Bonum Certa Men Certa

“Microsoft Against the World” Turned to “Process of Politicalisation”

As stated last week by OpenMalaysia, "what is the point is that we have collectively, globally, bore witness to an awesome display of power by a single corporation. Awesome. Ruthless, even.

“Microsoft is not being given much resistance about its attempt to spin the situation as IBM vs Microsoft”"That Microsoft would fight in every nook and cranny, every possible avenue, every committee, sub-committee, sub-sub-committee, upwards, downwards and sideways to the committees, is simply astounding. That Microsoft can and did encourage the final decision makers to ignore the wishes of their own standards bodies, majorities be damned, is further affirmation of this awesome display." This venting of frustration by one who was personally involved in the process came to show just how a single company and its allies single-handedly managed to decide for the rest of the world on something that everyone resisted.

A reader wrote to us to share some further thoughts on what Microsoft has done in order to misrepresent IBM and conveniently mislead those who will consequently misinterpret the whole situation.




Microsoft is not being given much resistance about its attempt to spin the situation as IBM vs Microsoft rather than the sum of 600+ OASIS companies/universities/agencies and several dozen of the world's nations vs Microsoft.

      http://opendocumentfellowship.com/government/precedent

The strategy in this and other Microsoft products is to make it political discussion. It will lose any technical discussion. Then the task is to let the party members in the press corps spread the Microsoft spin that it is *one*, single vendor versus another *one*, single vendor to give the illusion of equal weight. Lastly, disparaging remarks are used to cast aspersions on the entity Microsoft party members have tried to highlight as the sole representative of the opposition.




Some of the latest moves by Microsoft against IBM were described yesterday. Andy Updegrove has another good article which talks about what he characterizes as "Politicalization". That is the process by which Microsoft is able to distract people from the candidate at hand and have the whole process escalated or warped into 'politics' rather than technical details. One mustn't forget, for example, the involvement by even presidents of large countries in this debate. They were persuaded by Microsoft and then reportedly intervened. Andy concludes with the following words:

What needs to change: Politicalization and the recognition of Civil ICT Rights and Standards is a game changer for standards development. What this means is that we need to pay far greater attention to concerns such as balance, representation, and process. For example, it would be no more acceptable for open source advocates to “stack” a committee than for advocates of a single vendor, or group of vendors, since all of these groups – and other groups not represented at all – have a stake in the outcome.

While engaging in appeals in the case of OOXML may expose the inadequacy of the system to address such concerns, they will not solve them, nor necessarily result in a change of the vote in question, since existing rules may not in fact have been violated. Instead, what is needed is a neutral, systemic review of how the process failed - and how it needs to change - so that future abuses can be avoided before they have an impact, and so that appeals can be brought that will be successful in changing affected votes.

The time to begin that review is now. And the way to undertake it is not through the existing appeals process.


What we have left for the time being is a proprietary, buggy and obscure format that is inherently incompatible with the GNU GPL (hardly by accident). The same reader whom we mentioned above sent us a pointer to this quote:

“We’re not going to invest in trying to implement a standard that is poorly defined,” Shuttleworth said, maintaining that the specification can be altered and added to as Redmond wishes – regardless of its rivals’ product cycles.


Remind yourself of the fact that nobody will ever implement OOXML support, not even Microsoft, which will call its format "Open XML" although it is not what's in the specifications. It's just a de facto standard (Microsoft Office format) which remains implemented by none. Its sole purpose is to derail migration plans, or even to move goalposts as to hinder vendors who can successfully import binary Office files.

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