in Denmark, a decision on open standards was said to be on the eve of a final decision after the scandals. According to a rough translation from Denmark, Midtjylland is turning to ODF and possibly leaving Microsoft Office. They cite problems with interoperability between Microsoft’s versions of Office. So typical.

Some people still wonder what software is good for ODF support and Sun releases ODF Plugin 3.1 for Microsoft Office, which includes support for ODF 1.2. Microsoft itself supports MSODF, which is not ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

There is also freeware and GPL-licensed software that adds ODF support to Microsoft Office.

Drupal’s support of ODF was mentioned here before, but here it is again in some blog posts and in the ODF Web site, sitting there alongside another new page about OfficeReader (also see OffiViewer).

“Jesper Lund Stocholm and his friends from Microsoft are generally still trolling ODF, as usual.”Sander Marechal adds an anonymiser to Officeshots and the Microsoft provocateur Jesper Lund Stocholm trolls such a feature nonetheless.

Jesper Lund Stocholm and his friends from Microsoft are generally still trolling ODF, as usual. It seems as though Alex Brown and his buddies from Microsoft are bound to make another BSI fiasco. The Internet never forgets.

A Microsoft-sponsored ODF seminar (yes, from the company that attacks ODF) is to take place, according to Microsoft’s ODF-hostile trolls. Unlike IBM for example, Microsoft still wishes to eliminate ODF. That’s just its business objective.

Over in Brazil, there is a debate about ODF [OGG]. A rough translation of some coverage says that the “The director of the ODF Alliance Jomar Silva, @Homembit, was a guest at the table discussion on memory International Seminar of the Forum of Brazilian Digital Culture.”

Direct link

Over in the UK, the OSA’s Mark Antony is told that politicians can be believed “they’re sincere when Whitehall is running on Ubuntu & documents on govt. websites are available in ODF…”

“Currently, Microsoft does not properly support ODF and it still treats it like a second-class citizen.”SJVN has his personal interpretation of the impact of the i4i decision [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. “Maybe in the aftermath of the i4i decision,” he argues, everyone will “just have to bite the bullet & support ODF.” Currently, Microsoft does not properly support ODF and it still treats it like a second-class citizen. Google too has some catching up to do, based on D. R. Evans, not to mention Apple, which has been helping Microsoft against ODF. As one person put it earlier this month, “ISO’s current defect report for ISO 29500 (OOXML) has 809 pages. That are 71 pages more than the full specification of ODF 1.1! !” Miguel de Icaza helped Microsoft address some of these errors, but since then he has been crowned and named Microsoft MVP [1, 2]. He’s like part of that company.

The UX OpenOffice.org blog marks the beginning of the new year and reports from the UX meeting in Hamburg [1, 2] while ZDNet Germany writes about KOffice 2.1.1 (there’s more about Lotus Symphony). Bart Hanssens writes about ODF content at FOSDEM. He is preparing a talk and he has also uploaded a new draft of ODF 1.1 Interop Profile. His colleague Dennis Hamilton is happy about it.

Our reader The Mad Hatter is making valuable information future-proof right about now:

Open Formats – I’m Moving all Mom’s Poetry to Open Document Format


Of course if you do want access to Mom’s poetry, you can just go to OpenOffice.Org, and download Open Office at no cost. There’s no reason you can’t have both Microsoft Office and Open Office installed on the same computer.

In summary, even though there are no major ODF events, this international standard continues to develop and be adopted all around the world.


Convicted Monopoly Abuser Sends Partners to Prison

Posted in Asia, Deception, DRM, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Wikipedia, Windows at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guard tower

Summary: Microsoft is sending partners from India to jail and also hiring from the East in order to lower expenses that are wages

THERE is nothing more absurd than a criminal company sending others to prison while managing to stay out of jail or decommissioning. Almost exactly one year ago we wrote about Microsoft sending Chinese businessmen to prison and now this is happening in India:

i. Software company MD arrested for piracy

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested two persons on Friday, including the managing director of a Delhi-based software company, allegedly for carrying out piracy of Microsoft products.

ii. Partner Cheats on Microsoft

We have been covering Microsoft a lot lately. But for all the wrong reasons these days. First it was the unrest amongst channel partners in the East and North East regarding the arm twisting technique to increase sales. Now it is about the Microsoft Gold Certified partner KK Solutions in Delhi, which the brand caught recently counterfeiting not just the software but also all the certifications.

This is a sure way to drive sellers to GNU/Linux, as Microsoft recently found out in China. In India too, as Microsoft is finding out, this war on so-called ‘piracy’ (it is not piracy*) is having a negative effect.

Related to the above we also have this news:

H1-B Enrollment Up At State Colleges


As the state lawmakers head back to Olympia this month, we take a look at how one bill passed last year is playing out. The bill granted in–state tuition to foreign professionals and their families. Many of these are H1–B visa holders who work at places like Microsoft and Amazon. Since the law passed, new enrollments among this group have shot up at the UW and at community colleges around the region.

We last mentioned this here or here.
* When people do not like something, then they tend to assign to that something a bunch of words with very negative connotation. In the case of “piracy”, murder and rape are implied. Even the word “terrorism” is said to have been cheapened by overly extensive and broad use. Today in Slashdot we found: “Novelist Blames Piracy On Open Source Culture”

The direct link says, ‘”With the open-source culture on the Internet, the idea of ownership — of artistic ownership — goes away,” Alexie added. “It terrifies me.”‘ What does that have to do with “open-source”? Nothing. The headline says that “Digital piracy hits the e-book industry.” Open source is wrongly being associated with copyright infringement. Our reader Oiaohm says: “They are looking for someone to blame. [...] Problem is projects like wikibooks is cutting in on there normally easy payday jobs [...] Then projects creating open source text books. So writers of conflicting items with open source find no one prepared to pay for what they have made.” Goblin says: “I don’t think they are trying to blame, I think its merely ignorance and lack of understanding on their part.” Oiaohm says “it’s a mixture” of those two factors. “I.e. open source project cutting into the markets, then normal people who don’t give a rats about copyright doing there normal thing. Copy protection in media has been a losing battle. Expect authors of books to get more hostile to the open source world. Think how may books the Wikipedia has undone. I cannot say fear [of] open source based documentation is groundless.”

As newspapers are already hostile towards Wikipedia and FOSS-like economics, this explanation makes sense. These sources devalue the older ones. A lot of resistance to DRM comes from FSF and the same goes for defense of P2P (where Free software is often obtained, especially GNU/Linux distribution torrents). The RIAA/MPAA (MAFIAA for short) openly complained about the FSF more than once for no justified reason.


Patents Roundup: Peer-To-Patent Australia, Microsoft and ACTA

Posted in America, Australia, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, Wikipedia at 6:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Peer-To-Patent skepticism, ACTA rears its ugly head with Microsoft as an excuse, the effect on the sight-deficient noted

EARLIER ON we wrote about Peer-To-Patent Australia. It was mentioned critically in this new post and others agree that “this [might] do more harm than good by legitimising “good” software patents…”

More staffing around patents is hardly a solution. Abolishment is the best option.

In the same vein of endorsement through expansion, argues Glyn Moody in relation to the news about “ACTA Secretariat”, “just what we need: *another* global intellectual monopolies body…”

The indispensable Jamie Love has posted a much more convenient version of an earlier leaked “non-paper” from Canada which proposes an ACTA “Council”, i.e. secretariat, that would stand apart from WIPO and the WTO.

We previously wrote about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] and about who/what WIPO represents. Here is WIPO expressing skepticism about Wikipedia, which WIPO must absolutely hate because it weakens monopolies (over information). In general, WIPO views Free software as illegitimate.

But going back to ACTA, Moody shows its connection to Microsoft:

Microsoft Gets in on the ACTA


Now it looks like Microsoft is joining in:

a common tactic of intellectual property holders is to blur the distinction between counterfeit and pirated goods (and even legal generic goods, in the case of the pharmaceutical industry). Microsoft’s press release exemplifies this, talking about “counterfeit Microsoft software purchased at resellers” and the “black market for pirated software” as if the two were synonymous. In fact, most consumers who obtain pirated goods on the black market realise that they are not original. Whilst Consumers International discourages consumers from using pirated goods, in many countries they have little choice, because originals are either unavailable or are priced far beyond their means.

We wrote about this subject the other day. Microsoft is lying.

Moody adds the observation that “Intellectual Monopolists Scorn the Blind”. This is not the first time we see (or fail to see) it.

This, then, is the reality of “modern” copyright: it fails to serve huge numbers of people, many of whom are already suffering from discrimination in other ways.

Given this situation, various organisations are not unreasonably trying to facilitate access to copyrighted works for those who are visually disabled with a new WIPO treaty that would define basic rights for this group. Who could object to such a humanitarian cause? Well, the publishers, of course.

Last but not least, Moody opines that patent power is drifting over to Asia and he uses this news report as proof.

Asian Tech Firms Buy Up Patents

The days of U.S. technology companies wielding patents to block Asian competitors from the market or collect big royalties may be waning. Ron Epstein, the chief executive and co-founder of IPotential, a San Mateo, Calif.-based patent broker, says South Korean and Taiwanese technology companies have been contacting him to purchase patents. Their goal? To ward off potential intellectual property disputes before conflicts flare.

The trend mirrors a path U.S. companies took several years ago when they first began buying patents defensively, say Epstein, who calls patents a “competitive tool.” “Asian companies have seen the success U.S. companies have had with patent purchasing and are doing it themselves,” he says. He estimates that Asian firms are two to three years behind their Western counterparts in this regard.

A wealth of patents is simply the centralisation of monopolies. Nowhere does it say anything about innovation; it’s just a monopoly, it’s a protection.


Alex Brown Extremely Busy with OOXML Today

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Wikipedia at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: OOXML BRM convenor getting down to business

Take a look

Alex Brown edits

And on it goes.


Microsoft Still Creates Barriers to ODF

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Wikipedia at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Road to the green

Summary: OpenDocument Format (ODF) suffers more interferences and interruptions from Microsoft and its followers

A FEW days ago, Novell's and Microsoft's role in harming Web standards was mentioned, but Adobe has a similar agenda and Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat warns that “Adobe plans to redefine the Internet with their proprietary stuff.”

Adobe also has PDF for documents, which is not particularly good, but it is far less malicious than Microsoft’s attempt to control documents. As one person has put it, “rtf is as bad as .doc, ideally I’d say use ODF, but MS users will gripe it’s not supported”

“Microsoft insists on making ODF look as though it is proprietary and its lobbyists do the same type of thing in panels they invade.”Microsoft is a company far less ethical than Adobe, simply based on its actions. For instance, Microsoft subverts Wikipedia's entry on ODF such that it advances OOXML. Jomar Silva has just told Tim Bray that “the ODF entry is a mess, and don’t try to fix it, because a jerk named hAl is keeping the mess there !”

That would hardly be news, but hAl is just one among a group that carries on making the article on ODF worse and worse. John Drinkwater has undone yet another hostile and unnecessary change (“Undid revision 317727032 by Cybercobra not a useful change, standard is built upon XML”). This was done in response to a couple of edits from Cybercobra.

Here is Cybercobra removing mentions of “free” and “open” as though they are dirty words. We have seen this before. Microsoft insists on making ODF look as though it is proprietary and its lobbyists do the same type of thing in panels they invade.

ODF has sincere following (not Microsoft partners) and the ODF Toolkit continues to be mentioned a lot, as well as the next Plugfest — an event we previously mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9 10, 11]. Microsoft attended the last Plugfest where it promoted its agenda along with its partners and MVPs.

A pro-Microsoft saboteur wants more access to ODF, probably hoping that people do not remember what he did. Bart Hanssens meanwhile prepares a working draft of an ODF interoperability profile and publishes the following about Xapian.

Xapian is an open source search engine library written in C++ with bindings for C#, Java, PHP and Ruby. It supports the most commonly used document formats, including of course ODF.

What’s the deal with OLE objects, which are Microsoft's way of blocking standard adoption?


MediaWiki Replaces Microsoft Office While Microsoft’s Attack on ODF Continues at Wikipedia

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Wikipedia at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MediaWiki smaller logo

Summary: The Internet wants to be free and so do computer users; Microsoft keeps standing in their way

BACK in 2007, Wikipedia embraced ODF. The software on which it is built, MediaWiki, happens to be used by Boycott Novell and one of Microsoft’s loyal users has just decided to abandon Microsoft Office in favour of MediaWiki. This is not particularly surprising and by all means it is another win for Free software. The following is a sort of eulogy for Microsoft Office.

I chose MediaWiki, the open-source software that powers Wikipedia. It was relatively easy to install on a virtual Linux server. Since everyone has read Wikipedia, the interface was familiar and so our users needed no training. Because Wikipedia managed to efficiently store—at the time of this writing—all human knowledge, speed and scalability weren’t a problem. Finally, the price (free) was acceptable.


So farewell, Microsoft Word. Don’t feel too bad—you had a long and prosperous run. We had more than twenty years of fun together. You added feature after feature after feature, and I learned how to avoid your crazy style changes whenever I deleted an invisible formatting command. Maybe if you just had “Reveal Codes”… nah, it wouldn’t have mattered. The world simply changed.

The Microsoft-faithful crowd keeps vandalising Wikipedia’s article on ODF, turning it in favour of Microsoft. We last saw this a few days ago, but it just doesn’t stop [1, 2, 3]. Who the heck is “SmackBot“?

On abuse against ODF at Wikipedia:

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