Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Francois D. Menar » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Maybe it is a bit paranoid to say never trust software for

which you do not have source code, but as I realized recently,

it is even more relevant to never trust software for which you

do not have the format of the data encapsulation.

After a lot of pain, I just managed to convert back to UNIX MBX

format all the folders which were stored in a gigantic PST file

(Outlook offline storage file).  Outlook Express 5 finally allows

to import a folder hierarchy from Windows Messaging, which spits

out a corresponding DBX file for all folders, then a utility from

mindware in australia allows to convert the DBX files to MBX format.

This utility is not quite reliable, importing only 700 messages in a

DBX file containing over 10000, without yeilding a faillure error.

Any how, I'm back to Pine/Mutt/MBX and I never plan to go  back to any

other file format unless the specifications of the file format are

published (which in the case of M$ is going to be never).

One ought to sue Microsoft for keeping their file formats proprietary.

Why put binary headers in a file when flat ASCII works so well ?  Only

to artifically rais barrier to competition.  I have almost 18000

(yes, 18 thousand) in a single MBX file and both PINE 4.20 and Mutt 1.0

work flawlessly.

-=Francois=-

--
Fran?ois D. Mnard

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by KLH » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


[snip]
Quote:

> Any how, I'm back to Pine/Mutt/MBX and I never plan to go  back to any

> other file format unless the specifications of the file format are

> published (which in the case of M$ is going to be never).

[snip]

Is this necessary? Are you CEO of Microsoft? How do you know Microsoft will
*never* open their file format? I agree entirely about your distaste of
propietary file formats. But why is it that Microsoft must be singled out
here? What about Apple, Corel, and IBM? Are these propietary companies much
different than Microsoft?

Please quit Microsoft bashing. You giving the rest of us a bad name.

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Arthu » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



> Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
> it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
> it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
> other formats to store mail - just to export it.

Maybe I'm dense or just picky, but why on earth would you want your mail
in CSV format? Works nice for DB's and spreadsheets, but mail?

Can the export be automated, or do you have to do it manually?

Arthur

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Byro » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Quote:> [snip]

> > Any how, I'm back to Pine/Mutt/MBX and I never plan to go  back to any

> > other file format unless the specifications of the file format are

> > published (which in the case of M$ is going to be never).
> [snip]

> Is this necessary? Are you CEO of Microsoft? How do you know Microsoft
will
> *never* open their file format? I agree entirely about your distaste of
> propietary file formats. But why is it that Microsoft must be singled out
> here? What about Apple, Corel, and IBM? Are these propietary companies
much
> different than Microsoft?

> Please quit Microsoft bashing. You giving the rest of us a bad name.

He chose Microsoft for two apparent reasons:

For one, it was a Microsoft file format which was causing those problems for
him.  Yes, other programs use proprietary formats, but to follow your
example of Corel... Most of Corel's programs that use proprietary formats
can also use open formats.  For example, Corel Draw! can use .jpg and .gif
et al; it does not ONLY use its proprietary format.  Microsoft's e-mail
programs, however, give you no choice as to which mailbox format you want to
use.  Also, you should consider that when it comes to word processors and
graphics programs, binary files are a necessity.  With an e-mail program,
why the hell would you artificially store all the info in a binary file when
it is textual to start with?  It makes no sense, other than to deliberately
cause this sort of problem.

For another, Microsoft is a huge company that has made its money from
proprietary products.  It is prominently mentioned here, and it should be,
because it has the most to gain from its use of proprietary formats and the
most to lose from competition by more open products.

In light of the above, I fail to see why you chastize Mr. Menard for his
quite valid criticisms regarding Microsoft.  Nowhere in his rant did he say
"... and by the way, Microsoft is the ONLY company that does this!  Burn
them!  Burn them!"  So why do you react as though he did?  It makes no
sense...

Byron

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Tom Hal » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
other formats to store mail - just to export it.

Tom




> > [snip]

> > > Any how, I'm back to Pine/Mutt/MBX and I never plan to go  back to any

> > > other file format unless the specifications of the file format are

> > > published (which in the case of M$ is going to be never).
> > [snip]

> > Is this necessary? Are you CEO of Microsoft? How do you know Microsoft
> will
> > *never* open their file format? I agree entirely about your distaste of
> > propietary file formats. But why is it that Microsoft must be singled
out
> > here? What about Apple, Corel, and IBM? Are these propietary companies
> much
> > different than Microsoft?

> > Please quit Microsoft bashing. You giving the rest of us a bad name.

> He chose Microsoft for two apparent reasons:

> For one, it was a Microsoft file format which was causing those problems
for
> him.  Yes, other programs use proprietary formats, but to follow your
> example of Corel... Most of Corel's programs that use proprietary formats
> can also use open formats.  For example, Corel Draw! can use .jpg and .gif
> et al; it does not ONLY use its proprietary format.  Microsoft's e-mail
> programs, however, give you no choice as to which mailbox format you want
to
> use.  Also, you should consider that when it comes to word processors and
> graphics programs, binary files are a necessity.  With an e-mail program,
> why the hell would you artificially store all the info in a binary file
when
> it is textual to start with?  It makes no sense, other than to
deliberately
> cause this sort of problem.

> For another, Microsoft is a huge company that has made its money from
> proprietary products.  It is prominently mentioned here, and it should be,
> because it has the most to gain from its use of proprietary formats and
the
> most to lose from competition by more open products.

> In light of the above, I fail to see why you chastize Mr. Menard for his
> quite valid criticisms regarding Microsoft.  Nowhere in his rant did he
say
> "... and by the way, Microsoft is the ONLY company that does this!  Burn
> them!  Burn them!"  So why do you react as though he did?  It makes no
> sense...

> Byron

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Francois D. Menar » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



> Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
> it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
> it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
> other formats to store mail - just to export it.

> Tom

Outlook doesn't export a folder hierarchy, just a folder at a time.  And not to
MBX format.

-=Francois=-

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Francois D. Menar » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00




> > Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
> > it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
> > it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
> > other formats to store mail - just to export it.

> Maybe I'm dense or just picky, but why on earth would you want your mail
> in CSV format? Works nice for DB's and spreadsheets, but mail?

> Can the export be automated, or do you have to do it manually?

> Arthur

In no way it can be automated!  Unless, of course, you write a MAPI application.

-=Francois=-

--
Fran?ois D. Mnard

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Joseph T. Adam » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


: [snip]
:>
:> Any how, I'm back to Pine/Mutt/MBX and I never plan to go  back to any
:>
:> other file format unless the specifications of the file format are
:>
:> published (which in the case of M$ is going to be never).
: [snip]

: Is this necessary? Are you CEO of Microsoft? How do you know Microsoft will
: *never* open their file format? I agree entirely about your distaste of
: propietary file formats. But why is it that Microsoft must be singled out
: here? What about Apple, Corel, and IBM? Are these propietary companies much
: different than Microsoft?

M$ does document the file formats for some (but not all) of its
products.

However, all of the M$ file formats I know of use OLE structured
storage, which can only properly be parsed by using Win32 functions
whose actual behavior is just different enough from their documented
behavior that no one other than Microsoft knows how to implement them.
That's why reliably reading even the "documented" file formats is
difficult on the Windows platform and nearly impossible anyplace else.

Although I avoid proprietary software wherever possible, in the few
situations where I do need proprietary software, one of my
requirements is that it be able to save and retrieve files in a
non-proprietary format.  It can use a proprietary format if it wishes,
but I will evaluate it as if it did not, based on those features it is
capable of importing and exporting to/from other formats without loss
of detail or robustness.  This way if I need or wish to switch to
another competing product, I can do so, without any of my information
being held hostage to any one vendor's whims.

As usual M$ is not the only offender here, but it is one of the more
egregious ones, since it and it alone knows how OLE structured storage
works in practice, and it tends to be the only company today that
actually benefits from a lack of interoperability in most respects.

Joe

 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Craig Kelle » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00




> > Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
> > it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
> > it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
> > other formats to store mail - just to export it.

> Maybe I'm dense or just picky, but why on earth would you want your mail
> in CSV format? Works nice for DB's and spreadsheets, but mail?

1) Outlook stores more than just mail

2) It makes migrating *from* Outlook very easy

It's great the Microsoft did that.  I've had more than my fair share
of .pst problems.

--
The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.


 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Marada C. Shradraka » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


Quote:>Also, you should consider that when it comes to word processors and
>graphics programs, binary files are a necessity.

Wrong.  Sorry.  We've got some lovely parting gifts for you, however.  Word
processors do NOT need a binary format; AbiWord's XML files work fine and
maintain the formatting quite well, thank you.  Furthermore, even some graphics
files are marginally human-readable.  The XPM format, in particular, can be
manipulated with a text-editor if you prefer or need to.
--
Marada Coeurfuege Shra'drakaii
members.xoom.com/marada   Colony name not needed in address.
"I loved the evil in me-- not the thing for which I did the evil, simply the
evil"
-- Augustine
 
 
 

Microsoft proprietary formats and pledge

Post by Greg Copelan » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


Would you happen to know of any good MAPI reference books that are still in print?
Even a good website?

Thanks,
    Greg




> > > Maybe Microsoft is listening a little.  I just checked my Outlook 2000 and
> > > it can export to a number of formats, even CSV (comma separated variables) -
> > > it doesn't get much more vanilla than that.  Note that it still can't use
> > > other formats to store mail - just to export it.

> > Maybe I'm dense or just picky, but why on earth would you want your mail
> > in CSV format? Works nice for DB's and spreadsheets, but mail?

> > Can the export be automated, or do you have to do it manually?

> > Arthur

> In no way it can be automated!  Unless, of course, you write a MAPI application.

> -=Francois=-

> --
> Fran?ois D. Mnard


 
 
 

1. Schneier: Trust, but verify, Microsoft's pledge

More evidence that XP and .NET represent the most significant security
risks in computing today ...

  From http://news.com.com/2010-1078-818611.html

  Microsoft knows that it doesn't have a future unless it can convince
  the public that Windows XP and .Net are secure, safe and
  trustworthy.  Keeping vulnerabilities secret will only reduce the
  pressure on Microsoft, allowing them to revert to pretending that
  they're secure when they're really not.

  Also give credit to the increasingly loud calls for software
  liability.  More experts, industry groups and advisory panels are
  supporting the notion that software be held to the same liability
  rules as any other consumer product. It makes no sense that a tire
  maker can be liable for a systemic flaw while Microsoft can produce
  an operating system with a new systemic flaw discovered every week
  and not be held liable. I think Gates sees this liability juggernaut
  on the horizon and is doing his best to dodge it.

The question is whether that many millions of lines of hastily written
and minimally reviewed code could ever be secured.  Seems pretty clear
that MS is once again blowing smoke and simply cannot substantively
improve the security of XP or any other MS product without completely
rewriting it from scratch (which will never happen).

2. Apache, successful subrequests, ap_sub_req_lookup_uri and request_rec?

3. SCO fud helps Microsoft leverage Unix in a proprietary way ONLAMP.com

4. NCD Explora 700

5. Microsoft file formats revisited: source for OLE formats

6. Pas 16 and midi

7. MS Proprietary File Formats

8. Primary / Slave

9. proprietary data formats (e.g. MS Word)?

10. Matrox Mystique ands X.

11. NEWS: Sun Microsystems pledges $300 million donation to India

12. Oracle expands "unbreakable Linux" pledge

13. Is there a tool to play audio files in Microsoft ADPCM format ?