Groklaw created a document stating that patent claims in software patents do not contains the methods
and concepts described in the patent.
I think you need to read that analysis again. Among other things, they claimed that the clause "patents
necessary for the implementation" is actually an empty set, as no patents are necessary to implement
something in software. They might be useful if you know what they are about and can license them explicitly,
but no actual list of patents has been given by MS. Depending on how you implement things, it might be that
you infringe on some patents, but in no way is the patent as such absolutely necessary for implementing
the specification. The similar but less vague statement from Sun does not leave nearly as much open to
as long as his actions fall under the one-way agreement.
That is precisely the problem here: the actual actions falling under the agreement seem to be ambiguously
described at best, non-existent at worst.
Either one can read the MS OSP document and try to judge the apparent intent behind it, or one can read it
literally (as I have learned you should always do with legal documents) and raise questions like the ones
posted at Groklaw. There is definitely some strangely fuzzy wording in the OSP, and given the large amount
of legal counsel that must have gone into the writing of the OSP text, I find reason to question the motives
of MS. I am not saying that the OSP is bogus, I am simply saying that I do not think it is safe to assume that
MS is promising quite as much as free software developers would need to freely implement, say, relevant
parts of OOXML as beta support in OpenOffice.org, with some well-documented extensions to handle OOo
application settings, or to create a partial implementation of only SpreadsheetML in Gnumeric. There are
too many loopholes in the OSP statements, and I do not see why such an important document should need
to be so vague if its intents are open and honest. MS could easily calm people by updating the OSP to be
less ambiguous if they wanted to. They choose not to, and that worries me.
My opinion of Groklaw on patent law is that they "do not have a clue".
Let say they don't 'grok' patentlaw very wel.
That is your opinion, and you are certainly entitled to it. My opinion differs from yours, though.
You are dismissing not only Groklaw and Sam Hiser, but quite a few actual patent law and standards
experts who have the same concerns. Groklaw is not just Pamela Jones, it is far bigger than that.
What do you require in terms of experts? I think you are being unreasonable here, and if you keep
insisting that any expert I point to is incompetent, I see no point in having any argument with you.
You cannot simply dismiss everyone who does not agree with you as being clueless.
But actually for an open standard it only requires that Ecma procedures are open
It requires quite a lot more than that. Please be more careful in what you say. An open standard
is (among other things) required to be completely described by the standards document itself
or by reference to other open standards. It is not yet clear whether this is the case for OOXML.
It is also required that any patents covering methods and concepts described in an open standard
are made available on reasonable terms, and this has also been questioned.
Sam Hiser document I have read. It is very suggestive
It is certainly suggestive. He is a very strong opponent to OOXML, and makes no secret of it.
However, Andy Updegrove and Larry Rosen also read it, and even though they are also
opposing OOXML in many ways, they are legal experts, and their opinions differ from yours
in that they see real causes for concern in what Sam Hiser writes. Please tell me why I should
trust your word more than theirs. You are an anonymous poster here, and if I am to put more
credit in you than in well-renowned attorneys, you need to give me a lot more quality arguments.
Of course Sam Hiser is the guy that compared Microsoft with the WWII nazi's so his claims
should probably be seen in a certain kind of refence view themselves.
I could choose to dismiss everything Microsoft says on the grounds of them calling free software
advocates "information communists" in the past, but I suggest we leave such arguments out of this.
You may still choose to dismiss Sam Hiser, but what about Andy Updegrove and Larry Rosen?
Are they being misled by Sun to spread lies and risk their reputation, or are their concerns real
and the matter needs more legal investigation before we know what to make of the OSP?
You picked the single person I named who is not a legal expert and criticized his person
instead of his opinions, and you fail to mention the two people I named who are indeed attorneys.
That is the kind of behavior that will get you a reputation for being a troll, undeserved or not.
The only thing that can be remotly seem in the spec as being a reference to Office is the
Surely you can't be serious about this. The document is chock full of descriptions of
application-specific behavior. There is the numerical 1900-base date format (an Excel quirk),
lots of pages of clip art specific to MS Word, descriptions of embedded objects which are
very specifically tailored to what is supported in MS Office on Windows, the VML format
which is only included because MS Office still uses it in some places, just to name a few.
The main problem with the spec is that it confuses MS Office 2007 as an application
with OOXML as its XML storage format. If you say that the only connection between
OOXML and MS Office is the compatibility tags you are assuming a very extreme position
in this debate, a position significantly more extreme than the standards document itself,
which explicitly states that a main reason for its existence is to provide 100% compatibility
with MS Office applications.
But why not give us an example of what exact item in the spec is not open and not just some
vague references ?
First, you specifically asked me to "provide a single example of real legal experts" saying that
there might be problems with the openness of the OSP. I did. Now you are asking me to
provide a more detailed pointer to exactly what is not open? We could dance this dance forever,
but I do not have the time to chase your rabbits, and I am not the right person to do it either.
There are plenty of detailed claims in the documents you claim to have read. I suggest you read
them again. I could claim that I fear that according to Swedish law, the OSP gives me absolutely
no rights whatsoever, because it is not a binding contract and not a formal patent license,
and that I suspect that the promise is not a legal document according to Swedish law, but that
would just be my personal opinion. I am not a legal expert, I am just a person who is worried
that there is so much controversy over this issue, and that all criticism is simply dismissed
without any further comments by Microsoft.
Your posts are not helping much here, you are mostly just restating Microsoft's opinion that
anyone who raises any doubt that the OSP makes OOXML open should just shut up, because
everything is fine, we should trust them on it. Well, many people seem to think everything is
not necessarily fine, for what I think are perfectly good reasons.