---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Richard Stallman <rms(a)gnu.org>
Subject: Letter column
Your article on Dec 7 said that Microsoft allows licensing
of the Open XML document format "for free", and that this
is similar to the situation with PDF format. However,
the two situations are not similar.
The normally used parts of PDF format can be freely implemented by
programmers, and place no restriction on the licenses of their
programs. Many free/libre software packages implement PDF.
The patent license that Microsoft offers for Open XML does not demand
a license fee, but it places a strict requirement on the license of
any program that implements Open XML. (See
Free/libre software is not allowed to implement Open XML at all.
Users should follow the State of Massachusetts' plan: keep away from
the Open XML trap, and insist on such as ODF whose implementation is
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