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Groklaw Putting Comes v. Microsoft Docs Online 159

Posted by timothy
from the unboxing-day dept.
An anonymous reader writes "PJ of Groklaw is working on putting the documents from Comes v. Microsoft online, to make them searchable and accessible to everyone. If you don't remember their history, the plaintiffs got these documents from Microsoft during discovery after fighting the lawyers tooth and nail. After realizing how embarrassing the documents were to Microsoft, they put them online and later got a very large settlement from Microsoft by agreeing to take their website down. The web being what it is, these documents had already been mirrored and were later (legally) made available on the Pirate Bay. Now Groklaw has put them online and is looking for people to help transcribe them, so that documents like the infamous Evangelism is War presentation will not be forgotten."
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Groklaw Putting Comes v. Microsoft Docs Online

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  • by causality (777677) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @07:04PM (#30559234)

    After realizing how embarrassing the documents were to Microsoft, they put them online and later got a very large settlement from Microsoft by agreeing to take their website down.

    I'm quite grateful for the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org]. If not for that, then normally someone who sells out or is (legally) bribed like this removes everyone's access to such information. Too bad those people caved, but that need not cost us the ability to know what they wanted so badly to hide.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @07:29PM (#30559382)

    If you don't like Groklaw, debunk what is presented there.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @07:36PM (#30559432)

    "Too bad those people caved, but that need not cost us the ability to know what they wanted so badly to hide."

    Note to potential "cavers":
    You can certainly sanitize the information you plan to agree to keep secret, give it to reliable third parties, then take the money.

    It isn't honest, but there is no reason to be honest with your enemies. We are past the point of moral obligation to such people.

  • by kesuki (321456) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @07:57PM (#30559542) Journal

    "This is a war, and the other side fights hard for themselves. We're not supposed to help them."

    this is more than a war, its a way of life. on the microsoft side are the baby boomers cars and elecricity for all and tons of crappy junk. on the other side is a hope that community can hold eachother together so that there is food and sustainability. community broke down when the so called atomic age allowed most americans to live outside of poverty, with cars and suburbs. community is everything, it is the only way forward. i thought for a long time that technology could make me happy, the endorphines of gaming, the pride of having good karma in online chat like slashdot. i like most americans ignored where the money tree was being shaken to make capitalism create illusionary money, as if with no drawbacks. now i see things differently it is sad to me to think on the past. yet i still am addicted to glowing screens, even though they allow me to ignore the people actually trying to help me find my future.

  • Well, no... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Saturday December 26, 2009 @08:14PM (#30559630) Homepage Journal

    If Google wins it would be far, far worse than anything Microsoft could do. It would mean that desktop computers would be hobbled based on a low level baseline of common functionality, that, applications would be subject to be found only based on what Google likes or dislike, and that users data will not even belong to them.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @08:30PM (#30559700)

    When you get out of grammar school they'll teach you about reasoning in a little more detail

    No, they won't. It sure would be nice, though.

    If the (government-owned, government-operated) public schools actually taught logic, argumentation, and critical thinking, thoroughly and exhaustively, it would remove a lot of individuals and interests from power. Imagine if we never had any laws or policies except those that could stand up to rigorous examination. Imagine that clearly enough and you'll see why no one who could arrange that is inclined to let it happen.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @08:53PM (#30559804)

    Imagine that clearly enough and you'll see why no one who could arrange that is inclined to let it happen.

    Said no one who could arrange that being the electorate of your county/state/country?

    Right. The electorate who lack the critical thinking skills and knowledge of logical fallacies to understand what's wrong with the status quo are unlikely to demand leaders who institute policies that stand up to critical thinking and are free of logical fallacies. This suits our current leaders just fine. Those leaders are not stupid. They know how to play the game of politics to their advantage. They are aware of the situation and its implications, they know what's wrong with their laws and policies, but those serve the interests who got them into power so they are unwilling to change this system. It could only come from the electorate, which, as I already said, is ill-equipped to demand this sort of change. Did you fail to derive that from my previous post?

    That's the danger of giving government direct control over education and the curriculum. I have no problem with the state governments using tax money to fund education, but the parents should be able to use that tax money to send the children to any school they like. I'd like to see something like the voucher system (the money follows the child instead of the child having to follow the money) and I'd also like to see government get out of the education business entirely other than providing the voucher. The reason we don't have vouchers is because the NEA is its biggest opponent and they have a ton of political clout that they have no reservations about using. It's not because vouchers are an unsound idea or are logically flawed. Refer to my previous point for how we arrived at this situation.

    I don't like it and I don't delight in pointing it out, but most people are passive sheep. If the schooling they received does not teach them logic, argumentation, and critical thinking, then they won't learn those things. They could find books, Web sites, and other resources and teach themselves, for only basic literacy is required, but they won't because it doesn't occur to them that they should. Only a tiny minority of people would ever take that sort of initiative. So the reality is, if the schools don't teach these things, then the number of people who retain this knowledge are going to be such a tiny minority that politicians can safely ignore them in any election. I hope this explains why we have the current situation and why it's unlikely to change anytime soon.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @09:02PM (#30559852)

    "Too bad those people caved, but that need not cost us the ability to know what they wanted so badly to hide."

    Note to potential "cavers": You can certainly sanitize the information you plan to agree to keep secret, give it to reliable third parties, then take the money.

    It isn't honest, but there is no reason to be honest with your enemies. We are past the point of moral obligation to such people.

    I don't know why you were modded Troll because what you say is strategically correct. As Sun Tzu advised, all warfare (physical or PR) is based on deception. The use of deception against an aggressor whom you have done nothing to provoke is the only legitimate, morally correct usage of it that I recognize. Whether this case fits that description is the only debatable point.

    Having said that, if you sign a contract stating that you will not disclose information, and you disclose that information, then it's not just dishonest; it's also illegal (or at least, a tort). This is unwise, especially when Microsoft can afford the best lawyers and you cannot. There are times when you have concerns other than how much you can justify without violating your morality, and this is probably one of them. For that reason, I'd strongly advise against actually doing this, making this a bad example of the otherwise sound concepts you mention.

  • by selven (1556643) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @09:30PM (#30559966)

    Good old Streisand effect. I just downloaded a copy of the evangelism presentation (oh noes, did I infringe MS's copyright?) and read through it. For some reason, learning that something is censored makes me take a lot of effort to find it and read through it carefully, much more than if nothing happened to it. It's probably partly "if it gets censored, it must be interesting" and partly sticking it to the man. Doesn't matter, whatever gets uploaded is out there and will be forever out there and there's nothing anyone can do to stop that.

  • Re:Show me. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @10:10PM (#30560128) Homepage

    please cite *one* case where an open standard was deliberately obstructing to MS.

    Keep in mind who we're discussing here. When your goal is to leverage your monopoly -- to lock your customers in and your competitors out -- then open standards are deliberately obstructive! :)

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @10:33PM (#30560212) Homepage

    "To be fair it's not like the other side go out of their way to make their 'standards' easy for Microsoft to implement."

    Let's be fair and accurate. You totally mischaracterized Bill Gates' position. The email doesn't say lets not go out of our way to make the stuff easier for others to implement, it says we should go out of our way to make it so others cannot implement it . The two are completely different, and worlds apart.

  • Re:Well, no... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Saturday December 26, 2009 @11:10PM (#30560342) Homepage Journal

    I think you see the Google Chrome OS as something Google is trying to use to take over every computer, which is certainly not true. Google wants to use it to create a new class of computer, a netbook that only does internet and nothing else.

    Well you miss the point. First off, the question was really, what would the world be like if Google dominated computing as much as Microsoft did, and therefor, my "dystopian fantasy" was a viable answer. Google's business model envisions everyone accessing their data on third party computers with dumb internet only appliances. Therefor, to be a host, you have to get Google's permission, and, consumers will never own their data. That's what this is.

  • Re:Show me. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arker (91948) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:05AM (#30560588) Homepage

    Keep in mind who we're discussing here. When your goal is to leverage your monopoly -- to lock your customers in and your competitors out -- then open standards are deliberately obstructive! :)

    Precisely!

    More people need to understand this. It's clear MS does - but on our side most people still seem to be under the illusion that it is somehow possible to play fair and get along with MS. It isnt. It never was. From their point of view you are either helping them develop lock-in and total control of each and every PC in the world, or you are against them and they will stop at nothing to destroy you.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:10AM (#30560862) Journal

    Even James Plamendon, who created Microsoft's Evangelism program, authored that evangelism presentation and is responsible for much of Microsoft's brutal MSOOXML campaign has recanted. He's stated that he regrets his actions and is writing a book about it.

    Yes, I'm sure he's been wringing his hands all the way to the bank.

    A fit of ethics doesn't do much good after the fact, particularly from someone who profited so mightily from it all.

  • Agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @02:38AM (#30561162) Journal

    One might imagine his handwashing will be as enthusiastic as his evangelism was. In order to extract the maximum marketability from his confession it's necessary that he embellish it until it was even more diabolical than it actually was.

    I'm not giving him a pass here - the man promoted the evil prevention of progress in a most effective way. I'm just pointing out that much like his efforts then were, his efforts to promote his book will be equally self-serving.

  • Re:Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:29AM (#30561344) Journal

    We don't need an "insider's account" to know how the OOXML scam went down. No one, least of all Microsoft, was being very secretive about it. That was really the most amazing thing about the process. Everyone knows Microsoft loathes and fears open standards, but it was that they pulled off the whole thing with such arrogance and lack of concern. They knew damned well there would be no consequences, that everyone would shrug, and that loyal vile little toadies like Icaza would go around trumpeting their shitty, still partially proprietary "standard".

    That's why I'm rooting for Google. I'm sure they're already well on the way to Evil Empire status, but as governments seem utterly unwilling to imprison guys like Ballmer and fine the companies substantially fractions of their net worth so that the investors can directly feel the agonies of the company's misdeeds, about the only thing we can hope for is some other bunch of vile immoral septic-tanks-for-souls can do the current lot in.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:31AM (#30561352) Journal

    What precisely is healthy about stacking panels and planting stories? I think you've been working for Satan too long.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @09:31AM (#30562732) Homepage Journal

    The part you left out is that SVR-anything cost something like $5,000 per machine.

    So? We're talking about a time when a top-end PC cost $3500.

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