Microsoft behaviour on OOXML pokes ESR

Eric Raymond is back and has written, with his very recognizable style, that he dislikes what Microsoft is doing to get OOXML approved by the International Standards Organization.  Good old ESR is so disgusted by the maneuvers to destroy ISO’s credibility only to maintain Microsoft’s monopoly on Office that he is willing to change his mind about Open Source Initiative’s position:

OSI will treat any licenses submitted to Microsoft strictly on their merits, without fear or favor. That remains OSI’s position. But…

Yes, there is a but, he says:

Despite my previous determination, I find I’m almost ready to recommend
that OSI tell Microsoft to ram its licenses up one of its own orifices,
even if they are technically OSD compliant. Because what good is it to
conform to the letter of OSD if you’re raping its spirit?

I agree with ESR: who cares if some of Microsoft’s license technically grant four freedoms (or 9 principles). The problem is that Microsoft is not being a good member of the digital society, it’s still acting as a bully in the school backyard.

Now I wish Eric recognized that what he said means that OSI is about moral principles as much as FSFs are and there is nothing to be ashamed for this.





  1. Stef,

    nice comment, but I just have to note how the FSF hasn’t quite enforced their moral grounds when Sun decided to blatantly violate the four freedoms with their FOU restriction on compatible Java implementations and TCKs. I’m still wondering why the smoke curtain of OpenJDK is making such a bully move get so much unnoticed from the FSF side.

  2. Gianugo: I don’t follow Apache projects so I don’t have a clear view of what you are talking about. I wonder if others in FSF are aware that there is a problem and my guess is that simply they don’t. Googling FOU and Java I found this open letter: is this the problem you are talking about? That open letter gives 30 days deadline: did Sun answer?

    I have seen Sun dragging its feet on many things, including, but I have also seen Sun addressing the issues when publicly pressured. Here, for example, it took many months for PLIO to get their voice heard. Sun is a big corporation, not so different than many others but from what I can see they participate and listen to the community.