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posted by janrinok on Friday May 22 2015, @11:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the threatened-or-lobbying? dept.

When the UK government announced plans to shift to the .odf Open Document Format, and away from Microsoft's proprietary .doc and .docx formats, Microsoft threatened to move its research facilities out of the UK.

The prime minister's director of strategy at the time, Steve Hilton, said that "Microsoft phoned Conservative MPs with Microsoft R&D facilities in their constituencies and said we will close them down in your constituencies if this goes through" "We just resisted. You have to be brave," Hilton said.


Although I am not a great lover of Microsoft, I'm not sure that this is any different than many other companies who will try to protect their profits - and, arguably, the jobs of their employees - when they can see the potential for the loss of business. But perhaps other companies are a little more subtle - especially when it is obvious that official papers will one day become public knowledge.

[Editor's Comment: This submission has been significantly edited - comment is not attributable to sigma]

[Editor's Comment: Please see public apology regarding this story.]

Related Stories

A Public Apology to Microsoft and sigma 83 comments

Janrinok writes:

Apology To Microsoft

On Friday, we published a story, submitted by sigma, alleging that Microsoft had attempted to blackmail the UK Government in order to prevent the adoption of UK policy supporting open document standards. Having looked more closely at the linked material provided, the word blackmail is not used but appears only in the submission that we received. As the editor of that particular story I am personally responsible for not having checked the sources sufficiently well and for subsequently releasing the story. I wish to apologise, publicly and unreservedly, for any suggestion that Microsoft attempted to blackmail the UK government. They did not, nor does the accusation stand up to any scrutiny. We have edited the title to prevent any further misunderstanding by our community or others and I hope that this action and my apology to Microsoft is sufficient to atone for my mistake.

Apology to sigma

The editor's role includes that of trying to look at each story from both sides to provide a balanced approach. We are not here to support one particular view in preference to another but to provide material that will inspire discussion between members of our community. I published the story that sigma submitted, but attempted to balance it with the alternative view that suggested it was not specifically a Microsoft trait to defend one's business and that it could be argued that they were also attempting to protect their British workforce. However, I did not make it clear where sigma's comments ended and where my editing began, although I did add an Editor's Comment explaining that the story had been edited and that not all comments were those of the submitter. sigma has, quite justifiably, objected to this action and I must, therefore, apologise to him personally. I do apologise to sigma, again publicly and unreservedly, for any changes that I made to the submission that he feels reflect badly upon him.

Our Role

This was most certainly not my best piece of work and, of course, I must also apologise to the community. The editors do, however, have to edit stories; members of the community should not expect their submissions to be a platform for their personal views. Some stories require more editing than others to be suitable for the front page. In this instance, I made a mistake. We will always try to find a balanced approach to any story that needs it, as described in the Editing Process.

As I have already said, I take full responsibility for the stories that I release, including the one arising from sigma's submission. We value each and every submission, even those that do not make it to publication however, we do ask that submitters do not suggest events or actions that are not backed up by the source material, or are not easily verifiable by other means.

janrinok
Editor

Ask Soylent: Are Soylent News Editors Overstepping the Mark? 83 comments

Myself and other submitters have noticed that articles are being edited to change the tone and intent of our stories.

Soylentil McD has suggested that "Minor edits, spelling corrections, and such, are no problem and to be expected." but "I think soylent editors should adhere to a policy of not putting words in the submitter's mouth".

I agree with that. If the editors want to add their own two cents, they can respond inline like the rest of us. Their role here is to be responsible, not privileged.

The stories we submit are a reflection of our enthusiasms and beliefs, the tone and character of those posts is as much part of the submitter's story as the actual content. The community is what makes sites like SN and Slashdot before it, an eclectic community with a wide range of opinions, styles and passions will always be more active and interesting than a bland monoculture. SN's editors should embrace and encourage that diversity, not sabotage it to appease some corporate interests.

So what do other Soylentils think? Should the submissions be allowed to stand as a clear reflection of the community's intent, or should the editors change our submissions to suit their perception of suitability?

Locking USPTO Patent Filings into Microsoft with DOCX 70 comments

There are still a few months to fix this, but for now the US Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Acting Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Faile, and Chief Information Officer, Jamie Holcombe, have announced that starting January 1st, 2022, the USPTO will institute a surcharge for applicants that are not locked into Microsoft products via the proprietary DOCX format. From that date onwards, the USPTO will move away from PDF and require all filers to use that proprietary format or face an arbitrary surcharge when filing.

First, we delayed the effective date for the non-DOCX surcharge fee to January 1, 2022, to provide more time for applicants to transition to this new process, and for the USPTO to continue our outreach efforts and address customer concerns. We've also made office actions available in DOCX and XML formats and further enhanced DOCX features, including accepting DOCX for drawings in addition to the specification, claims, and abstract for certain applications.

One out of several major problems with the plans is that DOCX is a proprietary format. There are several variants of DOCX and each of them are really only supported by a single company's products. Some other products have had progress in beginning to reverse engineering it, but are hindered by the lack of documentation. DOCX is a competitor to the fully-documented, open standard OpenDocument Format, also known as ISO/IEC 26300.

DOCX is not to be confused with OOXML, though it often is. While OOXML, also known as ISO/IEC 29500, is technically standardized, it is incompletely documented and only vaguely related to DOCX. The DOCX format itself is neither fully documented nor standard. So the USPTO is also engaged in spreading disinformation by asserting that it is.

Previously:
(2015) Microsoft Threatened the UK Over Open Standards


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday May 22 2015, @11:38PM

    "You have to be brave."

    Britain held off the NAZIs.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:12AM

      by isostatic (365) on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:12AM (#186747) Journal

      Britain held off the NAZIs.

      Not without help from Poland and members of the commonwealth (mainly NZ and Canada, some Austrailia). Also a dozen French, 10 Irish and even 10 Yanks.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:05AM

        by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:05AM (#186754) Homepage Journal

        it is not widely understood that Turing didn't exactly crack the enigma, rather he cracked the daily rotor settings.

        the wiring pattern of the rotors was obtained by two polish cryptographers who nabbed an enigma that was left behind at a polish navy base after the germans moved on to russia.

        --
        Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by isostatic on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:31AM

          by isostatic (365) on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:31AM (#186759) Journal

          the wiring pattern of the rotors was obtained by two polish cryptographers who nabbed an enigma that was left behind at a polish navy base after the germans moved on to russia.

          No, it was americans! I saw a documentary [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:17PM

          by TheRaven (270) on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:17PM (#186879) Journal
          The Germans also did a number of things that made it easier to crack. For example, a few stations would always start their messages with the same text, making it easier to check if you'd got the correct decryption settings. After the war, some of the station operators claimed that this was done intentionally to make it easier for the British to intercept the messages, though it's impossible to verify whether this was actually the case or a retroactive justification of incompetence. The decision to enforce a rule that no rotor could be in the same position as it had been the previous day also significantly reduced the search space, though this one seems to have been simple incompetence.
          --
          sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Friday May 22 2015, @11:42PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 22 2015, @11:42PM (#186710) Journal

    We've seen these sorts of problems for decades, and there's no end to it. It's too tempting for the powerful to resort to threats and bullying to get their way.

    Society takes a lot lying down, even accepts it with resignation. Anti-social behavior gets worse until that changes. No one is surprised when Comcast dishes out appalling treatment to customers. If we could, we would punish Comcast by taking our business elsewhere. There are other things we could do, but there seems no will to do anything more.

    As for MS, most people don't just grudgingly live with their rules that hurt everyone so that MS can make a little more money, many people really like them, think MS has a right to "protect" their business. Even more so with Apple. It's sad how effective the corporate propaganda machine has been.

    • (Score: 2) by marcello_dl on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:14AM

      by marcello_dl (2685) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:14AM (#186720)

      All you need to take business elsewhere is a free market.
      But the free market does not exist in practice.
      So, resistance is futile, but it's also the only option. Bend over and it will simply get worse faster.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:53AM (#186800)

        Free market, bullshit. Free market would require unlimited companies making unlimited diffrerent ways of business. That's why free market is not possible ever. Free market is like a religion. The reality is, there are some companies offering some services and most of the time the services are pretty much the same. Some small differences exist, sure, but not every way of making business is actually possiible. The other part of the reality is that those companies have a certain reach. Sure there's the internet now, so you can order many many stuff from pretty much anywhere, but services are a harder thing to acquire from far away. It's also harder to know what kind of business they are from far away. So you have your choises from what's available locally, and if all of them suck, you are screwed. It does not matter, if no one limits their operation. If they all see, that it's much more better business to be shit in what they do, then they'll probably be shit at what they do. There are limited number of people, there are limited number of resources, free market idea is based on the idea those aren't limited and there always someone who does business the nice way or if not, then someone will always magically create one. Yeah right.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22 2015, @11:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22 2015, @11:44PM (#186711)

    Although I am not a great lover of Microsoft, I'm not sure that this is any different than many other companies who will try to protect their profits - and, arguably, the jobs of their employees - when they can see the potential for the loss of business. But perhaps other companies are a little more subtle - especially when it is obvious that official papers will one day become public knowledge.

    It's not that different, but it is just as immoral, especially due to Microsoft's size. This just means that companies often act in immoral ways, like when companies try to get kids hooked on proprietary software by getting that nonsense into schools (the least appropriate place for that garbage).

    The government shouldn't be using proprietary software at all.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sigma on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:29AM

      by sigma (1225) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:29AM (#186726)

      Please note that I didn't write that paragraph, and consider it to be apologist twaddle. This is NOT the same as many other companies protecting jobs and profits, it is Microsoft attempting to force the government to reduce interoperability with the people the government is supposed to be serving.

      Any company behaving like this should be eliminated from government tenders and contracts immediately.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:39AM (#186740)

        It might be different if MICROS~1's "standards" were actual standards.
        They aren't even "standard" from 1 version of their own product to the next.

        The DOCX "standard" is far from an actual standard.
        What it is is 6000 pages of twaddle.[1]
        It's not a specification; its an encrypted interoffice memo among Microsofties. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [wikipedia.org]

        What Redmond produces is closed and proprietary.
        Any claims otherwise are hogwash.

        [1] OpenDocument Format does it in about a fourth of that--and produces an actual usable spec.

        -- gewg_

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:44AM (#186742)

        Perhaps the UK should tax MS say 200% of the cost they are paying for their proprietary software.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by anubi on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:20AM

          by anubi (2828) on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:20AM (#186758) Journal

          I would not punitively tax Microsoft for selling proprietary protocols...

          But I would hold them responsible for what their proprietary software does. I would tell them if they expected their copyrights, patents, and digital locks to be respected, they would also assume full responsibility for what their software does "in secret" behind the law-abiding and patent-respecting user's back or in his machine.

          Did he open a document to read it, only to be infected with malware? That would not happen if a company knew they are exposing themselves to liability if they release bad code.

          We sure hold car-makers to a high standard. How would we handle it if wheels came off of cars as easily as one gets infected with malware on the web - even while using supposedly "idiot-proof" "walled gardens".

          I hold that if I bought a car, and a wheel came off, I have full rights to inspect the lug nuts, regardless of any "service agreements" I may have with the car manufacturer.

          In the digital world, I get the idea a helluva lotta lug nuts aren't even installed, while the manufacturer of it relies on handshakes with lawmakers to keep customers from doing their own inspections.

          Yes, that means even if Microsoft puts a back door in at GCHQ's request, and that back door gets misused, Microsoft is on the hook for any affected user bringing his machine to the shop to have his machine disinfected.

          If Microsoft wants to play hardball, the government can play pretty well at that game, as anyone who has ever "fought city hall" can attest to.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by cafebabe on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:22AM

        by cafebabe (894) on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:22AM (#186769) Journal

        Any convicted monopolist should be eliminated from government tenders and contracts immediately.

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Saturday May 23 2015, @10:54AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 23 2015, @10:54AM (#186823) Journal

          In which UK court were they convicted?

          If you think that the UK should also respect convictions from other countries - and I'm not arguing one way or another here - what about those convicted by governments and states that you do not support? Should those convicted in various middle-eastern states of apostasy, or of bringing shame upon one's family, also be treated in the same shameful way in the UK? How about those found guilty of certain crimes in China, Tibet or Myanmar? Or is it just big business that should be held to a double standard?

          Currently, the UK is facing a referendum on staying in the European Union or leaving in the next few years. Various companies are making it clear that, should the UK opt to leave, they would take their businesses elsewhere. In what way is that different from Microsoft's actions? I do not support what Microsoft did, but we are criticising one specific company for something that many companies are 'guilty' of. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft should, IMHO, be prevented from bidding for the contracts because their 'standards' aren't open, or even a standard. Some versions of Microsoft software cannot open files created by later versions of the same program, nor can other companies always produce working software based entirely and solely on the specifications - hardly something that I would define as being a standard. But that is not the same as the thrust of TFA.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sjames on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:26PM

            by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:26PM (#186845) Journal

            Surely a conviction anywhere in the EU should be counted in the U.K.

            Discounting countries that have vastly different and incompatible standards of criminality, MS is still a three time loser such that if it was a person, the only employment it could find would involve either a mop and a bucket or "want fries with that?".

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:49PM

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:49PM (#186851) Journal
              Well perhaps you are right - but one of the reasons that the referendum is thought necessary is because we Brits don't like being dictated to by an unelected bunch in Brussels.
              • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:33PM

                by TheRaven (270) on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:33PM (#186883) Journal
                If by 'we Brits' you mean 'the authoritarian wings of the UK parties,' then you'd be correct - they most certainly don't like being told that there are limits on their power. And they're very happy to encourage The Daily Mail and similar organs to frame the argument in terms of sovereignty, rather than checks and balances. The unelected bit is also quite entertaining, given that the electoral system used for MEPs results in a far closer representation of vote than the Westminster Parliament (I'm no fan of UKIP, but a party with over 12% of the popular vote getting under 0.2% of the seats ought to tell you that something is wrong there. But given your comments, I bet you voted 'no' in the electoral reform referendum too). Or are you referring to the Council of Ministers, the organisation that has the most power in the EU and is composed entirely of the people who you want to give the power currently shared among the institutions in the EU to?
                --
                sudo mod me up
              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Saturday May 23 2015, @09:02PM

                by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 23 2015, @09:02PM (#186966) Journal

                UK membership in the EU is largely irrelevant to the situation. As an American, if someone with 3 convictions for financial crimes in the various courts of the EU (including the UK) wanted to be my accountant, the answer would be a very loud NO.

      • (Score: 1) by McD on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:20PM

        by McD (540) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:20PM (#186842)

        Please note that I didn't write that paragraph, and consider it to be apologist twaddle.

        I likewise had a submission edited a bit last week, and now that I think about it, I think I see what bugged me at the time.

        Minor edits, spelling corrections, and such, are no problem and to be expected.

        But I think soylent editors should adhere to a policy of not putting words in the submitter's mouth - if they want to add their own two cents (a practice whose merits are also open to debate, but setting that aside) they should at least be clearly identifiable as coming from someone other than the submitter.

        That was retroactively done here, it looks like, but it should be policy. A simple horizontal rule beneath the submission, with the editors addition below that, would probably suffice.

        • (Score: 2) by sigma on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:53PM

          by sigma (1225) on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:53PM (#186859)

          I think soylent editors should adhere to a policy of not putting words in the submitter's mouth

          Agreed, absolutely.

          "if they want to add their own two cents (a practice whose merits are also open to debate, but setting that aside)" "A simple horizontal rule beneath the submission, with the editors addition below that, would probably suffice."

          I'm going to respectfully disagree with you here. If the editors want to add their own two cents, they can respond inline like the rest of us. Their role here is to be responsible, not privileged.

          The stories we submit are a reflection of our enthusiasms and beliefs, the tone and character of those posts is as much part of the submitter's story as the actual content. I've been fighting for open file, data, and protocol standards since the '80s. The value to the world of fully interoperable cross-platforms is both obvious and immense, but at every stage where it became likely or possible, one company - Microsoft - stepped up to sabotage the effort. For thirty years they've done that in order to maintain their profit and control over the computing world, but they've cost the world's businesses and individuals far more than even the monopoly rents they've they've raked in as a result.

          Their business model is the equivalent of a street thief wrecking a $500 dollar car dashboard to steal a $50 radio. So yes, I'm passionate about it, and when I see my submission being edited to appease those thugs. like you, I'm annoyed.

          The community is what makes sites like SN and Slashdot before it, an eclectic community with a wide range of opinions, styles and passions will always be more active and interesting than a bland monoculture. SN's editors should embrace and encourage that diversity, not sabotage it to appease some corporate arseholes.

          If any of my postings are edited again, I'm gone. I'm sure there'll be plenty who'll say "good riddance", but if you read my submitting and posting history, you'll see I've been a solid contributor here.

        • (Score: 2) by sigma on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:08PM

          by sigma (1225) on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:08PM (#186866)

          I've submitted this as a story.

          https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=7478 [soylentnews.org]

          I think it needs to be discussed and clarified before too much more damage is done.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday May 22 2015, @11:45PM

    it's very common, at least in the united states, for governments to give tax abatements to large employers who are considering locating in their communities.

    But they don't give those abatements to small employers, placing them at a competitive disadvantage.

    It's like to see it made illegal to give such abatements; it seems to me it must already be unconstitutional as being a violation of the equal protection under the law.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:35AM

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:35AM (#186727) Journal

      Especially since it is pitting our communities against each other for the benefit of our corporate overlords. There's plenty of examples of Walmart relocating a few miles down the road when they're due to pay normal tax rates.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Dr Spin on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:31AM

      by Dr Spin (5239) on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:31AM (#186792)

      it's very common, at least in the united states,

      That is not an argument that will help their case. The popularity of "The United States of Corruption" outside its borders is not that great.

      --
      Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by BK on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:42AM

    by BK (4868) on Saturday May 23 2015, @01:42AM (#186741)

    My observation has been that most open standards movements have had a strong nationalist component. Microsoft is seen by Germans and UKians and so many others as an outsider or even an invader and this perception forms a significant fraction of the support for such endeavors. But the fact is that Microsoft is a global company. Hurting them hurts more than America.

    You see the same thing in the USA when the "buy American" folks run up against the hard realities that the Toyotas and VWs that they love to hate are actually built in the USA these days. The home office may be overseas, but the job losses will be local if you lead a campaign against those brands.

    Blackmail is vile wherever it happens. But we make choices based on the apparent consequences every day. I agree it would be great if there were no consequences. It sucks when people tell us about them.

    If the campaign for .ODF is all about open standards and open source and penguins, then great. After all, open standards supporters won't care if jobs are lost at closed standards operations. They deserve it after all. But if the open standards campaigners were leaning on nationalists to be the "useful idiots" who would vote their way for other reasons ... then maybe they suck too.

    Dishonest politicians of all types are a problem. Even if you agree with some of them.

    --
    ...but you HAVE heard of me.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Ryuugami on Saturday May 23 2015, @06:33AM

      by Ryuugami (2925) on Saturday May 23 2015, @06:33AM (#186777)

      You see the same thing in the USA when the "buy American" folks run up against the hard realities that the Toyotas and VWs that they love to hate are actually built in the USA these days. The home office may be overseas, but the job losses will be local if you lead a campaign against those brands.

      This goes the other way, too: you can buy as many iDevices as you like, the factories are still gonna be in China.

      If the campaign for .ODF is all about open standards and open source and penguins, then great.

      The problem with using proprietary formats for government business is that it essentially creates a government-supported monopoly. If you need MS Office to fill in a form your government requires you to submit, you are forced to buy it. The government itself also can't shop around for a better offer: it's MS or nothing. To get rid of the monopoly removing that requirement is a necessity, whether you subscribe to the penguins or not. With that in mind, I'd expand your statement to "If the campaign for .ODF is all about removing a government-enforced vendor lock-in, then great."

      --
      If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
      • (Score: 2) by BK on Saturday May 23 2015, @11:38AM

        by BK (4868) on Saturday May 23 2015, @11:38AM (#186830)

        The problem with using proprietary formats for government business is that it essentially creates a government-supported monopoly.

        I wouldn't dare to disagree, especially with the way moderation works around here.

        But open formats, when one is supported, or more supported, by a particular vendor or product, still represent the government picking winners and losers in the market-place. ODF is only as universal as vendor support. Would you propose to mandate that?

        When the Germans come up with ODFA, must that also be supported? ODFR for the Russians? ODFL for the Liechtensteiners? In the end, this just creates another monopoly by creating barriers to entry.

        --
        ...but you HAVE heard of me.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:10PM (#186901)

          No. With open standards, anyone can make software that supports them. I'd go even farther and say that the government shouldn't use proprietary software at all. The government should promote transparency and education, and proprietary software spits on both of those things.

          • (Score: 2) by BK on Saturday May 23 2015, @07:30PM

            by BK (4868) on Saturday May 23 2015, @07:30PM (#186940)

            ...the government shouldn't use proprietary software at all.

            Fine. Agreed even.

            But if this is truly right, sell it that way. If the politicians who must support such a measure understand and support its substance, they'll be able to correctly balance it with the job prospects of their constituents. But if they think they are supporting a nationalist agenda (and so don't really understand the issue the issue you are advocating), they will be vulnerable to persuasion when they realize that the national issue isn't so clear cut and that local jobs are at stake.

            The alleged persuasion by MS could only work if the open standards folks lied first in the selling.

            --
            ...but you HAVE heard of me.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @09:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @09:32AM (#186814)

      The ODF is not about open source or penguins. ODF is a open file format. The idea it has is that it can be opened with as many editors as possible, so that you aren't locked in to one vendor for the rest of the time in the universe. The idea is that people, of whom there are like 65 million in the UK for example, are able to open the documents the government creates and the documents the people create for each other.

      The other idea is that you can open the old documents, even when that one vendor you'd be stuck if it weren't for ODF, decides that the old format is now dead and you have a server room full of old documents that need to be opened at some point.

      You have so misunderstood the whole idea of open data formats. Open source is an excellent idea, but open data formats does not require open source. The only reason microsoft maybe gets pushed aside when ODF is talked about is because microsoft is so much against open data formats, that it just doesn make sense to include them. It's like hiring a company to paint your house blue and they don't even have blue in their charts and their name is 'we don't paint blue'.

      • (Score: 2, Disagree) by BK on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:23PM

        by BK (4868) on Saturday May 23 2015, @12:23PM (#186844)

        The ODF is not about open source or penguins. ODF is a open file format.

        But people who like penguins like ODF. The [sarcasm] tag is hidden but present.

        The idea it has is that it can be opened with as many editors as possible, so that you aren't locked in to one vendor for the rest of the time in the universe. The idea is that people, of whom there are like 65 million in the UK for example, are able to open the documents the government creates and the documents the people create for each other.

        I'm pretty sure that's called "PDF".

        The other idea is that you can open the old documents, even when that one vendor you'd be stuck if it weren't for ODF, decides that the old format is now dead and you have a server room full of old documents that need to be opened at some point.

        Still called PDF. And, no matter what format you choose, at some point you will have an exabyte of data stored in that format when its coolness has expired and nobody supports it anymore. ODF, DOC, DOCX, and PDF are all vulnerable to this.

        You have so misunderstood the whole idea of open data formats.

        Naw. I just don't respect it all that much. Open formats are formats. More formats are not necessarily better. In fact more formats probably means more confusion. And in this case, selecting a format is more about picking a company or a product [or a nation] than it is about openness. Or penguins. [See! Sarcasm! Ok....]

        Modern WPs programs seem to do fine opening .doc and .docx and can usually save back into these formats. MS products will usually open .odf. Everything saves into PDF now.

        And then there's this. [xkcd.com]

        --
        ...but you HAVE heard of me.
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:07PM (#186865)

          PDFs require costly programs to edit, unless of course you use libre office (atleast that's a program i know that can do this) and include the original ODF inside the PDF, which then you can edit with atleast libre office. Or unless you make a form PDF, which you can then add text / check boxes to predefined points in the document. PDF is good to distributing static/semi-static texts, but not when you want to keep things editable.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 23 2015, @02:14PM (#186867)

          And another point. If you want less file formats, then dump the propietary formats, so everyone can edit the same files. Selecting a format is becomes about "picking a company or a product [or a nation]", because propietary vendors do not want to support open formats. But select libre office, open office they both read/write ODF and many many others aswell. Sure there are problems between their compatibility as well, but that's mostly, because the development of the programs run at different paces. In the end they'll catch up.

    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Saturday May 23 2015, @04:01PM

      by TheRaven (270) on Saturday May 23 2015, @04:01PM (#186887) Journal

      My observation has been that most open standards movements have had a strong nationalist component

      There's a grain of truth to this, because open standards are required for competition. If there's an open standard then there are likely to be multiple suppliers that can interoperate with it and so there's a good chance that there will be a local one. For government purchasing, it's often a good idea that your core infrastructure is provided by people that you can haul up on treason charges if they intentionally provide compromised equipment (or, at the least, that security-cleared people can audit). This is not usually possible with a foreign company. Microsoft has provided the source code for Windows and Office to the UK government, kind-of, but not with enough infrastructure to build it, so there's no guarantee that the code that they've provided is the code that's being run. . It's basically only useful for GCHQ to find exploitable vulnerabilities in, not for them to be able to provide defence.

      --
      sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 24 2015, @10:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 24 2015, @10:53AM (#187138)

      Why "UKians"? It's British -- plain and simple.

      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday May 30 2015, @01:17AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 30 2015, @01:17AM (#189929) Journal

        Usians and Ukians are those who are either not aware of or who are supporting the fascist regimes of the USA and the UK. They are certainly not American or British.

        It would also makes sense to likewise talk of Ausians (instead of Australians) and Nzians (instead of New Zealanders). I'm not entirely convinced Canada merits something similar yet but if it does there's Canians.

        So why use various abbreviations for the countries as a template for new swearwords? To differentiate between the ideals most of those countries are meant to respect and how far away from it the current regimes are. Millions of citizens of each country/federation died fighting against what those countries now are and many more paid a high cost in other ways.

        Slightly confusing nouns with a metallic taste might kick a few more brains into action and maybe a few more will become a bit more observant about what is going on around them.

        Feel free to pass this on. The more the better.

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:05AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:05AM (#186753) Journal

    Of the British Empire?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZKUozrBl4 [youtube.com]
    Monty Python, "Nice army you have here, Colonel. Be a shame if something were to happen to it!"

    Or, conversly, "Nobody expects the BusIness Software Alliance!"

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kaszz on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:46AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:46AM (#186796) Journal

    Microsoft tried this stunt in 2005 with Denmark [ffii.org] too.

    "If I'm to keep my development center in Denmark, then it's a requirement that the question of rights becomes resolved. Otherwise, I will move it to the USA where I can protect my rights" in a conversation with Denmark's prime minister Fogh Rasmussen.

    me.. Me.. ME.. MEEEEE.. MEEEEE!!!! Rights!