Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:26 UTC
Novell and Ximian The first fruit of the recently announced Novell/Microsoft interoperability agreement arrived on Dec. 4, with Novell's announcement that its version of the OpenOffice productivity suite will now support the Microsoft Office Open XML format. The release candidate of Novell's modified version of OpenOffice.org 2.02 is now available for Windows for free download by registered Novell users.
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RE[4]: ah...
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ah..."
n4cer
Member since:
2005-07-06

What kind of promise is it? Is it binding? Can they change their mind? I mean, I'm all for giving MS the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time their past history makes it hard to trust them.

Given that Microsoft has a history of not asserting claims against competitors in the majority of cases for both open and proprietary technologies, I'm unaware of the history upon which you're basing your distrust. However, the promise is detailed both in a Covenant Not To Sue and in the Open Specification Promise which covers a number of technologies.

http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx

Some relevant text from the FAQ...

Q: Why did Microsoft take this approach?
A: It was a simple, clear way, after looking at many different licensing approaches, to reassure a broad audience of developers and customers that the specification(s) could be used for free, easily, now and forever.

Q: How does the Open Specification Promise work? Do I have to do anything in order to get the benefit of this OSP?
A: No one needs to sign anything or even reference anything. Anyone is free to implement the specification(s), as they wish and do not need to make any mention of or reference to Microsoft. Anyone can use or implement these specification(s) with their technology, code, solution, etc. You must agree to the terms in order to benefit from the promise; however, you do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate your agreement to Microsoft.

Q: What if I don't implement the entire specification? Will I still get the protections under the OSP?
A: The OSP applies whether you have a full or partial implementation. You get the same irrevocable promise from us either way. In all cases, the OSP covers only your implementation of the parts of the specification(s) that you decide to use.

Office XML File Formats
Q: What are you doing by adding Ecma Office Open XML to the OSP?
A: We are giving potential implementers of Ecma Office Open XML the ability to take advantage of either the ( http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx ) CNS or the OSP, at their choice. Microsoft had already stated that it offers an irrevocable ( http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx ) covenant not to sue (CNS) to anyone wishing to implement the formats. We understand that some may prefer the new OSP, which we'd like to facilitate.

Q: Why are you doing this now?
A: In September, the Ecma Technical Committee created the ( http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-... )Final Draft of the Office Open XML v1.0 formats so we want to address any questions people may have with respect to their ability to use our patent rights that are necessary to implement Ecma Office Open XML. We don't want there to be any open issues with respect to access to necessary Microsoft patent claims.

Q: Why are you applying both the CNS and the OSP?
A: Some have asked whether we would apply the OSP to Ecma Office Open XML. We don't know whether some will choose the OSP over the CNS, but we want to make that an option.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: ah...
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:52 in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Given that Microsoft has a history of not asserting claims against competitors in the majority of cases for both open and proprietary technologies, I'm unaware of the history upon which you're basing your distrust.

Come on, you're kidding, right? This is *Microsoft* we're talking about here. Ballmer made veiled threats about charging Linux users for alleged IP violations only two weeks ago.

I remember now that you're a vocal pro-Microsoft supporter, are you not? If you don't mind, I'll wait until I get the opinion of someone a little more unbiased before feeling safe.

In particular, what happens to MS if it reneges on its "Covenant Not to Sue" and decides to sue (let's say, under new management...). Does the covenant hurt their case in court?

I also want to read an independent, unbiased analysis of the actual terms one must agree to before feeling anywhere remotely like "safe"...

After all, the fact that they have a "history of not asserting claims" in the "majority of cases" is hardly proof of anything. Their corporate history as a whole is enough to warrant a healthy dose of skepticism into anyone who doesn't have actual personal interests in MS.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 21:01 in reply to "RE[5]: ah..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Come on, you're kidding, right? This is *Microsoft* we're talking about here. Ballmer made veiled threats about charging Linux users for alleged IP violations only two weeks ago.

No, Ballmer didn't make threats. He merely said that Microsoft would defend its IP when necessary. Big difference.

I remember now that you're a vocal pro-Microsoft supporter, are you not? If you don't mind, I'll wait until I get the opinion of someone a little more unbiased before feeling safe.

Ah, yes. The appeal to authority canard. As if none of his arguments matter because you don't consider him a sufficient authority.

In particular, what happens to MS if it reneges on its "Covenant Not to Sue" and decides to sue (let's say, under new management...). Does the covenant hurt their case in court?

Microsoft's covenant is a matter of public record. If it were to renege on this covenant, any court would regard it as a breach of good faith and throw it out.

I also want to read an independent, unbiased analysis of the actual terms one must agree to before feeling anywhere remotely like "safe"...

That sounds reasonable to me.

After all, the fact that they have a "history of not asserting claims" in the "majority of cases" is hardly proof of anything. Their corporate history as a whole is enough to warrant a healthy dose of skepticism into anyone who doesn't have actual personal interests in MS.

Explicit license terms specified by a public corporation carry more weight than speculation, in my opinion.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: ah...
by Temcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:22 in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

If you look at the patent license for Open XML, it's not so clear-cut. Basically, you are given license for patents that are "necessarily infringed" by a licensed implementation (with further limitations), but does not enumerate neither those nor all patents that pertain to Open XML. So what if you inadvertently infringe on one of those patents that are possible to work around, in Microsoft's opinion, because you don't know what exactly you should work around?

Reply Parent Score: 1