CyberTech Rambler

September 15, 2006

DejaVu all over again…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:48 pm

Remember a while ago Microsoft’s is said to voiced its objection over  the use of “open source” after a document has been agreed on in Tunis and successfully got it changed? (Here is a dissenting opinion says that it failed). It appears that Microsoft is back at it again, this time in the US.

Again, we see the familiar pattern that Microsoft did not raise any objection in any discussion on the documents, but raise the issue after the document had been agreed but before being sent off to the printers. This time, the chief document drafter skillfully managed this last minute intrusion by Microsoft.

Nowadays it is sad to say that people still confuse “Open Source” with “Open Content” or “Open Standard”. Massachusett is not the first, nor it is the last, to find that the wanted “Open Standard” although in the first draft, it wrote “Open Source” in its now famous ERTM document.

One good thing that came out of this rather underhanded behaviour by Microsoft is that Charles M. Vest, president emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, realize that what the document wants is “Open Content”, not open source per se. It is important to say that although this is a result of Microsoft’s objection, it is not the reason why Microsoft objected. Microsoft objected because it felt the word “open source” may put its business model at a disadvantage.

I do not buy the argument by the Microsoft person on why she raised the objection so late in the process. Not least this is because we have a precedence before. Thus, making this look like a technique deployed by the company, not something overlooked. The way things had been happenning in the past few years one will expect the word “Open Source” to be a trigger word for any Microsoft’s employee to take action. May be it is time to write a filter in Word that will sound a large alarm whenever the word appears. Moreover, she failed to attend the final meeting nor inspect the draft being circulated carefully. Thus, if anyone is at fault, it is her.

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