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Unmasking “hAl”, Pro-OOXML Fighter

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anonymity is not fair in Microsoft's age of "technical evangelists"

ONE of the leading forces behind a pseudo-grassroots push for OOXML is a mysterious character known as “hAl”. This character was responsible also for smearing the names of those who spoke truth about OOXML, including myself. We wrote about this character before, but we have just obtained some information about hAl, which was sent to us anonymously. It was found on a special week, on which Google opened its archives, and there it was, in Google’s cache, a homepage from hAl, from the year 2000. This matches some of the information that we already have (the name “Albert” and city/country of residence). From the page:

Here is some more information about myself:

Albert Zonneveld

Born on 16-may-’69 in Heemskerk, The Netherlands
I live in Castricum at the Dutch coasts about 15 miles northwest from Amsterdam.

(Route) <= http://free.lokatienet.nl/freemap.asp?postcode=1901ej&zoom=4

My hobbies are:

* Badminton
* Reading books (They do still exist), mainly SF and Adventure
* Playing board/card games, because I enjoy the company more than I do my computer
* Playing united games by mail, the kind that is still delivered door to door.
* A friendly game of snooker And last but not least… drinking BEER.


* URL: < still looking for a good one >
* Book: Ringworld by Larry Niven
* Writer: Robert A Heinlein
* Beer: Westmalle Triple
* Game: 1830
* Computer game: Nethack (Seen the spectacular graphics??!!)


At that time he was employed at PinkRoccade, a large Dutch ICT-service-company, working, mostly, for government.

Our source claims that he is writing a lot on the Dutch Web site webwereld.nl, which is owned by the Microsoft-paid analysts at IDC.

To merely give away the identity of someone who smears another would only be fair. One’s identity is not a smear; it’s information and it’s publicly accessible.

Here he is posting under his full name (also here) and discrediting a Red Hat employee along with “The Wraith” and Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh. He also commented on Miguel de Icaza’s blog when de Icaza’s said that “The EU Prosecutors are Wrong [about Microsoft].” It’s always fascinating to see a vice president from Novell defending Microsoft from those ‘zealots’ in the European Commission.

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper


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  1. homburg-hansen said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:48 am


    I see nothing sinister or ‘masked’ about this man.

    What are you trying to reach by that sensationalist headline?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:51 am


    I thought you had said “goodbye,” but you couldn’t help sticking around. :-)

    I assume that you know too little about the history of Microsoft OOXML AstroTurfing.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm


    Also found by someone is the following old profile page linked to from a Dutch web site page where hAl was rambling about OOXML:


    The facts line up with what we know about him and perhaps this is him:


  4. Andre said,

    December 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm


    Everyone should have the right to use pseudonymes and it is a matter of personal respect and knighthood attitude to respect that. It is all just about the issue at hand.

    Your false assumption is that HAl is dangerous and needs to be unmasked. In fact he generates a community and awareness by his actions as a pseudonyme personality. He very useful as a player of the game and a great wikipedia open xml struggle recruitment personality. You cannot beat someone when he does not return the ball. HAl messes a lot around and this is why he is a key asset.

    Think of Matusow who silenced his blog which looks like defeat: http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/

    In war and standards war you need to respect the soldiers you shoot at. Image a gladiator who lets you just kill him. The audience and the cesar won’t be amused. And it is not real fun, neither for you nor your audience.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm


    I don’t always agree with you, Andre.

    As for Jason, he said too many outrageous things. For example, things about pushing and bending the rules, mocking South Africans’ intelligence, suggesting that Groklaw is an IBM front, that open source is just collaborating on code etc.

  6. G. Michaels said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm


    For example, things about pushing and bending the rules

    Your friends do that too, bending the rules to disrupt communities.

    mocking South Africans’ intelligence

    Insulting indians, “Hyperbad”.

    suggesting that Groklaw is an IBM front

    Do I have to paste another link to his claims that anyone who disagrees with him works for “M$”? Nah, I don’t think so.

    I suggest you write a hard-hitting expose on William H. Hill, your friend and collaborator that goes by the pseudonym ‘twitter’.

    People in glass houses and all that.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  7. Andre said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm


    My assumption is that HAl is a great asset and does a helpful job.

    Are you involved with project domino, Roy?

    “For example, things about pushing and bending the rules, mocking South Africans’ intelligence, suggesting that Groklaw is an IBM front, that open source is just collaborating on code etc. ”

    So what? Come on, Matusow is an independent mind with dependencies (aka oxy-moron). He never delivered a simple instant noodle “party line message” which meant that he has more power but of course he has to defend the line. Change a bit the perspective and it feels different.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm


    I guess we just feel differently. I could go on sort of preaching about political things and the struggle against corruptible ‘authorities’ whose aggression is just a matter of “feeding some family.” But I’ll spare you those rants and leave them to IRC discussions that are off topic. You know the channel’s address. :-)

    I’m not involved with project domino.

  9. Peter2 said,

    January 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm


    You are indeed a sad person herr Schestowitz.
    It is sickening to see how you turn your obvious hatred voor all that is Microsoft into a personal vendatta against people that have added comments in favor of Microsoft.

    I suggest btw you take down this kind of detailed personal information. You make a mockery of what is the open source movement.
    We hold privacy as one of the greatest goods and these kind of publications of personal details (of people you do not like) is not in line with that at all.
    You disgrace us all.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm



    What do you know about this person and what he did? This is not some arbitrary chap who just left a few comments here and there.

  11. Jose_X said,

    January 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm


    The Steve Pepper quote at the end made me think that one (other) reason for Microsoft to want to take ISO ODF hostage is to ensure that future versions of OOXML are also supported so that the OOXML spec doesn’t bitrot (at least not until ODF is gone).

    Also, this info about this hAl person might be bogus.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 3:03 am


    The personal information could be, but the name, location, etc. was confirmed independently by separate sources.

  13. Peter2 said,

    January 2, 2009 at 9:17 am


    Actually your article show that is is just some arbitrary chap.
    Your publish total non information about him.
    You uncover no link to either Novell or Microsoft or show us anything else that is even remotly newsworthy.
    The only thing you do is expose privacy information on somebody that you do not agree with and who is vocal about his support for some Microsoft related office format.

    That is not what OSS is about.
    We hold true to real protection of privacy.

    Your blog truly is what I would call the dark side of the OSS community. I also noticed above you added a derogatory stament next to antother person not agreeing with your views.
    What you do not seem to get is that everybody should be free to express their views. You seem to attack readers that do agree with your (rather extreme) views.
    That on itself is questionable.
    Invading their privacy is just going way to far

    I would rather hope that OSS community can get rid of the stigma that blogs like yours put on the community.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 9:28 am


    Many people in the F/OSS community have nothing to hide; those with a diabolic agenda often feel the need to conceal their motives.

  15. Peter2 said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:38 am


    You now use arguments commenly used by the law enforcement agencies.
    Privacy has nothing to do with not hiding stuff.
    It is a fundamental right.

    And you an your blog are pissing on it as is evident from this article.
    You disgrace the FOSS community

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:41 am


    This is something that he posted himself to the Web. He chose to make it known.

  17. Peter2 said,

    January 4, 2009 at 9:42 am


    Actually it is something that he probably removed years ago and someone dug up when Google temporaily opened some archive. (incredible even that some fanatic wanted to look up this particular bit of info).

    So it is privacy info that cannot be found anywhere but trough your publication.
    You break privacy because you obviously dislike what someone is saying but without showing any relevant info. That is just plain wrong.

    Privacy is a cornerstone in FOSS community.
    You do not deserve to call yourself FOSS or else you would not publish these kind of articles.

    I would suggest you either remove or edit the article but I guess that would be something only people that truly respect the free and open principles would do.

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 4, 2009 at 10:27 am


    Mockery for FOSS came from Albert, not from me.

  19. erik said,

    January 5, 2009 at 6:24 am


    It;s a sad thing when you choose to shoot a messenger.
    I guess your a really frustrated anti MS boy with questionable moral and lack of ethics. Problably the same arguments you have regarding to MS ;)

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 6:38 am


    You’re reversing the argument. The one shooting the messengers was typically Albert, thus the question of anonymity arose.

  21. Shane Coyle said,

    January 5, 2009 at 8:40 am


    The "question of anonymity" also arose in regards to the identity of one beloved PJ, or don’t we recall Maureen O’Gara’s ethically questionable article and the backlash she received?

    How is this all that different, really?

  22. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 8:52 am


    How is this all that different, really?

    This is just information that’s on the Web (he left comments under his full name), whereas Maureen O’Gara went traveling to a person’s house, making phonecalls to family and stalking in all sorts of ways.

    All I do here is glue together bits from the Web, which is public. The person that we talk about here slandered those who favour standards and vested interests are suspected.

  23. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 5, 2009 at 8:55 am


    You’ve accused people of stalking where all of their information came from the web too. Now suddenly it’s not stalking?

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 9:11 am


    It’s not the stalking that I complain about, it’s abusing of rating systems which is part of the stalking, e.g. in Digg, USENET, etc.

  25. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 5, 2009 at 9:16 am


    So… it’s what twitter does ;-)

    And yes, I agree that’s lame.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 10:03 am


    I don’t endorse what he does, either.

    Only yesterday I pointed out that the Usual Suspects were attacking by gaming the system in Digg against me. Over in USENET, lots of libel was posted against me over the holidays.

    FWIW, an official from Slashdot told me that they are aware Microsoft games them. it’s probably the same in Digg and other sites where their gaming is worthwhile.

  27. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 5, 2009 at 10:54 am


    You may not endorse what he does publicly, but you seem to like to point out when your posts make it to slashdot, even though twitter and his army of sockpuppets are what gamed the system into promoting your story.

    A bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:08 am


    “Baby In The Bath Water”,

    You may not endorse what he does publicly, but you seem to like to point out when your posts make it to slashdot, even though twitter and his army of sockpuppets are what gamed the system into promoting your story.

    Got any evidence of such a thing? Of course not.

    For the record, I find that sockpuppet thing appalling, but what do you want me to do beyond telling him to stop, which I did?

    As far as I know, when we make Slashdot it’s because some other people/readers submit it (e.g. India protests, OOXML leak). It’s nothing to do with “twitter”, but you try to characterise it this way to harm this Web site like you always do.

  29. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:25 am


    Do you ever have any evidence to support your claims?

    I believe it’s been pointed out by G. Michael’s and others that twitter does indeed game the article submission system. There’s a link that I’m sure he can provide us with (and has done so before) that has an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that twitter does in fact do what I noted in my previous comment.

    Good for you that you asked him to stop, but he obviously continues to abuse the system in your favor.

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:28 am


    What do you suggest that I do about it?

    What would you have done?

  31. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:36 am


    how about publicly attacking him like you’d do to anyone else that does such things?

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:43 am


    “Attack” is a strong word. I characterise people who are, for a verifiable fact, harming FOSS, and often at Microsoft’s behest. Watch the O’Gara example, where we have a court-stamped exhibit showing that she’s connected to them.

  33. Roy Bixler said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:44 am


    I don’t think I would have posted this article, since it seems off-topic for this site (“Exploring the reality behind exclusionary deals with Microsoft and their subtle (yet severe) implications.”) It’s enough that you have publicised the TE notes. With that, it’s natural that there are characters like hAl. It’s fine to point out examples of what these people do but counterproductive to appear to stoop to their level. I guess I just don’t see how this article advances the cause of FLOSS.

  34. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:48 am


    Roy B,

    Fair point, but remember that some of us suffered at a personal level because of Microsoft TEs.

  35. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:55 am


    Well, are you going to write an article characterising him as a person who sues 41+ sock puppets, or aren’t you? Considering that you jump at every opportunity to (often falsely) characterise people with opposing beliefs, you shouldn’t have any moral dilemma in doing the same to people who fall on your own side of the fence, right? In fact, you should feel even more morally obligated to do so, to show that you truly are after truth and justice. Otherwise you are just a hypocrite and no better than those you claim to fight.

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  36. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:56 am


    obviously that should read “uses 41+ sock puppets”

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  37. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm


    That would be like asking the CNN to do an article about the lack of credibility of Richard Quest.

  38. Gentoo User (and proud of it) said,

    January 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm



    Considering that you jump at every opportunity to (often falsely) characterise people with opposing beliefs, you shouldn’t have any moral dilemma in doing the same to people who fall on your own side of the fence, right?

    This has been pointed out by lots of people, with the usual result of having red warnings appended to our posts.

    I gather that’s where yours are heading as well.

    And I’m certain there are enough examples on the IRC logs of Roy praising twitter for posting his stuff to Slashdot, but I’m not about to go looking for them. Maybe that is what he’s counting on.

    I noticed just this morning for example a post that does the same. He’s also playing the usual sockpuppet games again.


    I characterise people who are, for a verifiable fact, harming FOSS

    I see your “characterization” of one Wikipedia user went extremely well.

    Happy new year to everyone, BTW :)

    Note: comment arrived from a witch hunter that does not even use GNU/Linux.

  39. G. Michaels said,

    January 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm


    There’s a link that I’m sure he can provide us with (and has done so before) that has an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that twitter does in fact do what I noted in my previous comment.

    The link. It now incorporates my little contribution as well, but I had nothing to do with most of what’s in that page. I just link to it.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  40. dazza said,

    January 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm


    No wonder no one will touch OSS with a barge pole, when you see the levels some of its diciples will stoop too.

    Roy most normal people who see and read the venom you spout see you as the moral level of OSS and FLOSS in general.

    You and this site does huge damge to the movement, you denigrate the OSS and yourself.

    Food critices are allways the worst cooks, by that i mean if you cant do anything positive for the OSS movement you resort to this kind of venom.

    Its sad to see, that you will drop your morels for your fanatatism.

    You give yourself, this site, and the FOSS movement in general a bad name and reputation.

    You Roy are doing far more damage than good to OSS.

    Note: This is a nymshift of darryl (darryl_@hotmail.com), a troll who also harasses LinuxToday

  41. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm



    Did you have to nymshift for your trolling?

  42. dazza nick name for darryl said,

    January 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm


    Roy Roy Roy :) how sad, i am constantly amused at what you fanbois will do or say to “prove” a point. Sure i point out the failings of FOSS and Linux, i point out that after 17 years the cult has continued to remain a 3rd class OS based on Linux, yes i state your market share is a dismal reflection of the quality and performance of your OS and APPS. Sure i want it to be better, Sure i want FOSS to compete with MS.

    Sure i get sick of the politician trick of “If you have nothing good to offer, its best to try to accuse the opposition of being bad” but it does not work.

    Most of the world see through your FUD, and when your market share in popularity is SO poor, and yet you dont do anything about it but whine about those that are doing so much better than FOSS, even though you’ve been “in the game” for just as long !

    I wonder why the cult does not “get it” and why you cant work out what your doing wrong.

    Sure you quote Gates from 10 or more years ago, making out its “current” news.

    I dont care anymore, you’ve dropped the ball, if you ever had it in the first place.
    But you keep going after lost causes, and dont try to move the state of the art, and keep on.

    but keep going, at your present rate of take up, in 200 or so years you might gain a bit of market share.. but i doubt it.

    And no im not a MS person at all, i dont use any operating system, i use applications, i could not care less what my OS is, as long as it allows me to use the applications i need to use and it works. not do i care what OS you use. Its just unfortunate that FOSS is not up to the task for me, as it’s not for most of the planet.

    But good luck anyway. you need it :)

  43. G. Michaels said,

    January 11, 2009 at 12:07 am


    hahahaha! I was going to say something here but I just couldn’t stop laughing when I saw so many “hecklers” with little red disclaimers on their posts, so I figured I just add another one.

    Oh god Roy, you must realize how ridiculous this has become? Surely you must :)

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  44. Franz said,

    February 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm


    hAl is now using two more nicks, even on the same website, Webwereld.nl,

    His new Nicks: Blingux and Chrissie

    The proof is here:

    probably, astroturfers get paid for every nick they use.

    This is the way astroturfers try to get more convincing, by having more personalities whish supports their position

  45. Franz said,

    February 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm


    Strong point, Roy that you leave the ferm critics you get readable, that also makes your arguments strong.

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