I tell you how does this look

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edu...@gmail.com

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Sep 5, 2007, 1:36:24 PM9/5/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Hola Miguel!

This is what I think about the Silverlight collaboration:
d
* If I were you, I would be just happy that Microsoft officially
works towards supporting Silverlight in Linux, the banned word in Xbox
live.
* This move actually makes Silverlight a more open approach to
multimedia in the web than Flash because AFAIK Adobe doesn't
collaborate with gnash or other open source implementations.

But:

* I think we'll all agree that this collaboration can be seen as part
of an strategy to gain acceptance in a flash dominated world. I've got
no problem with that if this kind of competition benefits the users..
but why didn't Microsoft standarize Silverlight like they did with CLR
and C#? This make me think that all this collaboration is temporal.
They could drop it after getting a fair share of market. Of course, if
anything this collaboration is better than nothing so even if people
critizise it (and they will!), I don't feel you did a bad thing.
* Will you continue to develop a parallel batery of open source test
suite (like you have already) that are available not only to you but
also to other independent open source developers?
* What about microsoft patents? If I create my own linux distro or I
use a distro that is not mainstream or just doesn't have a deal with
the daemon.. err Microsoft.. like Novell has.. Will I have to suffer
the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or
developing Moonlight?

Thanks in advance,
Eduardo Robles Elvira (Edulix).

Miguel de Icaza

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Sep 6, 2007, 1:37:44 AM9/6/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, edu...@gmail.com
Hello,

* I think we'll all agree that this collaboration can be seen as part
of an strategy to gain acceptance in a flash dominated world. I've got
no problem with that if this kind of competition benefits the users..
but why didn't Microsoft standarize Silverlight like they did with CLR
and C#? This make me think that all this collaboration is temporal.

I do not blame them.   OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been
FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that
there is something fundamentally wrong with it.   This is at a time when
OOXML as a spec is in much better shape than any other spec on that
space.

Besides, it is always better to have two implementations and then standardize
than trying to standardize a single implementation.

* Will you continue to develop a parallel batery of open source test
suite (like you have already) that are available not only to you but
also to other independent open source developers?

Yes, those are some of the practices that we believe are core to Mono.

* What about microsoft patents? If I create my own linux distro or I
use a distro that is not mainstream or just doesn't have a deal with
the daemon.. err Microsoft.. like Novell has.. Will I have to suffer
the shadow of Microsoft patents  over Silverlight when using or
developing Moonlight?

Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include patent
coverage.

Miguel


rmh.d...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2007, 7:00:13 AM9/7/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 6, 7:37 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

>
> I do not blame them. OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been
> FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that
> there is something fundamentally wrong with it. This is at a time when
> OOXML as a spec is in much better shape than any other spec on that
> space.
>
> [...]

> * What about microsoft patents? If I create my own linux distro or I
>
> > use a distro that is not mainstream or just doesn't have a deal with
> > the daemon.. err Microsoft.. like Novell has.. Will I have to suffer
> > the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or
> > developing Moonlight?
>
> Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> patent
> coverage.

Do you seriously believe I owe you money for the privilege of reading
text documents and browsing the web? What comes next?

Miguel de Icaza

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Sep 7, 2007, 12:29:18 PM9/7/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, rmh.d...@gmail.com
Hello,

Do you seriously believe I owe you money for the privilege of reading
text documents and browsing the web?  What comes next?

Who said so?  

You do not have to pay anyone any money.   Duh.

Nobody said so.   Either English is not your first language, or your reading
and comprehension skills are busted.

Miguel.


gabrie...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2007, 7:42:18 PM9/7/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 6, 12:37 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> patent coverage.

Is the patent coverage you are talking about here anything to do with
Moonlight, or just the codec's Microsoft is providing Moonlight
users? (I think I know the answer, but just to clear this point up).

Gabriel

Miguel de Icaza

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Sep 7, 2007, 8:18:22 PM9/7/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, gabrie...@gmail.com

> Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> patent coverage.

Is the patent coverage you are talking about here anything to do with
Moonlight, or just the codec's Microsoft is providing Moonlight
users?  (I think I know the answer, but just to clear this point up).

All of Moonlight.

In fact the codecs will be downloaded from Microsoft and will have their own EULA.

Miguel.


Simon Phipps

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Sep 7, 2007, 8:35:29 PM9/7/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, gabrie...@gmail.com

Will that EULA be for non-commercial use only like the one we are
discussing on the other thread?

S.

Miguel de Icaza

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Sep 8, 2007, 12:38:41 AM9/8/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, web...@gmail.cvom
I imagine the mpegla patent license will ve the same. But I have not
seen that EULA.

You can choose to not get the MPEGLA license and use ffmpeg which
contanins no such clause and is lgpl.

That being said, considering what I pointed out in the other thread, I
suspect that "non-commercial" does not mean "use inside in a company"
but "use the dxecoding for profit" considering that every MacOS has
the exact same MPEGLA license terms.

Webmink

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Sep 8, 2007, 10:24:21 AM9/8/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

On Sep 8, 5:38 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:


> That being said, considering what I pointed out in the other thread, I
> suspect that "non-commercial" does not mean "use inside in a company"
> but "use the dxecoding for profit" considering that every MacOS has
> the exact same MPEGLA license terms.

That sounds reasonable, but note the terms say /personal/ and non-
commercial...

S.

Andreia Gaita

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Sep 8, 2007, 12:31:34 PM9/8/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 8, 3:24 pm, Webmink <webm...@gmail.com> wrote:
> That sounds reasonable, but note the terms say /personal/ and non-
> commercial...

Yes, because you, as a *person*, are viewing video content in, let's
say, your workplace (a commercial establishment), for yourself, not
earning anything by that action (no commercial profit in it). Seeing
that, as miguel as pointed out very thoroughly, MacOS comes with the
very same licensing terms, and no one as any doubts that it can be
used in the workplace, why do you keep pressing that maybe in this
particular setting (silverlight), that very same words in that very
same license might have a different meaning? Might it be you're
thinking that, because it comes from Microsoft, they have somehow put
a juju in it that makes the very same license say mean different
things? :p

andreia gaita

Webmink

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Sep 8, 2007, 6:39:22 PM9/8/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
No - I don't like it in any of the places I see it.

S.

martin.s...@gmail.com

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Sep 10, 2007, 5:39:21 AM9/10/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On 6 Sep., 07:37, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been
> FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that
> there is something fundamentally wrong with it. This is at a time when
> OOXML as a spec is in much better shape than any other spec on that
> space.

Michael Meeks didn't seem to think so at FOSDEM 2007.

> >Will I have to suffer
> > the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or
> > developing Moonlight?
>
> Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> patent
> coverage.

You're saying two things here that really shock me. Please tell me I
misunderstood.

1) You're saying that people _will_ have patent problems - i.e.
Moonlight "infringes" MS patents and doesn't work around them. Even
though Novell promised never to ship code that infringes MS patents -
but always avoid them one way or another.

2) You're saying other distributors can't ship Moonlight legally (in
the US) because of patent issues. Making Moonlight effectively non-
free (as in freedom).

I hope it's just a matter of you being too fast on the trigger and
your answer missing some elaboration - if this is the case you should
really choose your words more carefully when talking about patents in
the future - unless you want to hurt Novell.

If you're actually saying what it sounds like you're saying (see item
#1 and #2) I can only say OMFG...

Miguel de Icaza

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Sep 10, 2007, 11:26:47 AM9/10/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, martin.s...@gmail.com
Hello,

On 9/10/07, martin.s...@gmail.com <martin.s...@gmail.com > wrote:

On 6 Sep., 07:37, "Miguel de Icaza" < miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been
> FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that
> there is something fundamentally wrong with it.   This is at a time when
> OOXML as a spec is in much better shape than any other spec on that
> space.

Michael Meeks didn't seem to think so at FOSDEM 2007.

That is odd.   Michael and I have discussed this topic extensively.   He certainly would like clarification in various areas and more details in some.   But Michael's criticism (or for that matter, the Novell OpenOffice team working with that spec) seems to be incredibly different than the laundry list of issues that pass as technical reviews in sites like Groklaw.

The difference is that the Novell-based criticism is based on actually trying to implement the spec.   Not reading the spec for the sake of finding holes that can be used in a political battle.

Finally, Michael sounded incredibly positive after the ECMA meeting last month when all of their technical questions were either answered or added to the batch of things to review.   I know you are going to say "The spec is not owned by ECMA", well, currently the working group that will review the ISO comments is at ECMA.  

For another view at OOXML look at what Jody Goldberg (no longer a Novell employee) has to say about OOXML and ODF from the perspective of implementing both:

http://blogs.gnome.org/jody/2007/09/10/odf-vs-oox-asking-the-wrong-questions/

I find it hilarious that the majority (not all) of the criticism for OOXML comes from people that do not have to write any code that interacts with OOXML.  Those that know do not seem to mind (except those whose personal business is at risk because Microsoft moved away from a binary format to an XML format, which I also find hilarious).

> >Will I have to suffer
> > the shadow of Microsoft patents  over Silverlight when using or
> > developing Moonlight?
>
> Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> patent
> coverage.

You're saying two things here that really shock me. Please tell me I
misunderstood.

1) You're saying that people _will_ have patent problems - i.e.
Moonlight "infringes" MS patents and doesn't work around them. Even
though Novell promised never to ship code that infringes MS patents -
but always avoid them one way or another.

First of all, am not aware of such Novell promise to "never ship code that infringes MS patents".   You can not make such statement because for one, the patent system is broken.   Novell statements are wildly different, they are of the form "we do not believe that we infringe" and am sure they say something along the lines of "we dont plan on infringing, and we plan on removing infringing code".  But I am not aware of all the promises Novell has made, and I can not comment on other parts of the organization.  If you want an official answer, my personal blog on politics and poor attempts at humor is not the place to get an official answer.  Contact Novell public relations for that.

But you might be referring to the policy that we use for Mono, and I will be happy to discuss those with you.   The policies are on our FAQ, so you might want to read that before you post in panic again. 

Moonlight does not have the same policy that Mono does in terms of us working around to remove infringing code.   For one, we do not know what it could be (that is how the patent system works) and two we have agreed and have obtained permission from any patents that might exist in Moonlight to implement it.   So our policy with Moonlight is different from Mono because of the requirements of this task (see mpegla.com for your own amusement).

That being said, in neither case are we aware of infringements.   But like with any software piece, every 100 lines of code infringe someone's broken patent, there is just no way around that.

2) You're saying other distributors can't ship Moonlight legally (in
the US) because of patent issues. Making Moonlight effectively non-
free (as in freedom).

Am not sure where you get the idea that the "US" is the only place where software patents exist.   Free software people are under the mistaken impression that software patents are only a US thing, while many of the stake holders are European companies.   The only difference is that in Europe your "software patent" is written to describe a machine.   Law firms will offer you a set of checkboxes to "port" your patent from the US-wording to any other nation wording.   And the patents are enforceable in most countries in the EU.   Not surprising, as the EU owns many of patents on the media space.

We are obtaining covenants (from Microsoft) and patent licenses (from MPEGLA, the consortium of American, European and Asian companies that own the "media space") to be allowed to redistribute Moonlight with a minimal risk to the end user.  

I say "minimal risk" and not "risk free", because that is the nature of software patents, we could be infringing a patent from some guy in Latvia for walking a linked list.  

So that is the approach that we are taking to distribute for commercial use Moonlight, a plugin that operates in the media space: a patent rich and incredibly profitable space for the patent holders.  The rights negotiated will give anyone patent coverage, as long as it is downloaded from Novell.  Although I would like to fix the patent system, am not the one going to do so.   It feels like boiling the ocean, and I have already done my share of ocean boiling, feel free to pick the good fight.

I hope it's just a matter of you being too fast on the trigger and
your answer missing some elaboration - if this is the case you should
really choose your words more carefully when talking about patents in
the future - unless you want to hurt Novell.

Well, it certainly merits an extended explanation.  I have tried to summarize some of the issues above media patents but the space is incredibly complicated and no amount of one-liners can precisely describe the problems, the limitations and all the special conditions attached to them. 

The problem is that people think that the problem is as simple as "patents bad" and everyone wrapping his virtual kafia around his head and running to the streets yelling "death to patents" has no idea how complex the system is and how little effect yelling has on actually changing anything.  If you want to engage on a serious patent discussion, I would love to do so, but you are going to need some legal training and get a lot more depth before we can have a productive discussion.

If you're actually saying what it sounds like you're saying (see item
#1 and #2) I can only say OMFG...

Well, I did not say that.   So you can put the Ventolin down and breathe.  

Miguel.

ari...@gmail.com

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Sep 10, 2007, 5:54:06 PM9/10/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

Mohammad

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Sep 11, 2007, 12:41:42 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

On Sep 11, 1:26 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> The problem is that people think that the problem is as simple as "patents
> bad" and everyone wrapping his virtual kafia around his head and running to
> the streets yelling "death to patents" has no idea how complex the system is
> and how little effect yelling has on actually changing anything. If you
> want to engage on a serious patent discussion, I would love to do so, but
> you are going to need some legal training and get a lot more depth before we
> can have a productive discussion.
>

With respect to all of your deep understanding of the patent issue and
your assumption that most of the people doesn't understand this *huge
complicated* issue,
i don't see the point of how it is not logical for one wanting to
throw away patent (yelling "death to patent") just knowing the basic
fact that it may hinder (which it usually does) the concept freedom.
Somebody keeping a patent right on something and providing it for free
to me is not good enough as there can be situation where this
"providing for free" is discontinued.

Above all, what is the problem to get rid of a *very leagal serious
complex* system which may result in the same situation as not having
the system at all. If you don't understand this concept let me know, i
will try to dumb it down.

Also one other note, i have seen the noise relating to this OOXML
standard. Now that you are claiming OOXML to be "superb" I guess you
are one real person (outside MS gallery. are you?!!?) who has a
substantial understanding of the standard - you are one person to ask.

Can you verify if the concerns prompted in the following link is all
FUD or not?

http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-questions


Regards,

Soyuz

asbjornu

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Sep 11, 2007, 9:16:03 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On 6 Sep, 07:37, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com> wrote:

> OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been FUDed so badly by
> its competitors that serious people believe that there is something
> fundamentally wrong with it. This is at a time when OOXML as a spec
> is in much better shape than any other spec on that space.

I have absolutely no commercial interest in the Office format space,
but I still find the OOXML specification to be utter crap. As a
developer, I think it's of so poor quality that it's very difficult to
get even the simplest things right. Stéphane Rodriguez touches upon a
couple of the problems in his blog post "OOXML is defective by
design"[1].

I agree that there has been a lot of FUD over OOXML, but even after
sorting through it and reading (parts of) the specification, I think
it's catastrophic, from a technical standpoint. If the specification
is so superb, then you might be able to explain how the backward
compatibility flags "autoSpaceLikeWord95", "footnoteLayoutLikeWW8",
"lineWrapLikeWord6", "mwSmallCaps", "optimizeForBrowser",
"shapeLayoutLikeWW8", "supressTopSpacingWP",
"truncateFontHeightsLikeWP6", "useWord2002TableStyleRules",
"useWord97LineBreakRules", "useWord97LineBreakRules",
"wpJustification", "wpSpaceWidth", "sldSyncPr", "securityDescriptor"
and "revisionsPassword" are supposed to be implemented? Does the
specification say?

How do you implement the different style labels used in the
specification, like "chicago", "ideographDigital",
"ideographLegalTraditional", "koreanDigital2" and "koreanLegal"? These
labels are just named; how they are supposed to be implemented and
look like is up to interpretation. Also, how is the
"securityDescriptor" attribute supposed to be implemented
interoperably? It has no defined semantics or data structure. It is
impossible to know how to handle this without reverse engineering
Microsoft Office 2007 documents using this attribute.

Do you think an international standard should contain wording like
"For legacy reasons, an implementation using the 1900 date base system
shall treat 1900 as though it was a leap year. [...] A consequence of
this is that for dates between January 1 and February 28, WEEKDAY
shall return a value for the day immediately prior to the correct day,
so that the (non-existent) date February 29 has a day-of-the-week that
immediately follows that of February 28, and immediately precedes that
of March 1."?

Wouldn't it be more sane to just use the Gregorian calendar and
preserve this backward compatibility through conversion filtering
inside Microsoft Office instead? After all, the binary documents are
still proprietary and closed source, so direct compatibility with
those documents in other applications than Microsoft Office is a non-
concern for the OOXML specification. Right?

And how can a "superb standard" implement features ("Basic String")
that break XML conformance when used? And is it a "superb standard"
worthy to use opaque bitmask integers to encode information instead of
XML itself? I don't think that's very good XML design at least. I also
think it's bad software design in general to use your own date formats
(instead of relying on international standards like ISO-8601 or
RFC-3339) and not even being consistent within the specification it's
used. There are several incompatible date serialization formats used
in OOXML, which all require their own deserialization/serialization
algorithms, test suites, etc. This is a burden on the developer and
will cause interoperability problems.

A standard, especially a "superb" one, should provide a summary of
good and best practice based on consensus of expert opinion. OOXML is
just an XML-serialized dump of Microsoft Office 2007's internal object
hierarchy, and just by skimming quickly through the specification you
should find so many glaringly ugly design decisions that you, as a
developer, should be hard pressed to call it a "superb standard". It
doesn't follow best practices, it ignores existing well-deployed and
well-known global standards, it relies on proprietary, binary,
unspecified and probably patented formats (like VML, EMF and WMF), it
doesn't go into enough detail on a lot of properties that, if not
implemented correctly (which is impossible with the current
specification), will hurt interoperability.

Seeing that Microsoft and Brian Jones don't even commit to complying
with OOXML[2], I don't see the value of the standard at all. It would
provide some value, even in its current (far from perfect) form, but
without support in Microsoft Office, it's just 6.000 pages of
meaningless junk. So, do you still stand by your statement that OOXML
is a "superb standard"? If you do, I'd love if you could go into
detail on what makes it so superb, because all I see is a very poor
specification that (in the future) doesn't even specify Microsoft
Office's default formats.

____
[1] <http://ooxmlisdefectivebydesign.blogspot.com/2007/08/microsoft-
office-xml-formats-defective.html>
[2] <http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?
command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=government&articleId=302256&taxonomyId=13&intsrc=kc_feat>

Adhemar....@gmail.com

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Sep 11, 2007, 3:53:44 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Miguel wrote:
> OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been
> FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that
> there is something fundamentally wrong with it.

There *is* something fundamentaly wrong with the proposed OOXML
standard. In fact, more than one thing.

> The problem is that people think that the problem is as simple as "patents
> bad" and everyone wrapping his virtual kafia around his head and running to
> the streets yelling "death to patents" has no idea how complex the system is
> and how little effect yelling has on actually changing anything.

First, I do believe software patents are bad.

Second, I do think the Mono project is great, and there patent policy
makes sense for a product. (http://www.mono-project.com/
FAQ:_Licensing#Patents). However, for a spec to become an ISO
standard, it should be open to be implemented legally, and if any
patents are blocking that requirements, sound guarantees should be
given.

But the patents problem is only one of the many problems surrounding
OOXML. More fundamentally, the specification requires implementers to
implement bugs (such as 29 February 1900) and to emulate strange
behaviour of old Microsoft-products without describing what that
behaviour is. That is, amongs other defections, most of them by
design.

I have great doubts that anyone that claims that the OOXML spec is
superb, actually read the spec, or even just parts of the spec.

jaims...@gmail.com

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Sep 11, 2007, 4:13:39 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Hi Miguel.

Just one question as I've not made my mind up yet about the whole
picture about OOXML, gnome, the open source and microsoft,
I wont judge at this point the quality of OOXML specification, but it
seems that microsoft has been bribing and playing not so nice to try
to ensure the aproval of OOXML as ISO standard.

What do you think about that, rather than the technologic point of
view?

Un saludo

On Sep 6, 7:37 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Dan

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Sep 11, 2007, 8:39:59 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Hello Miguel,

In regards to this:

> I find it hilarious that the majority (not all) of the criticism for OOXML
> comes from people that do not have to write any code that interacts with
> OOXML. Those that know do not seem to mind (except those whose personal
> business is at risk because Microsoft moved away from a binary format to an
> XML format, which I also find hilarious).

I was wondering if OOXML could be propery diff'd in CVS or any other
sort of versioning system. If so, that would be much better than the
binary .DOCs.

Thanks,
Daniel

Adam Huffman

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Sep 11, 2007, 8:54:08 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 10, 4:26 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> Hello,
>

>
> > >Will I have to suffer
> > > > the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or
> > > > developing Moonlight?
>
> > > Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> > > patent
> > > coverage.
>
> > You're saying two things here that really shock me. Please tell me I
> > misunderstood.
>
>
>

> 2) You're saying other distributors can't ship Moonlight legally (in
>
> > the US) because of patent issues. Making Moonlight effectively non-
> > free (as in freedom).
>
>

> We are obtaining covenants (from Microsoft) and patent licenses (from
> MPEGLA, the consortium of American, European and Asian companies that own
> the "media space") to be allowed to redistribute Moonlight with a minimal
> risk to the end user.
>
> I say "minimal risk" and not "risk free", because that is the nature of
> software patents, we could be infringing a patent from some guy in Latvia
> for walking a linked list.
>
> So that is the approach that we are taking to distribute for commercial use
> Moonlight, a plugin that operates in the media space: a patent rich and
> incredibly profitable space for the patent holders. The rights negotiated
> will give anyone patent coverage, as long as it is downloaded from Novell.
> Although I would like to fix the patent system, am not the one going to do
> so. It feels like boiling the ocean, and I have already done my share of
> ocean boiling, feel free to pick the good fight.
>

I don't think you have really addressed the question of the separation
you have
created between Novell and the other Linux distributors by means of
this
"covenant" and the implications thereof.

Adam

rmh.d...@gmail.com

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Sep 11, 2007, 3:24:03 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 7, 6:29 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Do you seriously believe I owe you money for the privilege of reading
>
> > text documents and browsing the web? What comes next?
>
> Who said so?
>
> You do not have to pay anyone any money. Duh.

That's nice. In that case, would you convince your employer's
partners to issue a free, public grant for all patents covering OOXML
and Moonlight ? I'd rather not have to pay for "protection" next time
I am forced to open a "superb" document or visit a "superb" website.

Thanks in advance

Adam Huffman

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Sep 11, 2007, 6:46:22 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 10, 4:26 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:
>
>
>

> > >Will I have to suffer
> > > > the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or
> > > > developing Moonlight?
>
> > > Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include
> > > patent
> > > coverage.
>
> > You're saying two things here that really shock me. Please tell me I
> > misunderstood.
>
>
> 2) You're saying other distributors can't ship Moonlight legally (in
>
> > the US) because of patent issues. Making Moonlight effectively non-
> > free (as in freedom).
>
>
> So that is the approach that we are taking to distribute for commercial use
> Moonlight, a plugin that operates in the media space: a patent rich and
> incredibly profitable space for the patent holders. The rights negotiated
> will give anyone patent coverage, as long as it is downloaded from Novell.
> Although I would like to fix the patent system, am not the one going to do
> so. It feels like boiling the ocean, and I have already done my share of
> ocean boiling, feel free to pick the good fight.
>

It seems that you haven't really directly addressed the question of
your separation
between Novell and other Linux distributors with respect to "patent
coverage",
and the implications thereof.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 10:20:02 AM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Hello,

Also one other note, i have seen the noise relating to this OOXML
standard. Now that you are claiming OOXML to be "superb" I guess you
are one real person (outside MS gallery. are you?!!?) who has a
substantial understanding of the standard - you are one person to ask.

Can you verify if the concerns prompted in the following link is all
FUD or not?

http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-questions

Well, the document talks about "legalities" but its based on a "cursory legal study".   I did not even pay attention to the rest, it looks like the usual stuff people put out.

Miguel.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 10:22:22 AM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
That's nice.  In that case, would you convince your employer's
partners to issue a free, public grant for all patents covering OOXML
and Moonlight ?  I'd rather not have to pay for "protection" next time
I am forced to open a "superb" document or visit a "superb" website.

You do not have to pay anyone for using OOXML or Moonlight.  

You might want to direct your fake outrage at an actual problem, rather than imaginary ones.

Miguel.


Dmitrii 'Mamut' Dimandt

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 12:01:02 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

> I find it hilarious that the majority (not all) of the criticism for OOXML
> comes from people that do not have to write any code that interacts with
> OOXML.

See http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/ooxml_is_defective.asp

There's at least one person trying to implement the spec

nachokb

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 12:50:19 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
> You do not have to pay anyone for using OOXML or Moonlight.

Do you have to ask for permission? Can I (a John Doe) develop an
application that uses OOXML, no strings attached *at all*? A small
one, not even a full application (say, reading an Excel file, doubling
the value in one cell, then saving it)? Is it future-proof? (or is
there a chance of future versions to be hijacked?)

As for the technical issues, let me refer to asbjornu's comment, which
is rather extensive, but still does not include every technically-
valid objection I have read. But please, first answer those.
There are other issues, which aren't technical, but rather ethical:

* The necessity of the creation of yet another standard (even a MS
spokesperson recognized that ODF and OOXML are not all that different,
and that they mostly overlap). They overlap almost fully (their
difference is vendor-specific and doesn't merit a new standard). The
examples brought forward by Microsoft of multiple standards are of non-
overlapping (e.g. GIF vs JPEG) standards or replacements (a new
standard overlaps mostly with an old one, but the new one is better
and aims to replace that).
* Its design: obscure, unspecified stuff (as asbjornu enumerated).
Plus, the obstination in not referencing existing standards, but using
half-baked self developed and underspecified crap, and furthermore
using them inconsistently accross the spec.
* Formal stuff: errors, ommissions, entire sections copypasted from
an applications' online help.
* Its sudden approval by ECMA in record-time, ignoring so much
technical comments, with absolutely no review.
* The amount of corruption that went into the ISO fast-track process.
Do you think all those late-coming countries are honestly voting "yes"
without comments, countries which don't have a clue about standards in
general and OOXML in particular? And what about those companies
subscribing to their NBs in nordic countries? Do you think that their
support voices legitimate support (even if MS decides to not support
them financially, they consider a competitive advantage to look good
in MS's eyes, as they are --mostly small- MS partners)? What about
chairs unilaterally changinf "No, with comments" to "Abstain"? What
about being not enough space in Portugal?

Do you really think that there's any legitimate point in OOXML, and
that it wasn't conceived only to undermine an existing,
collaboratively developed, openly and thoroughly reviewed standard?

Do you allege that ODF is insufficient and that we need a "superb"
alternative standard? If yes, then why didn't MS voice concern
earlier? (they are claiming that their actions are in the industry's
benefit, so that's what they should have done)

As a developer, I respect your work a lot and read your blog
frequently. But saying that only developers are allowed to voice
concern over a fraudulent faux-standard that affects us all is
deceitful. There are not only technical concerns (most, almost all of
them, legitimate), but also valid non-technical issues with it. Do you
really think that they are all FUD?

PJ may be emotional at times, but even in those times, her reaction is
always justified in her own words. Do you think that every concern she
raised should be disregarded the way you disregarded FSFE's position
as "(...) the
usual stuff people put out (...)".

Let me remind you that being an influential developer in the Free
Software world what you say might represent us all in certain circles.
Your reputation is not only the result of your hard work, but also the
dedication and effort that your initiatives were received with in the
community.
Even then, what do you have to say wrt Andy Updegrove's (non-
technical) concerns? Do you disregard them just as much?

I sincerely hope to see a new post in your blog explaining this
mess...

nachokb

kyk...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 11:34:39 AM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Miguel, you are harming opensource, Linux and Novell.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 1:47:34 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
See http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/ooxml_is_defective.asp

There's at least one person trying to implement the spec

Except that Stephane's article is not very serious.

See what Morten Welinder had to say about this:

http://blogs.gnome.org/mortenw/2007/09/11/ooxml-vs-odf/

And my own rebuttal:
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=279895&cid=20363627
Essentially, Stephane's claims are sloppy (he is well know for his sloppy claims around Brian Jones' blog).

Miguel


Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 1:55:33 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Do you have to ask for permission? Can I (a John Doe) develop an
application that uses OOXML, no strings attached *at all*? A small
one, not even a full application (say, reading an Excel file, doubling
the value in one cell, then saving it)? 

Yes you can.   Happy?

Now I want to apologize for not responding to any of your technical comments.  Am not going to address them as I have done that to the limit of my time on Slashdot:

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/10/2343256

I juts do not care as much as all 500 posters on Slashdot seem to.

Am tired, and unlike most of you posting here, I have other things to do than convulsing over OOXML.   If my comments on slashdot are not sufficient, then go read Brian Jones blog (google it up).

Miguel

Todd Lindner

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 2:34:44 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 11, 10:22 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

You said yourself it would be best to download Moonlight from Novell.
Why is that?

...because you might be held liable for downloading it outside of the
Novell/Microsoft patent protection umbrella. You might be FINANCIALLY
liable.


nachokb

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 3:08:03 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
> Yes you can. Happy?

Not yet, as that doesn't seem to be the case [1]. If I were to do
that, Microsoft could assert any patent they like, as their covenants
and such things only cover really specific cases of implementation.

[1] http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections#Patent_rights_to_implement_the_Ecma_376_specification_have_not_been_granted

> Now I want to apologize for not responding to any of your technical
> comments. Am not going to address them as I have done that to the limit of
> my time on Slashdot:
>
> http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/10/2343256

I would just like you to post about it (I'm sure you do care about
this more than what Jon Galloway is posting on Twitter).

> I juts do not care as much as all 500 posters on Slashdot seem to.

Given that you defended it so harshly, it would seem that you DO
indeed care, only that it's easier to dismiss everyone who questions
your opinions as FUDders or just people with nothing to do...

> Am tired, and unlike most of you posting here, I have other things to do
> than convulsing over OOXML. If my comments on slashdot are not sufficient,
> then go read Brian Jones blog (google it up).

OK, then we can take that you wholeheartedly agree with everything
Brian Jones says wrt OOXML.

Whether you like it or not, what you say gets attention, and we really
need to know if we should have similar concerns over Mono and
Moonlight (which I'm sure you do care about). Do you really expect
linux distros to redistribute Moonlight when it gets so tainted? It
seems like you are always trying to justify everything Microsoft says
and does.


nachokb

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 4:47:55 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Well, it seems like you need to be spoon-fed the information, but am not your nanny.

Go read the sources that I pointed you to, educate yourself and then post a coherent set of questions when you have exhausted every other avenue.   I do not have any patience left, as I said, the Slashdot discussion and Brian Jones blog contains answers to most of your questions.

Take it or leave it, am not your mom.

Miguel.
Message has been deleted

rmh.d...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 4:54:16 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 11, 4:22 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> > That's nice. In that case, would you convince your employer's
> > partners to issue a free, public grant for all patents covering OOXML
> > and Moonlight ? I'd rather not have to pay for "protection" next time
> > I am forced to open a "superb" document or visit a "superb" website.
>
> You do not have to pay anyone for using OOXML or Moonlight.

Well, Microsoft doesn't seem to agree with you. They think they have
some weird "Intellectual Property" thing that covers OOXML and
Moonlight. Furthermore, they have explicitly granted Novell rights to
use their "IP" thing. If those rights are meaningless, can you
explain what did Novell pay for?

But if you think this is all bullshit, why don't you put your money
where your mouth is, and promise to indemnify anyone who's threatened
for infringing patents when redistributing Moonlight or Novell's
OOXML? This way, for example, Debian could start providing these
"superb" technologies to its users while resting assured that you [1]
will take responsibility for all this "patent thing".

[1] Where "you" can be Novell, you personally or just anyone capable
of backing up "you don't have to pay" claims with something tangible.
It doesn't really matter.

rmh.d...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 4:54:16 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 11, 4:22 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> > That's nice. In that case, would you convince your employer's
> > partners to issue a free, public grant for all patents covering OOXML
> > and Moonlight ? I'd rather not have to pay for "protection" next time
> > I am forced to open a "superb" document or visit a "superb" website.
>
> You do not have to pay anyone for using OOXML or Moonlight.

Well, Microsoft doesn't seem to agree with you. They think they have

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 7:05:14 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
> > That's nice.  In that case, would you convince your employer's
> > partners to issue a free, public grant for all patents covering OOXML
> > and Moonlight ?  I'd rather not have to pay for "protection" next time
> > I am forced to open a "superb" document or visit a "superb" website.
>
> You do not have to pay anyone for using OOXML or Moonlight.

Well, Microsoft doesn't seem to agree with you.  They think they have
some weird "Intellectual Property" thing that covers OOXML and
Moonlight.  

Please point to the actual place where Microsoft said that OOXML is covered by the "IP" and that you can not use it without paying.  And keep it to OOXML.

Thanks,
Miguel

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 7:09:57 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
  This way, for example, Debian could start providing these
"superb" technologies to its users while resting assured that you [1]
will take responsibility for all this "patent thing".

As I pointed out in this thread numerous times, the patent covenant for Moonlight is available as long as you download the software from Novell.

If you want to remove OOXML support from OOo in Debian based on your inability to read the OSP, that is your prerogative.

Miguel

sunday...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 6:00:32 PM9/11/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

On Sep 11, 10:20 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Huh. So, after the excellent technical breakdowns and questions posted
and asked above, you can't manage more than a handwaiving, dismissive
"Uh, I didn't even pay attention. Just looks like FUD" answer?

Your complete lack of anything resembling a satisfactory answer, and
complete evasion, when pressed, of answering the excellent questions
above, is noted and not missed.

"The usual stuff" red herring and hand-waiving won't distract people
from wanting an answer to the questions asked. Either you are towing
the company/MS line, or you have an intelligent rebuttal.

We're wating.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 11, 2007, 7:34:55 PM9/11/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Huh. So, after the excellent technical breakdowns and questions posted
and asked above, you can't manage more than a handwaiving, dismissive
"Uh, I didn't even pay attention. Just looks like FUD" answer?

You are under the mistaken assumption that I have a duty to defend OOXML , and that is not the case.   Go ask Microsoft (Brian Jones and Jason Matusow both have blogs where you can raise your issues).

You know what my opinion on the standard is, and you can read plenty of details on my postings for the time waster that was Slashdot.   Go read that.  

And if that is not enough for you, then too bad.   Am not paid to defend OOXML, I do not work on OOXML and my interest on the subject is medium-light, and it most definitely does not include spending all day addressing your concerns nor turning it into a full time job.

Miguel.


Mark Gallop

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 1:50:53 AM9/12/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> Now I want to apologize for not responding to any of your technical
> comments. Am not going to address them as I have done that to the
> limit of my time on Slashdot:
>
> http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/10/2343256
Hey!! That last comment was a bit presumptuous. I was making out with my
girlfriend *whilst* reading your response ;)

Mark

Victor Rodriguez

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 9:44:50 AM9/12/07
to tirania.org blog comments., miguel....@gmail.com
On Sep 11, 10:22 am, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Estimado Miguel,

While I couldn't be called a fan of C# by any stretch of the
imagination, nonetheless I have always admired your efforts in the
Mono project. I have never thought you to be biased towards
Microsoft, but I must say that your comments regarding OOXML are
making me think twice.

Please take the time to respond to yesterday's message posted by
"asbjornu". I'm really looking forward to know what you have to say,
as I'm sure many others are.

Saludos,

Victor Rodriguez.

> Miguel.

nachokb

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 10:34:25 AM9/12/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
> Please point to the actual place where Microsoft said that OOXML is covered
> by the "IP" and that you can not use it without paying. And keep it to
> OOXML.

There is a rather incomplete list of links to relevant patents filed
by Microsoft here: http://noooxml.wikidot.com/patents . Please notice
that they do not need to SAY ther you can not use it without paying.

nachokb

srodrigu...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 10:18:30 AM9/12/07
to tirania.org blog comments.

I note that Miguel keeps calling me names all over the place
(misinformed, sloppy person, cagado de medio, ...), and I am not sure
what to make of that. I must have hit a nerve, or Miguel De Microsoft
is simply paid to do what he says.

Let's start with the basics : Miguel, you don't implement OOXML,
that's not what you do for a living ! Correct me if I am wrong. Your
criticism towards people not implementing this stuff actually
applies...to you.

If you are willing to test my sloppiness, please head over to my
flagship products :
http://diffopc.arstdesign.com
http://xlsgen.arstdesign.com

(both have advanced support for OOXML)

and let me know how those products can be originating from a person
making sloppy statements about OOXML.

As for the blog post from Morten Welinder about my article, let me
give you the first sentence of his post : "On my surface it is a
comparison of OOXML and ODF and it comes out as a landslide victory to
ODF.".

I am sure he hasn't read the article. The article is a couple of case
studies strictly about OOXML.


-Stephane Rodriguez


On Sep 11, 7:47 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> > Seehttp://www.codeproject.com/useritems/ooxml_is_defective.asp

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 11:31:53 AM9/12/07
to Victor Rodriguez, tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Hello Victor,

Please take the time to respond to yesterday's message posted by
"asbjornu".  I'm really looking forward to know what you have to say,
as I'm sure many others are.

I just re-read asbjornu's post and most of it I have already replied on the Slashdot thread;

First issue: he quotes Stephane Rodriguez "study", which is just a sloppy text, I have rebutted it, and posted links the Slashdot discussion.

Major issue: undocumented legacy tags (answered on Slasdot, 3-4 times)

Second issue, dates (answered on Slashdot extensively).

Third issue, I can not understand his question, but I assume is the "XML should be done that way", and the same debate exists every time *anyone* writes one piece of XML.   A lifestyle choice that I do not pass judgement on.

So there it is, all the stuff is answered on the Slashdot debate, go and read it if you care.

This is the last message that I have approved on this discussion until you guys have something new to bring that I did not cover elsewhere.

Miguel.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 11:35:25 AM9/12/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, nac...@gmail.com

I did not ask you for a list of patents.  

Re-read what I asked you, then try to understand the question, and then you reply.

Microsoft has OOXML under the OSP, so you can list all the patents you want for OOXML, they fall under the OSP.

Now, read again what I said, and post *where* Microsoft said that you have to pay to implement OOXML.

Miguel.


Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 11:43:34 AM9/12/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, srodrigu...@gmail.com
I note that Miguel keeps calling me names all over the place
(misinformed, sloppy person, cagado de medio, ...), and I am not sure
what to make of that. I must have hit a nerve, or Miguel De Microsoft
is simply paid to do what he says.

Misinformed and sloppy are not calling names.  They are adjectives to the extent of your research and the results of it.   We have had this discussion before Stephane.   I have rebutted your "analysis" and you have yet to correct a single mistake in there.

Let's start with the basics : Miguel, you don't implement OOXML,
that's not what you do for a living ! Correct me if I am wrong. Your
criticism towards people not implementing this stuff actually
applies...to you.

Correct, but since I wrote a spreadsheet I know that most of your technical arguments that you presented are bogus.   But it is not me, it is everyone that has experience in the subject that knows this (for those that do not know, you can read Stephane's altercations in Brian Jones comments sections on his blog).

and let me know how those products can be originating from a person
making sloppy statements about OOXML.

Am sure you are a superb programmer, but your arguments against OOXML are unfounded (I see you still have everywhere the argument about the computational change, a case of "doctor, it hurts when I poke my eye... well, dont poke it").

I am sure he hasn't read the article. The article is a couple of case
studies strictly about OOXML.

Well, I can not speak for Morten, although he seems to agree with me that your "study" is sloppy.   This is what Morten had to say about his read, the part that you did not quote:

But anyone who has worked with spreadsheet file formats will easily see that it was written by someone who, intentionally or otherwise, is deaf, dumb, and blind to the shortfalls of ODF. And if that is where you start, then what is the point?

You would have a much stronger case if you correct the areas that you know are wrong.

Miguel

nachokb

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 3:31:15 PM9/12/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
> > > Please point to the actual place where Microsoft said that OOXML is
> > covered
> > > by the "IP" and that you can not use it without paying. And keep it to
> > > OOXML.
>
> > There is a rather incomplete list of links to relevant patents filed
> > by Microsoft here:http://noooxml.wikidot.com/patents. Please notice

> > that they do not need to SAY ther you can not use it without paying.
>
> I did not ask you for a list of patents.

I know what you asked, but that was the wrong question. Microsoft
doesn't need to say anything, just hold a patent.

> Re-read what I asked you, then try to understand the question, and then you
> reply.
>
> Microsoft has OOXML under the OSP, so you can list all the patents you want
> for OOXML, they fall under the OSP.

Both the Open Specification Promise and the Covenant Not to Sue are
overly narrow, to the point that they are only PR crap, as explained
in the grokdoc link a referenced (but of course, every piece of well
explained opposition to OOXML is automatically FUD, right? it doesn't
even deserve a read...)

> Now, read again what I said, and post *where* Microsoft said that you have
> to pay to implement OOXML.

Again, that's irrelevant.

nachokb

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 12, 2007, 4:35:07 PM9/12/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
> > > Please point to the actual place where Microsoft said that OOXML is
> > covered
> > > by the "IP" and that you can not use it without paying.  And keep it to
> > > OOXML.
>
> > There is a rather incomplete list of links to relevant patents filed
> > by Microsoft here:http://noooxml.wikidot.com/patents. Please notice
> > that they do not need to SAY ther you can not use it without paying.
>
> I did not ask you for a list of patents.

I know what you asked, but that was the wrong question. Microsoft
doesn't need to say anything, just hold a patent.

I see.   So you basically made it up, and you have no proof that Microsoft ever requested a payment for implementing OOXML.   Luckily psychologists have explained the phenomenon that lead you to making this up, from the Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance


> Re-read what I asked you, then try to understand the question, and then you
> reply.
>
> Microsoft has OOXML under the OSP, so you can list all the patents you want
> for OOXML, they fall under the OSP.

Both the Open Specification Promise and the Covenant Not to Sue are
overly narrow, to the point that they are only PR crap, as explained
in the grokdoc link a referenced (but of course, every piece of well
explained opposition to OOXML is automatically FUD, right? it doesn't
even deserve a read...)

I just went to reread Groklaw against my best judgment and what they are claiming there makes no sense.   But you seem to be interested in only endorsing the points of view that reinforce the conclusion that you have already reached.  

So lets begin with this priceless quote from Groklaw:

Microsoft Necessary Claims" are those claims of Microsoft-owned or Microsoft-controlled patents that are necessary to implement only the required portions of the Covered Specification that are described in detail and not merely referenced in such Specification.

Well, that is quite a statement.   Although I notice that Groklaw carefully avoids posting the next paragraph from the OSP:

This promise applies to the identified version of the following specifications. New versions of previously covered specifications will be separately considered for addition to the list. In connection with the specifications listed below, this Promise also applies to the required elements of optional portions of such specifications.

So there goes the Groklaw argument out the window.  Not to mention that the "optional" features in OOXML have a specific meaning in the context of rendering, they are not "optional" in that you can "plug" a chunk of the spec.

So Groklaw has a lot of speculation, and very little actual factual review from a real patent attorney.   Shocking, I know.

Miguel



black....@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 13, 2007, 2:24:31 AM9/13/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Miguelito de icaza ya mochate con un dominio de los que
tienes, de esos de los que no les pones mucha atencion.

dejame hacer algo para linux mexico

dejame anunciar eventos y demas,,,,, tu tienes mucha chamba
porfis

Ernesto Muñoz .....
Linuxmexico.org.mx
ern...@linuxmexico.org.mx

Tina SE

unread,
Sep 13, 2007, 4:23:51 AM9/13/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
Hey, I know this is a long and heated discussion, but I wanted to add
something...

Miguel, I understand what you mean about the necessity of patents in
Moonlight. But, I think there's an open-source ethic that, though we
do not, in general, consider patents on software to be legitimate, we
try to work around them and not step on the toes of interested
parties, in order to keep our code "pure." It concerns me, and I think
everybody, when we hear that we can only download Moonlight without
fear if we download it from Novell, and after signing a Microsoft
EULA. I think part of that concern is that we were all excited at the
beginning of the Moonlight project, learning that there was going to
be a free software implementation of Moonlight, and--get this!--
Microsoft is helping! To hear that the software can be "safely"
downloaded from only one source, and then only after signing an EULA,
is sort of a blow. I know, we download MP3 and DVD codecs that violate
software patents all the time, but what do you do when Ogg Vorbis has
yet to catch on (though I'm positive its day will come), and the DVD-
CCA is still convinced that only a crook would want to watch a store-
bought copy of "The Matrix" on Linux? The matter of software patents
seems like something we shouldn't step into without good reason, and I
know you say this is one, but it still turns my stomach and I think
that's where everyone else's unease come from. To hear that Novell
wants you to download from its site to avoid patent violation, it...
tugs at your soul. It's a huge blow to morale. This is sort of the
kind of covenant we wouldn't ever want to enter into, something that
goes against the heart of the open-source ethic, one of the seperation
of coder and courtroom, that the law should protect code and not seek
to destroy it, that one cannot patent a vague software concept but
only copyright a specific implementation.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense. It feels to me like we were all
promised an open-source implementation of Silverlight and got all
excited, and now we feel like we've been let down. I know you feel
like we're being stubborn, anti-patent extremists (and I feel that's a
wrong characterization, as I love patents and I am merely concerned at
the patenting of abstractions, like software, storylines, and business
models, which encourage privatization of ideas more than preserve
innovation), but I think there's a good reason why most of us have
this instinctive, knee-jerk reaction to the idea of software patents
and I think there's a good reason. Us open-source people live on the
quality of our ideas, and the open sharing of them, and software
patents say that ideas, even simple ones known to the public, can be
locked up and made unusuable by anyone. In no time before in history--
to my knowledge, anyway--have companies insisted that they can lock up
basic ideas for only their own use, and defined such an "invention" by
its end result and not its content. That's frightening for anyone from
either the Stallman crowd of liberty or the Linus crowd of pragmatism,
or anywhere in between (or off in BSD world, or a closed-source
company struggling to make a buck, etc.); patenting software concepts
is patenting mathematics, patenting basic human ideas, and that's very
scary.

So I think we have good reason to be scared, and good reason to be
scared when Novell et al. sign a patent covenant with Microsoft, and
more reason to be scared when Novell asks Linux users to abide by such
a covenant on Microsoft's terms... it's not because we hate Microsoft
(I happen to have a lot of respect for Microsoft and I love my Xbox
360) or because we worship Richard Stallman's beard (I think his beard
is ugly), it's because we legitimately fear a looming threat both to
the freedom of our ability to create and to the proper functionality
of our computers. It's true that plenty of other tech companies enter
into patent covenants of "you don't sue me, I won't sue you," but
those are more on the principle of mutually assured destruction, the
acknolwedgment that widespread recognition of software patents would
splinter the industry into the Stone Age and leave companies unable to
innovate (unable to build on others' inventions) and unable to compete
(because bold new features would be unable to become new baselines). I
hope you understand why we really are scared by software patents, and
it's not just a knee-jerk reaction against patents, which are actually
quite a good idea when applied to specific inventions in the physical
world.

Obviously, as others (such as Linus and Mark Shuttleworth) have said,
it's only a matter of time before Microsoft realizes it's not an
island, complete unto itself, and will become a staunch, and rightful,
opponent of software patents. It just hurts when we are told of an
open-source implementation of Silverlight and and then are told later,
oh yeah, download it from us and sign a Microsoft EULA and you're good
to go. I think open-source means pretty much universally that you can
redistribute it, at least in source, but generally also in binary,
without consequence because of the benefit of an open platform that
anyone can use. That ethic is betrayed when we're told of patent
covenants, specific approved download sites, and third-party EULAs. (I
dislike EULAs because I feel they are a show of bad faith, but that is
another subject.) We feel betrayed, and it hurts, it wounds, deeply,
and I hope you understand that. We still have a lot of faith in and
respect for you, Miguel, (don't let the Slashdot trolls get you down,
they're idiots), because of the great work you've done for the open-
source world. (Hell, I use GNOME every day!) So I hope you'll
understand where we're coming from. We wouldn't be running around in
fear if we didn't have great respect for you... I think it's the
prospect of a bold open-source warrior turning to "the dark side" that
scares everybody, but I don't think it's too late. Anyway, please
understand where we're coming from. Software patents are scary! And
I'd love the freedom to download Moonlight from wherever I want, and
freedom from EULAs around every corner is one of my favorite things
about using Linux. Please continue hacking away at Moonlight and
working to improve our Linux lives. Thanks!

--Tina

On Sep 11, 1:47 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:


> Well, it seems like you need to be spoon-fed the information, but am not
> your nanny.
>
> Go read the sources that I pointed you to, educate yourself and then post a
> coherent set of questions when you have exhausted every other avenue. I do
> not have any patience left, as I said, the Slashdot discussion and Brian
> Jones blog contains answers to most of your questions.
>
> Take it or leave it, am not your mom.
>
> Miguel.
>

> On 9/11/07, nachokb <nach...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > > Yes you can. Happy?
>
> > Not yet, as that doesn't seem to be the case [1]. If I were to do
> > that, Microsoft could assert any patent they like, as their covenants
> > and such things only cover really specific cases of implementation.
>
> > [1]

> >http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections#Patent_rights_to_i...

Vexorian

unread,
Sep 13, 2007, 11:59:23 AM9/13/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
I find it hilarious the only ones in the technical world supporting
OOXML are proprietary companies and people that saw MS' source code.

On Sep 11, 11:01 am, Dmitrii 'Mamut' Dimandt <dmitr...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> > I find it hilarious that the majority (not all) of the criticism for OOXML
> > comes from people that do not have to write any code that interacts with
> > OOXML.

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 13, 2007, 12:18:36 PM9/13/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, vexo...@gmail.com
I find it hilarious the only ones in the technical world supporting
OOXML are proprietary companies and people that saw MS' source code.

I can not speak for Apple, but Novell has most definitely not seen any Office "Microsoft source code".

As for your statement about proprietary companies supporting OOXML, it makes as much sense as saying that "People that support OOXML wear sandals", that is to say, it makes no sense.

Novell's OOo is fully open source;   IBM's ODF-based Lotus is not.

Miguel

asbjornu

unread,
Sep 14, 2007, 3:46:03 AM9/14/07
to tirania.org blog comments.
On Sep 12, 5:31 pm, "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel.de.ic...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> I just re-read asbjornu's post and most of it I have already replied on the
> Slashdot thread;
>
> [From the Slashdot thread]:
> It boils down to: the fact that is XML does not mean that you can modify
> it in any way you want; There are rules for modifying the schema and
> Mr Stephane is not happy with that. Had he followed the actual rules he
> would have had no issue.

Even if an XML document is tightly attached to a Schema, in all other
cases I've edited the XML document directly in e.g. XMLSpy and loaded
it into a target system, it has worked flawlessly. The schema just
describes the structure of the XML document, it doesn't describe what
to do if element X changes value, for instance.

I agree that it's just to read the specification to get this right,
but do you think it's superb design of a format that you have to
change several values in several XML files to just update one value in
one cell of a spreadsheet? I think it's overly and unecessarily
complex.

> Major issue: undocumented legacy tags (answered on Slasdot, 3-4 times)

Where did you answer this? Can you please provide an URI?

> Second issue, dates (answered on Slashdot extensively).

Well, not exactly. You answer Stephane's issue, but not my issue, with
dates in OOXML. My issue is basically that OOXML uses several
different representations of dates and requires implementers to ignore
the Gregorian calendar (treat 1900 as a leap year) instead of just
employing the widely recognized and used ISO-8601.

> Third issue, I can not understand his question, but I assume is the "XML
> should be done that way", and the same debate exists every time *anyone*
> writes one piece of XML.

My question has nothing to do with style, although I think the style
of OOXML is bad. It has to do with the fact that OOXML specifies a
"Basic String" which is a binary representation of a string, but
specified as such that when you embed it in the XML, it should not be
escaped or encoded. This makes the XML document invalid, since the
Basic String can contain characters not allowed in XML. Not being able
to produce or parse OOXML documents containing Basic Strings because
the XML files aren't wellformed is not very good. It's like defining a
new RSS standard recommending people to stuff unescaped tagsoup HTML
in it.

The National Body in Norway pointed out this fact in their comments to
ISO, which can be viewed in the following PDF file:

<URL:http://www.standard.no/pronorm-3/data/f/
0/17/24/1_2401_0/2008-08-31_NO_ISO_IEC_DIS_29500_comments.pdf>

(I wonder if Google Groups manages to not break this URL? Does anyone
know how to enclose long URLs without getting them broken?)

> So there it is, all the stuff is answered on the Slashdot debate, go and
> read it if you care.

I've read it and unfortunately have to say I'm not satisfied. If you
could answer my questions in this thread, I think a lot of people
(myself included) would be very grateful. I'd at least like you to
consider my arguments and even if you choose to reply to them or not
answer the simple question: Do you really think OOXML is a "superb
standard" as you stated early in this thread?

I've tried to write my arguments from a programmer's perspective, and
i'd love for you to reply to them in such a way. When I ask "Wouldn't
it be more sane to just use the Gregorian calendar and preserve this
backward compatibility through conversion filtering inside Microsoft
Office instead?", it's because I think OOXML uses an unecessary
complex mechanism, that of course saves the Office developers time,
but is a huge burden on implementers and bad specification design.

Last, I just have to say that I admire you as a developer, Miguel, and
that I think what you do for the Open Source community in general and
Linux in particular is outstanding. I respect you as a man and
developer, but most of all as a community leader. I do not write this
to bash you in any way and I hope you do not read it as such. I just
find you thinking that "OOXML is a superb standard" a bit weird if
it's based on purely technical arguments (and what else is there to
judge the specification on?).

Thanks!

Miguel de Icaza

unread,
Sep 14, 2007, 12:44:51 PM9/14/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com, asbj...@gmail.com
I agree that it's just to read the specification to get this right,
but do you think it's superb design of a format that you have to
change several values in several XML files to just update one value in
one cell of a spreadsheet? I think it's overly and unecessarily
complex.

It is not "several", its two places.  

And the second place is an optimization to improve startup speed for large spreadsheets.   You obviously did not read the discussion on Brian Jones' blog.  Research before you post.

> Major issue: undocumented legacy tags (answered on Slasdot, 3-4 times)

Where did you answer this? Can you please provide an URI?

On the Slashdot discussion on "de Icaza says OOXML is superb".   go read all my comments, and then you post again.   I wasted a lot of time on that, so before you waste more of my time, go research it.

Well, not exactly. You answer Stephane's issue, but not my issue, with
dates in OOXML. My issue is basically that OOXML uses several
different representations of dates and requires implementers to ignore
the Gregorian calendar (treat 1900 as a leap year) instead of just
employing the widely recognized and used ISO-8601.

If you read my post on slashdot you clearly did not understand it.   And if you understood it, then you are drowning in a glass of water.   The spec is not perfect, nor is any other piece of technology or specification that you can point to.   This is a nuance that we have to deal with.

My question has nothing to do with style, although I think the style
of OOXML is bad. It has to do with the fact that OOXML specifies a
"Basic String" which is a binary representation of a string, but
specified as such that when you embed it in the XML, it should not be
escaped or encoded.

Sadly, you do not know what you are talking about.   You could have actually opened the specification and looked up what it says. Instead you choose to waste my time with another bogus claim.   Here is what the spec says about bstr:

This element defines a binary basic string variant type. For all characters that cannot be represented in XML as
defined by the XML 1.0 specification, the characters are escaped using the Unicode numerical character
representation escape character format _xHHHH_, where H represents a hexadecimal character in the
character's value. [Example: The Unicode character 8 is not permitted in an XML 1.0 document, so it shall be
escaped as _x0008_. end example]

So you are wrong (am shocked!), as it is exactly the opposite of what you said, it *does* specify that you *must* escape it.  

So in fact, the spec is designed so when you need to store strings that contains certain characters you actually *can* embed those characters.

This makes the XML document invalid, since the
Basic String can contain characters not allowed in XML.

Obviously reading the spec (which you could have done) pretty much proves that the above statement is false, and that you do not know what you are talking about.

I only read the one bstr complain from the Norwegian comments, but they basically blur the issue and mix things up.   On one hand they talk about bitmasks (not binary data, mind you) that encode flags (which is what I was talking about before, before you sticked your foot in your mouth) and also conflate them with bstr which is a mechanism used to encode binary blobs. 

These are not "proprietary blobs" being encoded, this is *user data* being encoded.   Ie, you cut-and-pasted from Emacs into your document.

Ok, let see if you stick your foot in your mouth again.

Not being able
to produce or parse OOXML documents containing Basic Strings because
the XML files aren't wellformed is not very good. It's like defining a
new RSS standard recommending people to stuff unescaped tagsoup HTML
in it.

Oops.  That did not take long.  

You got one topic "bstr", you did not bother to read what the spec said, and then decided to run with it, and run with all you got.   For one second, I have to admit, since I had never heard the "bstr" objection before, I thought, "Wow, now, that is really sloppy, if a document can pass xmllint, that is broken".  

Now am starting to wonder, did Norway *really* find that "bstr" issue all on their own?   I suspected they did not.   Because anyone who had actually read the paragraph would know  that.  So I decided to Google, and I found the source of the claim.   And who do we find is the source of the claim?    None other than full-time anti-ooXML Rob Weir at IBM.  Color me surprised.

So there you have it, another well-researched set of comments to ISO that just parroted a propagandist's line.  Well done Norway team!  

> So there it is, all the stuff is answered on the Slashdot debate, go and
> read it if you care.

I've read it and unfortunately have to say I'm not satisfied. If you
could answer my questions in this thread, I think a lot of people
(myself included) would be very grateful. I'd at least like you to
consider my arguments and even if you choose to reply to them or not
answer the simple question: Do you really think OOXML is a "superb
standard" as you stated early in this thread?

Well, you do not have much of an argument, and neither do most rabid anti-OOXML people.

As I stated on Slashdot, the spec is not perfect.   It has bugs, and could be improved, but that can be said about any standard.  If you believe for one second that claiming that the spec is "superb" means that it is error-free, then you are an idiot.

Like any other spec it has annoying elements, but that does not diminish the quality of the overall work.  Nor the fact that we for the first time have an incredibly well documented way of interoperating with Office documents, not reverse engineered, but well documented.  

And yes, there are undocumented features, and those have been filed against ISO/ECMA to be resolved.   They are called bugs, and like every other spec, they get revisions, and they get updates, clarifications and errata.  Big deal.

From an implementor stand point, someone who in the past wrote a spreadsheet, I have to say, I for one would ignore all that legacy crap that people get outraged about.   It is merely an issue that people rally around ("tables like word 95 is not specified, the ponies are going to die"), but the reality is that even if its fully specified, I guarantee you, every product will just ignore that, drop the feature and might not even warn the user.   It is not like you can get picture perfect rendering across word processors *anyways*.

We just need to take a look at the web browser space to notice that you can do a lot, even if you do not have 100% implementations of everything on every browser.   At some point things are good enough.  

But that is my opinion, that the majority of the criticism and outrage is over non-issues.   For one, they do not tend to match any of the *actual* concerns that people implementing interoperability with OO.org have. 

So all things in balance, this is a great spec.

I've tried to write my arguments from a programmer's perspective, and
i'd love for you to reply to them in such a way. When I ask "Wouldn't
it be more sane to just use the Gregorian calendar and preserve this
backward compatibility through conversion filtering inside Microsoft
Office instead?", it's because I think OOXML uses an unecessary
complex mechanism, that of course saves the Office developers time,
but is a huge burden on implementers and bad specification design.

You are looking at the problem in the wrong way: "from a programmer's perspective".   You are just being a pedantic programmer that wants things to be "perfect".   Pedantic in the same way that the Simpson's "Comic Guy" character is pedantic about comics and when "Atomic Man" did what on which episode. 

The problem is the *existing body of data that will be corrupted when you adopt your "perfect" standard*.  So doing the switch to "correct" dates will *break* existing data.   And am not talking 10 spreadsheets here, am talking millions, since Lotus 1-2-3 introduced the mistake decades ago.

So yes, it would be nice if programmers did not have to cope with that, but they have to. And the reality is that having to handle date rendering in a special way is the least of their problems.    Just like having all the world use the same electricity plugs and 220 volts would be great, except it is not possible to do so, the cost is too high.

Last, I just have to say that I admire you as a developer, Miguel, and
that I think what you do for the Open Source community in general and
Linux in particular is outstanding. I respect you as a man and
developer, but most of all as a community leader. I do not write this
to bash you in any way and I hope you do not read it as such. I just
find you thinking that "OOXML is a superb standard" a bit weird if
it's based on purely technical arguments (and what else is there to
judge the specification on?).

See, and that is your problem.   You think that the problem is merely technical, it is not.    You are basically taking the position that "geeks know best" and they do not.  They have useful input, but there are many nuances and external factors to take into account, like legacy data (ie, *millions of documents will be corrupted*).   I do not care how much you want to avoid writing 2 routines for handling dates (big fucking deal), I care a lot more about not corrupting existing data.

And when geeks are easily tricked by propaganda and do not even bother to read the specs before parroting the same talking points they found elsewhere, it makes me wonder about how smart these geeks are.   They certainly can get pedantic and display some outrage, but once you scratch the surface, you find that you were tricked by an evangelist.   An evangelist with an agenda.

Am a fan of "trust, but verify".   So feel free to trust Rob Weir as much as you want, but verify his claims.   In my experience so far, the Rob Weir's claims (and the same goes for "defective by design" document) do not stand the most basic scrutiny.   As a mental exercise, play devil's advocate and try to take the other side, and you will soon find a lot of holes in the argument.   Do yourself that favor.

It is a shame that anything anti-Microsoft makes people disconnect their brains and just take the statements at face value;   And this happens because Microsoft has been demonized (justly in some cases, and unjustly in others).   It is the same strategy that military commanders use on soldiers, if you want your guys to kill the enemy, you should never humanize the enemy.  

Am not really interested in continuing this discussion.   Am not going to refute every claim made against OOXML, it is a full time job  and with a lynch mob, the odds are against me.   You guys can spend days sending me Rob Weir's talking points and I could spend days refuting them, but in the end, you guys have made up your minds.    Your hate for Microsoft eclipses your common sense.

Miguel.

D. Moonfire

unread,
Sep 14, 2007, 5:38:48 PM9/14/07
to tiraniaorg-b...@googlegroups.com
Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> I agree that it's just to read the specification to get this right,
> but do you think it's superb design of a format that you have to
> change several values in several XML files to just update one value in
> one cell of a spreadsheet? I think it's overly and unecessarily
> complex.
>
> It is not "several", its two places.

As a minor comment of someone who loves ODF and is implementing a C# library for
ODF: ODF has the same thing. Mostly it has to do with the styles, since you have
to juggle names, settings, and a whole slew of other things just to combine two
spreadsheets or writer documents together. Yeah, it isn't changing one field in
a formula, but there is still places where you have to make changes in more than
one place to get something done.

Cheers!

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