Bonum Certa Men Certa

GPLv2 'Vulnerabilties' and Massachusetts 'Vulnerabilties'

Earlier today I spotted some 'cheap shot' attacks on Pamela Jone (Groklaw) and Bob Sutor (IBM). Guess who was behind it? ACT -- the vile lobbying arm for Microsoft. Under the guise of independence, it attacks everything that puts Microsoft under some competitive pressure, but personal, ad hominen attacks are well beyond the line. Just more aggression for a sociopath.

After witnessing a fair bit of manipulation and -- shall we say -- corruption by Microsoft in the State of Massachusetts, Rob Weir rightly criticises a broken system, which is open to abuse.

We learn lessons and move on to the next battle. Just as GPLv2 required GPLv3 to patch perceived vulnerabilities, we'll all have much work to do cleaning up after OOXML. Certainly JTC1 Directives around Fast Tracks will need to be gutted and rewritten. Also, the vague and contradictory ballot rules in JTC1, and the non-existent Ballot Resolution Meeting procedures will need to be addressed.


This was a nice analogy which involves the GPL Remember the very strong relationship between Novell, the GPL, and Microsoft's OOXML.

So, by threatening everything and promising nothing (because would Microsoft really sue anyone for patents, knowing how many competitors in the Linux community have patents of their own?), Microsoft has skillfully managed to get open source players to endorse Open XML. A variant of the classic Badger Game if I ever heard one.

Faced with cons like this, I am beginning to realize that having something like the GPLv3 around is a very good idea. Even though the new GPL could not have prevented this scam, it may help in the future.


What does it mean when it comes to choice in Massachusetts? At risk of being repetitive, here is a new article.

Some of you may still be wondering why this is such a big deal. Aren't ODF and Open XML both open standards? Does it really matter?

Well, yes, they are different. ODF is a real open standard. I can use it. You can use it. I could write an office program that uses it as its default format. You could do the same, and we'd both be able to read and write each other's documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Open XML is open in name only.

I think it's telling that Open XML documents aren't even compatible with older versions of Microsoft's own Office suite programs. If you want to read and write to Open XML in Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP or Office 2003, you'll need interoperability pack download from Microsoft. Office 97 users? You're out of luck.


There is still plenty that you can do to help ODF. The ODF Alliance has released a Voting Guide for National Bodies [PDF]. There is also an ODF Interoperability Workshop.

Do not ever touch Novell's 'contaminated' version of OpenOffice.org. Reject the abuse of the legal system just as you reject and denounce Novell's sellout.

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