Geneva, Day One

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| Yes, we have been told not to broadcast the specifics of the BRM.
| Additionally we will be sued if we take and publish any pictures of certain
| delegates. It seems Switzerland has some super privacy laws. I guess thats
| why Swiss Banks are so popular.

And Microsoft scum is already trying to suppress expression of such utter

Many Eyes on Geneva - Open XML Ballot Resolution Meeting

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| I know that many delegations are under specific guidance to not blog or
| discuss outside of the meetings. The BRM process was designed to promote the
| improvement of specifications, not to tear them down. I think this is a very
| important point to keep in mind throughout the week....

'Open' standards? Or crime better done at nighttime?

Microsoft pal:

The OOXML Ballot Resolution

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| Microsoft is an adjudicated monopoly in the United States. The EU continues
| to investigate possible abuse of their market dominance. (Market leadership
| and innovation are not what's being punished, but rather the abuse of a
| dominant position.) Microsoft can complain all they want, but the practices
| that enabled their success continue to plague them. We cannot collectively
| rewrite history. Microsoft is indeed held to a different measure. They have
| forfeited some of the freedoms that other companies enjoy. In many ways, they
| have lost our trust.
| One can not judge Microsoft's newly declared preference for "openness"
| against the work they've done promoting their own product specification, but
| against their continued refusal to adopt ODF. In the end, OOXML as an ISO
| standard (with its attendant market confusion) will best serve the needs of
| Microsoft over its customers, and that's a shame.

At least there's something open in Geneva (and it ain't 'Open' XML):

My Geneva presentation

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| I’m speaking in Geneva this morning at the Open Forum Europe
| Conference “Standards and the Future of the Internet.” Here are the slides
| I’m using: “Raising the Quality Threshold of Standards Development” in PDF
| format.


OOXML Questions Microsoft Cannot Answer in Geneva

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| At Left: Highly respected Martin Bryan. As outgoing Conveyor of ISO/IEC
| JTC1/SC34 WG1 he accused MS of stacking his group and said, “The days of open
| standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are
| getting ’standardization by corporation,’ something I have been fighting
| against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees.” * *
| The trend is that Microsoft is opening up the boring legacy bits of OOXML, in
| stupefying detail, while neglecting to document the pieces actually needed
| for interoperability at a competitive level, like macros, scripting,
| encryption, etc. In essence, Microsoft is opening up and releasing the file
| format information that competitors like have already figured
| out on their own, while still at the same time restricting access to the
| information needed to compete. And the more MS realizes it has to open up the
| specification, deprecate and modernize OOXML, what do you get? You get XML.
| XML is XML. Strip out the non-XML garbage from OOXML and you will have the
| OpenDocument Format. * * * *
| [...]
| We need for MICROSOFT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. Rather than hiding all the
| information we need and trying to cloak OOXML as ODF, we ask Microsoft to
| please get off the sinking ship, collaborate with the global community (which
| will welcome Microsoft) and help develop one universal file format for all. *
| Long term, Microsoft can only benefit from cooperating with the market!

What Will and Won't Be Discussed at February's BRM on MSOOXML

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| So if you had concerns about Microsoft's patent policy, forgeddaboudit.
| It's been magically erased, and any comments are out of order.
| [...]
| They have chosen a room that can seat only 120 people for reasons unknown, so
| there may not be room for all the delegates. Let me guess. The head of the *
| delegation is a Microsoft guy, and the ones who can't fit in the room are the
| ones who have issues with the proposed format? You think? Hey, some of us
| remember the games that were played already over rooms too small for IBM and
| Sun. * *
| This is starting to look really, really bad. At a minimum, you have to say
| this is the very opposite of an open process. I can't help but notice too
| that Brown lists Rick Jelliffe's as one of the "cool blogs" he recommends on
| Brown's blog. I think that is what novelists would call foreshadowing. *

Portugal will send Microsoft to the BRM

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| Microsoft, as president of the Portuguese Technical Committee, is already
| controlling who will be at the BRM for Portugal. The Head of Delegation will
| be... Microsoft! *

IBM is still locked out of the Portuguese OOXML meeting

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| In spite of various communications, we [IBM] are still locked out and will
| not be allowed to participate. Microsoft will be there, as well as a special
| Microsoft guest, as will various Microsoft business partners, and others. *

Developers warned over OOXML patent risk

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| "Smaller players and non-IT firms--those who are not and perhaps cannot be in
| close business deals with Microsoft--are potentially at a disadvantage in not
| having either a relevant competing patent portfolio to bring to negotiations,
| or the legal resources to assess the level of risk," Vaile said. "This is why
| a truly global open standard ideally needs to be dealt with in a way that
| removes obvious sources of uncertainty for smaller participants as well." * *

Microsoft patents by Brian Jones

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| For fun we just did a quick search of published US patent applications
| with "Brian Jones" as an author, and "Microsoft" as the assignee.
| [...]
| Some of these, like the packing ones, seem to apply directly to OOXML. What
| isn't clear to us is why Microsoft would pursue patent protection for patents
| rights that their are promising that they won't assert over users of OOXML. *

Wishful Spinning

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| OOXML gets adopted. More and more projects are started. Let's see which of
| these would survive without funding. Meanwhile a spin factory sends out
| success stories that most bloggers find worthless to discuss. It is possible
| to get the Krauts on board that are supposed to review OOXML but would OOXML
| survive a review by the crowds? * *

Digging in the Comments: Patents

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| Patent licensing is probably the most important aspect for all third parties
| that want to implement or use the Open XML specification. Unfortunately the
| Ballot Resolution Meeting cannot discuss these aspects because only technical
| and editorial issues would get resolved. *
| [...]
| When you have a patent which covers Open XML and you refuse to license it,
| the standard process gets stalled. Large companies in the standardization
| process are reluctant to use that nuke option. Given the ambush that the
| software patent practice means today it is quite possible that Open XML
| infringes a patent and all parties eventually have an obligation to license
| it. * *

Patent threat looms large over OOXML

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| "If OOXML goes through as an ISO standard, the IT industry, government and
| business will encumbered with a 6000-page specification peppered with
| potential patent liabilities" said NZOSS President Don Christie. *
| "Patent threats have already been used to spread doubt amongst organisations
| keen to take advantage of the benefits of open source. No one knows whether
| such claims have any merit, but it is calculated to deter the development and
| use of open and alternative toolsets." *

Cyberlaw OOXML Seminar 14 December

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| However, this raises the issue - what assurance does a developer have that
| such a large specification is not the subject of third party patent claims? *
| * * * ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
| The pedigree of the specification is certainly no reason for hope, Microsoft
| has been the target of third party patent claims for some time now including
| some high profile losses in patent suits. The fact that the specification has
| been developed behind closed doors and on a fast track means that there has
| been no adequate opportunity to evaluate the likelihood of third party patent
| claims against the specifications. The sheer size of the document suggests
| there will be at least a couple hiding in there somewhere. * * *

ISO warned about possible patent violations of DIS29500 (aka OOXML)

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| I have just send the following email to ISO members (you can find some of
| their email addresses on the INCTIS website) to warn them about the possible *
| patent ambush...