Archive for the ‘microsoft’ Category

Doug Mahugh of Microsoft writes1 on Twitter:

XPS will be submitted to Ecma within three weeks, likely to be approved at the Ecma GA in June. Have decided not to submit to ISO.”

No ISO submission? Interesting. Note: XPS, Microsoft’s alternative to PDF, depends on their own “HD Photo” (see slide 14) Also known as “JPEG XR”, it is about to be processed through ISO this year.

1 Someone found this piece. As for myself, I believe I’m “too old” to use things like Twitter.

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Eric Brechner of Microsoft says in his blog: (emphasis added)

“When using existing libraries, services, tools, and methods from outside Microsoft, we must be respectful of licenses, copyrights, and patents. Generally, you want to carefully research licenses and copyrights (your contact in Legal and Corporate Affairs can help), and never search, view, or speculate about patents. I was confused by this guidance till I wrote and reviewed one of my own patents. The legal claims section—the only section that counts—was indecipherable by anyone but a patent attorney. Ignorance is bliss and strongly recommended when it comes to patents.”

I applaud the admission here of one of the core problems of today’s patent system; patents simply don’t serve their purpose if they don’t ensure the distribution of knowledge. Now, if software patents would at least be readable, the other problems with that concept would be even more visible…

Software patents is like patenting an element. Putting arbitrary limits on this beast won’t help, and it would be a start to reach this level of debate in wider circles when we talk about patent reform.

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Sometimes it’s very hard to resist making fun of Microsoft. This is such a time, as you can see in this Open Malaysia blog entry. Enjoy two new kinds of BSODs… 🙂

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Microsoft FUD?

Is Microsoft admitting to using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt? Either their Live.com engine is a bit weird, or there’s some curious honesty here. Judge for yourself… 😉


(Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx – search for “fud”. Tip from comm2k.)

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OOXML use cases

ISO has now rendered a decision, and the fight over OOXML could be over soon. Specifically, while there have been no reported irregularities, countries have available another two months to raise concerns. Apparently e.g. Norway has already done so, but I’m sure that misunderstanding will be cleared out shortly.

In any case, there are many good things about OOXML that I don’t know where to start. (I need to double-check the exact meaning of “open” and “XML”, but at least the “Office” part seems clear to me, which suggests a high quality work here.) Indeed, one of my favourite aspects of this standard is its simplicity. For instance, one can safely focus on its two major use cases, namely when:

  • you own Microsoft, or
  • Microsoft owns you.

Actually, this is a rather strong statement, since it has yet to be proven that anyone is currently using or implementing any version of OOXML – especially Microsoft themselves, who apparently are a bit slow on that. No worries though – it’s a standard now, so surely it’s not that important.

I wish ISO and Microsoft best of luck with all the upcoming, exciting standards projects. Clearly, we can expect even better processes that provide for a modernized approach with honest and high fidelity works. We can all thank ourselves for being part of this proud and happy family. 🙂

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CNN notes that the EU is looking into the OOXML actions of Microsoft (the original article requires a subscription).

I wouldn’t count on the EU to show more backbone than last time, but I guess the company won’t be so happy about the timing, considering the BRM takes place in about two weeks from now. (By the way, isn’t all this bad press quite ridiculous? People keep confusing themselves with ideas such as “quality”, or “fair play”. It’s so annoying!)

After that, there’s another month for voting countries to present their final opinion, so I guess we’ll have to wait until the beginning of April for the actual outcome. (Would a rejection from ISO put an end to it, though? Or would an approval of OOXML be taken seriously?)

One thing is clear: both Microsoft and ISO will have to reshape – the length of the rubber stamping process demonstrates clear deficiencies on both ends. Let’s hope for the best.

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(Sorry about the headline, couldn’t resist.1)

Glyn Moody Gets It. In Linux Journal, he writes about OOXML and Microsoft’s successes with OSI and EU antitrust: Is Microsoft Hijacking Open Source?

1 (Also familiar from snail-mailing the “sorry that I forgot to use a stamp” excuse.)

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