02.24.08

New Lock-ins Built Around Silverlight, OOXML, SharePoint and More

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Complemented by Novell’s unwelcome work on Moolight and OOXML translators

Upon request, the other day we mentioned the United States Government serving as a Microsoft vehicle for spreading rather hostile technology which excludes or at least discriminates against Microsoft’s rivals. This was truly a new low, especially in an age when technology professionals must realise the importance of open standards. Things are not any better in the UK.

Silverlight

In the following new complaint about the Library of Congress liaising with Microsoft an important point gets raised that revolves around Microsoft’ donations. Donations may play a role [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 9, 10].

The Library of Congress recently signed a deal to accept 3 million dollars worth of “technology, services and funding” from Microsoft towards building a new website powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in. I (Casey) usually leave the blogging to Tim, but I’ve got to say something about this.

[...]

Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of Congress’ new website.

Mind the bits about the ‘special’ relationship Microsoft has with libraries, which should gone with something more standard like Ajax

OOXML Upgrade Treadmill

OOXML is wrongly portrayed as an act of ‘opening up’, but would it not be phenomenal if one could also use it to boost sales of Microsoft Office? The following small observation caught Groklaw’s attention.

In Jon Udell’s keynote speech at the conference, he mentioned that the only Microsoft Office 2003 application that would lack an XML output option was the mail program, but he forgot another one, PowerPoint. I was looking forward to some sort of Save As XML feature in PowerPoint so that I could create the kind of speaker notes that I like from XML versions of PowerPoint presentations, and it looks like I won’t get this ability for a while, at least not directly from Microsoft.

In other words, even Office 2003 users might prepare for another forced upgrade, courtesy of OOXML. Support is not complete in versions prior to Office 2007, which does not even implement the documented ECMA OOXML. Now is the time to escape to OpenDocument format.

The Bigger Picture

The editor of LinuxToday has published a storming analysis that pulls together some of the bits and pieces at play. While optimistic, it suggests that OOXML is more than just a case of saving Microsoft Office from threats. The article concludes with:

In a future world of all-cloud devices, the notion of a desktop Linux, like the notion of a desktop Windows or OS X machine, would be very different. Certainly of these three operating systems, Linux has the best reputation and capability for going small and fast.

Even if this sci-fi-sounding world does not come to be, I am increasingly convinced that the next big new market in IT is the cloud sector–a sector for which Linux (and ODF) is already well-suited.

Overall, it is a very interesting analysis worth reading.

Microsoft a  bad ride

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/02/24/silverlight-ooxml-sharepoint-and-more/

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