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Sun Responds — Gently — to Novell’s OpenOffice.org FUD

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hands and sun

SUN Microsystems’ OpenOffice.org team seems to be responding in a subtle fashion to Novell’s most recent strikes against OpenOffice.org [1, 2].

It is crucial to remember that quality assurance is nothing to sneeze at when it comes to software which stores information like medical data and people’s wages. Microsoft’s quality assurance — or lack thereof, especially in Microsoft Office — has already proven to be detrimental, so the last thing the world needs is a leading open source office suite which is equally buggy, to the point where it gets its mathematics wrong (that would be Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OOXML).

Those who favour negligence and are willing to accept no level of authority in the development can just hop onto the Go-OOXML Web site, whose opening words and introduction to the software go like this: “Go-oo has built in OpenXML import filters and it will import your Microsoft Works files.”

Yes, these are the very first words one finds in Novell’s fork [1, 2, 3, 4] of OpenOffice.org. It’s all about OOXML. Go, Go, OOXML. They even call it "OpenXML," thus lending credibility to the confusion which associates "OpenXML" with open source and OpenOffice (“Office Open OOXML”). It’s important to remember that Novell helped the standardisation of OOXML, which was a corrupt affair.

OpenOffice.org is no sinner. It is also valuable to bear in mind that Linux (the kernel) is built in a similar fashion because of the need for quality control. Patchmasters like Andrew Morton and Linus Torvalds do run a receptive cathedral, not a bazaar (Pamela Jones applied this same analogy to her work in Groklaw).

As people may recall, Con Kolivas abandoned Linux development because his admirable role was not wholeheartedly accepted, but should we fault Linux like Novell want us all to fault OpenOffice.org by poisoning our minds? This is not the first time that Novell slams Sun products out in the open [1, 2], which is uncalled for and counter productive.

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  1. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm


    Such a gentle response they don’t even mention Novell and indeed point out that OOo really needs automated QA processes outside Sun.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm


    I explained their likely intent. Now you’re just giving them a rebuttal.

  3. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:20 pm


    You “explained their likely intent”? Fascinating how easy you find it to put words in the mouths of others.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm


    Care to explain why else they posted this today, despite it being a sort of holiday?

  5. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm


    I realise for a full-time student this might feel like a holiday, but many people are working today and tomorrow, and there are no official holidays I know of today in Germany.

    Maybe they posted it because, y’know, people might be interested in what happened in Beijing recently?

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm


    These videos have been out for a while. I linked to them here several weeks ago.

  7. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:32 pm


    Given that the directory listing says that they were uploaded nine days ago – with a genuine holiday in between – I find that somewhat surprising.

    Where is this specific link you mention?

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm


    it’s here.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:38 pm


    Interesting. I see the file were overwritten. When I saw them they were already quite old. Let me do some fun with Google cache.

  10. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:38 pm


    I’m not sure how a link on the 17th – 12 days ago – counts as “several weeks” since it’s not even two.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm


    Got it.

    Index of /~ooocon2008

    [ICO] Name Last modified Size Description

    [DIR] Parent Directory  
    [VID] friday_1365.mp4 17-Dec-2008 08:57 157M
    [VID] friday_1371.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:10 192M
    [VID] friday_1384.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:18 141M
    [VID] friday_1394.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:29 175M
    [VID] friday_1397.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:36 111M
    [VID] friday_1404.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:46 145M
    [VID] friday_1419.mp4 17-Dec-2008 09:57 171M
    [VID] friday_1422.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:06 144M
    [VID] friday_1426.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:11 81M
    [VID] friday_1427.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:19 123M
    [VID] friday_1429.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:22 89M
    [VID] friday_1447.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:30 124M
    [VID] friday_1448.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:39 147M
    [VID] friday_1464.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:48 138M
    [VID] friday_1468.mp4 17-Dec-2008 10:57 159M
    [VID] friday_1470.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:09 210M
    [VID] friday_1472.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:13 96M
    [VID] friday_1475.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:18 105M
    [VID] friday_1476.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:27 154M
    [VID] friday_1477.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:35 138M
    [VID] friday_1481.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:41 109M
    [VID] friday_1482.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:46 112M
    [VID] friday_1484.mp4 17-Dec-2008 11:52 107M
    [VID] friday_1510.mp4 17-Dec-2008 12:01 152M

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:40 pm


    I found it in Roberto’s site. Let me see if it was older at the time. This feels like archeology.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:43 pm


    Got it.


    OOoCon videos (temporary folder) – Few videos of the OooCon 2008 are on line, check them out.

    Yup. December 14th when he posted this and I can vaguely recall the files being older at the time.

  14. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm


    “A few of the files” doesn’t indicate in any way that the one from Thursday, which we’re talking about, was uploaded.

    Particularly since the listing you’ve given shows that it wasn’t there when other files dated the 17th actually were.

    So you’ve helped prove my point, thanks :)

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:49 pm


    Why would they upload and promote a presentation which talks about the very same thing that rebuts Novell’s FUD from the weekend?

  16. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm


    Difficult to see how a presentation from Beijing – 5th-7th of November, remember – could rebut anything from last weekend.

    Maybe Sun engineers have a crystal ball.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:59 pm


    I suspect they picked a good one out of the bag at a particular time for a particular reason.

  18. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm


    Yeah, and that’s you putting your opinion into their mouth.

    Given that Michael Meeks’ criticism of the project didn’t revolve around the success (or not) of the QA project, I don’t even understand how you think Sun’s presentation even vaguely addresses his concerns, let alone rebut them.

    Michael is despairing of the number of people committing code to OOo. QA is only a very small part of that, and indeed Michael says “I’m pleased when people [..] help with the QA burden”. And Sun say they want to see wider outside QA participation.

    If anything, those two messages on QA actually agree.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm


    The point Sun makes is that OOo does not hastily accept everything is due to QA.

  20. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm


    Michael isn’t asking them to hastily accept everything.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm


    Right. He just wants to supersede them.

  22. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm


    Again, your opinion. That’s not what his article asks for. Do you need to read it again?

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:19 pm


    No, thank you. :-)

  24. the11thplague said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:31 pm


    Hum, nice point AlexH, indeed, I read this guy because of his opinions, and not for a “objective analysis of facts”.
    May you add a “maybe” to your suppositions, Roy ? :-)

  25. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:34 pm


    This pattern of defence from Sun has been consistent even regardless of this post, which I doubt is a coincidence.

  26. AlexH said,

    December 29, 2008 at 6:37 pm



    “Maybe” does get added now and then, it usually just means “I know I have no evidence” rather than “I think I have some evidence” (which later turns out to be bad).

    What someone interested in the facts would do is write to the person who wrote the post, rather than hang their own opinion on the things someone else didn’t say. But the latter is much easier, and you can pump out more articles that way.

  27. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:20 am


    @AlexH: So why not write to the person who posted instead of complaining about others not doing so?

  28. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:24 am


    @Thomas: because I’m not the person claiming to speak for them.

  29. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:26 am


    Well, you claim to know better. In my eyes, you refute the obvious.

  30. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:39 am


    No, I don’t claim to know better. I offered an explanation that because the videos have very recently become available, it’s not surprising that they only recently blogged about them.

    You seem to think that twelve days is weeks, and that their blog is some kind of strategic riposte to a blog post almost three months old, even though the subject matter of the two is entirely different.

    I know which explanation looks the simplest to me, and equally which other one looks like tinfoil apparel. But I don’t claim to speak for them.

  31. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:42 am


    tinfoil apparel.

    Weasel word noted.

  32. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:01 am


    It’s not a “weasel word” to point out a far-fetched conspiracy with no supporting evidence.

  33. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:02 am



    Weasel word noted.

  34. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:07 am


    Oh look, someone beat me to it and did ask them if it was a response to Meeks!

    Answer? No!

  35. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:07 am


    @AlexH: I see nobody else has commented on the post in question. Why not just ask the person if it was in response to the claims of OpenOffice.org being sick that was three months old (yet it made it to the front page of Digg and Slashdot recently)? What could it hurt?

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:11 am


    Fair point, Alex. Sun’s defence leaves the hypothesis in tact because of its previous responses to that same Meeks FUD.

  37. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:11 am


    …and that’s what I get for posting at the same time as you. So it does appear that there was a response as well.

    My point: instead of criticizing others for not checking their information, why not do so yourself? I almost asked the question myself.

  38. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:14 am


    @Thomas: if I were the one posting an article, I would ask the question first before posting what I think the answer is. The problem is that basic research like this is never done on this site.

    If it falls to “critics” and “hecklers” like me to do the research and actually sort out the fact from the fiction, then it’s a very sorry state of affairs indeed.

    I don’t hold out any hope of this article being corrected, as Roy has just said, he still thinks it’s correct even though nothing supports it.

  39. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:23 am


    The main point of this post is my own rebuttal. There is a link at the start to what I suspect is a timely reminder of QA, which has always been Sun’s defence.

  40. AlexH said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:53 am


    Just a shame that it says “Sun responds” at the top instead of “Roy’s opinion”.

  41. SR said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:56 am


    How very interesting that a site devoted to a conspiracy theory specifically notes “conspiracy” as a weasel word…

  42. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:03 am


    The only “conspiracy” here — going by the definition of the word — is Novell and Microsoft, who for a verifiable fact conspired against the GPL when they signed the patent deal.

  43. SR said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:21 am


    Where is it proven that Novell *conspired against* the GPL when they signed the deal.

    Can you cite even one source, given that it’s a verifiable fact? And opinion blogs are not credible sources ;-)

  44. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:27 am


    No, they admitted this. They sat down and discussed ways to work around the GPL (find loopholes). This is confirmed by Novell and Microsoft.

  45. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:52 am


    You cannot ‘conspire’ against a license, mate.

    You use it or you don’t use it, but you can’t conspire against it. You might as well conspire against traffic regulations… Bollocks.

  46. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:58 am


    Look up the definition of “conspire”.

  47. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 10:21 am


    # Civil conspiracy (US), agreement between persons to break the law in the future
    # Conspiracy (crime) (US), agreement between persons to break the law in the future, in some cases having committed an act to further that agreement
    # Conspiracy (political), a plot to overthrow a government

    That’s the joy of Wikipedia.

    Which one shall it be, _your_ conspiracy?

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 10:34 am


    Which is this dictionary and what are all the definitions offered by it?

    I always use Cambridge, which defines it as:

    noun [C or U]
    when people secretly plan together to do something bad or illegal:
    The three men are accused of conspiracy.
    [+ to infinitive] She has been charged with conspiracy to murder.
    I think there was a conspiracy to keep me out of the committee.

    That’s correct. Novell and Microsoft conspired to hack the spirit of the GPL and betray all those who supply Novell’s code.

  49. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 11:07 am


    noun [C or U]
    when people secretly plan together to do something bad or illegal:

    1) no illegal activity here
    2) nothing secret, everybody knows it
    3) ‘bad’ depends on your POV

  50. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 11:18 am


    1) no illegal activity here

    It says “OR”. It can be either “bad or illegal.”

    2) nothing secret, everybody knows it

    Nope. The negotiations took about six months and were held behind closed doors since around May of 2006.

    3) ‘bad’ depends on your POV

    Bad it is from the point of view of:

    2. GNU/Linux developers
    3. Samba developers
    4. Wine developers
    5. Many businesses, including (former) Novell/SUSE customers
    6. Red Hat, Canonical, Mandriva and other Linux vendors
    7. Lots of users
    8. Some Novell employees who left as a result of the deal

    Who is in favour of the deal? Let’s see… Ron Hovsepian, John Dragoon, Susan Hauser, Justin Steinman, Microsoft, Miguel de Icaza…

  51. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 11:49 am


    Well, that’s certainly a way to look at it! ^_-

    With that wide interpretation of ‘conspiracy’ I can mark your website a conspiracy:

    1) Secrecy: You and your friend Shane decided a non-public meeting to set up a website.
    2) Malicious intent: to hurt Novell (certainly bad from Novell’s point of view.)!!

    There you are, the big boycottnovell-conspiracy…

  52. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    The true story is that Shane was the founder of a GNU/Linux distribution and he was appalled by the deal, so he started this Web site. He did not have much time to write here, so he invited me to contribute. None of this was ever a secret or maliciously intended.

  53. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:38 pm


    Certainly it was? Did he consult anyone on his decision to launch an all-out attack against Novell? Isn’t his intent to hurt a company and its employees highly malicious?

  54. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:44 pm


    @homburg-hansen: It’s called having an opinion. If I wanted to, I could argue that you have the intent to harm somebody based on your actions (i.e. claiming that somebody wanted to hurt a company and employees), but then again, that would be silly, now wouldn’t it? I believe the old blog of helios (before bandwidth issues caused him to change over to Blogger) had a comment from an anonymous Novell employee that stated something along these lines: The head of Linus Torvalds being delivered to Gates on a silver platter.

  55. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:44 pm


    [All this only goes to show that the very idiosyncratic understanding of 'conspiracy' you've outlined above is just ridiculous.]

  56. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:47 pm


    Thomas; one good thing for the FOSS community has come off boycottnovell.com: It has become very easy to discern the sane people from the tinfoil-hatters.

  57. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 6:54 pm


    Thomas; one good thing for the FOSS community has come off boycottnovell.com

    BN was cited by Spiegel, Forbes, InformationWeek, IDG (e.g. ComputerWorld), OpenOffice.org front page, etc.

    Don’t try to abolish the site without substantial argument or evidence.

  58. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 7:16 pm


    Nobody with any reputation within the FOSS community wants his name associated with this website. Not even its former founder, Shane Coyle.

    It only draws madmen and mean little boys who like to rip the wings from flies… Just look at all the viciousness in Roy’s blog posts and ask yourself whether it has come out of nowhere or whether it’s always been in him, waiting a topic to earth itself in.

  59. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 7:21 pm


    It only draws madmen and mean little boys..

    …And hecklers like yourself, who can’t help smearing because a site like this one attracts over 3 million hits per months and you don’t like what people see.

    FWIW, some CEOs read this site too. Just because they don’t comment doesn’t mean they don’t exist. But they comment privately.

  60. sims said,

    December 30, 2008 at 7:30 pm


    You guys suck.

    Roy, first of all, if you want your site to hold any credibility, report facts not opinions. Then let the readers put the pieces to the puzzle and discuss their opinions in the comments.

    We all know MS’s OOXML is garbage and MS’s attempt to pollute standards in order to grab more of the market via vendor lock-in and ghey upgrades so we can give them more money to feed the greed demons.

    You don’t need to convince us. Just report the facts – the nice little details that don’t make it to the front page.

    The ghey MS fans will come here and spill vomit on the comments section, and that’s too bad. There’s nothing you can do about it. Arguing with them only makes it worse. Just let them be ghey and sell their internal organs to MS. I don’t really give a what.

    Have a nice day and a Happy New Year!

  61. sims said,

    December 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm


    BTW, my rant tags were omitted above.

  62. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:44 am



    Thanks, I was unable to restore any tags (markup) because I do not see any.

  63. sims said,

    December 31, 2008 at 3:40 am


    That’s cool. I just wrote rant html style tags around the above comment so people would know the contents were volatile.

    Cheers and good luck next year!

  64. ms said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:19 pm


    Ugh, fix these article errors…

    “that would ‘be’ Excel”

    “…a similar fashion because of the need ‘tor’ quality control”

  65. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:21 pm


    Thanks a lot. It’s fixed now.

  66. Ren in FL said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:53 pm


    When does Roy graduate from school so he’ll have to get a real job and have less time coming up with conspiracy theories that are stretched so thin that they’d break if they were rubber bands?

  67. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    January 1, 2009 at 12:15 am


    @Ren in FL: The fact that you not only visit this site, but commented as well only shows that you are lending credibility to Mr. Schestowtz. If what he said had no credence, then why waste time here?

  68. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 2:50 am


    It’s also an ad hominem attack that ignores the facts.

  69. Ari T. said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm



    “It only draws madmen and mean little boys who like to rip the wings from flies”

    I’m sorry to say, but this is not too far from the impression I get of you based on your comments.


    Although I think Boycott Novell is a valuable source of information, I’d like facts, opinions and assumptions to be separated more clearly here. Not doing so just helps your opponents in their efforts to discredit you.

  70. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm


    I try to separate the two using words and references. Is there a more effective of achieving this separation (cues)?

  71. Ren in FL said,

    January 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm


    @Thomas Holbrook et al -

    I also visit AND comment on MS-biased sites as well – doesn’t mean that I put any credence in what they have to say either.

  72. Ren in FL said,

    January 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm


    Nothing in that “status” entry says anything about being anything other than a doctoral STUDENT.

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  29. IBM is Again Attacking Free/Libre Open Source Software by Pushing for Patents on Software

    A timely reminder that Big Blue is no true friend of GNU/Linux and other Free software projects, just an opportunist that uses the Linux brand and wants to make the platform a commodity (for servers that run IBM's proprietary software and use IBM-branded hardware)

  30. Windows is Dying, Based on my Conversations With Microsoft Windows Staff

    The arrival of Vista 10 heralds the continuation of a trend that Vista 8 cemented, namely an inevitable demise of Microsoft's common carrier (and formerly cash cow), Windows


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