[SASAG] Subject: Re: Repent!! The end is near!

Jim Hogan jim.hogan at gmail.com
Tue Nov 7 19:23:57 PST 2006

spam <spam at tprophet.org> wrote:

>The new Office file format is fully documented and XML-based, so I
>expect that full interoperability should be very easy with OpenOffice
>going forward. Microsoft has committed to playing nice with Office file

I can't say that I have ever seen "Microsoft" and "playing nice" used
together in the same sentence, so this was a first -- I thought you might be
pulling our leg...engaging in a little joke for the benefit of the list.
But then it occurred to me that you might be serious.  You wouldn't happen
to work for Microsoft, would you???

Regardless, let's turn back the clock a little.  A year ago, say.  An
"independent" consumer group, "Citizens Againts Government Waste" lobbies
against the OpenDocument initiative in Massachusetts.  Unbeknownst to us at
the time, CAGW is being paid by Jack Abramoff to lobby on behalf of
Abramoff's clients.  One of Abramoff's notable clients as is relevant to
this lobbying effort?  Microsoft.

Given Microsoft's considerable track record of the pursuit of their
corporate self-interest, sometimes at the expense of customers and of
partners, I would be quite surprised if, one year after the events
described, they suddenly "saw the light" and reversed course.

I will say that, when I saw this announcement, I initially went "Wow!
Microsoft supporting Linux?", but after the surprise wore off that hardly
seems to be the case.

Thanks to Groklaw, I found this eWeek article:


Don't trust me, read Ballmer's words, straight from the horse's mouth:

/Ballmer - excerpt

"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company is open to talking to other
Linux distributors about reaching mutual patent coverage deals similar to
the agreement signed Nov. 2 with Novell.

Such talks would be a good idea, Ballmer suggested, since now only Novell's
SUSE Linux customers are the only Linux vendors that have any assurance that
Microsoft won't sue for patent infringement....

The distributors of other versions of Linux cannot assure their customers
that Microsoft won't sue for patent infringement. 'If a customer says,
'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially,
If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes,' Ballmer

'I suspect that [customers] will take that issue up with their distributor,'
Ballmer said. Or if customers are considering doing a direct download of a
non-SUSE Linux version, 'they'll think twice about that,' he said. "
/end Ballmer

This, to me, reads like a combination of poorly-veiled threat and fairly
obvious protection racket.

But Novell experienced a serious lapse in judgement and they went for it.
Sad.  I was a Novell customer for many years -- sometimes happy, sometimes
not-so-happy -- but the chances that I will now be trying SLED is something
less than zero in a million.

Spots. Leopard. Change? Not.

Customers first.


>Kurt Buff wrote:
>> See also
>> Note as well that more support for interoperability (how much?
>> Unknown)  with OpenOffice.org is promised.
>> Kurt
>> On 11/2/06, Leeland <leeland06 at greydragon.com> wrote:
>>> You will not believe this, Microsoft supporting Linux!
>>> Almost a unbelievable announcement was made today by Microsoft and
>>> Novell. Microsoft is entering partnering with Novell to boost the
>>> Linux operating system. Under the pact, Microsoft will offer sales
>>> support of Suse Linux, owned and supported by Novell. The two
>>> companies have also agreed to develop technologies to make it easier
>>> for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft's Windows on their
>>> computers.
>>> Official press releases at:
>>> http://www.novell.com/news/press/item.jsp?id=1196
>>> Recorded news conference at:
>>> http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/webcast.html
>>> Could this be real? If so it might make our lives easier down the road.
>>> - Leeland
>> _______________________________________________
>>> Members mailing list
>>> Members at lists.sasag.org
>>> http://lists.sasag.org/mailman/listinfo/members

-*-  Jim Hogan
     Seattle, WA
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