decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:03 PM EDT

Would you like to know what the Microsoft side was saying about Massachusetts' choice of open formats? I knew you would. So, here you go, Tim Bray at Sun gives us a peek behind the curtain by sharing with us some Microsoft talking points he got hold of. I'll share with you here just one, my favorite:
However, limiting the document formats to the OpenOffice format is unnecessary, unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific vendor products, and prohibits others.

It's always wise, when listening to Microsoft talking points to ask yourself: Is this true? Sun Microsystem's CEO Scott McNealy's letter to Peter Quinn, ITD Director & Chief Information Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, helps us to answer that question:

Some may contend that the decision is unfairly dictating a software preference. This is entirely wrong; the guidelines make it clear that any applications need only support an open, unencumbered document format. Your guidelines do not limit any vendor’s ability to compete for state business because the required open formats are available equally to all, and participation in their development is equally open to all.

There is nothing stopping Microsoft from joining this party. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But since that appears unlikely, Bray answers their talking points, one by one. You may wish to do the same here in your comments.


  


More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy | 137 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:14 PM EDT
Well spoken.

All they have to do, is to add the support for it, and they will be back in.

Anyone want to bet on them doing it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here please
Authored by: Fractalman on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:22 PM EDT
So PJ can find them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic here please.
Authored by: Fractalman on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:32 PM EDT
And make clickable links using html (with the html formatted Post Mode).
<a href="http://www.example.com/">where link descriptor is
here</a>. :)

And also preview before submitting.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:49 PM EDT
Notice how they say "limiting the document formats to the OpenOffice format
is unnecessary, unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific vendor
products".
Now if you change OpenOffice to M$ Office they would be praising this like you
wouldn't believe.
But the bit all those in opposition keep saying it is OpenOffice format like you
are locked into OpenOffice when the format is "OpenDocument". BIG
difference!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

The whole point.
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 10:49 PM EDT
Massachusetts isn't rejecting Microsoft. Microsoft is rejecting Massachusetts.

Microsoft is behaving like a bratty child who wants to play the game only by his
rules or he's going home crying about how unfair the other kids are.

The real problem here is that MS would rather try to maintain proprietary
formats and insure vendor lock-in than meet the needs of its customers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: scottc229 on Sunday, September 11 2005 @ 11:37 PM EDT
I hate to seem like a troll on my first comment at Groklaw. That said....

Inspired by the whole situation with Norway and MA etc., I checked the Berkman
center's web site http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/, and was very troubled to
find out that their "roadmap to open ICT ecosystems" (who talks like
that?) is available only in PDF! And the archived video of their webcast is only
available in .rm! Am I looking at the wrong place?

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: bonewah on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Lets take a look at this again:

* The direction toward interoperability using XML data
standards is clearly a good one.
* However, limiting the document formats to the OpenOffice
format is unnecessary, unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific
vendor products, and prohibits others.
* The proposed approach and process for use of XML data is
quite open to multiple standards, yet the proposed standard for documents is
quite narrow, preferential, and may not enable optimal use of the data-centric
standards.
* The proposed policy would create significant costs and
problems for state agencies, for the private sector and for citizens, which have
not been evaluated, considered, or factored in.
* There are practical considerations for conversion of
documents in older formats which apparently have not been considered.
* This policy would prohibit certain innovations and solutions
from technology vendors, denying future benefits to MA agencies.
* There are less costly, less limiting, non-preferential policy
options to achieve the same goals.

Bottom line: We feel strongly that this proposed policy is costly and
unnecessary and would result in limiting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to
desktop software that is less functional, less open and less flexible than the
State of MA already has. We will continue to work with a variety of State
officials to help them achieve their various public and organizational goals.


You really have to marvel at the care taken to come up with this. An earlier
poster said that MS was being childish and I think that is correct, but really
look at the effort put forward to disguise that.


*

The direction toward interoperability using XML data standards is
clearly a good one.

-- The obligitory head fake....

*

However, limiting the document formats to the OpenOffice format is
unnecessary, unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific vendor
products, and prohibits others.

-- "OpenOffice format" those choice of words ties the argument to a
specific piece of software and helps deflect the attention away from the
question of openness that is at the heart of this.

*

The proposed approach and process for use of XML data is quite open to
multiple standards, yet the proposed standard for documents is quite narrow,
preferential, and may not enable optimal use of the data-centric standards.

--Here is thier call to some technical baloney that they are hoisting thier
arguments on. You can almost hear some vendor drone saying this and getting
asked to back up those statements and replying with the marketing schpeel (sp?)
about the latest techno-wonder. Any actual tecnical detail will only really be
interesting to those with some degree of technical know-how and most likely
already some opinion on the subject.

*

The proposed policy would create significant costs and problems for
state agencies, for the private sector and for citizens, which have not been
evaluated, considered, or factored in.

--Booga booga booga! Decisions can be problematic and cost money!!! Stay with
the status quo! Be afraid!

*

There are practical considerations for conversion of documents in
older formats which apparently have not been considered.

-- more Booga booga. Both of these things really go without saying. Changes to
your information infrastructure have costs, problems and (duh) practical
considerations. Im sure that MA has not taken in to consideration everything,
and im sure there will be some hurdles along the way, but that doesnt mean that
they shouldnt do it. Again, this is more attempt to create burocratic inertia
then anything else.

*

This policy would prohibit certain innovations and solutions from
technology vendors, denying future benefits to MA agencies.

-- More marketing BS. I can tell you from experience, vendors preach thier
marketing schpeel like it was the gospel. This is just another lead in.

*

There are less costly, less limiting, non-preferential policy options
to achieve the same goals.


-- A typical closer for this sort of thing. Throwing in
"non-preferential" is a nice little swipe.


Bottom line: We feel strongly that this proposed policy is costly and
unnecessary and would result in limiting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to
desktop software that is less functional, less open and less flexible than the
State of MA already has. We will continue to work with a variety of State
officials to help them achieve their various public and organizational goals.

-- Ladies and Gentlemen, the Tissue Of Lies. Everything all wraped up, more
costly, changes your desktop software, less functional, and my favorite, less
open. Less open, i think they just verbally gave us the finger.

Again, all of this is so that MS doesnt have to implement a standard, or,
god-forbid, open thiers up properly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

In MicrosoftSpeak ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 12:09 AM EDT
"Open" means inside the Microsoft world
"closed" is outside the Microsoft world.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wordperfect
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 12:41 AM EDT
You know, if Corel coded in support for OpenDocument (not OpenDoc, which they
already have), they could make a killing in Massachusetts by supplying
competition to StarOffice, OpenOffice, and AbiWord.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • I'm thinking... - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 02:06 AM EDT
Limiting? Limiting whom? and how?
Authored by: inode_buddha on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 12:44 AM EDT
Limiting? Limiting whom? and how?

I mean if these guys don't feel like playing in the same sandbox then maybe they
should just bail. And then they can *live with themselves*.

Meanwhile the rest of us have things to get on with, like life for example.

---
-inode_buddha
Copyright info in bio

"When we speak of free software,
we are referring to freedom, not price"
-- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

What Microsoft failed to address...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 01:00 AM EDT

is Peter Quinn's legal worries.

Not just the possibility of future IP encumberance problems with Microsoft's version of XML but most government departments in the modern world have a duty to be open with their citizens and are required by law to make policy and some details available on demand.

As th is article points out:
For most government Web sites, and even for some private-sector sites, accessibility isn't just common courtesy and common sense -- it's also the law. Last month, Tim Berners-Lee and Daniel Weitzner of W3C noted this fact in a letter to the U.S. Copyright Office, regarding its planned pre-registration tool. And while most of us would be content to wait until the next software upgrade allows the office to fix the problem, it seems like only a matter of time before someone with less patience gets a federal judge involved in settling the issue....

Just as the FEMA website was unavailable to many evacuees (even Windoze users who were still on IE5) to register their details, so a document written in Microsoft's special format is just as unavailable to many people.

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's talking point is true.. with a minor correction in favour of reallity
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 04:24 AM EDT
"However, limiting the document formats to the Office format is
unnecessary, unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific vendor
products, and prohibits others."

See? That one is true.

This shows the sickness of the spin that comes out of Redmond and its fans (like
DiDio): take a fact, turn it upside down, inside out and present it as fact.

Microsoft's original talking point is false as Microsoft is free to implement
the OpenOffice format, or any other open format for that matter.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft’s Secret Future Strategy
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 08:53 AM EDT
Most of us have heard of Microsoft’s Linux Labs but why do you really think they
are doing this? Dou you think it might be to go ahead and blatantly patent some
aspect of Linux? You would say no they couldn’t because it would be based on
prior art right?

Well what about Microsoft recently beating Apple to a patent on their iPod. Now
isn’t this prior art? If Microsoft will do such a thing to Apple what makes
anybody think that they would not do such a thing to Linux? Believe me this is
Microsoft’s secret future strategy. If anyone thought that the EU patent reforms
would doom Linux then Linux users should be far more afraid of current patent
reforms that are being proposed in Washington DC that would favor first to file
and not even consider prior art.

Microsoft will just arrogantly turn around and offer to license it to Linux
users just as they have done with Apple.

"In general, our policy is to allow others to license our patents so they
can use our innovative methods in their products. "
David Kaefer: Microsoft's Director of IP Licensing
Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1847959,00.asp

[ Reply to This | # ]

The REALLY worrying part
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 09:00 AM EDT
"We will continue to work with a variety of State officials to help them
achieve their various public and organizational goals."

Why does this sound like: "Gunther here, he won't break your legs if youze
work with us." or maybe "Dis here envelope is full a money. Too bad
if I was to lose it before I walk out of your office, I don't know how I'd ever
find it."

MA officials should lookout for M$ to spread money as well as FUD. If they
can't get satisfaction at the IT department level, maybe the "variety"
of officials includes a Senator or two? Campaign contributions, anyone?

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 09:21 AM EDT
All those points are typical Microsoft response. We don't want to play with you
I am taking my ball home and never coming over again.

Except in this case the would look really stupid if they never came over and
played again and the DOJ wouldn't like it too much.

Does this really surprise anybody that they responded like this. they are so
full of it that I just LOL at anything they try to argue about open standards.
They don't want them, never did, and never will. They want to keep the cash cow
and never give it up. I applaud the state of Mass. for doing this. It just
shows the real Microsoft and I hope more businesses are noticing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Gutenburg
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 10:30 AM EDT
If you read about Project Gutenburg, the issues with storage of data or
documents in electronic form become clear. Try to load a default save of an MS
document from the latest version of Word into a old version of Word for an
example.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Gutenburg - Authored by: TerryC on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 02:32 PM EDT
Adobe PDF files closed format or not?
Authored by: clark_kent on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 10:56 AM EDT
This has always been a funny thing with me. How does Microsoft control their propriatary Word formats stronger than Adobe does with their PDF format? Is PDF propriatary or not? Look at http://www.ps2pdf.com, or Ghostscript, or a program called ps2pdf, found in many Unix, Linux, and BSD distributions.

Right now, PDFs are viewable on many platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and a few older versions on other platforms) using Acrobat Reader. And there are freeware utilities and viewers such as XPDF and a few others that also read PDF files. Openoffice, PS2PDF, Adobe Acrobat, Ghostscript, and many items on the Mac OS X desktop can generate accurate PDF files. So what are the differences in licensing and enforcement between Microsoft and Adobe. Sounds like Microsoft has full control over their format and Adobe doesn't, or Microsoft is being a bully about and Adobe is being good-hearted about sharing their format.

I believe then moving to Open Formats allows the consumer to control the companies and ensure continued Openess and availability of the format instead of being controlled by a bully company like Microsoft. Of course if Microsoft might be more like Adobe, then we wouldn't have a control-freak problem with Microsoft. But then, Microsoft wouldn't be a monopoly either, and that wouldn't be good for Microsoft's investors because they are used to Microsoft acting as a monopoly, generating cash. Do the Microsoft investors really care about the consumer, or do they care about their money more even to the point that they don't have to care about the consumer? Because as everyone let's Microsoft continue as they have as a monopoly for the past 15 years, Microsoft will continue to limit choice in the market only to their products. It is time to break the monopoly. And moving to Open Formats will help do just that. Don't be surprised if Microsoft "kills" off it's competitors. They have done it before and they will try to do it again. Why did Microsoft get Adobe to side with them? They had to find someone to "like" them. I am sure Microsoft put a political "gun" to someone's head at Adobe and neglected to go public with that information.

Open Formats is what we should have had in the beginning. And I am sure Microsoft knew that if they allowed Open Formats, the competition would be greater for them. We need to learn from our mistakes. We saw the demise of many great pieces of software and companies only to give way to Microsoft in the past. Let's use Open Formats to give to allow companies to compete in a Microsoft monopoly controlled market, take down a dictator of software, and enpower the consumer with a voice and the power to choose from other other companies and technologies besides ones from Microsoft. This user wants to use Linux and Open Office and have many other non-geek users use non-Microsoft specific technologies as well.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nothing has changed/is changing
Authored by: Matt C on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 08:34 PM EDT
Microsoft supporting openDoc formats is a recognition that *actually-open
standards are A Good Thing. This will not occur, because Microsoft's unchanging
position is that proprietary, RAND-licensed standards are A Good Thing, and open
ones are bad.

Microsoft's unchanging position is that the way to ensure interoperability is to
have every computer in the world run one (their) stack.

If there is any evidence of genuine change in these positions (*not press
releases), I'd like to see it. Oh, and as per my comments above, the needs of
the customer do not really factor in (or need to factor in) to the business
decisions of a monopoly. There's no reason to expect them to.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on Massachusetts - MS Talking Points & an Answer from Sun's McNealy
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 08:57 PM EDT
I believe that you should consider the statement:

However, limiting the document formats to the OpenOffice format is unnecessary,
unfair and gives preferential treatment for specific vendor products, and
prohibits others.

as an indication of the mindset of the speaker, i.e., if the document formats
had been limited to OUR format, it would have prohibited others.

I'd be apprehensive of any organization that issues a similar remark.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why OpenDoc Won: DWheeler
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 12 2005 @ 09:48 PM EDT
David Wheeler on why opendoc won: link

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )