Bonum Certa Men Certa

Response to ODF as Government Standard Proposal

Summary: A call for people to leave a comment/digital letter to British officials who elected ODF as the only document standard for communication with the public

TOMORROW is the last chance to leave feedback on this British consultation (must be registered to leave one's comment) which we covered in some recent days. Today, in the latest of three previous posts, we covered the disgusting flame and biased coverage from Microsoft apologists who try to incite. They try to make ODF proponent look like a bunch of radicals.



Here is my feedback:

The only opposition to ODF comes from one single entity: Microsoft. It's not a British company and it is not an ethical company, to say the very least.

Microsoft would like us to believe that "Open" XML (an Orwellian name) is a "standard" without telling how it became a "standard", starting with ECMA, where key officials publicly gloated about the corruptible process, and the ISO, from which key/top members resigned following what Microsoft had done (while specifically citing what Microsoft had done).

Systematic corruption cannot be ignored and the debate cannot be framed as one where we look at stamps of approval alone.

As a researcher, a former journalist, and a webmaster of sites which receive hundreds of millions of hits annually, I already wrote almost 1,000 articles on the topic of OOXML, sacrificing a lot of my time because this classic case of corruption was too serious to be ignored. The European Commission said it would investigate this, but the huge extent of Microsoft's abuses are, according to the Commission itself, why it no longer pursued this, even after it said it would (too many resources would be required because of the international scale).

Bribed officials are just the tip of the iceberg. Spamming officials with letters (not just through partners but also lobbyists, "sockpuppets" who are operated by peripheral staff etc.) is just one of many tactics as well. Microsoft went as far as pushing senior people out of their jobs if they dared to oppose OOXML. There are documented examples as such.

This is not atypical for Microsoft; Microsoft had done similar things (and got caught) a decade earlier when it faced antitrust charges. Ballot stuffing, insiders in committees, bribes etc. are Microsoft's way of doing business and here too we should expect to see it.

I wrote extensively about technical issues in OOXML, as well as legal issues such as patents. Some of the letters to you may have already covered at least a small subset of those. There were protests in numerous places including Poland and Norway, where members of the standardisation process marched the streets in protest. That's how bad it was.

There was a BRM in Switzerland -- a jaw-dropping case of corrupt process. This was part of how Microsoft got its "standard", ignoring thousands of listed and properly enumerated issues. It would be impossible to list these exhaustively in a letter because there were literally thousands of pages detailing technical issues. These were discarded, ignored, and the attendees appalled by what they clearly considered to be a deeply rigged process.

Microsoft was flying journalists to Seattle (at Microsoft's expense) in order to manufacture favourable articles. It seems to be doing something similar in the British press right now. Microsoft offered delivered presentations and studies from so-called 'independent' experts who would soon thereafter be hired to work full time at Microsoft. There were attempts to equate ODF with one single company (notably IBM) and attempts to equate ODF with a particular piece of software when ODF was in fact backed by hundreds of entities, both from the private and public sector. Many programs support ODF, and they support is very well. OOXML is just a rebranding of closed Microsoft formats (legacy), propped up by companies which Microsoft paid specifically for the purpose of backing OOXML (there are publicly accessible documents that clearly support these allegations). OOXML is about protecting the common carrier, Windows, creating lock-in for a cash cow. British taxpayers cannot bear these costs anymore.

I would like to quote a leaked Microsoft document which was presented in a case against Microsoft in the United States. The internal document stated: "A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands."

This basically sums up what Microsoft is trying to do in order to derail British standard policies at this moment. This was done before in many places and at different times. As one who works for British government clients I am very familiar with some of the ways in which Microsoft tries to interfere with standards and with competition, claiming to pursue "choice" when what it actually means is proprietary software, privacy infringement, lock-in etc. disguised as "choice". Do not be misled by claims of victimhood and appeals to fairness which are actually just self interest, designed to increase licensing costs and dependence of software from the United States.

Microsoft's OOXML is so "open" that when I leaked it on my Web site (should be fine for "open" document) I received legal threats. The purpose of the leak was to highlight many technical flaws which Microsoft hid using restrictive access and prohibitive costs, leaving information to only a few insiders in the know, much like TPP and other secret "free trade" negotiations.

Be strong in the face of bullying and pressure. Microsoft would not permit open standards to be accepted. That would give people a choice of platform, a choice of an office suite, and the choice of long-term preservation of their data.


Remember that the deadline is tomorrow (Wednesday), so now is a good time to leave a comment.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

Truth is Always Truth
Desperate efforts to suppress the truth resulted in even worse chaos and some people are going to pay for it
GNOME Foundation Welcomes Dolly
It didn't work out with Molly and Holly
A Response to Bill Maher's Senseless Attacks on Julian Assange and Wikileaks
published a few hours ago
The List of Sites or Sources for Linux News is Getting Shorter Over Time (Despite GNU and Linux Steadily Growing in Usage)
A lack of publishing begets lack of educated, informed population (a return to Dark Ages where rulers leverage mass ignorance)
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 13, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, July 13, 2024
Julian Assange’s Brother Gabriel Shipton Explains the Logistics of 'Smuggling' Julian Out of the United Kingdom
a lot of new information and prison stories
 
[Meme] It Is Not About Empowerment, It's About Optics for Bigots and Businessmen
Truth hurts
Android Surges to New Highs in Georgia, Windows Plunges to 30% (It Was 99% in 2012)
Until 2012 almost all Web requests there came from Windows
Another Casualty of the 'GAI' Ponzi Scheme: Most of the News Cycle and News Sites
accelerated death of journalism
Empowering Predators Who Fancy Exercising Control Over Women (Using Corporate Money)
Remember this when Google talks about diversity, women etc.
GNU/Linux Continues Its Rapid Growth in July, Today We Look at Belgium
Again, a word of caution: statCounter isn't a perfect yardstick
Links 14/07/2024: Goldman Sachs Says 'Advanced' or 'Generative' Hey Hi (AI) is Just Hype, Thoughts on Negatives
Links for the day
Links 14/07/2024: Perils for AI PC Hype Train, Further Attacks on Freedom of the Press
Links for the day
The Number of Web Servers Has Gone Down
Cloud fatigue deux?
[Meme] GNOME Foundation's Relationship With Women
Lots more coming soon, so stay tuned
The Smugness of "I'm a Journalist"
Attacking women for expressing their opinions (for example, about the abuse they received) isn't unprecedented
It Takes No Courage to Become Another Corporate Stooge
transition to spam
Why Techrights Has Just Programmatically Blacklisted ZDNet
Even their "Linux" writers are AWOL
Gemini Links 14/07/2024: The Stress of 24/7 Notifications and FOSS tools for Sipeed Tang Nano 1K
Links for the day
Windows Already Down to 10% in Lao (It was 96% a Decade and a Half Ago), Vista 11 Adoption Has Stalled
And GNU/Linux is topping a 1-year high in Loa
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Links 13/07/2024: Patent Trolls in UK Court of Appeal, Eric Schmidt Continues so Show Womanising at Google
Links for the day
Links 13/07/2024: Not Quite Dead Yet After All and Unfederated E-mail
Links for the day
Holly Million, GNOME Foundation departure after Albanian whistleblower revelations
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Like They Got Rid of Molly (and Now Holly)
Pay over 100,000 dollars a year for someone without any background in tech (to "lead" a tech project)
Microsoft Windows Falls to Almost 10% in Palestine (It Was Measured at 100% Just 15 Years Ago)
quite a big drop
Guardianship of the Licence is Not Enough (the Case of Systemd and Microsoft)
Whether the GPL gets enforced or not, if people adopt lousy software, that will have negative consequences
Speaking Out and Spreading the Message of GNU
Free Software Foundation (FSF) got 112 new members since 2.5 weeks ago
[Video] Why Wikileaks Publishing War-Related Documents Was Both Important and Justified
It's important to remember the principle which says privacy is for the powerless, whereas the powerful (like those with the power to kill) deserve not privacy but transparency
3.5 Years in Gemini
It's important to speak about and spread the word (about software freedom, BSD, GNU/Linux, patents etc.) in a medium that's strategic and growing
[Meme] Whoever in GNOME Decided to Attack the G (GNU), It Was a Foolish Miscalculation
How could they expect any outcome other than GNOME's own collapse?
Windows Down to Unprecedented Low in Czech Republic, Android Rises to New Record
From 98% in July 2009 (15 years ago) Windows is down to all-time low of 38% and well below Android
GNOME Foundation Lost Nearly a Million Dollars in 2 Years, IBM and GAFAM Won't Bail It Out Anymore
Seems like a suicide mission
Google News Has Become a Big Pile of Garbage
The issue predates chatbots, but these SEO tricks were accelerated somewhat by slop
OpenAI and ChatGPT Could Very Well Collapse and Shut Down Later This Year (Huge Losses, Sagging Usage Levels, and Massive Debt)
we illuminate the suppressed observations that Microsoft-sponsored publishers and cheaply-made slop (LLM spew disguised as "news") try to distract from
[Meme] Attacking the "G" in GNOME (Since 2009) Was a Mistake
Spending 50,000 pounds to sue women of racial minority
Difficult Times in GNOME Foundation
GNOME Foundation is in "crisis management" or "face-saving" or "damage control" mode
Links 13/07/2024: TikTok Interferences, YouTube Throttled in Russia
Links for the day
Kathy Lette on Julian Assange Staying at Her Attic, Why His Release Matters So Much, and Jen Robinson Staying Over Yesterday
They talk a lot about politics, but the segment mentions publishers, including Rushdie
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 12, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, July 12, 2024
Microsoft Windows Down to a New Low in Canada (Only a Third)
Very steep decline a decade ago
Links 12/07/2024: EU/China Tensions and Ukraine War Updates
Links for the day
EPO Staff Reps: "Until now, Mr Campinos is still leaving the appellants in the dark about the exact content of the opinion of the Appeals Committee on the EPO salary adjustment procedure."
Campinos chooses to lawyer up rather than listen up
EPO Staff Representatives Say It Has Gotten Very Hard to Get Promoted (Forget About Getting Rewarded for Hard Work)
This has long been a problem
[Meme] That Time EPO Workers Were Panicking Because the Elevators Kept Getting Stuck
Many people forgot that
Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Committee (LOHSEC) at the European Patent Office (EPO)
nobody in EPO management ever gets punished for crimes, no matter how severe
[Video] Julian Assange's Brother Gabriel Shipton on How the Convoy to the Airport Was Arranged, Being at the Beach With Julian Assange After Release (He's Doing Well), and How Taylor Swift Has 'Helped' Julian
At the airport he was greeted by many press crews, but they were not there for him. They were there because of Taylor Swift.
[Meme] Financial Disinformation From Chatbots Controlled by the Manipulator (Rigger)
ChatGPT, the media is starting to say you're all hype...
Microsoft is Actually Quite Worthless, Its Valuation is Based on Lies and Consistently Defrauding Shareholders
Microsoft's future is not what Wall Street "tells" us
Links 12/07/2024: Nations That Already Ban TikTok and Russia's 'Shadow War' Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/07/2024: Changing and the WIPO Lunacy
Links for the day
Let's Encrypt Continues to Collapse in Geminispace and That's Good News for Free Speech (Among Other Things)
due to the way modern Web browsers work, many sites have no option but to use Let's Encrypt or pay for some other CA to issue some worthless-but-glorified bytes
Microsoft Falls Below 20% in Montenegro - Plunging to All-Time Low
sharp drop
[Meme] The Free Speech Absolutist From Apartheid South Africa
What will it take for all sensible people to quit X/Twitter?
The Final Demise of Social Control Media May be Upon Us (It Ought to be Collectively Abandoned for Society's Sake)
If it keeps going down, prospects of a turnaround or rebound are slim
Linux is Displacing Microsoft and Replacing Windows in Germany (Android Surge and New Highs for ChromeOS+GNU/Linux in Germany)
Germany is upgrading to GNU/Linux, not to latest Windows
The Latest NDAA Amendment Can (or Should) Allow the United States to Remove Microsoft Even Faster From Its Infrastructure (Which Routinely Gets Cracked Completely by Russia and China, Thanks to Microsoft)
It's time to move!
Reorganising for Better Efficiency and More Publication (Original Material)
XBox "journalism" these days is mostly slop (chatbot spew disguised as news), so studying this matter isn't easy
Software Freedom is Still the FSF
At the moment the best advocacy group for Software Freedom is the FSF
Links 12/07/2024: XBox in Trouble, Crackdowns in UAE
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/07/2024: Make Tea Not War, Considering Guix
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 11, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, July 11, 2024