Bonum Certa Men Certa

Free as in ”Free Standards“ and ”Free 'Interoperability' Deals“

...as opposed to XML converters and patent deals for intraoperability

A new interview with Red Hat's CTO (see more notes here) truly confirms what we said yesterday. No interoperability arrangements are not needed when the world has real standards which everyone can support and implement.

Despite the fact that Microsoft is ignoring (or 'extending') standards, all the pieces are available to facilitate interoperability in Linux.

"To host Windows on top of RHEL, it already works," he added, noting that while Red Hat had been working on driver certification to improve the performance of Windows on RHEL, it was not necessary to enter into an interoperability agreement. "To get the drivers to get the performance, you don't need an IP relationship to do that," he said.


So, why did Novell choose to make an exclusionary deal? Why did it accept money? Probably to admit it has 'guilt' -- an admission which Microsoft craves not because it makes sense, but because it creates fear.

To Red Hat's credit, the company does a lot of work to promote document standards nowadays. Yesterday we mentioned their artwork and now comes this good essay. Excerpt below.

Although the ODF was launched with a great gust of common sense blowing at its back, the momentum of widespread adoption has been hindered by bureaucratic inertia, local politics, persistent misconceptions (reinforced by opponents) about ODF’s viability and the “dangers” of adoption. Most of the fear, uncertainty and doubt has emanated from one source, on whose proprietary formats most of the world’s documents currently reside.

Opponents of the ODF do not concede its inevitable adoption, and actively lobby against it. It’s not that anyone is against the ODF in and of itself, or finds any real reason to question its necessity. The logic behind the ODF and the transparency of its creation is fairly unassailable. Rather, it is the open standards on which the ODF is based that are most attacked. From the detractors’ point of view, things are just fine the way they are now. The “standard” is theirs. They own the document “market,” and think of it as “territory” they “won” fair and square. They can’t foresee a future without them (that’s not in their business plan), and as long as everybody is already using their applications and formats, why change? Opponents of the ODF devote considerable resources to lobbying legislatures and executive branch IT advisory boards in an attempt to convince them that the adoption of the ODF actually limits choice and harms market-driven efficiency by “locking out” vendors like them. They say migration is expensive, and even argue that adoption of the ODF will limit public access by cluttering the environment with too many “incompatible” formats. And who really trusts all this “free stuff,” anyway?


Remember that what Microsoft strives to achieve is intraoperability, not interoperability. OOXML is simply Microsoft Office in an XML blanket. When each vendor creates a 'standard' to facilitate a single product, here is what you end up with.

The following new video (with English text overlaid) illustrates what happens when one unified standard is simply missing. It shows what happens when vendors work in seclusion to create their own little monopolies (data 'islands').

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