Laser Blog

Articles tagged "digital rights"

61 Becta signed secrecy clause with Microsoft

Friday 9th March, 2007

It seems that Becta (the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) has signed a secrecy clause with Microsoft which prevents it from revealing the prices schools are paying for software licences.

Figures released by the Department for Education and Skills show that in 2005-06 schools spent £615m on ICT, including Microsoft products. But when Conservative MP Brooks Newmark asked the government for details of purchasing agreements with Microsoft, schools minister Jim Knight said the information is confidential.

"This information is the subject of legally binding non-disclosure arrangements and excludes estimates in relation to Original Equipment Manufacturer licences," Knight said

This is taxpayers' money, which should be fully accounted for. How can there be no transparency?

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60 Microsoft: Office Format War Over

Wednesday 7th March, 2007

Microsoft Office program manager Brian Jones says the format war with OpenDocument is officially over ... and the winner, he says, is both ODF and OpenXML.

Well, Microsoft don't play second fiddle to anyone if they can help it, nor is equal footing acceptable to them, not in the long or even medium term. In fact, by saying that both formats are winners, Brian Jones reminds me of my eldest (five years old) son. If he wins (a race, game, or whatever) against his younger (four years old) brother, then he boldly and loudly declares that he was the winner. If he comes a close second, he will still often assert that he was the winner. If he is clearly beaten, then he says: "Both are winners!" 'Til the next race of course.

So, lets just review the real meaning behind these two statements:

  • "The format war is over" means "The format war is not over"
  • "The winner is both" means "The winner at the moment is ODF"

These statements are intended to make you relax, but you can't relax against a competitor like that.

I wonder what the future holds for my two boys ...

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59 ODF threat to Microsoft grows

Monday 5th March, 2007

A third US state, California, has joined Minnesota and Texas in requiring that an open, XML-based format be mandatory for state agencies. And why not? Who wants to have to upgrade those expensive proprietary formats every two or three years?

The new bill ... does not name ODF specifically but has stipulated that by 2008 agencies must be equipped to store and exchange documents in an open, XML-based format. Although the name of Microsoft's Office Open XML suggests that it would match the requirement, it is in fact a proprietary format that would fail the open standards test.

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58 Microsoft threatens Linux again

Monday 26th February, 2007

Actually, this is the same threat which I discussed last week. It's just that this particular report from The Inquirer has some interesting points to make:

Microsoft and its legal team has decades of experience with IP infringement, it can spot it a cube away, possibly farther. It knows all the ins and outs of IP infringement law, and has spent billions because of it.

When it come to Linux, it should be pretty cut and dried. Either it does or does not infringe on Microsoft patents. If it does, Microsoft can and should sue those who are guilty, the law is plain, simple and clear. It has the resources and personnel to shut down its biggest competitor almost overnight if the threats are true.

So, why isn't it? Basically because there is no IP infringement in Linux. It tried with SCO as a proxy and failed miserably so now it is resorting to veiled threats.

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57 Ballmer repeats threats against Linux

Wednesday 21st February, 2007

These threats are all part of a plan by Microsoft to make it uncomfortable for high-profile users of Linux. I have written about this before. You can expect more threats. Eventually, people will get jaded by them, but for a time they'll make people think twice.

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