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The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:23 AM EST

You've probably seen the story about Microsoft's "royalty-free licensing program" on its Office 2007 user interface:
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a royalty-free licensing program so that outside developers can apply the Office 2007 interface to their own applications.

The license, which can be applied to applications on any platform, Linux and Mac OS X included, gives developers the right to duplicate Office 2007's new interface elements, including the top-of-the-window Ribbon, the Mini Toolbar, and galleries. The license is perpetual, and no fees will be charged, Microsoft promised.

"There's no fee, you don't owe Microsoft any royalties, and the license is perpetual -- meaning that the terms won't change," wrote Jensen Harris, lead program manager for the Office user experience effort, in a blog entry Tuesday. "This should give you the confidence you need to build a business or product on top of the Office UI platform, secure in the knowledge that you've licensed the technology and research you're using in your product."

Unfortunately, there is a gotcha. Microsoft doesn't actually say "anyone" can use this license, as the story indicates; it says in their blog entry that "virtually anyone" can. Isn't there always a catch with Microsoft? Usually a GPL gotcha? So who can and who can't?

To see this gotcha, you have to actually read the license, which you can find here. Of course, it's only in the doc format, Microsoft's format, because deep down Microsoft doesn't really care about interoperability for FOSS users. There is absolutely no reason it couldn't make it available in an OOo-friendly format or PDF or plain text or HTML, but happily, despite the difficulties Microsoft invariably puts in the way of anyone using FOSS, we can use to read it, thanks to some wonderful coders who manfully struggled to find ways to interoperate with Microsoft's secret stuff, without much of a helping hand from Redmond, which could easily make all software on Planet Earth smoothly interoperable if it actually felt like it. That's what standards are for. You don't need interoperabilty agreements with a chosen few instead.

When you read the document, you'll find you can use the offered Microsoft technology, but only if you agree *not to allow sublicensing*. That's the taint, and in effect that means you can not use it in a GNU/Linux system:

d. “Microsoft IP” means the intellectual property rights of Microsoft and its subsidiaries that without this license you would necessarily infringe by copying the Design Guidelines or making, using or distributing your Licensed UI. These rights include pending utility and design patent claims, copyrights, trade dress and trademark rights....

2. LICENSE GRANTS. If you comply with this agreement, Microsoft grants you a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty free license under the Microsoft IP to:

a. copy and reference the Design Guidelines internally to develop the Licensed UI for your Licensed Products; and

b. make, copy, use and distribute the Licensed UI as part of your Licensed Products....

This license contains no sub-license rights. If you allow others to use, copy, modify or distribute your Licensed UI in their products, your contract with them must state that they receive no Microsoft rights in the Licensed UI from you. They can request a license from Microsoft at

To make it worse, they add this:

4. RESERVATION OF RIGHTS. Microsoft reserves all rights not expressly granted in this agreement. No additional rights (including any implied licenses) are granted by implication, estoppel or otherwise.

And then the blog entry explains the exclusions -- even if a programmer was willing to give up rights that we normally associate with FOSS -- and sadly there are a few like that -- Microsoft lays it all out:

There's only one limitation: if you are building a program which directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license.

Question for Microsoft: can you identify any OSI-approved Open Source licenses that neither grant rights to sublicense nor grant rights to incorporate all or any part of the application's code base in other applications of the type you here exclude? Perhaps it would be more honest to say virtually *no one* in the FOSS community, your principal competition, can use this license, and for sure the GPL need not apply.

Bob Sutor captures the essense of the offer:

Again, this is business, but look at what they are doing and not doing with respect to ODF. OOXML, and now the UI through this lens if you want to really understand what is going on. Their 2006 annual report lays out the perceived risk factors for open source.

I found this paragraph in the report the most interesting:

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights against piracy, infringement of our patents by third parties, or declining legal protection for intellectual property. We defend our intellectual property rights and combat unlicensed copying and use of software and intellectual property rights through a variety of techniques. Preventing unauthorized use or infringement of our rights is difficult. Piracy of our products represents a loss of revenue to us. While this adversely affects U.S. revenue, the impact on revenue from outside the United States is more significant, particularly in countries where laws are less protective of intellectual property rights. Similarly, the absence of harmonized patent laws makes it more difficult to ensure consistent respect for patent rights. Future legal changes could make this even more challenging. Throughout the world, we actively educate consumers about the benefits of licensing genuine products and obtaining indemnification benefits for intellectual property risks, and we educate lawmakers about the advantages of a business climate where intellectual property rights are protected. However, continued educational and enforcement efforts may fail to enhance revenue. Reductions in the legal protection for software intellectual property rights or compliance with additional intellectual property obligations impacting the rights of software developers could both adversely affect revenue.

In short, they want strong patent laws around the world so they can make buckets of money. At least they told the SEC the truth about that. It's not about stimulating innovation -- just stone cold cash, to "enhance revenue". And here's an intriguing detail, in the section about perceived risks from security issues:

The cost of these steps could reduce our operating margins. Despite these efforts, actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in our products could lead some customers to seek to return products, to reduce or delay future purchases, or to use competing products. Customers may also increase their expenditures on protecting their existing computer systems from attack, which could delay adoption of new technologies. Any of these actions by customers could adversely affect our revenue. In addition, actual or perceived vulnerabilities may lead to claims against us. While our license agreements typically contain provisions that eliminate or limit our exposure to such liability, there is no assurance these provisions will be held effective under applicable laws and judicial decisions.

Ah, from the horse's mouth: Microsoft just might be held legally responsible for selling software that is insecure. Say, that makes me wonder: what about that offensive EULA whereby Microsoft gets to scan your computer, track its every breath, and kill it if they feel like it (or should I say cut off its air supply)? Do you suppose it might not actually hold up in court? Well, ask your lawyer, but why not do as the Microsoft annual report suggests many may do and refuse to agree to such humiliating terms in the first place? After all, you do have a choice now. To paraphrase the Barkis character in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, "Linux is willing."


The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway" | 287 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: feldegast on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:37 AM EST
if needed

My posts are ©2004-2006 and released under the Creative Commons License
Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0
P.J. has permission for commercial use.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-topic here
Authored by: crs17 on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:42 AM EST
Place anything off-topic and interesting here. Please make links clickable.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:46 AM EST
Exactly what 'intellectual property' is Microsoft licensing here? Is it the
ribbon interface itself, or a specific Microsoft-style implementation? Even if
it is a specific Microsoft-style implementation, how can they claim ownership?
Copyright, trademark, patents--none seem to apply here.

Anyone have some insight?

[ Reply to This | # ]

what do I need a license for?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:51 AM EST
Why would I need a license to build something that looks like a new MS Office
interface? Are they just protecting the bitmaps on the buttons? Are they
trying to stop OO from adopting the new MSOffice look and feel?

If I have a new idea, or new variation of an idea, for laying out user options
in an application I don't see how that's patentable. And I don't see why I
can't copy it (except for graphics on buttons) even if I admit I was directly
inspired by MS's new design.

Layouts of buttons and menus are trivialities, even with cool new names like
"ribbons". This is not the same as saying good UI design is trivial,

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:52 AM EST
that last paragraph is interesting.

sounds like they are expecting some customers to give them the bird when forced
to upgrade to their wonderful vista and all their EULA's.

to me that is probably why they made the deal with novell they wanted a cut of
the contracts that they are about to sell.

but now that they made the deal I wonder if companies are going to go with
novell because I know some shops don't want anything to do with ballmer and
their wonderful IP.

I refuse to give any more of my money to novell because when you buy a coporate
sled maintenance account you are giving money to microsoft too because they get
a cut - at least for the next five years.

we will be looking around at redhat, canonical, xandros, linspire, and mandrake.

thank goodness for choices. can anybody imagine a one os world. not me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What are our expectations?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:53 AM EST
I saw this:

"It's not about stimulating innovation -- just stone cold cash, to
"enhance revenue"."


What do we expect? MS is in business to make money. Are we seriously expecting
them to support freedoms as a primary goal? If they were, would we even need a
FSF? MS could singlehandedly eliminate 95% of the need for the FSF on the PC
platform by licensing Windows and Office under the GPL. Which, of course, they

Sun didn't open source Java to contribute to the community or protect our
freedoms - they did so to enhance their brand image in the community, in hopes
of improving business results (negative operating margins, negative ROE,
negative income). They hope the community will respond favorably, the suits will
read WSJ articles and associate SUNW in a positive light, and they'll sell some
hardware and services.

It amazes me that we are always aghast when we see MS do something for selfish,
profit-grabbing gains. Why do we expect otherwise?

It's one of the most interesting economic issues of this era - can raw
capitalism (MS) compete with altruism oriented labor supply (FOSS)? What happens
here will be studied for centuries.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: Andrew BC on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 11:59 AM EST
Well what do you expect?

The licence is useless anyway. There is so much prior art that only people who
take out the licence are at any risk and I can't imagine any FOSS coders doing

It's pathetic, and that's the opinion of the majority of the replies on the
blog. No, actually it's laughable.

The Risks section of the Annual Report is one long tearful whine that made me
smile. Yup, the world is going to agree to join in an wonderful patent
agreement that will benefit MS - in their dreams!

They're looking increasingly impotent to me.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft DOES care!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 12:05 PM EST

Microsoft doesn't really care about interoperability for FOSS users.

Microsoft cares deeply about interoperability for FOSS users! It will do everything in its power to block it if possible, and hinder it if it can't be blocked.

[ Reply to This | # ]

To be fair
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:25 PM EST
"There's only one limitation: if you are building a program which directly
competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft
applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license."

That doesn't look specifically anti-FOSS to me, it looks anti-competitive across
the board. Equal opportunity anti-competitiveness.

It just puzzles me how they keep talking about interoperability and openness,
but come up with things like this. Do they really think the rest of the world
is that stupid, that we can't read and see the truth?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Paraphrase thread
Authored by: artp on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:27 PM EST
Original: "There's only one limitation: if you are building a program which
directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the
Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free

Paraphrase: You can use this program for anything except its intended purpose.

Art P.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can't this be used to promote
Authored by: Winter on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:27 PM EST
Just tell the world,'s interface is 100% free, source code included. No
strings attached.

Btw, having seen all the wrangling around the licenses of the MS Closed XML
schemata, I would be really surprised if I ever saw a really open or honest
license from MS. Let allone open AND honest.


Revenge, Justice, Security, and Revenge, chose any two.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:35 PM EST
I was just thinking. An open source Office wouldn't compete with word, excel,
and powerpoint.

It doesn't run on windows. :)

However, if you wrote a PowerPen word processor for windows...

So tecnically writing PowerWP for linux only is valid.

Even though windows competes with linux their application softwares don't unless
someone ports the specific Linux app to windows.


The only way such applications would compete is if microsft ports MS office to

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:40 PM EST
I don't think you really meant to say "you can not use it in a GNU/Linux
system." I think rather that you meant to say "you cannot use it for
software licensed under any open source license."

I know of no reason why you couldn't write software under this license grant and
run it legally on a GNU/Linux system. You could also license it to others to
run it on GNU/Linux, so long as you didn't allow them to sublicense it without
Microsoft's permission.

I also know of no reason why you would want to.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What does this mean for Mono?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:42 PM EST
Is it possible that future versions of .Net will somehow be encumbered with this
license? Could this limit Mono development?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Of course the license is in DOC format!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 01:58 PM EST
That's Microsoft's version of disappearing ink because they obsolete the DOC
format so frequently. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two questions
Authored by: cmc on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 02:06 PM EST
I have but two questions, OK three. The first is only rhetorical, though:


2. How can something as simple as "the Mini Toolbar" or
"galleries" be protected material? We've seen examples of each of
them for years. I have no idea what the "Ribbon" is, but since it's
in a Microsoft product, then (like the others) I doubt it's an original concept
or "innovation".

3. Can Microsoft please explain what qualities a piece of software must have in
order to be "a program which directly competes with Word, Excel,
PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access". For example, if I create a text editor
for myself, is that considered a program that "directly competes" with
Word? What if I distribute it to others? When you think about it, virtually
any program could (to really stretch it) be claimed to "directly
compete" with Access. After all, Access is simply a database manager with
reporting capabilities. Isn't that what most applications do -- allow you to
enter and store information, and then print reports based on that information?

This seems to be yet another Microsoft "innovation" -- a way to make
money from a dubious (if not illegal) method, showing absolutely nothing
original or meaningful, while trying to restrict what others can do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm confused.
Authored by: Steve Martin on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 02:06 PM EST

if you are building a program which directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license.

So let me see if I have this straight...

I have a license to use the Office 2007 UI (whatever that is), but not if I'm writing a competing application (i.e. another office app)?

What's the point? Where would I want to use the Office UI other than in an office-type application? Or is "Office UI" simply a euphemism for "Microsoft look-and-feel"?

"When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports Night"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why would anyone want to use a UI that can't be distributed?
Authored by: kawabago on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 02:19 PM EST
It makes absolutely no sense. Mind you, Microsoft thought the Zune would be an
ipod killer, instead it's another bullet hole in Microsoft's foot. The next
bullet is the Vista EULA, it might actually be a bullet to Microsoft's head.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • History of M$ - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 08:42 PM EST
The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: mlevison on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 02:26 PM EST
So who decides? Who decides if my application competes with Office? When do they
decide? When I first start coding my application? When I release it? What
happens when I release version 2.0?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Looks like an SCO Linux license to me
Authored by: rsmith on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 02:39 PM EST
- It isn't specified what is licensed (patents, copyrights?)
- No sublicensing

So, no reason to license this.

Besides, wouldn't any OSS/FS developer with half a brain know that you should
never ever enter into a relationship with MS?

Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is MS Practically Giving Away The Moon? Or Just a Wookiee?
Authored by: Simon G Best on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 03:09 PM EST

Sounds to me like it's one step short of Microsoft giving permission for people to use their parts of the moon.

It's like they're saying, "Okay, you can use pieces of our lunar real estate, free of charge, for anything you like, except for the following: firstly, you can't sub-let pieces of our lunar real estate; and secondly, you can't use our real estate to compete with Microsoft. Other than that, you can use our lunar real estate for anything you like. This license is free-of-charge and perpetual - you need not pay us anything to receive this license, and need not worry about this license, or its terms and conditions, ever changing or being revoked."

Of course, it'll only be a matter of time before Microsoft abandons its claimed parts of the Sea of Tranquillity, and starts claiming parts of the Sea of Rainbows instead. Tough luck for those who based their lunar efforts in Tranquillity, eh?

Some people really do claim to be selling pieces of lunar real estate, though. Their idea, I think, is that there are enough gullible people for it to work, people who will just assume that the sellers must actually own some of the moon in order to be able to sell it in the first place - otherwise, how can they sell pieces of lunar real estate if they don't actually own any? Similarly, I'd imagine Microsoft is expecting people to think, "Hey! Microsoft must actually own the rights to this ribbon stuff, otherwise they wouldn't be able to license it, would they?"

Or perhaps it's just a wookiee put out by Microsoft to try to get us to take our minds off the Novell stuff...


[ Reply to This | # ]

"These rights include pending utility and design patent claims"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 03:15 PM EST

I assume this means that they've got pending patent applications on these UI
elements - the Ribbon, the mini-whatsit, etc.

Anyone know how to find the relevant application at the PO?

Seems they'd be prime fodder for a prior-art easter egg hunt!

If they're still pending then now's the time to do it - rather than trying to
get them rescinded later.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent System has hit a new low
Authored by: MrCharon on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 04:04 PM EST
Microsoft Patents:

D532,015 User interface for a portion of a display screen
Filed: October 24, 2005
D532,014 User interface for a portion of a display screen
Filed: February 7, 2006
D531,636 User interface for a portion of a display screen
Filed: February 7, 2006
D531,635 User interface for a portion of a display screen
Filed: February 7, 2006

Hard to tell from the pictures what it is they are patenting, but two of them
remind me of UI elements in Vista.


[ Reply to This | # ]

I don't know that there's anything to worry about - have you actually seen the "Ribbon"?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 04:40 PM EST
It's the rough equivalent of taking the current version of Office and setting
every single available button-bar section to be on permanent display, over four
screen rows, taking up about a sixth of screen real estate.

Sure it's "contextualised" via tabs but that doesn't affect how much
less space is available for the actual document.

It's like M$ licensing the "right" to run your screen at 640x480 while
using Office! Except you'd probably see more of your document, if you did that
with the current version of Office, than with this!

One bit of good news though:

I believe I can state with absolute certainty that this new interface is 100%
incompatible with laws and guidelines relating to accessibility for the

Which means that there has to be a way of reverting it to a standard interface
(ie the kind of interface used by everyone else for the past 10+ years).

It'll be interesting to see how many people take that option so they can see
more than half their document at one time!

[ Reply to This | # ]

An opportunity in the threat
Authored by: chdub on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 04:53 PM EST
If MS is trying to protect the general concepts behind Office 2007's ribbons,
they may run into trouble with IBM/Lotus. WordPro 9x uses context sensitive
feature pallettes that function quite a a bit like the Office 2007 context
senstive ribbons. The ribbons look different but do similar things. I'd think
a smart lawyer could make a strong argument that the WordPro feature pallettes
constitute "prior art"...

Anyway, maybe it's a good thing for FOSS developers to think about different
ways of presenting features to users, other than trying to mimic MS's approach.
We see this mimickry in most Linux distributions' desktop layouts, including
things that look remarkably like Windows Start button and Taskbar, as well as
the OO screen layouts, menus and toolbars which can be depressingly similar to
MS Office.

The MS way isn't necessarily the most user-friendly way of providing
functionality. Nevertheless in many cases Linux developers seem to have
consciously copied the MS way of doing things in an attempt to make Linux
familiar to Windows users. As a marketing tactic, that might make sense, but as
a productivity decision, it often doesn't.

MS Office features are often difficult to find and use because MS has tried to
maintain "backward usability" - not changing things too drastically so
users will feel generally familiar with a new version of their Office software.
As feature sets have mutated, that backward usability has spawned a hodge podge
of features buried under layers of dialogs and sometimes
mysteriously/inconsistently named labels. MS "usablity" engineers
often get things terribly wrong and (IMHO) the Office 2007 toolbar is a prime
example poor decision making on MS' part - some changes make sense but many

Perhaps the step change MS is introducing in its Office applications' interfaces
could be a watershed for FOSS developers? Faced with an implicit threat of
legal action against developers who mimic the MS look and feel without a
"licence" to do so, why not take it as a challenge to think more
creatively about how to design application interfaces. (I always liked
WordPro's pallettes as being a lot more functional and powerful than Word's more
convoluted menu/dialog structure. To be sure, WordPro had its share of
menus/dialogs that copied Word's structures, but the pallette was nifty and

By making some quite disruptive changes to their interfaces, MS is levelling the
playing field in terms of usability learning curves and FOSS can exploit that.
In any case the MS way is not the best way and copying MS is in something of a
surrender to mediocrity.

Apple's doing pretty well going their own way design-wise. Why not Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

they want both the swings and the roundabouts!
Authored by: gfim on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 04:56 PM EST
Reductions in the legal protection for software intellectual property rights or compliance with additional intellectual property obligations impacting the rights of software developers could both adversely affect revenue.

To me, that sounds like they're saying that they might not be able to protect their "rights" as well as they would like and other developers might assert their "rights" against them. Oh no. That's very unfair. We are the software company. We shouldn't have to follow the same rules as other developers.


[ Reply to This | # ]

"FAQ answer" [snort] from Microsoft's Office 2007 site
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 04:56 PM EST
"Why did Microsoft decide a new UI was needed? Why now?
--- As we've added more and more features and functionality to the applications
over time, it's gotten harder for people to find the things they want to do with
the products. For example, Microsoft Word 1.0 only had about 100 commands, and
by using the menus you could see everything you could do. Today, Microsoft
Office Word 2003 has over 1,500 commands, many of which can be difficult to
find. That element of discoverability is just one of the key issues addressed by
the new UI."

I don't think they've ever stopped to consider that probably 90%+ of their
users, 90%+ of the time, only ever use those same 100 commands that were in

In other words:

"... it's gotten harder for people to find the things they want to do with
the products."

Indeed it has, spot on - because you've buried them among the other 1400 things
that no sane and reasonable person wants to be bothered with!

Bit of an exaggeration, yes, but not by much.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One part that jumps out to me
Authored by: LPrecure on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 05:04 PM EST

(Hoping I can manage the HTML for this). Something in that last quote sort-of jumped out at me.

The cost of these steps could reduce our operating margins. Despite these efforts, actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in our products could lead some customers to seek to return products, to reduce or delay future purchases, or to use competing products. Customers may also increase their expenditures on protecting their existing computer systems from attack, which could delay adoption of new technologies.

Maybe it's just my low opinion of Microsoft, but that sounds a lot like "The bugs we built into our software might be small enough that customers may chose to try to limp along with third-party patches, which might be a threat to our business model of forced upgrades under the promise of someday producing something reliable."

[ Reply to This | # ]

html challenged
Authored by: grouch on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 05:40 PM EST

Please see Writing HTML - 8c. Links to the World: Internet Sites for a very easy tutorial on writing "HTML for Anchors to the Internet".

You seem to have the very mistaken idea that anchors should be the same as the URLs they link to. Making those often incomprehensible character strings act as anchors simply interrupts your message and makes it much harder to read. Such a scrambled mess discourages people from even attempting to read it.

-- grouch

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reposted so it doesn't ruin our formatting
Authored by: PJ on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 05:47 PM EST
There was an anonymous comment, quite long, that included a bunch of long urls, so it threw the page off. So here it is fixed:


WHY SOFTWARE PATENTS DON'T WORK - but leave room for where FUD and Fiction do...!

Important reading about reasons why software patents “don't work and never should have been allowed” from this Groklaw Article (regarding software patents)...

http://www.gro article.php?story=2006091118502284

Another Request to Pick Your Brains: International Characters' Business Model

Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 05:50 AM EDT

These important comments (and others were derived from these reader's comment)... of the anonymous nature, of course!

http:/ / 2006091118502284#c478525

What is wrong with doing away with SW Patents and having only Copyright (with this covenant)? Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 12:17 PM EDT The devil, is in the details.

The sin of the software patent, is that it is a patent on an idea that can only be expressed by actually writing the software.

Let us ask the authors of this new concept this:   Where is the discussion about the software patent as an instrument of benefit to society, that must come FIRST, before this convent proposal, is even discussed.  Where is the argument that uses the Socratic method to validate the software patent in the first place,  and where is it that such an argument comes up with any sense to idea of software (or business method) patents at all?

The machine is the key place to start. For example: if Intel, when they started out, wanted to have all their customers sign a contract of use of their chips where all software that uses their patented chip technology has to kick back money to Intel..., well, let us then ask, if Intel did this, then how many chips would they sell?  My bet is that not many would buy into this deal, and so as a result of the hardware manufacturer's encouragement of software development (all done without tax on developers = FREE), this results in more hardware and chips being sold, etc!  

Along comes software... Let us discuss what software is.  What is software?  What is digital as well (as software is part of the realm of digital we need to know this as well)!

With software you have software languages being developed that will allow applications to be developed for certain hardware environments.  Then, using the language, applications are developed.   Apps are not unlike stories.  They are copyrighted and protected by copyright.  But, protection of the idea of a story is just plain wrong as it them gives a monopoly on the idea of the story. 

If the author of Harry Potter had a patent on the idea of stories that involved witch-craft, schools, etc, then this would be wrong.  There is copyright, and the story is protected as told.   Others, should be able to tell stories of witches and schools... no?

Software is a story that is told, period.

A monopoly, or software patent in it' own context, on the ideas of such stories (including Harry Potter, and Software that works to do something) is plain wrong, as it locks up an idea for a term of time where no other stories of the same genre can be told,  and some that could be told might be better than the original.  But for the term of the software patent, is it possible that no other stories can be told.  Why is this bad?  Well, for example software patents in the health care field that might protect badly written code, or a badly written way to address a problem, where with a software patent that broadly awards a monopoly on the idea of doing what the problem needs,  this patent or monopoly might, in the worst case, protect this badly addressed idea and solution to the point where it will cause more cost to society than should happen (vs a society where such patents are not allowed, thus allowing different, and better code to be FREELY written that would then benefit society without having to wait 17 years to be able to write it)!

Can you imagine if there were patents on game shows or reality TV?  We would be left watching one channel, with one rerun for 17 years.  Well, if it is art, it is art, and a properly running software is art, can be sold as art, and can be supported by it's author (to those who need support as the learning of how the art works is important for those that need to use it, and who better to hire than the original artist, or coder(s) for this support!

As to how digital as an entity is confusing, and why many wonder why ideas that are in the digital realm can be patented (as is it real or not, really)..., then view this segment on CSPAN to get a full understanding of what is digital and what is not.  Basically, it seems that digital is a "random whisp of a fairy tale" that sits as a medium between two REAL analog environments (and is totally dependent on the machine, or the stage, or the printing press, to become what it is).  Software. it is just a story!

Now, a key and disturbing question...

What is digital anyway?

Please first view this CSPAN segment found in the next url,  and please respond to the logic of the learned question as to what the heck is digital in the first place?     Is digital a product of the tech labs and the science, or is the term digital an invention of some marketing types who need an easy to sell word? congress/digitalfuture.asp
go to and watch this selection:  Monday, January 31
Brian Cantwell Smith, dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto Smith, the author of "On the Origin of Objects," combines degrees in computer science and philosophy and is an expert on the interdisciplinary convergence brought about by digitization. His talk is titled, "And Is All This Stuff Really Digital After All?"

So - according to Brian Cantwell Smith, with what is digital, not being OBVIOUSLY digital, and certainly not what we have been SOLD regarding what digital is..., then, unless you are a quick worded lawyer who takes digital and makes what is not real, suddenly real, then how can you patent something that is not really real, in the first place?

You can write a story about what is not real, then that becomes real... and your story can then be protected by copyright.. it should not be ever protect-able by patent.

Digital is just an easy to sell word, that is abstract when you get into the actual details of what is really happening.  A patent takes software into this same level... where what is happening in a body of software code (geek speak) can never be written about in enough detail by lawyers (lawyer speak) to make it real.  If patents were that real, then you would be able to run them on your computer!  But, you can't do that because they are not the code.  The code is the only way to tell a story... and that is already protected by copyright.

The problem with this Covenant Idea is that it fails to include the logic of why something that is digital (not really real), why this can be, or should be patentable in the first place.    It would be interesting to hear from these same folks asking these questions as to why they think that suddenly that software patents are really good for society (when they first can't do justice to tell the story of what the code is actually saying).

Lawyers might like this, but it just is not logical for tech to understand this... We are left asking how can a lawyer can make 1 plus 1 equal 3, as this is not real, but to lawyers,  it can be real? 

Software patents are draped on software programs much like the way that in one story where an emporer is being told that the invisible cloths he is wearing are wonderful,  when the reality is that he just is not wearing any cloths!  My bet, is that the child that spoke up and said that there was nothing in the beauty of the invisible cloths, on the naked ruler, was a budding FOSS anti-softwarepatent, geek!

The covenant should nullify the patent, where patents are still supported, and rely only on the code being protected, as copyrighted, period.

Here is what a lawyer said recently about the software writer being an artist and how software writers can be protected using FOSS to keep their future income stream protected, and where they can support their art, and make money and be FREE.

View this online video from Harvard Law School and Eben Molgen's Q&A at the end of the talk! 

Speech (h ttp:// jolt-moglen.spx) for Harvard < A HREF="">Journal of Law & Technology ( February 23, 2004, 1h 25m, 8Mib Speex format. Text versi on  
The VIDEO of the Harvard speech is interesting and can be found listed in past speakers area here: spea kers/
video: ramgen/jolt/spring_04/2004-02-23_a e_0630-0830.rm
audio: images/jolt-moglen.spx

There is a transcript... (note: Eben Molgen was a software programmer BEFORE he became a LAWYER) - it is sad that in hearings recently on IP issues and patent reform in the US Senate, that the senators did not even invite such kinds of wise persons from the citizen base, in order to wisely testify before any IP related committee on Patents or Copyright concerns...?   Instead, we always see JUST corporations brought to testify about IP, why is that?  Why have no non-corporate Open Source Interests been brought into the loop on this Patent Reform Bill at all (or on copyright matters before the Congress as well)?

Quote from Transcript of interest:

"Q: But what about the software writer?

Moglen: Ah, the software. . .

Q: That's the kind of stuff I think I was more getting at with my question. So you have somebody who creates something useful but it has a zero distribution cost, and it's useful in a way that's not, not useful like celebrity, though I'm not sure, I don't think that's useful in some ways, but it's useful in the different sense that it takes a long time to create well.

Moglen: See, the programmers I worked with all my life thought of themselves as artisans, and it was very hard to unionize them. They thought that they were individual creators. Software writers at the moment have begun to lose that feeling, as the world proletarianizes them much more severely than it used to. They're beginning to notice that they're workers, and not only that, but if you pay attention to the Presidential campaign currently going on around us, they are becoming aware of the fact that they are workers whose jobs are movable in international trade.

We are actually doing more to sustain the livelihood of programmers than the proprietary people are. Mr. Gates has only so many jobs, and he will move them to where the programming is cheapest. Just you watch. We, on the other hand, are enabling people to gain technical knowledge which they can customize and market in the world where they live. We are making people programmers, right? And we are giving them a base upon which to perform their service activity at every level in the economy, from small to large.

There is programming work for fourteen-year-olds in the world now because they have the whole of GNU upon which to erect whatever it is that somebody in their neighbourhood wants to buy, and we are making enough value for the IBM corporation that it's worth putting billions of dollars behind.

If I were an employee of the IBM corporation right this moment, I would consider my job more secure where it is because of free software than if free software disappeared from the face of the earth, and I don't think most of the people who work at IBM would disagree with me.

Of all the people who participate in the economy of zero marginal cost, I think the programmers can see most clearly where their benefits lie, and if you just wait for a few more tens of thousands of programming jobs to go from here to Bangalore, they'll see it even more clearly."

So - even if Molgen didn't discuss this in this speech.  Let us extend the meaning of the above quote to say this:   That the software patent becomes something that changes this artistic right of expression "protection" that true FOSS licenses offer, or should offer, so that the future of the story tellers (software coders) is insured and protected for all time!

The patent, however, is owned by who?   Is it exportable, to where?  Is to where the labor cost is less, and can it then be exported again, and is this a value to society (which society).   In the discussion of software then is the right for a software programmer to write software, no matter where this person lives, even a question that we should be asking.   Should all art, be protected and be local.  

Truely, a software patent, in the world economic environment IS NOT local, as the holder of the software patent does have the monopoly right to exclude any future art, or innovation from happening (unless you pay the Feudal Lord, or Lady, and their Lawyers, FIRST!  = NOT FREE... these ideas that are not free and are ruled by such a software monopoly are NOT FREE and instead are likes of rule by the DARK SIDE in STAR WARS.    There is no individual freedom or power.  It only means limited permission based power at the point of the idea, at the will, or lack of will, depending on the nature of a decision by what other human being or company, that you are now, to dutifully bow down before?  IN A SOFTWARE PATENT WORLD, WHO IS YOUR LORD?    WITH SOFTWARE PATENTS, the coders, well they are just another SERF.

Instead, we can look at a situation where  the human being, or entity, uses a Copyright on it's labor to protect it's work product!  We can now examine, where this copyright protection certainly does protect value, and reflects the value back on the work itself, not just a simple and obvious idea that seems to have caught the eye of some patent examiner as being novel.  Software copyrighted works allow future art to flourish and exist as long as that new work does not copy the previous art (creative commons license dependent, of course), but by a new creative commons copyright license, or GPLvX, any new work, properly license, can be seen as innovative enough to not be infringing.  AND this is good.  This encourages society to move forward.

Copyright is an identity... let it live alone, and let it rule the software world, as it was intended, the story is what it is.  

The patent can never tell a story, only the story can tell a story.

So - The solution is to ban all Software Patents and Business Method Patents as they are Feudalistic by design, and are contrary instruments for the advancement of mankind in a world of rapid pace technology changing landscapes.

The error of the patent for software, is that they can protect some very bad code, for a very long time, where this error is exclusive as an idea, alone, and where it does not allow society the freedom to research and produce better code, code that is allowed to be written to compete with this "original" code, where the idea is not the central in the protected concept frame of mind as an idea, but where the effort of the author's work stands alone for what it is, and if you build it they will come!

If you code a good program, and you can support it, then you will make money.   If someone does a better job then you can, then they should be allowed to try.    Software coding really should be an Olympic sport.   As with sport, what is real... is truely real.   No gold medal unless you can cross the finish line first (and not be getting a unfair drug induced advantage in doing so).  Fair is Fair.... FOSS is fair.   Software patents can never be fair to the trueness of the software writer as an artist "fair".   Copyright can only do that.  Patents can not.

Your turn.

PS - First to file patents, are a bad thing as well for the little person or company that has not the resources to compete vs those that have the teams of lawyers and the funds to play this game.  Let first to invent rule (and maybe add a first to invent and sell to allow for protection of those that wish to commercialize a patent (say a drug patent), but then leaves room for those that invent first to exist and keep inventing freely without having to deal with the patent office!  But, no software patents, and no business method patents, please.   Thank-you”.

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It could never be GPL compatible - but why would you need it anyway ?
Authored by: raya on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 06:40 PM EST
A big part of the deal with this license is that you are tied to the MS style/UI guidelines. That alone would be completely incompatible with the GPL.

This isn't really suprising, since it is another licence and just about any non-trivial licence is incompatible with the GPL (unless it is the GPL, by design).

What is more interesting is why would you need this licence in the first place - according to the text, you are licencing:

rights include pending utility and design patent claims, copyrights, trade dress and trademark rights
Taking each of these, I don't think it is copyright (probably refers to copying of the UI guidelines) unless they really think they can dig up look-and-feel copyrights all over again. I doubt they are dumb enough to try that.

Design patents, trade dress and trademarks are similar (I understand), and should be avoidable as long as your ribbon interface is distinguishable from MS's (but if the design guidelines are really tight then following those may cause you to infringe). Not sure why you would be slavishly following MS design guide anyway though ?

Then it's utility patents. Pending. Maybe time to go find out the applications in places where they publish before grant ?

Acutally, I thought you couldn't get design and utility patent on the same thing - any actual lawyers care to comment on that ?

In summary, I think this licence is what you might want if you are an MS ISV on an MS platform wanting your stuff to fit right in with Office 2007 and follow all the MS guides. In which case you most likely aren't either GPL or competing with Office 2007.

For free software, I can't think why would you want this anyway ? You'd be tied to MS design guide, MS look and feel etc. - condemned to be always following them. Is it really desirable for FOSS to be the imitator instead of the innovator (if indeed MS has innovated here at all) ?

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Linux is willing
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 06:40 PM EST
An unfortunate precedent. Barkis was willing, but
the resulting marriage was rather a disaster.

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Passive agressive
Authored by: cybervegan on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 06:56 PM EST
I really think this is MS being P/A on us... it could just as well have said
"Don't you DARE even THINK about making any Free Software that looks
similar to Office 2007".

It's not an offer... it's a threat.
; "stay off our turf".

That's my view.


Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

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The Gotcha on that MS License on the Office 2007 "Giveaway"
Authored by: grouch on Monday, November 27 2006 @ 07:36 PM EST

Ah, from the horse's mouth: Microsoft just might be held legally responsible for selling software that is insecure. Say, that makes me wonder: what about that offensive EULA whereby Microsoft gets to scan your computer, track its every breath, and kill it if they feel like it (or should I say cut off its air supply)? Do you suppose it might not actually hold up in court?

With all due respect, PJ, this is just shocking. I am very sad to see the depths to which Groklaw has fallen. It used to be a nice, objective place to get the facts. Now, we are subjected to amazingly inaccurate writing like this. C'mon, PJ, horse's mouth?!?

... gotcha

All troll imitations aside ...

How much of Microsoft's Calling Home Problem: It's a Matter of Informed Consent applies to Vista? I'm assuming the Windows Genuine A[ttack] was just a beta test of features for Vista. If that attack feature was a problem because of a lack of informed consent, surely Vista's EULA is also lacking in that area. Besides the problems for business users, will someone's Aunt Pitty-Pat really understand what it means when she clicks that button? Can a person's privacy be so easily stolen?

-- grouch

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MS User Interface
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 03:40 AM EST
A few disjointed comments on the new user interface:

  • From the blog: "Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the research, design, and development of the new Office user interface". They spent hundreds of millions on this? Just to develop the new interface? I can't think of anything more damning to be said of Microsoft than this. They can spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars just to re-arrange the menus.
  • There's no user interface toolkit at this time. This means that if you actually wanted to duplicate the interface, you would have to write your own UI code at a fairly low level. I doubt there will be widespread use of this (assuming there is any interest) until UI toolkits are actually available. This is a lot of work for someone to implement on their own for relatively little or no gain (or perhaps even user rejection).
  • You have to register your product with Microsoft. I can see this going over well with third party developers, and especially people developing custom applications. There is no information yet on what registration means, but I wouldn't be surprised if it included providing product sales information that the Microsoft marketing department will find absolutely fascinating.
  • Microsoft gets a veto on the look of your application. This isn't explicitly mentioned, but it is implied by the fact that you have to license the UI elements instead of just getting a set of recommended guidelines. If Microsoft doesn't like the look of your software, they can likely make you do it over again (or you can't use their proprietary UI look and feel).
  • At present, Microsoft has carved out five application areas as their own for this UI (the MS-Office applications). No competitors are allowed. It is possible that future versions of this license may expand that list.
  • Right from the license FAQ: "Can the license be obtained for use in Open Source products? The license doesn’t make a distinction between open source and commercial software products. However, some open source licenses have terms that are incompatible with certain provisions of the Office UI license which are necessitated by the type of rights Microsoft is granting. Each developer should examine the open source license he or she is using to determine whether the Microsoft Office UI license is appropriate for his or her desired use". It seems pretty clear from this that the license incompatability was intentional.
  • Anybody who implements this interface for any reason has to get an individual license from Microsoft for it. That includes non-commercial use and software developed for use only inside a company. This is a lot of bureaucracy and overhead.
  • If you buy a third party toolkit or component (if and when they exist) which uses this interface, you still have to get a license directly from Microsoft before you can use it in your own product. The vendor's own license with Microsoft does not cover this (because of no sublicensing). This will be a big disincentive to use it.
  • I went to one of Microsoft's web pages to get more information, and go this fascinating message: "One Moment Please... To help optimize how your Web pages are displayed, we are checking to see if a Microsoft Office 2007 program is installed." I try to get information on the UI and Microsoft is checking to see what software I have installed? They have some rather complex Javascript on that page, and call the following rather fascinating functions "ax11.GetOfficeX()" and "ax11.GetOfficeLcid()". I'm not sure how I found that page, but the link is Microso ft Software Check! You need to turn Javascript, off if you want to see the Javascript. They won't let you in without it (and you don't get in with Linux either, so I don't know what is in there).

  • Summary:
    Overall, this sounds like Microsoft is trying to launch a unique protected MS-Windows "look and feel". They may be trying to take a page from Apple's book and trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors (Linux/FOSS) by a unique and (an attempt at a) superior user interface. I don't think they the skill to pull it off though. They're definitely not Apple (see the Zune for an example of that).

    The thing that really stands out is that they are trying to use this to get a stronger hold over third party software developers. If they just wanted to promote a "better" user interface, they would just publish recommendations, and make sure that a no charge toolkit was available for MS Visual Studio, possibly with a certification and logo campaign. Instead they have a very restrictive license and no toolkit. I won't be surprised to see them imposing steadily tighter limits on software developers, perhaps ending up with a two-tier market - MS-Approved and Hoi-Poloi.

    I haven't tried MS-Office 2007, but from what I can see about the "ribbon", I think it's a failure. I don't meant that they won't persist with it for a while, and perhaps get a few others to use it, but it's not a better user interface. Basically, they've taken drop-down menus and turned them 90 degrees while keeping the text in the same orientation. It's actually a bit more complicated than that, but that is the essense of it. This is a bad idea, because text (at least with the Roman alphabet) tends to be wider than it is high, so it doesn't fit well within the available space if you try to put items side by side. The text has to be cryptically short and eyestrainingly small to fit. It will be hard for the typical developer on a tight time budget to design a good user interface that will work with this. They've also had to come up with some mind bogglingly complex rules to handle window resizing (as seen in the "preview" document).

    Overall, this event shows something about how Microsoft thinks, but its not something that I would want to see duplicated on Linux.

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    • MS User Interface - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 30 2006 @ 04:27 PM EST
    Ask Microsoft
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 04:15 AM EST
    I like it when Groklaw is polite and gives the other guy the benefit of the
    doubt, so I thought I'd ask them. Microsoft could after all be making an honest
    mistake. My post is on the blog (thanks Jensen) but no reply yet. By all means
    check if you're interested - search on the page for GPL -

    Groklaw reports: When you read
    the document, you'll find you can use the offered Microsoft technology, but only
    if you agree *not to allow sublicensing*. That's the taint, and in effect that
    means you can not use it in a GNU/Linux

    (1) Does
    Microsoft intend that this license allows GPL'd programs to use the Office

    (2) Is Microsoft prepared to make any license changes necessary for (1)?

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    • Ask Microsoft - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 01 2006 @ 05:42 AM EST
      • Ask Microsoft - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 01 2006 @ 06:04 AM EST
    Another lesser "Gotcha"
    Authored by: MindShaper on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 05:45 AM EST
    In sections 3b and 3c.(Emphasis added, shouting removed by me.)
    "3b. Your licensed UI must comply with the design guidelines. If Microsoft notifies you will make necessary changes to comply... 3c. ...The quality of your Licensed Products will be consistent with your other products, meet or exceed relevant industry standards..."
    MS gets to decide if it likes your product or not, and can unilaterally demand that you change it to suit MS' business purposes. MS graciously provides an "out" in section 6:
    "it is your responsibility to obtain any additional rights you need..."
    To obtain additional rights, just switch to open source software. ;)

    There's a difference between being free and being unnoticed.

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    We need to find and document the prior art
    Authored by: Michelle Readman on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 06:41 AM EST
    I've seen a number of people state that there is, or must be, prior art for the
    ribbon UI concept and the other features of the office 2007 UI.

    We should start to keep a record of these here at groklaw, rather than simply
    stating that they may be around.

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    Dirty Hands ?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 12:53 PM EST
    Would it be Dirty Hands on the part of MS to only produce a License in a Format
    only viewable with their products?

    They have a "free" MS word viewer, but again, it only runs on their

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    Executive Summary:
    Authored by: darkonc on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 06:57 PM EST
    Microsoft wants to interoperate with everybody except their competition -- which completely obviates the very definition of interoperability.

    I also just realized that MS's click-through license reqires you to, if you don't accept their license, quit out and contact your vendor on how to get a refund... It doesn't however seem to require that you (not) follow any given course of action after that -- including coming back later and finishing the installation.

    (am I wronga about that? I haven't read their most recent license)

    Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

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    Third Party Liability
    Authored by: darkonc on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 10:22 PM EST
    I'm thinking that third parties might be able to sue Microsoft for releasing an insecure product. Given that they claim to take away the right of the customer to investigate or patch MS software, and even claim the right to forcibly push modifications the product, I'm guessing that it should be possible to at least claim that they're also responsible to third-parties who are injured by the side-effects of massive distribution of (knowingly) broken software.

    There's no protection from lawsuits from people who MS can't even claim accepted the no-liability clause.

    Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Does Non-Transferrable Mean
    Authored by: darkonc on Tuesday, November 28 2006 @ 10:34 PM EST
    That they could, in theory, go after me for selling my product through a distributor? (or, more likely, go after distributors and customers who haven't bothered to separately re-license every copy of my product)?

    There is, of course, also the problem that MS can suddenly refuse to (sub-)license my customer -- which means that even though they can't sue me, they can still effectively shut me down by (realistically) threatening to sue anybody who buys or upgrades my product in the future.

    In other words, the peace of Mind that they claim a developer has from their so-called perpetual license is illusory.

    -- And if you don't think MS would use a loophole like this, if they decide it would help their bottom line, talk to anybody else who's been scammed by making a deal with these people in the past.

    Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Dickins knew what he was talking about....
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 29 2006 @ 05:12 AM EST
    Re David copperfield....

    The waiter's called Bill (Bill, William what's the difference), and helps
    himself to other people's earnings. Then acts all innocent and lets others
    ridicule them.

    "I told him not - drank it, and fell dead" vs "We'll indemnify
    you against any of your infringing code"

    Ahh, the fine art of FUD.

    I personally liked Bill's FUD tactics in a way. I think someone may well have
    learned from him.....

    PJ, thanks for the reference, it gave me a few smiles on an otherwise
    frustrating day.

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    Lotus 1-2-3 / menu
    Authored by: Wesley_Parish on Wednesday, November 29 2006 @ 06:54 AM EST

    This - the MS Office 2007 interface - sounds and looks to me like little more than the Lotus 1-2-3 / (slash) menu, as applied to MS Windows and MS Office.

    Microsoft should remember that Lotus brought look-and-feel lawsuits against the companies that made the Twin and VP Planner spreadsheets, and won them.

    Microsoft is renowned for finding crocks of something quite other than gold at the end of the rainbow, so naturally I doubt there's any use to the average software developer in doing anything about this ... "offer".

    finagement: The Vampire's veins and Pacific torturers stretching back through his own season. Well, cutting like a child on one of these states of view, I duck

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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