Bonum Certa Men Certa

The "OpenXML Lie", the "Patent Lie", the "Security Lie", and "Get the Facts"

I would like to abstain from using the term "The Big Lie", which is a propaganda technique that's usually associated with the Nazis. So, let's just say that Microsoft adopts the "newspeak" technique, as the news article (quoted below) calls it.

Congratulations, Microsoft; you've got everyone believing the big lie that Open XML is an open standard.

One of the most chilling concepts of George Orwell's novel "1984 is "Newspeak." In Newspeak, the language is constantly being cropped of words that might lead to "thoughtcrimes." If you control the language, the logic goes, you control what people think.

Microsoft is doing exactly this with its "Open XML." It's meant to remind you of open source—a term which is now fighting to maintain its integrity—and, in particular, of open standards.


You might already be aware of the OSI's tiffs with companies that 'corrupt' the meaning of the term "Open Source". This is very recent news. Microsoft does the same thing to "Open Source". Sometimes the press calls Shared Source-licensed software "Open Source" instead. Sometimes you see the most unbelievable of things. "Look but don't touch" licenses are suddenly being thrown onto the same pile as Free (as in "freedom") software. This is done intentionally by those who are threatened by legitimate open source software. It changes perception and it helps in sustaining the lie that some rigid and restricted software is actually what OSI calls "Open Source". It 'dilutes' the term and eliminates the distinguishing factor (added value).

The openness of OOXML, however, is not the only lie to be considered. Patents are another. Recall what Linus Torvalds said in an interview that got published over the weekend. Patents violations in Linux are a lie as well. If the press repeats it again and again (dramatic licence and obedience to the advertiser play a role too), then people begin to believe whatever message is most paid for. They absorb disinformation.

Another new article uses a lie as its headline, which is disappointing. The headline states, ""Microsoft patent deals are about sharing says Microsoft".

Call Microsoft crazy, call them greedy, or call them evil there is one thing you can say. With Phelps onboard as deputy council for Microsoft, they know patents. Phelps worked for IBM for over twenty years before coming to Redmond, Washington, based Microsoft to spread panic over patent litigation.


Microsoft talks about "sharing", but Xandros and Linspire don't have patents. What do they share? These gaps should be very telling.

The article at least bothers to attribute this statement to Microsoft rather than drop the part about possible bias altogether. But that happens too.

Last week, a lot of sloppy press turned an internal report on Windows Vista's security into some form of justification for statements such as "Vista more secure than Linux". The study was invalid, according to independent security experts, but reporters cling onto to the wrong sources and deliver yet another lie -- this time about platform security. How about the "Get the Facts" crusade, which sadly enough, we still find in so many Linux sites around the Web? It is again a form of brainwash, a form of propaganda fueled by money and projected through endless repetition.

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