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Microsoft Receives Open Source VIP Blessing

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the go-with-tux-my-child dept.

Microsoft 198

* * Beatles-Beatles writes to let us know that Larry Rosen has given his blessing to the new terms that Microsoft is Making their Office XML Reference Schema available under. Rosen, "the attorney that wrote the book on open source licensing and the man who was the Open Source Initiative's first general counsel and secretary," described this move as the "most significant olive branch to date" to come from the Redmond software giant.

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198 comments

fp whore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136379)

WHORE!

WTF editors (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136388)

Ok on the front page 2 submissions from beatles beatles and 2 from prostoalex.
Are there no other worthy people submitting articles?

Standard - oh my. (0, Troll)

ratatask (905257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136390)

Do we really want this mess [oasis-open.org] to become our standards ?

*shrug*, call me a flaimbaiter - but whatever happened to clear and simple ?

--
Petition for iPod to support .ogg [petitiononline.com]

Re:Standard - oh my. (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136410)

Do we really want this mess [oasis-open.org] to become our standards ?

No, we don't.

As the time flies, I'm getting more and more convinced that OSI is actually harming our cause. While RMS sometimes has bad ideas as well (GFDL, GPLv3), Free Software is the way to do. Not the collestion of look-but-not-touch-and-we-reserve-all-rights-to-su e-you licenses endored by OSI and friends.

Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his stuff (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136393)

I'm recycling a comment from another AC in another Scuttlemonkey/**Beatles-Beatles post. This guy's getting worse than Roland Picklepail:

Am I the only person who has noticed the numerous stories that get posted by *--Beatles-Beatles? Am I also the only person who has noticed that the link used in is name is a constantly changing URL (depending on the story) with pointers to various scammy sites? Is it not obvious what he's doing? He's using the awesome PageRank of slashdot do promote his sites based on searches that have the word Beatles in them.

It's a small price to pay for free advertising. Find a story, summarize it in 5 minutes, post to slashdot, and get a pagerank boost that advertisers would pay hundreds (or maybe thousands) for. (Text links on high-ranking sites is big business - just ask oreilly).

Slashdot should at least put a ref=nofollow in the links to submitters (or better yet, only link the submitter's name to his/her user page).

In closing, a quick bit of WHOIS shows that all the sites linked by **B-B are registered to Carl Fogle. Carl, cut this crap out.

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136415)

come on... top ten post.............

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136445)

Also note that the stories by the ScuttleMonkey/BB team are never the actual submissions. They always say "writes to tell us that ", not "writes ".

There are two possible explanations:

1. There are no submissions. SM = BB
2. BB is using some kind of automated RSS to email facility to submit stories, and SM is either clueless or in cahoots with BB

Jake.

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (3, Insightful)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136461)

Who cares?
Slashdot needs content and the guy is providing it. If he's profitting from it, well good for him. He's smarter than the rest of us.

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136511)

Oh look!

It's Carl's friend!

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (2, Insightful)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136616)

This content is of inferior quality and capitalizes the S in the middle of Microsoft, not to mention random verbs, but sadly, I must concede it's better than PS3 vs. 360 projections and "ohnoes vap0rware!". Though I guess more of us should get our shit together and submit better stuff, rather than just bitching about it...

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136617)

Who cares?

I do, and apparently many others. The problem isn't one guy posting stuff with links to his various websites. That's ok.

The problem is a potential collaboration between this guy and a /. editor. Maybe he's providing content, but maybe 20 other people provide the same content and are rejected in favour of this guy. Maybe Scuttlemonkey even gets a small kickback for favouring him.

And that's where it crosses the line. It certainly is interesting to see that all of his postings were approved by Scuttlemonkey. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136662)

It certainly is interesting to see that all of his postings were approved by Scuttlemonkey. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
Given that there's only one story on the front page that wasn't approved by ScuttleMonkey...

Hopefully he's reading (he does), and will now play closer attention to this submitter.

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (5, Informative)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136810)

OK, I take it back - here's the one I could find that wasn't approved by ScuttleMonkey:

FEC Deciding Future of Political Blogs [slashdot.org]


Here are the ones (currently indexed by Google) that were:

Wifi Camera Uploads without Computer [slashdot.org]

Microsoft Adopts Virtual Licenses [slashdot.org]

Cisco Updates Network Security Technology [slashdot.org]

Google and Oregon Launch Open Source Initiative [slashdot.org]

Open-Source Insurance [slashdot.org]

Archaeological [sic] Uncovers a New Name [slashdot.org]

New Server Chip Niagara [slashdot.org]

Sprint Launchings Music to Mobile Downloads [slashdot.org]

MIT Wireless Campus Tracking Users [slashdot.org]

Consumer Friendly Downloads? [slashdot.org]

Paris Accelerates Move to Open Source [slashdot.org]

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (2, Interesting)

Trestop (571707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136902)

Given that all of the "beatles-beatles" links are to that George Harrison web site, except for one which is for an SEO site - I think that this guy is just a George Harrison fan trying to promote his web site using his slashdot posting.

Given the fact that I couldn't locate his site in the first 10 pages of a google search for "beatles", I'd say he does a botch-up job of that and we can safely ignore him.

This is a storm in a teapot (or how ever you say that).

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136698)

Yo falcon is that you?

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (2)

zaguar (881743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136485)

Another post recycling

If you care so much why don't you give Carl a call @ (718) 996-7672. Or if you are in New York feel free to visit him at 4120 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11224.

and

If you have a GSM phone, dial #31# before the number and it'll show up as "private" or "protected" on the recipient's caller ID.

"Hello, please leave a message after the tone"
BEEP

Googling for his phone number brings up a lot of information. Apparently he's in the search engine optimization business and has been spamming for a long time. And is a jerk about it too.

His website: hxxp://search-engines-web.com
Another website: hxxp://5url.com/
Google Phonebook: C Aab
stwnewspress.com: Contact Name = A. Seo
5url.subportal.com: Contact Name = A. Aab
Feel free to send him e-mail url55@hotmail.com

Here is a dumb thought (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136497)

Don't click on his|her link.

Don't get me wrong. I get tired of the trollers here (ifwm comes to mind). But if they are not impacting you or the site (and if they are actually helping it), then who cares?

Re:Here is a dumb thought (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136651)

Here is a dumb thought...
Don't click on his|her link.


Except it doesn't matter whether anyone here clicks on the link, google's pagerank system is the one "clicking on the link" - the end result being an increase in the guy's ranking in google so that people who don't even know what slashdot is will see the guy's site come up in searches for "beatles" and they will click on the link through google instead.

Re:Here is a dumb thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136823)

people who don't even know what slashdot is

Blessed are the ignorant..

Re:Here is a dumb thought (0, Offtopic)

ifwm (687373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136665)

"Don't get me wrong. I get tired of the trollers here (ifwm comes to mind)"

The only reason you don't like me is because I caught you lying and called you on it. You still haven't owned up to it by the way, why is that?

Also, do you know how incredibly sad it is that you have to follow me around using your mod points on everything I post?

Re:Here is a dumb thought (0, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136840)

because I caught you lying and called you on it.

Uh no. I simply got sick of your stuff. I have worked the jobs that I have said (age and mutiple degrees does that). You, OTH, did you grow up (or live) in Switzerland, England, NY, or Florida? From some of the links associated with you, apparently, you can not decide. Nor could some of the others.

But, I just followed some of the links connected to you. New name, eh (and I thought that you simply crawled back to the swamp)? Love the superman post and all the rest. Apparently you rate as a troll all the way around. You seem to have pissed off a number of people (at least 3).

As I told you long ago, clean up your act. Some of your posts showed a bit of intelligence, but your following it up with a condisciending attitude took away from it. (And this was not even as nasty as most of your stuff). If nothing else, simply grow up.

Re:Here is a dumb thought (1)

Zenmonkeycat (749580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136843)

Actually, from what I recall, it was a different person you "caught lying." (Though I read the whole thread, and it appears your definition of "lying" seems to be much less rigorous than mine.)

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (5, Informative)

snero3 (610114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136542)

You definitely have a point there. Might be something taco should look into? But just remember your point always has more impact when you sign your post with your name and not just AC.

If you believe in it stand up for it don't just hide in the back ground.

Re:Submitter is a link spammer-stop posting his st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136895)

But just remember your point always has more impact when you sign your post with your name and not just AC.

So what's your name?

No rotation for me... (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136553)

Going to his ling, I got a normal looking george harrison / beatles site when I clicked in.

Just to check to see if they were rotating site I opened 50 or so tabs and they were all the same. I did not see any obvious advertising on the site even.

Now, if everyone at /. hit his site for 50-100 page loads, he might learn not to mess around.

Ed

Re:No rotation for me... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136574)

You didnt have javascript enabled.

Clicking on that link brings up a large picture of george harrison, and then comes a javascript alert that takes you to a site called winfix, wether you click 'ok' or 'cancel' which then pops up another javascript prompt that asks you if you want winfix to scan your machine.

Re:No rotation for me... (2, Interesting)

Weh (219305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136589)

the site he linked looks more like one of those spice girls pages my brother set up just because he wanted to get some hits on the first website het built. Also when you examine the html source you'll see that it is no ordinary "beatle lovers" page.

Pssshhht! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136676)

KDE-3.5 is released [kde.org]

But don't tell anybody!

You know its coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136394)

[insert arbitrary anti-microsoft slashdot comment here] Even though this is a good thing.

Re:You know its coming (1)

TangoCharlie (113383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136686)

Even though this is a good thing.
Is it? What happens if Microsoft gets off the hook because it's an "open standard", but then uses IP or Patent to block others from producing competing products. Call me a "arbitrary-anti-microsoft slashdot comment" sort of guy, but that's just how I see it. Time will tell I suppose.

Re:You know its coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136768)

No, it's not a good fucking thing. These schemas are patented, opening the standard is a desperate and cynical gesture that enables Microsoft to discredit opendoc and keep some government contracts. The only way this could ever be deemed a good thing is if you regard it as an indication that the monopoly is over.

Isn't XML readable anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136397)

Maybe I don't know XML but until now I thought it is human readable anyways. I wouldn't require me to reverse engineer anything. Just open the file and look with my eyes.

But maybe someone has the right busswords to proove me wrong?

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (4, Informative)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136495)

Take a look at Groklaw's comparison of XML formats [groklaw.net] and tell me if you think MS's XML is human-readable! :o)

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136578)

Take a look at Groklaw's comparison of XML formats and tell me if you think MS's XML is human-readable! :o)

Seriously, and I'm not joking here, it looks a whole lot more human-readable than perl or regexps. And as long as it can be converted easily (I assume excellent ODFdocx converters to be available soon if not now), will the implementation details matter? The only thing that really matters is if Microsoft starts doing "embrace and extend" with undocumented and purposefully obfuscated elements or attributes. While the format looks very convoluted, it wouldn't be a big job to "reverse engineer" docx as it is today without documentation.

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (5, Insightful)

Alphix (33559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136503)

XML is just a language, you can make the documents as incomprehensible as you want....

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<legalnote>
        <warning>This document scheme is patented, copyright protected and trademarked</warning>
        <uspto>US1234567</uspto>
</legalnote>

<blob type="binary" encryption="proprietary 40-bit">
        <key type="public" enc="hex">
                e5e9fa1ba31ecd1ae84f75caaa474f3a663f05f4
                bd30361aa855686bde0eacd7162fef6a25fe97bf
        </key>
        <data enc="hex">
                2bb80d537b1da3e38bd30361aa855686bde0eacd
                7162fef6a25fe97bf527a25bb1da3e38bd30361a
        </data>
</blob>

<blob type="image" codec="proprietary">
        <data enc="hex">
                30361aa855686bde0eacd7162fef6a25fe97bf527a25b
                2bb80d537b1da3e38bd30361aa855686bde0eacd30361
        </data>
</blob>

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (1)

omeg (907329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136531)

You forgot to add a root element!

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136610)

In Redmond, Microsoft roots you!

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (3, Interesting)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136573)

XML is just a language, you can make the documents as incomprehensible as you want....

True, but you gave a bad example, as you were illustrating how embedded binary information can look incomprehensible, which is irrelevant.

XML can be made difficult to read through the use of meaningless tag names or attributes.

The point of XML is that it can be made easily human readable (and good XML should be) - in fact this was one of the original design considerations.

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (3, Insightful)

Alphix (33559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136680)

> The point of XML is that it can be made easily human readable

True, but neither embedded binary information nor obfuscated tags are irrelevant since we are discussing whether opening up the XML formats will actually result in an open standard which can be implemented by competitors.

The point I tried to make is that there is a large number of tricks (binary data, links to external data in proprietary formats, patents, obfuscation, writing non-compliant documents, "extending" the standard, etc) which can be utilized to create non-interoperable file formats even if they are based on XML...creating a good and genuinely open XML format requires the will to do so...and somehow I have the feeling that the will of some parties is not that strong.

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136690)

That's exactly one of the reasons why some people didn't like the msoffice format - the openoffice one doesn't allow you do that FAIK

Re:Isn't XML readable anyways? (4, Insightful)

Vegard (11855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136548)

The pitfalls could be summarized into these three points, as I see it:

1) Patents/licenses.

Do Microsoft have any patents to any methods/techniques in the XML schemas? Patents seem to be granted on pretty much anything, nowadays (that's another discussion), but even if it's non-valid, open source-developers can rarely afford to either contest or license use of a patent.

If Microsoft makes a blanket license to use any patented method they might have claim on relating to the format, no questions asked, and with a right to sublicense, kudos to them. If not, it's not an open format.

There was also some technicalities regarding "a conforming implementation". Does this mean that you're not allowed to implement support for any extensions that are non-conforming to the specification? Are Microsoft the only ones allowed to do that? (Microsoft doesn't actually have a good track-record for following specifications - not even their own ones).

That leads us into point 2:

2) Is Microsoft itself going to conform to the specification, or are they going to embrace and extend their own formats? If they are, this means that the situation won't be much better than today, as we're forever stuck with reverse-engineering "the newest Microsoft Office formats". Making an XML specification itself changes nothing. The value in this XML specification coming from Microsoft, is that it promises interoperability with and long-term-archivability of documents written in Microsoft office, something that's been problematic up to now.

If this is just a "snapshot", however, something that some version of Microsoft office once used, but you can't be sure that *any* Microsoft Office-document can be opened with just implementing the specification, we gain nothing. Nothing at all. Then, it's just a fake bone, a PR-stunt, to keep off ODF competition.

ODF of course have the same problems, but at least that format comes from the open source world, which means that at least the open source implementations (that are likely to become the "reference implementations") can be studied to see what the hell they have changed and why they're not conforming.

- Vegard

Enough with the Beatles-Beatles (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136398)

A quick bit of WHOIS shows that all the sites linked by **B-B are registered to Carl Fogle. Carl, cut this crap out.

Oh good. (0, Offtopic)

Necro Spork (260099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136400)

Now maybe AbiWord will actually work on my computer. It always did werid things when inserting text.

Back in Mass. (5, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136405)

This move has put Microsoft back in the race in Massachusetts [vnunet.com] . They were previously threatening to disqualify MS due to not supporting any standards.

Re:Back in Mass. (1)

didit (820432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136432)

As far as I understand, MS just made a promise and to date, there is still no released word processor supporting what could someday be an open standard. I fail to understand how this can put MS back in the race.

Re:Back in Mass. (4, Interesting)

rmstar (114746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136510)

By promising to open their standard they have made a fairly dramatic political move. They are doing quite a bit of stuff lately that makes me think that they are very desperate.

Re:Back in Mass. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136558)

If by 'desparate' you mean 'responding to the market' then yes, they are.

Re:Back in Mass. (2, Interesting)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136721)

If by 'desparate' you mean 'responding to the market' then yes, they are.

Microsoft's track record is one of abusing their monopoly, to abuse their customers. If they're 'responding to the market' they must think that their corporate doomsday clock is at 11:59pm.

So there! (sorry for that last bit, but I just wanted to use *all three* forms of they're/their/there correctly in one post (another sign of the apocalypse)).

Re:Back in Mass. (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136898)

If by 'desparate' you mean 'responding to the market' then yes, they are.

Microsoft doesn't "respond to the market". Microsoft "protects its monopoly".

In this instance, Microsoft saw a significant threat to its MS Office monopoly when Massachusetts decided to support an open document format that others and Microsoft could support. That removed a key advantage that Microsoft holds, i.e., the ability to completely control the document format(s) of office productivity products.

Once Microsoft has lost the advantage of file format control, where is Microsoft's advantage?

Microsoft's biggest fear is having to compete in an open, fair marketspace, without having the ability to leverage its desktop monopoly, or proprietary file formats and protocols, to lock up new markets.

Re:Back in Mass. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136458)

This only puts the new xml schema in the running, I still haven't seen a viable solution to their legacy files.

All existing documents are still locked away in binary hell.
Are they assuming that every single document is to remain locked in forever, or that every single one needs to be uplifted to xml (nitemare to manage?)

Where are the specs for those older files?

Re:Back in Mass. (4, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136518)

They were threatening no such thing. They standardised on ODF and made it clear they'd be happy to work with anyone who - by the time the policy goes into force in 2007 - supports ODF in the appropriate way in their software.

That MS chose to present that as if they were being excluded is more about MS' fear of competition and the free market than about reality.

Re:Back in Mass. (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136641)

That MS chose to present that as if they were being excluded is more about MS' fear of competition and the free market than about reality.

You can use any format you like - as long as it is a format you currently don't support and that is the format of your main competitor. Come on, I know most businesses would freak out over that one. If the MPAA came out and said they were looking for solutions to deliver video online, and they requested bids for open competition and at the same time required using the VC-1 codec, slashdot would call it a joke. Those who got this pushed through in Mass. knew that it almost certainly means going with OpenOffice. The rest is either to a) make MS jump through hoops and offer a really good deal or b) an excuse for not choosing Microsoft.

Re:Back in Mass. (4, Interesting)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136735)

Or maybe the government IT folks in Massachusets think that a format designed to be open and interoperable will be a better format than one that was designed to serve the interests of one corporation. Those crazy kids.

That's good for all of us! (1)

Slayer (6656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136683)

But don't forget what it took them to get back in the race! They must now provide a office productivity suite with an open format for document interchange. Isn't this exactly what all of us OpenOffice/KOffice/Whatever-users have been hoping for in our wildest dreams ?

Sure, many offices in MA will use MS Word after that policy change, but you as average citizen communicating with on of these offices will be able to use any word processor.

Also, don't forget, that now, after MA was able to get such a directive through without seriously hurting their own IT infrastructure (changing all departments from MS Word to some other suite is not easy), other states or countries may follow suit ....

Is this really open source ? (5, Insightful)

axonis (640949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136416)

Isn't this really just a standards specification for the office file format in XML and thus has nothing to do with open source since Microsoft is not providing any code ?

Re:Is this really open source ? (4, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136538)

It's about open formats that can be implemented in Open Source. No, they aren't providing any code, no-one said they are.

Re:Is this really open source ? (1)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136564)

Isn't this really just a standards specification for the office file format in XML and thus has nothing to do with open source since Microsoft is not providing any code ?

And wouldn't open source advocates raise a lot of hell if they didn't release this specification? So pedantic nitpicking over whether this is technically "open source" per se seems kind of irrelevant. They're opening to us the source [reference.com] specification from which they are creating Office documents in XML.

And I'm not trying to be an arse here. It's a step forward at the very least.

Re:Is this really open source ? (2, Informative)

zootm (850416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136679)

Did anyone say that this was open source? It's an open specification, not open source — it now allows open source solutions to implement this open specification, too.

Good on Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136423)


Come on guys, cut down the flames and lets think... its only a SMALL start but it is a very significant start. While this might be a one-off tactical move its from one of the most important divisions in Microsoft, its an important move. This is Microsoft ACTIVELY accepting and PROMOTING an Open Source licensing model.

Dinosaurs take a long time to turn (remember IBM?)... has the first synapse fired?

Applaud them when they do good things, it gives more weight to your later critisism.

Re:Good on Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136448)

Or could it be that MS is simply doing a tactical move to hold off OO (and others) from making inroads?

Personaly, I will wait and see how real this is. So far, every single time that MS has done something to support a standard or OSS, it turns out to be a trap. Think in terms of their recent attempt at stopping spam via DNS.

Re:Good on Microsoft... (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136773)

Yes, this is Microsoft pulling an 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' on the act of Open-Sourcing a proprietary product. Not only do they get to look good for a while, and throw a wrench into Mass' plans, but they can lessen the impact of other companies that release their products as OpenSource. When companies release their products or technologies as OpenSource in the future, users and pundits will ask, 'Is this a real boon for users, or another Microsoft-ish pseudo-benefit?'

Re:Good on Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136825)

Or could it be that MS is simply doing a tactical move to hold off OO (and others) from making inroads?

Hmmm, and why do you think the other big players leading open source projects do what they do? It is all about tactical moves to hold off competitors, or to prevent competitors from hurting them.

In the long run, the community benefits from it. But that is not the goal. It's good PR though...

Re:Good on Microsoft... (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136859)

"So far, every single time that MS has done something to support a standard or OSS, it turns out to be a trap."

You are absolutely correct. Even if all of our speculation on the details is incorrect, one thing is immutable: Microsoft cannot be trusted. Ever.

We can be certain that the receiving end of Microsoft's olive branch is poisoned.

Re:Good on Microsoft... (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136459)

This is Microsoft ACTIVELY accepting and PROMOTING an Open Source licensing model.

No, this is Microsoft making a sacrifice to stop the OpenDocument, which would have a good chance of ruining all of Microsoft's revenue from office products, and even worse (for them), break an important pillar of their TC campaign.

Re:Good on Microsoft... (2, Insightful)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136465)

Show me the code ;) Sorry but to license specs is a step backward. Specs should be public and free for anyone to implement. Ring me back when they will put their code under an open-source license. Licensing specs is even against the spirit of FOSS.

Re:Good on Microsoft... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136657)

Dinosaurs take a long time to turn (remember IBM?)

IBM was forced to change their business model (From mainframes to services). Msft is in no need to do so - they have tons of cash and are the default software bundled with every new intel pc sold. I'd beware a well armed gang with the police in their pockets who claims to have turned honest. It's usually little more than window dressing, public postering, meaningless advertising.

Since when... (1, Insightful)

magicRob (815117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136454)

has Microsoft had a capital S in it?

Back on track. Either way, MS will support both file formats in their Office Suite. This just means that OOo gets to add Office XML support without having to work it out themselves.

Re:Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136524)

"Since when... has Microsoft had a capital S in it?"
And more importantly, why isn't the S double-striked vertically?

Re:Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136535)

has Microsoft had a capital S in it?

$ is it not ?

Re:Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136648)

They had one when they first started but dropped it in the late '70s as I recall.

Re:Since when... (5, Informative)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136649)

The original company name is MicroSoft, hence the abbreviation to MS. Go look at some old MS products, and you will see the original logo.

I would like to know ... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136793)

What the freck is insightful about this?

And BTW MicroSoft initially was written with a capital S. They lowercased it in the late 80's IIRC.

HELLO EDITORS! AT LEAST CHECK THE TITLE (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136474)

Come on editors,
Microsoft is not written with a capital 'S'.

Who? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136483)

Who's this MicroSoft? And why is everyone obsessed with humpback words these days?! Have you *ever* seen MS refer to themselves as MicroSoft? No! So why do it?

Re:Who? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136508)

Have you *ever* seen MS refer to themselves as MicroSoft? No!

Well, in fact, yes I have. That's how it was originally.

Wait & See (2)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136486)

I just take a wait and see approach, who knows what MS will do when they release Vista in about a year, and what they'll do with office 12.
I followed MS's moves for a long time now, and am afraid it'll be more of the same over and over again.

And in 5 years, the world might be a completely different place for software, who knows?

Re:Wait & See (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136546)

i have to agree, considering microsoft's track record of dirty underhanded shenanigans i can not take them at their word...

microsoft can not be trusted...

Let's wait for the licence of patents (5, Insightful)

eleknader (190211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136499)

Yes, the format will be open.

What Microsoft is likely to do is:
- add own extentions and not release them
- forbid relicencing of patents so that no implementation can be released under LGPL / GPL

IMHO this is just a trick. MS wants everybody to wait for 18 months before this is really released, and prevent Open Source competition with patent licence restrictions.

We'll see this after two years, I hope I'm wrong but if this happends, I'll come back and say:

See, I told you so! :)

Eleknader

Beatles old (0, Redundant)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136507)

Okay, the Beatles-Beatles guy is getting old. Step on him.

Also, the subject line of the article is misleading.

I hate Beatles, anyway, of both the musical and the insectoid varieties.

He blessed MicroSoft! (1)

Giant Robot (56744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136515)

Our friend Mr. Rosen has given his blessing MicroSoft, a taiwanese motherboard manufacturing company

I'm minded to recall a Zap Brannigan quote (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136519)

"We come swinging the olive branch of peace."

Re:I'm minded to recall a Zap Brannigan quote (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136560)

I hear they're also making the concession of changing colours in the logo - flying the 'white flag of war'!

best of both worlds (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136530)

If MS supports an open format, it will mean that governments can't reject it.

But if the new format is not the default format for "save as", then no one will use it and they will still have their vendor lock-in.

Re:best of both worlds (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136549)

Which is why, the mass gov. wants a standard file format.

You can still have employees do nothing but a spefic format. If they have to switch it enough, then the users will switch office packages. And that issue, is why OO has the ability to choose what is the default format.

yawn (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136599)

Its called the bait and switch [wikipedia.org] , and I'm surprised someone so experienced falls for it.

In short: Sure they'll release specs. And just as certainly that which is actually implemented in the next office version will be something different. Probably minor, but crucial differences. Minor enough to be able to say "*shrug*, we just made a few updates and extensions" and crucial enough to prevent interoperability.

Re:yawn (1)

wizkid (13692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136788)



Yes, I suspect that $M is looking for the oportunity to bait-n-switch, but Rosen has to look at what they've put on the table so far. When the terms change, I would expect him to comment on it publicly and let us know. He's not one that $M is gonna buy off (I Hope).
    W.Kid

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136623)

Once all the hard work is done by MA in deciding on a format, many other states and federal agencies will have a standard to follow. :p

~Gildas

The Open Source Crowd - Desperate To Lose (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136655)

It is sickening to watch the open source world self destruct willfully at every oportunity.

The sleazebags up in Redmond must be just shaking their heads at how pathetic you guys are.

MS XML Format sucks (2, Insightful)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136663)

This doesn't fix the fact that the MS format sucks. It's a lot more confusing for programmers than the OpenDocument format.

Also, it still isn't as open as OpenDocument. Partly for the reason that Microsoft isn't open to contributions to the format, and that they dictate what the format will be like.

Note: Rosen talks about 2003 XML, not Office 12 (3, Interesting)

PSaltyDS (467134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136667)

Quote of Rosen from the article: "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." (Emphasis mine.)

As I understand it (imperfectly, for sure) there are legaly significant differences between the XML schema for Office 2003 and the upcoming Office 12.

Isn't this a Microsoft Bait-and-Switch? They make enough changes in terms on the legacy Office 2003 schema to continue their lock-in in Mass., but when the state has to update to Office 12 new patented and licensed "extensions" will lock out any competitive options.

Make no mistake, locking out others and maintaining position as The Monopoly is the business plan here.

How about a... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14136678)

...Firefox plugin that reads ODFs? I know this is offtopic, but this would really be an easy way to spread ODF and show the world that ODF can really be usefull in interoperability....

Sorry again for the offtopic...

Let's get technical! (2, Insightful)

dsmog (934677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14136737)

Still what we now have is one promice and one questionably enforceable quasilegal statement. And you know what worth are MS promises. OK guys, however it's high time somebody did a sensible comparison: - what can be done and what can't with respective formats - what is the quality of documentation (you know, there are subtle details about layout and formatting rules, tu just explain what tags mean is not enough). I guest reasonable docs about format should be of size of a dozen W3 specs. - are there any inherent performance / scalability issues wrt to every format information architecture - which one is friendlier as a general information container taking bigger picture (besides office) into acount. (Free hint: whoever first publishes a compheresive guide to those formats will be a king of the hill for some time)
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