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Microsoft Makes Major "Openness" Announcement on Eve of BRM (Updated)

OpenDocument and OOXML

Microsoft has just made a major announcement relating to its core products and involving the degree and manner in which it will make the details of those products available to developers.  The importance of the announcement was underlined by those that were brought together for the press event at which the decisions were announced:  chief executive Steve Ballmer, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, senior vice president of the server and tools business Bob Muglia, and Brad Smith, the senior vice president and general counsel for legal and corporate affairs.

At first glance, this appears to be an important decision by Microsoft indicating a greater willingness to be both open and cooperative.  There are a number of promises in the announcement that I like, including the commitment to publish a great deal of material on the Web, as well as the freedom that will be offered to developers to take certain actions without the necessity of first obtaining a license.  However, I have not had the opportunity to read any of the supporting details, and those details will be extremely significant, especially as regards the open source community, where subtle differences in legal terms can permit use under some open source licenses, but not others.

Similarly, with respect to ODF, it will be important to see what kind of plug ins are made available,  how they may be deployed, and also how effective (or ineffective) those translators may be.  If they are not easy for individual Office users to install, or if their results are less than satisfactory, then this promise will sound hopeful but deliver little.  I am disappointed that the press release does not, as I read it, indicate that Microsoft will ship Office with a "save to" ODF option already installed.  This means that ODF will continue to be virtually the only important document format that Office will not support "out of the box."

I expect that it is no coincidence that this announcement comes just two business days (and only one, for most of the world) before the Ballot Resolution Meeting convenes in Geneva next Monday.  This will effectively give those participating in the discussions of Microsoft's OOXML document format no opportunity to fully understand what Microsoft has actually promised to do, while reaping the maximum public relations benefit.  However, there will be greater time for the National Bodies to learn more during the one month voting period that will follow the BRM - providing that further details are rapidly made available.

I believe that this latest announcement provides clear evidence of the effects that multiple market forces are having on Microsoft.  Those pressures include the EU antitrust investigations, the ongoing popular, as well as vendor pressure of those that are supporting ODF in an effort to free the desktop from the control of a single vendor, and the increasingly viable and popular Web based alternatives becoming available from rivals such as Google and IBM.  Taken together, these forces are pushing and pulling Microsoft in a direction that it would have been highly unlikely to travel otherwise.

All that aside, if Microsoft is sincere in this effort, and if the details behind the promises are convincing, then this is an important announcement.  We will need to wait and see what those details may be before that can be determined.

Updated:  If Microsoft's hope was to head off an upgrade by the European Commission of it's current investigations to a formal complaint, that hope did not bear fruit.  Microsoft acknowledged during its press conference that it had given the European Commission an advance "heads up" of what it would say, which enabled the EC to issue a stiff press release of its own just after the Microsoft announcement.  That press release began as follows (the full text appears at the end of this blog entry):

The European Commission takes note of today's announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past. The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability. Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability. In January 2008, the Commission initiated two formal antitrust investigations against Microsoft – one relating to interoperability, one relating to tying of separate software products (see MEMO/08/19).  In the course of its ongoing interoperability investigation, the Commission will therefore verify whether Microsoft is complying with EU antitrust rules, whether the principles announced today would end any infringement were they implemented in practice, and whether or not the principles announced today are in fact implemented in practice. Today's announcement by Microsoft does not address the tying allegations. [emphasis in the original]

The tying reference that appears above reflects the EC's noting that Microsoft's announcement offered nothing new or useful with respect to its inquiry into the tying between Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer, which is the subject of one of the two currently announced investigations. Two possibilities occur to me as a result of this pas de deux of press releases:

  • Is the announcement of a formal complaint imminent, and did Microsoft hope to forestall that eventuality with this press release as a last-ditch effort at reconciliation?
  • Does Microsoft consider such a complaint to be inevitable, and it therefore hoped to blunt the impact of that action by making it's own plea to the greater technology community?

Time will tell if one, the other, or neither of these speculations is grounded in fact.  Regardless, it seems that the EC is unimpressed, and will continue its investigations in its own way, and in its own time.

Updated 2-22-08: 
Reactions have been posted by various industry watchers and participants.  A public statement by Red Hat Vice President and General Counsel Michael Cunningham is particularly direct, and includes the following on the subject of ODF:

Eight years ago the U.S. regulatory authorities, and four years ago the European regulators made clear to Microsoft that its refusal to disclose interface information for its monopoly software products violates the law. So, it is hardly surprising to see even Microsoft state today that “interoperability across systems is an important requirement” and announce a “change in [its] approach to interoperability.” Of course, we’ve heard similar announcements before, almost always strategically timed for other effect. Red Hat regards this most recent announcement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Three commitments by Microsoft would show that it really means what it is announcing today:

  • Commit to open standards: Rather than pushing forward its proprietary, Windows-based formats for document processing, OOXML, Microsoft should embrace the existing ISO-approved, cross-platform industry standard for document processing, Open Document Format (ODF) at the International Standards Organization’s meeting next week in Geneva. Microsoft, please demonstrate implementation of an existing international open standard now rather than make press announcements about intentions of future standards support.

The full text of all materials noted above follow, as usual, for archival purposes.

 

For further blog entries on ODF and OOXML, click here

sign up for a free subscription to Standards Today today!

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Microsoft Makes Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability
New interoperability principles and actions will increase openness of key products.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 21, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for developers, partners, customers and competitors.

Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

“These steps represent an important step and significant change in how we share information about our products and technologies,” said Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer. “For the past 33 years, we have shared a lot of information with hundreds of thousands of partners around the world and helped build the industry, but today’s announcement represents a significant expansion toward even greater transparency. Our goal is to promote greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for customers and developers throughout the industry by making our products more open and by sharing even more information about our technologies.”

According to Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect, the company’s announcement reflects the significance that individuals and businesses place upon the ease of information-sharing. As heterogeneity is the norm within enterprise architectures, interoperability across applications and services has become a key requirement.

“Customers need all their vendors, including and especially Microsoft, to deliver software and services that are flexible enough such that any developer can use their open interfaces and data to effectively integrate applications or to compose entirely new solutions,” said Ozzie. “By increasing the openness of our products, we will provide developers additional opportunity to innovate and deliver value for customers.”

“The principles and actions announced today by Microsoft are a very significant expansion of its efforts to promote interoperability,” said Manfred Wangler, vice president, Corporate Research and Technology, Software and Engineering, Siemens. “While Microsoft has made considerable progress on interoperability over the past several years, including working with us on the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, today’s news take Microsoft’s interoperability commitment to a whole new level.”

“The interoperability principles and actions announced today by Microsoft will benefit the broader IT community,” said Thomas Vogel, head, Information Management, Novartis Pharma. “Ensuring open connections to Microsoft’s high-volume products presents significant opportunities for the vast majority of software developers, which will help foster greater interoperability, opportunity and choice in the marketplace. We look forward to a constructive, structured, and multilateral dialogue to ensure stakeholder-driven evolution of these principles and actions.”

The interoperability principles and actions announced today apply to the following high-volume Microsoft products: Windows Vista (including the .NET Framework), Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007, and future versions of all these products. Highlights of the specific actions Microsoft is taking to implement its new interoperability principles are described below.

• Ensuring open connections to Microsoft’s high-volume products. To enhance connections with third-party products, Microsoft will publish on its Web site documentation for all application programming interfaces (APIs) and communications protocols in its high-volume products that are used by other Microsoft products. Developers do not need to take a license or pay a royalty or other fee to access this information. Open access to this documentation will ensure that third-party developers can connect to Microsoft’s high-volume products just as Microsoft’s other products do.

• As an immediate next step, starting today Microsoft will openly publish on MSDN over 30,000 pages of documentation for Windows client and server protocols that were previously available only under a trade secret license through the Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program (WSPP) and the Microsoft Communication Protocol Program (MCPP). Protocol documentation for additional products, such as Office 2007 and all of the other high-volume products covered by these principles, will be published in the upcoming months.
 
• Microsoft will indicate on its Web site which protocols are covered by Microsoft patents and will license all of these patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, at low royalty rates. To assist those interested in considering a patent license, Microsoft will make available a list of specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol.
 
• Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license. 
 
• Documenting how Microsoft supports industry standards and extensions. To increase transparency and promote interoperability, when Microsoft supports a standard in a high-volume product, it will work with other major implementers of the standard toward achieving robust, consistent and interoperable implementations across a broad range of widely deployed products.

• Microsoft will document for the development community how it supports such standards, including those Microsoft extensions that affect interoperability with other implementations of these standards. This documentation will be published on Microsoft’s Web site and it will be accessible without a license, royalty or other fee. These actions will allow third-party developers implementing standards to understand how a standard is used in a Microsoft product and foster improved interoperability for customers. Microsoft will make available a list of any of its patents that cover any of these extensions, and will make available patent licenses on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. 
 
• Enhancing Office 2007 to provide greater flexibility of document formats. To promote user choice among document formats, Microsoft will design new APIs for the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications in Office 2007 to enable developers to plug in additional document formats and to enable users to set these formats as their default for saving documents.
 
• Launching the Open Source Interoperability Initiative. To promote and enable more interoperability between commercial and community-based open source technologies and Microsoft products, this initiative will provide resources, facilities and events, including labs, plug fests, technical content and opportunities for ongoing cooperative development.
 
• Expanding industry outreach and dialogue. An ongoing dialogue with customers, developers and open source communities will be created through an online Interoperability Forum. In addition, a Document Interoperability Initiative will be launched to address data exchange between widely deployed formats. 

The Interoperability Executive Customer (IEC) Council, an advisory organization established in 2006 and consisting mainly of chief information and technology officers from more than 40 companies and government bodies around the world, will help guide Microsoft in its work under these principles and actions. The full text of Microsoft’s new Interoperability Principles, and a full list of the actions Microsoft is taking, can be found on Microsoft’s Interoperability site.

The interoperability principles and actions announced today reflect the changed legal landscape for Microsoft and the IT industry. They are an important step forward for the company in its ongoing efforts to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations outlined in the September 2007 judgment of the European Court of First Instance (CFI).

“As we said immediately after the CFI decision last September, Microsoft is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure we are in full compliance with European law,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel. “Through the initiatives we are announcing, we are taking responsibility for implementing the principles in the interoperability portion of the CFI decision across all of Microsoft’s high-volume products. We will take additional steps in the coming weeks to address the remaining portion of the CFI decision, and we are committed to providing full information to the European Commission so it can evaluate all of these steps.”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, press only:

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide for Microsoft, (503) 443-7070, rrt@waggeneredstrom.com

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Antitrust: Commission takes note of Microsoft's announcement on interoperability principles The European Commission takes note of today's announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past. The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability. Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability. In January 2008, the Commission initiated two formal antitrust investigations against Microsoft – one relating to interoperability, one relating to tying of separate software products (see MEMO/08/19).  In the course of its ongoing interoperability investigation, the Commission will therefore verify whether Microsoft is complying with EU antitrust rules, whether the principles announced today would end any infringement were they implemented in practice, and whether or not the principles announced today are in fact implemented in practice. Today's announcement by Microsoft does not address the tying allegations.

In its Microsoft judgment of 17 September 2007 the Court of First Instance established clear principles for dominant companies with regard to interoperability disclosures and the tying of separate software products (see MEMO/07/359). In January 2008 the Commission initiated two formal antitrust investigations in order to verify whether Microsoft is complying with the principles established by the Court.

One of these investigations focuses on the alleged illegal refusal by Microsoft to disclose sufficient interoperability information across a broad range of products, including information related to its Office suite, a number of its server products, and also in relation to the so called .NET Framework and on the question whether Microsoft's new file format Office Open XML, as implemented in Office, is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products.

The second investigation concerns allegations of tying of separate software products, including Internet Explorer, to the Windows PC operating system.

The initiation of proceedings in these investigations does not imply that the Commission has proof of infringements. It only signifies that the Commission will further investigate the cases as a matter of priority.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Red Hat Statement on Microsoft Announcement

by Michael Cunningham, Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Eight years ago the U.S. regulatory authorities, and four years ago the European regulators made clear to Microsoft that its refusal to disclose interface information for its monopoly software products violates the law. So, it is hardly surprising to see even Microsoft state today that “interoperability across systems is an important requirement” and announce a “change in [its] approach to interoperability.” Of course, we’ve heard similar announcements before, almost always strategically timed for other effect. Red Hat regards this most recent announcement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Three commitments by Microsoft would show that it really means what it is announcing today:

  • Commit to open standards: Rather than pushing forward its proprietary, Windows-based formats for document processing, OOXML, Microsoft should embrace the existing ISO-approved, cross-platform industry standard for document processing, Open Document Format (ODF) at the International Standards Organization’s meeting next week in Geneva. Microsoft, please demonstrate implementation of an existing international open standard now rather than make press announcements about intentions of future standards support.
  • Commit to interoperability with open source: Instead of offering a patent license for its protocol information on the basis of licensing arrangements it knows are incompatible with the GPL – the world’s most widely used open source software license – Microsoft should extend its Open Specification Promise to all of the interoperability information that it is announcing today will be made available. The Open Specification Promise already covers many Microsoft products that do not have monopoly market positions. If Microsoft were truly committed to fostering openness and preventing customer lock-in, it would extend this promise to the protocol and interface information it intends to disclose today. There is no explanation for refusing to extend the Open Specification Promise to “high-volume” products, other than a continued intention on Microsoft’s part to lock customers into its monopoly products, and lock out competitors through patent threats.
  • Commit to competition on a level playing field: Microsoft’s announcement today appears carefully crafted to foreclose competition from the open source community. How else can you explain a “promise not to sue open source developers” as long as they develop and distribute only*/ “non-commercial” implementations of interoperable products? This is simply disingenuous. The only hope for reintroducing competition to the monopoly markets Microsoft now controls – Windows, Office, etc. – is through commercial distributions of competitive open source software products.
Microsoft Makes Major "Openness" Announcement on Eve of BRM (Updated) | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Microsoft Makes Major "Openness" Announcement on Eve of BRM
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 02:59 PM CST
So why bother ? We have Linux and OpenOffice.org ; productive office employees no longer need Microsoft solutions.

Games players have largely moved on to the consoles; XBox, Playstation, and Wii are better than the Microsoft Windows platform.

Growth in the industry is 'mobile' ; cell-phones and associated items.

Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office is starting to look rather like IBM Selectric Typewriter. Dominated the indistry at once time, but history now.
[ # ]
Where's the beef?
Authored by: Jose_x on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 06:07 PM CST
Talk about being long on rhetoric, but they did forget to add at least one thing, "and we will bring about world peace through cooperation with our partners".

What is "Enhancing Office 2007 to provide greater flexibility of document formats" supposed to mean? That can mean anything.

Other phrases that fall into this "it can mean anything but it sure sounds good" bucket:

>> To promote user choice among document formats, Microsoft will design new APIs for the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications in Office 2007 to enable developers to plug in additional document formats and to enable users to set these formats as their default for saving documents.

>> Launching the Open Source Interoperability Initiative. To promote and enable more interoperability between commercial and community-based open source technologies and Microsoft products, this initiative will provide resources, facilities and events, including labs, plug fests, technical content and opportunities for ongoing cooperative development.

>> Expanding industry outreach and dialogue. An ongoing dialogue with customers, developers and open source communities will be created through an online Interoperability Forum. In addition, a Document Interoperability Initiative will be launched to address data exchange between widely deployed formats.

>> The Interoperability Executive Customer (IEC) Council, an advisory organization established in 2006 and consisting mainly of chief information and technology officers from more than 40 companies and government bodies around the world, will help guide Microsoft in its work under these principles and actions. The full text of Microsoft's new Interoperability Principles, and a full list of the actions Microsoft is taking, can be found on Microsoft’s Interoperability site.

>> The interoperability principles and actions announced today reflect the changed legal landscape for Microsoft and the IT industry. They are an important step forward for the company in its ongoing efforts to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations outlined in the September 2007 judgment of the European Court of First Instance (CFI).

>> "As we said immediately after the CFI decision last September, Microsoft is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure we are in full compliance with European law," said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel. "Through the initiatives we are announcing, we are taking responsibility for implementing the principles in the interoperability portion of the CFI decision across all of Microsoft's high-volume products. We will take additional steps in the coming weeks to address the remaining portion of the CFI decision, and we are committed to providing full information to the European Commission so it can evaluate all of these steps."

[We know what compliance always means in this context: word not spirit of law.]

>> Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

>> "These steps represent an important step and significant change in how we share information about our products and technologies," said Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer. "For the past 33 years, we have shared a lot of information with hundreds of thousands of partners around the world and helped build the industry, but today's announcement represents a significant expansion toward even greater transparency. Our goal is to promote greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for customers and developers throughout the industry by making our products more open and by sharing even more information about our technologies."

>> According to Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect, the company’s announcement reflects the significance that individuals and businesses place upon the ease of information-sharing. As heterogeneity is the norm within enterprise architectures, interoperability across applications and services has become a key requirement.

>> "Customers need all their vendors, including and especially Microsoft, to deliver software and services that are flexible enough such that any developer can use their open interfaces and data to effectively integrate applications or to compose entirely new solutions," said Ozzie. "By increasing the openness of our products, we will provide developers additional opportunity to innovate and deliver value for customers."

>> "The principles and actions announced today by Microsoft are a very significant expansion of its efforts to promote interoperability," said Manfred Wangler, vice president, Corporate Research and Technology, Software and Engineering, Siemens. "While Microsoft has made considerable progress on interoperability over the past several years, including working with us on the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, today’s news take Microsoft’s interoperability commitment to a whole new level."

>> "The interoperability principles and actions announced today by Microsoft will benefit the broader IT community," said Thomas Vogel, head, Information Management, Novartis Pharma. "Ensuring open connections to Microsoft’s high-volume products presents significant opportunities for the vast majority of software developers, which will help foster greater interoperability, opportunity and choice in the marketplace. We look forward to a constructive, structured, and multilateral dialogue to ensure stakeholder-driven evolution of these principles and actions."

I'll summarize all of these comments with one phrase: Vista is the most secure Microsoft OS ever [or so said this same Microsoft]

Now, I did leave a few paragraphs out because they provide some actual details that on the surface appear like something truly amazing is being given away. Let's take these one by one (there are 6).

>> The interoperability principles and actions announced today apply to the following high-volume Microsoft products: Windows Vista (including the .NET Framework), Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007, and future versions of all these products. Highlights of the specific actions Microsoft is taking to implement its new interoperability principles are described below.

Nothing of substance has been said to this point, but some things come to mind.

What is the *exact body of code* that is defined by these specifically named "high-volume" products?

Can you for example factor out of these products much interesting capabilities and call it a "plug-in" or a "library" or a "module" or a "component" or an "cooperating object" or any of 50 zillion other fancier terms so that all alleged promises do not apply to them?

Is Microsoft developing new vocabulary to make things even easier on themselves?

What the hell is "high-volume"? Who determines that and how can it change?

For how long will any of these promises apply?"

Will they apply to Windows Server 2009? Will it apply to Windows Server 2008v2?

[excuse me while I go on a rant]

The number of loopholes is ridiculous. We know one thing about Microsoft they follow the *word not the spirit* of the agreements as their needs mandate. There is only one way to avoid the monopolist's knife: **avoid the monopolist's platforms**. Once inside and knifed, do you really want to deal with suing Microsoft to pretend justice will be served? All the time that knife will be lodged in there spilling blood all over. Yuck. No thanks.

Want the monopoly to end? **Avoid Microsoft platforms**. It's simple. It's easy [Pssst, there is this thing called Linux that is much safer and transparent.. heck, there is no transparency at all in closed source. And you can even file bug reports of fix platform problems or study the precise code of the platform "buddy" with Linux.. for real. No joking.]

Microsoft can't get around some very basic things no matter how much lipstick they slap or horns they blow. They are a *closed source monopolist*. They leave loopholes open, and they use loopholes profusely. There is nothing here but words. Words with loopholes. The same sort of thing they have provided 3rd parties since always but lipsticked to sound more Web 2.0-ish.

[I'm OK now, whew, that was actually pretty fast.]

>> Ensuring open connections to Microsoft’s high-volume products. To enhance connections with third-party products, Microsoft will publish on its Web site documentation for all application programming interfaces (APIs) and communications protocols in its high-volume products that are used by other Microsoft products. Developers do not need to take a license or pay a royalty or other fee to access this information. Open access to this documentation will ensure that third-party developers can connect to Microsoft’s high-volume products just as Microsoft’s other products do.

Nothing here sheds light on any of the earlier questions, but let's see what sort of thing Microsoft is pretending to give to us. First though, some more questions.

Publish what precisely on which website sections precisely and when precisely relative to the material existing in (applicable) products? [I'm just wasting a little time padding this comment. Why not? I like long comments. The real stuff is still to come.. shortly.]

How do we discover typos ("bugs")? This is a big deal. A very big deal.

OK. So I read that we will get docs to "all application programming interfaces (APIs) and communications protocols in its high-volume products that are used by other Microsoft products."

Sounds good. Sounds good. Sounds very good.

NOT!

Let me guess. The some of the API allow any payload! You publish this meaningless API, but are in no obligation to describe the payload (that's just specific data after all). I am sure that is how Microsoft interprets the above. Or they can even go so far as to show you the binary stream that their apps use.. yeah, lot's of good that will do. Example, When you call "submitHook()" you can give an octet stream as the first parameter, for example, "@#%QW$TT%$#%@#$%..." is how this function is used by Internet Explorer because, you see, IE just passed the stream that defines the binary executable that will be used to talk to it from that point on. ...Yeah, thanks, Board Walk.

XML with the binary payload. Great.

So really, I don't expect Microsoft to *really* describe each and every way all their applications.. excuse me.. all their applicable applications interact. To do that precisely is to provide the source code. Is that what this "promise" slash "press release right before the BRM" is doing? I would sure like to hold them to it. Microsoft is promising source code everyone!!!! ..... [LOL]

I have a news flash hunch. Microsoft is NOT going to give us the source code. We have no clue what we are interfacing with. Sure, you have a crummy track record of producing ambiguous and generally flawed documentation, but that's not really your fault. You are a for-profit company with limited resources to spend on such matters; however, *no amount of effort on your part can describe source code aside from the source code itself*. With the best of intentions, there are ambiguities and problems. With the worst of intentions, run for the hills. OOXML is weak by ISO standards. I hardly thing Microsoft will put more effort into these documents than they did with OOXML. OUCH! What do we have to look for.. backwards to?

But why am I digressing? The point is that they are promising to describe "interfaces" and "protocols". This is vague. They will surely believe they can satisfy that requirement vaguely without describing all the specific data that can be passed and all the possible side effects that can result from such data communications.. except of course perhaps by spelling out a binary stream or saying that such side effects are too complex to describe (no sttt sherlock.. without the source code and a debugger anyway) or, once in court (yeah, right), they will hide behind the DMCA, security, and trade secrets.

Puh-lease.

I am not even going to bother to finish out the remaining paragraphs of this hoax, of this manipulative press release.

Where's the beef, Microsoft? Where's the source code that we can build into a product ourselves? Anything less is a song and dance pony show. Linux provides exactly what I have just described. EXACTLY. .. to ALL developers and businesses and end users. to ALL of them. Millions if not billions of lines of buildable source code properly licensed for any to use almost without constraints (or in share-alike fashion).

Why do I waste my time reading such garbage from Park Avenue?

******* TAKE 2 *******

Does anyone really have the time to read documentation that will offer less and be of worse quality than OOXML?

Does anyone have patience to reverse engineer every API for possible bugs (when you clean out your logic, what remains will be issues with the black box. Good luck trying to fix those? .. and that's even assuming MS wanted to help http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2008020501226RVMSLL ).

Here is Microsoft calling: "Stop all your merrying around outside Redmond. Do all those things you do but with our technologies. We are EMBRACING big time. Can't you all see? Stop it. We lost (wink wink). We are promising once again in bucket loads. We are EMBRACING. Come one. Come all. Can't you hear us?

"Test suites? Never heard of those. Reference implementations? Sorry. Microland is a pretty place where everything is perfect and ideal, didn't you know? The forces of nature have not penetrated our walls. We use XPhysics (TM)."

Sorry, Park Avenue. Bored Walk accually describes the majority of the FOSS community.

You ain't knifing this baby.
[ # ]
Possible formatting error in post
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 01:19 AM CST

I'm not certain, but I think something got messed up with the bulleted list in the update portion of the post.  I point it out just in case you would like to tidy up the post. I think it doesn't have an important effect on the sense of the post.

The first bullet of the post reads:

  • Two possibilities occur to me as a result of this pas de deux of press releases:

    It seems to me that line should have been the last one before the bulleted list started, and the second point of the bulleted list is missing or is the first part of the text below the list.

  • [ # ]