Bonum Certa Men Certa

What if Microsoft Owned Yahoo (and the US Government Establishments' IT)?

"The Internet has evolved from open standards, having a diversity of companies. [...] And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that's unnerving."

--Google's Brin (Google), yesterday



Months ago (or some time back in January) I became aware of the US Library of Congress embracing Microsoft technologies that essentially lock out some people from access to public material (historical literature). The same goes for the British Library, which has, for quite some time in fact, been uncomfortable close to Microsoft. We covered this before on numerous occasions, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

More recently there was also the outrage at Boston's public library, which chose Microsoft DRM for delivery of public information. Once again, many citizens were denied access to public-owned material (taxpayers' asset) in the ugliest of ways (DRM).

The FSF was all over this one. The library administrator who was responsible for this mess joined a discussion I had started about this in USENET, seemingly trying to protect his job. He was assulted by quite a lot of angry people for becoming an agent of monopolisation.

“...all these separate Microsoft frameworks may be assembled around .NET, preparing to jointly 'punish' rival platforms.”Several months ago in this Web site we argued against Mono and Moonlight (Silverlight) apologists, saying quite explicitly that Silverlight has some sort of special advantage in Vista, or at least in the existing versions of Windows. This was read somewhere that cannot be found or recalled and it begins to seem like the acceleration discussed at a time may or may not involve DirectX. If so, all these separate Microsoft frameworks may be assembled around .NET, preparing to jointly 'punish' rival platforms.

Without the entire framework (i.e. the whole Microsoft stack), there is little hope for interoperability. Ever. We saw that in the Windows-dependent OOXML (document exchange), we see this in Exchange/SharePoint (mind Zimbra and the hostile Yahoo takeover) and even in Silverlight, whose vector of intrusion is the Web, implying that even a Linux-only and ODF-only enterprise is not protected from an 'alien technology', whose hostile element is inherent incompatibility. The Web must be based on standards (mind Google's new statement at the top), which enable indexing of content, portability, and many other things.

A concerned reader of the site has asked to share and to publish an article about the Corel mystery (see [1, 2, 3]) and its relevance to a serious issue that mysteriously escapes our attention amid the fight for "Microsoft Office+Windows as an ISO standard" (aka OOXML) and Microsoft's fight for the virtual ownership of GNU/Linux through software patent deals.

To summarise the reader's findings and insights (slightly edited to tidy things up):




What happened to Microsoft working on interoperability?



Where has Microsoft improved Linux & Windows working together since their actions with Corel many years ago when Corel still worked on WINE, the dumping of Corel Linux only to become Xandros and the patent agreement signed with Microsoft and the EEE PC (extend, embrace, extinguish?) with Xandros?

In the year 2000:

Interview: Corel’s Linux VP on the Microsoft deal

LinuxWorld: Will you continue to work with and support the Wine project, and will you continue to use Wine to bring your traditionally Windows applications to Linux?

Rene Schmidt: Yeah, currently we have WordPerfect and CorelDraw, we’ve done those two main suites. Where we are right now is that those are two main investments at this point, and what we are doing is we are looking at the desktop market on Linux and trying to expand it as well.

It will be based really on customer demand; that is what is going to drive us in terms of what we do next on applications for Linux. In terms of Wine itself, we still support it; we have been working with the community to come up with a 1.0 version of Wine and we are hoping that that is going to allow a lot of other ISVs to move their applications more rapidly over to Linux.

Rene Schmidt: Essentially, with Linux, we are very committed to it. And the agreement, or partnership, or alliance, whatever you want to call it, with Microsoft is not anti-Linux or anything. It is really about .Net.”


Very committed you say? Microsoft not anti-Linux? What happened to all the work on Wine and 1.0? All those Corel apps on Linux? Visit Corel’s site now and you see nothing of the sort, but you do see Microsoft related content, banners, and stuff about Vista. Alliance, indeed.

[Ed: It's the same with Novell, which became Vista prey.]

Why can’t we use DirectX from Microsoft on Linux completely without problems and without using WINE, Cedega or some other alternative?

Google: “They said it couldn’t be done” regarding Novell and Microsoft.

It can be done, Microsoft, but apparently not by you. Thank you to the wine developers and companies like Google who are doing something positive for interoperability.

Off-topic but on the subject of Microsoft’s continued monopoly and power connections:

Library of Congress sells itself out to Microsoft for a mere $3 mil



“This deal involves the donation of “technology, services and funding” (e.g., mostly not money) with a purported value of $3m from Microsoft to the Library of Congress. The Library, in turn, agrees to put kiosks running Vista in the library and to use Microsoft Silverlight to “help power the library’s new Web site, www.myloc.gov.” The official blogger of the library, Matt Raymond, says “this is really a quantum leap for the library.” Perhaps it is, but it sure smells like a whole lot of proprietary.”


Silverlight and DirectX in a tree, k i s s i n g.

some things never change, why isn’t the US gov keeping Microsoft away, why these agreements? How deep does their power go? How can Microsoft ever be stopped? how long until Microsoft owns America and Gates is in Government? This is scary and people are mostly too asleep to care, cuddling their XBox and unconcerned, unaware.




The text of the above (enclosed by horizontal bars), just as a reminder, comes from a reader. He or she closes by adding: "Roy, please do a story focusing on Microsoft’s failure to deliver interoperability, esp. regarding Wine and DirectX." Assuming there is interest, there are plenty of references from the past year that can be turned into a comprehensive post (with emphasis on patent deals on Wine and Microsoft's DirectX 10 hoaxes). It isn't entirely clear, however, if this would lead to loss of focus. If someone is interested in this, please post a comment.

Bad Silverlight
Do not allow US Government to exclude
people with Microsoft Silverlight and/or DRM

Comments

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