Re: Regarding OOXML and Microsoft patents

>      I would not go as far as saying
>     that OOXML is a sham just because ODF helps us advance our own FLOSS
>     agenda. 
> Why not?  Surely there is nothing wrong with telling the truth to
> support the free software cause.
> If OOXML were not a sham, it would be dishonest to call it one in
> order to achieve our ends.  I would not suggest that, and I have not.
> I suggested that we tell the truth about OOXML.
> OOXML is a sham as a free/open standard, due to dozens of flaws
> described in

The problem is that the above url is far from being truthful.  You do
not have to go too far to find problems with it, starting with the
discussion that we were having on this forum regarding the Microsoft OSP
patent promise.   

For one, the description on that page is at odds with the statements by
Larry Rosen on the license (I included it at the end of this message).
Rosen's statement is from November 2005, and reflects the pre-OSP
promise, but this is discussed in the above url, and considered a
non-starter which puts it at odds with Rosen's position.  

On technical grounds, the document sometimes is right on spot, sometimes
it raises issues that would be good to have clarified, sometimes it goes
down to nitpicking and sometimes it is wrong.   I have touched on some
of those complaints myself in the past [1].

I have no problem opposing OOXML on truthful grounds, but there is an
active disinformation campaign against OOXML and this is precisely what
I oppose.   There is a continuous repetition of the same arguments, the
selective quotation (I have been selectively quoted and out of context
by Mr Weir and other folks in several occasions to advance this

If the same standards that are being applied to OOXML were applied to
ODF, ODF would have not become a standard.   

Repeating myself, I have no problem with the advocacy of ODF over OOXML
for FLOSS software as well as our recommendation for governments, as
long as we remain truthful.

The discussion between ODF and OOXML is about what is an open standard,
and unlike free and open source software there is not a clear cut
definition of what constitutes open.   There is no shame in promoting
ODF on the grounds that this is the standard that is best supported by
FLOSS software in my opinion.  

> What we should do, for the sake of our free software agenda, is make
> an effort to inform the public and governments of this state of
> affairs.



Larry Rosen statement [2]

        I was delighted to learn of Microsoft’s recent "Covenant
        Regarding Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas." This covenant goes
        beyond anything Microsoft has ever done before. It means that
        both open source and proprietary software can compete in
        implementations of these important XML schemas without the
        threat of patent litigation from Microsoft.

        This covenant is at least as generous as the patent licenses for
        many other document formats and industry standards. It includes
        protection for Microsoft against patent lawsuits; this is just
        like the patent defense provisions in many open source licenses.
        And the scope of their patent covenant, even though it is
        limited to "conforming" software products, is sufficient to
        allow open source implementations that can read and write Office
        2003 documents. Microsoft’s covenant is, to coin a phrase, as
        fair and balanced as other licenses or covenants we’ve accepted
        before. I am pleased to see Microsoft move their patent
        licensing strategy this far.
        Microsoft has offered its specification for standardization by
        ECMA, an industry standards organization headquartered in
        Europe. It is important for open source companies to participate
        in this standardization effort, so that we can ensure that the
        specification for the standard is itself developed in an open
        way. If we do that, I’m confident that "conforming" software
        products will evolve to meet customer needs worldwide without
        Microsoft having to dictate the scope of that conformance.
        The first reaction people will have is, "where’s the catch?" I
        don’t see anything we can’t live with. We can participate in
        crafting the standard in ECMA, we can read and write Office 2003
        files in open source applications, and we don’t have to pay
        royalties to Microsoft to do so. It’s a good start.

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]