Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Sep 2005 11:15 UTC, submitted by Sansta
In the News The commonwealth of Massachusetts has finalised its decision to standardise desktop applications on OpenDocument, a format not supported by Microsoft Office. State agencies in the executive branch are now supposed to migrate to OpenDocument-compliant applications by 1 January, 2007, a change that will affect about 50 000 desktop PCs. The reference model also confirms that Adobe's PDF format is considered an "open format".
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YIPPY FOR FREEDOM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by harmison on Fri 30th Sep 2005 11:37 UTC
harmison
Member since:
2005-09-29

Let the floodgates open!!!!


I smell blood in the water already!



;-)

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Freedom? Since when is treating one proprietary format (.pdf) different than another (MS' .doc, .xls, etc) "Freedom"?

Reply Score: 5

Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

It's consederably more open than the MS formats :

http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/pdf/index_reference.html

"The PDF specification was first published when Adobe® Acrobat® was introduced in 1993. Since then, updated versions of the PDF Reference have been made available from Adobe via the Web. A significant number of developers and systems integrators offer customized enhancements and extensions to Adobe's core family of products. Adobe publishes the PDF specification to foster the creation of an ecosystem around the PDF format. The PDF Reference provides a description of the Portable Document Format and is intended for application developers wishing to develop applications that create PDF files directly, as well as read or modify PDF document content."

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's consederably more open than the MS formats

That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

It has nothing to do with trolling, mr. Anonymous, it is about being true to your reasons. The reason behind this move seems more of a "let's diss MS" instead of worries about true open-nes.

Reply Score: 5

Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

It depends on how you define open. Since the spec is published and there exist independant (open source) implementations of that spec, I would consider it "open". Apparently so do Adobe and Massachusetts.
It doesn't have to be governed by comittee or some non-profit to be open (to me)

Reply Score: 2

Bastian Member since:
2005-07-25

I suppose we could define open as "was not developed by a corporation." But then even OpenOffice's file formats wouldn't open, since they were developed by Sun.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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Thom, please do tell us how PDF is a closed format. Bloated yes, awkward yes, not suitable (and not meant) for editing yes, but closed?

Let's see. Is it undocumented? No, and here's the proof:

http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/pdf/index_reference.html

Is anybody prohibited from making software that reads and writes it? No. Just look at the number of programs that work with it.

You just cannot say the same about Microsoft formats. MS hasn't tried to sue anybody for using its formats, but neither has it cooperated on implementing filters for them. As for the new XML formats, Microsoft tried hard to disguise them as open and free to implement while actually leaving strings attached, but luckily Mass knew better.

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thom, please do tell us how PDF is a closed format.

It is closed because Adobe, one company, can do whatever it wants with/to it. If they want the next version to contain certain closed aspects-- then they can. And that is NOT open.

Reply Score: 5

Anonymous Member since:
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Then the next version of PDF will be closed, and not the current version. How is the current version of PDF closed?

(not the GP poster, btw)

Reply Score: 2

Anonymous Member since:
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Huh? And so, those interested in 'open'-ness will continue using the previous version. Your argument is nonsensical. It's like saying 'What if a company took the AbiWord file format and added closed bits?'

So what? AbiWorders would just keep using the previous version.

PDF is fully documented, and anyone can make their own implementation. That's a fully open format. No offense Thom, but you really don't understand.

Reply Score: 5

Buffalo Soldier Member since:
2005-07-06

>>Thom, please do tell us how PDF is a closed format.

>It is closed because Adobe, one company, can do
>whatever it wants with/to it. If they want the next
>version to contain certain closed aspects-- then they
>can. And that is NOT open.


Open: "Free of access; not shut up; not closed; affording unobstructed ingress or egress; not impeding or preventing passage; not locked up or covered over; -- applied to passageways; as, an open door, window, road, etc.; also, to inclosed structures or objects; as, open houses, boxes, baskets, bottles, etc.; also, to means of communication or approach by water or land; as, an open harbor or roadstead." --1913 Webster

Open does not mean the owner of the format can't do any changes to the format that they own. For me it's open enough if they provide proper documentations and release the specifications of the format (each time those changes are made).

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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I was just going to look for that.... All I can say is:


BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Score: 0

Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all, unless the title you gave to the entry is exactly the same of the article you link to (I refuse to give them a single hit, so you'll have to answer this one), it smacks of editor bias all over the place.

Secondly, you're an editor, so you're supposed to know better than the flame-happy kids lurking here around: it's not about dissing Microsoft, because no one is preventing them to support OpenDocument; they don't want to because they can't accept the idea of having a competitor to their Office suite.

The goal is to insure data accessibility: this is not possible with Microsoft's data format, because they're not open standard and they are subject to patents. The Adobe format, while not truly an open standard because it is controlled by the company which originated it, is more open in its usage terms and is not put at risk by the patent threat.

There, is the situation a little bit clearer now? If you want to know more go read this article on Groklaw:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050925165302314

especially Gary Edwards' comment at the end.

I must say I'm quite disappointed by OSNews lately ...

rehdon

Reply Score: 5

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

It is the exact title of the article on ZDnet Asia.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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rehdon

Very good comment. Precise and clear. (I followed this story since a month). wikipedia - OpenDocument is also a good starting point to learn about this.

I must say I'm quite disappointed by OSNews lately ...
I tend to agree with you. The problem is not in OSNews, too many people give or have an opinion without undestanding about what they are talking. The same can be said with other forums.

Regards.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Please note that PDF is covered in 2 ISO standards: PDF/A (Archive Documents) & PDF/X (color prepress). The ISO body handles modifications and improvements to these standards and not Adobe.

If the state only creates ISO standard PDF, then they are using an Open Standard.

Also, all MS has to do to be included in MA state software selection is do one of the following:
1) Support OpenDocument.
2) Remove Patent Clams on the MSXML document formats and turn control of the format over to a standards body.

Reply Score: 5

Anonymous Member since:
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PDF/X:
ISO 15929:2002
ISO 15930-1:2001
ISO 15930-3:2002
ISO 15930-4:2003
ISO 15930-5:2003
ISO 15930-6:2003
ISO/AWI 15930-7
SO/AWI 15930-8

PDF/A:
ISO 19005-1:2005

Reply Score: 0

Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

This is also why Apple had dumped display postscript in favor of thier PDF based Quartz system. PDF is an open standard, and IME as long as you avoid Adobe (!) and GNOME PDF readers, life is good.

To be fair, the GNOME PDF reader is getting better, whereas the Adobe one keeps piling on more and more crap that I never use (and I don't know anyone who does use it all).

OT (and pointless personal opinion): I like how damned near every app in Mac OS X can save to PDF.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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It has nothing to do with trolling, mr. Anonymous, it is about being true to your reasons. The reason behind this move seems more of a "let's diss MS" instead of worries about true open-nes.

That's hardly true if you look at the history of IT in Massachusetts, and while non-proprietary implies open, it does not follow that proprietary implies closed. The current Adobe PDF specification is widely available with the blessings of Adobe. Software authors are legally free to create apps like XPDF without paying Adobe a dime. This isn't true about the upcoming MS-DOC format. If Adobe closes future versions of PDF, I'm sure Massachusetts will drop it, too.

Massachusetts has been moving toward open standards and open source for a long time. A few years ago they established an "open source software trough" and have since then been slowly (but systematically) replacing proprietary solutions, with closed formats being a priority.

Many of the individual departments and communities have already switched. Check out Saugus.net http://www.saugus.net/ for one example of a Massachusetts community that switched to open formats years ago; it's also interesting to note that there they utilize a handful of other open formats in addition to the ones mentioned by the article, including the venerable "Newton book" e-book format (which like PDF is proprietary but open).

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Many of the individual departments and communities have already switched. Check out Saugus.net

A better link for the Saugus, Massachusetts / Microsoft situation can be found here: http://www.saugus.net/Dailies/daily_2005-09-01_1653/

Reply Score: 0

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

The current Adobe PDF specification is widely available with the blessings of Adobe. Software authors are legally free to create apps like XPDF without paying Adobe a dime. This isn't true about the upcoming MS-DOC format.

Incorrect. You can (and some have) produce Office XML editors, viewers, importers/exporters, etc., using the Office 2003 and Office 12 XML formats without having to pay MS to do so. The license even gives you the right to make commercial products.

OpenOffice has supported Office 2003 XML for a few versions now and will likely support the Office 12 formats since the licensing will be the same.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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That's all fine, but when you switch to an open format with as argument because it's open, then how can you accept a format that might be "more" open than MS', but is still very much closed?

The PDF spec is controlled by adobe, but they're open with the spec sufficiently that others can make PDF readers and writers. In fact, there are plenty of FOSS PDF readers and writers.

Microsoft, however, is not open with their document formats sufficiently that someone can make a reader/writer. People have managed to make readers/writers, but they still don't work quite exactly right, and Microsoft has fought attempts to make the format readable without Microsoft products.

It's a big difference, especially if your problem with closed formats isn't philosophical, but a practical issue of access.

Reply Score: 2

Anonymous Member since:
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Once again the file format is "documented"!!! Anyone can create a reader or a pdfcreater. There is a ton of commercial and open source versions of readers and creaters for: Linux, *BSD and Solaris.

Please show proof that MS has documented their *.doc format; and no, thier XML doesn't count, because their are strings attached.

People can freely re-distribute code that was based on Adobes PDF format. Can you say the same thing with MS XML or DOC? No, so your argument is not valid.

Please feel free to mod me down in typical OSNews fashion.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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While .pdf is a proprietary format, it is much more open then the Microsoft files. I want to know if they are doing this just so Microsoft will cut them a better deal.

Reply Score: 1

raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

I want to know if they are doing this just so Microsoft will cut them a better deal.

Maybe....

A lot of companies and governments are using other formats to help barter a better deal with Microsoft.
Now, most times this does work and Microsoft will offer things cheaper.

However, this raises the point that maybe everyone else is paying extortionate prices because Microsoft believes you need their help to access your data.

but,

I believe though, that people are actually starting to comprehend that the most important stuff on their PCs is the files that they create themselves. So, understandably, they do not want to be held to ransom by one company who controls access to their data.

Reply Score: 2

Anonymous Member since:
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well said.

Reply Score: 0

Buffalo Soldier Member since:
2005-07-06

Freedom? Since when is treating one proprietary format (.pdf) different than another (MS' .doc, .xls, etc) "Freedom"?

I think they decided that eventhough .pdf is a commercial format, but the licence and documentations that are provided deem sufficient enough for it to be classified as an open standard.

Personally I'm not taking sides, but I do believe that thorough and complete documentation is very important. Not only in when you're releasing or choosing formats, but also when you're programming.

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

I believe .pdf is given exception because there's no more open standard which replaces its purpose; and pdf's are generally only used for presentation and not recording.
The docs are stored, and they hope they can see them in a hundred years. It won't matter if you can't read the pdf's in a hundred years because they're for mom and pop to download and print.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I believe .pdf is given exception because there's no more open standard which replaces its purpose

You sure?

http://www.djvuzone.org/wid/index.html

DjVu is a truly open format that does the same as .pdf, but with far smaller filesizes.

But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better.

Reply Score: 5

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better.

Thom,

It isn't about that. Well, perhaps to a few that express a hatred of all things Microsoft, it is. But, for the rest of the thinking world, it isn't about Open Source Software at all. It is about standards. Microsoft chooses not to support this new standard.

I am sure that they had internal discussions on this, and weighed the pros and cons. Perhaps they choose to not recognize OASIS as a body of authority in generating standards. Heck, *I* could write up and release a paper and claim a new document standard. Microsoft would certainly choose to ignore me. For whatever reason(s) they have, they have chosen to not support Oasis Open Document as well. It falls well within their rights to do so.

Perhaps they think that the risk of a long-term loss of business in Massachusetts government isn't worth it, and the the losses in supporting this would be greater than the loss of profit from sales. Do they think Mass will still stick with MS Office?

Who knows.

But, it is not about Open Source at all. At least from my point of view (and judging by a good portion of the comments to this article) not by many OS News readers either.

Reply Score: 5

Anonymous Member since:
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"I should've known better."

You should've actually checked your facts before bleating on when you don't understand. I'd rather not put so much focus on PDF for other reasons, but your waffle about its open-ness was simply grossly uninformed.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better.

1. This is not about OSS (Open Source Software) but about Open Standards.

2. Commercial format does not neccesarrily mean a close format. A company can create a commercial format that is also open. By releasing the spec, adhering to a commonly and publicly agreed guidelines, sensible licensing, proper documentation and etc. Most agreed that .pdf can be considered open enough.

3. This is not a specific attack on Microsoft. All the state of Massachusetts is that their data is not hold as ransom against them when a specific vendor locks them in with a closed format.

4. No one stopping you from critizising Open Standards or Open Source. From my experience here at OSnews, majority off people here no matter from which side of the fence always welcome constructive criticism. But, "Freedom? Since when is treating one proprietary format (.pdf) different than another (MS' .doc, .xls, etc) "Freedom"?" sounds less like a criticism and more like a troll/flamebait.

5. I guess it's not fair when people seem to be more sensitive to you trolling. But, I guess it's the hard fact of life when you are a part of the editorial team. People will tend to hold you to a higher standard.

Reply Score: 1

rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

I believe .pdf is given exception because there's no more open standard which replaces its purpose

You sure?

http://www.djvuzone.org/wid/index.html

DjVu is a truly open format that does the same as .pdf, but with far smaller filesizes.

But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better.


Wow, two comments which are just pure trolls in the same article and I still can't mod you down.

It's a good thing that "OSN Staff" get to have special rules, isn't it?

Reply Score: 1

japail Member since:
2005-06-30

DjVu is largely an elaborate container for raster data. It isn't an equivalent to PDF, and it's no more open having largely been put into the hands of LizardTech. Both formats are openly specified, and both have open and proprietary implementations. The future of both formats are essentially to be driven by companies, only LizardTech and DjVu are both comparatively irrelevant in the face of Adobe/PDF. If you want to scan books and store or use them with computers, then DjVu is a better option than PDF.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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You sure?

http://www.djvuzone.org/wid/index.html

DjVu is a truly open format that does the same as .pdf, but with far smaller filesizes.


Did you even look at the page? It's not in any way similar to pdf. Seriously, slashdot's trolls at least try, sometimes.

Reply Score: 0

abdavidson Member since:
2005-07-06

"Freedom? Since when is treating one proprietary format (.pdf) different than another (MS' .doc, .xls, etc) "Freedom"?"

Just to add to other comments. PDF format is freely available to use. You can write your own programs that generate PDF files without paying license fees or royalties to Adobe.

It's not a case of it being 'slightly more open' that Microsoft formats as was said elsewhere.

Very different situations.

Reply Score: 1

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Just to add to other comments. PDF format is freely available to use. You can write your own programs that generate PDF files without paying license fees or royalties to Adobe.

The same is true of both the current Office 2003 and future Office 12 XML formats, and is clearly detailed as such in the license.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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What you may not do is use them with an Open Source application or with any application, proprietary or not, that cannot decode the embedded binary component of the XML file format.

So while it is a no-charge type free item it is not free as in freedom and it is not an open format, much less an open standard. It is an open format with a proprietary hook in it that makes it non-interoperable with standards compliant software. It is the same MS 8$ of taking an open standard and crippling it in an attempt to create lock-in like they did with Kerberos and so many other things.

Additionally they have a history of changing their formats once they are reverse engineered. And since thier XML format is not completely documented they have reserved the option to do it here as well.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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>> Just to add to other comments. PDF format is freely available to use. You can write your own programs that generate PDF files without paying license fees or royalties to Adobe.

> The same is true of both the current Office 2003 and future Office 12 XML formats, and is clearly detailed as such in the license.

No, it's not;

-------

Parts of PDF are ISO standards. All of the PDF spec is available royalty free without patent issues. You can not call something PDF if it isn't a valid PDF ... though you can use the PDF specs as a basis for creating a non-PDF file format and Adobe can not stop you.

All of these issues are discussed and not disputed by both Adobe and Microsoft in an open and unedited public forum here;

http://www.peapodcast.com/msc-oss-sig/MTLC-MAOpenFormats-2005-09-16.....

(Look here for this and other information: http://xml.coverpages.org/ni2005-09-26-a.html )


'Microsoft Office Open XML' formats do not cover the schemas, only the XML structure.

Even if that were not the case, the licence is;

* Not transferable; you can't write a program and give or sell it to anyone without another licence, source code or not.

* Read only; you can't use the licence for 'Microsoft Office Open XML' format to create an interoperability layer or to even edit existing files created with MS Office 12. (OK, it's XML you can edit the files -- though the licence doesn't allow others who do not have MSO 12 to do so without an MSO 12 licence using MSO 12 and MS tools.)

* No reference implementation; Adobe PDF has many, as does OpenDocument.

Reply Score: 0

rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

So exactly how many times dos Thom get to post trolling comments before we are allowed to moderate down "OSN Staff". This is the second time I've specifically commented on this.

Reply Score: 1

mini-me Member since:
2005-07-06

I second that!

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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Google converts PDFs to HTML. If MS's .doc format were as "open" as .pdf, google would convert those to HTML as well.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it does. Just try to search google for something and add a filetype:doc on the end. The result list will show the option to see the html version.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Thom you should know better than that. Adobe releases the specs to the file format so that:
1) Anyone can create PDF's
2) Anyone can create a PDF reader (Foxit, Xpdf and so on).

PDF's are open enough because anyone can use it with out being pressusred with precariously worded licenses.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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Parts of PDF are ISO standards. All of the PDF spec is available royalty free without patent issues. You can not call something PDF if it isn't a valid PDF ... though you can use the PDF specs as a basis for creating a non-PDF file format and Adobe can not stop you.

All of these issues are discussed and not disputed by both Adobe and Microsoft in an open and unedited public forum here;

http://www.peapodcast.com/msc-oss-sig/MTLC-MAOpenFormats-2005-09-16...

(Look here for this and other information: http://xml.coverpages.org/ni2005-09-26-a.html )


'Microsoft Office Open XML' formats do not cover the schemas, only the XML structure.

Even if that were not the case, the licence is;

* Not transferable; you can't write a program and give or sell it to anyone without another licence, source code or not.

* Read only; you can't use the licence for 'Microsoft Office Open XML' format to create an interoperability layer or to even edit existing files created with MS Office 12. (OK, it's XML you can edit the files -- though the licence doesn't allow others who do not have MSO 12 to do so without an MSO 12 licence using MSO 12 and MS tools.)

* No reference implementation; Adobe PDF has many, as does OpenDocument.

Reply Score: 0

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

You haven't read the licenses. The licenses specifically cover the schemas, and it is not for read-only rights. The licenses specifically state that it is for building implimentations that read and write the formats.

Except as provided below, Microsoft hereby grants you a royalty-free license under Microsoft's Necessary Claims to make, use, sell, offer to sell, import, and otherwise distribute Licensed Implementations solely for the purpose of reading and writing files that comply with the Microsoft specifications for the Office Schemas. A "Licensed Implementation" means only those specific portions of a software product that read and write files that are fully compliant with the specifications for the Office Schemas.
http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp

No reference implementation? MS Office is the reference implementation in as much as Acrobat/Adobe Reader were/are for PDF. Open/StarOffice supports the formats as well. There are other non-MS document process solutions around that also support the formats. The whole point of the licenses and providing reference schemas is to allow you to create conforming documents without needing a copy of MS Office. You use standard XML tools. You can use your onw solutions to do things such as dynamically creating or reusing documents/document elements without ever touching MS Office.

Even if you just want to use MS Office, you still don't need Office 12. Office 2003 reads/writes the current formats (again, so does OO/StarOffice). The Office 12 formats will be supported by MS for Office 2000, XP, 2003, and Office 12.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous
Member since:
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*Sigh*

Thom, really, you are trolling your own site.

Do I agree with you that the pdf decision can be considered problematic? Yes, absolutely, however there aren't that many alternatives, are there, whereas there are alternatives to MS formats.

Further, even if you consider pdf as being problematic this does not mean that changing away from an other proprietary format where it's valid might not be a good thing, does it?

Reply Score: 3

MS Office
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 11:48 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I thought MS Office didn't support a comparable format at all?
Is this not the case?

Reply Score: 0

PDF
by charlieg on Fri 30th Sep 2005 11:56 UTC
charlieg
Member since:
2005-07-25

It's an openly, completely documented format. You won't get into trouble nor be required to reverse engineer it if you want to use it in your own applications.

Reply Score: 4

another pdf view
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 12:01 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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kewl !! Under Mac os X you can save to pdf from OOo, Abiword, and NeoOfficeJ. Its about time. You gotta just love the East Coast Liberals!!

Reply Score: 0

RE: another pdf view
by eMagius on Fri 30th Sep 2005 14:25 UTC in reply to "another pdf view"
eMagius Member since:
2005-07-06

You can save anything you can print to PDF in OS X.

In fact, you can do the same in MS Windows (you just need freely available third-party sofware).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: another pdf view
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 21:18 UTC in reply to "RE: another pdf view"
Anonymous Member since:
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Not just freely available, but actually free.

http://sector7g.wurzel6.de/pdfcreator/index_en.htm

Reply Score: 0

ralph
Member since:
2005-07-10

Mr. Anonymous was me, I just wasn't loged in, sorry.

And it does have a lot to do with trolling. Not that you bring it up, but the way you bring it up.

1. Again, being more open does play a role (why shouldn't it?), as does the fact that there is no alternative.

And the reason was to "save the state money, make sure that state records will be preserved over time, and ensure the state's "sovereignty".", so how does being more open not play a role here?

2. Had you actually read the article you'd know that those responsible for the decision are aware of this:

"On the question of why Adobe's PDF format meets the definition of "open format", state officials said it was a "grey area" but that Adobe's legal and licensing terms were deemed sufficiently open."

3. Though everybody is reporting it this way and MS tries to spin it this way, this is not an "let's diss MS" decision. MS is absolutely free and should have no problem considering that they even were part of the standards group that was responsible for the Open Document Format, to deliver software that is able to read and write the format required.

That they choose not to do so and that people like you consider this normal and fault others for MS' decision on this matter is telling about MS' bussines practices and about how normal these practices already seem to a lot of people.

Reply Score: 5

Feeling in US is different toward M$
by harmison on Fri 30th Sep 2005 12:50 UTC
harmison
Member since:
2005-09-29

It is about MS. No one....especially taxpayers...owes them anything...contracts or otherwise. They act and respond as if they own the whole thing without question. This is just arrogant and wrong.

Perhaps Thom and some other MS apologists don't quite understand the strong feelings that exist here in the US regarding MS and this larger issue.

Many people, including myself, feel as though MS is getting what they have long deserved....and should have been slapped down years ago by our government...when they convicted of being an abusive monopoly.

They have not changed their stripes at all and do not deserve any sympathy. The world is waking up, becoming empowered thru OpenSource, and the old school model that MS uses is now squarely being targeted thru a backlash by many in the IT world who have had enough of this locked-in nightmare.

Not to offend here...but our international OSNews folks probably just cannot grasp the historical significance of this American OpenDocument 'independence' story.


;-)

Reply Score: 5

Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

Hi harmison,
do you think it is much better to have .doc, .xls etc. shoven down your throat if you live in another country? Believe me, it's not so, it's even worse: at least all those living in the USA can think "OK, MS is a monster, but it's our monster!", which I think explains why there are so many MS apologists.

I think it's great that people and governments (also local USA goverments ... alas) are waking up and refusing Microsoft's tactics and arrogance. And again, no one is barring them from compete, it's this idea of "free competition" on the merits alone that's totally outside their view of the world.

rehdon

Reply Score: 1

WONDERFUL!!!
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:10 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Microsoft is a blight on the entire evolution of the computing world, people suffer daily with viruses, trojans, spyware, adware and have come to accept the abuse as normal. We need our freedom, even if that means paying a bit more or getting less integration or features.

Reply Score: 0

MY Documents
by MadDwarf on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:11 UTC
MadDwarf
Member since:
2005-07-07

IMHO documents produced by Government, for use by the governed people should be in a format that is accessible without being forced to use a particular company's product.
Any company/person (Including Microsoft) can produce a viewer for OpenDocument files.
Any company/person can read the specification for OpenDocument format.

What I do not want to see is documents produced by my Government, for use by me, and other citizens, being restricted by only being readable by one company's software. Government documents are about disseminating information to the people, not lining the coffers of a Private Company.

Reply Score: 5

RE: another pdf view
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:32 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
---

Under OS X you can save (print to....) pdf, postscript (under tiger) from any application. OS X gives you a native print driver to do this for any print job.

What's your point? How is this "another pdf view". It is simply applying the standards published by adobe for printing documents to pdf.

Reply Score: 0

export to .pdf
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:34 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
---

If Word can save in .txt and .rtf, why not .odf? And why can't it export to .pdf. No good technical reasons. This is just Microsoft's choice. Which is o.k., but the n a purchaser should be able to make a similar choice.

Reply Score: 0

Just to play it safe...
by SolarBear on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:44 UTC
SolarBear
Member since:
2005-07-06

Just to play it safe, perhaps the state of Massachussets could specify a PDF version, say version 6 ? That way if Adobe ever messes with the standard for some reason or uses some proprietary components inside their Reader, the good people of Massachussets will still be using an open, if older, standard, which any PDF reader out there will be able to properly display.

Reply Score: 1

WP
by evert on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:45 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

WordPerfect will support OASIS, so don't be too sure OpenOffice will be the only winner. If only I could but WP only, without the Suite, and for a slightly lower price, then WP would be very competetive. It's a nice word processor.

Regarding PDF, Thom is trying hard to make his point (een echte Hollander), but he lost this one :-) However, we mostly agree that OASIS is more open than PDF, although there is no good reason to complain about PDF.

Reply Score: 1

*sigh*
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 13:52 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Thom, your argument is flawed.


(1) Adobe releases information about the PDF format, allowing anyone to develop their own readers, etc.

This is being open about a format.

Even if they change the PDF specs, they will still release specs for the changes. The idea is to work with the community with a standard...Not lock them in.


(2) Microsoft does NOT release ANY information on how to properly read their formats. Have a think about why they do it. Have a think about why its so difficult to make the transition to alternative office-type apps.

Have a think about why you even need to buy MS Office to begin with.


(3) Massachusetts did not say Microsoft cannot get involved. Massachusetts welcomes Microsoft if they're willing to adopt supporting OpenDoc format for their next version of Office. They chose not to.

Instead of providing a solution, they chose to whine and bitch about how "poor" the format is (Microsoft FUD), how further studies should be done (Microsoft stall tactic), and showing genuine concern for users who will make the transition. (Yeah right, you only care when your potential future customers walk away).

That's not being professional...That's acting like a spoilt child.

Microsoft didn't get thrown out of this spec because of their formats...They got themselves thrown out of the spec for being arrogant. They assume the whole world will embrace whatever standard they set without thinking.

In recent times, this is not the case. (The Australian National Archives is doing the same thing, switching to OpenDoc format).

The company chose NOT to support OpenDoc. Its no one's fault but their own.

You don't adapt to new ideas or technologies...You get left behind. People don't accept excuses for a solution, they want a solution anyone can provide. If you don't provide it, who's fault is that?

Reply Score: 5

RE: *sigh*
by sappyvcv on Fri 30th Sep 2005 17:57 UTC in reply to "*sigh*"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

"(2) Microsoft does NOT release ANY information on how to properly read their formats. Have a think about why they do it. Have a think about why its so difficult to make the transition to alternative office-type apps."

For their binary format, probably not. But for their XML formats, you can download the schemas from their site.

Reply Score: 1

ralph
Member since:
2005-07-10

"But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better."

Thom, please, now you are really trolling.

So many people have pointed out how you were wrong about pdf, how your "logic" doesn't make any sense, how you were misrepresenting the intentions of Massachusetts, how you were falsely calling this a "let's diss MS" move and on and on and this piece of trollish shit (boohhoo, those evil OSS zealots can't stand critique, of course forgetting that this doesn't even have anything to do with OSS, but with open standards) is all you have as an answer?

Really Thom, I'm disappointed and disgusted.

Reply Score: 5

GUID
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 14:00 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Does Office still have a Global Unique Identifier attached to each document created?

If nothing else, there's your reason for OpenOffice native document format or PDF

Reply Score: 0

View in Massachusetts
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 14:07 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I want to know if they are doing this just so Microsoft will cut them a better deal.
Nope, check out this blog entry local to Massachusetts: http://www.livejournal.com/community/saugus/4324.html
It's pretty clear that this has been in development for awhile and is a real change in mindset.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft Office "save as" plugin
by bhhenry on Fri 30th Sep 2005 14:43 UTC
bhhenry
Member since:
2005-07-06

Wouldn't it be possible for a third party developer to release a plugin for Microsoft Office to allow it to save file to an OpenDocument standard format?

It seems like someone could also fairly easily create something like an OpenDocument "printer" in Windows, where you can "print to a file" in OpenDocument format, like PDFCreator does for PDf.

Reply Score: 1

mini-me Member since:
2005-07-06

As a Massachusetts tax payer I do not want for my government to spend extra time to install third party plug-ins (free or commercial) for a product that costs $500 to begin with! I know that the state can get a site license for MS products which lowers the cost per user - but still! It should be there, or we should be using another product.


BTW Thom, if you want to play devil's advocate - please state that you are doing so. It's not nice to be perceived as a Troll on your own site, and it definitely does not project a positive image of OSNews.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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> http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/09/22/472826.aspx

So, even Microsoft doesn't have plans for an OD plugin?

Reply Score: 0

@Thom
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 15:08 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Duh!

The issue is not about open source or free software [freedomware, as I prefer to call it], but about open standards.

The commonwealth of Massachusetts has (with a reasonable line of thinking) decided that the PDF-standards are open enough to be used (at the moment).

It's about open standards, and PDF qualifies as such (for the time being). That's why it can be used, and you ought to have known - that is if you read the article ;)

Whether or not this actually helps FLOSS is left to be seen. Maybe MS will support OpenDocument and then it probablt won't help FLOSS that much. But time will show...

dylansmrjones
kristian AT herkild DOT dk

Reply Score: 1

Freedom and PDFs
by segedunum on Fri 30th Sep 2005 15:46 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all, this is great news for introducing competition with Microsoft Office and MS applications. I read a very funny article a couple of days ago which described this as a decision that basically viewed Microsoft's position in all of this like death and taxes - i.e. inevitable. All of these crummy little MS suppliers below Microsoft are allowed to compete and tender for business, but of course, using Microsoft Office is inevitable. Any suggestion otherwise is bad for competition, bad for taxpayers, blah, blah, blah. How this is not good for competition I don't know, as it has now just created a market for Open Document compatible applications, free or otherwise, that Massachusetts can use.

As for PDFs, that's a slightly difficult one. I would imagine PDF got in because it is a very widely used format, used on many platforms, and Open Office can export to PDF very easily. As support for Open Document gets greater I would imagine PDF can be used as a stopgap measure until everyone gets up to speed, and for instances where PDF is the sensible choice.

PDF has an open spec, it is implemented successfully on multiple platforms, multiple applications and multiple vendors. The only difficulty to be wary of is extensions to PDF, such as the DRM stuff that Adobe has implemented. However, I would imagine if anybody got sent a PDF file that was restricted in some way that was not sensible it could be rejected, and as there are multiple applications implementing PDF, including open source ones, as well as Open Document itself, this can be kept far more in check than any of Microsoft's formats.

Reply Score: 1

finally!
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 16:15 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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That was about time. Afterall there are better uses for our tax dollars than feeding the pockets of Microsoft folks while OpenOffice has become pretty much standard.

Reply Score: 0

OASIS is sponsored by MS
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 16:39 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Take a look at th list of people sponsoring the Opendocument format body OASIS, MS is in that list.

MS have made a business decision not to support that format.

Thom, do you really not understand this decision? Its seems that most MS supporters cannot understand the simple premise that data should not be hostage to any one vendor. But i guess in your case if that one vendor is MS then its ok.
Get your blinkers off.

Reply Score: 1

Curious to see how this plays out.
by Ressev on Fri 30th Sep 2005 17:09 UTC
Ressev
Member since:
2005-07-18

On the one hand, you have an IT group that does not like the idea of vendor lock in. On the other hand, you have government officials who are subject to 'influence' from various places who may tug any line that will get them the most money for their next campaign drive. Who will win? Government pinheads or IT?

Personally, I think the decision to require an open format is a good one. It does not hinder Microsoft from competting so long as Microsoft plays the game according to the new rules.

Think of it this way: It is like Microsoft showing up to a US Football game with a Soccer ball and insisting on playing by their own rules seemingly made on the fly. The IT department is only asking them to play by rules everyone else has seen or contributed to and that everyone has equal access to - oh, and with the usual ball.

Reply Score: 1

About analogy
by Finalzone on Fri 30th Sep 2005 17:45 UTC
Finalzone
Member since:
2005-07-06


Think of it this way: It is like Microsoft showing up to a US Football game with a Soccer ball and insisting on playing by their own rules seemingly made on the fly.


A better analogy would be Microsoft showing up to a international Football (or Soccer in North America) with a US Football ball. The fact is international Football is widely known than US Football. =)

Reply Score: 1

RE: About analogy
by Ressev on Fri 30th Sep 2005 22:20 UTC in reply to "About analogy"
Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

A better analogy would be Microsoft showing up to a international Football (or Soccer in North America) with a US Football ball. The fact is international Football is widely known than US Football. =)

I think they both work. ; ) But in either one, MS is insisting on making up the rules as they go along.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft won't just give up
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 18:25 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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At the very worst for Microsoft they'll have to pull another 'Posix' style embrace and extend. That is, they'll write an OpenDocument plugin that is good enough to get them the supported checkbox but doesn't really work quite right so that they can continue to complain that the standard isn't good enough.

There are a number of ways in which they can go about it. The most obvious would be to write native office documents by default (make the user run through a few extra hoops to write an OpenDocument format). People would occasionally forget to hit that extra button and you'd still have documents floating around that required Office 12 to read. I also expect that they will carefully read through the OpenDocument specifications looking for any minute differences between the two and then amplifying them in their code so that they are more noticable. Lastly they'll embed more code in their documents (living documents). Sure it's terrible for security, but they'll gladly sacrific e security for that lockin of requiring everyone to use Vista to view the newest documents with up-to-date spreadsheets pulled from web services, DMRed movie clips, etc.

Reply Score: 0

Microsoft Snub?
by narcissus on Fri 30th Sep 2005 18:45 UTC
narcissus
Member since:
2005-07-06

WTF? Thom you Microsoft apologist. It is not a snub to require an open document format. It is the customer defining their requirements. It is as if I tell the car dealer I require a four door car. If s/he insists on trying to sell me a two door, I move on. Microsoft could play ball. They could incorporate OpenDocument into Office. The specifications are open. This isn't an attack on Microsoft, it's about giving the constituents the abitily to view/use their information without having to buy a certain companies software. Wake up!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Microsoft Snub?
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 22:21 UTC in reply to "Microsoft Snub?"
Anonymous Member since:
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To be fair to Thom that is how the ZDnet Asia article is titled.

On the other hand he could have dodged a lot of bullets by making that more obvious.

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous
Member since:
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"But anyway, critizising any move that benefits OSS is a stupid thing to do. I should've known better."

No, you should have known better than to criticize a move that benefits *everyone* (cept MS, through their own choice).

Eugenia, come back! I'd much rather put up with your Gnome preference (your opinion after all) than an editor who either doesn't grasp simple concepts or pretends he doesn't to troll more efficiently his own website. It's getting old..

Reply Score: 2

DjVu
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 21:10 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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It's a good format, probably better than PDF. But since PDF already is open enough and I bet there tyhe State has a significant amount of existing documents in this format, the benefit of the transition would be questionable (and conversion from PDF is painful, too - PDF isn't meant for such things.)

Reply Score: 0

Thom's Responsibilities
by Anonymous on Fri 30th Sep 2005 23:29 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I, like most who post here, have my biases. I express them freely. Let's assume for the sake of argument, that I became an editor of a Web site like this one. I would be far more reticent giving my opinions. Why? Because I would not want a site like OSNews to be identified with any one particular point of view.

There is a further complication. Microsoft has a habit of trying make it seem that there is a ground swell of support that favors their opinions. Thus, they send shills to post at sites like this. The orchestrate letter writing campaigns with letters purporting to come from outraged citizens pleading Microsoft's case.

Groklaw (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050929134232923) has a good write up on some of Microsoft's tactics regarding Massachusetts and the Open Document standard. It points out that "Americans for Technology Leadership," featured on Fox News, is a Microsoft front organization that has engaged in a lot of "citizen" mailings from people who turned out to be dead.

I mention this, because it is just the latest in the pervasive culture of lying and bribery that constitutes Microsoft. One of the very negative side effects of such behavior is that it can stain the reputations of people who would support them without any inducement, financial or otherwise.

To put it bluntly, Thom, you need to be far more careful about how you present the news. You need to stop trolling the discussions with arguments that are patently full of holes. You need to stop sulking when people point these out. Your behavior is alarming.

If OSNews gains the reputation of being a pro Microsoft site, where before it wasn't, then the suspicion will also arise that Microsoft is giving you some form of inducement to take it in that direction. Should that idea gain traction, you will destroy OSNews.

No, I won't be "mr anonymous" either:

Peter Besenbruch

Reply Score: 2

RE: Thom's Responsibilities
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 08:26 UTC in reply to "Thom's Responsibilities"
Anonymous Member since:
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This thread is an excellent example of all the mindless "open" drones who simply regurgitate and parrot anything anti-MS without even understanding or checking.

You all have such selective one sided filter; the only standards you're promoting are double standards. You go around thumping about ISO standards on one hand, but then go around labelling technologies developed by Microsoft that are ISO standards as well as "closed and proprietary." Then you try and drag up patents while completely ignoring the patents on the other so-called "open" formats. Then you try to use sites with a clear anti-MS agenda as references. Groklaw? Newsforge? Please.

Open your damned eyes. The XML Schemas for Office 2003 are completely publicly available, royalty free. Oh but no, it's not OpenDocument, blah, blah, no GPL, whine, whine, anything anti-MS; way to completely miss the point of having XML. XML is not just some pretty format so you can put angled brackets all over the place. The binary Office formats have full range of fully documented, publically accessible APIs. Of course, if you spend all day bashing MS, you'll never find them. Office 12 is not going to use OpenDocument for the very same reason Office 2003 doesn't use the same format as Office 95 - it has a lot of features the other format schema can't describe effectively. Why do you think there are so many file formats? How many image formats do you think there are? Different formats exist because they are better than other formats at describing and storing the data contained for a particular application. There are plenty of other and differing XML schemas for storing the same type of data, but none of the so-called pro-open standards people raises a big stink about it - because Micorosft isn't involved. Maybe we should switch to an 'OpenTCP' format since MS holds patents relating to TCP/IP.

"Openess" and "free" seem to be the new marketing fads. The biggest reason XML schemas are being adopted for documents isn't compatibility or opendess like the open pundits would have you believe, it's programmabilty.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Thom's Responsibilities
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 10:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom's Responsibilities"
Anonymous Member since:
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This thread is an excellent example of all the mindless Microsoft apologists who simply regurgitate and parrot anything anti-FOSS without even understanding or checking.

Let's check some facts:

Sun has provided a patent release that allows ANYONE to use, without royalty, without written agreement, ALL of Sun's patents that may apply to the Open Document format.

Adobe has provided a non-exclusive, royalty-free license for their patents used in PDF.

Microsoft provides published APIs for accessing Microsoft Office formats using licensed Microsoft software.

Anyone, including Microsoft, is free to write software that reads and writes Open Document files. You don't need Sun software to do it.

Anyone, including Microsoft, is free to write software that reads and writes PDF files. You don't need Adobe software to do it.

But if you want to read or write Microsoft Office formats, you have two choices: use Microsoft software ("published API"), or reverse engineer the undocumented formats and hope that you don't infringe any patents. Show me the published spec for the FORMAT that would let anyone write software that reads and writes Office files, and show me the patent release that allows anyone to do that. Without royalty, without paperwork, without restrictions on distribution.

Of course different formats support different features. So do the tools. Microsoft Word can read and write ASCII text files, not just doc files. You just can't use certain features. Microsoft Word could support Open Document files in the same manner. No one is telling Microsoft that Microsoft must drop the Microsoft-only formats; what has happened is that a customer is asking Microsoft to support an additional format, one with a published spec and supported by multiple tools.

MA wants full access to their own documents, and that means that the access can't depend on any one vendor. That's a good idea. Microsoft has decided that they don't want to play by those rules, and they've taken their ball and gone home. Microsoft was NOT kicked out of the game; they left on their own.

Why is Microsoft so afraid of a level playing field?

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Thom's Responsibilities
by n4cer on Sat 1st Oct 2005 12:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thom's Responsibilities"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

But if you want to read or write Microsoft Office formats, you have two choices: use Microsoft software ("published API"), or reverse engineer the undocumented formats and hope that you don't infringe any patents. Show me the published spec for the FORMAT that would let anyone write software that reads and writes Office files, and show me the patent release that allows anyone to do that. Without royalty, without paperwork, without restrictions on distribution.

Office 2003: XML Reference Schemas
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=fe118952-3...

Office "12" XML Schema Reference - PDC 2005 Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=15805380-f...

Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas License Overview
(Open, royalty-free, license for applicable patents existing or that could apply in the future, same licensing applies for Office 12 formats)
http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/licenseoverview.mspx

Further info:
http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx
http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/understanding/xmloffice/default.as...

Reply Score: 1

Buffalo Soldier Member since:
2005-07-06

Have you actually read the content of the links that you provided and comprehend it?

Or did you just simple assumed it is an open license because Microsoft say it is.

An open licence requires more than just stating "this is an open licence". Read the licence carefully.

I know I'm no lawyer nor a legal expert. But I trust those guys at Massachusetts must have had their best legal team poured over MS licences. And probably they've found some fine print somewhere that actually locks you to MS product only.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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I read the licenses. Microsoft's is more restrictive than Adobe's or Sun's. Microsoft does not allow GPL programs to read and write Office XML files, does not allow sublicensing, and does not promise that the license will be available in the future, or for future revisions of the format. It provides a marketing checklist version of open without the practical benefits of a truly open standard.

The attribution clause is similar to the old BSD advertizing clause. It conflicts with the GPL. Now, a license can conflict with the GPL and still be open, but it's worth looking into the reasons for the conflict. The BSD license is old, and conflicts between licenses were not well understood at the time. The University modified the license to remove the conflict, demonstrating that their intent was to make the license as open as possible.

The new BSD license imposes no restrictions on sublicensing, or even relicensing. That does allow sublicensees, such as Microsoft, to add license restrictions, but the original code remains free and open. The GPL adds one restriction: sublicensees may not add any more restrictions. Yes, it is a bit perverse that 'no additional restrictions' is itself a restriction. Similarly, one of the BSD license freedoms is to allow sublicensees to remove that freedom. A difference in tactics, but the strategic goal is the same: open access and distribution of the source.

The conflict between the old BSD license and the GPL was an accident, and soon resolved. The conflict between the Microsoft XML license and the GPL is by design. This isn't about Microsoft using the GPL, it is about Microsoft preventing YOU from using the GPL for YOUR own code to read and write YOUR own documents. Nothing open about that.

Microsoft has a simple solution to the rights of sublicensees: they don't allow sublicenses at all. I can get a license today, and write my program. I can give you my code, and permission to use and distribute it, but I can't pass on the Microsoft patent license. You need to get that from Microsoft, and they can withdraw or change the license at any time.

Why does that matter? Suppose that I am a vendor building parts for you. I'd like to get the specifications for those parts from you in an Office file, and feed them into various manufacturing or accounting programs. Your IT people are busy, so we agree that I'll write the program to read and write the files. You'd like to use my software with other vendors, so I give you the source, licensed under the terms of the GPL. Oops, Microsoft says I can't do that. I don't like Microsoft telling me how to license my code, but I move on and use a BSD license instead.

Now suppose that Microsoft withdraws or changes the patent license. You and I have licenses under the old terms. We can keep exchanging files. But now suppose that I go out of business. You'd like to keep using my software, and you have my permission to do so. So you find a new vendor and give him my code. But he's not covered by the old Microsoft license. He may not be able to use my code without infringing on some Microsoft patent. You need permission from Microsoft to make your own documents useful. That's not open.

Microsoft's attribution clause is designed to prevent GPL programs from using Office XML. The customer bears the burden, Microsoft gets the benefit of shelter from competition. Microsoft's failure to sublicense imposes another burden on the customer, and Microsoft benefits by preventing competition. Microsoft is, of course, free to impose these conditions. But they are NOT good for the customer. Customers want to control their own documents. Allowing a vendor to dictate how you can use your documents is not acceptable. Microsoft has taken a step towards opening up the Office formats, but it's a matter of moving from heavy-handed control to a more subtle control. They still have their fingers in your business.

GPL software exists to read and write Open Document files. GPL software exists to read and write PDF files. But no GPL software can read and write Microsoft Office files without the threat of patent lawsuits. Why should any customer choose that restriction? Why not not use formats without those limitations?

Reply Score: 0

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, I've actually read the licenses. If you read them, you'll find it is open.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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>>Yes, I've actually read the licenses. If you read them, you'll find it is open.<<

1) It can't be determined from what you wrote in your post if you have read the licenses or not.

2) If you have read them then either you didn't understand what you read or you are lying. In either case you have nothing of value to offer on the topic.

3) No reply to this is needed because there is no way for us to verify what you say and your claim stands in stark contradiction to our experience in reading the same documents. You either do not know, as you seem to imply that you do, or cannot be trusted to tell us what *we* will find from reading the licenses since we see that your claim is incorrect and you don't appear to

4) Don't interpret this as an attempt to silence you on any topic. The more you post the more FUD will be undermined.

5) BZZZZT! Thanks for palying.

Reply Score: 0

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

I provide links, quotes, and information mirroring that in the licenses and you can't determine whether I read them? Take off your blinders and look without bias. There's a verbatum quote from the license in at least one of my comments.

2.) It is you who seemingly can't comprehend the licenses. You keep talking about the binary formats like .doc when the subject of discussion and what is clearly referred to in my posts and the MS licenses are the XML formats. Specifically the XML formats that have been available for 2 years in Office 2003 are referenced in the MS licenses, but the same licenses also apply to the Office 12 XML formats as well. The 2003 format schemas and documentation have been available for 2 years. Preview documentation is available for the Office 12 XML formats (and XPS). Commercial vendors have benn creating solutions that work with the formats without need of MS Office for over 2 years. Star/OO has included support for the formats for several versions now.

3.) I'm truly hoping the FUD is undermined. Though the facts will continue to be lost on some I'm sure. Rather than actually examine the materials from the source, some will continue to find reasons to fault the formats and inject FUD into any discussion about them just as with other technologies with MS roots like the ECMA/ISO implementation of Mono or DHTML and XMLHTTPRequest. They can't stick to facts and substance lest it screw up their ABM world view.

Reply Score: 1

Down with MS
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 00:46 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Any non-MS format is by definition better. And, it is a start.

Reply Score: 0

The Reason
by hraq on Sat 1st Oct 2005 08:42 UTC
hraq
Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, Let's see how many states have followed MA in their decision? Extremely few if any. So what is the real reason for this right decision? I think MA are broke and they realllllllly need to cut expenses.
Is this gonna be a sample for others to follow? I doubt it! I wish I am wrong

Reply Score: 1

I can only
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 10:34 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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say *LOL* to all the american MS-apologists.

You haven't got a clue about what's going on outside your own garden.

Claiming groklaw is anti-MS is pure FUD.

And claiming that MS-fileformats are fully documented is bullshit.

As a developer I know it's not true. It's not even technical possible to document everything. You can only reduce the amount of non-documented features but you cannot document every aspect of the API unless it is extremely simple. Same principle as the (impossible) bugfree application.

dylansmrjones
kristian AT herkild DOT dk

Reply Score: 0

nice pages...
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 12:22 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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...but the files denoted seem to require extraction of a .exe in Windows, rather than just the ability to read a document. There is a statement on one page that one file in particular works "...with any Web browser", but once again, only inside a running instance of Windows. The upshot: as long as you are already running Windows, you are free to examine the documents. To the opposite point, 90% of the time that is probably true, so it isn't a wild departure from reason. Yet, Microsoft doesn't seem to indicate how you could examine the documents outside of Windows at all.

Reply Score: 0

Microsoft Credibility
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 18:35 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I am going to reply to the Anonymous reply to my post on "Thom's Responsibilities." Then I'll speak a bit abut Microsoft and the truth.

rehdon gave an excellent link that I will repeat here: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050925165302314

I urge people to read the post by Gary Edwards at the end of the article. One seldom gets to read about complex situations explained with such clarity. In that article one reads why Microsoft's XML is not free, and why it is absolutely not suitable for the development of Massachusetts' SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) plans. I know good, careful writing when I see it, and Edwards' comments are a marvelous example of clarity and truth. Clearly, the anonymous poster responding to my own post has not read it. The same applies to n4cer.

I'll add another link, which puts some of this discussion in historical context: http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/05/10/01/1548246.shtml?tid=29

The above article deals with Microsoft's lies, threats, and intimidation over the years, going back to the release of Windows 95. The latest point deals with the conflict between emerging high definition DVD standards, with Microsoft patently lying in its support of HD-DVD standard over Blue Ray. The author asks this question at the end of the article: 'So the question is not "Is Microsoft lying?" It's deeper than that. The real question is, "Is Microsoft capable of honesty?"'

I don't think that Microsoft as a company is capable of being honest. The author of the Newsforge piece made his decision in 1999. I made mine during the Microsoft anti-trust trial, after reading Balmer's and Gates' testimony and cross examination. Links to Microsoft's Web site to prove a point automatically raise suspicion.

Reply Score: 0

re: Microsoft Credibility
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 18:38 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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I case people hadn't guessed, I, Peter Besenbruch, wrote that.

Reply Score: 0

@n4cer
by Anonymous on Sat 1st Oct 2005 21:30 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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You clearly haven't read Gary Edwards' comments here:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050925165302314

You clearly haven't read other people's comments concerning the Microsoft licensing schemes, particularly the thread titled "@n4cer RE[5]: Thom's Responsibilities."

You clearly haven't read the Microsoft Web page that you cited: http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp

Specifically, you engage in the kinds of selective citation common to Microsoft shills. Here are some other quotes from the same document: "If you distribute, license or sell a Licensed Implementation, this license is conditioned upon you requiring that the following notice be prominently displayed in all copies and derivative works of your source code and in copies of the documentation and licenses associated with your Licensed Implementation..." [notice cut]

That is specifically aimed at the GPL. So is this quote: "You are not licensed to distribute a Licensed Implementation under license terms and conditions that prohibit the terms and conditions of this license."

Then there is this quote: "You are not licensed to sublicense or transfer your rights."

Microsoft's disclaimer allowing the reading of government documents by users using software other than Microsoft's, does not address what Massachusetts wants to do the the SOA that they are developing. Again, you really need to read Garry Edwards' comments.

Finally, Microsoft Word and Excel formats are not reference formats, because they haven't been publicly documented. That is a key difference between Adobe's PDA and Microsoft's DOC and XLS implementations (that, and Adobe's more open licensing). That other, non-Microsoft companies produce software that read and write the formats, is because they have reverse engineered them, a process that is imperfect, and will always be so.

All this has been pointed out repeatedly in this discussion. It does not help, n4cer, to reassert false information, backed up with selective and misleading citations from Microsoft's Web site. You need to address the objections to the parts of the license you failed to cite. You need to read Gary Edwards' comments and address them.

Peter Besenbruch

Reply Score: 2

RE: @n4cer
by n4cer on Mon 3rd Oct 2005 11:29 UTC in reply to "@n4cer"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

1) The discussion and the license isn't about .doc et al, it's about .docx et al. The .doc format doesn't need documentation (though it is available under a different license that the one discussed here) because it's not one of the XML formats being discussed.

2) Being compatible with the GPL is not a qualification for being open. Other non-MS licenses are similarly not compatible yet are considered open.

3.) The GPL/LGPL has similar sublicensing restrictions. Allowing GPL/LGPL to have smilar language yet limit MS is hypocrisy.

4.) As I mentioned, the reference schemas and published documentation provide all you need to create a conforming implementation that outputs the XML formats correctly. At it's simplest, the implementation could just be an XSLT.

5.) What's been repeatedly pointed out is false information from others who site misinformation yet don't bother to actually read the licenses. Much of the criteria repeatedly sited by people here is already satisfied. They just don't want to acknowledge reality by actually looking at the license because it conflicts with their ABM zealotry.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous
Member since:
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http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/10/01/476067.aspx

So, apparently if they get 30,000 search hits for ODF they will support that too, since according to the blog, that's what caused them to add pdf support.

Who's up for doing some searching?

Reply Score: 0