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Microsoft Crime

Microsoft's Default Font Is at the Center Of a Government Corruption Case (thenextweb.com) 186

Calibri, a font that was created in 2004 and made default option on PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and WordPad by Microsoft in 2007, is currently sitting at the center of a corruption investigation involving Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. From a report: Accused of illegally profiting from his position since the 1990s, Sharif is now under investigation by the Joint Investigative Team -- a collective of Pakistani police, military, and financial regulators -- after a treasure trove of evidence surfaced with 2016's release of The Panama Papers. In a report obtained by Al Jazeera, investigators recommended a case be filed in the National Accountability Court after concluding there were "significant gap[s]" in Sharif's ability to account for his familial assets. [...] Sharif contends that neither he, nor his family, profited from his position of power, a denial that came under scrutiny today after his daughter and political heir apparent, Maryam Nawaz, produced documents from 2006 that prove her father's innocence. Unfortunately for the Nawaz family, type experts today confirmed the documents were written in Calibri, a font that wasn't available until 2007.
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Microsoft's Default Font Is at the Center Of a Government Corruption Case

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  • by dyfet ( 154716 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:14PM (#54787943) Homepage

    I could not resist...

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:14PM (#54787945)

    Just ask Dan Rather how that sort of thing plays out.

  • Worst Font Ever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:17PM (#54787975) Homepage Journal

    I despise Calibri. About half the emails I receive at work use it, and it's absolutely horrible for reading. Even comic sans would be better.

    Maybe it looks alright when printed out, but who prints anymore? On my screen it's painful. Microsoft is trying to gouge my eyes out. All they care is that people use a font that is only available with their products.

    • I despise Calibri. About half the emails I receive at work use it

      I despite people/software, which prescribe, what font the remote recipient is supposed to use to view your messages. Stick to the content, not presentation.

      Oh, and if your web-site insists on visitor loading and using particular fonts (except, maybe, for the icon-collections), you should kill yourself too. /rant

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Megol ( 3135005 )

        I generally agree with your post. There are very few valid reasons why a mail or a website should dictate how it should look at the receivers end, alas that's what you get when people prefer a nice surface rather than good content. Solution: fix people. ;)

        Your signature almost make me retract that agreement given that you obviously don't know what the words racist, dissent or patriotic means. Either that or you having a seriously bad sense of humor.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        Except presentation is super important, at least for promotional and PR purposes. Graphic design is a major industry specifically because you're wrong.

        Sure if its just your coworker giving you a 2 sentence status update about some project or other they probably shouldn't be spending a bunch of time screwing around with fonts and colors and strong lines and whatever other graphic design BS that's way over my head.

        But the front page for a company website? It damned well better look good and the easiest / be

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Why are you allowing the sender to dictate what font you read e-mails in?

      • by crow ( 16139 )

        Apart from this one font, it works fairly well. It's important to specify a fixed-width font for code samples and such, but otherwise a variable-width font is good. If I had a plug-in to convert this one font to Ariel in Thunderbird, I would be quite happy.

        • Still doesnt explain why you let the email determine what font is loaded off disk, parsed, and then used.

          Do you also let it load, parse, and display images?

          Does it reach into your attachments and try to parse those also?
          • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

            Corporate e-mail on a corporate computer where all settings are locked down.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Corporate e-mail on a corporate computer where all settings are locked down.

              Still doesn't explain why your corporation lets the email determine what font is loaded off disk, parsed, and then used.

          • by crow ( 16139 )

            You should consider that the font and images (though I don't load them by default) are part of the sender's expression. Email is about communication, and that is not just ASCII anymore. When the sender does it right, the fonts add to the communication.

            • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

              Tell me what my co-working is communicating by having a plaid background image tiled through all of their email.

        • I found Ariel to be a shitty detergent.
          The car's fantastic, especially the Nomad, I wish I owned one.
          And I don't care about the princess.

      • Maybe he likes to read things that don't get horribly broken or mangled.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 )

      I despise Calibri. About half the emails I receive at work use it, and it's absolutely horrible for reading. Even comic sans would be better.

      Maybe it looks alright when printed out, but who prints anymore?

      You lost me at emails using fonts. For some weird reason, all of the emails I receive use the same X terminal font. I agree about printing, though, which is why we should stop aping ink-on-paper look on computers. This includes black text on white background, a choice once dictated by print technology, not so much reading ergonomics.

    • Remember Postscript - as opposed to Microsoft's TrueType? Do things like LibreOffice or Calligra use that font system, or did TrueType win beyond Windows? Don't even know what iOS uses, despite having it. Or Android
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        "Microsoft's TrueType"

        Uh, TT was created by Apple, and later licensed to and adopted by MS.
      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        Apple's TrueType won the day, even converting Microsoft. Now all OS's use OpenType [wikipedia.org] which is a successor to TrueType. All modern Linux apps can use either TrueType or OpenType fonts.

    • If you hate it that much, simply uninstall [microsoft.com] it.

    • I despise Calibri. About half the emails I receive at work use it,.

      Well, you'll be happy to know that if you ever receive an email or a document from me it will be using Verdana. Just count your lucky stars that you aren't getting documents in Arial (shudder)....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:17PM (#54787977)

    I recall this same issue came up with the papers Dan Rather came up with about George W. Bush's military service. Just a note to all you forgers out there - use vintage equipment if you're producing documents after the fact! I presume we'll soon see a similar case where the tiny dots that printers produce will call out a printed document produced on a machine that did not exist at the time of printing.

    • by deesine ( 722173 )

      TV journalists, and whistle blowers. A similar issue came up last month with government contractor whistle blower Reality Winners, who failed to realize every page from a color laser printer has an id pattern watermark. They're difficult to see without a loop and blue/black light. The printers I've used the pattern was in yellow, lower left corner of the page.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/te... [theatlantic.com]
      https://www.eff.org/pages/list... [eff.org]

    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      Just a note to all you forgers out there - use vintage equipment if you're producing documents after the fact!

      Yes. Did NO ONE watch The Company (on CBS), back in the early 2000's?

      One episode had them faking a document from the Dalai Lama (or his advisors) from the 1950s saying that the USA could _not_ have a listening post into China, so that His Holiness (right title?) could have plausible deniability for anti-Chinese actions taken in the years before they invaded, took over, and started shipping in their excess Han population to make it permanent.

  • by scourfish ( 573542 ) <scourfishNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:19PM (#54787997)
    Rock the bad font
    Rock the bad font
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In Pakistan, no high ranking politician has been convicted ever. They all make deal with each other rather than convict. Thus Musharaff sent Nawaz to exile and Nawaz has file case against Musharaff. All of this is done for political leverage. If they actually convict someone, the case gets over and leverage is gone. Expect the same to happen here. Only when nothing work, they eliminate each other. Mr. Bhutto was hanged and his daughter was shot dead. Another prime minister Liaqat was assassinated as well.

    • And how is this different from most other countries? Take the US: the Nazi Cheeto made justice for the Mother of Lies a big part of his campaign, yet it doesn't look like there's any hope she'll get where she deserves. In return, the Cheeto expects the same courtesy for himself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:21PM (#54788009)

    Dan Rather was adamant that they had genuine documents proving that George W. Bush shirked his duty in the Air National Guard and avoided being drafted to Vietnam.

    Unfortunately for Rather, these documents were conclusively shown to have been written with Microsoft Word, and Word wasn't around during the Vietnam era...

    Rather was shown to be a biased laughingstock with no credibility, and retired.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:24PM (#54788039)
      Karl Rove is a genius; supplying fake documents of real facts to discredit the truth. Brilliant!!
      • It was the world's most intricate, flawlessly executed plan ever, ever.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      Are there any Killian document believers still lurking around here? Despite the obvious nature of the fraud those people clung to their delusions for a long time; Bush Derangement Syndrome was a powerful thing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        No but only because their memory are so sort they don't remember the last time the media collectively conspired to discredit the POTUS. They are all to busy now getting worked up over second hand accounts of e-mails provided by anonymous sources.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No. What happened was that Bush managed to turn the conversation from "what the fuck was Bush actually doing while in the military, and why are all the records missing," to "Dan got some fake documents so move along, nothing to see here."

    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      Rather was shown to be a biased laughingstock with no credibility, and retired.

      Alas, he did NOT retire, just moved to a web-based publication that even MSNBC thinks is too biased against Republicans, conservatives, etc. He still gets trotted out, every so often, to comment on certain issues (much like Brian Williams still has a job).

  • Reminds me whenPaul Ceglia sued Mark Zuckerberg saying Zuckerberg signed over 50% of Facebook to him. [digitalspy.com]A detailed analysis of the emails showed that they had been fabricated due to small things like extra spaces in email headers that shouldn't be there and that the timestamps of the emails didn't correspond to Daily Savings time changes.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:25PM (#54788051) Journal
    I have an ASCII file that was created back when I was in grad school. I open it in my favorite text editor and issue a print command. The default font chosen by the text editor did not exist back when I was in grad school. Does it mean the text file did not exist then?

    I don't know MsOffice font handling directives saved to the file. Does MsOffice explicitly names the default font in the save document? Or it just leaves it as "default font"? If a document is saved in the default font of 2006, and I open it today, does it display it in today's default font or will it use the default font of 2006?

    Please don't dismiss it some stretched speculation made just for the sake of argument. MsOffice files are very very convoluted. For a long time, changing your default printer would change the margins on the document. Every grad student who chose to write the thesis in MsWord discovered it to their consternation. Pagination and margins change randomly. If someone else using that computer changed the printer or installed a new font, the thesis file saved on disk would print differently and it would fail mechanical check in the Registrar's office.

    • Did you consider that the documents were hard copies?

      No, you did not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        He's asking the question on how the font for a Word document is stored. Specifically, he's raising the following two scenarios, one of which is a convoluted way to suggest that the document isn't a forgery because the article only expresses that the document is from 2006 and provides no indication on whether the document may have been created in 2006 but printed only recently.

        Scenario 1: When the document is saved the font for the document is saved as Word's default font.
        Scenario 2: When the document is sav

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Does MsOffice explicitly names the default font in the save document?

      Yes. Why would it possibly do anything else?

    • I don't know MsOffice font handling directives saved to the file. Does MsOffice explicitly names the default font in the save document?

      Word binary format [microsoft.com]. I will let you make that determination. A quick perusal says yes, it saves the specific fonts used inside the document throughout the document. That is why it allows you to mix fonts,size,bold,etc...

      Remember WYSIWYG standard?

      • So what does it do if the font I used in one computer is not available in another computer? Does it use default font? If the font used in 2006 doc is no longer available in 2017 and they opened it again to print it, what would it do?
        • So now you want answer to how MS Word applications handle fonts no longer available. That you will have to ask MS. I just provided the answer to your previous question that they DO store font information in the document. Do a little research yourself. Instead of asking others to do the work for you.

        • Does it use default font? If the font used in 2006 doc is no longer available in 2017 and they opened it again to print it, what would it do?

          That's irrelevant. If their goal is to prove that the document is from 2006, and the only proof they've got is a printed copy, and that printed copy isn't from 2006, then they're going to need some different proof. If they haven't got any, then the earliest they can place the document is sometime after the font was released.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        "Word binary format. I will let you make that determination. A quick perusal says yes, it saves the specific fonts used inside the document throughout the document."

        What if the document originally existed as an RTF or TXT file or as a WordPerfect 5 for DOS file?

        Around 10 years ago, I converted an old DOS based Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet running on Windows 95 to system to Excel 2003 for someone. If they printed it out post-conversion it would have had the default Excel 2003 fonts I'm sure. But it easily went ba

        • What if the document originally existed as an RTF or TXT file or as a WordPerfect 5 for DOS file?

          Since RTF is an MS file format, then yes. it did and still does as well. See Below

          RTF Version 1.1 - Microsoft Word 4 - Year 1989 - Addition: font embedding - font data may be located inside the file

          As to how other applications handle RTF files, if they follow the RFC that is associated with it, then it should also utilize the font embedded within it to the best of its ability. How each and every word processor handles fonts embedded in documents is a pretty broad question though. Yes, there were word pr

    • I had the impression that in TFA, the disputed documents were printed papers themselves, not files; their claimed physical age is what was used to give them an air of authenticity. Perhaps not?

      I have an ASCII file that was created back when I was in grad school. I open it in my favorite text editor and issue a print command. The default font chosen by the text editor did not exist back when I was in grad school. Does it mean the text file did not exist then?

      It means that the printout you hand over, wasn't r

  • his daughter and political heir apparent

    Maybe, the perceived mistreatment of females in the Islam-dominated societies is more nuanced than we usually think...

    • There have been women who've come to power in Muslim countries, such as Benazir Bhutto, Hasina Wajed, Khalida Zia & Megawati Sukarnoputri. All of them were daughters or wives of former presidents/prime ministers. Only Muslim country I can think of where a woman came to power on her own merit was Turkey's Tansu Ciller: however, that was when Turkey was still under a Kemalist regime. Otherwise none of the above examples refutes the fact that in Islamic countries, women are little more than doormats

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      his daughter and political heir apparent

      Maybe, the perceived mistreatment of females in the Islam-dominated societies is more nuanced than we usually think...

      In many countries, blood-line trumps all... Even Benazir Bhutto (first women leader of Pakistan) had a blood line...

      Heck even in the USA, George Bush and Obama were 11th cousins, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are 19th cousins...

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Not really. Unless the "we" above is due to you having royal ambitions (or like carrying rodents - perhaps gerbils - with(in) you).

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:35PM (#54788167) Journal

    The article seems to confuse two issues: the creation of the font in 2004 and making it the default font in 2007.

    If it was available in 2004, but simply not the default, then the documents could have been created with this font in 2006.

    • by Guyle ( 79593 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:47PM (#54788269) Homepage

      A pretty good case was made here [superuser.com] that it was, in fact, available as early as 2005 and became part of Windows Vista in 2006, in addition to rolling out with Office 2007.

      • I think that the pretty good case doesn't look as good when you dig a little deeper.

        The page referred to in the forum you linked to doesn't seem to have the date show by google (Dec 7, 2005) anywhere in the actual page. Archive.org doesn't show anything for the site before 2015 and ... the domain name has a creation date of December 2014. It looks like Google is showing a bogus date.

      • And if what I posted wasn't enough, the image shown on the page is a PNG image. PNG wasn't in use in 2005.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          What the fuck are you smoking? PNG was in use around 1996-1997. I remember that being a savable file format in Paint Shop Pro.

          • What the fuck are you smoking?

            Nothing. But apparently "nothing" was effective at into turning 199x into 200x in my mind when I read the history of PNG.

            Another day, another mistake. Life goes on.

            • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

              Another day, another mistake. Life goes on.

              And here I thought you were making a joke that just whooshed over Khyber.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:48PM (#54788273)

      your honor, no one knows how to change fonts except nerds. is the defendant claiming to be a nerd?

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      It was designed in 2004 but not released until the beginning of 2007.

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        Calibri was "released" with Windows Vista's rather large semi-public beta program as early as 2005.

        That possibility is the point any competent defense would try to make.

        That doesn't mean it was likely, which is prosecution's logical counterpoint.

        • Calibri was "released" with Windows Vista's rather large semi-public beta program as early as 2005.

          For sure, Calibri was released with Vista, but was it included in the first beta program releases of Vista?

          • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

            I recall downloading the beta specifically so I could try the fonts.

            Though in all honesty, I was more interested in consoles.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have a font that has essentially the same typeface as old printed documents, and the same typeface as several other fonts which all produce the typeface differently, but documents predating my font aren't invalid.

  • The typeface was commissioned in 2002, Office 2007 was RTM in November 2006, an early version was already available in 2005 though.

  • When physical documents, hard evidence, etc. go out the window in our all-digital future world, where will forensic proof like this still exist? Sometimes, the data is not just "the data"....
    • When physical documents, hard evidence, etc. go out the window in our all-digital future world, where will forensic proof like this still exist?

      To some extent, it can still exist as part of the storage medium, especially if the data is written to write-once media. You can examine a CD-R under a microscope and determine that it was burned with a particular family of vintage 1998 CD burners and hasn't been tampered with since, but there's a good chance you can't prove that burner wasn't used in 2008. Certainly my '90s era burner still works. If I was a determined forger, I could probably find a partial spindle of blank CDs from the same era and cr

      • Your solution sounds complicated, and depends on specific storage mediums. Fortunately, there is a simpler alternative. This happens to be one of the things that blockchains are particularly good for. Whenever you create an official document, just sign it and upload the detached signature to the Bitcoin blockchain. In the event of a dispute over the historicity of the document you can point to the matching entry on the blockchain to prove that the document existed at that point in time. The proof-of-work al

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @02:32PM (#54788611)

    ... Pakistanis used that font which looks like a bunch of caterpillars crawling across a page.

    • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

      I would agree, except I bet it's on some "legal document authenticity checklist" somewhere. If it wasn't before, it sure is now.

  • If I go into Font, select Arial, click "Set as Default", select "All documents based on the Normal template", then "OK", the next new document has Arial by default. But if I close the program and restart, it's back to Calibri. Can't you change it permanently?

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