Re: Regarding OOXML and Microsoft patents

Hi Richard,

	Thanks for your mail.

On Fri, 2007-07-13 at 19:09 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> You are right that open standards cannot substitute for free software,
> but that's a different issue.

	Sure; however - in the presence of resource scarcity such as face-time,
or credibility etc. it's necessary to make hard choices: do we promote
ODF instead of Free Software in a given time slot ? and how is that
presented - ODF as a transient tactic for the advancement of Free
Software ? or "Open Standards Rock" :-)

> However, that doesn't mean the ODF battle is unimportant for us.

	Naturally; and I'm personally rooting for OpenOffice. It's also certain
that ODF's relative simplicity could be a helpful legislative tool in
breaking apart Microsoft's Office suite monopoly: that is certainly a
helpful policy perspective.

	I think the problem for me comes when people start investing lots of
their personal capital in boosting ODF, based eg. not on the advantages
to people of Free Software, and even the usefulness of monopoly busting
to increase the room for us, but instead on fairly spurious minutia.

	As an analogy; a "Creation Scientist" (a view I once held) - might
focus on various real difficulties and corner-cases with the evolution
'theory' ;-) and in doing so will (often) present a substantially
unbalanced view of the benefits and explanatory power of an evolutionary
perspective - while also concealing the many difficulties of their own
position. That makes for good polemic of course, but is hardly fair.

> For the reasons you mentioned, we cannot simply endorse what those ODF
> advocates say.  But we should work for the cause they are working for.

	Of course; inasmuch as their cause is to the benefit of ours, we should
support them with our customary integrity. However, it seems clear to me
that the ODF battle ground incorporates a cacophony of special
interests, and pseudo-technical argumentation, all of which rather
obscures a clear view of the field.

	That is particularly so when 2nd and 3rd hand sources are preferred to
a solid understanding of the issues involved; as (sadly) we so often



 michael meeks novell com  <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

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