09.21.21

Agents of Monopoly: WIPO is Lobbying for or Reinforcing Microsoft Monopoly by Pushing Its Proprietary Software and Formats

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related (USPTO angle): USPTO Rewards Microsoft for Corruption at ISO by Teaching People Proprietary OOXML and Promoting Its Use | USPTO Craziness: Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO | Conflict of Interest: Microsoft and IBM Controlling the USPTO and Leaving GNU/Linux Users Shut Out (in the Cold) | Why Wouldn’t an Office That Grants Monopolies Support Microsoft Monopoly? | USPTO Promotes Microsoft Monopoly and Proprietary Software (Updatedx2) | David Kappos (IBM/Microsoft Lobbyist) Reported for Misuse of Authority and Conflict of Interest

“Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.”― Frank Herbert
The corrupt typically attracts the corrupt and protects the corrupt

Summary: The World Intellectual Property [sic] Organization — like the EPO (where António Campinos outsourced IT systems to Microsoft) — is choosing the most notorious/corrupt ‘tech’ ‘company’ (cult) instead of open standards and, as the links above show, this is nowadays done inside the United States and outside the United States as well, raising legal questions/ire

OVER a decade ago we wrote many hundreds of posts about corruption of Microsoft in the document formats dispute. Instead of accepting and adopting open standards Microsoft decided and insisted on openwashing its proprietary formats, which basically correspond just to Microsoft’s proprietary Office. The specifications contained not only Microsoft’s product name but also many versions of it. Retrofitting something proprietary — with binary enclosures! — into XML and then calling it “open” was an early example of the Open Source brand rotting to death. To quote Microsoft’s Jason Matusow, an integral part of the ‘Open’ XML corruption (further background in [1, 2, 3]): “More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Yes, it had already become almost meaningless when he wrote this (around the time we coined the term “openwashing”).

Anyway, here we are more than a decade later and the corruption of Microsoft paid off. Agencies around the world shamelessly promote Microsoft’s proprietary formats as a de facto standard, as a default, and moreover financially penalise people who refuse to (or cannot) use Microsoft’s proprietary formats.

“…here we are more than a decade later and the corruption of Microsoft paid off.”Bar complaints against David Kappos notwithstanding (links above, still ongoing), we recently learned that WIPO is also rotten in the sense that it promotes Microsoft and discriminates against Microsoft’s rivals. “The USPTO has been bombarding me with E-mails about DOCX,” a reader has told us. “Just got one from the WIPO.” (It says “ePCT-Filing in Docx”)

To quote:

Dear ePCT user,

You are invited to join our next ePCT webinars on ePCT-Filing in Docx.

In these sessions you will discover the advantages of using Docx and you will be guided through the different steps on how to create a Docx specification to be uploaded in ePCT for receiving Offices accepting Docx.

Two sessions with the same topic and content will be provided to cover different time zones and are free of charge.

-Tuesday 05 October 2021: 09-10:30 am Geneva Time (CET) for Asia, Europe time zones, etc.

Registration link: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-7j8UAt7QGiD7MHavzxwCg

-Thursday 07 October 2021: 4:30-6:00 pm Geneva Time (CET) for North and South America time zones, etc.

Registration link: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KH8E-RyYTOGtIl1sVzhUpw

The PowerPoint slides are already available for download at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/seminar/webinars/index.html under ePCT-Filing in Docx.

The two webinars will be recorded and made available on the PCT Webinars web page https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/seminar/webinars/index.html.

If you require further details, please contact pct.eservices@wipo.int

Best regards,

PCT Operations Customer Support Section

So are they trying to train people for Microsoft? Is this even legal? Well, WIPO is immune and cannot be sued. It’s like the EPO. It would be interesting to know who exactly was behind this decision and what was behind it. As we’ve seen countless times before, Microsoft does not play by the rules — it bribes, cheats, infiltrates, blackmails, and worse.

“Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.”

Linus Torvalds

09.16.21

Deleted Post: “LibreOffice is Becoming Dominated by a Bunch of Corporates, and Has no Place for the Enthusiastic Amateur.”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Office Suites at 2:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chris SherlockSummary: Chris Sherlock, an insider of LibreOffice, cautions about the direction of this very important and widely used project

The post “How to upset someone” has just been self-censored by Chris Sherlock, but it is important to see what he had to say (prior to the post’s disappearance):


Here is how you upset someone:

- You write a set of unit tests to test the moving of some files into a better directory and a way better name – say for instance renaming ImplDeviceFontList to PhysicalFontFaceCollection
- You tell that person that they used the wrong vim modeline, but then you say that you don’t know what a modeline is. But that’s what you do, and to be sure you do it on all the files you have touched to try to reduce the build churn
- You order them to add sal/config.h – which is a convention you don’t know about – to source files. So you do this. Again, to reduce build churn you do it to all files you touch.
- You add a header, so you regenerate the pch file.
- As you are adding sal/config.h, as so ordered, you fix the include guards and use #pragma once

A few other things you can do:

- Advise them to rename a class from PrinterOptions to Options, but then you get blowback because you made that change – on their recommendation.
- Tell them they aren’t careful with their patches, even though you spend hours and hours ensuring that they are tested and working as best you can.
- Tell them, on numerous occasions, that they way that you reorders the VCL headers wasn’t correct – then remember you had already asked about this and realised that you said it was OK.

You do all of these things because that is what you were told to do in the past. It’s not exactly easy to do this, as a lot of these things aren’t necessarily needed in that patch – but hey, that’s what you were told to do.

Evidently, LO doesn’t want unit tests, and the changes I’m making to try to make the codebase easier to read aren’t needed. To hell with it. LibreOffice is becoming dominated by a bunch of corporates, and has no place for the enthusiastic amateur.

Best of luck to LibreOffice!


This is worth documenting in light of the project selling keynotes, manuals, and adopting a sort of 'dual' approach. It also issued a statement against RMS earlier this year, based on a campaign of slander (and the person who did this was incidentally inside OSI).

07.26.21

Funding Sources Like Corporate Sponsors/Patrons/Masters Put at Risk the Freedom of Free Software

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Office Suites at 4:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 2c1236a74235b8218f02ec9b0f94aaaf

Summary: Sources of funding or “sponsors” such as large corporations typically come with some barely-visible or temporarily-invisible strings attached (an expectation of commercial reciprocity, rendering the recipients subservient like ‘slaves’) and we need to understand how to preserve software freedom in the face of such trends

THE ethical condundrum surrounding Free software funding is hardly new. Richard Stallman spoke about it more than two decades ago (he suggested ways to get paid for writing freedom-respecting software) but corporate media likes to pretend Free software can only succeed if monopolies fund to control it. They don’t even speak about freedom; they prefer shallow nonsense such as “Open Source”.

Red Hat statement about Richard Stallman’s return to the Free Software Foundation boardThis video is part of an ongoing series or a theme that explores the loss of collective control by users and communities; by encouraging non-reciprocal licensing, CLAs etc. the monopolists seek to control everything. Remember what IBM did with Red Hat only months after IBM had taken over (and then again a year and a half later) because money comes with demands. They want something in return. Audacity comes to mind and earlier on we mentioned LibreOffice, which relates to the links below:

This subject is part of a much broader problem; sponsorship and funding are a matter of control (coercion, subjugation and so on). And if the goal is to empower users and give them true control over their lives (on the platform or on-line), then we need to understand and accordingly tackle the emergent threats.

“This subject is part of a much broader problem; sponsorship and funding are a matter of control (coercion, subjugation and so on).”As always, we welcome guest posts and other contributions from readers. There seems to be a passionate and eager ‘base’ that recognises these risks and has a bunch of stories to tell, based on rumours heard somewhere like Microsoft and/or the Linux Foundation. People who see these from the inside are sometimes horrified to learn what a bunch of charlatans and frauds work there. They want to control Linux users; but they aren’t even Linux users themselves.

Free Software Projects Should Quit Selling Keynote Speeches to the Highest Bidders (Corporations) and Choose Based on Merit/Relevance

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft, Office Suites at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TDF sponsors

Summary: OSI, SFC, FSF and Linux Foundation are in effect selling time and space (even to Microsoft, except the FSF was never foolish enough to do this). As of today, LibreOffice does the same thing (which might remain benign; just be sure to reject rivals as "sponsors" because it dooms projects and events).

05.31.21

A Need for Clarity on the Direction of LibreOffice

Posted in Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Millions of people who use and support the software deserve greater transparency

LibreOffice 'Personal Edition'

Summary: StarOffice, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and the languishing AOO (Go-OO is dead already) are still the go-to office suites for Free software users; they’re based on similar if not the same codebase (in the same sense many of today’s Web browsers are based on Chromium) and the business objectives of the main stewards (whose corporate DNA goes into the code) need to be understood because even longtime volunteers aren’t sure what’s going on

During the weekend, amid postings about the Annual Report 2020, TDF or LibreOffice published a blog post entitled “Get printed copies of LibreOffice handbooks!

Of course there’s nothing morally wrong with selling printed copies of something that’s online, but one reader asked us, “I am curious about where the funds from printed books for LibreOffice go… to the project or to the documentation volunteers?”

“We’ve always been supportive of LibreOffice because unlike Go-OO it had a real purpose, seeing the threat of neglect by Oracle.”So we’ve decided to ask around and research for a bit, as we have some key contacts. “I have not been doing anything there nor following it for ages,” one person told us. “Last I checked, most of the developers had gone over to LO from AOO anyway…” (from Apache OpenOffice to LibreOffice)

Every now and then, maybe a few times per month, the official LibreOffice account interacts with me in Twitter. In fact, we were one of the sites to first announce the LibreOffice project way back in 2010. We’ve always been supportive of LibreOffice because unlike Go-OO it had a real purpose, seeing the threat of neglect by Oracle.

Logo of LibreOffice“Having volunteered with both libre and apache openoffice.org, (majority of AOO documentation team going to Libre and not returning) I had felt as though Libre documentation team was all about selling manuals,” said our reader to us. “Just a feeling I had while there. When I went over to AOO (after Libreoffice’s rudeness toward AOO), and we were discussing licensing (cc by 3.0 then libre used cc 4.0), it seemed like the AOO documentation lead person was also moving in this direction (selling printed manuals) or had some work relation with Jean Weber, formerly of AOO, and now at Libre. I’m just curious if the funding for the printed books go to Libre project or to the authors. There are mailing list posts of Jean Weber and AOO where Lulu login/accounts are discussed.”

An informed person whom we spoke to, one who was involved in LibreOffice but especially in AOO, noted that the “latter was languishing.”

“It would be important to know how their finances are arranged,” the person noted. “They have a foundation based in Germany, but as mentioned I have not followed it nor know what their economic sources and priorities are. Perhaps that is published somewhere.”

I noted, based on my understanding, that there are companies like Collabora throwing some “added value” at it and now there’s some introduction of “community edition” or something along those lines… (they called it "Personal Edition" several months back)

“That sounds like it might be an unfortunate change of direction,” the person added. “It could end up “open core” instead soon in one of the worse scenarios.”

Are we moving back in the direction of StarOffice? Hopefully not…

As far as we’re aware, the TDF/LibreOffice folks never fully or entirely withdrew from this ambition of theirs. We’ll be watching this situation closely. The most important thing, or the aspect of utmost importance, is the freedom (libre) in LibreOffice. Dual licensing is one of the worst possible outcomes.

10.04.20

If They Call You a “User” (or “Customer”), They Might be Drug Dealers and Lords of Narcotics (Digital or Otherwise)

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

A media overload

Summary: Preying on so-called ‘users’ is the nature of proprietary software, which puts digital shackles on people and then starts manipulating them

THE simple fact is that many of today’s interfaces are designed to be “addictive”, especially on the Web where the ‘currency’ is screen time (opportunity to spy on people and foist ads onto them). This is certainly true about Facebook (with admissions from the company) and Twitter is hardly better with its infinite scrolling, suggestive (yet cryptic) “trending” clickbait and so on.

“…if many ‘addicts’ get together, they can fork the implementation to better suit their needs and distribute the fork free of charge.”It wasn’t too long ago that Richard Stallman asked geeks to submit to him examples of interfaces that had been designed to be addictive.

In the case of ‘traditional’ and native software, formats that are secret and proprietary software with lock-in mechanisms have long been used to force people to ‘upgrade’ (pay for the same thing over and over again). The network effect, or peer pressure by format incompatibility, is an issue long documented (for decades; it helped rationalise the vendor-neutral OpenDocument Format).

Man all drunkIt’s time to communicate these issues using the jargon or slang of narcotics. The term “users” is heavily used in that context because of the helplessness of the addicts, who are reduced to mere zombies that consume and cannot think clearly.

Free software addresses some but not all of these issues; there’s no guarantee that addiction elements will be entirely obliterated just by virtue of some piece of software being free (to study, modify, share as well as run without restrictions). One can easily get addicted to Free (as in freedom) computer games. But the leverage the developer gains over individual people or large groups of people (even entire nations) is clearly limited; if many ‘addicts’ get together, they can fork the implementation to better suit their needs and distribute the fork free of charge. That’s very much unlike what a certain Bill Gates (nowadays a vaccine profiteer) sought to achieve with Microsoft products. It’s all about power, unjust power and coercion. It’s not about technical excellence; technology here is merely the means by which to gain power (political, not technical) over a lot of people while amassing endless wealth, controlling the lives of so many without democratic oversight.

08.23.20

Leak: An Unreported Rift Inside The Document Foundation (TDF)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LibreItalia tweet

Summary: The Document Foundation (TDF) is a very important supporter of OpenDocument Format (ODF) as well as Free software (notably LibreOffice), but there’s a story about LibreItalia (“Italian home of LibreOffice”) very few people know about

Italo Vignoli is well known in the Free software world, both inside and outside Italy, both inside and outside the realms of LibreOffice. He’s connected to the likes of Simon Phipps and Paolo Vecchi. I, personally, have much respect for him. For those who never heard of him before, his introduction to himself in the OSI’s site (for this year’s election) can be found here (it’s very detailed and includes his LibreOffice/ODF/TDF work/credentials). There’s more in the comments.

He won a seat as a Director seated by affiliates (term until 2023) and the Board’s page now describes him as follows: “Italo Vignoli has been involved in FOSS projects since 2004, when he joined the OpenOffice community as a user, to contribute to marketing and communication activities. In 2010, he was one of the founders of the LibreOffice project and has been involved in marketing and community development activities since then. He has also launched Associazione LibreItalia, representing LibreOffice users in Italy, and the ODF Advocacy Open Project at OASIS, and has contributed to large migration projects to LibreOffice in Europe. He co-leads LibreOffice marketing, PR and media relations, co-chairs the certification program, and is a spokesman for the project. He has contributed to large migration projects to LibreOffice in Italy, and is a LibreOffice certified migrator and trainer. Italo is Managing Partner of Hideas, a marketing and communications agency retained by The Document Foundation and by other companies active in the networking and healthcare industries.”

A few years ago he had an altercation inside LibreItalia, the “Italian home of LibreOffice” (@libreitalia). It was more specifically an argument with Sonia Montegiove, President of the LibreItalia association who calls herself a “journalist out of passion”; there are reasonable posts from her (in English) and in Italian. Vignoli and her weren’t always in disagreement; she wrote about him half a decade prior on at least 4 occasions in the LibreItalia blog. The blog became inactive the following year or maybe moved elsewhere. They’re both mentioned in “Italy’s Ministry of Defense to Drop Microsoft Office in Favor of LibreOffice”.

The following message was written by Alessandro Rubini, aged 70 (half a decade older than Vignoli). He’s a very, very technical person (books include Linux Device Drivers and others) and he says “Free Software” rather than “Open Source”. This one particular bio of his says he “installed Linux 0.99.14 soon after getting his degree as electronic engineer. He then received a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Pavia despite his aversion toward modern technology. He left the University after getting his Ph.D. because he didn’t want to write articles. He now works as a free lance writing device drivers and, um…articles. He used to be a young hacker before his babies were born; he’s now an old advocate of Free Software who developed a bias for non-PC computer platforms.”

He has associates like Cristiana Larizza, Tullio Facchinetti, Greg Kroah-Hartman amongst other drivers folks and his homepage mentions GNU, then says: “I am an independent consultant specialized in the Linux kernel, device drivers, real time, embedded systems, low-level networking.”

How many people are aware of the following incident?

Subject: problem in TDF
From: Alessandro Rubini <rubini@gnudd.com>
Date: 20/08/2017, 13:07
To: ga@fsfeurope.org

A quick note to let youknow that italo vignoli left libreitalia, after serious arguing w/ sonia montegiove about management in general and organization of the LO conference in particular.

The thing escalated from italy to TDF, where another italian board member is siding w/ sonia and trying to shed bad light on italo.

I talked with both, in different days, and I still have to make completely up my mind. One of the side effects is that italo will likely ask for membership in fsfe.

I’m all for it, actually i suggested to invite both him and sonia. Now clearly the thing is a little hot, and timing is suboptimal.

I’ll call again sonia in a few days, after italo’s final move is official, w/ reference to official documents.

All of this is very bad, pr-wise, for FS in italy and europe.

/alessandro on the train, no keyboard

Publishing this isn’t expected to cause a rift (which didn’t exist already). Italy has long been a success story for ODF (especially in the public sector), so let’s hope relations can be amended.

12.30.19

Why Wouldn’t an Office That Grants Monopolies Support Microsoft Monopoly?

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Patents at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paths crossed before: Andrei Iancu (Irell & Manella LLP), Microsoft, and Immersion Corporation (where Iancu's deputy comes from amid ruinous changes by the Trump administration)

Microsoft Corporation v. Immersion Corporation, No. 2:2007cv00936 - Document 30 (W.D. Wash. 2008)
Microsoft Corporation v. Immersion Corporation, No. 2:2007cv00936 – Document 30 (W.D. Wash. 2008)

Summary: The media continues to report on the suggestion that people who reject OOXML will be financially penalised (additional fees)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is still run by Trump appointees who believe that they can disregard the law in the name of profits. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is one example among several and there’s also that OOXML outrage, which we previously covered in:

Earlier this month I saw mainstream media continuing to report along those lines; the USPTO now tries to make proprietary OOXML the ‘standard’ internationally (PCT), having already witnessed what Microsoft did to ISO.

“This perpetuates the idea that the USPTO is a ‘Windows shop’ in an age when Windows no longer has majority market share (Android took the lead about half a decade ago).”To us, as eyewitnesses or online ‘alibis’ to loads of corruption associated with the process (we were also the only ones to leak OOXML itself one decade ago), what the USPTO does is beyond inexplicable. This perpetuates the idea that the USPTO is a ‘Windows shop’ in an age when Windows no longer has majority market share (Android took the lead about half a decade ago).

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