Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance free and open source software, today published a paper that considers the legal implications of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP) and explains why it should not be relied upon by developers concerned about patent risk.
SFLC published the paper in response to questions from its clients and the community about the OSP and its compatibility with the GNU General Public License (GPL). The paper says that the promise should not be relied upon because of Microsoft's ability to revoke the promise for future versions of specifications, the promise's limited scope, and its incompatibility with free software licenses, including the GPL.
Microsoft issued the OSP to address the issue of patent liability for implementors of Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) file format.
There’s been a lot of reporting about the ISO fiasco with OOXML. You can read writeups from people much more tuned in to the process than me. You can start here, here and here (the last is a highly recommended roundup from Andy Updegrove).
But somewhere in this process, much of the coverage of this event grew into a horse race spectacle: will OOXML pass? Will developing countries vote no? How will the US vote? And for perfectly understandable reasons - it *was* a spectacle, and many were interested.