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Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated
Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 02:54 AM EDT

Alex Brown, the convenor of the OOXML BRM, has been editing Wikipedia's article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate. It puzzles me why Wikipedia allows it, frankly.

If you read the talk page on ODF, you'll see that there are others there trying mightily to spin the article on ODF more negatively than is factual. And such rudeness! Plenty of smears against Groklaw too, I couldn't help but notice. It does seem to me that there is a marked increase in what I view as a concerted submarine marketing effort. Some of it is subtle. Most of it is not. A fair measure of it is mean-spirited. Some of it is lies, pure and simple.

In the good old days, dead people supported Microsoft, if you remember that funny headline about a pro-Microsoft astroturfing campaign, but at least it wasn't a smear campaign, just pro-Microsoft. Nowadays, I think I would have to rewrite the headline to read, "Mean People Support Microsoft." Or worse. You see, Groklaw has been visited recently by several OOXML types, including Alex Brown, Doug Mahugh of Microsoft, and Rick Jelliffe, all singing pretty much the same songs, posting on our ODF articles, so I got to watch it close up. I puzzled over it, because they seemed so deliberately rude. Why come here just to be offensive? So I'd remind them that we have a comments policy here, including no ad hominem attacks on anyone. And they would continue on. It was so odd. The last one went away when I told him that if he wished to make a permanent record of how horribly Microsoft supporters conduct themselves, he could post to his heart's content.

It turns out it's not just here, and there is evidently a point to it. Wikipedia is apparently the epicenter. And what is being posted there is reportedly being used in an anti-ODF FUD campaign by guess who.

I want to reproduce an article called "ODF Lies and Whispers", Rob Weir just posted on his blog, so you can read all the details and so I can help shine some light on what's going on. But mainly I want to show it to you so you will know what the specific FUD is that is being spread, and you will be equipped with the facts.

Why can't Microsoft compete fairly on the merits? No. Really. Just once?

Here's Weir's conclusion:

You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to "improve" the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.
Wikipedia needs to act, and I hope they will. And I hope the EU Commission is watching.

Update: And now for the cherry on top of the scheme, here's some news from The Register on how Bing is using Wikipedia:

With its new Bing decision engine search engine, Redmond is reproducing Wikipedia entries in their entirety, pulling content from "the free encyclopedia anyone can edit" and tossing it onto Bing pages labeled with a "Reference" tag.

Microsoft is expected to point this out in a blog post sometime today or tomorrow. "There now is a Wikipedia 'Reference' vertical that can be accessed through Bing. Certain queries like 'squirrel monkey' for example will trigger a reference answer in the Table of Contents. Click 'Reference' in the left hand rail and you will be transported to best Wikipedia page for that query," reads a draft of the post.

But you're not actually transported to a Wikipedia page. You're transported to a reproduction of a Wikipedia page on Microsoft's own site, where it's labeled as "Reference" material.

Now we have a closed loop. Microsoft-friendly folks rewrite Wikipedia articles, which Microsoft then picks up and serves to the world as truth. Will they correct the articles, when FUD is removed or just continue to serve up their own versions of truth? It might be fun to track that going forward. Not even Stalin himself could do a better job of revisionism, I'm thinking, since he lacked such clever tools. - End Update.]

[Update 2: For any who may be new, this May 18, 2009 article by Elizabeth Montalbano tells us that not only does no one support the OOXML "standard" yet, including Microsoft, but Microsoft has no plans to do so for a while: "An update this year adds support for ECMA-376, an earlier version of OOXML standard, to Office 2007, but Microsoft won't support the ISO29500 specification until it releases its forthcoming Office 2010 technology."]

Read on for all the smarmy specifics:


ODF Lies and Whispers

There is an interesting disinformation campaign being waged against ODF. You won't see this FUD splattered across the front pages of blogs or press releases. It is the kind of stuff that is spread by email and whispers, and you or I rarely will see it. But occasionally some of this does cross my desk, and I'd like to share with you some recent examples.

First up is this case, from a small Baltic republic, where a rather large US-based software company was recently arguing for the adoption of OOXML instead of ODF. Here are some of the points made by this large company in their letter:

There is no software that currently implements ODF as approved by the ISO

(They then link to Alex Brown's comment from Wikipedia). I think this demonstrates the triangle-trade relationship among Microsoft, Alex Brown (and others) and Wikipedia, by which Microsoft FUD is laundered via intermediaries to Wikipedia for publication. No wonder one of Microsoft's first actions during their OOXML push was to seize control of the Wikipedia articles on ODF and OOXML via paid consultants. In any case, Alex's claims were rebutted long ago.

ODF has a number (more than a hundred) of technical flaws which haven't been addressed for 3 years despite change requests addressed to OASIS by countries such as Japan and United Kingdom. There are discussions between OASIS and ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 34 regarding true ownership of ISO ODF, which is a reason why the flaws in ISO ODF aren't being addressed. In a recent SC 34 meeting in Prague a new ISO ODF maintenance committee has been formed because ISO / IEC 26300: 2006 is not being presently maintained.

This is not true. First, the ODF TC has received zero defect reports from any ISO/IEC NB other than Japan. Second, we responded to the Japanese defect report last November. Amazingly, Alex Brown is implicated in this FUD one as well. It was false then and it is false now. At the time Alex was quoted in the press as saying the the ODF TC was not acting on defect reports (October 8th, 2008), we had in fact already sent our response to the defect report out to public review (August 7th, 2008) after quite a bit of active technical discussion with the submitter of the original defect report (Murata-san). How Alex translated that into "Their defect reports are being shelved" and "Oasis has not been acting on reports of defects" is beyond me. It must be particularly embarrassing that the submitter of the defect report wrote to the OASIS list, within days of Alex's FUD, "I am happy with the way that the errata has been prepared." Also observe the triangle-trade route of FUD in this case from Alex to Doug Mahugh to Wikipedia, this time to the OASIS article.

IBM currently recommends not using OASIS ODF 1.1 and to instead use OASIS ODF 1.2 which is currently not complete and will not be complete and ISO certified before 2010/2011. OASIS on the other hand have started work on ODF 2.0 which will not be backwards compatible.

This is an odd one, demonstrably false. IBM Lotus Symphony supports ODF 1.1. We have no ODF 1.2 support at present. I wonder where they came up with this one? It is totally bizarre. And although we have started to gather requirements for "ODF-Next", the contents of that version, and to what degree it will be backwards compatible, has not even been discussed by the TC. So this is pure FUD, making ODF sound risky to adopt, and then lying about IBM's support for it, and our position on ODF 1.2.

The list goes on, including claims that no one supports ODF 1.0 or ODF 1.1, etc., but you get the gist of it. The particulars are interesting, of course, but more so the reckless disregard for the truth and the triangle-trade relationship between bloggers, Wikipedia, and Microsoft's whisper campaign.

Another current example is part of Microsoft's attempt to duck and cover from criticism over their interoperability-busting ODF support in Office 2007 SP2. I've heard variations on the following from three different people in three different countries, including from government officials. So it is getting around. It goes something like this:

We (Microsoft) wanted to be more interoperable with ODF. In fact we submitted 15 proposals to the ODF TC to improve interoperability, but IBM and Sun voted them down.

Nice story, but not true. Certainly Microsoft made 15 proposals. But they were never voted on by the TC, because Microsoft chose not to advance them for a vote. It was their choice alone and their decision alone not to put these items up for a vote. I would have been fine with whatever decision Microsoft wanted to make in this situation. I'm not criticizing their decision. I'm just saying we need to be clear that the outcome was entirely due to their decision, and not to blame IBM or Sun for Microsoft's choice in this matter.

I think I can trace this FUD back to a May 13th blog post from Doug Mahugh where he wrote:

We then continued submitting proposed solutions to specific interoperability issues, and by the time proposals for ODF 1.2 were cut off in December, we had submitted 15 proposals for consideration. The TC voted on what to include in version 1.2, and none of the proposals we had submitted made it into ODF 1.2.

This certainly is an interesting statement. There is nothing I can point to that is false here. Everything here is 100% accurate. However, it seems to be reckless in how it neglects the most relevant facts, namely that the proposals did not make it into ODF 1.2 at Microsoft's sole election. It is as if Lee Harvey Oswald had written a note: "Went to Dallas and saw a parade today. Nothing interesting to read at the book repository. Heard later on the radio that the President was shot". This would have been 100% accurate as well, but not the "whole truth". In any case, the rundown of the facts in this question are on the TC's mailing list.

So what is one to do? You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to "improve" the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.


Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated | 289 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Alex Brown and Jelliffe are hyperactive in ODF mailing lists as well.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 03:51 AM EDT
Alex Brown and Rick Jelliffe are also by far the most prolific posters in the
feedback for OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument)
TC mailing list They seem to be trying to
flood out comments by others on the mailing lists.

The sheer volume of posts these two put out would indicate that they aren't
authoring these posts themselves, but rather there must be a large FUD team
operating (presumably run by Microsoft) that produces the comments which are
then channeled through the two.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Strikes you as odd?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:03 AM EDT
"Alex Brown, the convenor of the OOXML BRM, has been editing Wikipedia's article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate."

It strikes me that it is only the same thing as you do with Wikipedia's Groklaw article, except that you do it by proxy. eg. Link

I do agree with you that some things are inappropriate.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign
Authored by: N_au on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:07 AM EDT
It really shows how desperate a company is when they have to get the FUD written
so they can refer to it as tho it were fact. Its just like "get the
facts" which was show up as paid for information. How many times have we
seen information come from Microsoft that states the truth but they leave out
the relevant parts that make it the complete opposite of what they say. Rob Weir
gives an example of Microsoft have 15 proposals for ODF 1.2 and Microsoft says
none of them made it into ODF 1.2. All was true but they failed to say they
withdrew so it wouldn't hold 1.2 up. So what they say may be true but one still
can't believe what they. I can't anyway and I think more and more people
worldwide are starting to see thru them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:23 AM EDT
This is for typos and the likes.

If you don't like the content either start a polite and factual thread or go
trolling elsewhere.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:26 AM EDT
This is for anything you wish to discuss that catch your fancy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:27 AM EDT
Name the news pick in the comment title so we know which one you are discussing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Small recommendation
Authored by: Peter Baker on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:56 AM EDT
Could I recommend that you highlight the critical parts of any response? That guides the eye towards the important parts, which helps people that need to absorb information fast.


"This is not true. First, the ODF TC has received zero defect reports from any ISO/IEC NB other than Japan. Second, we responded to the Japanese defect report last November. Amazingly, Alex Brown is implicated in this FUD one as well."

It also focuses on the important point, one of the issues I found with responses is that they are too technical, too detailed. I respect that you want to add all the facts, but most decision makers need a summary and will only ever delve into the detail when they find things don't match up. If you start with the summary instead of a large blob of text that obviously needs a lot of time to read and process, most won't bother.

To be more precise, consider a format

Evidence was found of a whisper campaign. Here we separate fiction from fact and return to reality

Statement 1: bla
Reality: bla
Statement 2 (etc)

Detailed discussion
Statement 1: bla
Facts & discussion: bla bla.

Following this format also pushes the important info up into page summaries shown by search engines.

Just my two cents. My apologies for not currently having the bandwidth to contribute more :-(

[ Reply to This | # ]

Emails from Alex to ODF TC just 6 seconds apart
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:12 AM EDT

I've found that there are a couple of emails in the archive that are just 6 seconds apart.

I've tried typing them and there is NO way that is possible, unless they are batched, but then the times would be the same.

Could it be true that others are emailing on his behalf.

Look at this page

These two :

# behaviour (ODF all versions) From "Alex Brown" on 6 Mar 2009 06:34:11 -0000
# behaviour (ODF all versions) From "Alex Brown" on 6 Mar 2009 06:34:05 -0000

[ Reply to This | # ]

I know what you're thinking!
Authored by: Ian Al on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:12 AM EDT
Doug Mahugh is a Microsoftie and is paid for this sort of <apposite
adjective-noun description>.

However, I suspect that Alex Brown and Rick Jelliffe don't get well paid,
directly or indirectly for this.

There are some clever people who just like to be <apposite adjective-noun
description>s and revel in the associated notoriety. I tend to put these two
into that catagory.

Ian Al

Linux: Viri can't hear you in free space.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Now that Wikipedia has been compromised
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:26 AM EDT
... what we, as a community, can do to salvage it?
As I imagine, approximately 99% of us are not familiar
with the way Wikipedia operates internally. Those
who *are* familiar, please speak up. How to raise
awareness of the owners? Who should we reach out to?
How? Is "locking" the ODF, as well as the OOXML,
article a good idea? Is this at all salvageable, or
it's a lost cause?

(It is with great pain that I am asking this last

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:54 AM EDT
For Wikipedia to allow such behaviour doesn't do much for its
integrity. Typical M$ - destroy others to further themselves.
Sad, very sad.

[ Reply to This | # ]

basic Wikipedia flaw
Authored by: macrorodent on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 06:32 AM EDT

The problem is that Wikipedia can easily be skewed by people with an axe to grind, and time to do so. This is especially true of relatively obscure matters, as standardization is for most people. "Common" knowledge with many independent experts who know about it tends to be more accurate. It is just too bad that Wikipedia is more and more used as if it were an authoritative source. The present Groklaw article shows how this can actually do real harm!

I'm a bit bitter about Wikipedia myself, because of a matter close to my heart, relating to a certain proprietary technology that is little known outside a small circle. It really should not be mentioned in Wikipedia at all. A former employee of the company where it was created made a self-agrandising Wikipedia article about its origins. I know the truth, but cannot really start rebutting it, because all relevant documents are company-confidential and I work under a pile of NDA:s (and would like to keep the interesting job). I have been wondering for years what to do about it, and concluded it is probably better to do nothing, as the other guy is of the obsessive sort, and has far more free time than I have. So I would inevitably lose any editing war... But this really taught me that Wikipedia cannot be trusted. A nice idea, but does not work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why can't Microsoft compete fairly on the merits?
Authored by: luvr on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 08:34 AM EDT
"Why can't Microsoft compete fairly on the merits?"

Merits?!?!? What merits?

(On second look, the question was likely rhetorical anyway... ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 09:43 AM EDT
As this is a website devoted to the law, I’m reminded of the structure and
meaning of the oath taken when testifying:

Tell the truth – Don’t lie.
The whole truth – Don’t leave things out.
Nothing but the truth – Don’t elaborate or bring in irrelevancies.

How many of these have been violated by Microsoft and its

And for completeness and contrast (the “whole”):

How many by Groklaw?
How many by Linux proponents/allies/representatives/etc.?

I, for one, find the contrast MOST telling.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bing is Wikipedia-centric
Authored by: JonB on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 10:20 AM EDT
Would it surprise you to find out that Microsoft's new search engine heavily references Wikipedia? Follow this: Microsoft Bing rehosts Wikifiddling as 'Reference' material.

So has Wikipedia been pwned by Microsoft?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign
Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 11:46 AM EDT

One thing that can be done is to get familiar with Wikipedia's policies on edits and editors. For instance, if correcting a misstatement about no defects being addressed, make sure the correction cites the OASIS tc-announce post when stating that the submitted defect report was put out for review. If the correction is reverted, or edited to remove the citation, don't report it to Wikipedia as bad information. Report it for removing a citation to an authoritative source. Wikipedia tends not to like that, and my impression is that if an editor's consistently removing properly-cited material and replacing it with uncited material they're more likely to remove that editor's ability to edit articles.

Remember that Wikipedia can't determine the objective truth of the majority of their material, and they don't have the time to decide whether they can or not for any specific subject. But whether material has proper citations referencing outside sources, that they can do easily. And in the case of say an OASIS official record vs. a personal blog reporting what someone says the record is, making the call as to which is more authoritative is easy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"There is no software that currently implements ODF as approved by the ISO"??
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 12:28 PM EDT
On the other hand, is there any software that currently implements OOXML as
approved by the ISO, or will there ever be? You can't include the version
implemented in the latest version of Office; it apparently doesn't really fully
implement OOXML.
I'm under the impression, from what I've read previously on Groklaw, that the
real answer to THIS question is a resounding NO. As I recall, M$ has declared
that they will never actually implement it. If that's so, then WHY in the world
would ANYONE else do so (especially considering the potential penalties
{lawsuits, etc} for anyone who would dare to do so)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's not just Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 01:28 PM EDT
I've seen Cisco posting misinformation on Wikipedia about open source products

[ Reply to This | # ]

Common Wikipedia game played on articles
Authored by: Kilz on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 01:31 PM EDT
I have edited Wikipedia before. I have also ran up against the system of
Wikipedia. A few things to remember on Wikipedia.
If there is a possibility of something being true to an admin, it is no proof
necessary. If you are accused of something, its your guilty until proven
But back to the game. Wikipedia has a rule called the 3 revert rule. No editor
can in whole or in part revert the edits of another editor on a specific article
3 times in 24 hours. A good rule. But it assumes that each editor is acting
alone. Not ganging up as a group of meatpuppets. What will happen.

1. Pro Foss editor makes a factual edit.
2. Microsoft editor changes it or removes it.
3. Pro Foss editor replaces it.
4. Microsoft editor removes edit or changes it.
5. Pro Foss editor replaces edit.

Now if the rules were being followed that would be the end of it. But

6. Microsoft editor 2 removes the edit.

It will happen in a short period, say a hour or so. Editors such as hAl,
Ghettoblaster, and multiple dial up ip's editing an article are sure signs that
the rules have been compromised.
What can be done is report the people. But if they are on dial up and reconnect
a few times through access numbers in different cities, the ip will differ, but
a whois will show the isp company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 01:37 PM EDT
Oh lord I wouldn't ever take wikipedia seriously. It's gotten to the point
where, here at work, when anyone mentions "wikipedia" we ask them to
find another source.

In a non-work-related example, I am a particular fan of Rusty Foster who writes
articles for the CMF and is involved in local politics here in Maine. He was the
first gay-marriage to occur in Maine. It was entirely political, the marriage
lasted just until it became legal, but it made an important point.

Try to add it to Wikipedia? Gets tossed out as "You're not allowed to cite
personal pages or blogs". Why is this important? It demonstrates exactly
how systemic Wikipedia bias is. Grassroots politics? Tossed out as being
"too small". Corporate website like MS issuing outright lies on press

This is entirely contrary to what wikipedia has set out to do, and I feel it's
safe to call it a complete and abject failure at this point. But as the poster
says, "Maybe your role in life is to serve as a warning to others".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Calc use an unknown draft ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 02:01 PM EDT
'Calc use an unknown draft OpenFormula specification' - DIFF

A distortion and a free advert for MS .. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting Article on Wikipedia
Authored by: Eeyore on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 02:26 PM EDT
There is an "aluminum foil hat style" article about Wikipedia FUD here. Curiously enough, it seems that it's not that uncommon....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wikipedia hoaxes perculate into mainstream media
Authored by: MacUser on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 02:49 PM EDT
Wikipedia errors are republished in the mainstream media routinely. One example is a Daily Mirror journalist who wrote a colour piece about a forthcoming football match between English and Cypriot soccer teams. He alluded to Cypriot fans "known as the ‘Zany Ones’ [who] wear hats made from shoes." Complete nonsense, and -- as the journalist later admitted -- cribbed direct from a hoax on Wikipedia.

More recently, on the death of the composer Maurice Jarre, an Irish media student planted a fake quote on Wikipedia, to see how many major outlets would reprint it in their obituaries. Some of the world's most prestigious titles carried it.

Given media cost-cutting and journalistic slovenliness, how many more hoaxes or errors are republished? And once in print, how many are then cited in Wikipedia articles, thus perpetuating a chain of error?

Influencing Wikipedia articles could be seen as a cost-effective PR strategy by certain companies...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Alex Brown has no personal integrity
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 03:02 PM EDT
Why would you expect him to have manners?

Another way to look at Alex Brown is through motive. Why would someone choose
to abandon their professional integrity by lying and raping a standards setting
process to benefit another entity? Because it is the only way they can get
ahead. Why is it the only way? Incompetence. Not only that but Microsoft has a
habit of dropping people who are no longer useful. As word spreads that Alex
Brown is an incompetent fool, he will become useless to Microsoft. They will
dump him and he will have ruined his career and have nothing to show for it.

Just watch it unfold.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rob Weir Exposes the Kill-ODF Shouting Campaign - Updated with a call for a Fork
Authored by: webster on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 03:03 PM EDT
The Monopoly can stand only two things: The One Monopoly Standard; or Two
Monopoly Standards. They can not stand to have a true standard that anyone else
can implement. They also can't allow one of their standards to become a true
standard that could avoid their own monopoly upgrades.

They made a mistake sitting out the development of ODF. They must destroy it as
a standard. They must at least disrupt it. Delaying it, slowing it down,
keeping uncertainty and their near de facto standard dominant are good stop-gap

The Monopoly does not have to compete when it can destroy. They can create
perceptions and ruin ODF at its current stage of development. Their Jihad and
propaganda campaign are in full swing. They have taken over the names
"Open" and "Office." They are now redefining the concept of
"standard" for all. They can easily take over the standards
chairmanship, committee, or organization --whatever is necessary to make their
standard the only functioning standard. They can push ODF back to the margins
or co-opt it. Since no governments will stop them, that is what they are

It is time for a fork of ODF. It has already been forked by the Monopoly.
Prominent parties should declare a "MONOPOLY FREE ODF" and refuse to
permit the Monopoly to participate in its further development. [MF-ODF has a
nice ring to it!] Its premise is that what is good for the Monopoly is bad for
everyone else. Keep the Monopoly out until they are no longer a Monopoly and
there is a level playing field.

The Monopoly lies. The Monopoly can not be trusted. They send paid zealots
with unlimited resources against consumers and the dwindling, un-monopolized
rabble. Their spokesmen are intelligent, but intellectually dishonest. Add
shameless for a few bucks. Free (as in freedom) software advocates will not be
understood or heard against the group-think propagated by the omnipotent
Monopoly. (If you don't believe this, answer why the media only reports an
"internet" virus instead of the Monopoly OS virus that it is?) Free
citizens are just going to have to say they don't use Monopoly products on
"religious grounds" until the public gains more understanding.

A "Monopoly-Free" standard will be unquestionably open. By definition
it will not promote the interests of the Monopoly. That would be good for
everybody, like cheap netbooks.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's "Bing Reference" page on ODF...
Authored by: drakaan on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 03:19 PM EDT
I read this article on Groklaw this morning, and happened to notice another
article mentioning Bing's "reference" versions of Wikipedia
articles....seemed more than coincidental.

If I search for OpenDocument on Bing, I get a bunch of results... of which is the Wikipedia entry for ODF. Below the exerpt from the
wikipedia page, there is a link that says "Enhanced View" (same place
you usually see a "cached version" link on bing or google).

The "enhanced" version seems to include some edits that have been
removed from the live wikipedia page.

At this point, I could probably say "well, it just hasn't been updated
yet", but suggest we all keep an eye on it. The last item in
"Standardization" on the live Wikipedia entry is the third bullet
point about standadization work, but on bing, it's a paragraph about Alex
Brown's blog post, etc.

Bing Link:

Wikipedia Link:

'Murphy was an optimist'
-O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why wikipedia is good and not compromised any more than usual.
Authored by: kh on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 04:41 PM EDT
Because it can be corrected. Because people care and write about it and change
it. Of course you shouldn't use it as a reference or as a source but you can
use it as a sign-post. Wikipedia is not any more compromised than it has ever

Hey you could create a wikipedia page on the way Microsoft shills are stealthily
editing ODF and PJ's pages!

By the evidence of stealth editing in Microsoft's favour now it would seem
like they are mounting a campaign at the moment. There must therefore be a
reason. I wonder what their problem is?

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Does Microsoft hurt me or help me?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:37 PM EDT

People make up their minds pretty easily. All they care about is: will you help
me more than you will hurt me?

For the last 20 years, Microsoft has been more helpful than hurtful, but this is
changing. Viruses, false positives on software validation, and forced
"upgrades." Linux doesn't do any of these things.

I think for the first time in Microsoft's history, customers are no longer sure
whether Microsoft helps them or hurts them.

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Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 06:42 PM EDT
The ODF page on Wikipedia has been locked after a request by a user who is
undergoing investigation for a conflict of interest by the Wikipedia

The Plot thickens :-)

Beware of him who would deny you access to information for in his heart he
considers himself your master.

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Microsoft shills save the company; profits triple overnight; Linux sent packing!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 07:55 PM EDT

Microsoft needs Wikipedia? That's pathetic. Is there any other stock index
company in the world that does this? (Microsoft is in the Dow Jones 30

Does Alcoa need Wikipedia? Boeing? AT&T? Caterpillar? GE? McDonald's?
Pfizer? Procter & Gamble? Dupont? Exxon?

I guess Microsoft needs third-party sources because their own statements
("Get the Facts") can't stand up by themselves.

I've decided the shilling is in inverse proportion to the company's financial
health. And I'd bet I'm not the only one who thinks that.

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Microsoft doing better...
Authored by: mrcreosote on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 08:12 PM EDT
They have now raised themselves to the same level as the Church of Scientology.


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Class Action Slander Suit?
Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, June 11 2009 @ 01:10 PM EDT
Has anybody ever done a class action slander suit?

I think that you could base this on the fact that MS has paid (and offered to pay) people to do stuff like this. The cost would be the time to hunt and clean up these lies ... by everybody who supports ODF.

The critical part might be the punitive judgement.

Is there a precedent for this sort of idea?

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

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Bing is Out! - Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 11 2009 @ 03:33 PM EDT
When I search Yahoo, I can get a cached page, plainly labeled as such. This is
useful when the original is no longer available. However when I get a Wikipedia
hit, it is a Wikipedia hit, and can read Wikipedia's page.

Now it is one thing if Bing is a mashup, taking text from Wikipedia, (following
all the proper rules), but it is something else when they grab the material and
copy it to their own servers which are who knows how far out of date.

So as far as I'm concerned, Bing is now officially Out, and off my list of
search engines.

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Ecco ad hominem
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, June 12 2009 @ 03:04 AM EDT
PJ, you say that "ad hominem attacks against anyone" are against your
policy, yet what is this article except an ad hominem attack and an invitation
to make them?

What is calling Alex and me "mean", if not ad hominem?

Your readers call Alex an "incompetent fool". Having some unspecified
"coi" (for what? with whom?) He gets compared to a Taliban and a
rapist. A teller of "outright lies". "a thoroughly unpleasant and
objectionable individual, and definitely up to No-Good"

We are "intellectually dishonest. Add shameless for a few bucks.".
"Paid zealots". "MS shills". "<apposite
adjective-noun description>s" who "revel in the associated
notoriety. Part of some imaginary "large FUD team".

(One reader even attacks us that we don't merely repeat "the same
rants", but make detailed suggestions to improve future versions of ODF on
the appropriate forum, as arranged with the ODF TC. When that is exactly what
contribution to and participation in standards efforts involves. Sheesh, talk
about hard to please.)

Groklaw readers interested in a more balanced view might care to consider this:
who has actually raised the issue of Microsoft embrace, extend and extinguishing
ODF on the ODF TC comments list and made detailed technical proposals on how to
prevent this in a feasible way? Well, that would be me, and only me.

(And who took that discussion off the ODF comments list, and dismissed even the
technical part as inappropriate? Well, that would be Rob. See
Now I understand that the issue would need to be discussed in a non-specific
way, and that the law would not allow measures that only would apply to MS, but
Rob actually refused to deal systematically with what is surely the problem
closest to most Groklaw reader's POV. Go figure.)

Rick Jelliffe

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