03.27.08

OpenOffice.Org 2.4 Coming Shortly, Should ODF Come to LSB?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Turbolinux, Windows, Xandros at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FSF GNU GPLv3A month ago we showed some video demos of the new OpenOffice.org. This included some OpenGL-accelerated eye candy, but one of the better features is probably the inclusion of a GPLv3 variant [1, 2]. Novell is likely to take its own separate route as a result.

In any event, expect an announcement of the new release (version 2.4) later today.

OpenOffice will see a new release today: version 2.4.

There are already some previews of version 3.0 and encouraging signs of great adoption. Over at commandline.org.uk, there is actually a proposal for blending in of ODF with the Linux Standard Base. It’s clear that GNU/Linux adoption is dependent on open standards, including that of documents.

Include ODF support in the Linux Standard Base?

[...]

Enter the Linux Standard Base

The Linux Standard Base Desktop Specification provides a standard desktop for developers to target when writing desktop applications.

GNU on televisionThe points raised there are valid, but it probably remains to be understood just how Linux-specific (or specific to any platform for that matter) ODF is. Everything should be universal, but Novell, Linspire, Xandros and Turbolinux won’t make things easy.

It has become increasingly obvious that adoption of Free software and the Free Desktop depends on the success and the network effect ODF can capitalise on. That’s why Microsoft is in a great rush. Microsoft know this, which is why its aggressive (even unethical or illegal) fight for OOXML is not just a fight for Office, but a fight for the relevance of its entire proprietary franchise, including Windows. That’s just how important ODF is.

Microsoft/Munchkin ‘Breaks’ the Web to Break Open Document Standards (Again)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Search at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World Wide Web for documents lock-in or against it?

Thanks to one reader, we have just become aware of a story told by another reader. It was published in noooxml.org and it speaks about the latest trick that involves anti-ODF manipulation on the World Wide Web. Here is the gist:

In March 26, 2008, was celebrated around the world the first Document Freedom Day (http://www.documentfreedom.org/). Notice the site’s name: Document Freedom dot org.

While refusing all around the world to participate in a celebration towards the promotion and usage of open standards, Microsoft even goes to the point of issuing a press release in Portugal against ANSOL’s Document Freedom Day announcement.

Meanwhile, anonymous supporters of OOXML use Domains by Proxy registar in order to register a site with a very similar address of Document Freedom Day’s. The OOXML support site is Document Freedom Day **dot com** and redirects to a well known astroturf site which pretends to be a community of OOXML supporters.

It is worth emphasising again that we saw or at least suspected such things in the not-so-distant past. Examples include:

The reader who send us the pointer to this adds: “A blatant astroturfing maneouver from the borg. What concerns me is that it can be used to ruin documentfreedom days in successive years. Also they try to silence every criticism to OOMXL.”

“It just tells you how desperate Microsoft is for a competitor that they’re holding up a software box produced by 100 guys in the hills of North Carolina. Who are they trying to kid?”

Robert Young, CEO of Red Hat at the time

Microsoft ‘Vampires’ Suck Blood of Romania’s OOXML Voters, Supporters

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vampires and all being just a familiar metaphor, of course

A couple of breaking reports could not just escape without immediate attention. Remind yourself of what is said to have happened in Romania very recently. Romania was by no means the exception, but it is one place where we see representative behaviour which may or may not apply elsewhere (and go unreported).

Romania votes “Yes”, but the more detailed story appears here. Here are some fragments:

For months, OOXML and Microsoft have taken over any other subject on this forum. The pro and con debates were heated, numerous and lengthy.

In all this time, OOXML supporters have utterly failed to offer any solid argument for OOXML’s adoption, while opposing arguments were abundant. The only coherent pro-OOXML statements boiled down to the same tired FUD that Microsoft has put together, repeated ad-nauseam, in spite of all the rich and detailed counter-arguments.

[...]

Therefore I feel justified in believing that “ballot-stuffing” was performed by Microsoft-friendly entities with the purpose of swaying the vote to an OOXML-favorable outcome.

[...]

It will come as no surprise that many of the other recent members are Microsoft business partners.

Therefore I feel justified in believing that “ballot-stuffing” was performed by Microsoft-friendly entities with the purpose of swaying the vote to an OOXML-favorable outcome.

I will stress, for the sake of clarity, that there has been neither public nor official statement so far regarding the CT210 members. We’re not supposed to even know who they are, officially.

[...]

I repeat: there’s a total lack of transparency. So far, the way I understand it (and I Am Not A Lawyer) ASRO seems to put its internal regulations over the laws of the state, one of which states: “the following basic principles must be followed in national standardization: […] transparency and public availability”.

If I am wrong and ASRO’s position holds water, it will mean that the Romanian states is confortable entrusting its standardization to a body who can act in a completely opaque manner should it choose so. A very strange and disturbing notion, but there you have it.

3. The conclusion

The public debate on TIC-Lobby in the months leading up to the March vote have shown a staggering amount of arguments against adopting OOXML as a standard. There were links, tehnical details, technical experiments.

The counter-arguments have been weak, obstinate and often repeated. Even when begged to do so, OOXML supporters have failed to put together even the smallest document containing arguments for their position.

In the end, CT210 fell victim to ballot stuffing and ASRO is currently refusing to disclose any information other than the vote distribution.

The next quick item will speak of another nasty little trick that follows a recognisable pattern.

Links 27/03/2008: Red Hat Upgraded, Asus Releases GNU/Linux SDK

Posted in News Roundup at 12:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Microsoft Monopoly and OSBC: The Before/After

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 12:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we commented on Microsoft's attendance at OSBC, which was tactless and unnecessary. It gave Microsoft a lot of positive press, despite its real intentions. This really ought to stop, but this has got to start somewhere. Groklaw response to Microsoft’s talk at OSBC was interesting. PJ says:

Now that they built a monopoly before there were software patents to hinder them, they believe in a well-functioning — for them — patent system that excludes GPL software. Nice doubletalk.

Remember this old quote:

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today… some large company will patent some obvious thing… take as much of our profits as they want.”

Bill Gates

Bill is not quite the same guy anymore. Secured in the comfort of the fort (or Cathedral), Microsoft has other things on its agenda.

“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

Marshall Phelps

“If seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work. Maybe there is no way Io avoid this problem but it does bother me. Maybe we can define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open. Or maybe we could patent something related to this.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Well, yeah. It figures. It was last acknowledged by Microsoft only weeks ago that GNU/Linux is the company’s #1 competitor. Can’t Microsoft compete like a gentleman?

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