The other side of Rob – an apology

Posted February 12, 2008 by robweird
Categories: Uncategorized

I thought I would just apologise on behalf of Ed Brill.

As someone focused more on pecuniary matters, such as targets, bonuses and things of that ilk, he is wont to get highly emotional when anything occurs that could impede remuneration.

I am sure that he wasn’t implying that free speech was a vexing technicality that should only be applied to anyone he agrees with and denied to anyone on “the other side”.

As you know, I take a far more cerebral approach to these things.  In addition, I am very fond of comedy, as readers of this blog will know.  I found Ed not to be quite as receptive to the medium of komodia as I had hoped, as I discovered to my cost after he initiated an investigation by the department of homeland security after I sent him this link.

Maybe Ed can be softened up by watching a few less controversial episodes of the Daily Show first.  In any case, he should be weaned off those Michael Savage podcasts.

I also have to disagree with Ed when he mentions someone has far too much time on their hands.  Considering the verbiosity of my own blog (and Ed’s), I am sure it is quite possible to rush off some well written and considered posts in a matter of minutes, then move on swiftly to the important matters at hand. 

The alacrity with which the ISO ratification of 1.x ODF is progressing is a testament to this.

 (Footnote: I can forgive Ed a little after discovering his little contretemps with Fake Steve Jobs and a brit journalist)

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In such a hurry to junket …

Posted February 9, 2008 by robweird
Categories: ISO, ODF, OOXML, Standards

Tags: , , , ,

I hear from my learned friends at OpenForum that many of the NB members are really looking forward to coming to Geneva.  I inquired whether it was for the intellectual discourse, pretending to consider the details on the ox-ML dispositions or the pleasure of casting the pre-agreed NO vote.

As a self-confessed intellectual colossus, I am ashamed to say that the answer was no.

The real draw in Geneva that weekend is the special “BRM a-Go-Go”, NBs only invitational bash.  With the wheels unctuously oiled by some of the richest companies on the planet, the stalwart custodians of international standards will be cruelly focused on more base matters.

However, a tip for those involved in this event; note that IBM have generously agreed to provide all the name badges for both the BRM and the OpenForum event.  Anyone who went to Lotusphere will get my drift.

So be warned, there is more to be accomplished in Geneva than picking up nice little trinkets and maritime debauchery.  I have convinced myself to persuade influence encourage NBs to vote NO based on “technical merit”, but others may use more unconventional methods.

On the positive side, I was pleased to see that IBM have employed some photographers that have worked extensively with the National Society of Astronomers.  It’s not an association I am familiar with, strangely, with astronomy being very close to my heart. 

I happened to interrupt a meeting with the rather motley crowd of these practictioners of photos-graphein and some colleagues.  One of the photographers was saying how much work he had performed for the NSA.  On asking what the acronym stood for, I was somewhat hurriedly informed by a florid faced colleague about this august body of astronomers. 

I will have to look into joining.

The house inspector

Posted February 7, 2008 by robweird
Categories: ODF, OOXML, Standards

Tags: , ,

In a recent post, I pondered about the value of professionals involved in buying a house and establishing the necessary information for the transaction to take place.

One slight wrinkle with the process did occur.  In my deep fascination with issues such as the title, surveying and the other minutiae, I forgot to actually engage a house inspector.

I had taken a cursory look around the house myself and it seemed completely shipshape.  As all the the other legal issues were so engrossing, I must admit that I lost focus on what I was actually doing, which was obtaining a house to live in.

So, after the joy of finalising the transaction and getting the requisite paperwork, I moved in.

That’s where the problems started.

I had not noticed that there seemed to be no shower, or even a place to put one.  There was a bathroom, but it was too small to put in a shower.  What a dreadful omission, I thought.  Well, there was nothing else for it other than to start building an extension for the shower. ( I was not to realise at the time how many years it would take!)

The next problem was the plumbing.  The seller had assured me that it was using all standard gauge plumbing, but it appeared that some of the fittings were, but others weren’t.

The other strange thing is that it used a non-standard electrical system, which although elegant, meant that I would not be able to use any of my existing appliances, since it had been engineered in such a way as to avoid any kind of interoperability with the normal electricity supply, even with a transformer.

I consoled myself with the fact that although the house was all but inhabitable, it was indubitably mine.

A truism is unearthed …

Posted February 6, 2008 by robweird
Categories: ODF, OOXML

Tags: , , ,

Microsoft’s Gray Knowlton spends more than a few hours discovering an earth-shattering truism.

Reclaiming FUD

Posted February 4, 2008 by robweird
Categories: ODF, OOXML, Standards

Tags: , , , ,

Now that a senior IBM executive, Doug Heintzman, has come out and guaranteed that we will not be ‘monetizing’ the office space, I can reveal the raison d’être behind the whole ODF/Symphony strategy.

Microsoft naturally thought this was about selling support and services to customers, but Doug has stood up publicly in the press and put that myth to rest. (It is a shame to miss out on that 3000 per seat switching bonanza though)

This was about something entirely different, it was a matter of pride.

Some of you might recall the times when IBM was synonymous with FUD.  When Gene Amdahl left to start his own mainframe business, he already knew about FUD, he was resigned to it’s inevitability.  That’s because, as an IBM’er, it was imbued into his very fabric, as one of the core company values.

We invented, refined and introduced FUD to the world, we are the birth mother of FUD.

However, in the late 90’s, we let our guard down and Microsoft moved in on our space. (I bet it was an ex-IBM employee that taught them the ropes)  Ever since that fateful day, we determined to regain and retain our crown.

And that is why we have invested so much into making Microsoft suffer.  The entire ODF caper has been about having a FUD platform to use against one of Microsoft’s most profitable business divisions, Office.

And what a platform it has been.

Ironically, we used interoperability as one of our weapons. We know all about the value of that, using the old “incompatibility” trick with ODF, just as we had made the System/360 instruction set incompatible back when we set about crushing Gene. 

We also tried to get governments to mandate ODF, the very same organizations that irritated us with anti-trust judgements such as the one that allowed Gene into the game at all.  Well, we learnt how to game that system and stung Microsoft for 775 million.

I must admit, it has been difficult for IBM to hold their nose when dealing with these open source riff-raff, but they have certainly served their purpose.  Never has there been such a cheap source of labor, coupled with fervent evangelism, exploited for so little cost (well without lawsuits or Amnesty International being involved). Unfortunately, with the recession coming, I fear many of them will have to do some real work for a while.

Microsoft take note that we do not easily forget, we are still punishing Gene and his apprentices.  We are serious about enforcing patents (and we get more every year than anyone else) and will actually do it, this is one area where FUD is not enough. No-one messes with OUR monopoly.

In a parallel universe …

Posted February 3, 2008 by robweird
Categories: Standards

Tags: , , , , ,

Microsoft gives away mainframes, threatens Sun

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The Case for Harmonization (that IBM will vote against anyway)

Posted February 1, 2008 by robweird
Categories: ODF, OOXML

Tags: , ,

In my recent post, I discussed the case for harmonization, mainly due to trying to portray a more kindly, conciliatory face in the “standards krieg” that I was enjoying so much. I have been forced to take a different tack, in light of being hung out to dry by my more business-focused IBM comrades and the work that the enemy has done in sprucing up the spec. However, as my closest friends know, for me, there are no half-victories, so you can rest assured that I will not settle for this weak “harmonization” compromise. I set out my (and IBM’s) stall some time ago on this, and as those on the Open Document Foundation know, any attempt at harmonization shall be met with swift and final retribution.  They were ejected from the odf-coven just days after their impudence. I have baited my trap, inviting this “harmonization” in my lair (the OASIS ODF TC) where I can bog them down in a morass of incompetence, bickering and politicking, so no new standard is ever ratified.  I have already been practicing for this, as you can see, by the ODF 1.1 and 1.2 specs.

You can imagine the fun of performing the technical equivalent of “harmonizing” ISO 10646 (UCS/Unicode) into ISO-646 (Ascii).  Of course, the harmonization of UCS and Unicode was one that worked, since it wasn’t like trying to bolt a Maybach body on Kia underpinnings.

If they don’t succumb to the “harmonization” gambit, then at least we have the “wine, women and hidden cameras” plan to get the NB members to toe the line at the vote, with our room of delights at the OpenForum just a corridor away from the BRM at the ICC in Geneva.

All’s fair in love and standards war.