01.08.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Factual Mistakes in Byfield’s Article on Office Suites

Posted in Deception, Fork, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We already wrote about this subject a couple of weeks ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Coming a little late to the party is Bruce Byfield, who still has a vendetta against us [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

We haven’t the time (nor the desire) to do a full rebuttal right now, but a few points are worth making:

  • Byfield repeatedly uses the term “anti-Novell lobby” to daemonise critics, but he never bothers to name them or to link to these critics. He wants to present his own version (or rendition) of their voice without giving readers the opportunity to interpret or judge for themselves. Over at OStatic, Sam Dean went on and deleted (censored) a polite and informative comment from me, which was about 30-40 lines in length. It explained what Novell was doing with Go-OO[XML].
  • Regarding patents, Byfield writes: “And considering that OOXML is now an ISO standard — no matter what dirty tricks might have made it one — the idea that it, at least, could now be used in patent violation cases seems logically inconsistent.” Byfield may not understand patents and the OSP from Microsoft, which does not elude RAND. Being an ISO standard does not prevent patents from being an issue. As always, there is also disregard for more idealogical considerations, which passively endorses corruption.

There are many more points worth making, but we lack the time to address them.

The author has a long track record of defending Novell and that, by association, means badmouthing “Boycott Novell”. Frustration is probably not a factor here, but let’s remember that Byfield mostly writes for Linux.com, which is no longer publishing articles (for now). That can’t be good news to him because that’s how he makes a living.

“There is nothing more that can be done. Everything we do is now available to licensees as well.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Imaginary Property Officer

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

49 Comments

  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Gravatar

    To be fair, he criticized Novell as well. I don’t think he took either side of the argument. Seemed pretty unbiased to me.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Gravatar

    What is your point of balance/equilibrium? Bias is a dependent thing. It’s not like maths. It’s not a rule of nature.

  3. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Gravatar

    An honest person can’t help but say bad things about the M$/Novell deal. A dishonest person can say the same things and also write hatchet pieces like “Boycott Novell, Freedom Fighter or Den of Paranoia.” Roy’s links show what kind of writer Byfield has been. Even now, I have a hard time telling if he’s just deluded or if he does these things intentionally.

  4. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    Another factual error, “OOXML is now an ISO standard.” The non standard that M$ bribed and bullied through ISO is not the format used by M$ Office. Indeed one large problem with OOXML is that the standard is incomplete, contradictory and impossible to implement. This is a separate issue from patents and M$’s intent but just as important and many people pointed it out at the time.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Gravatar

    There are four separate ‘OOXMLs’.

  6. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Gravatar

    Yeah, because no-one ships a non-ratified version of ODF :D

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    You get the option.

  8. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Gravatar

    Cross fingers that ODF 1.2 is compatible with OOo 3.0, then. Otherwise having to pick between two versions of ODF 1.2 is going to be really confusing :)

    (There’s a serious point in here: bitching about OOXML compatibilities between Office versions is one thing; but the truth is that no suite reliably deals with non-native file formats. Comparing Office’s ODF support with KOffice I think will dishearten some people)

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Don’t worry, Alex Lund Stocholm. I’ll be careful.

  10. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Calling me names doesn’t help your position.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I didn’t realise his name was an insult.

  12. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Gravatar

    I didn’t say I was insulted, I’m just noting that you’ve resorted to name calling.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Your argument for OOXML was a slur against ODF. RMS did not like it when Miguel used the same strategy.

  14. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not an argument for OOXML. It’s not a slur against ODF either; since it’s the truth.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s not the point as you divert discussions about OOXML into ODF discussions, just as you love turning Novell discussions into Sun discussions.

  16. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Pointing out your hypocrisy isn’t “diverting discussions”.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Gravatar

    It is, for the same reason that saying “Apple is evil” to divert attention away from Microsoft crimes is counter productive.

  18. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not counter productive if you’re accusing them of the exact same crime, Roy. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Gravatar

    When the standard applies to *you*, not *them*. I’ve nothing to do with those companies.

  20. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Gravatar

    No, but you claim to not apply double standards.

    Furthermore you’re in denial about the state of ODF interop, it seems. Even as the best choice, ODF has plenty of room for improvement.

  21. twitter said,

    January 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s no double standard here. OOXML is impossible to implement and has zero community feedback. Using it is just about as much work as trying to reverse engineer M$’s old binary formats. ODF is a complete and well documented standard that groups like KDE, Gnome and Google can implement and everyone has a chance to participate in the change process. ODF efforts are far ahead of OOXML efforts and that’s the way things will remain.

  22. AlexH said,

    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Gravatar

    @twitter: community feedback, etc. excellent point. Impossible to implement; less so.

    ODF isn’t technically ahead of OOXML; ODF is winning because all industry players are supporting it.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Gravatar

    OOXML *is* impossible to implement, unless you are Microsoft.

  24. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Gravatar

    For “impossible to implement”, it sure seems rather implementable by OOo/Go-OO to me… I think Gnumeric and AbiWord implemented OOXML support as well.

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  25. towanowitsch said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Pointing out that you are wrong is unfair, right? This is like the good old times in the east: “The party (Roy) is always right (even when it is wrong)!”

    Lying for the good cause and writing shit is still lying and writing shit, Roy, and you’re not helping FOSS with that behavior.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Gravatar

    They haven’t. By that yardstick, ReactOS is the next Microsoft Windows.

  27. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Gravatar

    towanowitsch,

    Are you one of the SUSE lads?

  28. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Gravatar

    AbiWord and Gnumeric do have OOXML import support fwiw. Export support for AbiWord was a GSoC 2008 item, not sure if it was implemented though. Not sure about Gnumeric export ability.

  29. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Gravatar

    It should also be noted that the Gnumeric devs stated that implementing ODF support was more difficult than implementing OOXML support. So “impossible to implement” seems like quite a bit of a stretch to me.

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Gravatar

    They already had stuff for .doc.

  31. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Gravatar

    So what?

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Reuse of stuff.

  33. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Gravatar

    I thought you said it was impossible to implement?

    Besides, all office suites support the old binary formats.

  34. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Not properly.

  35. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Am I to trust your word on that? Or can you provide links to someone who has actually attempted to implement OOXML “properly” in OOo/GOffice?

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Gravatar

    You can do the research and report back if that matters to you.

  37. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Gravatar

    So then you are admitting that you have no facts to support for your assertion?

  38. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m busy catching up with stuff at the moment. Remind me later.

  39. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Gravatar

    Consider this a reminder.

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Gravatar

    Given a parser and/or a tokeniser for .doc, it may be possible to extract analogous elements from OOXML and treat them similarly, whereas ODF does things the Right Way by reusing existing standards, which a project like AbiWord is less likely to have already implemented.

  41. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Gravatar

    That doesn’t answer the question.

    I’m waiting to see evidence that OOXML is “impossible to implement”.

  42. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft OOXML is more than just basic support for paragraphs and pictures. Has has Windows-specific bits, legacy stuff (Word 6, 97), DRM and so on and so forth. it’s a total joke, but it does not prevent you from defending it.

  43. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Gravatar

    Just defending it from inaccurate accusations.

    I’m all for ODF, but I’m not going to hide my head in the sand and pretend that OOXML is evil, that it’s impossible to implement, that it kills innocent babies, or any other nonsensical things.

  44. Troy said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Gravatar

    I wouldn’t worry too much about anyone taking anything Byfield has to say seriously anyway. He’s a crappy writer who’s lousy at hiding his personal agendas.

  45. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    Troy: sorta like Roy? ;-)

  46. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Gravatar

    You are a hypocrite, Dan.

    May I ask why you leave hundreds of comments in a site that you hate?

  47. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Gravatar

    Because you play this site as if it were a legit news site, yet when you are called on your inaccuracies and outright lies, you claim “this is just a blog” as if that’s some sort of excuse.

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Gravatar

    Differences in opinion require no “correction”. You try to impose your interpretations upon others.

    As for nitpicking, you could do the same in poor media like the BBC (they have notoriously bad coverage of technology).

  49. Jose_X said,

    February 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Over at OStatic, Sam Dean went on and deleted (censored) a polite and informative comment from me, which was about 30-40 lines in length. It explained what Novell was doing with Go-OO[XML].

    I got the feeling something similar happened to me (based on when I commented and when comments of others went up) here http://ostatic.com/blog/novell-delivers-moonlight-1-0-for-rich-media-on-linux . I recognize that I already did get a chance to speak my point earlier. It’s always possible they simply do not like rebuttaling to go on for a long time. The author of this piece was Sam Dean (it’s an ad for mono).

    The last comment I submitted that was not posted was:

    *****
    toshok, you understand that groups like Tivo and Linus (?) and many others would probably consider that LGPL gives them the rights to embed and distribute all they want.

    They might reason as such: the LGPLv2 gives full distribution rights (?) so long as certain conditions are met, and these conditions don’t specifically include the requirement to make modifications physically possible or easy.

    Maybe a court would side with Novell and not Tivo; however, Novell’s interpretation does not seem to be supported by the LGPLv2 text; it appears to be a contradiction, making it a bit unclear what the actual license of moonlight is: LGPLv2 or some bifurcation of that license with Novell’s new requirement?

    >> We’re the copyright holders, we can apply whatever license terms we *want*.

    That is correct. The allegation was in part that Novell had not licensed as LGPLv2. I haven’t seen anyone challenge their ability to pick their license. The confusion is in not knowing what license Novell actually did pick.

    Novell can remove the confusion by picking LGPLv3, I think, or by clearly writing out a new license (see http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#ModifyGPL ), or by sticking with LGPLv2 but putting their interpretation and any other advice elsewhere from the project license file or clearly marked as “nonnormative”.

    Moonlight is meant to be distributed and used. This way patent infringement kicks in. This way Microsoft’s huge investments can be leveraged by them and are not wasted. Developers, developers, developers, developers. Let’s all be good chaps and chip in to help preserve the monopoly lock-ins.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 01/02/2023: Stables Kernels and Upcoming COSMIC From System76

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 31, 2023



  3. Links 31/01/2023: Catchup Again, Wayland in Xfce 4.20

    Links for the day



  4. Links 31/01/2023: elementary OS 7

    Links for the day



  5. Intimidation Against Nitrux Development Team Upsets the Community and Makes the Media Less Trustworthy

    Nitrux is being criticised for being “very unappealing”; but a look behind the scenes reveals an angry reviewer (habitual mouthpiece of the Linux Foundation and Linux foes) trying to intimidate Nitrux developers, who are unpaid volunteers rather than “corporate” developers



  6. Links 31/01/2023: GNOME 44 Wallpapers and Alpha

    Links for the day



  7. Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) and KU Leuven Boosting Americans and Cancellers of the Father of Free Software

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), along with the SFLC one might add, have been under a siege by the trademark-abusing FSFE and SFC; Belgium helps legitimise the ‘fakes’



  8. Techrights in the Next 5 or 10 Years

    Now that I’m free from the shackles of a company (it deteriorated a lot after grabbing Gates Foundation money under an NDA) the site Techrights can flourish and become more active



  9. 60 Days of Articles About Sirius 'Open Source' and the Long Road Ahead

    The Sirius ‘Open Source’ series ended after 60 days (parts published every day except the day my SSD died completely and very suddenly); the video above explains what’s to come and what lessons can be learned from the 21-year collective experience (my wife and I; work periods combined) in a company that still claims, in vain, to be “Open Source”



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 30, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, January 30, 2023



  11. Taking Techrights to the Next Level in 2023

    I've reached a state of "closure" when it comes to my employer (almost 12 years for me, 9+ years for my wife); expect Techrights to become more active than ever before and belatedly publish important articles, based on longstanding investigations that take a lot of effort



  12. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Realise That Outsourcing Clients' Passwords to LassPass After Security Breaches Is a Terrible Idea

    The mentality or the general mindset at Sirius ‘Open Source’ was not compatible with that of security conscientiousness and it seemed abundantly clear that paper mills (e.g. ISO certification) cannot compensate for that



  13. Links 30/01/2023: Plasma Mobile 23.01 and GNU Taler 0.9.1

    Links for the day



  14. EPO Management Isn't Listening to Staff, It's Just Trying to Divide and Demoralise the Staff Instead

    “On 18 January 2023,” the staff representatives tell European Patent Office (EPO) colleagues, “the staff representation met with the administration in a Working Group on the project “Bringing Teams Together”. It was the first meeting since the departure of PD General Administration and the radical changes made to the project. We voiced the major concerns of staff, the organization chaos and unrest caused by the project among teams and made concrete proposals.”



  15. Links 30/01/2023: Coreboot 4.19 and Budgie 10.7

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 29, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 29, 2023



  17. [Meme] With Superheroes Like These...

    Ever since the new managers arrived the talent has fled the company that falsely credits itself with "Open Source"



  18. Not Tolerating Proprietary 'Bossware' in the Workplace (or at Home in Case of Work-From-Home)

    The company known as Sirius ‘Open Source’ generally rejected… Open Source. Today’s focus was the migration to Slack.



  19. The ISO Delusion: A Stack of Proprietary Junk (Slack) Failing Miserably

    When the company where I worked for nearly 12 years spoke of pragmatism it was merely making excuses to adopt proprietary software at the expense of already-working and functional Free software



  20. Debian 11 on My Main Rig: So Far Mostly OK, But Missing Some Software From Debian 10

    Distributions of GNU/Linux keep urging us to move to the latest, but is the latest always the greatest? On Friday my Debian 10 drive died, so I started moving to Debian 11 on a new drive and here's what that did to my life.



  21. Stigmatising GNU/Linux for Not Withstanding Hardware Failures

    Nowadays "the news" is polluted with a lot of GNU/Linux-hostile nonsense; like with patents, the signal-to-noise ratio is appalling and here we deal with a poor 'report' about "Linux servers" failing to work



  22. Microsofters Inside Sirius 'Open Source'

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has been employing incompetent managers for years — a sentiment shared among colleagues by the way; today we examine some glaring examples with redacted communications to prove it



  23. Links 29/01/2023: GNOME 43.3 Fixes and Lots About Games

    Links for the day



  24. The Hey Hype Machine

    "Hey Hype" or "Hey Hi" (AI) has been dominating the press lately and a lot of that seems to boil down to paid-for marketing; we need to understand what's truly going on and not be distracted by the substance-less hype



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 28, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 28, 2023



  26. Unmasking AI

    A guest article by Andy Farnell



  27. The ISO Delusion/Sirius Corporation: A 'Tech' Company Run by Non-Technical People

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was hiring people who brought to the company a culture of redundant tasks and unwanted, even hostile technology; today we continue to tell the story of a company run by the CEO whose friends and acquaintances did severe damage



  28. Links 28/01/2023: Lots of Catching Up (Had Hardware Crash)

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, January 27, 2023



  30. Microsoft DuckDuckGo Falls to Lowest Share in 2 Years After Being Widely Exposed as Microsoft Proxy, Fake 'Privacy'

    DuckDuckGo, according to this latest data from Statcounter, fell from about 0.71% to just 0.58%; all the gains have been lost amid scandals, such as widespread realisation that DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft informant, curated by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft (Bing is meanwhile laying off many people, but the media isn’t covering that or barely bothers)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts