07.11.09

Microsoft Wants to ‘Save’ the World, Using Restrictive Monopolies

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Auschwitz

Summary: Bill Gates’ Searete is looking to make money from natural disasters

IT HAS been a long time since we last wrote about Searete, which is Bill Gates’ very own patent-trolling firm [1, 2, 3]. As the Gates-backed Intellectual Ventures demonstrates, these sleeping giant trolls sooner or later go offensive and proceed to extortion. It is with that in mind that we look at this report from a Microsoft-sponsored source (thus spinning in Microsoft’s favour). Glyn Moody has a more proper interpretation of this report. He says that Bill Gates is monetising life and death once again, this time using bizarre patents.

Just one problemette: he’s [Bill Gates] decided to patent the idea, along with his clever old chum Nathan Myhrvold.

The filings were made by Searete LLC, an entity tied to Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based patent and invention house run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer. Myhrvold and several others are listed along with Gates as inventors.

After all, can’t have people just going out there and saving thousands of lives without paying for the privilege, can we?

Here is a detailed overview of Microsoft's journey towards patents as a business model. It has already kicked into gear now that Linux is forced to waste time working around software patents. From the news:

i. Linux community codes around Microsoft’s FAT patents

In early 2009, open-source luminary Larry Augustin urged the Linux community to “get the FAT out.” While Tridgell’s approach doesn’t quite do this, it does appear to obviate Microsoft’s patent claims.

This should make Linux users happy. Whether it will make Microsoft happy to see how trivial it is to code around its patent claims remains to be seen. That’s the problem with launching nuclear marketing attacks against the legal integrity of open-source code: given enough eyeballs, all patent claims are shallow.

ii. Can FAT patch avoid Microsoft lawsuits?

Andrew Tridgell has published a patch that could make the Linux implementation of the FAT filesystem impervious to Microsoft patent claims of the kind that forced a settlement from TomTom. The patch alters the VFAT code so that it does not generate both short and long filenames, says Tridgell.

At Microsoft, “innovation” means interfering with competitors’ product development and making money on the side by putting people’s life at risk [1, 2, 3]. So how can anyone not trust Microsoft? Microsoft said FAT was safe, but it lied. Take note, Mono apologists.

It’s Official: Bilski Kills Software Patent

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, Patents at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keep clean

Summary: Judge Gilford’s ruling puts software patent in the garbage can

IN Re Bilski is destined to travel all the way to the top where a newer verdict may be more explicit than implicit regarding software patents. The good news is that, in the mean time, the previous Bilski decision gets used to invalidate a software patent. From Slashdot’s summary.

“US District Court Judge Andrew Gilford (Central District of California) granted a summary judgment motion in DealerTrack v. Huber et al., finding DealerTrack’s patent (US 7,181,427) — for an automated credit application processing system — invalid due to the recent In re Bilski court decision that requires a patent to either involve ‘transformation’ or ‘a specific machine.’ According to Judge Gilford’s ruling, DealerTrack ‘appears to concede that the claims of the ’427 Patent do not meet the “transformation” prong of the Bilski test.’ He then applied the ‘specific machine’ test and noted that, post-Bilski the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has ruled several times that ‘claims reciting the use of general purpose processors or computers do not satisfy the [Bilski] test.’ Judge Gilford analyzes the claims of the ’427 patent, notes that they state that the ‘machine’ involved could be a ‘dumb terminal’ and a ‘personal computer,’ and then concludes: ‘None of the claims of the ’427 Patent require the use of a “particular machine,” and the patent is thus invalid under Bilski.’ DealerTrack apparently plans to appeal the ruling. Interesting times ahead.”

The FFII /SSP points out that “the Bilski test was invented by IBM,” which is interesting because IBM wants software patents to stay.

By reading the Amicus Brief of IBM to the CAFC, it is pretty clear that the machine tranformation test which allows software patents and ban business method patents was invented by IBM lawyers.

To IBM, software patents may be a mechanism for ensuring that people buy GNU/Linux from IBM and not from smaller companies which cannot indemnify. IBM relies on gullibility and blind trust to a certain extent.

Mono Roundup: Still Dangerous, Still Not Acceptable

Posted in Debian, FUD, GNU/Linux, Java, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monkey business

Summary: Nothing of practical use has really changed for Mono, but its connection to Microsoft was made a lot clearer

DURING many people’s summer absence, the news came out about Microsoft’s “community promise” (CP), to which we responded only succinctly [1, 2]. Here is a longer analysis, which comprises events preceding this promise as well.

Debian

eWeek (Ziff Davis) adds to the many reports about Debian’s disagreement with Richard Stallman regarding Mono. The Inquirer covered this as well.

As the Debian project releases a second update of its Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (“Lenny”) distribution, a controversy has broken out over the next version, “Squeeze.” GNU guru Richard Stallman has warned that by including a Mono-based note-taking application called Tomboy, Debian runs the risk of Microsoft litigation over C# patents.

Nothing has changed since Microsoft and Mono came out all jubilant. Stallman does not like Microsoft’s CP, either.

Debian is meanwhile getting Gnote, a replacement for Tomboy.

Well, it seems that since last saturday, Gnote is now the default option in Debian for those platforms where Mono unportability prevents Tomboy from being used, namely: alpha, hppa, m68k, mipsel, mips, hurd-i386 and kopensolaris-i386.

Gnote 0.5.2 is out.

I just released gnote 0.5.2. It is a bug fix release.

Ubuntu

62% of the surveyed people did not trust Microsoft on Mono prior to the CP. We wrote about this over a week ago and also explained where Canonical stood on the subject. Heise later chimed in to say that “Ubuntu [is] to continue using Mono.”

On behalf of the Ubuntu Technical Board, Ubuntu Development Manager and board member Scott James Remnant has clarified that the use of C#, specifically the Mono implementation, is not considered to be a problem and that it, and applications based on it, will continue to be included with the Ubuntu default installation set.

One reader wrote to remind us that “Solang, a photo manager, is now part of Ubuntu.”

Microsoft

It is true that some people are in favour of Mono, but as we shall show in a moment, a lot of Mono proponents are also Microsoft proponents, but Microsoft is no proponent of GNU/Linux.

“Notice the fact that Microsoft and its friends in the IT industry absolutely love Mono and hate GNU/Linux.”First, look at this. Nice attitude there from a Microsoft intern (also noted last week, but this intern regrets his remarks and wanted to remove them from other people’s Web sites too). Notice the fact that Microsoft and its friends in the IT industry absolutely love Mono and hate GNU/Linux. Is it not telling? There is no contradiction here.

The SFLC’s Kuhn replies to these remark from the Microsoft intern with: “we should forgive him for statements (but not for still working at MSFT) Sometimes early-20s == saying stupid stuff.” For those who did not follow this, the intern cursed me, linked to libel about me, and told Richard Stallman to “F*ck off” due to a technical/legal stance on Mono.

One reader suggested that we take a look what what this guy is up to. His profile says:

* Name Nikhil Kothari
* Location Sammamish, WA
* Web http://www.nikhil…
* Bio Software Architect at Microsoft, working on .NET, ASP.NET and Silverlight…

Watch some of the older Tweets in there. He corresponds with C.J. Adams-Collier, who works on Mono and also worked for Microsoft. How about this:

@cjadamscollier Thanks for the pointers – will keep them in mind as I look into things.

According to the Mono Web site, he is a Mono developer or generally a contributor. He was paid by Microsoft too, by his own admission. He tried to discredit Boycott Novell and he lurks in our IRC channel. One suspicion is that Microsoft is spreading (or simply exploiting) “Linux developers” whose role is to spread Moonlight and Mono, making Silver Lie and .NET a lot more prevalent.

Here is Microsoft’s Nikhil Kothari chatting quite a lot with Miguel de Icaza:

What is the recommended IDE/setup to use for Mono development on the mac? @migueldeicaza any suggestions?

Here is another Twit which once again shows Microsoft’s involvement in MonoDevelop, which ultimately strengthens Windows [1, 2, 3]:

@migueldeicaza If things pan out with MonoDevelop and I get a few cycles, I will have something interesting to share … fingers crossed.

It is worth remembering that Miguel de Icaza literally spends time at Microsoft. He goes on campus, too, having gone there for a job interview 10+ years ago. Nat Friedman was working for Microsoft.

Watch how the pro-Microsoft Gavin Clarke is giving de Icaza exposure, as usual. Together they defend the spreading of Mono, using The Register. They are working to spread .NET everywhere (Mary Jo Foley too, as always). Oh, how Microsoft loves Mono! If Microsoft likes it, then it’s usually bad for its #1 competitor, GNU/Linux.

Why Mono is Still Dangerous

One visitor has just raised the following important point:

“By the way, what nobody here seems to be mentioning, I guess because they’re pretty ignorant about .NET in general, is that the ECMA specs only cover versions 1 and 2 of the C# language, and neither version 3 which Mono already implements or version 4 of which MSFT’s implementation is currently in beta have been submitted to any standards body. I think this is a bigger issue than support for some Windows libraries.

More holes/loopholes are identified:

Carlo Daffara, an open-source consultant, rightly notes that Microsoft’s patent promise is not directly on Mono, but rather on these ECMA standards, which leaves “most of Mono…encumbered as before (WinForms, ADO.NET, …).”

What are the CPs good for then? Even the use of language is laughable and reminiscent of surrogate terms. “Community promise” is a case of pretending that Microsoft is pro-”community”. It’s as Orwellian as the “Community” patent, which is a loophole for bringing software patents into Europe and thus harming the Free software community — the real community.

So what it is with CPs then? Were they even tested in any court? It is a rhetorical question.

“Promises, promises,” calls them Alan Lord. They are not legally binding.

The reason I won’t be using Mono is that the .Net framework is already embraced by Microsoft, it is already extended by Microsoft. It was from the beginning and will probably always remain so.

For a detailed analysis of the CP, see this from The Mad Hatter.

So why didn’t Microsoft’s lawyers include this in the main body? Microsoft’s lawyers aren’t stupid (I know one of them, she’s a really smart lady). So why did they write it in this confused way?

I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense.

The Mad Hatter told us that “from ITWire, several people have noticed that pro-mono people tend to duck having an independent evaluation done of Mono for patent issues.”

Last year Groklaw wrote the article “What is Wrong with RAND?”

We now have this article whose headline is “What does RAND mean?” What it means to Free software is that it is a term to avoid, according to the GNU doctrine.

Apparently, it must mean something, because I find it being referenced in (supposedly serious) discussions about .NET licensing.

The acronym literally translates as “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory”. So far so good. Except I don’t have a clue what it means. What does “reasonable” mean when applied to a patent licensing policy? Well, according to my own interpretation of this word, a licensing policy is reasonable when it prevents the patent from being used to impose a tax on any users of any program. But this is just my point of view on what is reasonable. Can you expect patent holders to agree with your point of view on what “reasonable” means when interpreting their own promises?

All in all, as we have said from the very start, the whole Mono story does not deserve this level of coverage. The editor of Linux Today (Carla) agrees that Mono and Google Chrome OS have been blown out of proportion, as we emphasised a day or so ago.

Just when I was getting thoroughly bored with Mono news, which is the same arguments recycled over and over, and little of anything more definitive from the Mono camp than “Same to you!”, along came a tidal wave of Google Chrome OS news. The Chrome OS story is truly frightening, far more terrifying than Mono gaining a solid foothold in Linux distributions— because the news is simply an announcement that the Chrome OS project has been officially launched. There is no OS yet. What levels of hysteria are going to be reached when the actual code is released? Rioting? Suicides? Looting?

Carla is also the editor of Linux Planet where she has published this article from SJVN about Mono. We too are quoted.

Peter Brown, the Free Software Foundation’s executive director, though still isn’t impressed. Brown said, “It’s my understanding that Microsoft has not yet announced anything officially, but assuming it follows up on this blog post and covers ECMA 334 and 335 under the Community Promise, it will not protect free software from the threats we have been discussing That’s because Mono implements, and Tomboy depends upon, a number of libraries which are ‘standard’ in the sense that they’re under C#’s “System” namespace (indicating that they’re part of the standard library) and provided in Microsoft’s implementation, but somewhat pointedly excluded from the ECMA specifications.”

So, Brown continued, “If the question is, should GNU/Linux distributions include Mono? Then the community promise from Microsoft covering these two specifications clearly isn’t sufficient. That they won’t sue us for infringement of some of their Mono patents is useless if they reserve the right to sue us over other Mono patents. If Microsoft really wants to assure the free software community that it does not intend to attack applications based on Mono in the future, it should issue a patent license to everyone for all the patents that are necessarily infringed by the complete implementation of Mono, that allows users to use, share, and modify the software as they see fit.”

[...]

But, Roy Schestowitz, editor of Boycott Novell thinks that focusing on the patent issue alone is a mistake. Schestowitz said, “Patents were never the sole issue when it comes to Mono.” Microsoft doesn’t allow deviation from the .NET core. “This ensures that Microsoft stays in control. This leads to no independence, which Microsoft may describe as ‘fragmentation.’”

Over a year ago, Beranger explained to us why Mono is more than just a patent trap; it is an habitual problem and he has just given a good theoretical example which concurs with real examples that we know of.

I am already laughing sarcastically when I imagine the faces of those Linux developers who, after having told their boss that they know C# and Mono, will be assigned to an ASP.NET project… on a Microsoft platform that uses the genuine .NET! Because this is what will happen!

And when you think that, after the initial unknown motivation to start developing Mono, the whole thing took exposure after some moron wrote Tomboy!

Therefore, believe me or not, my twisted radar tells me that in the long run, Tomboy and F-Spot are going to boost the sales of Microsoft Dynamics, which is a .NET range of products. Good work, Steve, and good work, Miguel.

Charles opines that Mono does not even matter these days.

Anyway, who should care about this? Gnome developers mostly. The rest of us have gone out of the .Net and Java wars after around 2004 or 2005, and have realized that there other realities such as Qt and Python (to name just a few), and most of all, there is the Internet, and the POSH (Plain Old Simple Html), and that new little Linux distributions launched by Google… And so much more.

Mono and .Net is one of the last schemes from an outdated behemoth; both the scheme and its inventor will soon fade in blissful irrelevance. It does not mean it cannot sting back though….

On the other hand, a journalist whom Microsoft bought lunch about 2 weeks ago (and later hooked up with Laura DiDio) has just bent backwards to find some criteria by which Mono seems better than Java. He published this in SD Times and saw all the Mono proponents citing him immediately. Novell is on the same boat [1, 2, 3, 4].

In addition, one reader warned us about what he calls “Major [Java] FUD campaign against Oracle and Sun via Deborah Gage.”

He explains that “this follows the classic MSFT tactic of a positive headline covering absolutely disparaging content.”

Microsoft still hates Java. It wants to replace it with .NET by all means available.

“Moonlight is usable for anyone on any distribution of Linux (redhat, ubuntu, etc.) — it is not limited just to Novell as Mono is.”

Brian Goldfarb, Microsoft
[note: Moonlight depends on Mono, emphasis is ours]

Microsoft Lobbyist Jonathan Zuck Gets Exposed and Quickly Retreats

Posted in Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft lobbying backfires, so the attack on Free software is retracted with the excuse that “an old draft [was] released in error”

PENGUIN Pete has just said it well when he reminded readers that Microsoft will play politics and use AstroTurfing against any competitor great enough (and thus worthy of such effort/investment/risk of being caught). The latest example is Google’s entrance into the GNU/Linux desktop arena, further encroaching on Microsoft’s front yard.

Expect trouble in the US!

You will be thwarted. Microsoft owns too much of the US government for you not to be harassed. So don’t worry about the US market. Remember, the Metric system caught on everywhere else but the US, too. The US will be your toughest market, even without bought-off senators and officials throwing themselves in your way like salmon.

Ignore the siren song of asstroturfers!

Don’t be stupid like a few other open source projects and listen to the thousand flaming trolls in a comment page – they are paid to derail you. Google, you have done very little wrong so far; what market share you’ve acquired, you’ve earned fair and square. Don’t start doubting yourself now.

Microsoft’s political moves against Google are all too obvious and one must always keep track of them because they are virtually endless [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. But the combination of GNU/Linux and Google must be particularly scary to Microsoft, so it promptly strikes back with reports published by its lobbying front, ACT. We have already explained what ACT is all about and what Jonathan Zuck does there, but here is a newer overview.

Watch how the press parrots “Microsoft Meller”, who knowingly or innocently helps Microsoft front groups spread their messages.

A European Commission policy review white paper released last week (PDF available here) was brought to light in the US this week by virtue of a comment from its most vocal opposition. Yesterday, press sources including IDG’s Paul Meller quoted the Association for Competitive Technology’s Jonathan Zuck as taking sides — not surprisingly — against the white paper, accusing the EC of bias in favor of open source software producers over commercial manufacturers.

“We remain concerned that the policy framework suggested in the white paper seems to favor open source software over proprietary software to achieve more interoperability,” reads another citation of Zuck’s statement. Ironically, Zuck’s ACT Web site from which the statement originated appeared to be the victim of a crash in its open source asset management system this morning, so only second-hand citations of Zuck were available today.

Dana at ZDNet has just called out ACT’s latest spiel.

A European Commission effort to move the continent toward open standards is being threatened by Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) from a group favoring proprietary solutions.

[...]

Clear out the rhetoric and Zuck is saying that monopolies created by patents, and only such monopolies, allow technology to move forward, and that a regime that truly demands open standards is an attempt to “impose one business model over another.”

Now it gets funny. Watch how ‘damage control’ kicks in.

Correction from ACT
Hey, just stopping by to make small apology and perhaps a quick comment. First, our statement on the recent Whitepaper on ICT Standardization was based on an old draft and released in error. My apology is here:

http://blog.actonline.org/2009/07/our-own-own-goal.html

However, dude, you’re all over the map here. First you’re referring to a press release from a year ago about something called the European Interoperability Framework and while that document is still evolving, I stand by our statment. One of the very examples you use of 802.11 would not be allowed in public producrment under the EIF because it’s patent encumbered and royalty bearing.

Happy to talk more. Next time you want to write about what I think, why not get my opinion first?

Jonathan Zuck
Pres.
ACT

As one reader puts it, “ACT bashed the wrong version, and the Redmond guys told him, hey stop Zuck, we rewrote the paper and Nellie Kroes does not like insults when she negotiates with us.”

Surely enough, “an old draft” says the very opposite from the final version, right? Or is this one of the lamest excuses ever heard? It’s outright embarrassing.

According to a Bloomberg report from this week, Microsoft is at the moment "schmoozing" the Commission, again. The full story is a lot more complicated and remains confidential for now.

Does Microsoft Struggle to Find Leaders for Vista 7?

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mad Windows 7

Summary: Microsoft promotes Sinofsky from the bottom in order to fill in a gap of presidencies (Windows leadership)

Microsoft’s Sinofsky is one interesting figure and probably not as inherently malicious as Brad Silverberg for example. To give just a sample of his deeds, here is Sinofsky’s role in the discussion about software patents versus rivals to Office, as thoroughly covered last month [1, 2]. Here he is telling Bill Gates about Netscape and Corel, leading to a discussion about “attack groups” against Microsoft rivals.

For whatever it’s worth, Sinofsky is now becoming the man who will lead the sequel to Vista, of which he was a critic. Many Windows managers like Allchin, Poole and Valentine quit Microsoft, so this basically shows a man approaching a seat that others seemingly refuse to take and even abandoned. They too understand that Windows is a mess and adding some new layers to Vista will not work. It’s an immense marketing challenge because the reality behind Vista 7 is too darn scary, never mind the effect of the current economy. If the press was to be accurate back in 2005-2006, Windows Vista would be on almost everyone’s PC these days and GNU/Linux would be “dead” (“last nail on the coffin” is a phrase AstroTurfers truly love). The hype behind Vista 7 nicely resembles what Microsoft did for Vista 3 years ago in order to propel perception. It evokes fear in the minds of rivals, leading to defeatism, surrender, lack or morale, and absence of popular support. Remember what Microsoft’s evangelism philosophy [PDF] was admittedly based on.

“The hype behind Vista 7 nicely resembles what Microsoft did for Vista 3 years ago in order to propel perception.”Mary Jo Foley seems hopeful that Sinofsky’s promotion will save Windows, whose market share keeps eroding (losing mostly to Apple in developed countries and primarily to GNU/Linux in developing countries) and price keeps dropping to almost $0, if not negative pricing (kickbacks). The very fact that he is promoted from the bottom — combined with his scarce involvement at Microsoft in the past — is indicative of the observation that Microsoft is running out of people sufficiently senior (in this specific company) and capable enough to hold down this type of job. Top executives keep fleeing on an almost weekly basis (very recent examples in [1, 2, 3]).

One reader explains to us by mail: “Following Windows Vista’s troubles, Sinofsky has pushed the Windows team it to be more selective and deliberate in its work on the PC operating system. Writing to Ballmer in February 2007, Sinofsky analyzed Windows Vista’s problems and provided what would amount to a blueprint for the company’s approach to Windows 7 development.”

“There’s a link [here] to the memo to Ballmer,” adds the reader.

Microsoft Shares Destiny with Partners That Promote Its Agenda

Posted in Apple, Asia, Microsoft, Red Hat at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That sinking feeling

Summary: Infosys helps Microsoft fight against the interests of the Indian people, but both companies are suffering together from an unstoppable power shift (from colonisation to freedom and independence)

THE DEEP RECESSION (some people are still sensitive to the word “depression”) is very harsh in every way, but the GNU/Linux leader, Red Hat, is the only one among a trio which includes Apple and Microsoft that actually keeps rising. Microsoft declines the fastest because Apple has products other than PCs (sorry, “Macs” are personal computers) to rely on for revenue. Unlike Microsoft’s secondary businesses, Apple’s gadgets are actually proving profitable at the end of the day. As for GNU/Linux, it rises everywhere including the desktop (as noted one hour ago), whereas dead Microsoft products continue to pile up. We gave an example yesterday and now there’s this:

The rumors circulating earlier this week were true: Microsoft has decided to pull the plug on its MSN/Windows Live Butterfly program.

Microsoft's decline is affecting those who are connected to it. Consider Infosys for example. Aside from Infosys slump, there have been other reasons for mentioning this company recently [1, 2]. Gates calls it “effective” (probably at reducing expenditure associated with labour). From the news:

Indian outsourcer Infosys managed a small increase in profits for the first quarter but warned that the outlook for the full year is still bad.

For some more background, learn about the Infosys-Microsoft imperialist connection. Infosys is part of Microsoft’s lobby for software patents in India [1, 2, 3] (advancing USPTO-imposed monopolies). It also exploits Indian people, it worked to ratify OOXML — the proprietary Microsoft format — as an international standard [1, 2] and so on [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Infosys helps Infosys and Microsoft, not India.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 10th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Norway Embraces Open Standards, Many Others Follow Suit

Posted in Asia, Europe, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

Summary: Norway embraces ODF and maybe Ogg too; ODF in general spreads rapidly

NOT so long ago it was Hungary that found the light and now it is Norway, which struggled against Microsoft corruption [1, 2]. It’s truly fascinating how deep it may run. Leif Lodahl from Denmark was among the first people to mention this latest development (as we already did yesterday thanks to a pointer from a reader).

The Norwegian government has made a clear statement in a new catalog covering data standards of various purposes.

According to some folks in Twitter, Ogg may be part of this policy in Norway. This is timely because of Microsoft’s bad attitude not only towards Ogg but against <audio> and <video> in general. Microsoft talks about patents, shows apathy, and general disinterest (follow the threads). It acts as a barrier because it tries spreading Windows Media Player and Silver Lie all over the Web. Watch this report.

Mozilla supports HTML 5 video, Microsoft doesn’t yet but without a codec specified, does it matter?

In IDG Norway we also find this UK report about BECTA doing it with Microsoft again, trying to find excuses to embellish and justify deals that turn all British kids into Microsoft customers. Watch this deceptive statement:

Microsoft also provides support in Office 2007 for the Open Document Format (ODF) file format, a move that Becta has acknowledged.

Microsoft doesn’t. It ruins ODF interoperability with MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and even the ODF Alliance has formally stated that this is the case. BECTA does not care about the ODF Alliance though; BECTA is feeling warm in the same bed as Microsoft, as always [1, 2, 3, 4].

Another ugly story about document standards came from India where this debate continues. Notice how Novell is listed as a backer of OOXML in the Business Standard (Novell is listed on Microsoft’s side):

Incidentally, there has never been a more intense global industry debate over ‘open standards’. On the one hand is Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format backed by Apple, Novell, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and Nasscom. On the other is the Open Document Format (ODF), supported by the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Google, the Department of Information Technology (DIT), National Informatics Centre (NIC), CDAC, IIT-Mumbai and IIM-Ahmedabad.

India recently maintained its earlier stance of “No” to the software major’s OOXML (which has been accepted by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) as an international standard).

ODF proponents oppose OOXML on the grounds that “multiple standards” are not good, while Microsoft argues that OOXML — a recognised standard by ECMA International too — is a response to evolving technology formats in line with continual evolving technology systems. The debate appears to be a proxy for product competition in the marketplace, argue opponents. It is significant, in part, because it will influence the future success of Microsoft Office — one of Microsoft’s largest and most profitable product families.

Governments are wary of holding digital data in proprietary formats, which could make them hostage to a software vendor. States such as Delhi, Kerala and others from the North-East are heavy adopters of ODF file formats which are open and free (excluding maintenance and support).

ODF is still being maintained by OASIS, which was not corrupted like ISO. There is a new OASIS board introduced, hopefully without negative influence. Time will tell.

Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, and all of my supporters, inside and outside the OASIS who were kind enough to dedicate time and effort to this project. Next time will be better and I look forward working with all you again.

In other ODF news, here is another company that supports it.

3BClean scrubs the metadata from Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) files, Open Document Format (ODF) files, as well as generating PDFs.

Another new tidbit:

Open Document Format (ODF) has achieved growing acceptance as the document format of choice for governments around the world, less than six months after its adoption as an international standard.

Microsoft’s fight to retain vendor lock-in on documents is far from over. No product brings Microsoft’s home as much bacon as Office and Microsoft knows no ethical boundaries.

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.


Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.


I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

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