OOXML and ODF: Where Do We Go from Here with a Broken ISO?

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As you stroll around various forums you’ll find that one thing is beginning to become very clear. ISO is broken and in order to repair the ISO, serious changes need to be made. The ISO is broken for two reasons:

  1. It seems to be biased in favour of a certain large company, as we showed many times in the past
  2. Its process is too open for benevolent intervention and therefore to manipulation as well

OpenISO was born some months ago in response to Microsoft’s manipulation in Switzerland. The OpenISO is not quite ready yet (the site lacks sufficient substance). However, we received some information from a reputable source which tells us that the ISO needs be overhauled. It’s matter of fixing a broken (existing) system or starting from scratch, which still seems like wishful thinking.

“The system assumes that all participants are gentlemen.”Ecma, by the way, is in a worse state 1, 2]. We ought to prepare ourselves for more pseudo standards coming from Ecma. Microsoft has them stacked up like cannon balls, for that whole ‘politically correct/suitable’ game. Increasingly, governments adopt stronger pro-open standards policies.

Novell loves moneyAccording to an unnamed source, the ISO’s rules are “based on the assumption that participants are acting in good faith. They are also biased towards making participation easy, in order to allow everyone affected by standards to have a voice in their creation.” How about cases where a company x (let us call it “Novell”) receives money from another company, y (for convenience, let us call it “Micro-Soft”) to support a standard which does not truly serve anyone? You get the picture.

Rob Weir made some similar observations some months ago. The system assumes that all participants are gentlemen. As someone who studies Microsoft’s behavior (far beyond standards in terms of scope), I am through being a gentleman in this game simply because thugs beat gentlemen as long as the broader (and broken) system prevails. It even boils down to economics and politics, which I try to avoid. These cannot be separated though.

What we are left with are at (least) three ways of fighting for standards and fair competition:

  1. Identify and make it the public’s common knowledge that Microsoft is gaming the system
  2. Promote open standards by word of mouth and by setting a good example
  3. Produce tools that facilitate and support truly open formats and standards

With regard to point (3), progress is being made. Yesterday I spotted the following neat tool which is Web-based.

The GooTrad (Beta) web application of the Traducindote project, is a OpenOffice Writer documents translator (OpenDocument format), which uses Google Translate.

Additionally, version 3.3 of Docvert was released some days ago.

Docvert takes word processor files (typically .doc) and converts them to OpenDocument and clean HTML.


It’s released under the GPL v3 so although it’s open source there’s no legal problems developing proprietary software ontop of it. The XML produced is easier to understand and more structured than the OOXML or .DOC formats.

Ensuring that OpenDocument prevails and spreads is ensuring the the market is fair, competitive, and in a healthy state that benefits the consumer. Anything else is likely to be greed-driven. Just ask Microsoft and it will admit this.

OOXML is a monopoly

Eric Raymond Has Left Linspire’s Board

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Open XML, OSI, Standard at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An icon departs

“Why did Eric leave so quietly? Did he know all too well what he was leaving behind?”Shane once asked himself what Eric Raymond would do after Linspire’s deal with Microsoft. It turns out that shortly after Kevin Carmony had left Linspire, Eric left as well. The press did not report any of this, despite the fact that the press did make a lot of noise when Eric dumped Fedora for Ubuntu Linux. It’s rather amazing how micro-stories beat the macro-stories because of distro war drama. To be fair, it’s also due to Eric’s desire to be heard (carbon copies of the mailing list message to various editors). Why did Eric leave so quietly? Did he know all too well what he was leaving behind?

Good luck to Linspire, by the way. Best of luck getting that OOXML ‘translator’, which nobody really needed anyway (with the exception of Microsoft).

OOXML translation

Eric Raymond has been quite silent (as in “low profile”) for several month, but there was an exception. He was actually among those who openly resisted Microsoft’s inclusion in the OSI (just before things fell over, so to speak). And speaking of the OSI, Brian Proffitt talks about his time at GOSCON and also mentions the OSI in an interesting context.

Zemlin caught me rolling my eyes, and asked if I had a problem with the OSI. Not at all. They have well established themselves as guardians of the OSD, and I cannot take away anything from the individual intelligences of the OSI members. But, I said to Zemlin, the LF [Linux Foundation] is already involved with enforcing one standard (the LSB) that could be described as open, why not go the rest of the way?

Blast from the Past: A Look Back at Microsoft’s Predatory Response to Novell

Posted in Antitrust, FUD, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Patents at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s case against Microsoft is resumed, so now would be a good time to look back and also group together some of our past postings about Microsoft’s crimes again Novell. We strive to show that Novell should never have entered a deal (any collaborative deal) with Microsoft.

Have a look at the following exhibit which reveals Microsoft’s concerns about Novell [PDF]. It comes from Bill Gates.

From: billg
Sent: Thursday, April 06, 1995 2:55 PM
To: craigmu; nathanm; paulma; peteh; russs
Cc: brianf
Subject: Internet as a business tool


The analogy here is that the major sin that Microsoft made with Netware was to let Novell offer a better (actually smaller & faster, with simpler protocol) client for networking. This got to critical mass and can now evolve both client and server together. Hence we had and still have a really hard time displacing Novell at the server.

In fact I am still of the opinion that we will not really deliver a really telling blow against Netware until we make some significant user-visible, client-side feature that Novell would have trouble matching in their servers. One of the reasons why I remain such a fanatic OFS believer.

Remind yourself of Microsoft’s brutal behavior that these concerns led to, including sabotage [1, 2, 3, 4] and coordinated attacks [1, 2]. Bill Gates’ obsession with patents as a method of nuking rivals has a ‘smoking gun’ example here, among other places. All of these examples show that Microsoft is going back to old tricks, but Novell is too blind to see it. More recently, software patents have replaced FUD and vapourware. That happened last week and there are already attributions to Microsoft.

If the “new Novell” does not wake up and retract/escape from the deal, it will be as fried as the “old Novell”.

Jim Allchin on Novell

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