04.30.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft Interoperability Crushed by the TomTom Case

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Office Suites, OIN, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, TomTom at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crushed building

Summary: Microsoft slammed for using software patents against interoperability, the OIN responds too late

THIS new report from Asia says that Harish Pillay put an end to Microsoft’s “interoperability” nonsense by bringing up an example where Microsoft strives for exactly the opposite.

A Microsoft panel discussion with two members of the open source community changed course when attention was swung to patent issues raised by a member of the audience.

During a Microsoft interoperability event Tuesday, Harish Pillay, president of the Linux Users’ Group (Singapore), asked if Microsoft would make its software patents available to the open source community.

Pillay asked if Microsoft would release its patents to the Open Invention Network (OIN), in line with its pledge toward interoperability.

The OIN, whose founders include IBM, Novell and Red Hat, acquires patents, licensing them royalty-free to companies that agree not to assert their own patents against Linux or open source applications.

As Shane emphasised two years ago, Microsoft was invited to join the OIN, but unsurprisingly it declined. The same goes for ODF.

“Interoperability” is hostile towards open standards like ODF, which Microsoft now pretends to support in order to prevent defection away from Microsoft Office.

OFFICE 2007 SP2 – ODF Support

[...]

On a related note, Ive noticed with the podcasts I listen to that OGG is becoming the download of choice when offered with MP3. Another good sign that its now users who are demanding open standard file formats? We have already seen a similar “battle” between XVID and DIVX.

Regardless of what packages you use, its seems to me its getting harder for companies to force you down the route of their own proprietary formats.

As one person pointed out yesterday, “Ministry of Interior, Slovakia not accepting documents in ODF format and violating standards required by the law. Should we call the police?” That’s the type of thing Microsoft would be delighted about. Slovakia said it had chosen ODF, but Microsoft’s shenanigans still have impact.

Going back to the OIN, its people responded a little too late and it’s good that someone calls them out:

Oi, OIN: What Took So Long?

[...]

Right, so it seems that OIN won’t be doing anything directly, other than getting the relevant patents posted the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website associated with the Linux Defenders portal.

Isn’t this a rather roundabout way of doing things? I can’t help feeling that this could have been done rather quicker: after all, if it’s just a matter of posting the relevant patents for people to examine and poke holes in, why wasn’t it done as soon as Microsoft attacked TomTom? Did we really need to wait for TomTom to join OIN, and for the latter to pass the message down the chain a few weeks later?

Saul Goode adds: “Peer-to-Patent does good things for bad reasons. OIN does bad things for good reasons.” SFLC is in no state of despair, but it does ask:

If We Can’t End Software Patents Tomorrow, What Should We Do In the Meantime?

As we’ve talked about in our recent podcasts, and as I mentioned in various blog posts, software patents (i.e., patents that read on software) are a major threat to software freedom. Due to this constant threat, the primary goal of the Software Freedom community must be an end to all software patents worldwide. “Patent reform” will never be enough. The hard part, though, given that abolishing the software patent system is such a long and tough war, is what to do in the meantime about software patents that stand in the way of immediate advancement of software freedom.

It is abundantly clear that Microsoft wants to use software patents as part of its new business model. It tried entering the hardware business several times and failed pretty badly.

One must hit Microsoft where it makes a real difference: not market share but margins. ISVs can do so too. A lot of people still think that Microsoft will lose grip only when its market share declines, but it’s a convenient fallacy. What Microsoft fears a lot is real competition that affects pricing and forcibly leads to dumping or illegal kickbacks. That’s why it introduces software patents, which are directed squarely at low-priced competition.

As Mike Masnick has just reminded his readers, “Patents Do Not Equal Innovation.” Patents are simply government-granted monopolies; as such, they increase (or can be equated to) monopoly.

Once Again: Patents Do Not Equal Innovation

The real reason for the decline in patenting may actually be buried at the bottom of the article: companies are realizing that patents aren’t particularly cost effective, and they’re cutting back, focusing on actual innovation rather than throwing money away on the patent system.

Let’s spread a new slogan: more patents = more monopolies.

“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”

Linus Torvalds

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.

2 Comments

  1. NotZed said,

    April 30, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Gravatar

    Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, i’m not sure that ZDNet article really supports the conclusions you state (not uncommon for you I know). It was raised, but that was about it.

    However, I found this part of that article particularly disturbing:

    “Another panelist[sic], Michael Cheng, PHP User Group owner, rated Microsoft’s efforts at interoperability an eight-over-10. Cheng said he is happy with Microsoft working with Zen on its server products, as well as Microsoft’s Expression Web product supporting PHP. ”

    8/10 is a pretty bloody good score, and is not one that M$ deserves for interoperability in any way shape or form for anything – just ask Sun about their version of Java. I guess that was more than 80% interoperable, but that is still worthless. Maybe they deserve an 8 for FUD and the start of the EEE process for yet another one of their direct competitors.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, i’m not sure that ZDNet article really supports the conclusions you state (not uncommon for you I know). It was raised, but that was about it.

    I use a string of articles here, not just one.

    “…Cheng said he is happy with Microsoft working with Zen on its server products, as well as Microsoft’s Expression Web product supporting PHP. ”

    That article probably means “Zend” and not “Zen”. They are buddies of Microsoft (with a deal) and they are not PHP per se.

    Zend says that 95% deploy PHP on GNU/Linux. It said so a month ago and needless to say, some company ain’t happy about it.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  2. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  3. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  4. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  5. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  7. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  9. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  10. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  11. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  12. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  16. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  17. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  18. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  19. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  20. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  21. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  22. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  23. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  24. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  26. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day



  29. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day



  30. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...


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