Arnaud’s Open blog

Opinions on open source and standards

An undeniable sense of pride

I recently posted a rave about IBM support so I’m well aware that this may look like I’m just on some sort of a praising roll about IBM but I want to say it anyway: I’m very proud of the standards principles we announced yesterday.

I’ve participated in the discussions we’ve had that led to this announcement and I was truly looking forward to the annoucement. It’s actually been a bit hard to keep it quiet until now. I felt so good about it I wanted to tell everybody.

It’s nice to feel proud of the company I work for. I have to say that in my now almost 9 years here I have never been made aware of anything we’ve done that I felt ashamed of. IBM has a strong culture based on principles rooted in ethics and just doing the right thing. In challenging times those principles are more often than not restated and everybody is given clear instructions not to cross the line, be it from a legal or ethical point of view, even if it means we’ll lose.

With all the things that have been reported around OOXML over the last year I’ve often wondered what it must be like to work for a company that appears to be willing to go beyond what most would find acceptable to win. I’m glad this merely is a rhetorical question for me and surely hope it will stay that way.

I think it’s important to lead by example and I hope the publication of our standards principles will encourage other corporations to take similar actions.

As it’s been stated, but sometimes missed, our goal is to encourage the standards groups we participate in to do some introspection and adjust as appropriate rather than walk away from them. I look forward to working with standards organizations around the world to help them raise to the challenge and improve when needed, for everyone’s benefit.

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September 24, 2008 - Posted by | standards |

5 Comments »

  1. I agree these are a nice set of principles. I think they are a bit “Mom, Home and Apple Pie” but nevertheless, well done.

    I would be interested in teasing apart Tenet #4 (“Collaborate with standards bodies and developer communities to ensure that open software interoperability standards are freely available and implementable.”) a little.

    For example, what is an example of an “open software interoperability standard”; does this mean IBM, henceforth, for IBM’s standards participation; will IBM only participate in a standards activity if that activity will include a “free” implementation of the standard?

    Comment by Art Barstow | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hello Art!

    There are many examples of “open software interoperability standards”. I suggest you look at our pledge that lists quite a few of those.

    The principle isn’t about requiring a free implementation of the standards but about allowing such an implementation. The whole idea is to encourage open source friendly IP policies.

    As you know not all Royalty Free (RF) licenses are open source friendly unfortunately. Beyond the RF aspect the terms and conditions can prohibit such a type of implementation. This principle is about guarding against this kind of limitation.

    Comment by Arnaud Le Hors | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. You link above misses the part where Microsoft gave lots of money to these ‘charities’ (NGOs). It was reported by AP days before the vote.

    Comment by Roy Schestowitz | October 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. […] cj:  ”With all the things that have been reported around OOXML over the last year I’ve often wondered what it must be like to work for a company that appears to be willing to go beyond what most would find acceptable to win. I’m glad this merely is a rhetorical question for me and surely hope it will stay that way.” https://lehors.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/a… […]

    Pingback by Boycott Novell » IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 11th, 2008 - Part 2 | October 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] wrote about what seemed like a possible bribery of Indian charities by Microsoft. Arnaud Le Hors rightly wonders what kind of people are willing to work for such a vicious company. He cites that story about India […]

    Pingback by Boycott Novell » ODF Keeps Winning; No Wonder Microsoft Went Corrupt Against It | October 12, 2008 | Reply


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