Glyn Moody's blog

Microsoft, OOXML and the ISO: the Response

Update: Microsoft's comments can be found at the end of this article.

Microsoft plays to win. As a result, it seems to regard any legal means as justified, and sometimes even strays outside the law, as the US anti-trust case demonstrated. In the context of marketplace rough-and-tumble, such aggressiveness is perhaps acceptable, but in other realms, there may be serious collateral damage. A good example of where that is the case is Microsoft's behaviour during the OOXML standardisation process at the ISO. more>>

Mano a Mano with Microsoft: Update

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an impending meeting with Microsoft to discuss some of its actions during the standardisation process of OOXML at the ISO. I asked Linux Journal readers for some help in preparing for this, and you responded with a generosity entirely in keeping with the spirit of free software. The many helpful comments to that post give some indication of the scale of the response, but that overlooks the extraordinary emails I received from others, packed with useful information, which clearly represented many hours' work. To everyone, I'd like to express my thanks. The bad news is that the meeting is not going to take place after all. more>>

Help Me Go Mano a Mano with Microsoft

Next week, I'm taking part in a debate with a Microsoft representative about the passage of the OOXML file format through the ISO process last year. Since said Microsoftie can draw on the not inconsiderable resources of his organisation to provide him with a little back-up, I thought I'd try to even the odds by putting out a call for help to the unmatched resource that is the Linux Journal community. Here's the background to the meeting, and the kind of info I hope people might be able to provide. more>>

SAP: Open Source's Friend or Foe?

For an outfit that calls itself “the world's largest business software company”, the German software giant SAP is relatively little-known in the open source world. With 51,500 employees, a turnover of 11.5 billion euros ($16 billion) last year, and operating profits of 2.7 billion euros ($3.8 billion), SAP is clearly one of the heavyweights in the computer world. Given that huge clout, SAP's attitude to open source is important; and yet it is hard to tell whether it is really free software's friend or its foe. more>>

Open Government: the Latest Member of the Open Family

One of the most exciting developments in the last few years has been the application of some of the core ideas of free software and open source to completely different domains. Examples include open content, open access, open data and open science. More recently, those principles are starting to appear in a rather surprising field: that of government, as various transparency initiatives around the world start to gain traction. more>>

Should Software Developers Be Liable for their Code?

Should Microsoft pay for the billions of dollars of damage that flaws in its software have caused around the world? It might have to, if a new European Commission consumer protection proposal becomes law. Although that sounds an appealing prospect, one knock-on consequence could be that open source coders would also be liable for any damage that errors in their software caused. more>>

Who Owns Commercial Open Source – and Can Forks Work?

Three years ago, Tom Foremski wrote an interesting piece called “Adapt or die--the choice facing the open source movement“, which began:

Can Larry Ellison be stopped? By which I mean could Oracle shut down the fledgling open-source software movement through a series of acquisitions?? more>>

Should an Open Source Licence Ever Be Patent-Agnostic?

Sharing lies at the heart of free software, and drives much of its incredible efficiency as a development methodology. It means that coders do not have to re-invent the wheel, but can borrow from pre-existing programs. Software patents, despite their name, are about locking down knowledge so that it cannot be shared without permission (and usually payment). But are there ever circumstances when software patents that require payment might be permitted by an open source licence? That's the question posed by a new licence that is being submitted to the Open Source Inititative (OSI) for review. more>>

Building on Richard Stallman's Greatest Achievement

What was Richard Stallman's greatest achievement? Some might say it's Emacs, one of the most powerful and adaptable pieces of software ever written. Others might plump for gcc, an indispensable tool used by probably millions of hackers to write yet more free software. And then there is the entire GNU project, astonishing in its ambition to create a Unix-like operating system from scratch. But for me, his single most important hack was the creation of the GNU General Public Licence. more>>

It's *Not* The 15th Birthday of Linux – and Why That Matters

Last week, I wondered whether I'd gone back in time. Everywhere I went online – on news sites, blogs and Twitter – people were celebrating the 15th birthday of Linux, it seemed. “How is this possible?” I asked myself. “Since Linux was started in 1991, that must mean we are in 2006: have I fallen through a wormhole into the past?” more>>

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