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Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun - Updated 2Xs
Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:16 PM EST

Another gruesome exhibit is now finished as text in our collection of Comes v. Microsoft exhibits, Exhibit 1116 [PDF].

It's a Microsoft memo from 1991, regarding a suggested attack plan to beat out IBM's OS/2, written by Joseph Krawczak, currently group program manager for Outlook at Microsoft. Here are just three damning sentences from the confidential memo:

Pursue a product development strategy that prevents IBM from claiming Windows compatibility. Prevent Windows applications from running correctly on OS/2....

Reposition OS/2 as impractical and incompatible in the minds of customers.

Nice. First quietly create incompatibilities to make sure that Microsoft applications wouldn't run right on OS/2. Then tell the world that they shouldn't buy OS/2 because Microsoft applications wouldn't run right on OS/2.

But 1991 is a long time ago, I hear some of you say, and there is a new Microsoft. Oh? Let's see if that's so by highlighting one of the recent Novell filings with the SEC, its work agreement with Microsoft titled "Improving Microsoft-Novell Interoperability through Open XML" and dated March of this very year.

It's regarding work Microsoft was willing to pay Novell to do to make Microsoft's cynically misnamed Open XML seem like it allows interoperability. Novell has been at work since March to make Novell's version of interoperate, sort of, but as you will see not completely with Microsoft Office 2010 so that it would at least look like Open XML works and that somebody is implementing it.

What a role for Novell to agree to play. We've had our suspicions for years, since Microsoft and Novell entered into its patent peace agreement and technical work agreement, and now we know that everything we suspected Novell was doing with its version of, it was. It is. This is the smoking gun. And the work agreement runs through November of 2011, so this story isn't over yet.

Here is the description of the project's goals:

Description: The project has three primary goals:
a) Increased interoperability between the Microsoft Office and Novell OpenOffice productivity suites through improved data portability as enabled via native support of the Open XML standard; (NOTE: all references in this SOW to “Novell OpenOffice” shall be references to “Novell OpenOffice Products” as defined in the Agreement);

b) A stronger Open XML ecosystem as enabled by implementations from multiple software vendors; and,

c) A higher quality Open XML standard as enabled by more active implementer participation in defect handling, enhancements and strategic direction setting. In this regard, the project goals include Novell being an active, participating implementer in the maintenance and evolution of the Open XML standard; Novell participating in the standard evolving in a manner that is consistent with the needs of modern productivity suites (appropriate backward compatibility behaviors, sufficient means for implementers to innovate based on customer needs, appropriate degree of stability of the standard, etc.); and Novell being a first-class implementer of the Open XML standard and actively sharing their experiences with the rest of the Open XML community.

I don't see the goal as becoming fully compatible. Do you? Rather it says "improved" compatibility between OpenOffice, Novell's version only, with Microsoft Office, improved but not complete, using bits of the standard but obviously following the Microsoft product, not the standard when a choice must be made. How could it be complete, given the Microsoft extensions that are not in the standard and that Microsoft keeps to its proprietary self? The real goal shines through to me like this: to make Open XML seem legitimate by looking like there is "active implementer participation". That's Novell's role in this sorry picture.

What Novell is here letting itself be hired to do is essentially to implement *product* interoperability, not interoperability from a *standard*, so Microsoft doesn't have to make a standard that actually works like a standard is supposed to, interoperable with everyone equally.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from the 2006 technical agreement between Novell and Microsoft, ridiculously redacted to be indecipherable before it was filed with the SEC, the part about Open XML:

(a) *** will exercise its *** to *** by no later than *** that (i) the *** OpenOffice (version 2 or later) *** does or will *** Office Open XML format (“Open XML”), and (ii) it will make a *** *** If *** does not *** it will *** within the same time frame that *** in the *** on a*** to *** Open XML. *** will provide its *** to*** at least *** in advance of *** The *** will be *** not to be *** will provide *** in the *** will *** of such *** the Term, including through *** in the *** is defined in the Business Collaboration Agreement.

b) Novell Product Support for Office Open XML. No later than *** after the Translator Project makes generally available a version of its translator for word processing, and thereafter throughout the Term, Novell will (unless commercially impracticable) make prominently available *** for word processing documents. The *** can be made prominently available to a user of *** via an easily available download or by distributing the *** with each copy of a *** . No later than *** after the Translator Project releases a final version of its translator for spreadsheets, Novell will use commercially reasonable efforts to include in the *** support for spreadsheet documents. No later than *** after the Translator Project releases a final version of its translator for presentations, Novell will use commercially reasonable efforts to include in the *** support for presentation documents. Once released, Novell will continue to make the *** commercially available for the Term. If, during the Term, the Translator Project releases an updated version of its translator to reflect a new version of the relevant ODF or Open XML specification, then no later than *** following such release, Novell will use commercially reasonable efforts to make prominently available a corresponding update to *** .

Incomprehensible at the time. We had our suspicions about what Novell was up to. But now we can fill in the blanks, so we know. Everything you thought Novell was up to with, they were. Are. It makes me sad to write this. But I'm a reality-based person. And it is what it is.

Here is what else Novell was paid to do and agreed to do in the 2010 work agreement for Microsoft money:

Participation Deliverables:
  • Novell will participate in at least three Ecma TC45 quarterly telephone conferences per year for a period of two years.

  • Novell will participate in at least four JTC 1 SC34 WG4 telephone conferences per quarter for a period of two years.

  • Novell will participate in at least three JTC 1 SC34 WG4 face-to-face meetings per year for a period of two years.

  • Novell will participate in at least three DII or similar events per year for a period of two years.
Microsoft leaves nothing to chance, I gather. It wants its partners to show up and help, so it pays people to participate in standards activities. Remember Miguel's "OOXML is a superb standard"? That comes into focus now, does it not? He claimed, back then in 2007, that Novell didn't advocate for OOXML but was "neutral", I note.

Why, my simple soul ponders, doesn't the ISO do something? It's all really shocking.

The project's termination date is November of 2011. By then, Novell will presumably be sold off, but just to let the community know that Novell's version of will be a work in progress from now until whatever happens happens.

Note this work item in the work agreement:

1. Novell OpenOffice updated to skip over unknown Microsoft Office 2010-specific content.
"Updated" to skip over "unknown Microsoft Office 2010-specific content". Why? Because Office 2010 has content, extensions, that are not in the standard, that's why. So here Novell is working to make two *products* compatible, because you can't actually be compatible with Microsoft Office 2010 by following the so-called standard. It's a workaround. Instead of fixing the standard by Microsoft sending the extensions to the standards body, Novell creates a demo, I guess you could say, that Microsoft could instead use to show the world an impression of interoperability.

Remember that one of the big objections to OOXML becoming a standard in the first place was that it allowed for proprietary extensions, which it was pointed out would make it difficult and indeed impossible for anyone but Microsoft and any chosen pals to interoperate with the "standard". And here you see it in real life. Under criticism, Microsoft hires Novell to be a Microsoft pal and to try to figure out a way to make Microsoft Office look like it interoperates with up to a point, not any version of it, but just Novell's version of OpenOffice.

You are not supposed to have to hire people to figure out a private way to be compatible with a true standard.

There is so much water under Microsoft's no-real-compatibility bridge. What a history this company has. Is there any other company that you know of that acts like this? If there is, email me. It'll be news to me.

I gather Microsoft would like to demo the interoperable stuff Novell comes up with to make their standard look like it works. And why is this a secret since March? March is when Groklaw was staying up nights covering the second SCO trial in Utah, as I recall very well. Like a lot of corporations, Novell wants the benefits of the community's help but not the responsibility that comes with the help.

There are five milestones in the agreement, and they all say that some features are unsupported, meaning the extensions in the Microsoft product that aren't in the standard. Here's the fifth milestone:


  • Novell OpenOffice can open Microsoft Office 2007-generated Open XML files without failures; M3 & 4 features supported; unsupported features are lost on open.

  • Novell OpenOffice can open Microsoft Office 2010-generated Open XML files without failures; M3 & 4 features supported; unsupported features are lost on open.

  • Novell OpenOffice can save files containing M5 features, scoped to those features supported in Novell OpenOffice, using the Open XML standard.

  • Novell OpenOffice can save files containing-Novell-specific features using the Open XML standard.
"Unsupported features are lost on open." That's Microsoft's version of compatibility -- their stuff works better than yours. So, like in the OS/2 attack memo, they can tell potential buyers that they should stick to Microsoft products because the competition doesn't work well. Now you know why.

The summary in the work agreement tells it true:

Opening Microsoft Office 2010 Files
1. Novell OpenOffice updated to support
M3 features and skip over unknown
Microsoft Office 2010-specific content

2. Novell OpenOffice updated to support
M4 features and skip over unknown
Microsoft Office 2010-specific content

3. Novell OpenOffice updated to support
M5 features and skip over unknown
Microsoft Office 2010-specific content

Saving Novell OpenOffice Files

4. Novell implements native Open XML
save support for M5 feature set.

5. Novell implements Novell-specific
extensions for its own unsupported
features when used with Open XML

Oh, Novell. What were you thinking? Why would you agree to this? I can read these words, so why couldn't you? They say you are being used to prop up the reputation of Open XML, while not really making it compatible in the end. What kind of goals are these? For a *standard*? For a company selling GNU/Linux?

Well, is it one? A standard, I mean. If so, which one, Strict or Transitional? Neither Strict nor Transitional correctly describes what Microsoft Office actually writes out when it writes out a DOCX file, after all, so it can't be precisely either, can it? But Alex Brown, who believed Microsoft's promises at one time, or says he did, recently wrote on his blog that Microsoft failed the standards test, failing to keep promises made, and even he says it's more Transitional:

The key breakthrough of the revision process was the splitting of the specification into two variant versions, called “Strict” and “Transitional”. The National Bodies confined all the technologies they found unacceptable to the Transitional format and dictated text to be included in the standard intended to prohibit its further use:
“The intent […] is to enable a transitional period during which existing binary documents being migrated to DIS 29500 can make use of legacy features to preserve their fidelity, while noting that new documents should not use them. […]

This annex is normative for the current edition of the Standard, but not guaranteed to be part of the Standard in future revisions. The intent is to enable the future DIS 29500 maintenance group to choose, at a later date, to remove this set of features from a revised version of DIS 29500.”

I was convinced at the time, and remain convinced today, that the division of OOXML into Strict and Transitional variants was the innovation which allowed the Standard to pass. Enough National Bodies could then vote in good conscience for OOXML knowing that their preferred, Strict, variant would be under their control into the future while the Transitional variant (which – remember – they had effectively rejected in 2007) would remain purely for the purpose of accurately specifying old documents: a useful aim in itself.
Some "breakthrough" it turned out to be. Innovation, indeed. It was a sleight-of-hand, which he and those who voted for the so-called standard were naive enough, or worse, to go along with. There were Microsoft promises made, he points out, in an open letter from Microsoft just before the final vote, promising what would happen if everyone would vote for OOXML, which enough of them did to anoint it as an alleged standard. Here's one promise:
“We've listened to the global community and learned a lot, and we are committed to supporting the Open XML specification that is approved by ISO/IEC in our products.”
Microsoft always talks in that "Oh shucks" style, when it wants something. How much is a Microsoft promise worth, though? We did warn the world about that at the time and were ignored, with smears and snarkiness by Microsoft employees and Brown on Twitter and on blogs for months. So, which of us was right in the end? Did Microsoft keep its promises? Let's see.

Mr. Brown again:

On this count Microsoft seems set for failure. In its pre-release form Office™ 2010 supports not the approved Strict variant of OOXML, but the very format the global community rejected in September 2007, and subsequently marked as not for use in new documents – the Transitional variant. Microsoft are behaving as if the JTC 1 standardisation process never happened, and using technologies (like VML) in a new product which even the text of the Standard itself describes as “deprecated” and “included […] for legacy reasons only” (see ISO/IEC 29500-1:2008, clause M.5.1).
He should probably apologize for all the unpleasant things he wrote about those of us trying to warn him, don't you think?

And what about this Novell work agreement -- what do we see being used, Strict or Transitional? Actually, neither, in that Novell is working to interoperate with a Microsoft *product*, not the standard, but it's more Transitional than Strict, if you had to pick just one, according to an expert whose brain I picked. And here's a question for Brown: Is the committee doing anything proactive, like removing Transitional or seeking harmonization with ODF? Is it only Microsoft that failed the standards test?

Here's another Microsoft promise it made back then:

“We are committed to the healthy maintenance of the standard once ratification takes place so that it will continue to be useful and relevant to the rapidly growing number of implementers and users around the world.”
Cross their heart and hope to die. But did they keep that promise, or did they have their fingers crossed with one hand behind their back while the other was on their heart and offering a sincere-sounding commitment? Let's let Mr. Brown tell us:
Microsoft has many enemies who will no doubt see the current state of affairs as proof that Microsoft never even intended to be good standards citizens....

And if we look elsewhere within Microsoft we can see – for example from their engagement with HTML 5 and work on MSIE – that they can move in the right direction when the will is there.

So why – given the awareness Microsoft has at the top, at the bottom, and round the edges – does it still manage to behave as it does? Something, perhaps, is wrong at the centre — some kind of corporate dysfunction caused by a failure of executive oversight.

You think? Dysfunction or deliberate incompatibility? How many extensions in Office 2010 were sent to ISO, Mr. Brown? Zero? Seriously, any real work going on there any more? Brown wrote all that in March of 2010, intriguingly enough, the same month Microsoft hired Novell to "improve" the compatibility of Microsoft Office and Novell's version of By the way, Microsoft doesn't have enemies. It has people who see how they act and those who don't or pretend they don't.

More recently, Brown ponders whether Microsoft can ever redeem itself:

Can there be redemption for Microsoft, whose Office 2010 product has now hit the shelves using the deprecated transitional variant of OOXML and a load of Microsoft extensions? Well, in time, maybe …

There has been much discussion in WG 4 how to standardize Microsoft’s extensions which – although they use the extension mechanisms described by the IS 29500 – are not themselves described in any standard. They’re currently documented on MSDN. How should they be standardized? In a multi-part Standard? in a registry? or what? Ultimately WG 4 concluded we should do nothing – we are not hearing any market demand for standardizing Microsoft’s extensions and so we will wait. Of course this means that as Microsoft adds more and more extensions to subsequent versions of Office the proportion of it described by the text of IS 29500 will diminish. We shall have to wait and see what the market thinks about that. Personally, I feel it is critical that procurers of OOXML-based suites pay careful attention to this aspect of MS Office and (I have written this before) know that MS Office 2007 – not 2010 – is the only version which (modulo bugs/defects) conforms to OOXML unextended. It is my guess that future large-scale procurers of MS Office may want to specify which extensions they want (maybe none), and I would like to see the conformance language of OOXML beefed-up making such procurement specifications easier.

Do nothing. That's the answer. They have done nothing about Microsoft not keeping its promises. Believing Microsoft promises might not be the wise course after all, then?

So what was Novell hired to use in its work on OpenXML, Transitional or Strict? We see what they are using, yet note that the Work Agreement cunningly says:

NOTE: all references in this SOW to “ISO/IEC 29500” shall be references to “ISO/IEC 29500:2008”
Here it is, ISO/IEC 29500:2008, if you would like to peruse it.

Portions of the work agreement document have been omitted for confidentiality purposes, but look at the goals at the beginning if you have any doubt about its purpose: "Increased interoperability between the Microsoft Office and Novell OpenOffice productivity suites through improved data portability as enabled via native support of the Open XML standard"-- in other words, it's about two products becoming more interoperable, not implementing a standard in the usual sense, or actually in any sense that I understand.

Irony is dead. Here you have a so-called standard being used for exclusivity, so Microsoft and Novell have special interoperability that others can't enjoy.

And as for Novell's awful role, obviously, Novell executives never grasped the essence of Linux or FOSS. That explains a lot, including the company's downfall in the end, don't you think? Selling out the community in secret does not a long-term business plan make. And to everyone who pushed for or accepted Novell's version of, what's the plan now? Seriously. Time to really make a plan. Microsoft does. How about the community? How stupid are we?

In September, just as a side point, Brown noticed this revealing comparison of Google Search with Bing, a side point but still on the theme of how Microsoft behaves:

Trying to download the latest version of™ I typed "openoffice" into Bing, and was surprised to get back a page of results which did not contain the official site. Google however, returned it as the top result.

Hmm, maybe not specific enough. I try entering "" into Bing. Same thing. Google again returns the official site as the top result.

Curious now, I enter into "free office download" into Google and again get the Site. Performing this with Bing I'm given a page for Microsoft® Office™ downloads and add-ins.

Search neutrality? pah - these two search engines have a very different view of the web it seems!

Microsoft doesn't change. Not ever.

And in the end, Novell, what happened? Did partnering with Microsoft benefit Novell? The company, I mean, not the board of directors and executive officers, who admit in the preliminary proxy statement that they will benefit personally from the sale to Attachmate:

Interests of Our Directors and Executive Officers in the Merger

When considering the recommendation of Novell’s board of directors, you should be aware that Novell’s directors and executive officers have interests in the merger other than their interests as Novell stockholders generally, as described below. These interests may be different from, or in conflict with, your interests as a Novell stockholder. The members of our board of directors were aware of these additional interests, and considered them, when they approved the Merger Agreement. These interests include the following:

  • enhanced severance payments and benefits upon a qualifying termination of employment;
  • the accelerated vesting and cash out of equity awards and the accelerated vesting of deferred compensation arrangements; and
  • following the effective time of the merger, the surviving corporation of the merger will provide continued indemnification and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance applicable to the period prior to the effective time of the merger.
Is there, then, a big difference between Microsoft in 1991 and Microsoft in 2010? Sometimes I see comments denying that Microsoft ever did such awful things to OS/2 and that what really happened to OS/2 was that IBM couldn't compete because it was incompetent or somehow didn't know how to do PR or whatever, but this is the real story, I'd say, in this Exhibit 1116. First the memo says to create incompatibility, then trash OS/2 to potential buyers as being incompatible, a deliberate attack plan. Dirty. Microsoft. Way.

Say, wasn't Microsoft supposedly partnering with IBM on OS/2? I am looking for examples of partnering with Microsoft paying off. I was thinking I'd like to make a list showing what happens to companies that have partnered with Microsoft. Wouldn't that be fun? If anyone has some, please send them to me, because all I see is IBM and Novell and i4i and now Yahoo, not to mention all the competitors who got the shaft like WordPerfect and DR DOS and so many more. I think I may be forgiven for concluding that partnering with Microsoft is typically the kiss of death. But let's see what the data shows, once we collect it.

Wait. I wonder if i4i knows that while Microsoft removed the extension that was found to violate i4i's patent from its product, it's still in the standard? If not, shout out to i4i.

A big thank you to Groklaw's volunteer, kattemann, who did this long memo as text, and to all of you taking the time to make this history complete. Thanks to this Comes collection, whitewashing Microsoft's behavior in the past is that much harder for them. And the new work agreement with Novell is the piece bringing it all to the present day.

We're still working on the Comes collection, so if you'd like to help out, just go to this jumping off page, pick an exhibit on any page that isn't done yet, and then after you do it as text, ideally with the HTML in the style you see there, just email me in a plain text email with your work or just post it as a comment on whatever is the most recent article.

Incidentally, here's the memo's author, still at Microsoft, working on interoperability, natch. Krawczak is now Microsoft’s group program manager for Outlook, as I mentioned, and look what he's been involved in:

Microsoft has released a set of open-source software tools and technical documentation designed to enhance the interoperability and flexibility of Outlook data. Specifically, the material facilitates the portability of data in .pst files, allowing government and commercial users more flexibility in storing, sharing and manipulating information created in Microsoft Outlook.

Joseph Krawczak, Microsoft’s group program manager for Outlook, said the company recognizes that its customers are increasingly working in complex, heterogeneous environments that require the ability to use data across a range of platforms and applications. In this context, interoperability is the ability to easily move data stored in Outlook .pst files to multiple platforms with programs and applications created by multiple vendors, and to use it from any of those applications.

The new tools and documentation allow developers to build new applications that interoperate with Microsoft Outlook and the data it stores. “While it may seem counterintuitive, we believe that welcoming competition and choice will make us more successful and it will create new opportunities for our customers, partners and developers,” he said.

From an organizational standpoint, the new Microsoft offering allows government agencies, or departments within an agency, to create a framework for information sharing. According to Krawczak, the material provides technical details on protocols for communicating with data stored in the .pst file format, and provides information on navigating folder hierarchies and vendor data structures. He says that Microsoft’s open source project provides government agencies with the ability to easily access data stored in .pst files in their own software solutions without having to invest in building these functionalities themselves.

Do I even need to translate that for you? [By the way, it's not even accurate. You don't need to invent your own functionality. Here's a FOSS project, libpst that I'm informed will do it for you. That way you don't have to use Microsoft's software tools unless you actually want to.] Microsoft might not change, but the world sure did. By "open source" Microsoft means under its own licenses, which OSI was foolish enough to approve, thus enabling Microsoft to play the games it does. Yo, community. Wake up. To be fair, they'd play them anyway, but why help them?

Update: Novell's Michael Meeks has responded, although it's a personal response, not a Novell one. I find it profoundly disturbing. Boiled down to its essence:

Of course, those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and caution is useful, however - the Novell association is via a published agreement whereby Microsoft helps to fund the development of improved interoperability between the Free Software desktop world, and Microsoft Office - which at least on the face of it appears to be the opposite of creating incompatibility.

Why would they do that ? and is Novell per-se evil for writing this software ? In part, it is true that having a second implementation of OOXML is helpful to improve the standard, and make it more acceptable. Given their need for that, I prefer a Free Software second implementation (available to all under the LGPLv3) instead of a proprietary alternative. Novell has different needs: to serve its customers, who have real interoperability requirements which this work helps to meet.

Another, interesting charge is that this creates private interoperability between only Novell and Microsoft's Office suites at everyone else' expense. Indeed by reading the repeated mention of things like "Novell OpenOffice productivity suite" you could easily be annoyed into that conclusion. Of course, this is not the case. Since we cannot promise something that other people deliver - it is necessary to phrase everything in terms of an abstract Novell Office product; obviously. However, all of our code is publicly available to others under the LGPLv3. Furthermore, there is no private or special information we have on the standard or implementation beyond what is published and public.

It's a published agreement *now* but it was secret since March. It's now required to be public, because Novell is a public company looking to sell its assets. And the incompatibility I worry about is due to Microsoft's aggressive patent stance. Novell entered a "patent peace" with Microsoft, so they don't need to worry about patents. But the rest of us do. So the fact that the code is available for everyone isn't actually good news, if it's contaminated. Can Meeks promise it isn't? Can Novell offer the world indemnification?

And Novell's excuse for entering that toxic peace plan was allegedly its customers also. But when you put customers, meaning making money, ahead of loyalty to the folks who write your software, you end up not only causing damage to the ecosystem, you end up having business troubles, because you annoy people and they won't recommend your product. Deals with the devil don't ever work out, as Novell is now learning. Secret deals are even worse.

As for whether it's helpful to work on OOXML, my position would be that Microsoft never really lets it fully happen anyhow, so Novell's work is depressingly incomplete. And it always will be, due to the "standard" allowing for proprietary extensions. Why would the community want to accept that or make it seem acceptable? Anything that props up this god-forsaken "standard" is counterproductive. One standard is all one needs, and ODF preexisted OOXML. Doing work to make OOXML look legitimate is unfortunate. If no one implements OOXML ever, it will be rejected by ISO in time, so in reality the work Novell is doing is harmful. That's my unaltered opinion. And the damage now that this secret agreement has been made public and Novell comes across as a double-dealer is unalterable, and there can be no recovery. Not with me.

And while Meeks tells us that agreeing contractually to show up at standards meetings is inconsequential in that "Novell's presence does not imply uneqivocal support for any standard, and we give our candid opinion, and demos of Free Software in those situations", the fact is it's appalling to agree to show up at all on Microsoft's dime. Obviously, Microsoft intended that Novell would help them, and they paid them not to show up and be neutral but to be helpful, and Novell has helped them, in reality. Miguel "OOXML is a superb standard" de Icaza is the low water mark, since it's obviously not the case and it never was true, but if you were going to show up and be independent, what was Microsoft paying you for?

I mean, we didn't just fall off a turnip truck.

And when you attended these events and meetings, did you openly tell that you were being paid by Microsoft to be there but that you'd try to be independent just the same? At a bare minimum, you should have told.

I'd very much like to hear LibreOffice speak on this topic, in that most of their committers are Novell employees, last I look.

Update 2: Simon Phipps tweets that Miguel is sincere even when wrong, and so we should all lay off him. And he provides a link to Miguel responding on his blog now also.

I provide the links so you can reach your own conclusions. But here's mine. The damage from Mono is real, regardless of motives. And the community is foolish not to say so and mean it. This isn't about personalities. What does motive have to do with it? Sincerity can be more dangerous. And this is about danger. It's about the community trying for code that is safe for everyone to use, unencumbered by Microsoft patents. If anyone is endangering the community with encumbered code, we need to defend against it. I don't care about sincerity.

And why, pray tell, would it *ever* be all right to offer the community such encumbered code deliberately? If you follow the links in the article linked to above about him saying OOXML was superb, you will find him suggesting that to be safe, everyone download Mono only from Novell, due to the patent situation. Is that acceptable on any possible level? Not to me.

But let's address the sincerity issue. Can anyone reasonably really think OOXML is superb? Superb how? Because it's not. As a standard, it's failed. The way you measure a standard is who can use it, how many do, and whether it works as passed. If it were superb, Microsoft wouldn't have to hire Novell to make it sorta work, now, would they? No one uses it. Novell was hired to make it look like they do. Lots of folks use ODF, yet here's Miguel once again complaining about alleged flaws in ODF and saying that OOXML is fine because ISO approved it. Puh lease. We got a window into the kinds of things Microsoft did to make that happen. Many consider that vote tainted.

Worse, they made promises that Transitional would be just for a while, that they'd work to move to Strict if everyone would vote for them. The guy who moderated the voting process tells us that this promise was made. What happened to that promise? Is it superb that no one uses the promised standard, Strict, because they can't? We see in this work agreement with Novell that instead of keeping their promise, they are hiring Novell to work backwards to make stuff work with Microsoft *products*, using Transitional mainly, I gather, instead of making products align with the standard, the one they promised they'd provide. That is violative of promises Microsoft made to get the "standard" approved by ISO. How is that superb? Can anyone in sincerity claim that it is? Superb at what? I'd like to hear about it if anyone can seriously make that argument with specificity.

And if anyone thinks that a standard that allows proprietary extensions is superb, he might not be in tune with the goal of a truly free operating system, where the end user controls his own computer and gets to know what is happening on it. That's the community's goal, is it not? If not, what was it all for? How can such a "standard" ever be better than one already in existence that is open and free? What kind of values are these?

As for secret deals with Microsoft, if what Novell was doing was so wonderfully helpful, why didn't they tell us at the time the deal was signed that they'd be doing this wonderful work? I mean, come on. Seriously tell when you take money to show up at standards meetings.

No. The unalterable truth is that something awful happened. Something that we can't ignore now that we know about it. And it cannot be justified. Not to me. As usual when awful things happen, Microsoft money is there in the center of the tableau, and so when we pull back the curtain suddenly, we see folks with their pants down and their hands out. I'm speaking of the company here. And to me, at least, it's disgusting. Doesn't it frame the sale of the 882 patents to a Microsoft-organized consortium in a clearer context? How could Novell do that, we asked. Now we know. It was part of a larger picture. We know now what we are dealing with inside the community. So it's time to face up to it and start to plan on how to deal with it. As usual with problems, the first step is to acknowledge the problem honestly. And the problem is, not to put too fine a point on it, how to deal with Community Rats, corporate or otherwise, taking money from Microsoft and then subtly deflecting the community away from its goals. And now there is a new category: those who are sincerely misguided into thinking that doing deals with Microsoft won't damage the community in the end. It doesn't matter at all if they are sincere or not, even if they don't even comprehend the problem. What matters is the damage that results or can result. I expect Novell would argue that what they did was a good thing. But can anyone argue that the 882 patents are not damage, regardless of Novell sincerity?

Incidentally, there is still time to sign up with OIN and get protection from those patents. The deal doesn't close until January.

Groklaw's job is to notice danger, particularly legal issues, and then tell it out. And I certainly will continue to do exactly that.

Here's the Comes exhibit, # 1116, then, as text:


Microsoft Confidential — Do Not Distribute November 20, 1991

OS/2 2.0 Attack Plan -Draft Only-

To: - Draft -

From: Joseph Krawczak

Cc: Attached List


Windows has sold nearly 7MM units world-wide, and is the most popular
operating system in the world after MS-DOS. However, IBM is poised for a
competitive assault with OS/2 2.0. In spite of our success, there are still areas,
especially in large corporate accounts, where we will be under strong
competitive pressure from IBM. Any success with OS/2 will greatly
strengthen IBM's position as a major competitor in the operating system

It is therefore critical that we prevent OS/2 2.0 from eroding Windows
momentum and defeat IBM's attempt at gaining a foothold on the desktop with
OS/2. To do this we must:

  • Pursue a product development strategy that prevents IBM from
    claiming Windows compatibility. Prevent Windows applications from
    running correctly on OS/2.
  • Redefine what Windows is with Windows 3.1. Set a new bar for
    Windows functionality and requirements for compatibility.
  • Reposition OS/2 as impractical and incompatible in the minds of
  • Design and execute a competitive response to OS/2 2.0 in every arena
    we compete in – corporate accounts, resellers, ISVs, OEMs, Press, etc.

IBM's attack plan .................................................................................2

Comparing Windows 3.1 and OS/2 2.0................................................6

Attack Plan - Future Development Strategy........................................7

Attack Plan – Repositioning OS/2.........................................................8

Attack Plans by Channel.......................................................................10

Resource Needs.......................................................................................18

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Microsoft Confidential — Do Not Distribute


Product Positioning

"OS/2 2.0 is the integration platform, offering better DOS than
DOS, better Windows than Windows, and better OS/2 than OS/2".

Support Points

Better DOS than DOS
Run every DOS application you have better.

  • Better protection - multiple virtual DOS machines.
  • More memory available - 633K conventional, 16MB XMS, 32MB EMS,
    512MB DPMI.
  • Background DOS application execution.

Better Windows than Windows

  • Runs Windows 2.X and 3.0 apps
  • Better protection via MVDMs
  • Cut/Paste and DDE to OS/2 PM apps
  • Benefit from OS/2's HPFS, pre-emptive multitasking, 4K demand

Better OS/2 than OS/2
Easy to use

  • Workplace Shell - drag and drop, object oriented, applets, graphical
    install, server install.
  • Better integration - combine data from DOS, Windows, and OS/2 apps.

Powerful OS

  • 32 Bit Architecture - exploits 386, 486 flat memory model, 4k demand
  • Protect mode . NVDMs, apps run in protected memory
  • Pre-emptive multitasking. Multiple threads.
  • HPFS and enhanced FAT
  • Adobe Type Manager built-in


  • Better architecture - as above
  • Reliability, Service and Support - Built in and backed up by IBM.

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IBM's Repositioning of MS DOS and Windows


"DOS and Windows are only appropriate for simple applications on lower-end
hardware. For higher-end hardware, sophisticated apps, mission critical
development, connectivity, or full support for IBM's hardware, you need the
advanced features of OS/2 2.0."

Support Points

DOS is a weak foundation

  • Primitive memory management, not protected, not multitasking, not

Windows is just a DOS extender

  • Adds a GUI "shell" to DOS, but not protected, not pre-emptive,not 32
    bit, not reliable, doesn't connect to IBM hardware.

IBM's Attack Plans by Channel

Corporate Accounts/Corporate Developers

Traditionally IBM's strongest area. They will market OS/2 into corporate
account segments by:


  • Build on years of MIS direction setting power to make OS/2 the
    corporate standard. A full court press by IBM reps
  • Use the Early Experience beta program to promote early trial and
  • Show how OS/2 becomes the strategic foundation for enterprise
    computing - SAA, CUA, connectivity, etc.
  • Position OS/2 as a requirement for connecting with IBM hardware.
  • Introduce FUD that not going with OS/2 will threaten IBM support for
    IBM hardware and big-iron systems.

Corporate Developers

  • Position OS/2 as the strategic foundation for enterprise computing -
    SAA, CUA, connectivity, etc.
  • Position OS/2 as THE choice for stability, protection, multitasking, and
    32 bit benefits for mission critical application development.
  • Promise developer support with IBM sponsored and third party
    development tools, conferences, and developer seminars.

Corporate End Users

IBM traditionally not focused or skilled at directly reaching end users. But
they will make a bigger push at this than ever before by:

MS 0072033

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Microsoft Confidential — Do Not Distribute

  • Reaching end users through a broad advertising and PR campaign on
  • Rolling out a Windows to OS/2 upgrade program.
  • Using OS/2 mission critical apps to drive OS/2 onto organization



  • Huge advertising campaigns for OS/2. Big ongoing presence now in
    trade press, and business trade campaign at product ship. Currently
    executions likely to be continued product awareness/positioning
    campaign as currently running. Launch ads likely to focus on big
    announcement campaign at ship with direct response upgrade ads. Post
    ship likely to be a momentum/testimonial campaign. Also, currently
    running some TV spots as part of the 10 year anniversary of the PC,
    focusing on PS/2's.Likely that these will shift to highlighting OS/2 2.0
    at ship.



Increase presence at major tradeshows and vertical MIS related shows and
make OS/2 their central message.

Press editors

  • The OS/2 vs. Windows issue naturally takes on bigger proportions with
    the press as an IBM vs. Microsoft story. This may tend to increase
    overall coverage of OS/2 vs. Windows issues.
  • Unprecedented (for an IBM software product) press tour scchedule. Will
    meet with editors regularly, and supply with white papers, videos,
    demos, etc. Key PR messages will be 1) OS/2 is leading OS technology,
    and 2) IBM is customer driven and committed to meeting its promises.


  • Recruit and buy key development tools for OS/2 PM as needed - Borland,
    Micrografix, etc.
  • Use every leverage point they have to get major ISV's to commit to PM
    apps - offer "partnerships" with IBM, co-marketing deals, official IBM
    endorsement of their apps and sales force backing. Even outright
    payment for PM apps.
  • Promote OS/2 as the leading technology platform for developers.
  • Highlight unique advantages over Windows.
  • Position OS/2 as the safe future direction.


IBM's goal is to

  • Make sure OS/2 works on key OEM hardware.

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  • Prevent Microsoft from offering MS OS/2 to OEMs, so that OEMs
    are forced to go to IBM to be able to provide it to their customers who
    want it. (Rich Fade- is this correct?)
  • Offer low-price royalty deals with OEMs. Try to get OS/2 bundled/pre-
    installed to the exclusion of Windows.


IBM's goal will be to get wide distribution for the first time. A key challenge
will be moving out from PS/2 resellers into broader channels. IBM will likely:

  • Launch a retail SKU for SRP of $149.
  • Offer a small OS/2 upgrade SKU for all MS DOS users for $49.
  • Create aggressive programs for bundling OS/2 with PS/2 machines.
  • Do a major reseller tour 2-3 months before launch, highlighting OS/2
    end user and corp. account demand generating programs, then offering
    big stocking program incentives to get sell-in.
  • Use an array of marketing funds, stocking credits, display incentives,
    and SPIFFs to promote OS/2 display, local promotions, and RSP

End Users

IBM's goal is to broaden awareness of OS/2 beyond corporate accounts and into
the broader market.

  • Big ad campaign, as above.
  • Use the Early Experience beta program to encouragee early trial.
  • OS/2 end-user upgrade program, including direct upgrade sales and
    direct response advertising.
  • Stronger retail presence for OS/2.


IBM has an even stronger hold on corporate accounts internationally than in
the U.S. Also, they have greater OS/2 penetration and adoption, and relatively
more large corporate organizations have committed to OS/2 development.
IBM's basic strategy will be to:

  • Ship localized versions of OS/2 ASAP.
  • Roll out full marketing efforts as in U.S.
  • Bring even stronger pressure to bear on corporate accounts and MIS
    decision makers. Be even blunter about tying OS/2 to IBM hardware for
    connectivity and continued IBM support.

MS 0072035

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Microsoft Confidential — Do Not Distribute

Comparing Windows 3.1 and OS/2 2.0

Windows 3.1 vs. OS/2 2.0

See the Attachment 2 draft of a "Fast facts" comparison card which lists
Windows advantages and parity features wiih OS/2. We can list over 100 items
in which OS/2 does not offer equal functionality, support, or compatibility in
areas such as user interface, hardware support, application support,
performance, and industry support.

Critical issues for customers comparing Windows 3.1 and OS/2 2.0

However, for the broadest end user market, a critical insight is that much of
this detail will not be meaningful. When comparing Windows and OS/2, there
are 2 major customer segments that have different information needs to
determine what operating system to choose.

Intensive Evaluators

MIS decision makers, corporate developers, OEMs, and press reviewers are the
most "intensive" evaluators who will make the most thorough and product-
oriented comparison. For these groups we need to muster an array of
information- quick comparisons, detailed evaluation guides, white papers on
key topics, performance benchmarks, developer migration guides, etc.

End Users

The end-users and resellers representing the broadest market will be less
"intensive" evaluators, who will make decisions primarily on net impressions
and recommendations of others. For these groups we must boil down our key
competitive messages vs. OS/2 into a simple repositioning that gives them a
compelling reason to stay away from OS/2.

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Attack Plan - Repositioning OS/2

We need simple, compelling message for the broad market, and a detailed,
product-focused message for sophisticated evaluators and developers.

Repositioning OS/2

"OS/2 is too impractical and incompatible for most PC users."

Support Points for the Broad Market


  • OS/2 doesn't support Windows 3.1, so is incompatible with my Windows
  • OS/2 doesn't run a lot of Windows applications correctly.
  • OS/2 doesn't support many non-PS/2 machines.
  • OS/2 doesn't support many popular peripherals- printers, video displays,


  • OS/2 only runs on 386 4MB machines or greater.
  • OS/2 is big and complicated, and will be a training challenge and a
    support headache.
  • OS/2 doesn't really let you use your installed base of Windows
  • OS/2 doesn't really let you leverage your Windows skills and knowledge.
    The Workplace shell has its own new rules, and will take a lot of

Additional Support Points for the Evaluator

In addition to the above support points, we will add the following for the more
sophisticated evaluator customer:


  • More detail on how OS/2 does and does not support Windows and
    Windows applications.
  • Cut/Paste metafiles
  • DDE problems
  • TrueType support?
  • OLE support?
  • Performance comparisons of Windows apps on Windows vs. OS/2
  • Code page handling problems

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Confused Product Strategy

  • What is OS/2 3.0 going to be? What about Nextstep, GO. Pink?
  • IBM does not have a clear OS product strategy.

A Compromised Development Platform

  • Doesn't have the acceptance and support that Windows does.
  • Not really 32 bit. Move towards Win 32.
  • Not really protected- MVDMs can bring down system, no local reboot,
  • Performance hit for PM apps.
  • Problems with device support.

Windows works today and tomorrow

  • 3.1 offers reliability and complete Windows application support.
  • Windows connects in your environment. Robust connectivity solutions
  • Windows has a clear product strategy moving towards a modern,
    protected, non-compromised OS with Windows NT.
  • Your investment in Windows will be protected 100%- from customer
    end user training to your current Windows code.

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Attack Plan -Future Development Strategy

Development Strategy for Incompatibility

Short Term - Deny IBM's "Better Windows than Windows"

Preventing the customer perception that OS/2 delivers real Windows support,
while at the same time increasing the penetration and adoption of Windows
3.1, will remove OS/2 from the consideration set for most customers. We must
use every Windows-related development activity as an opportunity to destroy
this claim, both in terms of actual product compatibility and then in terms of
customer perception.

Long Term - Development Opportunities

TBD based on analysis by Brian Moran.

Will focus on fundamental development issues that would prevent OS/2 from
claiming Windows compatibility, or from running Windows applications
correctly. Some possible areas for investigation- problems for API mapping,
Metafile extension problems, problems handling different codepages, driver
design, patenting unidriver, etc.

Product Opportunities

Windows 3.1

Raises the bar with TrueType, OLE. Need to quickly drive market acceptance
of Windows 3.1 so that it redefines what it means to be Windows, and so makes
OS/2 2.0 obsolete the day it ships.

Multimedia extensions to Windows

Windows supporting the latest multimedia technology, and is leading the
industry toward a common standard. OS/2's multimedia efforts do not support

Windows for Pen Computing

Windows again leads the industry in implementing and standardizing leading
edge technology. OS/2 again is incompatible, and IBM's pen efforts are
confused and non-standard.


Networking for Windows, not Windows under OS/2. Raises the bar again for
what Windows is and brings to customers.

Win 32

A 32 bit operating system that OS/2 does not offer or support.

MS 0072039

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Windows NT

A modern, protected OS that fulfills the promise of a powerful OS with full
Windows compatibility.

MS 0072040

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Attack Plans by Channel

Development Strategy for Incompatibility

Corporate Accounts/Corporate Developers

Windows Situation

High awareness and trial. Increasing adoption and penetration. Little
awareness of value of 3.1. MIS "on-hold" for long-term strategy decisions.

OS/2 Situation

Heavy IBM shoe leather in large accounts. High awareness with MIS, mixed
outside MIS. Beta trial in MIS. Low trail[sic] and use outside of MIS. MIS-driven
adoption in a few accounts. Little E/U adoption.

For accounts/corporate developers that have committed to OS/2- varying
degrees of uncertainty and confusion over OS directions and futures. Current
commitment makes migrating to Windows difficult politically and technically.


For corporate evaluators/MIS:

  • Maximize beta opportunity to build awareness of 3.1 and set the criteria
    to be used for evaluations.
  • Ship evaluation guide, white papers to beta sites.
  • Have field follow up on beta.

For corporate developers:

  • Make sure they have an opportunity to begin using 3.1 beta 3.
  • Provide with evaluation guides.
  • Produce a "heapwalker" utility that shows how OS/2 is not fully
  • Produce a migration guide for moving from OS/2 development to
    Windows development.
  • Provide a set of development migration aids and tools.


  • Field to kick off large scale evaluation of Win 3.1 and OS/2 2.0
  • Force IBM into the open on issues- Win support, hardware support,
    training, application support, TT, OLE.
  • For developers, make sure that our development migration kit gets wide


  • Field to follow up with info, and close the decision for Windows.
    Continue forcing evaluations, decisions for Windows, and shut out OS/2.
  • Keep developers up to date on latest Windows developments- Win32,
    Win NT.

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Windows Situation

Huge awareness. Win + Win apps increasing as % of sales. Most hot new
apps are Win apps.


Uneven awareness. Very limited distribution. Little customer demand,


Sell in huge launch program to use up a large share of reseller awareness,
resources, and dollars with broad Windows 3.1 training, stocking incentives,
marketing dollars for local promotion, and display incentives. IBM will be
rolling out their channel promotions, but resellers will be betting on Windows
for volume.


Roll out launch program. Build huge traffic and demand for 3.1. Use our high
volume to command high % of reseller resources and so shut out OS/2
distribution and channel promotions.


Use 3.1 launch success to build reseller focus on broadening Windows and
Windows-related sales. Pursue increasing Windows bundles on new hardware,
train RSPs to follow up with Win application sales, encourage top outbound
resellers to provide value added Win services and support. Redefine the
Windows business to be much more than the Windows SKU itself, so as
Windows grows, reseller business does with it, to the relative exclusion of

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Windows Situation

100% awareness. High adoption. Broad support.

OS/2 Situation

High interest in MS vs.IBM story, Win vs. OS/2 story. Skeptical of IBM
claims. Will hold IBM to promises.


  • Reinforce our customer focus.
  • Make sure reviewers understand significance of 3.1.
  • Ship evaluation guide for use when looking at betas.
  • Set the criteria for what makes a great OS.
  • Set a high bar for Windws compatibility claims on OS/2 with the press.


  • Saturate press with Win 3.1 info, momentum.
  • Ensure all editors, reviewers equipped with info for evaluation.
  • Compare shipping OS/2 against IBM promises.
  • Encourage evaluations.


Shut out OS/2 from winning endorsements. Reaffirm Windows as the people's
choice and the path to the future. Focus on Win 3.1 success and momentum with
customers and in the industry.

MS 0072043

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End Users

Windows Situation

High awareness. Broad trial. Increasing adoption and usage.

OS/2 Situation

Uneven awareness. Very limited trial.

No broad end user adoption.


Increasing Windows satisfaction- Focus newsletter, WTW's, Resource Kit.

Show broad Win adoption and support- ads, PR, apps.


Touch 50X the number of people IBM can touch through Focus upgrade
mailings to 1MM+, Introductory WTWs at launch to 50K+, and broad presszbr/> coverage.

Drive Win 3.1 awareness and adoption on an unprecedented scale

Reposition OS/2 as impractical, incompatible, and obsolete in minds of
customers through PR messages, evaluation materials, and comparison guides.


Continue driving Win 3.1 awareness and adoption.

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Windows Situation

OEM support growing in breadth and depth. Increasing customer demand for
Windows is clear to OEMs. OEM Window shipments growing in US and Intl.

OS/2 Situation

Little internal OEM support for OS/2. However, OEMs must be able to address
the needs of their corporate customers who have committed to OS/2. Critical
insight is that OEM needs for responding to OS/2 are the same as corporate
account/corp. account developer needs, since these are the customers OEMs


Use upcoming 3.1 launch as opportunity to increase overall Windows OEM

Develop corporate account materials for distribution by OEM sales forces-
evaluation guides, product comparisons, OS/2 to Windows development
migration guides and tools.

Train top OEM support staff on Windows 3.1.


Announce new Windows 3.1 OEM deals.


Follow up with additional support and evaluation materials as needed.

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Windows Situation

Very broad ISV support. ISVs are market driven, so are focused on Windows
as the hottest platform in the market.

OS/2 Situation

Uneven support among commercial ISVs. A few pockets of ISVs support OS/2
if tied to IBM in some way, or for vertical apps for OS/2 accounts. The best
and largest ISV development efforts are all focused on Windows.

(From CameronM's perspective, commercial ISV's are not a real issue given
market focus. The hard problem is corporate developers who are not affected
by market, and may already be committed to OS/2 development. See Corporate


Encourage ISV development requiring/supporting Windows 3.1 functionality.
Adopt internal longer-term development strategy to make OS/2 incompatible.


Highlight applications that take advantage of 3.1.


Ongoing evangelism for development for new Windows products- Win32, Win

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Windows Situation

High awareness and trial. Adoption slightly trailing U.S.

OS/2 Situation

High awareness. High trial among developers and evaluators. Many corporate
accounts heavily influenced by IBM, and already committed to OS/2.


Follow U.S. program for leveraging the Windows 3.1 beta for increasing
awareness and evaluations.

Localize and distribute evaluation guides, white papers, and competitive

Encourage subs to follow launch activities with same goals as U.S. programs
for resellers, corp. developers, and OEM's.


Simultaneous launch as U.S.


Roll out Intl Champions programs to drive adoption. Localize Resource Kit,
Focus, and WTW's.

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MS Field Sales Force

Windows Situation

Big Share Drive focus on Excel-Word. Don't really sell Windows. Perception
problem with 3.1 seen as minor rev.

OS/2 Situation

IBM in some of their accounts. A few alarms and fires. Need more tools and
info to combat.


Win 3.1 product training for entire field at RKO's. Provide competitive tools
and info.

Roll out beta evaluation program with wide field support- find 2,000 evaluators
for the evaluation beta kit, with field follow-up on key evaluators in corporate

District rollouts in Feb-March to train on selling Windows, competition.

Broad CPP in March, tied to evaluation materials.


Launch events in 20 districts with top Corp. Account decision makers and top

A week of WTW for corporate account support professionals, consultants, and


Upgrade promotions in accounts.

Close evaluation decisions in favor of Windows.

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Development Strategy

Review products and product strategy for opportunities to prevent OS/2 claims
for Windows compatibility.

Competitive Tools

Fast Facts comparison card

The quick comparison on why Windows 3.1 is a better choice for customers
than OS/2 2.0. For use by Field, Resellers, Corp. Accounts.

Evaluation Guide

A detailed operating system reviews guide. Designed for corporate account
evaluator and press reviewer. Sets up criteria for a great OS, and details why
Windows is the best choice. Detailed technical product comparison on key
issues, and comparison of future product strategies.

Migration Guides

Migration aids and development tools are need[sic] for corporate developers using
OS/2 but migrating to Windows.

Product Information Tools

White Papers


An overview of our OLE integration strategy and implementation in 3.1.

TrueType and fonts
Overview of our TrueType technology and benefits for users. Also
compatibility with other font packages.


Windows 3.1's built-in crash protection- parameter checking, recoverable
application errors, global state cleanup after fault, Dr. Watson.


A overview of the connectivity solutions available for Windows.

Windows disk caching

Overview of our new disk caching technology. Performance increase

MS 0072049

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Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun - Updated 2Xs | 613 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:21 PM EST
Please summarize in the Title box error->correction or s/error/correction/ to
make it easy for people to scan the already noted corrections.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic threads
Authored by: bugstomper on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:23 PM EST
Please stay off topic here. Do put something informative in the Title box and if
you can, post in HTML Formatted mode with clickable links.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:26 PM EST
Pick your News from the News Picks sidebar and comment on it here. Please
identify the article in the Title box to make it easy for people to scan the
threads and decide what to read. Please post in HTML Formatted mode with a
clickable link to the News Pick article in your comment for the convenience of
the readers once the article has scrolled off the sidebar.

[ Reply to This | # ]

COMES goes here - 2314 to go
Authored by: bugstomper on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:47 PM EST
Find a Comes v Microsoft document, transcribe it with HTML markup.
Post it here in a comment as Plain Old Text
with the HTML tags to make it easy for PJ to copy and paste.

The easy way to find a document that needs transcriptions is on the
Comes v. Microsoft Exhibits by Number pages.
Scroll down to find one without a transcription.

Shell script to display how many Comes documents have not yet had descriptions or transcripts posted
(updated for new 11 page layout)

curl -s \
"[0-1][0-9]" | \
grep -c '<td></td>'

Shell script to display the numbers of the next N documents whose descriptions or transcripts have not yet been posted.
Change the 5 to however many of the next available document numbers you want to see.

n=5 ; \
curl -s \
"[0-1][0-9]" | \
grep -m $n -B 1 '<td></td>' | \
sed -n 's/.*"E\(.*\)"><a.*$/\1/p'

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: rhdunn on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 06:03 PM EST
Microsoft was never interested in interoperability. It is interested in two
1/ selling Office and Windows; and
2/ locking people into the Office and Windows stack.

If you look at the move with MOOXML, it is designed to prevent ODF from having
the advantage:
1/ ODF is an ISO standard, so Microsoft did everything they could to make
their format a standard as well, so they could get the check in the box for that
feature being pushed by governments;
2/ ODF is an XML+ZIP based format ... which MOOXML is. Coincidence? I think
not. MOOXML was designed that way to move them away from the binary format (but
just as indecipherable) and prevent ODF having the advantage here.

With the release of the Outlook/PST stuff, that is aimed at the same thing:
keeping governments using the Microsoft stack and giving them the illusion of

In addition to this, Office 2007 introduced the Ribbon. While this may have some
usability/design process behind it, it has conditions placed on it on how it
must be implemented -- specifically, you must implement the UI behaviour exactly
the way that Microsoft has; you must update the UI to reflect changes that
Microsoft make to the Ribbon within 6 months and you must not use it with
competing products. This is clearly aimed at preventing OpenOffice/LibreOffice
from following suite like it has with other Office versions.

Microsoft are desperately trying to cling on to their main products that make
them money (Office and Windows) while throwing away that money chasing better
products (iPhone, Android, etc.). Just look at what they did to the netbook for
another example (give away XP, pressure Asus, dictate specs. for what is and is
not classified as a netbook).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 06:53 PM EST

My understanding of some Microsoft tricks:

OS/2 with Windows 3.1:

IBM was still under anti-trust agreements which required that products must not
be pre-announced more than 3 months prior to shipment.

IBM had the right to include the current shipping version of Windows.

OS/2 was announced with support for Windows 3.x and this had been built around
the version shipped to manufacturing. MS held up release for a couple of months
until the 3 months were up. IBM had to ship or break the anti-trust agreement.
They had to rebuild OS/2 with the older Windows 3.0 and ship that.

OS/2 diskettes:

Just before IBM sent another version of OS/2 to manufacturing MS went around all
the floppy dsik manufacturers and bought their next 6 months production. OS/2
required 30 odd diskettes so they could not produce, or sell, many copies of the
product. MS had warehouses full of diskettes and many were enventually dumped
into landfills.


Up to version 1.41 (IIRC) Win32s worked fine under OS/2 with Windows. OS/2
virtual addressing was limited to 2GBytes per process while Windows 3.x had an
address range of 4GBytes. MS added a completely spurious access to an address
above 2GByte the only effect was that version could not run under OS/2.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OpenOffice name finally discredited
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 07:25 PM EST
I guess Oracle did us a favor by forcing a fork of Open Office. I was afraid
Novell's version and Oracle's version and who knows how many other versions of
Open Office would muck up the brand. And it did.

Now, with LibreOffice, the OpenOffice brand can be safely discarded without
further thought.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 08:21 PM EST
About the .pst files, it would be nice to have the tools.
Why? Because I converted from Microsoft Outlook (on Windows)
to Thunderbird on Linux, and have a LOT of emails stored in
offline pst files. So, it would be nice if I could retrieve
those WITHOUT having to load up Windows, load up Outlook,
set up my gmail accounts, copy the emails over, and then
open Thunderbird to pull them all down.

It would be really nice, if I could open Thunderbird, import
the pst files, and have everything work nicely....

Like I said, it would be nice, but I'm a realist to know
that it won't happen. Microsoft won't easily allow Mozilla
(or any other email client) to use their pst files, and the
community won't accept anything that Microsoft provides
(even if they did completely allow other clients to use the

So, I guess the only solution is to find a workaround
(either by looking at the source code that Microsoft
supplies and creating a different implementation, or just
hacking the pst files and creating an implementation)...

Now, if only I were a coder....

Have a great day:)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Former 'partners' that Microsoft shafted
Authored by: egan on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 09:02 PM EST

There are at least several, probably many former 'partners' that Microsoft has used, abused and in some cases trashed in its Borg-like drive to maintain its monopoly, even - or maybe especially - if that means destroying its competitors and smaller players in the IT industry. And perhaps this category includes all so-called Microsoft 'partners', including the current ones that Microsoft just hasn't betrayed, yet, or that it is undermining or killing but haven't realized it yet.

One immediately comes to mind: Stac Elecronics.

Stac was the company that invented Stacker, a utility used to 'expand' the effective storage volume on disk drives by making use of the previously empty areas at the ends of partially full disk sectors. It worked well, as I can attest because I used it for a while. I also met the company executives when they pitched the product to my Big-8 IT management consultihg firm in the early 1990's, in our Los Angeles office.

Well, Stac also got tangled up with Microsoft, which was a mistake. Microsoft looked at Stacker, engaged with Stac long enough to acquire some design and implementation understanding of the software, and then 'misappropriated' Stac's software technology in its DoubleSpace disk compression program. Litigation then ensued in 1993 through 1994, with Microsoft ending up paying Stac almost $150 million in damages as well as 'investing' about $40 million in the company.

In those days PC disk drives were small relative to today, only about 40MB to 80MB or so in size. That's right, megabytes. But the software bloat of Microsoft's products meant that there typically wasn't a lot of space left available for data after installing MS-DOS, Windows, Microsoft Office and so on. Offloading older data to tape, clunky external disks (remember the Zip drive?) or even floppy disks was common. Stacker was an excellent software product that met a real need at the time.

After the litigation dust settled, Microsoft ended up paying Stac about $7.50 per copy of MS-DOS 6.0 sold that included DoubleSpace. That was a big discount on what Stac could have charged for Stacker, which might have been three or four times that amount, or more. If it had been able to make that cash flow at the time, Stac might have developed other useful PC utilities, maybe ending up as another Symantec or McAfee (for which Intel now wants to pay $6.8 billion).

Hard disk drives using giant magnetoresistance (GMR) heads have since alleviated the space constraints presented by small PC hard disk storage capacities, so the clever software technology invented by Stac is now just a footnote in the history of computing.

However, forever associated with that footnote is the fact that Microsoft took rapacious advantage of Stac near the beginning of its window of opportunity to possibly make a lot of money. Its engagement with Microsoft effectively ended up with Microsoft smothering that small but brilliant company in its cradle.

Although Stac executives and shareholders got some money from Microsoft through litigation, the company has since faded into obscurity.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Krawczak, open source, .pst formats
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 09:29 PM EST
"Krawczak said that before these documents and tools were available,
developers could only access data in the.pst format when Outlook was installed
on the desktop. The new documentation and tools remove that requirement and
broaden access to the .pst file format, he said."

Which is simple incorrect. The libpst project code has been widely available for
over four years, and has been included in Fedora for the last two years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

They launch people paying attention into opposite world
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 09:49 PM EST
That odious company seems to sociopathically have such zero credibility, it's
gotten to the point where just about anything that company says, I believe the

I see "Office Open XML" and I immediately know its a format that's

I see those TV commercials for "To the Cloud!" and I know there must
be something wrong with the cloud and a way there for evil companies to take
advantage of people, and it makes me want to avoid the cloud like the plague.

I see "MS-NBC" on TV and immediately switch the channel.

All they ever do is footgun their own brand, again and again. That's why they
have to name things like "Zune" and "Bing" to try to make
people forget it's them, or the people will go running for the hills.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Katteman - Many thanks for the hard work
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 10:23 PM EST

And thanks to PJ for publishing it.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Concerns - A Different Type of Standard
Authored by: sproggit on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 01:40 AM EST
I'm referring, of course, to ethical standards. I've read most of the commentary
already posted to this article and see a to-be-expected slant in the commentary,
deploring MS and their actions. For what it's worth, I also totally disagree
with the way that Microsoft operates. But there's another standard here, and
it's ours.

When Novell stood up to face The SCO Group in the legal fight that became SCO vs
The World, Novell were our heroes. Now, it seems that they have become the
villains of the piece again, this time by sidling up to Microsoft.

Two quick thoughts.

One, Novell have prostituted themselves to larger and more powerful companies in
return for a pay cheque (they took $50 Million from IBM and much more from
Microsoft). Not once, not by accident, but at least twice and to two parties who
- on the face of it at least - stand at very different positions with respect to

Two, As a community, we have done the same thing. Novell seem to have gone from
an organisation with "Legal Ninjas" (Good) to one with "Ninja
Assassins" (Bad).

Now, I'd be willing to give them a certain amount of leeway by virtue of the
fact that they are currently employing Miguel de Icaza (Mono / Moonlight) and in
my humble opinion Miguel has lost his way, but one would have hoped that Novell,
who saw their Netware business absolutely wiped out by Microsoft, would have
more sense.

Apparently not.

In the FOSS community, Richard Stallman often attracts criticism for his clear
ideology with respect to free software, standards and the like. You see the word
"zealous" written in description of him quite a bit. Yet perhaps we
should consider using the phrase, "The price of freedom is eternal

Personally, I am very uncomfortable with the love/hate swings in respect of the
relationship between FOSS and several "companies" - including Novell,
Canonical/Ubuntu and the like.

It's time we had a more careful, thoughtful, and dare I say more skeptical view
of the world.

[ Reply to This | # ]

a list showing what happens to companies that have partnered with Microsoft...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 02:10 AM EST
Don't forget Microsoft's promise to Spyglass Inc. to pay a percentage of what
they charged for IE - only to "give it away for free".

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm shocked, shocked!
Authored by: Ian Al on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 03:11 AM EST
How long has PJ known about readpst and kept it to herself? About a year ago I
moved to Thunderbird on Linux and could only find a few, ineffective .pst
conversion facilities. Now I find that readpst is in the Kubuntu repository. Now
it is, also, in my email machine. I hope that I can convert my .pst archives
before my ageing Outlook machine finally dies (not long now: I had problems with
another system of similar age (would not boot Linux any more) and found that a
number of electrolytics on the motherboard were badly domed.

Anyway, must just get a few old headings dusted off;

Faulty by design

Legally bound to fail

Standards are what you use against your competitors

We fully support open software

We always respect other companies intellectual property

I wanted to contribute to PJ's list of companies that Microsoft had... that
Microsoft had... I wanted to contribute to PJ's list.

There was a European (possibly, English) company that had a mobile technology
agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft, effectively, stole the technology and the
company went bust. I think it was late 90's, but Google is so full of Microsoft
wrongdoings that I cannot find a link. Can anyone remind me of the name of the

Finally, the real comment. The SCO bankruptcy court argued that Novell
effectively controlled Suse and parachuted in top Novell execs to run the
business. How much of the Novell/Microsoft poison dripped into the Suse
operation? I could imagine the European Suse staff being very resistive to such

At the time of the Novell/Microsoft agreement, many folk said that they would
drop Suse. Have we any evidence, now, to show that this is a wise move? I have
never used Suse, but thought in the past that such a reaction might be over the

Ian Al
SCOG: Yes, they hit the ground. The lawyers are now taking them to the centre of
the Earth. The 'centre of the Earth' is irony.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: The MS Dirty Trick Page on Grokdoc
Authored by: Winter on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 03:43 AM EST

For anyone interested. There is a wiki page on Grokdoc with a history of MS dirty tricks. Has many more examples, but needs some updates. (and I am very hard pressed for time)

A History of MS' Standards 'Dirty Tricks'

Please feel free to add the information current Groklaw post to this page.

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 | # ]

MDY v. Blizzard
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 05:11 AM EST

"A Mixed Ninth Circuit Ruling in MDY v. Blizzard: WoW Buyers
Are Not Owners – But Glider Users Are Not Copyright

Legal Analysis by Corynne McSherry

The Ninth Circuit today issued its decision in the second of
a trio of cases that raise the critical legal question of
whether "magic words" in a end-user license agreement (EULA)
slapped onto a consumer product can turn buyers (or gift
recipients) into mere licensees, rather than owners.
Following its previous ruling in the first of these cases,
Vernor v. Autodesk, the court today said yes — but there’s a

The case (which we've covered previously) pits Blizzard, the
maker of World of Warcraft, against MDY, the maker of a
program called Glider (what Blizzard calls a "bot") that
lets you play WoW on "auto-pilot" up to a certain level.
Blizzard won in the district court, successfully arguing
that WoW purchasers do not "own" their software, but merely
"license" it. On this dystopian view, Blizzard owns every
WoW DVD ever shipped for all eternity and may be able to use
copyright law to punish WoW players who use the software in
any manner not authorized by the "license" (like using
Glider). The district court agreed, and MDY appealed.

Ownership matters, because otherwise Blizzard and other
software vendors can wipe away important consumer rights
with legalese contained in license agreements. For example,
in Section 117 of the Copyright Act, Congress gave owners of
computer software the right to use their legitimately
purchased software without having to rely on permissions in
license agreements — but that right applies only to owners.

In September, the Ninth Circuit held that buyers of software
(and possibly DVDs, CDs and other "licensed" content) are
not owners as long as the vendor saddles the transfer with
enough restrictions to transform what the buyer may think is
sale into a mere license. Today, in yet another blow to user
rights, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Blizzard’s license
restrictions for WoW accomplish the same purpose.

However, the court also held that using Glider in WoW play
in violation of Blizzard’s terms did not amount to copyright
infringement. Blizzard had argued that MDY was secondarily
liable for copyright infringement because it provided
software that allowed users to play in unauthorized ways.
Not so, said the appellate court, because there was no
direct liability to begin with. The license term that
forbade WoW players from using Glider was a covenant — a
promise not to do something — rather than a condition —
limiting the scope of the copyright license. And while
violating "antibot" covenants might breach a contract, it
does not violate any copyright. (By contrast, creating a
derivative work might.)

This point may seem a bit arcane, but it's crucial because
it helps avoid a situation in which violating contracts and
EULAs could result in a copyright infringement lawsuit (with
the heavy club of statutory damages, attorney's fees and low
standards for injunctions) rather than just a simple breach
of contract claim. As the court observed:

"Were we to hold otherwise, Blizzard — or any software
copyright holder — could designate any disfavored conduct
during software use as copyright infringement, by purporting
to condition the license on the player's abstention from the
disfavored conduct. The rationale would be that because the
conduct occurs while the player's computer is copying the
software code into RAM in order for it to run, the violation
is copyright infringement. This would allow software
copyright owners far greater rights than Congress has
generally conferred on copyright owners."

There’s much more to this ruling — for example, the court
holds that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions around
access controls do not require some nexus with copyright
infringement, contrary to several other appellate rulings.
It’s a worrisome development indeed, and one that worked
against MDY here (the court affirmed liability). This sets
up a conflict between federal appellate circuits, which may
eventually have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

The issues raised in this trio of cases remain live — Vernor
has sought en banc review, and no decision has issued in the
third case, UMG v. Augusto. We'll report on developments as
they occur.

Related Issues: DMCA

Related Cases: UMG v. Augusto"

[ Reply to This | # ]

MILESTONE #5 - Novell OpenOffice opening and saving OpenXML files
Authored by: luvr on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 06:03 AM EST
What strikes me is the wording used to refer to OpenXML: on the one hand, Novell OpenOffice should be able to read (the supported features of) OpenXML files as generated by Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010; on the other hand, it should write OpenXML files according to the OpenXML standard.

Hmmm... The “OpenXML standard”—this says nothing about compatibility with Microsoft Office, does it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who cares
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 06:46 AM EST
Just quit using that paid over bloat crap. Problem solved in two ways. LESS cash
for Microsoft and you don't have to worry about supporting stupid no more.

WHAT a giant big deal over nothing. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. BE FREE.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fired for 'buying' Microsoft
Authored by: grouch on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 06:54 AM EST

Every product from Microsoft is designed primarily as a weapon -- against standards, against competition, against your ability to take your data and work elsewhere. Their history proves this. These products dangle a flashy bauble to entice targets to ignore the included trap. The touted functionality is almost always more poorly implemented than available elsewhere, as usefulness takes a poor second to Microsoft's goal of locking you and your data into their revenue generation scheme. You are to be consumed and used to recruit others via the network effects of deliberate incompatibility.

Anyone who "purchases" or commits their company to Microsoft products should be fired for attempted sabotage. Making your business a dependent parasite of a parasite is not good for your company's long-term health.

-- grouch

GNU/Linux obeys you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • you go - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2010 @ 12:42 PM EST
What ?? Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 07:36 AM EST
Stuck using MS Office. Whenever I save stuff, I save in an older format that I
know Open Office can use. (Older Open Office, not Novell version.) Do I see
the MS document properly in Open Office? Probably not. I don't give a flying
fig. Just as long as I can get the content. Microsoft can take it's fancy
formatting and ......

Same way with web pages. If it requires silverlight, it's not important enough
for me to see.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, did you forget the GPL?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 07:51 AM EST
Here you have a so-called standard being used for exclusivity, so Microsoft and Novell have special interoperability that others can't enjoy. is released under the GPL, so any changes or additions that Novell includes with their modified version must be released under the GPL as well, and therefore the source code is available to everyone, so everyone could "enjoy" the same interoperability that Novell "enjoys" if they wish to, but I'm not sure most would wish to, nor would they refer to it as "enjoyment".

[ Reply to This | # ]

yet more juicy quotes ..
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 08:06 AM EST
Aug 1998: "I think we need to think very carefully about how much we want Windows to compete with OS/2 in the OEM channel and for ISV's attention. The strains that show in our strategy now are temporary, and should not allow us to lose sight of the goal of making OS/2 the next generation operating system as quickly as possible .." link

"In december, OS/2 shipped initially from IBM and very quickly on the heels from Zenith, and some other computer manufacturers. That was great, that was a quater early, that was a foundation piece. I'll talk more later about how I expect OS/2 sales to wrap up. It was very very impostant in order to prove the credibility of this next-generation platform, that we drive a stake in the ground and ship something. So I was super enthustiac that we shipped OS/2. We shipped it a quarter early, and that was exciting" lin k

July 1991: "SteveB went on the road to see the top weeklies, industry analysts and business press this week to give our systems strategy. The meetings included demos of Windows 3.1 (pen and multimedia included), Windows NT, OS/2 2.0 including a performance comparison to Windows and a "bad app" that corrupted other applications and crashed the system .. The demos of OS/2 were excellent, crashing the system had the intended effect -- to FUD OS/2 2.0" lin k

June 1994: OS/2 "Crush" Plan - Draft ..

"OS/2 'Crush" will focus, in the next 6 months, on OS/2s three major weaknesses: compatibility & support, performance running Windows applications, and a deadend future. Armed with the best test data available to date (including missing drivers, broken apps, bugs discussed on Compuserve, bugs fixed by IBMs latest service pak, and hard hitting performance results), we will proactively meet with the weeklies, distribute OS/2 response docs integrally to our field and externally on CS, and kick off a 30-city user group tour to stop IBM from further successful promotion of OS/2 ..

hit IBM where it hurts the most: hire David Barnes for 2HCY94 Chicago user group tour, kick off legal initiatives on false advertising and usage of Windows code in OFW ..

Leak to press possible legal infringement on use of code, raising questions on royalty obligations to MS" link

[ Reply to This | # ]

OS/2 vs. "Windows"
Authored by: theMutant on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 11:24 AM EST
As I remember the statements going at the time, IBM had a development contract
with M$ by which OS/2 would forever be compatible with Windows and able to run
Windows programs. The way that M$ shafted them at the time was to rebrand
"Windows" as "Windows 95". M$ made sure that they did not
refer to Win95 as just "Windows" in order to maintain that it was a
new product line and not subject to the contract, thereby leaving OS/2 only able
to maintain compatibility with Windows 3.1 or earlier. I was very pleased with
the stability of OS/2 on our network and was very sad to be forced to replace
those systems with Win95.

David W. Cooney
the Mutant o)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Success with Microsoft: Commodore?
Authored by: greed on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 12:01 PM EST
As far as I know, Commodore is the only company who had deals with Microsoft
that didn't result in their death: instead, they managed to kill themselves off
with hubris. (We bought the Lorraine from Amiga, Inc, and now we never need to
improve it! Yay! What, the world moved on without us? *dies*)

As far back as 1978, Commodore computers all came with Microsoft BASIC. All
their 8-bit machines, from the first PET to the 128, and most importantly the
VIC-20 and Commodore 64, had some version of BASIC in ROM by Microsoft. They
didn't always make a big deal about the Microsoft part; and for some reason they
used an older dialect in the machines that made it big. (Most PETs and CBMs had
Microsoft BASIC V4, the VIC-20 and C-64 had V2. The 128 had V7 [IIRC, I don't
have any of the 8-bits hooked up right now], and I don't remember what was on
the +4 or 16, and most people don't even remember them existing.)

I had heard--though cannot confirm--that Commodore had a contract with Microsoft
that they would produce a version of Microsoft BASIC for any computer Commodore
made. So AmigaBASIC was also a Microsoft product. (Though Microsoft really
didn't know what "Multitasking" meant. Or "resource
efficiency"; AmigaBASIC used some of the most expensive windowing
techniques available, and busy-waited for events, rather than relying on event
queues and the task scheduler.)

Commodore didn't fail because of their deals with Microsoft. They failed
because they seemed to think, "640x400 jittery interlaced is enough for
anyone," right through the 640x480 @ 256 colour VGA era.

And yes, I'm still mad at them for taking so long to get the AGA Amigas to
market that there was, basically, no longer a market for them.

I still want an A4000T though....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 02:08 PM EST
Wouldn't have happened under Ray Noorda

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sometimes the deal is the symptom - not the cause
Authored by: ralevin on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 05:48 PM EST
I believe in some cases making a deal with MS is a symptom, the company is
already in the downswing. Once MS pushed Netware aside (probably a story in that
as well), what future did Novell have? They tried a bunch of things, but nothing
really profitable. (I don't think they see SuSe as a core part of the company,
even now. And it's hard to see how FOSS support can generate big profit

Yahoo is in a similar situation right now. They have a bunch of websites that
are useful, but nothing making much money. (Sorry, but to the people who run
for-profit companies, money counts for quite a lot.) So when MS, which is very
very profitable, shows up with a box of cash, it's not surprising they make a
deal hopeful that they can turn things around. It doesn't work, but when you're
drowning you'll grab onto anything. Even a shark.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This Article is Now Available in Spanish.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 06:23 PM EST
Thank you, PJ, for your insightful and indepth analysis. It should be very useful to people under the new EUIF, which sadly did not eliminate "RAND" in standards. The good people at Techrights, aka Boycott Novell, have published a Spanish translation of your work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anyone remember Sweden?
Authored by: rcweir on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 08:09 PM EST
Back in August 2007 there was an uproar when it was found out that a Microsoft
employee had offered "marketing support" and "additional support
in the form of Microsoft resources" in return for Microsoft partners
joining the Swedish national body, SSI, to influence Sweden's vote on the OOXML

When that story broke, Microsoft's Tom Robertson defused the crisis by saying
that this was an unauthorized act of a single rogue employee:

"Microsoft corporate policy expressly forbids financial support, of any
kind, to third parties for their participation as a member of a national body
voting on the ISO/IEC standardisation of Open XML. This policy is widely
communicated throughout the company and will be reiterated going forward"

So what does it say when we find out now that Microsoft signed an agreement with
Novell, and as part of that agreement explicitly remunerates them for
participating in the standardization of OOXML? And this was not low level
employee acting alone. This was a inter-corporate agreement, no doubt reviewed
and approved at the highest levels at Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 21 2010 @ 09:38 PM EST
great article PJ keep it up.

Microsoft has not changed. Period end of story. Ever since
their beginning. Why can't the world see it and especially
the DOJ.

They have made a mockery of the legal system and still do it
to this day with frivolous patents and basically snowed the

Has any company did this ever? If so please list them.

But hey its all good warren buffet and bill gates have said
they will give away their fortune so we can all come begging
to their doorsteps when all us dumb open source folks are
out of work and we all knee before them.

My father fought in WWII and this is not what he gave up so
much for so schmucks and spoiled brats like bill gates just
play the system to fulfill their greed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Response from Michael Meeks
Authored by: rcweir on Wednesday, December 22 2010 @ 01:19 AM EST
Meeks posted some thoughts here

To this I would say, yes, ensuring that open source is interoperable with Microsoft products -- one can make that argument. I might disagree with the emphasis on this, but one can make that argument.

However, what Meeks doesn't justify is why is it was beneficial to actively help Microsoft prop up OOXML in ISO? Why did they agree to actively promote -- not just implement -- OOXML? Why did Novell help muddy the waters by promoting a second ISO document format standard? Why were they simultaneously suing Microsoft for using control of file formats against WordPerfect while helping enable Microsoft to do the same thing against OpenOffice? Why did they not just stop once Microsoft had made their OOXML specifications available? Why did they take that extra step to become the OOXML poster boys?

Also, if all this was so very good, then why did it require payment from Microsoft to do this? And why did Microsoft feel like they had to pay for this. People are general willing to do good things for free. And Microsoft doesn't just go around handing out money to competitors.

And if this was all so good and innocent, then why wasn't this agreement disclosed? Generally, in standards committees, at least in better ones, it is expected that you'll disclose that you are being paid to participate by another member of that committee, if such arrangements are even allowed (often they are not).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, Standards, and Incompatibility: 1991-2010 -- And a Novell Smoking Gun
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2010 @ 01:01 PM EST
Regardless of how Microsoft proceeded, IBM failed in marketing OS/2.

The largest failure was in application development. It wasn't just the
overcharging for SDKs. It wasn't just the lack of outreach. It was the
unavailability of development tools for the 32-bit OS/2 2+. There was literally
no mainstream development tool that supported this platform.

Prior to the MS/IBM split, Microsoft had enabled OS/2 support in almost their
entire compiler family, including BASIC. Post-split, you could develop for
16-bit OS/2 just fine using the Microsoft tools. But that wasn't what anyone
wanted - why not just write a 16-bit Windows app that ran on OS/2 anyway, but
also ran on the majority of Microsoft installs?

At the time, popular dev environments for x86 included Microsoft's compilers,
Turbo C/Pascal (Turbo Basic was fading due to lack of support) and some niche C
compilers like Watcom. I'm leaving out the DB development stuff like Clipper
purposely. Only Watcom ultimately offered OS/2 32-bit support. The rest never
did it - Microsoft for obvious strategic reasons and Borland for reasons of
economy, I suspect.

Lack of native applications made OS/2 nothing more than a technological
curiosity. I remember the local user group in New Jersey that I attended had
many enthusiasts at the time of the OS/2 2.0 release - myself included. It
failed to last due to the lack of uses for the core operating system, beyond
emulating DOS and Windows nicely. It ate up more resources than Desqview for
DOS multitasking and it was easier (and faster) just to run Windows 3.1 for
those applications. Also, the workplace shell environment was very
un-Macintosh-like and similarly offputting to anyone who was familiar with
Motif, the Macintosh, or even Windows. I knew lots of people who got used to
it, but I never could.

In summary, let's not revise history. Even if Microsoft hadn't done what they
did, OS/2 would not have succeeded. The necessary marketing and dev support
were not forthcoming from IBM. I also argue (as a former IBM employee) that the
institutional culture in IBM could not have supported OS/2 as Microsoft
supported Windows. It's just a different company with different priorities.

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Mr. Brown not learning from experience
Authored by: ansak on Wednesday, December 22 2010 @ 06:11 PM EST
...nor, it would seem, enriching himself from other people's experience. It was good to see that Alex Brown has at least partially seen the light about Microsoft but I join PJ in decrying their lack of real punitive action.

The really depressing part of his blog entry is when you look at his replies to people who post to his comments saying, "We told you this would happen." and "This is no surprise to us." His remarks towards these folks reads to me as though he believes that anyone who sounds doctrinaire against Microsoft is some long haired crazy (smelly?) who should be ignored until they grow up enough to be considered ready for an adult conversation. Worse still, (and I noticed this opinion first from posts by Rick Jelliffe) anyone who is against any of Microsoft's actions must be an IBM partisan!!? !!?

Admitting for the moment that a lot of people who point up Microsoft's failings tend to sound shrill, he's allowing the tone to keep him from learning the lessons the rest of us have learned how many times over? Some of that shrillness comes of long painful experience. Just ask Stac, WordPerfect (but now part of Novell), DR-DOS (these guys, too) and other small companies (stories common enough to feel like urban legends, but I doubt it) who've been hurt and/or eviscerated by Microsoft's actions in the past. For too many the pain is still too raw to permit of calm, rational-sounding expressions of the concerns -- they still look like a raging forest fire to the past victims (to me, too) and that experience, if Mr. Brown could learn from it might lead him and his colleagues to more efficacious plans of action.

Unfortunately, I think there's a limit to how open-minded ISO/IEC and people who work in that universe (where, perhaps only corporations are considered to exist?) are willing to be, even about Microsoft's behaviour toward the "Transitional" and accepted versions of their, um, "standard". Let's not get our expectations too high. We're sure to be disappointed.


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Update 2.7.8
Authored by: fudnutz on Thursday, December 23 2010 @ 12:42 PM EST
***...Eyes Only...***

RE: Novell Subsidiary

FROM: BW "Barbwire" G

It has come to my attention repeatedly of late that the extent of our dealings
with Novell has been made public. While it shouldn't be a surprise that
companies make deals, the exposing of this one goes beyond embarrassment to

I understand it stems from a long-running and continuously updating story on one
of the key open-source news sites. It goes beyond the geek and coder world, to
the tech media and to corporate headquarters. How long is this story going to
stay at the top? Can't we feed them another story and remove us from scrutiny?

I understand this site has caused us trouble in the past. Can't we withhold our
advertising or have someone buy them out? If not, offer them an advertising
contract they can't refuse. Who is behind it? Who runs the website, the host,
the ISP? Can't we hire them for something? Put an end to this. I don't want
to hear more about this.

What has happened to Mono and Miguel? He has become a "Cassandra"
doing more harm than good. Why aren't we inter-operated into more Linux after
all this time and money? Did we need to buy more than Novell to "eee"
linux? What part if any do we control now? Are the Novell patents going to
work as FUD or in Court? I hear they may be worthless to us because Novell
promised them away.

You forget that we are obliged to maintain our status as a monopoly. A monopoly
means no competition. You have to destroy the competition before it is
competition. Buy or ruin whatever it takes. If you can't marginalize them, buy
all the linux companies. For the price of creating a few millionaires, we
insure our billions down the road.

Report back to me about Google's role in all of this. They must be behind it or
it wouldn't have such legs.


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  • Update 2.7.8 - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2010 @ 07:33 AM EST
Merry Xmass Everyone :-) [Silverwave not logged in]
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 25 2010 @ 06:05 AM EST
Best Wishes to Everyone :-)

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Novell did the right thing
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 27 2010 @ 08:54 AM EST
there is nothing wrong to be able to import/export the format
of the most widely used office package.

Except if you are paranoid or an extremist nutjob. In that case
you cry treason!

But every rational thinking being must applaud those deals -
because they are good for the users. users who don't care
about some paranoid fantasies of some self declared wardens
of the pure fsf-defined free software ideal (in their mind). No,
users care about interoperability.

And Novell tries/d to deliver that. The right thing to do.

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