Ben Langhinrichs

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Genii Weblog

Microsoft's FUD mantra du jour

Fri 31 Aug 2007, 12:11 PM



by Ben Langhinrichs
Microsoft is starting really irritate me.  I have no problem with their advocacy of OOXML, except when they get to the point of stacking committees and trying to buy votes, and I have no idea whether they are right that IBM engages in similar tactics, even if they haven't been caught (or been that successful at it, either).  But I really, really hate talking points ala Karl Rove and the "Swift Boat" travesty.

On various posts yesterday, I saw eerily similar snide comments being made about whether IBM would ever release the "Notes proprietary formats", with one poster on Brian Jone's blog saying, as an example:
When this whole to-do is over, IBM may just drop the OSSers like a bad date and proceed to take a bunch of government contracts with a Lotus suite that supports ODF in name only.  And when you ask Rob Weir to open source his stuff or reveal Lotus-specific format information, he'll probably repeat the line about how it contains "old legacy code which is covered by licenses and patents outside of IBM's ontrol." 
Besides the idiocy of acting as if Rob Weir would have any control over this, the subtle message being promoted is that IBM always hides its data formats and just wants to force Microsoft, as a competitor, to expose theirs.

What a pile of crap!

For those who don't know, and the Microsoft people really should, the IBM Lotus Notes data formats are all documented in a free, and generally available, download as part of the Notes C API toolkit.  Rich text, view formats, everything.  Data structures, how they go together, functions to access them as well as how to access them directly if you don't want to use the functions.  Sample code out the wazoo.  And all of it has been available for years, since 1994 at least, since that is when I used all of these documented formats to create my fisrt product.  Since then, all my products have depended on this open access top data formats.

So, is it possible that the Microsoft posters don't know this?  Certainly.  Is it likely?  Maybe the people repeating it don't, but this is the ultimate dirty tricks tactic, as it relies on people's ignorance of the facts, and leaves a sense that is hard to counter it.  So, while I can't do much to stop this, I will at least call it what it is, FUD, pure and simple.

Copyright 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

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