Re: Regarding OOXML and Microsoft patents

What does all of this have to do with the GNOME foundation?


On Wed, 2007-18-07 at 01:37 -0400, Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> >      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
> campaign). 
> 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.
> Sure.
> Miguel.
> 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.
> [1]
> [2]
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Andreas J. Guelzow
Pyrenean Shepherds

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