05.09.09

Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

City signs

Summary: Switzerland exposes signs of Microsoft mischief and the same goes for the London Olympics (2012)

IN previous debates about illegal procurement we showed that Microsoft had been violating the law in many places where its products were chosen without even giving any consideration to competitors. To present the most recent examples, see the story of Spain, Portugal [1, 2], in Catalonia, Turkey, Russia, and Thailand. According to the following, Switzerland may be no exception:

The Swiss federal government published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce that it has granted a maintenance contract over CHF 42 million to Microsoft — however, without a prior tender. The monopolist apparently had been granted the contract under exclusion of any potential competition.

The Federal Office of Construction and Logistics (BBL) apparently signed the maintenance contract over Windows and Office licenses, SharePoint et cetera in February already. A tender had never been held, so competitors had never been given a chance to demonstrate their own products. This, however, is clearly against the official regulations for acquisition of resources. A speaker of the Open Source corporation group /ch/open announced that the decision would be contested in front of the Federal Court which, incidentally, is a known user of the OpenOffice.org suite.

Who could ever forget the OOXML fiasco in Switzerland?

Over here in the UK, there seems to be another Richard Steel/Newham-like scam (see background here). The Free software-hostile CIO this time around is Gerry Pennell, who spouts utter lies to justify what could be gentle collusion. From Blankenhorn:

CIO Gerry Pennell (right) gave a lot of blah-blah-blah to the Green IT conference in London, but this really has nothing to do with energy efficiency or application compatibility. (Picture from the GreenIT Web site.)

Green IT? Environment? What on Earth [pun unintended] does that even mean for visibility/modifiablility of source code?? Glyn Moody has more to say on the subject:

Somebody clearly doesn’t understand open source:

Despite a mission to make the games as financially and environmentally sustainable as possible, the organisers of London 2012 have ruled out any significant use of open source software.

Open source is the *only* sustainable option for software, because it can be re-used – one of the great advantages of free software. So given that open source should be the only option, why aren’t the organisers using it?

[...]

What planet is this man living on? “Proven software…does not run on open standards”? What, like Apache, or Sendmail or BIND or JBoss or MySQL? Well, it’s clear which Olympics event *he* would come first in: clueless CIO twit of the year.

The smell of corruption aside, this gentleman seems to be begging for another angry blue screen of death, just like in the Beijing Olympics.

Microsoft ‘Patents’ ODF Whilst Also Harming It

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Summary: Microsoft becomes a patent liability to ODF and gets slammed for ridiculing ODF (again)

ONE reader told us last night that “Microsoft patents ODF in Costa Rica.” Another reader warned us about something similar this morning, but we haven’t yet permission to publish it. Anyway, regarding the news from Costa Rica, a reader sent us an automatic Google translation of this page:

Microsoft software patents in Costa Rica.

(42 Reads)

Submitted by root on Friday, May 08, 2009 – 04:47

Appeared published in Official Gazette of the State of Costa Rica, 28, 29 and January 30 this year (2009).

The published text is as follows:

Mr Edgar Zurcher Gurdian, card No. 1-532-390, more, divorced, lawyer, resident of San Jose, as a special agent of Microsoft Corporation, USA, claims the patent called WORD PROCESSOR DOCUMENT STORAGE XML in a single file that can be manipulated by applications that CAPTAN XML. The present invention is to provide a word processing document in a native file format XMIL that can be understood by an application that understands XML, or enable a different application or service to succeed in creating a document in rich XMIL, so the word processing application can open as if one of your own documents. The description, claims, and abstract designs are deposited, the International Patent Classification is Sixth Edition G06F 17/22, whose inventors are Jones, Brian M., Bishop, Andrew K., Snyder, Daniel R., Sawicki, Marcin, Little, Robert A., Krueger, Anthony D. The application is numbered 6980 and was presented at 14:08:39 on 19 May 2003. Any interested party
may object within the three months after the third publication of this notice. Published three consecutive days in the Official Gazette and once in a newspaper nacional.-San Jose, December 12 the 2008.-Lic. Helen Cabrera Marín, Registrar .- (4630).

The period for claims and won.

As you can notice this patent also corresponds exactly to what makes OpenOffice Writer.

It’s really a shame that these things happen, especially when they had been warned in advance. Let us hope that Costa Ricans and one of innocence.

There is some other news out there, such as <No>OOXML calling for people to abolish Microsoft’s Office handling of ODF.

- Ask the ODF Alliance to publish a press release recommending not using the “Save as ODF” facility included MS Office SP2, due to the bad quality of the produced ODF files.

[...]

- Start a petition asking Microsoft to make MS Office SP2 unavailable until the design flaws in the product have been corrected.

We must make it clear to Microsoft that their attitude is not acceptable, and force them to behave in a better way.

As Christian Einfeldt put it yesterday, Microsoft says that ODF not a “standard”, but ODF=ISO26300 is implemented widely. As he rightly argues, Microsoft is being disingenuous here. Another person wrote, “Don’t let Microsoft cripple the ODF standard – don’t use Office 2007 SP2′s support: use the Sun plug-in instead.” In a blog post, one person argues that “Microsoft vs. ODF is arrogance on display.”

Note to Microsoft: This is not how standards work. Frankly, if you don’t intend to support ODF properly, you may as well not support it at all. What your product writes isn’t ODF. When your product reads ODF, it silently discards important parts of the data. (Yes, the formulas in spreadsheets are important. That’s the whole purpose of a spreadsheet program! Otherwise we may as well be using pencil, paper, and calculators.)

Speaking of arrogance, Charles wrote a long post about Microsoft's arrogant attack on Rob Weir.

These are very interesting times for ODF and Open Standards. Microsoft’s latest outrage by Gray Knowlton does at least show that if there’s a company who practices the « Do as I say, not as I do », it’s Microsoft. Gray Knowlton is now calling for Rob Weir, chair of the ODF Technical Committee at the OASIS Consortium to resign. I understand Gray. Gray is the Product Manager of Microsoft Office at Microsoft. Which means he is ultimately to blame for the lousy job Microsoft engineers have done in implementing ODF inside Microsoft Office. Gray is in the front line, and you can bet he’s having to answer some tough calls from customers right now. Gray does not have to ride the smooth « try Seven after Vista » wave; he has to go through the clutter that Microsoft’s big heads have created by thinking: What if we had ODF wrecked inside Office and get the world to believe that it’s not our fault? That’s Gray’s problem. And this is how we come to the waterboarding of Rob. But I digress.

[...]

Bad, bad, evil Rob. Not only he didn’t go to your grand astroturfing party, but he apparently forgot to mention SP2 at the coffee machine ten times in a rowthe day you released it. That must be depressing. Anyway; talking about missing the chance to provide your input before things happen: How come Microsoft left the OASIS ODF TC in 2003?

As a final note for the time being, it is sad to see that Marbux is still bickering after he (and the ODF Foundation he was in) threw a fit [1, 2]. He is fueling and feeding standards trolls like Alex Brown.

Who Covers Mono Again? Microsoft.

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono Microsoft brain

Summary: If Microsoft covers Mono, then it must be good for Microsoft

SOME of Microsoft’s own magazines are suffering from redundancies right now. This is a simple fact.

As we argued and showed earlier this week, Novell/Microsoft software mostly receives coverage from the Microsoft and Novell crowd [1, 2, 3]. This is definitely expected for Microsoft Moonlight, but here we see it happening for Mono as well, despite the fact that Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble once wrote: “I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public.”

We still keep track of Mono coverage and we are not selective about it. Therefore, the following new ZDNet review of Mono 2.2 seems a little conspicuous. It seems a little misplaced. At the bottom, however, it clearly states:

Disclosure of industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides. He is an employee of Levit & James, Inc. in a multi-disciplinary role that combines programming, network management, and systems administration and has been blogging at TechRepublic since 2005.

MSDN Magazine has just been hit by large-scale layoffs, so there will likely be an outpouring of Microsoft employee/writers who spread the company’s message outside literature which is explicitly and directly associated with the company. Another TechRepublic writer was criticised last year for promoting Mono as though it was everything there is to GNU/Linux. Microsoft’s internal evangelism presentations shed light on how the company intends to control developer and trade magazines, so it’s certainly something to watch out for.

Mono is trouble because, to quote further from Robert Scoble, Microsoft reserves the right to sue over Mono. Fortunately, however, Mono relief is still being offered to more GNOME users who embrace Gnote. It’s not an ultimate solution, but it’s a start. With Richard Stallman’s suggestion, I’ve invited Hubert to align his project with GNU.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 8th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

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