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Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 04:26 AM EDT

I wish I could wholeheartedly applaud the Microsoft announcement about native support for ODF, but I can't. Of course, it's better to have native support for ODF, no matter what motives may have influenced Microsoft's announcement, and I'm glad about that for the sake of end users. But it hasn't happened yet. Was the word 'vaporware' not coined for Microsoft? In any case, I'm in the "I will believe it when I see it" category when it comes to Microsoft. They've earned my caution.

And I see danger signs for FOSS I'd like to share with you, so you can consider them. Once again, the problem is software patents. Internet News indicates that commercial Linux/FOSS vendors, and the GPL license that Linux comes with, will be excluded:

Microsoft, however, frames its latest moves as part of fulfilling a company-wide interoperability initiative that it announced in February.

Uh oh. Remember this from February, when Microsoft announced the availability of APIs?

Going forward, Smith said that Microsoft will enter into a covenant not to sue open source developers who use the open APIs for noncommercial applications. Commercial developers will still need to obtain patent licenses to use the code.

GPL developers can't obtain patent licenses. That would violate the terms of the GPL. Period.

Like Microsoft doesn't know that.

But, you say, Linux is GPL'd and that's Microsoft's primary competition. Can it be that commercial vendors and the GPL will be exiled again from the "even" playing field everyone else gets to be on? Why yes. It appears so. Commercial Linux vendors need not apply. Or they can sell out.

In short, I think Microsoft has no intention of interoperability with its actual competition, namely commercial Linux, like Red Hat and Ubuntu, et al, all the vendors who refuse to sell out to their patent demands. I'd say it has to be deliberate on Microsoft's part, because when Microsoft offered its Open Specification Promise (OSP), the promise not to sue over OOXML, sorta, kinda, it was clearly informed by the Software Freedom Law Center that the OSP's terms are inconsistent with the GPL and that the promise provides no assurance for FOSS developers. And Microsoft is certainly knowledgeable about the problems with RAND terms for FOSS. But they persist in offering what they know commercial GPL developers can't accept.

BetaNews explains Microsoft's announcement:

Commercial uses of some of these "open products" will require patent licenses. But Microsoft will license the patents on "reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms, at "low rates." At the same time, Microsoft will continue to retain trade secret licenses around some of its intellectual property, admitted CEO Steve Ballmer.

RAND terms again, it sounds like. Would you call that anticompetitive? I would. In short, I come to the sad conclusion this is just another move forward in Microsoft's new patents-plus-standards strategy to destroy Linux as we know it and force it into a Microsoft-driven proprietary mold, if it won't die off.

Will Office 2007's support for ODF actually work, do you think, if they ever really do it? Scott Fulton has an interview with Jason Matusow and Doug Mahugh on BetaNews and what they reveal should give one pause: :

DOUG MAHUGH, program manager for ISO 29500-based products, Microsoft: One thing to be very clear about here is this: When we say, "support for ODF in [Office] SP2," we intend to write very compliant ODF documents when you save a document. However, it's not a given that everything you can do in the Office UI is savable under ODF. As you're alluding to, there are things -- SmartArt, conditional formatting, things like that -- that we have in Office and that are popular features, where there is no way to save those in ODF, currently.

The way we're approaching that, I can share a little bit with you: We're not throttling the UI, as you describe, where certain things are disabled. Rather, at the time you save, we're telling you, "Hey, you're saving in this other format; some information in this document may be lost." That sort of thing. And let me tell you why we made the decision to do it in that particular way: There are situations where some of that functionality may be very useful to the user, even though it can't be serialized out to the format that they're saving in.

For example, I could e-mail you an ODF spreadsheet, and you might have Excel 2007 and want to open that spreadsheet and do some quick thumbnail analysis of a few things, use conditional formatting to help you identify some trends quickly, and so on. We want to let you do that, even though you can't then save that conditional formatting back out to ODF. So for that reason, we've tried to look at it as, these issues we're talking about, functionality that may or may not be included, those are issues when you save the document, but we're not letting those factors affect the overall user experience, or the sorts of analytical tools that you might have at your disposal....

The thing that we can't do on our own is change the inherent limitations of each format, and the ways that certain formats allow for certain things that other formats may not. For that, we feel we can get involved in the standards organizations, and bring our experience to the table and talk with others about it, but we don't directly control that.

How does that sound to you? Reassuring? It sounds to me like when difficulties arise, they'll say it's ODF's fault. Before Microsoft came up with the patents plus standards strategy, it used other, but similar, tactics, according to Novell's complaint in its ongoing antitrust litigation against Microsoft:

90. Third, Microsoft unilaterally made the proprietary Rich Text Format ("RTF") of Microsoft Word the standard file format for text-based documents in applications developed for Windows. Upon capturing the standard, Microsoft strategically withheld the specification to injure competitors, including Novell.

91. As Microsoft knew, a truly standard file format that was open to all ISVs would have enhanced competition in the market for word processing applications, because such a standard allows the exchange of text files between different word processing applications used by different customers. A user wishing to exchange a text file with a second user running a different word processing application could simply convert his file to the standard format, and the second user then could convert the file from the standard format into his own word processor's format. Thus, a law firm, for instance, could continue to use WordPerfect (which was the favorite word processor of the legal profession), so long as it could convert and edit client documents created in Microsoft Word, if that is what clients happened to use. Microsoft knew that if it controlled the convertibility of documents through its control of the RTF standard, then Microsoft would be able to exclude competing word processing applications from the market and force customers to adopt Microsoft Word, as it soon did.

92. The specifications for RTF were readily available to Microsoft's applications developers, because RTF was the format they themselves developed for Microsoft's office productivity applications. Microsoft withheld the RTF specifications from Novell, however, forcing Novell to engage in a perpetual, costly effort to comply with a critical "industry standard that was, in reality, nothing more than the preference of its chief competitor, Word. Indeed, whenever Word changed its own file format, Microsoft unilaterally and identically changed the RTF standard for Windows, forcing Novell and other ISVs constantly to redevelop their applications. In this manner, Microsoft gave Word a permanent, insurmountable lead in time-to-market, and made document conversions difficult for users otherwise interested in running non-Microsoft applications. Many WordPerfect users were thus forced to switch to Microsoft Word, which predictably monopolized the word processing market.

93. Fourth, Microsoft unilaterally announced that other features of Word were to be considered Windows standards. One important example is the "tool bar," which typically runs across the top of the PC's screen in applications operating on Windows. Microsoft's tool bar originated in the Microsoft Office applications, such as Word and Excel, while ISVs such as Novell developed competing features, such as WordPerfect's more widely admired "button bar." Unable to design a better feature than WordPerfect's, Microsoft simply declared its toolbar to be the Windows standard, supplanting WordPerfect's button bar and other competitors' offerings. As in the case of RTF, Microsoft forced Novell to delay its time-to-market while redeveloping its applications to an inferior standard. Because these standards were lifted directly from Microsoft's own applications, those applications, by definition, were always "compatible" with the standards.

So, let's just imagine for a minute that we are Microsoft. We feel it's too dangerous to do what we used to do, but let's say we have the same appetite for anticompetitive strategies so we can choke off the competition's air supply. Why couldn't we just insist on patent licenses, knowing the GPL forbids it, and then throw in some supposedly open standards to throw regulators off the track? We can then announce that Novell has signed up and things are swimming along, and as long as you use *their* version of everything, not a problem. Add in some proprietary extensions to "standards" so everyone else is always a dollar short and a day late, and there you are. The good olde dayes.

Over time, the tilt against true FOSS and the GPL gets steeper, because sellouts that sign a patent peace with Microsoft get "special" information their competitors can't, and then we, Microsoft, can point out that they are missing business opportunities, and hopefully get them to sign on too, thus killing off the GPL once and for all. Even if they don't sign up, they won't be allowed to work as well as the sellouts, so that should work just as well as the old system.

No? Impossible to imagine?

And then comes the best part. After we have isolated the GPL, we can start to sue all the commercial vendors who refused to pay us for our patents. Yum. World domination. By hook or by crook. Of course we'd have to stack standards bodies. But hey, we're Microsoft. We know how to do that. Then we can vote ODF into obscurity in the name of interoperability. After all, we own the desktop, and so when conflicts arise, why shouldn't we win?

That brings me to the last worry. Microsoft says it will join OASIS and worse, it hopes ODF's maintenance will go to the same folks who did the OOXML deal for them. What might that tell us? It tells me to put on a tin hat and watch out. Here's Jason Matusow, again from BetaNews:

It's like this: If I'm speaking German to you and you're speaking English, and you say to me, "Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat," there is no direct relationship between what you were intending to say in that idiom, and what I in German would hear in the translation of that.

To the extent that there's business competition that OpenOffice and Office and Corel's products and Adobe's products and IBM's products around Symphony or Google Docs or whatever, to the extent that product competition exists, there will always be that challenge of [how applications render formats versus how specifications interpret formats]. I think that will be an ongoing part of the discussion.

The reason that it's so important that we go and join the OASIS ODF Working Group and the PDF Working Group in AIIM and the ongoing work in JTC 1 and the work that's happening in ECMA, etc., is that these issues start to bubble up and become consistent discussions. We really hope to see ODF move to JTC 1 / SC 34 maintenance; and the ongoing work that started in DIN, the German national body, around translation and interoperability, also is progressing. It's currently under letter ballot, we're moving to SC 34 as well. All of these things are critical in having the engineers who are building these products be able to get together in a constructive environment and start to hammer out these issues, because there are inconsistencies.

Those aren't bad things; those are actually representative of the fact that you have innovation in play, and competition in the marketplace. All of those factors contribute to it, but there are definitely engineering tradeoffs that have to be discussed.

After watching the JTC 1 / SC 34 performance in the OOXML saga, would you describe it as a "constructive environment"? Or did it seem like a bendable Microsoft tool? Say, where's that final draft it promised us, incidentally? Doesn't JTC 1 / SC 34 follow the rules?

"Engineering tradeoffs" -- after watching the way OOXML was passed, how the deck was stacked, who do you think Microsoft intends to have to make those engineering tradeoffs? Incidentally, I don't agree with Fulton's analysis that anyone will be able to "make Office's next big format":

Developers will be able to write their own formats, plug them into Office, and then give users the option to make those formats the default for their setups.

So very conceivably, someone independently of Microsoft could build, say, a "better ODF than Microsoft ODF."

Unless they are a commercial GPL developer. Unless Microsoft clarifies to let everyone in without patent fears and without having to take a patent license, this isn't a party just anyone can join, as I see it from the information we have so far.

In short, it seems the proposed "openness" is tilted toward Microsoft's proprietary interests. Surprised? Why should we be? Remember the EU Commission's reaction last February when Microsoft first announced its interoperability changes? Fulton quotes them:

"The European Commission takes note of today's announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products," reads an EC statement at mid-afternoon, Brussels time, following Microsoft's published statement but just prior to the press conference. "This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past. The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability. Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."

It looks like they were right. Do you remember when Alex Brown announced the resolutions passed at the SC34 meeting in Oslo in April, the "Resolutions of SC 34 Plenary Meeting, 2008-04-05/09, Oslo, Norway"? Of course, one of them was that the final draft of OOXML would be available by May 1st. It still isn't. Brown now reports that ITTF got it, but it won't publish it. What are they waiting for? For the deadline for appeals to come and go, so no one can officially file a fact-based appeal? You think? Here's what Brown says:

The description of the Fast Track process in the JTC 1 Directives is generally pretty sketchy, but the closing stages of it are particularly poorly thought-through. Is it really sensible if Ecma’s efforts become, unchecked, the final IS text? Personally, I'd say not, and that an all-important QA stage has been omitted. ITTF are perfectly entitled to make special rulings (as they evidently have done, and not for the first time in this project) on the authority of the Secretaries General of ISO and IEC. It would be more sane, I believe, for them to have invented an FDIS stage for this project and have NBs submit editorial corrections. However I can see that the politics and practicalities of the situation make this difficult – it’s not hard to imagine every fault in the text being screamed about by the anti camp as a reason for halting the entire project.

Ultimately the situation raises questions which go to the heart of the relationship between JTC 1 as an entity, and its member bodies. Just who is in charge, the nations or the officials? The unfortunate state of the Directives have meant there have been too many occasions when officials have had to step in and save the nations from the folly of the Directives that they themselves approved. Like ODF and OOXML the Directives is (literally) a standard, a standard that has faults. Unlike ODF and OOXML, however, I am beginning to believe the Directives have got to a state where they cannot be redeemed by evolution and amendment. It may be time to start again from scratch.

So, a broken process, or one not even followed, results in a broken standard no one can actually use, and a decision that we can't read the format draft, because we'd notice problems with it. Instead, I gather they hope to run out the clock and publish it after it's too late to fix it or protest its acceptance. And as for ITTF's "right" to "make special rulings", I think the entire OOXML Fast Track process was one long bending of every rule in Microsoft's favor, with the result the final draft can't stand the light of day.

But I digress. The resolution I wanted to highlight is this one:

The passage of ISO/IEC 29500 has instituted a new era of standards activity in SC 34 related to document formats. ISO/IEC 29500 does not represent an isolated phenomenon, since SC 34 is also responsible for ISO/IEC 26300 and for interoperability between these and other projects.

SC 34 envisages the creation of three distinct working groups that meet the needs of:

1. ISO/IEC 29500
2. ISO/IEC 26300
3. Work on interoperability/harmonization between document format standards

Please note that they too expressed dreams of maintaining ODF, not just OOXML, and making the two "interoperable". So, now Microsoft says it will join OASIS and "help" ODF and it hopes ODF will go to the same folks who mangled OOXML.

Does that sound helpful?

I wish they were sincere. I'd love to be proven wrong. But I'm afraid, having watched Microsoft shove OOXML through the Fast Track process, despite it not even being usable, that ODF will be harmonized out of meaningful existence. I suspect that is the plan. And so to me, the announcement of "support" for ODF sounds like it could just be the next chess move in Microsoft's strategy to maintain its heavy footprint.

You think that's far-fetched? Then please read what Stephen Walli wrote in 2005, in a piece on how Microsoft ought to react to ODF so as to beat it. Compare it with what Microsoft has just announced and the media reports about it. I think we have a match.

ECIS's Legal Counsel, Thomas Vinje, has just issued a statement, that reads in part:

"These steps are in the right direction, but are not nearly enough to achieve genuine interoperability. Moreover, they are clearly the result of determined anti-trust enforcement by the European competition authorities over the past decade and more. A closer look at their substance suggests that Microsoft is still playing for time to further consolidate its super-dominant position, and that continued anti-trust vigilance will be necessary.

"It is particularly striking that all of Microsoft's latest policy statements on interoperability are still in the future tense, as though these were difficult technical objectives. They are not. For several years now other major vendors have implemented ODF 1.1, and most are about to adopt ODF 1.2 once ISO approves the standard. Viewed in this light, Microsoft's new promise to implement ODF 1.1 "in the first half of 2009" is pretty underwhelming. If Microsoft really wants to promote interoperability, it would join other vendors implementing ODF as its default format.

"And that's not the only problem. Current indications are that Microsoft's disclosures for Office document interoperability so far are inadequate in spite of the interoperability principles announced in February. In short, what we seem to have from Microsoft today are incomplete disclosures coupled with statements of future intention to implement earlier versions of open standards. In other words, more delay.

The ODF Alliance is skeptical as well:

The ODF Alliance today greeted with scepticism Microsoft's announcement of its intention to include support for the OpenDocument Format in the first half of 2009. "The proof will be whether and when Microsoft's promised support for ODF is on par with its support for its own format. Governments will be looking for actual results, not promises in press releases," said Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance.

The EU Commission has also just released a statement:

The European Commission has taken note of Microsoft's announcement on 21st May concerning supporting ODF in Office. The Commission would welcome any step that Microsoft took towards genuine interoperability, more consumer choice and less vendor lock-in. In its ongoing antitrust investigation concerning interoperability with Microsoft Office (see MEMO/08/19), the Commission will investigate whether the announced support of ODF (OpenDocument format) in Office leads to better interoperability and allows consumers to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice.

In other words, the proof will be in the pudding. And I hope the Commission will also zero in on who is allowed in the kitchen.


Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar | 306 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
A large pinch of salt is needed methinks.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 04:49 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections thread
Authored by: ais523 on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:04 AM EDT
In case any are needed. (Last time I made one of these, they weren't; well done

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Yum. World domination."
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:07 AM EDT
From little acorns.....Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • recipes - Authored by: LocoYokel on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 08:24 AM EDT
    • recipes - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 23 2008 @ 12:56 AM EDT
A timely and realistic article
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:20 AM EDT

Yup, Microsoft is not going to give up its monopolistic practices anytime soon. It is just regrouping and modifying its strategy, behind a smokescreen of press releases.

However, I find this article encouraging. A major voice in the Free Software community - Groklaw - is recognising, and saying, that we have a real fight on our hands here. Microsoft is rich, powerful, brilliantly led, and determined to destroy us. Realizing that the danger is real is the first step to surviving it. Microsoft is not going to roll over just because Eric Raymond writes articles saying it is doomed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:25 AM EDT
"Once again, the problem is software patents. Internet News indicates that
commercial Linux/FOSS vendors, and the GPL license that Linux comes with, will
be excluded:"

Excluded from what exactly? Using Microsoft's implementation of ODF in GPL code?
I'll pass, thanks. We've already got a perfectly good one. (And why would we
expect their code to be anything but closed source in the first place?)

I'm not saying Microsoft isn't up to anything fishy here, but I fail to see
where they can introduce software patents into the mix in a way that causes any
harm. If they've patented something in their implementation, then that's their
call. If they've patented something in the spec - well, that's a different
matter, and one completely separate from whether they've got their own

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic here
Authored by: kh on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:32 AM EDT
Try and make clickable links if you can.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PR tells you a lot about consumers
Authored by: Winter on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:34 AM EDT
This is obviously a PR move on the part of MS.

But my general approach to advertisement, marketing, and PR is that they are
brought to us by people who's lives and livelihoods are dedicated to
"please" their audience. And that with BIG money.

So if an add presents some really dumb state of mind, you can be pretty sure
there is an audience that falls for it.

So we can be assured that MS produced these statements because there is an
audience that wants to hear it. And I think they want to hear it BADLY.

Someone, somewhere is powerful enough to force a U-turn on MS. And an important
"market" demands full ODF support, with automatic safe-to-ODF.

Whether this means that MSOOXML is dead is unclear to me. It might very well be
that there are forces acting inside and from the outside on ISO to reject or
disable DIS29500. But maybe OOXML is perfectly "safe".

In another note, somehow, I feel sorry for those who put their status and
credibility on stake to support OOXML. In general, I feel sorry for those who
are seduced to sell their soul to the devil, often with the best of intentions.

(I think of Rick Jelliffe who did real standards work before selling his soul to

Btw, as with all the classical stories, those that sell their souls to MS never
seem to get what they aspired.


Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Multiple implementations will illustrate Microsofts commitment
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:41 AM EDT
Although I agree with the general thrust of the article I think one point is
different to the past.

Where there are multiple implementations of ODF that work well, Googledocs,
Openoffice, Koffice and can share documents with few flaws, then Microsoft will
have to meet that standard if it is to claim that there are problems with ODF.

[ Reply to This | # ]

withholding DIS 29500?
Authored by: kh on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:44 AM EDT
Microsoft withheld the RTF specifications from Novell, however, forcing Novell to engage in a perpetual, costly effort to comply with a critical "industry standard that was, in reality, nothing more than the preference of its chief competitor, Word.
This sounds so much like what is happening now with MSOXML. It has been withheld. Even if some non-MS company wanted to write an application that would read and write MSOXML they couldn't because the specs are being withheld.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:47 AM EDT
"Going forward, Smith said that Microsoft..."

Where was Smith going forward to? I think we should be told.

(OTOH, this looks like "management-speak" designed to lull our
suspicions of MS; it also looks like a classic case of "the hanging
participle" as we used to call it in the UK till schools ceased to teach

[ Reply to This | # ]

How will it render?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:50 AM EDT
I have tried the OOXML - ODF converters in Office 2007. If you stay within the
Microsoft environment the documents render beautifully. But just try opening
them in open source software like OpenOffice. The formatting is fried. So
maybe nominally they have been converted into supposed ODF. But - they're
really not ODF.

So my fear is that Microsoft will use similar tricks as with OOXML where they
CALLED something "open" that really wasn't, and they will CALL these
natively supported files supposed "Open Document Format" files. But
just like with the translator documents the files really won't be usable
anywhere other than in a Microsoft environment. So the lock-in will continue.

I don't care what Microsoft calls things any more. I just want them to live up
to their word for once, honestly.

Instead, this announcement sounds like all they are going to do is take the
poorly written translator software and integrate it in to Office 2007. So you
will be spared the step of installing the converter plug-in. Big whoop-de-do.
Otherwise, nothing will change and saving in Microsoft's version of
"ODF" will still suck.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's reasons for supporting ODF.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 06:37 AM EDT
I believe Microsoft's real reason for supporting ODF, is that they fear the EU
will order that Microsoft provides third parties access to MS Office APIs and
internal storage formats that would allow third party plug-ins to write ODF
filters that can save Microsoft Office documents with as perfect fidelity as
Microsoft can achieve for its OOXML and binary formats. This is what happened in
the case of Windows filesharing,and so it is a precedent for MS Office formats.

Microsoft's response will I predict be to produce its own limited fidelity
format native ODF filter, and argue that they are entitled to exclude third
parties from the API and access to internal data representations on the grounds
that there is already a built-in ODF filter for MS Office.

In fact, actually implementing OOXML in MS Office might actually be a much
greater risk to Microsoft than ODF, because the EU is likely to require access
is provided to all third parties to all information necessary to implement OOXML
to the same degree of fidelity as Microsoft can. If that happens, then
Microsoft's monopoly of the office suite market goes down the drain, since every
vendor can produce fully compatible and interoperable OOXML files.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A possible 6 step strategy to profit.
Authored by: rfrazier on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 06:41 AM EDT
1. State that you are going to support ODF, and get the bennies from that.
2. Implement it in a broken way.
3. Pretend to try to fix it, but say that it is hopeless.
4. By this time, some implementation of OOXML is ready.
5. Say that you've tried to work with ODF, but it isn't up to speed. So, you've
decided to put all future effort in OOXML.
6. Profit.

The time spent messing up ODF, while getting the publicity benefit of trying to
implement it, is exactly the time needed to get OOXML is some sort of
semi-usable shape. Or, at least, more usable than the broken ODF

Best wishes,

[ Reply to This | # ]

"popular features"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 06:49 AM EDT
"SmartArt, conditional formatting, things like that -- that we have in
Office and that are popular features"

Say what? I've never heard of conditional formatting. Or SmartArt.

And the stated use for conditional formatting, that was for that one users needs
ONLY. So why does it need to be saved in a conditional format feature and saved
in the document? This putative user wanted to see for themselves trends and the
like. Well, maybe the original author doesn't give a monkeys.

Sheesh, talk about reaching for a reason...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Looks like another SCO bankruptcy plan
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 07:03 AM EDT

You know there's always a catch with Microsoft.

Microsoft wants to destroy OASIS the same way it destroyed
ISO. Stack the membership.

Microsoft wants to prevent OASIS from creating an independent
fork of ODF from the one Microsoft wants to sneak past us. Yes,
the RTF lessons are being revisited.

As far as I'm concerned, all this changes nothing. It looks just
like another SCO bankruptcy plan.

Never trust Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 07:03 AM EDT
I don't feel that this announcement particularly requires extra vigilance over
people simply doing the job they are supposed to do. I understand that Microsoft
have been members of OASIS in the past and could have affected the development
of ODF to include useful functionality had they wished. This was put forth by
many parties as a more desirable action than the whole OOXML process.

Microsoft were looking at losing the ability to bid for government supply
contracts worldwide. They expended significant effort on the attempt to have
OOXML save these customers for them, going so far as to break ISO, an attempt
that they appear to feel was unsuccessful. Hence this vapourware announcement to
encourage customers to hold out the hope that Office 2007 can still solve all
their problems for them rather than move to a different solution.

So if Microsoft participate in the ODF development process, then great! They are
one of many participants, and have no implementation of their own. Why would
they be able to realistically justify having "most knowledgeable
people" or have any idea on "liaison points"? They have form for
breaking committee processes, and it's a stated aim of (re-)joining OASIS. But
if OASIS allows itself to be broken in this way, it will be a failure on OASIS'
and its participants' parts, not an inevitability of Microsoft participating.

OASIS does not have to accept RAND terms for technologies in a standard. There
are many options. If Microsoft claims to have patented something, then that is
no reason to include it. Quite the opposite. And this is no different if
Microsoft are not involved in ODF development.

If Microsoft's announcement of support for ODF in their Office product comes
about, then all office suites will support ODF and ODF will continue to be the
format of choice for editable document exchange for open participation
worldwide. If not, then ODF will continue to be the format of choice for
editable document exchange for open participation worldwide without Microsoft
being involved, simply due to the nature of ODF. If they implement ODF, but
their implementation is not up to scratch, then too bad, they don't get to

The only steps that are necessary are vigilance by OASIS to avoid vendor capture
and vigilance by governments and the people they represent for openness in
document interchange. The former is already necessary by any responsible
organisation, whether the vendor might be Microsoft, Sun, IBM, or whoever. The
latter already exists, and is the motivation for this whole saga over the last
few years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Paint the zealots as uncooperative
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 07:15 AM EDT

This has nothing to do with technology. It's entirely politics.

This is just continuing the old strategy of painting FOSS as
extremists. Microsoft will just tell Congress (and every other
parliament in the world), if OASIS refuses to let them in, or
immediate jubilation isn't forthcoming: "You see, we offer
compromise after compromise, peace plan after peace plan,
and look at the results. Just one slap in the face after another.
They're just like Al Qaeda."

There may a lot more mischief like this between now and
next Jan. 20. Stay on your guard.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Re Brown: "I gather they hope to run out the clock and publish it after it's too late" = Prison?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 07:44 AM EDT
Re Brown: "I gather they hope to run out the clock and publish it after
it's too late".....

That would be dishonest to the point where someone might say hey could he go to
jail or prison for this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 08:06 AM EDT
My take: Microsoft is just trying to gain some more time (end of 2009), selling
vaporware-ODF-support in order to avoid large public institutions considering
massive migrations to Free Software (which includes motivated by
them trying to escape the document format lock-in.
They need to stop Free Software adoption reaching critical mass and at the same
time they need a mechanism to taxate Open Source and at the same time destroying
the Freedom-Empowering GPL/GPLv3 liceces, de-facto illegalising Free
Re-distribution (through imposing software patentability to countries outside
the US -the UE is a software-patents safe area for the time being although under
heavy lobbying assaults- with the aid of International Trade Treaties)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The patent problem isn't worse now than a month ago
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 08:28 AM EDT
Microsoft have never granted patent protection for ODF or GPL, and the Microsoft
implementation of ODF doesn't expose more the FOSS world to patent attack.

Microsoft should be forced to implement correctly and promptly the ODF standard,
should be prevented to subvert the ODF OASIS and ISO committee and should grant
a free patent license to all ODF implementer.

By now, however, Microsoft implementation won't cause *more* risks of patents

Stefano Spinucci

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft EMBRACING ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: DannyB on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 09:21 AM EDT
A better title might be Microsoft EMBRACING ODF?

It's the first step of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some information may be lost
Authored by: slarti on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 09:24 AM EDT
The way we're approaching that, I can share a little bit with you: We're not throttling the UI, as you describe, where certain things are disabled. Rather, at the time you save, we're telling you, "Hey, you're saving in this other format; some information in this document may be lost."

This is presented in the quote above as a new decision, but has always been the way MS did it if you tried to save in anything other than the latest format (e.g. RTF, older versions, etc.). The way it's presented, it's entirely reasonable: "we do our best to save in this format, but if we've got 'invotations' it doesn't support we give you, the user, the choice." The devil, as always with MS, is in the detail:

First of all, as others have noted, will the things which are lost be things which you actually can't save in ODF, or just things MS didn't want to/was too lazy to/etc.

Secondly, based on their track record, this message will appear every time you save a document in ODF. If you save a largely unformatted "Hello World" document in ODF you'll get warned that some of the formatting might be lost! If the only problem is a few "inovative" features MS has introduced - and they actually wanted to really provide the user with a meaningful choice - then they would only provide the warning message when you'd actually used some feature which would be lost.

What's more likely of course is that "ODF" files saved from MS Office will look somewhat mangled when opened with OpenOffice/Koffice/Google Docs/etc. And even if it's a basic document which doesn't lose any formatting in the conversion, you'll still get a warning that it does before saving it. This will help to lead to an impression in the users mind, should they decide to experiment with ODF, (especially users at a managerial rather than technical level) that ODF is somehow inferior.

The interesting thing will be how much and how quickly the "extend" phase kicks in. By this I mean that if you save a document in ODF from MS Office will it look as mangled if opened later in MS Office as it does if opened in, say, OpenOffice? Assuming (as I am) that MS is trying to kill off the competition through exploiting it's current dominance, they have two options here: One is to add extensions to it's "ODF" files so that they still look OK in MS Office, but lose formatting if opened in anything else. This means they aren't really saving in ODF, of course, but most people will accept what the "Save As" box tells them is the format they're saving in. This will allow MS to say to Governments, etc. who are insisting on ODF that they should still use MS Office because it's ODF is better than anyone elses - see for yourself, this ODF file looks fine in Office but crap in OOo, etc. Then, of course, they push to get these (patent encumbered) extensions included in the next ODF spec. Possibly even doing so much more slowly and subtly than OOXML, maybe even waiting until some Governments are using MS Office with ODF so they can say the features are required by XYZ important players. In the meantime they pitch MS Office as "ready" for the next version of ODF.

The other option is to make the (MS created) ODF files look just as bad in MS Office as in everything else and then try to use it to claim ODF isn't up to the job as a format. Personally, I think the deciding factor will be how difficult they find it to implement OOXML themselves and the reception it gets. If OOXML starts getting some traction, maybe option two to kill off ODF altogether. Otherwise, option one.

Either way, I trust them about as far as I can throw the entire OOXML spec (oh wait, I can't even get it, it's a secret "standard"). I really hope I'm pleasently surprised when the SP comes out, but I somehow doubt it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: TemporalBeing on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 09:42 AM EDT
For the most part I agree, however, to be fair...
The way we're approaching that, I can share a little bit with you: We're not throttling the UI, as you describe, where certain things are disabled. Rather, at the time you save, we're telling you, "Hey, you're saving in this other format; some information in this document may be lost." That sort of thing. And let me tell you why we made the decision to do it in that particular way: There are situations where some of that functionality may be very useful to the user, even though it can't be serialized out to the format that they're saving in.
How does that sound to you?
Sounds exactly how OpenOffice, KOffice, and other software works when saving from ODF/etc to DOC.
Say, where's that final draft it promised us, incidentally? Doesn't JTC 1 / SC 34 follow the rules?
Ask the ITTF.

I certainly home ODF is able to stay with OASIS, or perhaps OASIS takes OOXML from SC34/EMCA/etc and sidebars that would be interesting.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Isn't Fast Track for already implemented standards?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 09:59 AM EDT
Two things don't match up... Ok, a LOT more than two things, but I haven't seen
these two things discussed.

1) I thought Fast Track approval was for standards candidates that are already
implemented. However Microsoft is now saying even it won't get around to
implementing the ISO approved OOXML until Office 14. So do we really need to
wait until 2014 before we might see a first implementation of this Fast Track
approved standard?

2) I also thought the ECMA approved OOXML standard stated its purpose as (I'm
paraphrasing) faithfully reproducing the xml file format use in Microsoft Office
product. Now that Microsoft has admitted that ISO approved OOXML is not
implemented in Office, doesn't this, by itself, suggest the standard is

I bring these up as I think they are grounds for NBs to appeal ISO approval of
OOXML, even without a final version of the standard available (by May 1, 2008 as
per the closely followed rule of the organization). These are fact-based
reasons for appeal even without a final document to reference as fact.

[ Reply to This | # ]

odf and patent question
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:08 AM EDT
The ODF format is free from patent issues, so how could it become patent
encumbered if (please note the IF) MS Office can produce an ODF document? As any
ODF document, I should happily be able to read it in my OpenOffice. No? Please
explain, because I'm missing something here.

On a related topic, other plugins like SUN's ODF converter will be extra
important to have if/once MS implements their own. I wouldn't be surprised if
SUN's plugin will be better than MS's 'native' implementation ...and EU will

/Happy Ubuntu User

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vaporous Vaporware Attacks
Authored by: mattflaschen on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:09 AM EDT
Yes, Microsoft has been guilty of much vaporware. WinFS comes to mind immediately, among others. But at the same time, immediately attacking a planned improvement with a fixed deadline (Office 2007 Service Pack 2) is wrong. If Office 2007 Service Pack 2 comes (or it's clear there will be no such service pack) with no ODF, then is the time to criticize. Now is the time to accept this as what it is, a step in the right direction.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: KayZee on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:16 AM EDT
Until there is real code _and_ its been vetted by someone like Software Freedom
Law Center, this is just a jedi mind trick by the dark side. Part of
Microsoft's strategy to advance only their products and exclude everthing else
while getting everything to think they are being open.

Thank you for a timely article cutting through the haze that seems to confuse
other media outlets.

[ Reply to This | # ]

But, in the real world....
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:18 AM EDT

Take a look at some of the comments (much of it misinformation) in this thread on BoardGameGeek: hread/314405

In particular, the issue was that community created works were being rejected if they were submitted in ODF.

Although still treated as second-class citizens as a result of Microsoft's announcement ODF will now be accepted if it is zipped with an accompanying PDF.

So, although I too see Microsoft's announcement in a skeptical light, perhaps the announcement will have the effect of making the real world a little more tolerant of those of us trying to use ODF.

--- nyarlathotep

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:40 AM EDT
So, if you save in ODF, MS complains that some features will be lost? That's
okay, OpenOffice does the same thing. However, if they do ANYTHING in ODF that
is not compliant, MS Office should be disqualified as an ISO compliant product.

And the part I love is that even Microsoft can't implement their forced ISO
standard! [/not-surprised]

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Threads
Authored by: artp on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 10:45 AM EDT
Better late than never ?

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

History lesson
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 11:07 AM EDT
Vaporware was coined not for Microsoft, but for IBM, back in the old mainframe
days back when Bill Gates was shelving books in his school library (or was it
even earlier? In any event, he was much shorter than he is now.)

That was then, this is now. IBM learned many lessons from its extensive
anti-trust experience, and is apparently now reformed. Microsoft, on the other
hand, apparently only learned how to better abuse the system.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not all features saved - Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 11:43 AM EDT
Hardly surprising. When I save an .ods spreadsheet as .xls for Office or an
.odt document as a .doc I get the same type of errror message. The only way to
make sure that your documents remain un-corrupted is to always use the .odt and
.ods file structure. The big problem you have is not knowing when you write
something with MS Office is what MS "extensions" might be invoked when
you start making changes in MS Office.

Perhaps everyone should agree on a "compatibilty" option so you can
say, I'm opening this as an .odt document. Don't do anything to the document
that won't export properly to a .odt document. Likewise I'm opening this as an
.xls document, don't do anything that would not export properly to a .xls

That ought to give everyone busywork for the next fifty years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here's something...
Authored by: JamesK on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 12:23 PM EDT
EU lukewarm to Microsoft pledge

If it's green and in my fridge, it's been there too long.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: kawabago on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 12:50 PM EDT
If Microsoft asserts it's patents against FOSS we would have no choice but to
challenge the validity of software patents. Microsoft has no guarantee that the
Supreme Court would side with it on software patents. Without it's patents,
Microsoft would have only copyrights to buggy code that people no longer want. I
don't think MS will risk losing patents until it's lost everything else and has
nothing more to lose. A patent war will be Microsoft's last dying gasp.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Commercial versus non-commercial loophole
Authored by: bbaston on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 12:56 PM EDT
ODF "support" - as many Groklawyers have pointed out for years - has been inevitable. But notice that Microsoft's "support" has a carefully constructed and unacceptable wrapper.

Microsoft has carefully crafted their commercial exclusion to patent protection to thwart GPL'd software - thereby thwarting their self-admitted "chief competitor". Microsoft noticed that so far the EU and other threating entities have not addressed that legal subtlety - so now they are opening the throttle and beginning the "embrace and extend" of ODF.

Once extended to include areas of existing Microsoft patents, Microsoft will attack the GPL's extensions to any of their products, thereby enforcing "broken" quality in any customer daring to try "Microsoft-crafted inferior" ODF.

The patent battle is inevitable - and Microsoft's course is clear. Only the EU might slow this blatant attack down by attempting to close the commercial use loophole. But what a battle will still result!

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Aye But ... - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 02:30 PM EDT
GPL developers CAN get a patent license
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 01:38 PM EDT
It is possible for someone producing a GPL product to get a patent license from
the patent holder, but the license grant would have to allow any GPL software to
use said patent, and the rate would likely be expensive if the patent holder
would grant it. Essentially, the license would have to cover unlimited
redistribution of the GPL code and any derivative of that code. Since one
derivative would be to delete everything in the source and put something
completely different, the license could not effectively be for one project.

I'm mildly surprised that Microsoft would not grant that type of license, as it
would not help a proprietary competitor that did not want to release source, as
they would not be able to use that license. It would also prevent someone like
MySQL from using the license grant, since they have dual-licensed source, and a
GPL grant would not apply to their commercial license. This would give Microsoft
the ability to sell a license to companies with dual-licensing, while making
friends with the Open Source community. It all depends on whom Microsoft is the
most afraid.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Stevieboy on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 01:53 PM EDT
It is unfortunate that even when the world's largest company does something that
at first glance appears beneficial to the wider community, when you dig down
deep it is always, but always, the reverse.

To use a local (Northern ireland) expression about Microsoft:

"You couldn't like them if they were chucking tenners at you."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 03:51 PM EDT
Was the word 'vaporware' not coined for Microsoft?

Well, no. That word has been around longer than Microsoft has.

However, Microsoft, with their ongoing policy of "Embrace and Extend" has now made it uniqely their own.

John Macdonald

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: PolR on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 04:46 PM EDT
They will support ODF in in Office 2007 they say.

How about related products? Like Visual Studio Tools for Office? Or Microsoft

Until Microsoft supports ODF across their entire product line, if organizations
buy Microsoft Office on the expectation they can use ODF with a full Microsoft
stack of software, they are just buying a Trojan for OOXML.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Methinks Microsoft is being too clever by half
Authored by: TtfnJohn on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 04:54 PM EDT
While I agree with everything PJ wrote and the dangers of Microsoft getting too
close to things something does niggle at me.

I blogged on my site that I felt that OOXML was, for all practical purposes a
Pyhrric victory for Microsoft. It appears it was exactly that.

They won the battle but when they don't have the software to implement the
standard they twisted, bent, broke every rule in the book to get there's a big

It's even bigger when you consider that some of the biggest push for an open
document standard came from governments, international organizations and such
who also will be, in the end, the biggest consumers of such things.

OOXML is stuck in ITTF and even when it emerges it won't be in MS Office till
whenever Office 14 appears whenever that will be.

I ask that we consider this. OASIS isn't ISO. It isn't, thank God, Ecma.
(Ecma, we sell real gud standuds for ya!)

OASIS members such as IBM, Sun, Corel, Dell and so on are very used to dealing
with Microsoft and I daresay there's no lost love there. Also in OASIS are
various government agenices whose core interest is that ODF not get bogged down
with patents or a single vendor running off with proprietary extentions to the

Meanwhile Microsoft, having screamed to high heaven, with Rick Jetliffe doing
the screaming the loudest, about how horrible ODF is, is having to eat a fairly
major meal of half cooked crow on this one by supporting ODF in Office natively.

Having proclaimed how standards compliant they'll be should the world adopt
OOXML it turns out they can't even implement their broken "standard"

Imagine the pain of looking at the dollars running away to applications that
can, actually, support an ISO document standard that exists now. Be it
OpenOffice, KOffice or WordPerfect. (Yes, Virgina, there is a proprietary
Office package that supports ODF.)

Now imagine yourself as one of the national bodies who sold their souls to vote
yes on OOXML or, say, being the president of France who did the same; only to
find out there's no actual implementation of this thing anywhere, least of all
from Microsoft. I'd be feeling very used and very dirty right about now.

OASIS members are very aware of Microsoft's tricks and how dirty they can be. I
doubt many of them, like the ones I mentioned above, including RedHat are likely
to allow MS to play the same silly game with ODF in OASIS. Or that they'd agree
to pass control of the standard on to the same JCT1 group that has to wrestle
with the mess called OOXML.

Let's also recall than in making a fetish of open document formats as they
shoved OOXML on a compliant world, Microsoft now finds themselves hoisted on
their own petard, here.

What I'm saying here is that the game is not about technical standards here it
was and is hard ball politics. National bodies who are members of ISO may not
have been prepared for this but I'm very sure the membership of OASIS is and
there are old hands at that as members there.

Having set the rules of the game Microsoft isn't taking on defenseless or
clueless national bodies here if they want to game ODF, they're up against the
likes of Sun, IBM, Dell, RedHat, Avaya, The Treasury Board of Canada, The US
Airforce, CA., Google, The US Defense Department (a big FLOSS user), HP, Nokia,
RIM, Cisco, Boeing, University of California, Berkley etc all of whom live and
breathe politics and some of whom have a score or two to settle with Microsoft.

There is reason to be concerned about this. I'd suggest that this time around
there are too many eyes watching far too closely and suspiciously for MS to game
much of anything.

ISO/IEC has lost so much credibility over OOXML that, as Alex Brown has finally
joined in the chorus, until it completely overhauls the directives that allowed
this mess in the first place I can't see anyone other than Microsoft wanting to
merge ODF and OOXML at JCT1 for the foreseeable future.

MS painted itself into this corner and this is a PR move to try to get out of
the corner. But it's the one who turned open document formats into a corporate
fetish so now it gets to eat it's own lunch, tasteless as it is.

There aren't shadows left for them to play games in. They wanted the limelight,
now they got it.

OASIS members, in the meantime, get to practise the advice of keep your friends
close but your enemies closer. In this case the enemy is the emperor who has no
clothes who just walked in the door still believing they run the show.

This is all suddenly very interesting. :)

I'm also waiting for the day when a FLOSS developer writes a GPL program that
uses the published API, gets sued by Microsoft and me. Just what do
you think they have to show? As much as SCO managed to show? Less?

It's very very uncomfortable to be hoisted on your own petard. The damned
things are very sharp.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 05:05 PM EDT
Your reaction to the fourth citation is a beautiful example of FUD.

What mr. Mahugh says there is basically that they are aware of the fact, that
ODF can't save everything OOXML can and that they will warn users about it.

Does't OOo do the same? Of course it does. It says something similar when saving
a document to DOC instead of ODT. Moreover, it says such things even though
there is almost nothing ODF could save and DOC couldn't -- which is not the case
with OOXML and ODF.

And you just mock his words and talk about reassurance... Truly primitive.

[ Reply to This | # ]

You get what you wish for.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 06:01 PM EDT
Microsoft will support this standard and there is no earthly reason why it will
be to their disadvantage. The standard is not well defined so they can add
incompatible features while still being in compliance.

Take the example of images mentioned in the article - the standard says,
"While the image data may have an arbitrary format, it is recommended that
vector graphics are stored in the [SVG] format and bitmap graphics in the [PNG]
format". Note that while PNG or SVG are recommended formats they are not
mandated, the standard permits images can have an arbitary format and that can
be proprietary but still be ODF compliant.

This standard is written to be flexible which is a bad thing in standards and
Microsoft now have the chance to exploit that to the hilt while being fully ODF
compliant. Of course their version will never work with anyone else but this is
about ticking a box, "yes we are ODF compliance", and has nothing to
do with interoperability. After the cries for Microsoft to support ODF they are
obliging and it may well turn out to be an unhappy experience for the ODF world.

[ Reply to This | # ]

is the covenent not to sue a Cartel ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 22 2008 @ 07:37 PM EDT
cartel n. 1) an arrangement among supposedly independent corporations or
national monopolies in the same industrial or resource development field
organized to control distribution, to set prices, to reduce competition, and
sometimes to share technical expertise. Often the participants are
multi-national corporations which operate across numerous borders and have
little or no loyalty to any home country, and great loyalty to profits. The most
prominent cartel is OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), which
represents all of the oil producing countries in the Middle East, North Africa
and Venezuela. Many cartels operate behind a veil of secrecy, particularly since
under American anti-trust laws (the Sherman and Clayton Acts) they are illegal.
2) criminal syndicates like the international drug cartel headquartered in
Colombia. (See: antitrust laws)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 23 2008 @ 09:33 AM EDT

``... we feel we can get involved in the standards organizations, and bring our experience to the table and talk with others about it, but we don't directly control that.
Uh, guys... You were already involved in the standards organizations. I haven't heard anyone -- yet, at least -- tell us that you spoke up and were ignored. So unless we hear otherwise, I can only assume that you, apparently, chose to sit on your hands and while you might have brought your experience to the table, you did not talk to anyone about it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 23 2008 @ 09:52 AM EDT
Although I hate to be redundant, I am sure that this is
nothing more than part M$'s plan to kill the real ODF.
It smells of their usual Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (EEE)
mode of operation when deciding to deal with anything that isn't owned or
controlled by M$.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Conspiracy theory.....
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 02:50 AM EDT
Here is a theory for you...

Someone / persons in Massachusetts government chose ODF for one reason - to
blackmail Micro$oft. Certain govt employees said to M$ that they wanted some
personal compensation, otherwise they would force everyone to use ODF.

Microsoft eventually paid the bribe. OOXML was chosen, and Quinn was forced out
as part of the agreement. Of course, it couldn't go through Microsoft's books,
so one of the rich execs paid it out of their personal account. Lets take a wild
guess and say the amount was $10million.

The story of the bribe was passed on to New York govt officials. They are aware
that Microsoft will pay a bribe if you twist their arm. NY govt employees write
a report that will eventually lead to ODF being recommended.

Microsoft see the writing on the wall. If they pay a bribe of $10m per state
that adds up to $500 million, which is significant even for M$ (especially as
they can't claim it on their tax return!). Of course don't forget there is the
rest of the world....

Consequently Microsoft realize that it is too expensive to stop ODF. They give
in and decide to support the format.

I do not have a single shred of evidence to support this! However, Americans
would not like to admit it, but their governments are corrupt, and only care
about their "campaign funding". So who knows....

[ Reply to This | # ]

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