Newsflash! Linux created by IBM, HP.

Remember this?

Another anti-Microsoft (MSFT) front group has emerged in favour of “free and open standards,” hyping what it calls the Hague Declaration and making some absurd connection to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The propagandists, partially funded by publicly traded companies, have a little trouble describing what that term “free and open standards” means (or even using it consistently), but the group has no trouble indicating its political stripes. Unbelievably it calls itself Digistan, apparently to identify with the fascist terrorists based in countries and regions using the Farsi-based suffix “stan.”

The chap who bizarrely thinks any name ending in “stan” must be terrorist AND fascist is at it again.

This time, he has re-written the history of GNU/Linux and got it completely wrong.

Linux was created by IBM, HP (HPQ) and other former IT systems monopolists that realized that Microsoft was taking their systems monopoly away from them. IBM, HP, Digital Equipment (now part of HP), etc. had banded together for this purpose in the early 1980s while Linus Torvalds, the nominal creator of Linux and who now works for one of the groups IBM, HP, etc. put together for its trust-like purposes, was still in short pants. Ten years later, the consortium chose a small piece of software code, “forked” by Linus from some other code while he was in college, to complement the still ongoing technical development effort by IBM, HP, etc. to come up with “one Unix.” What is today called Linux is the result of that one-Unix effort.


Honestly, why does he bother to write such crap? I think I know why – just so he gets some comments. Nobody bothers to comment on anything else he writes it seems. Ever.

(Maybe Google uses a comment:post ratio for rankings?)

I guess his portfolio must be looking pretty sick right now. Perhaps we all need to show Dennis some love and comment on his blog once in a while? Just to make him feel wanted…

Thanks to PJ for bringing Dennis’s drivvel to our attention and for putting the history record straight.

A REALLY BIG day for OOXML [Updated (or is it deprecated?)]

Today the 14th January 2008 is actually quite a BIG day. Two things have happened that are not directly related but may well, ultimately, have a very positive cumulative effect for us all.

The first thing is ECMA must present, to the voting bodies (NBs) of ISO that will decide the fate of DIS29500, their deliberations and suggested alterations on the 3522 comments which were given during the fast track review period last year.

Update: It has come to my attention that ECMA has issued the dispositions for all 3522 comments. As they are password protected and not for public consumption I couldn’t possibly have seen them but from what I can gather, large parts of the OOXML specification have been moved into a deprecated annex. How long before Office 2007 supports what is effectively a new DIS29500 remains to be seen. If of course, Microshaft decide to bother that is.

That the proposed specification should never have been fast-tracked (it was not ready, full of errors and inconsistencies and worse), or that Microsoft tried to bribe and corrupt their way through the ISO processes to ensure that it passed (and it still failed because it was so bad), is now neither here nor there.

There is to be a meeting in Geneva next month called a BRM (Ballot Resolution Meeting) where members will participate in the review of ECMA’s suggestions for amendments and changes to DIS29500. After the meeting (which only lasts 5 days) the members will have 30 days to decide if they should change their September vote.

One can only begin to imagine what will be going on in the countries that have been Microsoft’s puppet before and those which have so far resisted the borg’s influence. There are already stories of high skulduggery appearing.

The blogosphere is already starting to hot up again for this topic. Here’s a few good links to get you in the mood for what is to come.

Rob Weir (An Antic Disposition),
Open Forum Europe

The second event to have occurred today which may well have a bearing is the EU’s decision to start two more investigations into Microsoft’s anti-competitive practises and more specifically:

The European Commission has decided to initiate two formal antitrust investigations against Microsoft Corp concerning two separate categories of alleged infringements of EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The first case where proceedings have been opened is in the field of interoperability in relation to a complaint by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS). The second area where proceedings have been opened is in the field of tying of separate software products following inter alia a complaint by Opera.

The Interoperability investigation is explained thus:

In the complaint by ECIS, Microsoft is alleged to have illegally refused to disclose 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. The Commission’s examination will therefore focus on all these areas, including the question whether Microsoft’s new file format Office Open XML, as implemented in Office, is sufficiently interoperable with competitors’ products.

So they want to find out if their new file format (OOXML) is actually implementable by anyone else or is just a smokescreen to make them appear to be playing ball. As usual Groklaw does some in-depth analysis of these issues (where you will always get a good read).

Oh Goody. This will keep us all busy for a while…

And who knows, the EU and the ISO might just both get it right 🙂

Legal Aid: The Open Source Way

I should think most of the OSS community knows of Groklaw to some extent. But I wonder how much we really know about the achievements and character of the people behind it?

After coming across this interview with PJ today, and being a big fan, I thought it deserved a little more coverage. (Can somebody tell me why, the fact this is on ITPro, strikes me as a bit odd?)

IT PRO spoke to the site’s founder, Pamela Jones about the impact of the site, the SCO case and the role Groklaw has played in the ongoing legal case.

The SCO Group’s current fate can be neatly summarised by the title of PJ’s very first article on the case, back in May 2003 – “SCO Falls Downstairs, Hitting its Head on Every Step.” In the intervening years PJ and Groklaw can be credited with unearthing and exposing many of the flaws in SCO’s case, most notably, obtaining and publishing the 1994 settlement in the USL vs BSDi case, which had been hidden from public view and played a significant role in undermining SCO’s claims to the ownership of Unix. Earlier this year PJ memorably compared SCO’s persistence in the face of the facts to the black knight in the Monty Python film who claimed “It’s only a flesh wound”.

It’s a great read, and Groklaw must be one of the few websites (it’s more than a blog) that really has, and continues to, “make a difference”. As for PJ and where she [and Groklaw] goes next, there was a fascinating conclusion:

As usual, I’m not doing a lot of planning. When I see an issue, we leap in, like the new litigation against Red Hat and Novell. We’re doing prior article searching, and so far, it’s looking very good. We did prior article searching on the NetApp v Sun litigation too. We’ll probably do more of that. And any lawyer who wants to pick the technically skilled Groklaw members’ brains is free to contact me.

We’ve had lawyers ask technical questions in preparation for depositions, for example. It’s a resource that is available.

“… it’s looking very good.”. Hmmm, I guess with the many thousands of eyes (both technical and legal) searching, keen to promote, protect and support the Open Source Community, it will only be a matter of time before someone stumbles over some prior art.

The power of many eyes versus many dollars…

After reading it, I was struck by some of the things PJ said and how, in the UK’s legal sense at least, Groklaw is basically providing a free service to Open Source just like our own Legal Aid system here. And, rather fascinatingly, is also using an Open Source, community & collaborative, based model to provide it. A lovely recursive theme there much loved by some of the older Open Source projects, e.g. GNU: Gnu’s Not Unix, Wine: Wine Is Not an Emulator, PHP: PHP Hypertext Processor.

A Little Piece of History from Groklaw: Microsoft vs EU

This is absolutely brilliant.

This is living history. I wanted you and your children and your grandchildren to know some of those they can thank, because when almost all the vendors were signing peace pacts with Microsoft, taking settlement money and slinking away from the case, they stayed to fight to the end. Their role was essentially to speak for FOSS and to make sure the court and the EU Commission understood the technology and the needs of Linux and Samba and all those trying to compete with Microsoft from the Free Software/Open Source community. Unbelievably, they won.

PJ. You’re a star.

Ha Ha Ha, Hee Hee Hee, I’m a laughing Gnome and you can’t sue me!

Well blow me down with a feather!

It appears as though Microsoft have really shot themselves in the proverbial foot this time….

I found groklaw a few days ago which started out tracking and discussing the SCO vs IBM lawsuit, many years ago – yes it is still on going. [I knew I should have studied law]

I am not a lawyer but the contributors seem to know what they are on about and this latest twist in the tail sounds about par for the course. The “vouchers” which Microsoft bought from Novell to resell as a ‘we won’t sue you if buy Linux with one of these’ pledge have no expiry date! This means, according to Eben Moglen that:

“the minute someone turns in a voucher after GPLv3 is in effect, Microsoft will be granting a patent license to everyone, not just Novell’s paying customers”

Ooops. Or should that be OOo‘ps?