05.11.14

Gemini version available ♊︎

Non-technical Men in Suits Fight Against ODF and Free Software in the Wake of New British Government Policy

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Cameron

Image from the 10 Downing Street Web site

Summary: A roundup of resistance to OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in the British public sector

AS ONE ought to expect, especially based on past experiences, a migration to FOSS won’t happen without resistance from an old generation of Microsoft proponents. Just watch how Microsoft rallied its partners to object to a pro-ODF consultation (we explained Microsoft's very dirty tactics to the Cabinet Office). It didn’t quite end there.

Despite the fact that a foreign government is cracking PCs with Windows on them (and seeking to make this practice legal), some people in suits here in Britain insist that Windows in the public sector is an acceptable risk. It’s not. It should be banned. Well, some government departments quietly move towards FOSS (I work with them) and numerous keep quiet about it for fear of retribution from Microsoft and/or its partners, who view FOSS like it’s some kind of Communism that’s spreading.

Continued resistance from Luddites and “tribe elders” of technology (who grew up in another type of world and dined with executives of proprietary software vendors) was expected all along. The ODF consultation showed just one portion of it (publicly-visible, unlike some stories I know of but cannot share).

One reader asked me yesterday: “what became of that government consultation?”

Well, nothing so far, as far as we know. This new article that this reader sent us states: “if you blithely email someone a .docx file you are effectively condemning them to pay rent to Microsoft for ever.”

Indeed, and this too is a reason to shun Microsoft, not just the back doors. The author continues by stating: “One way to loosen the corporate stranglehold would be for everyone to adopt the set of standards called Open Document Format, designed so the files work the same whatever software or computer type you use.”

Yes, indeed, but there are people who stand in the way of implementing national (top-down) policy.

Earlier this month there were a bunch of Microsoft-friendly British articles (at least 3), the latest of which is this one. They all cite Jos Creese (the original/seminal article was this, but it led to some more, even overseas), relaying claims that “Microsoft is cheaper” (than FOSS).

This is wrong on so many levels. It very much depends on what’s calculated and how. OOXML is massively dangerous lock-in. Microsoft had to corrupt the world’s standards bodies to get it where it is today. The bribery for Windows-only formats was documented here half a decade (or more) ago and it was coupled by patent extortion, bribing of companies, and all sorts of other criminal acts. To say that Microsoft is cheaper is almost like saying that robbing a bank is cheaper than working (labour) for the same money. To use a better analogy, to get oneself locked into one vendor is not “cheap”. It has been reported that the British government pays ~$10,000 per Windows desktop per year. Cheap, eh? It’s more like extortion. There is a monopoly on support.

Concurrently, Adrian Bridgwater offers some convenient hogwash that ‘vanishes’ Microsoft’s criminal activities against GNU/Linux, pretending that there is something inherently wrong with FOSS and/or GNU/Linux and that this is the reason it does not (yet) dominate the desktop. Never mind OOXML abuses, bribes against GNU/Linux (we documented some), and many other forms of manipulation. This is the type of revisionism that Microsoft requires right now, creating the illusion that FOSS is inadequate for desktop use, even though Chromebooks are taking off (they run GNU/Linux), defying Microsoft’s vicious attack ads.

One commentator at IDG alluded to the above people as “clueless CIOs” in his headline, stating that “companies are using open source to bring their legacy apps up to code, but all too many CIOs are still clueless about how often open source is being used in their own organizations.”

It wasn’t just clueless CIOs like Jos Creese who offered Microsoft lip service in the British press earlier this month, proposing lock-in rather than freedom because lock-in is supposedly “cheaper”. Another article, citing another bunch, speaks about LibreOffice/OpenOffice, focusing on Microsoft macros lock-in and OOXML lock-in to make FOSS seem inadequate. Titled “Open source ‘fails to excite councils’”, the article makes arguments like the following:

It added that open source software is seen to be difficult to replicate automated interfaces to Microsoft Office products which connect with council systems.

This is precisely the reason to dump Microsoft, not to avoid dumping Microsoft. This is evidence of lock-in and the better one gets out of the lock-in, the better.

On a brighter note, there is a new article from Ireland titled “open source is where I think the future is headed in local government…”

It is not a formal article, but it shows that people — influential people even — do in fact promote FOSS. To quote:

So, I’m in Dublin tomorrow for the OGP Europe Regional conference in Dublin in advance of next week’s Digital Lunch asking if Northern Ireland is ready for an open government partnership? If you are interesting in the subject, do keep an eye on Twitter throughout the day, and I’ll update with a blog report on Friday morning before I leave again.

It is expected that in the coming months or even years some vassals of Microsoft will go public (to the press) bashing FOSS with FUD, misdirection, miscalculations and stereotypes, sometimes criticising FOSS for not being sufficiently Microsofty (e.g. dealing with OOXML). Their arguments often insinuate that abandoning Microsoft would be wise (the opposite of what they mean to say); the British public sector got caught up in expensive and dangerous (back doors for starters) dependence. Free software would give Britain back its sovereignty. Technical autonomy is priceless; it is invaluable.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 26, 2021



  2. Beatriz Busaniche Speaks Up in Defense of Richard Stallman

    Beatriz Busaniche sent us this comment in July 2021. She wrote it originally in Spanish. Here are both the original text and our translation to English.



  3. Links 26/10/2021: SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 and Multi-Distro Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  4. Links 26/10/2021: Vulkan 1.1 Conformance for Raspberry Pi 4 and Tor Browser 10.5.10

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] Sounds Legit

    When not cheating on the wife, the EPO‘s “doyen” cheats in the exams and makes it into the epi Council, in effect working “[t]owards a common understanding [sic] of quality” with “patent attorneys nominated as “assessors” by the EPO, epi and BusinessEurope” (notorious lobbyists for dictators, litigation, and monopolies, neither business nor science)



  6. [Meme] Mayoral Patent Office Chief

    As it turns out, political 'double-dipping' isn't just a thing in North Macedonia, Austria, and EPOnia



  7. Romania's Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

    The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes



  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania

    Romania’s patent office has been in flux this past decade, occasionally led by people with no relevant experience, but rather political connections (like EPO President António Campinos) and sometimes forged documents and fake degrees



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 25, 2021



  10. [Meme] “Social Democracy” at the EPO

    Some comments on the current situation at the European Patent Office from Goran Gerasimovski, the new EPO Administrative Council delegate for North Macedonia and Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Centar (a municipality of Skopje)



  11. [Meme] António Campinos Visits the OSIM

    António Campinos visits OSIM Director-General Ionel Muscalu in February 2014



  12. [Meme] [Teaser] Meet the President

    Later today we shall see what Romania did for Battistelli



  13. Links 26/10/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.3 and Linux 5.15 RC7

    Links for the day



  14. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  15. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  17. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  18. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  20. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  22. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  23. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  25. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  26. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  29. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  30. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)


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