Friday, 28 March 2008

How Microsoft killed ODF

Hasn't anyone learned anything over the last few years. It doesn't matter if OOXML is approved or not. All that matters is that the process that gave ODF it's international standing is ruined. ODF got where it is today because it is an international standard, not because it is necessarily the answer to every possible question. People believed in the ISO process and believed that a standard with their seal of approval was actually worth something in the real world. By badgering, bribing and threatening, Microsoft has effectively destroyed the ISO process. So who cares if OOXML becomes a standard or not? No one if there isn't gold standard for it to be judged against. While ODF was a saint, the sinner of OOXML looked very dark and shabby. Now Microsoft has cast doubt on the lineage of ODF everyone is a sinner. If you will excuse an awful analogy, which would you prefer to eat, ice cream or sawdust? Easy choice eh! Now everyone knows that the ISO process can be corrupted the choice can then be portrayed as one dodgy standard versus another. So, what do you want to eat now, sawdust or coal? Not as clear cut any more is it! As soon as one national body fell to the manipulation of Microsoft, OOXML had won. In the world of FUD and dirty deals Microsoft is king. It's made a career out of muddying the waters to hide it's own inadequacies and inconsistencies. There is ( or maybe these days, was ) a saying that says 'My country right or wrong'. For some ISO members maybe we should change it to 'My company, right or wrong'

In this whole sordid tale, some people stood above the crud and for that they should be saluted... and some didn't ....

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Winning Hearts and Minds

It's probably been 10 years since I started playing with Linux and the one thing that has really changed in that time are the forums. Going back to those days a post would usually elicit a helpful pointer or two, even if it was to the man pages, and if not that, at worst, a RTFM. Now days it seems impossible to post a question without some arrogant soul having a go. I recently posted a question or so to a couple of forums and whilst I did get some useful answers I also got the usual selection of comments suggesting I was a complete moron.

Whilst that may be true, it is unlikely that it would be that obvious from my posts. Sometimes situations occur that may not be obvious. I may post a question because of a situation that has a long and complicated history. No one is really interested in how that came about. Maybe a previous admin did something, maybe other factors forced the issue. The bottom line is, the question may seem odd, simple or just plain stupid but what I need are suggestions. Just because you know a lot about Linux doesn't mean you know everything about my place of work and configuration. Knowing grep doesn't mean you can grasp out of the air every nuance of my setup and why I want to do something.

I post questions for lots of reasons, often because I don't have time to research the problem myself. Often because I need some feedback as a sounding board. Sometimes suggestions that are totally wrong are helpful because they put you on a train of thought that eventually leads to an answer.

I thought that after 10 years I was immune to 'experts' arrogant replies but I am not. The last few posts have finally convinced me to seriously consider not asking for help anymore, I'll just do it myself even if it takes ten times longer. That's OK for me, I have been playing this game long enough to know that I will solve the problem on my own eventually. Despite being told several times that I am an idiot I do believe that Linux is a better base than Windows but I am not a newbie. If I were coming to Linux today I think I would last about 10 minutes before some 'Linux guru' was so rude to me that I just gave up and went back to Windows.

As my mother said. 'If you can't say something nice...'