Neelie Kroes of the European Commission Discusses Microsoft (Video) (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Protocol, Servers, Videos at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following clip was dumped onto YouTube just 9 hours ago. The Commission’s ruling is due tomorrow.

For those who cannot watch the video, the segment which begins a minute and a half after the start says that Europe is unimpressed by Microsoft’s quantity of documentation. It requires quality. This is particularly relevant not only because of Novell’s (let alone Linux) discussion about protocols and interoperability, but also because of OOXML, which introduces similar issues.

Microsoft is said to have dumped over 30,000 pages of documentation on the EC a few months ago. This was reported by Market Watch. Such complex documents overwhelm those who try to criticise because any criticism can then be described as “nitpicking” (on a proportional scale). To a company that wishes to implement compatible software, this is akin to a denial-of-service attack. The documentation is overly complicated because there is no reuse of existing standards, which makes it hard to reuse free open source components and have systems properly integrated. Other concerns involve cost, legal risk, technical changes, and decentralised control.

Update: here is a more recent video which talks about Monday’s decision.

Another Short Speculative Piece on “Microsoft Linux”

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Windows at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Windows on a new kernel” saga

Yes, we have seen many of them before and explored the possibilities, but here is another blog item that caught the attention of some Linux news aggregators. It concentrates on BSD code as a more likely route for Microsoft.

What would happen if Microsoft were to come clean about Vista, what a stinker it is and decided to base the next version of Windows on a core of FreeBSD?


Why not have a branded version of SLED? See the previous discussion about the GPL, whereas the BSD licenses are basically “Give credit and don’t pretend you wrote what you didn’t” and they can use BSD code in any commercial product they want to.

Rebranded SLED? This bring back to mind Shane’s amusing post.

Destruction Through Assimilation

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Standard at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Competition and collaboration coexisting in harmony is not a fantasy. However, close collaboration where one side has the upper hand can harm competition and therefore harm the consumer. With “technical cooperation” that involves and revolves around tax-ridden protocols and exclusionary deals, only two parties (at most) can benefit. What is truly needed are vendor-neutral and free standards.

In the following new article, there is yet another attempt to spin collaboration with patents and ‘binary bridges’. Microsoft strives to make it seem as though it’s an embrace of open source, for which Microsoft has an allergy (BSD being an exception).

“We want to compete with the products of open source,” he [dela Cruz, Microsoft] said.

To show its willingness to collaborate with open source developers, dela Cruz said the company is working with Novell Inc. for technical cooperation in the establishment of an open source interoperabi-lity laboratory.

As we explained before, such a lab in intended to tighten Novell and Microsoft code, but it leaves Linux out in the cold. OOXML, Moonlight, Port 25, and “shared shared”, which is sometimes wrongly called “Open Source” in the press, are neither open nor free. To illustrate this, consider this.

Riddle me this: how does a small company that is an all MS development shop, with a press release or news piece every 2-3 months get that kind of PR? My guess is that the Microsoft machine kicked in–portraying Microsoft (and Microsoft technologies) as legitimate open source community members. The whole thing is a sham, but great marketing.

Microsoft’s attitude towards Free software has not changed, but it knows that for its perception in the public to be changed, it has to either pretend to like “Open Source” or simply bend the meaning of “open source”. It’s a case of diluting a term through assimilation. It is easy to be fooled and it is easy for Microsoft to subvert the direction of “Open Source”, especially if it ever enters the OSI.

Here is what Jim Allchin had to say some years ago:

Microsoft says open-source software is un-American. Has the company completely lost its mind?

Once upon a time, Microsoft executives confined their criticism of Linux and free software to old-fashioned FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt. Linux wasn’t good enough for enterprise-class systems, they declared. You couldn’t get quality support, and it was too hard and clunky for average users.

Fair enough. But now, judging by comments made Wednesday by Microsoft’s operating systems chief Jim Allchin (and reported by Bloomberg News), it turns out that free and open-source software is something far worse than anyone could possibly have imagined. It is nothing less than a threat to the American way of life! ”

Thank you, Mr. Allchin, for reminding us why Microsoft cannot be trusted.

Google Welcomes Recent Rejection of OOXML, Google’s Jeremy Allison Uses Samba Analogies

Posted in Google, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Samba at 5:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many companies have already welcomed the ISO’s decision. Despite the fact that it has been over a week since the decision (which is not final), Google responded only days ago.

Google welcomes the ISO decision to not approve the fast track of Office Open XML (OOXML) proposed standard DIS 29500 (ECMA 376).

This blog item provides a detailed list of reasons, none of which is out of the ordinary. Jeremy Allison, who is now working on Samba at Google, tells the history of Samba and uses it to warn readers about Microsoft’s intent. He opines that openness and collaboration will prevail only as long as it brings benefit to Microsoft. He also comments on the fraudulent nature of the ISO voting proess.

My own favorites were Cuba voting “yes” to the fast-tracking of OOXML, even though Microsoft is prohibited by the US Government from selling any software on the island that might even be able to read and write the new format, and Azerbaijan’s “yes” vote, even though OOXML as defined isn’t able to express a Web URL address in Azeri, their official language.

Another short paper has also just been published the tell the story about a voting process that is insane.

There is a strange and twisted place where standards are not held to high standards, where we are told that ”yes” means ”no” and ”no” means ”yes”, where ”competition among standards” is argued to be a good thing, and where standardization is achieved by bribery and foul play instead of honest work. Scaringly enough, that place is Earth. Join us on a journey down the rabbit hole, to a place where logic is a matter of dispute, decency has been thrown out the window and common sense is considered evil. The end of the story is not yet written, but its beginning is entertaining enough.

There are some nice side-by-side comparisons there, so it’s worth a glance. Remember: the ISO still cannot be trusted.

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