This post can be seen as the continuation of the discussion of this blog post. It was triggered by Patrick Durusau contention that there was no file format war at all.
For a war to happen, I think it should meet two criteria. [Oh dear! I am setting up straw men to knock them down later] One: There must be two parties prepared to fight each other. Otherwise, it would simply be a walkover. Take the war in Kosovo in late 1990s as an example. Was there a civil war? Yes, since both sides were fighting. However, if you ask the question did NATO fought a war in Kosovo, I am sure everyone will say No. It was a walkover as there was no opposition.
Second, the fighting must be intense. In a real war this means literally killing the opposition to achieve one’s aim. Both sides pulling all the tricks available is a plus to support this arguments. A bonus must be given if the tactic used is unlawful. (I must stress that I do not support any unlawful action.) In a standard war or other more civilised pursues, we don’t engage in killing opposition. We can and human history shows that we did (and I am sad to say, still do), but normally, we say there is a war when two parties engaged in often heated arguments on a topic.
Was there two parties fighting? Yes. Ironically, Durusau’s posting is the proof. So, I knock down my first straw man.
Do we see heated arguments on OOXML standardization? While I am one who engaged in it, one man does not make an army. Search on the net will show you that we anti-OOXML people are active and often engaged in heated argument. But an argument cannot be heated unless the other party shoot back. Moreover, proof unethical behaviour from either side would be nice.
We heard rumour of unethical tactics before. Durusau’s post brought out at least another, i.e., from OpenMalaysiaBlog. OpenMalaysiaBlog alleged that Microsoft Malaysia is involved in a campaign to smear two persons. It produces a letter from Microsoft Malaysia and two printout of OpenMalaysiaBlog postings with hand written annotations (more later).
I think the letter is more than sufficient to prove the point that while publicly Microsoft says it welcomes ODF and did not oppose it. It did in private. The fact that one part is prepared to mount this type of “covert” operation is definitely help me bring down my second strawman. However it is still not conclusive.
I am reluctant to accept the two printout of OpenMalaysiaBlog postings with hand written annotations as the conclusive proof that Microsoft engage in unethical behaviour. Please understand that I do not doubt the author is sincere and did NOT misrepresent the truth. However it is easy to print out a webpage and anyone can write the annotation to anything. I don’t doubt the author’s sincerity. But I cannot verify the handwriting as from someone working for Microsoft myself for the simple reason that I don’t know him/her.
The smear campaign is not an isolated incident as it is repeated in a lot of place. Phatak suffers it in India. Again, like the OpenMalaysiaBlog, we have only one side of the story. Moreover, They are all private communications from an individual. Everyone has its own prejudice and it is possible, although unlikely, that the authors are coloured by their prejudice. May be they are just sensitive souls.
OK. These means I had cut half way through my second strawman legs and stopped there. Why only “half way through the legs”? There are a lot of circumstantial evidence that I had presented here, but not enough to convict. So, what we need is an independent party account of an event. Do I have it? Let’s see. How about this letter from Standard New Zealand? BAMMMMM…. I just decapitated my second strawman… with an hammer to the neck.
Now that I had knocked down both my straw men. Was there a war? I think so. Am I objective in saying there is a war? It is up to you to decide.