[ILUG] good news hunting
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue May 4 02:09:13 IST 2004
Quoting Martin List-Petersen (martin at list-petersen.net):
> "If you look at the many Microsoft recent product releases and planned product
> announcements over the last couple of years, each and every Microsoft product
> offers open standards based capabilities - fully functioning, as standard, out
> of the box. "
> Open Standards ? To my knowledge those standards needed reverse engineering
> before they were open (and M$ still tries to prevent it). Just to mention one
> thing: SMB or the format of Word and PowerPoint documents.
Yes, and this is precise the Achilles Heel of their argument, which
critics would be well advised to aim all available spears at.
(Please note that the author tries to take advantage of _precisely_ the
confusion between genuine open source and mere "access to source code",
and in exactly the way I predicted -- by pointing to Microsoft Corp's
useless and fundamentally irrelevant "Shared Source Initiative".
This is precisely why I think it's vital that LUGs be _clear_ about what
"open source" actually means -- that it's about the public possessing the
legal right (and ability) to fork the codebases in question. Otherwise,
we all end up getting sucker-punched by the Microsoft PR machine -- in
precisely the fashion of Mr Martin's article.
> They are getting more open about their "standards", but i wouldn't
> actually brag about "every product offers open stanards based
If cornered on the matter, Mr Martin (after consulting his Svengalis in
Redmond) would no doubt point to Microsoft's "legacy" support of things
they're doing the old embrace-and-extend dance upon. E.g., if you have
an IMAP client and/or a Web browser, you can get (somewhat clumsy)
access to _some_ of the functionality MS Exchange Server offers to MS
Outlook client software -- provided that the Exchange admin is willing
to enable the necessary optional "connector" pieces such as the
Microsoft Outlook Web Access gateway.
The aim of efforts like Mr Martin's isn't to sway people acquainted with
the issues, but rather to sound plausible to casual readers and be
difficult to rebut other than at length and with supporting technical
details that would lose those same casual readers.
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