Here Comes the OOXML of Your Photos and Personal Images

Posted in Formats, Interoperability, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Xandros at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember last week’s discussion about a stack of so-called ‘standards’ from Microsoft, which are geared towards total hijack of personal data, media, and the Web? A new article reminds us of another piece of the puzzle — Microsoft’s HD.

In trying to drive the technology further into the market, Microsoft has developed a plug-in that adds HD Photo support to Adobe’s popular Photoshop editing program.

Wait until this so-called format gets ‘extended’, preferably (in Microsoft’s favour) with Windows-only augmentations. That’s just what one finds in OOXML. Remember encryption/Tivoization of Office 2007 files in Vista? It probably won’t take long before HD gets Windows-only ‘extensions’ such as DRM. Isn’t that a feature? Just like WMV, it’s unlikely to be cross platform.

Quoted above is the part showing that Microsoft’s support for its ‘standards’ does not comes from industry. Microsoft just ‘lends’ its support. There is a pattern here. It has already bought some support before, remember? Remind yourselves of OOXML’s artificial (paid-for) acceptance. Novell, Turbolinux, Corel, Linspire, Xandros, and maybe even Sun receive OOXML encouragements. Standards are being bought, not earned. JPEG 2000 was fine, but Microsoft just needed to ‘innovate’ its own format — one that it can control, extend, and even use to discriminate against rival software (including operating systems). We are not entirely sure if HD is also associated with patents (i.e. costs).

The Halloween Memos explain this strategy. Microsoft knows very well what it is trying to achieve here (and why).

Q: The first [Microsoft] document talked about extending standard protocols as a way to “deny OSS projects entry into the market.” What does this mean?

A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver advanced functionality to users.

DRM is Not a GNU GPLv3 Achilles Heel, But Might Interoperability Be?

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Tivoization at 10:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Discussions about Tivoization have left plenty of room for disinformation. Some still believe that GPLv3 forbids DRM. While DRM is a very nasty, dangerous, and anti-consumer use of encryption, it is not forbidden by the new licence. Ed Burnette wrote a lengthy item to dispel this myth.

In our continuing series on the latest version of the world’s most popular (and least understood) free/open source license, today we look at a controversial subject: Digital Rights Management (DRM). My colleague David Berlind has another name for DRM: Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection (CRAP).

Elsewhere on the Web, someone decided to share malicious ideas that could ‘poison’ the licence.

Since MS seems to really dislike GPL v3, they could solve a lot of their problems with a simple move: Release all the code necessary to get interoperability under Linux working. Under GPL v2 only.

This is similar to an idea which we already said would never work. The partnerships with Linux companies (other than Novell) were — among many things — used to pressure the FSF and discourage use of GPLv3.

Microsoft Brings IP FUD into OSI, Deters Adopters

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft recently revealed its intention to invade the ‘other side’ of the Open Source (Free software) world. We have already explained why the plan is a malicious one. Windows-only and Windows-optimised open source products are just the tip of the iceberg. CRN has more to say about this.

“It has assumed that any direct investment or interaction with OSS (open source software) would send a false signal to the industry regard its long-term business strategies, (which is) a heavy focus on intellectual property investment and control,” Driver said.

According to another new article, Microsoft is simply trying to hit a gentle spot which has some negative effects on Free software adoption. As argued before, these ‘friendships’ with Linux vendors and OSI are Trojan horses which at the end of the day terrorise the customer.

“The potential for copyright and patent infringement is the No. 1 inhibitor right now for organizations in adopting more open source software in their organization,” Lawton said in the afternoon conference call. “Close behind that is the availability of support.”

How does Novell fit into all of this? Well, according to this new item, Novell just keeps filing patents. Novell might actually be part of the problem (and not just passively).

Microsoft Continues to Cheat in the ISO

Posted in Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 10:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To bring you up to date, here are some of the latest stories which appear elsewhere.

Yesterday we mentioned flipping of votes which apparently relied on subtle manipulation.

I’ve heard several reports of supporters of OOXML trying to get national standards bodies to change their votes from “NO with comments” to “YES with comments” because “it’s the same thing.” The logic, which I’ll explain in a later post, is that any comments will trigger a ballot resolution meeting, so there is no need to be so negative and vote NO.

Some hour ago, a translation from a Groklaw reader showed up. It brought some news from Portugal.

Portugal: Votes Yes with Comments on OOXML

Commitee presided over by Microsoft decides in it’s favor 13-7:

It’s with much disgust that I see that after an initial membership controlled by Microsoft of 7 to 1, it was only possible to add the participation of 12 more entities, 6 in favor of open standards, and 6 in favor of Microsoft.

If from the the first meeting it was clear that there was a favorable support for Microsoft of 7 to 1, the voting just an hour ago of YES WITH COMMENTS is sadly revealing.

This is not the first time that we observe ‘funny’ OOXML maneuvers in Portugal. We covered this in the past on numerous occasions.

Bob Sutor says that regardless of the outcome, OOXML will not become an ISO/IEC standard this year and therefore no-one should consider it as part of a strategy in the enterprise.

Even though the JTC1 ballot closes on September 2 on Microsoft’s product description for Microsoft Office, namely OOXML or DIS 29500, this will not become an ISO/IEC standard in 2007.

Microsoft continues its “Open Source” charade, which probably fools quite a few people. There is also an invitation for questions.

Here’s an event you might like to know about. 4Linux in Brazil has a live podcast show and the next theme is “Microsoft, Open source e Interoperabilidade com OpenXML”. I bet you can figure it out even if, like me, you don’t know Portuguese. Yes, a show about Microsoft, Open Source and “interoperability” with OpenXML.


Novell’s Big Open Source Test (and Chance)

Posted in Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Servers, Tivoization at 10:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s virtualisation agreement with Microsoft has been controversial for a variety of reasons. Among those reasons is Novell’s willingness to make GNU/Linux secondary to Windows in the datacentre. Consider this old interview.

In an interview with Computerworld, Ron Hovsepian gives some background on the genesis and workings of the Microsoft-Novell deal. Hovsepian states that the deal began in search of virtualization, and that initially Microsoft’s position was that Linux could be virtualized within Windows, but not Windows within Linux.

Later on, Novell indicated that its special ‘deal’ with Microsoft brought it what others were already able to achieve without a deal. Then arose the suspicion that Microsoft might use virtualisation as a bargaining card (or extortion) to have more companies sign patent deals. Recall what Shane said at the time. Here is where a news article fits in. On the face of it, Novell and Microsoft will shortly introduce a shim.

In particular, there is some work going on to support paravirtualized drivers for Windows guest machines running on SUSE. Having this in place would allow Windows guests to run on SUSE Linux without needing to go through an emulation layer, thereby improving performance. I’m going to be particularly interested in hearing how these drivers will be licensed, as my suspicion is that they will end up needing to be open sourced, which will make them available to everyone, not just Novell customers.

This is Novell’s chance to show that it doesn’t work in isolation. We previously criticised licensing that accompanies this work. Is Novell a mixed source company or is it truly stuck in its proprietary roots? We shall soon find out.

Videos: EFF’s Patent Busting Leader, Patents in Europe, and More Patent FUD

Posted in Europe, FUD, Google, GPL, Patents, Videos at 10:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents in America

At risk of generalisation or exclusion (the EFF is working overseas as well), here is a presentation which speaks about eliminating poor patents in America. This talk is part of Google’s TechTalks.

Danny O’Brien is the Activism Coordinator for the EFF. His job is to help EFF’s membership in making their voice heard: in government and regulatory circles, in the marketplace, and with the wider public. Jason Schultz
Jason Schultz is a Staff Attorney specializing in intellectual property and reverse engineering. He currently leads EFF’s Patent Busting Project. Prior to joining EFF, Schultz worked at the law firm of Fish & Richardson P.C., where he spent most of his time invalidating software patents and defending open source developers in law suits.

Patents in Europe

There is this one short video from Europe. It seems to be very amateur, but it is also hard to find such videos, so it might as well be included here.

GPLv3 FUD Watch – Follow the Money…

Mind the following cautionary note.

The [GPLv3] issues can be dealt with, but they need to be considered early, as a different approach to programming and distribution may be required to meet your needs.

There are some other publications which seem to be defending their own turf. As an example, consider this seminar from the AIPLA, which merely serves its own agenda (promoting more patents and stronger patents).

Healthcare Developer Gives GPLv3 the Nod

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL at 10:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now, isn’t that heart warming? Some people would bet their lives on it, so to speak. The GNU GPLv3 continues to gain support, despite the disinformation which is being spread.

PatientOS is a free healthcare information system released under GPL 3.0. This enterprise wide software is designed for healthcare facility physician, nurses, pharmacy, laboratory and other clinicians and departments.

With an eye on Palamida, it seems safe to say that the licence has broken a mental barrier.

I believe that the GPLv3 is a very valuable addition to FOSS licenses and solves many of the challenges faced by GPLv2. Companies distributing FOSS should consider it and companies using FOSS should be prepared, in most cases, to accept it”.

                                  –Mark Radcliffe, Open Source Initiative

The OSI Invasion Merely Follows the Linspire/Xandros/Novell/Turbolinux Invasion

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Turbolinux, Xandros at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embrace-and-destroy strategy — working from the inside

Several days ago we spoke about Microsoft’s OSI approach. We were suspicious. I then sent the following article around.

Head of open-source group says more than half of [Microsoft] licenses don’t pass muster


Michael Tiemann, president of the non-profit Open Source Initiative, said that provisions in three out of five of Microsoft’s shared-source licenses that restrict source code to running only on the Windows operating system would contravene a fundamental tenet of open-source licenses as laid out by the OSI. By those rules, code must be free for anyone to view, use, modify as they see fit.

This whole suspicion was not just ours. Others picked up that very same smell.

Groklaw sums up many of the key arguments, so there is no point in discussing it much further at this stage. The interesting part of this strategy, however, is the way it resembles all those Linux deals. Microsoft wishes to do to Open Source programming languages and companies just what it does to ODF. Speaking of which, Microsoft and its allies continue to play dirty. Bob has the latest.

I’ve heard several reports of supporters of OOXML trying to get national standards bodies to change their votes from “NO with comments” to “YES with comments” because “it’s the same thing.” The logic, which I’ll explain in a later post, is that any comments will trigger a ballot resolution meeting, so there is no need to be so negative and vote NO.


It would be hard to make this stuff up.

We’ll close off with strong words from Groklaw.

Let me please clarify something for you. Most of us do *not* want Microsoft to participate. I would like to personally barricade Microsoft out, until it alters its negative, rapacious and hostile behavior toward the GPL and FOSS. And so should you.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t invite them to speak at conferences or take their money. I know. That’s the hard part for some. I wouldn’t pretend the company isn’t what it is, because it *is* what it is. This is starting to feel like Wonderland, where Alice finds that up is down and large is small and nothing is the same or logical. Think tea party strange.Why would anyone want Microsoft to participate? Seriously. Why? And no, patent deals with Novell don’t make me like them. I despise them for what they did, and I know what it means. They intend to coopt Linux, destroy the GPL, and hop on board to make some money, honey. Oh, and kill it if it doesn’t wish to be ridden, while isolating and rendering pointless and helpless all developers who won’t go along. Why would you hope for that? Seriously. Why?

Read the entire item. PJ hits the nail right on the head. She took time to align and organise the arguments, which takes patience.

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