Published at LXer:
Dear Massachusetts (Governor Romney, Secretary Galvin, Senator Hart, et al): Are you watching this? Microsoft, as you may have heard, has been under pressure in Europe to make their APIs available to its competition for interoperability purposes. Now, so far, that has meant only that they have to do so for non-Linux competitors, as they were able to achieve a carve-out that leaves Linux and all FOSS out in the cold during the appeal. For all their other competitors in the server space, they were ordered "to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers". Of course, they claim they have, and they did turn over documentation. But Professor Neil Barrett, the Monitoring Trustee, monitoring their compliance with the EU order says, according to the EU Commission press release, the technical documentation Microsoft submitted is "totally unfit at this stage for its intended purpose": Since the 24(1) Decision, Microsoft has revised the interoperability information that it is obliged to disclose. However, the Commission takes the preliminary view that this information is incomplete and inaccurate. This view is supported by the report of the Monitoring Trustee, which concludes that, “any programmer or programming team seeking to use the Technical Documentation for a real development exercise would be wholly and completely unable to proceed on the basis of the documentation. The Technical Documentation is therefore totally unfit at this stage for its intended purpose.” The report also states that, “the documentation appears to be fundamentally flawed in its conception, and in its level of explanation and detail... Overall, the process of using the documentation is an absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless task. The documentation needs quite drastic overhaul before it could be considered workable.” Ask yourself this: is it because Microsoft doesn't know how to write clear documentation?