10.26.07

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Achieving Interoperability the Wrong Way: Deals vs. Standards

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Standard, Windows at 8:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With a recent event taking place to discuss interoperability, a few articles appeared which discuss this further. The first such article describes Microsoft’s Interoperability Chief as one of the world’s toughest jobs.

He’s faced with the unenviable task of convincing the world that Microsoft wants to play nicely with competitors – and also convincing the troops and top management that it’s worth it.

The second one is the same ‘fluff’ about Microsoft seeking interoperability, not standards.

Uniformity isn’t necessarily a bad thing for IT. TCP/IP is a good example where a layer of uniformity exists that, according to Robertson, has been an engine for the growth of the technology sector. So how does a technology vendor achieve interoperability? The first way is to consider the design of a product for interoperability.

Uniformity is standards. Consensus is interoperability, as opposed to patented bridges and pricey licences. It is very unfortunate to find that the press escapes these key issues. In the above fragment, an admission is made that progress thrives in uniformity.

“…Novell shunned the consensus that only standards should be honoured.”Uniformity does not mean absence of choice, but a neutral ground that fosters competition and discourages lock-in. Standards in the World Wide Web are an excellent example of this. Imagine having to get plugins to interpret one another’s Web site. Silverlight and Adobe’s Flash are a step in this direction, but the choices are still few (Curl aside).

Novell continues to play along with Microsoft's plan to 'hijack' the Web and it even maintains exclusive rights to make available a plug-in that brings Sliverlight support — however incomplete it may be — to Linux. The same goes for OOXML and other server protocols, some of which are not at all available for Linux at large. In that respect, Novell shunned the consensus that only standards should be honoured. It enables Microsoft to argue that it has ‘opened up’ (only when payments are involved which eliminate Linux as a Free platform).

BSoD for Novell

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