Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:26 UTC
Novell and Ximian The first fruit of the recently announced Novell/Microsoft interoperability agreement arrived on Dec. 4, with Novell's announcement that its version of the OpenOffice productivity suite will now support the Microsoft Office Open XML format. The release candidate of Novell's modified version of OpenOffice.org 2.02 is now available for Windows for free download by registered Novell users.
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ah...
by @@__@@ on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:36 UTC
@@__@@
Member since:
2005-07-29

don't know what to say.

don't know what to think.

the world is a strange place.

I think Novell as a company will be destroyed by Microsoft. Sooner or later.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ah...
by renox on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:31 UTC in reply to "ah..."
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Perhaps, but that doesn't matter in the issue, one strong point of OOo over say KOffice is that it is able to convert .doc better.
Being able to read OpenXML file is a good thing too.

These capacity are *necessary* to be able to switch: currently the default is .doc soon, it will be OpenXML so to switch to OOo you need to be able to read all those existing documents.

Of course, those who believe that OpenXML is a truly free format suitable for use without having to pay Microsoft tax are seriously misguided, but that's another issue entirely.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: ah...
by DrillSgt on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:00 UTC in reply to "RE: ah..."
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"Of course, those who believe that OpenXML is a truly free format suitable for use without having to pay Microsoft tax are seriously misguided, but that's another issue entirely."

Well, since it is, and that is verified since the full implementation spec is available, free of charge, to anyone who wants it. It is as open as PDF is. So why would anyone pay Microsoft to implement this?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: ah...
by cyrilleberger on Tue 5th Dec 2006 07:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ah..."
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

Because OpenXML is encumbered with patents.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ah...
by raver31 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ah..."
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Are those patents not there to stop someone modifying the algorithm and making a competing format ?

The patents should not come into play simply for a user.

In theory

Edited 2006-12-05 08:15

Reply Score: 3

v RE[4]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ah..."
RE[5]: ah...
by twenex on Tue 5th Dec 2006 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

The only ones who have to worry about OpenXML are OSS folks who would want to co-opt the format by stealing it and calling the derivative something else.

Erm, I think you are confusing us with Microsoft. OSS fundies don't "co-opt" or "steal" anything, let alone "call it something else"; the utter failure of the SCO suit so far has proved that, and the case hasn't even gone to trial yet.

MS, on the other hand, "co-opted and stole" Kerberos, LDAP and the TCP/IP suite, calling the second of the three "co-opted" products "Active Directory".

Edited 2006-12-05 20:48

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: ah...
by IanSVT on Tue 5th Dec 2006 20:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ah..."
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

LDAP in an of itself is a protocol, not a full directory stack. It's merely and extension of the X.500 standard. Active Directory was more likely modeled off of eDirectory(then NDS).

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ah..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Erm, I think you are confusing us with Microsoft. OSS fundies don't "co-opt" or "steal" anything, let alone "call it something else"; the utter failure of the SCO suit so far has proved that, and the case hasn't even gone to trial yet.

WTF do you call Mono, then?

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ah...
by twenex on Tue 5th Dec 2006 22:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ah..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

WTF do you call Mono, then?

"a project by a renegade OSS developer or Microsoft mole with which an increasing amount of bona fide OSS developers are increasingly unhappy with".

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ah...
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE: ah..."
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Of course, those who believe that OpenXML is a truly free format suitable for use without having to pay Microsoft tax are seriously misguided, but that's another issue entirely.

Can you site some evidence rather than making unsubstantiated claims? The format specification is a free download. You aren't required to implement the entire spec. Microsoft has promised not to assert applicable patents for implementations of the spec.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: ah...
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ah..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Microsoft has promised not to assert applicable patents for implementations of the spec.

What kind of promise is it? Is it binding? Can they change their mind?

I mean, I'm all for giving MS the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time their past history makes it hard to trust them.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: ah...
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ah..."
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

What kind of promise is it? Is it binding? Can they change their mind? I mean, I'm all for giving MS the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time their past history makes it hard to trust them.

Given that Microsoft has a history of not asserting claims against competitors in the majority of cases for both open and proprietary technologies, I'm unaware of the history upon which you're basing your distrust. However, the promise is detailed both in a Covenant Not To Sue and in the Open Specification Promise which covers a number of technologies.

http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx

Some relevant text from the FAQ...

Q: Why did Microsoft take this approach?
A: It was a simple, clear way, after looking at many different licensing approaches, to reassure a broad audience of developers and customers that the specification(s) could be used for free, easily, now and forever.

Q: How does the Open Specification Promise work? Do I have to do anything in order to get the benefit of this OSP?
A: No one needs to sign anything or even reference anything. Anyone is free to implement the specification(s), as they wish and do not need to make any mention of or reference to Microsoft. Anyone can use or implement these specification(s) with their technology, code, solution, etc. You must agree to the terms in order to benefit from the promise; however, you do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate your agreement to Microsoft.

Q: What if I don't implement the entire specification? Will I still get the protections under the OSP?
A: The OSP applies whether you have a full or partial implementation. You get the same irrevocable promise from us either way. In all cases, the OSP covers only your implementation of the parts of the specification(s) that you decide to use.

Office XML File Formats
Q: What are you doing by adding Ecma Office Open XML to the OSP?
A: We are giving potential implementers of Ecma Office Open XML the ability to take advantage of either the ( http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx ) CNS or the OSP, at their choice. Microsoft had already stated that it offers an irrevocable ( http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx ) covenant not to sue (CNS) to anyone wishing to implement the formats. We understand that some may prefer the new OSP, which we'd like to facilitate.

Q: Why are you doing this now?
A: In September, the Ecma Technical Committee created the ( http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-... )Final Draft of the Office Open XML v1.0 formats so we want to address any questions people may have with respect to their ability to use our patent rights that are necessary to implement Ecma Office Open XML. We don't want there to be any open issues with respect to access to necessary Microsoft patent claims.

Q: Why are you applying both the CNS and the OSP?
A: Some have asked whether we would apply the OSP to Ecma Office Open XML. We don't know whether some will choose the OSP over the CNS, but we want to make that an option.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: ah...
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Given that Microsoft has a history of not asserting claims against competitors in the majority of cases for both open and proprietary technologies, I'm unaware of the history upon which you're basing your distrust.

Come on, you're kidding, right? This is *Microsoft* we're talking about here. Ballmer made veiled threats about charging Linux users for alleged IP violations only two weeks ago.

I remember now that you're a vocal pro-Microsoft supporter, are you not? If you don't mind, I'll wait until I get the opinion of someone a little more unbiased before feeling safe.

In particular, what happens to MS if it reneges on its "Covenant Not to Sue" and decides to sue (let's say, under new management...). Does the covenant hurt their case in court?

I also want to read an independent, unbiased analysis of the actual terms one must agree to before feeling anywhere remotely like "safe"...

After all, the fact that they have a "history of not asserting claims" in the "majority of cases" is hardly proof of anything. Their corporate history as a whole is enough to warrant a healthy dose of skepticism into anyone who doesn't have actual personal interests in MS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ah..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Come on, you're kidding, right? This is *Microsoft* we're talking about here. Ballmer made veiled threats about charging Linux users for alleged IP violations only two weeks ago.

No, Ballmer didn't make threats. He merely said that Microsoft would defend its IP when necessary. Big difference.

I remember now that you're a vocal pro-Microsoft supporter, are you not? If you don't mind, I'll wait until I get the opinion of someone a little more unbiased before feeling safe.

Ah, yes. The appeal to authority canard. As if none of his arguments matter because you don't consider him a sufficient authority.

In particular, what happens to MS if it reneges on its "Covenant Not to Sue" and decides to sue (let's say, under new management...). Does the covenant hurt their case in court?

Microsoft's covenant is a matter of public record. If it were to renege on this covenant, any court would regard it as a breach of good faith and throw it out.

I also want to read an independent, unbiased analysis of the actual terms one must agree to before feeling anywhere remotely like "safe"...

That sounds reasonable to me.

After all, the fact that they have a "history of not asserting claims" in the "majority of cases" is hardly proof of anything. Their corporate history as a whole is enough to warrant a healthy dose of skepticism into anyone who doesn't have actual personal interests in MS.

Explicit license terms specified by a public corporation carry more weight than speculation, in my opinion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: ah...
by Johann Chua on Wed 6th Dec 2006 09:54 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ah..."
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

I trust actual humans more than corporations, thanks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ah...
by Temcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

If you look at the patent license for Open XML, it's not so clear-cut. Basically, you are given license for patents that are "necessarily infringed" by a licensed implementation (with further limitations), but does not enumerate neither those nor all patents that pertain to Open XML. So what if you inadvertently infringe on one of those patents that are possible to work around, in Microsoft's opinion, because you don't know what exactly you should work around?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ah...
by renox on Tue 5th Dec 2006 06:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ah..."
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Easy: look at web browsers and tell me that Microsoft care about specification.
And makes no mistake what truly matter is users interoperability, not specification compliance: if OOo is 100% compliant but MSOffice is not, users will complain that OOo is not compatible with MSOffice..

Also Microsoft could play again the upgrade treadmill changing (extending) the format specification, ensuring that OOo still be incompatible.

Microsoft has a really poor history of interoperability: embrace and extinguish.

Edited 2006-12-05 06:24

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ah..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Let's try to focus on the issue at hand, rather than muddy the waters with talk of web browsers and other irrelevant stuff.

The OpenXml spec is open, it's freely available, you can download it, and it contains a covenant not to sue. The only people who are upset with these terms are those who want to co-opt its IP; namely, OSS devs who want to reimplement it under a different name and find that they can't do that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: ah...
by Finalzone on Tue 5th Dec 2006 17:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ah..."
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

It is still dependent on a single vendor. Understanding other people concern, Microsoft cannot keep their own promise. We are talking about an open format which has nothing to do with OSS developers because it is about datas. It is really clear Open XML is an example that Microsoft does not want to compete on equal field with other products using Open Document Format.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: ah...
by MollyC on Tue 5th Dec 2006 18:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ah..."
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

ODF is not capable of supporting the functionality of MS Office files. What about this do you not understand?

Let me break it down for everyone here:
OpenOffice and its backers (Sun, IBM, etc) decided that they could not compete with MS Office on features. So they came up with ODF, for two reasons:
1. With ODF, they can say, "We can't compete on features, but choose us because we have an open format."
2. ODF codifies a format that excludes the MS Office features that OO.o lacks. So any one (e.g. a misguided govt entity) that mandates that all documentation be ODF is makes the extra MS features unusable, allowing OO.o to better compete.

That's all this is about. But the tactic backfired. MS opened up its own format (something that the ODF folks didn't think would happen), and MS is getting others to use the format (Corel, Novell, Apple), and is getting it recognized by international standards organizations (ECMA, and soon ISO), and has a covenant not to sue (unlike Adobe with PDF; Adobe reserves the right to sue anyone that uses PDF for whatever reason suits their whim, and have exercised that right). So MS can now say, "If you want to use an open format, you don't have to use ODF (and therefore miss out on the features that ODF lacks); you can use OpenXML (and keep using the extra features that OpenXML supports).

So, MS can no longer compete based on a locked file format (that was never MS's strategy anyway; that was the excuse used by competitors as to why they couldn't compete), rather, MS is competing on features. By the same token, OO.o can't compete on "Our file format is the only one that is open", so they must compete on features as well. Meaning that they'll lose, and they know it. That's why we get all of the moaning and FUD from the MS bashers like certain posters to osnews and IBM's ODF folk, because they know that their grand stragegy is not going to succeed.

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: ah...
by Johann Chua on Wed 6th Dec 2006 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ah..."
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

MS never tried to lock us in with proprietary file formats? So why do newer versions of MS Office have trouble reading files in MS's own formats generated by older versions?

You're right. We should just trust the world's biggest software company. They have our best interests at heart.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ah...
by Finalzone on Wed 6th Dec 2006 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ah..."
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Care to list these "features" you refer?

2. ODF codifies a format that excludes the MS Office features that OO.o lacks. So any one (e.g. a misguided govt entity) that mandates that all documentation be ODF is makes the extra MS features unusable, allowing OO.o to better compete.

Which one? ODF only uses the existing nomenclature like XHTML, SGML, SVG and MathML. Do you insinuate MS Office does not support these? What really stop a multi billionaire company to support them given their large amount of resource?

If a format depends on a particular feature from an Office application, that is unacceptable and must be avoid for the sake of my own data.

Reply Score: 1

an apple a day...
by lcde on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:41 UTC
lcde
Member since:
2006-12-04

Apple seemed to turn out okay.

Let's let time take care of this one.

Reply Score: 4

Right
by SlackerJack on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:46 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

So it's Openoffice that has to be compliant with MS office format, what about older version of office and .doc format?

So we are stuck with Microsoft's "Open" XML format which will kill ODF format good and proper.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Right
by grat on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:23 UTC in reply to "Right"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

So it's Openoffice that has to be compliant with MS office format, what about older version of office and .doc format?

So we are stuck with Microsoft's "Open" XML format which will kill ODF format good and proper.


At my job, I run a linux workstation. My coworkers all use Office 2003. The fact that they'll be switching to Office 2007 in the near future has caused me some concern, because I'd really rather not run Office 2007 inside of VMWare.

Novell providing this plugin only helps me.

Explain how OOo support OpenXML is any different from OOo supporting .doc? And try not to use the words "spirit" "ideology" or "freedom", since this plugin *is* open source.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Right
by l3v1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 12:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Right"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

since this plugin *is* open source

You mean free like in you-have-to-register-to-download-it free.

Reply Score: 1

"PatentOffice.org" fork?
by b3timmons on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:47 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

"OpenOffice.org" seems a bit passe now:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20061204130954610

At least Massachusetts found a slight clue and rejected MOOX:
http://technocrat.net/d/2006/12/4/11731

Reply Score: 4

RE: "PatentOffice.org" fork?
by grat on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:20 UTC in reply to ""PatentOffice.org" fork?"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Only because PJ is violently anti-Novell this week.

Reply Score: 3

This is so lame
by Joe User on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:48 UTC
Joe User
Member since:
2005-06-29

Don't we already have enough types of files (.odt, .doc, .rtf...)?

They should stop li#king MS's ass and concentrate on .odt format. Way to go!

Reply Score: 4

Could be good...
by Fennec_Fox on Mon 4th Dec 2006 22:51 UTC
Fennec_Fox
Member since:
2006-10-30

I guess the feling I have can be described as "cautious optimism"... The fact that OOo from Novell will be able to read/write another file format is not a bad thing. And users switching from MS Office to OOo will have one less thing to worry about...

Reply Score: 5

RE: Could be good...
by SlackerJack on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:02 UTC in reply to "Could be good..."
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Great, whats wrong with Novell's version supporting Microsoft's OpenXML?

Microsoft: Jump Novell!

Novell: How high?

Microsoft 1 - Novell 0

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Could be good...
by BluenoseJake on Tue 5th Dec 2006 15:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Could be good..."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Seems to me, the more useful Openoffice is, the better for all it's users. THe changes made to openoffice will be available to all openoffice users, therefore we all win. I use openoffice exclusively, and I think being able to open any file sent to me is a godsend. Man, people bitch when MS keeps it's formats secret, and they bitch when they open them up and allow other other organizations to use them

Reply Score: 2

Head in the Crocodile's Mouth
by segedunum on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:01 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

Having owned WordPerfect in the past, royally shafting it in the process, I do hope that Novell thinks back to the period when WordPerfect competed head-to-head with Word and Office and learns from the standards wars of that period.

Microsoft knows that as long as Office is still the dominant office suite that the weight of demand for the default formats in Open Office will be Microsoft's. As long as they can make OpenXML open enough for those wishing to legislate on using ODF then that will still be the case, and Novell are helping OpenXML look open by explicitly using it.

However, Novell are totally mssing the point here. The point is that the vast majority of Office documents in the world are old 97 and 2000 compatible binary ones, and they should not be ignoring that for what is actually fool's gold - "Ooooh, we'll be able to support Microsoft's new formats 100%. Interoperabilit!" - not. They should be continuing to make sure that those old Office documents open well in Open Office, and making sure that they can be converted equally well to ODF. If you want to open Microsoft OpenXML documents then fine, but only so that they can be converted to ODF when you save. Afterall, Microsoft Office is going to get an ODF plugin!

I really wonder whether Novell knows the game being played here, and if they do, whether they will have the backbone to pull it off. Based on past history, I'm betting that they'll be the clueless idiots they always were and that the new guys in their company haven't improved the situation.

Joel Spolsky had an article, which I can't find now, where he describes what happened when Microsoft were trying to get Office to overtake incumbant market leaders like Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect. The only difference was that they all tried to make it impossible for rivals to read their formats whilst trying to reverse engineer their rivals' at the same time. The difference here is that ODF is open, and OpenXML is allegedly open. Think about it ;-).

You have a situation one day where 80% of the formats anywhere are in your rivals' formats, and 20% in your own. You then wake up the next morning and 80% of the documents saved are your formats and 20% everyone elses'. It really does happen that fast.

If Open Office can be made good enough, as well as cheap enough ;-), and the ODF format can be made ubiquitous between Open Office, Microsoft Office and others then it will simply become the format of choice by being the easiest to deal with.

The alternative is that OpenXML will reveal itself to be the ploy it always was, Office documents saved in it will be embedded with binary-only undecipherable data and ODF will be strangled by virtue of the fact that it will never achieve enough critical mass to gain the upper hand. Yet another very brief false dawn.

Reply Score: 5

Say what you want
by diegocg on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:07 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

Microsoft's new doc format will be used everywhere, but unlike the past decade this time the OSS world will be able to migrate entire organizations to OO.org.

I can't see how this is bad, specially since Novell has promised that they won't include patented code (not that Microsoft would want to insert patents for a document format that is "open" to some degree anyway)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Say what you want
by archiesteel on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:09 UTC in reply to "Say what you want"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

unlike the past decade this time the OSS world will be able to migrate entire organizations to OO.org.

...but only if you're a Novell customer.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Say what you want
by Terracotta on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Say what you want"
Terracotta Member since:
2005-08-15

OpenOffice.org is licensed under the GPL, so soon enough it will be in the normal version as well, since you can't link Openoffice.org to closed code, not through plugins, nor through extra code.

I just hope that they made a plugin kind of thing that can be used by Koffice, abiword, Gnumeric and the like, unlike their .doc filters.

Edited 2006-12-04 23:16

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Say what you want
by archiesteel on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say what you want"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

I hope you're right...I'll be looking forward to it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Say what you want
by grat on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say what you want"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Actually, OOo is LGPL, and the OpenXML is indeed a plugin, which is either BSD or LGPL licensed-- I haven't been bothered enough to check.

So, I suppose, to maintain it's market share, OpenOffice.Org should drop support for the .doc format as well?

Kudos to OSNews for not reporting it as "Novell forks OpenOffice", however.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Say what you want
by DrillSgt on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Say what you want"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"...but only if you're a Novell customer."

Actually I disagree here. I am waiting to see how it all pans out. There is nothing that stops this from being used in the regular OOo at all. OpenXML is just that, open, with the standard fully published. Now I do know Microsoft's track record, but times and things do change. The only thing I see stopping this is the OSS crowd saying since it is from Microsoft, they won't allow it to be done, but I doubt that would happen.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Say what you want
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say what you want"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

My response was only due to the wording of the article blurb, i.e. "The release candidate of Novell's modified version of OpenOffice.org 2.02 is now available for Windows for free download by registered Novell users."

The sentence is ambiguous...does it mean it will only be available for registered Novell users? As others have pointed out, OpenOffice is GPLed, so they wouldn't be able to stop it from being redistributed.

I also note (which I hadn't before) that it says "for Windows"...which means that right now it's not available for Linux.

I'm adopting the same attitude as you for now: sit back and watch...though I have to say I will be watching *very* closely. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Say what you want
by GhePeU on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Say what you want"
GhePeU Member since:
2005-07-06

The article says that "Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source, and will submit it for inclusion in the OpenOffice.org project," so there's no reason to worry.

Ximian (and now Novell) provides a patched OpenOffice since at least 2003 (it's the year I first compiled openoffice-ximian), and most distros use this version, which includes, for example, the GTK+/KDE file-choosers, Crystal/Industrial icons, fontconfig support, etc. etc. IIRC, some of these improvements and many others now are part of the OpenOffice.org vanilla sources as well, but I don't know exactly which ones.

ooo-build is now used by pretty much every distribution (see http://cvs.gnome.org/viewcvs/ooo-build/distro-configs/), and when Novell developers will put the new code in that repository, the other distros will pick the OpenXML support as well.

Edited 2006-12-05 00:51

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Say what you want
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Say what you want"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//The article says that "Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source, and will submit it for inclusion in the OpenOffice.org project," so there's no reason to worry.//

Yes there is reason to worry, but it is not this aspect of the announcement that is the worry.

The worriesome bit is that OpenXML format contains dependencies on Windows platforms, and so Novell's implementation of it on Linux will necessarily be incomplete.

Documents created in OpenXML format on Windows platforms will still not be fully cross-platform portable, and end users will still be locked in to Windows platforms if they save their data in Open XML format.

That is entirely the worst outcome possible.

A far better outcome for end users would be for Windows & MS Office to support ODF fully.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Say what you want
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Say what you want"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

A far better outcome for end users would be for Windows & MS Office to support ODF fully.

For which end users? The 99.9% of the market that would be pissed that their documents won't move forward with full fidelity to a format that is also usable outside of Office and who couldn't continue to use features available in their product of choice because ODF can't currently support them, or the minority who just want to push a non-MS format at all costs with no consideration for data preservation and a misguided belief in ODF being a universal document format?

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Say what you want
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Say what you want"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//For which end users?//

For all end users.

All end users are served by an open, standard, encumebrance-free, cross-platform, interoperable format.

No end users are disadvantaged by such a format.

This cannot be said for any format which contains dependencies on a specific platform, available only from a single-source supplier.

Edited 2006-12-05 02:01

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Say what you want
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 02:08 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Say what you want"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//features available in their product of choice because ODF can't currently support them//

Which features are these?

Remember, Microsoft were a participant of the ODF committee. If there is any Microsoft-only feature within an office format and interoperation protocols that ODF cannot "connect" to, then it is that way only because Microsoft refused to open up the interface to let ODF interoperate with that.

Microsoft had two options that would have achieved interoperability: (1) support interoperability by adopting ODF and the other attendant features such as SVG, ogg & SIML, or (2) open up their own formats to allow competing products to be written (even as open source), including all of the attendant features such as ActiveX, wmv, wma, OLE, binary blobs from legacy MS Office formats, exchange connector, etc, etc, etc.

Microsoft have done neither of these. People should abandon Microsofts offerings for this reason.

Edited 2006-12-05 02:15

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: Say what you want
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Say what you want"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Are you claiming that Microsoft is that technically inept that they wouldn't be able to make an adequate ODF filter for MS Word? Gee, I would have thought you'd have more faith in the quality of MS's workforce.

The fact that Open XML cannot be completely ported to other platforms than Windows automatically means it is inadequate. It is not a question of numbers (and I must say your 99.9% figure is exaggerated, otherwise you'd have to agree that MS has a file format monopoly). It is a question of avoiding vendor lock-in.

Thank you for clarifying this issue for me. For a moment I though MS really wanted to play nice, but now I realize it's still up to its old monopolist tricks, trying to use one quasi-monopoly (Office file formats) to maintain another one (Operating Systems).

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Say what you want
by BluenoseJake on Tue 5th Dec 2006 16:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Say what you want"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Please explain these dependencies, it's just an XML spec, how could there be any dependencies?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Say what you want
by lopisaur on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Say what you want"
lopisaur Member since:
2006-02-27

And don't forget: this is for the Windows version of OOo.
MS won't allow them to release a Linux version, I guess.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Say what you want
by smitty on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say what you want"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

What are you talking about??? The code is GPL and not patented, which means anyone can port it to Linux anytime they want to. It's just that certain embedded formats like video may use Windows codecs, but that wouldn't stop OOo from using this code in Linux.

Reply Score: 3

Novel OpenOffice
by GhePeU on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:20 UTC
GhePeU
Member since:
2005-07-06
Ethics
by ebasconp on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:29 UTC
ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

I think adding support for the MS XML format is quite legal for the Novell people now, but... how about the ethics?

Do you think is good take a full application done by a lot of people in the community, adding some proprietary features and distribute it with no return to the community?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ethics
by GhePeU on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:36 UTC in reply to "Ethics"
GhePeU Member since:
2005-07-06

Which part of "Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source, and will submit it for inclusion in the OpenOffice.org project" didn't you understand?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Ethics
by ebasconp on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Ethics"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

The "Microsoft Office open XML format" is totally open and free (as in freedom)?

Giving that code to the community is not going to violate any Microsoft patents?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Ethics
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ethics"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//The "Microsoft Office open XML format" is totally open and free (as in freedom)? //

The Open XML format in and of itself is open enough. It is the dependencies within the format that are not open.

You will find that after you have created no more than a dozen or so reasonable-size documents in Open XML format on a Windows platform, you will have at least a couple of documents that will not open (fully and properly) on any platform other than Windows.

My very strong recommendation would be to not use Open XML format in the first place.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ethics
by kaiwai on Tue 5th Dec 2006 11:24 UTC in reply to "Ethics"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

"legal for novell people" - I think Microsoft is more concerned about harvesting cash from paying customers than from community groups like Fedora or OpenSUSE which are user driven development community distribution.

Now if Red Hat wished to ship that plugin with their commercial enterprise desktop, that might require them to pay a licence to Microsoft, just as it would if they were to include mp3 support - going by their past actions in regards to StarOffice OEM licencing, mp3 support and Java distribution, I doubt anyone will see OpenXML support in a Red Hat enterprise distribution.

This is where I think Novell is really going to be a winner; Red Hat taking its puritannical views are going to lock themselves out of corporate desktops, and as they lock themselves out, business customers will instead decide to go Novell for the desktop, look at their enterprise server, and decide to standardise their whole infrastructure on Novell Server and Desktop, and use that homogeneous conversion to get a good deal from Novell.

Reply Score: 2

Good
by cozby on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:42 UTC
cozby
Member since:
2006-03-08

I think this is great news. Support for a new format is never a bad thing. I find it ridiculous that people are bashing this, spinning it like Novell is jumping because MS said so.

Variety can't be bad thing it only ups the competition and quality. In the end its up to the user to decide which one is better, and I'm thankful we'll now have the option to do so.

Reply Score: 5

Tinfoil Hats
by n4cer on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:52 UTC
n4cer
Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of you guys should remove your tinfoil hats for a moment and actually review OOXML before continuing with false assertions about it. These arguments are getting old. OOXML is not owned by Microsoft. It is owned by ECMA, will soon be submitted to ISO, anyone can implement it, and developers for all the major platforms have created/are creating tools and applications for viewing, editing, processing, and converting OOXML. Companies from several industries, including Microsoft competitors like Novell and Apple, had direct participation in driving the standard from the initial submission to the current spec, and will continue to drive future versions of the spec. There's nothing alleged about OOXML's openness.

ODF cannot become the format of choice for conversion of legacy Office documents anymore than RTF can. ODF has an extremely long way to go before it can perform lossless conversions from legacy Office documents. This was not a design goal for the format, and if it became such, ODF would quickly gain complexity comparable to OOXML. At present, you can't even be assured of lossless conversion between two ODF applications.

Accept that there are valid reasons for both formats and move on. In a fairly short amount of time, support for either format will be virtually a none-issue.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Tinfoil Hats
by Temcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:29 UTC in reply to "Tinfoil Hats"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

A limited patent license without enumeration of the specific patents doesn't not look that open (they don't give you a license for all patents related to Open XML). An independent legal analysis of the patent license and patent search is needed before it can be characterized as truly open.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Tinfoil Hats
by kaiwai on Tue 5th Dec 2006 11:29 UTC in reply to "Tinfoil Hats"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The issue n4cer that people have with it, isn't the fact that its an openstandard, but whether Microsoft, when they improve upon that standard, will they submit the changes back to the ECMA/ISO so that the specifications can be updated - thats the big concern.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Tinfoil Hats
by twenex on Tue 5th Dec 2006 20:25 UTC in reply to "Tinfoil Hats"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Some of you guys should remove your tinfoil hats for a moment

What, you mean the ones we were wearing when we said there was something fishy about the MS-Novell deal, and then Ballmer started talking about "IP violations"?

Sounds like a decent advert for tin hats, if you ask me.

Reply Score: 3

Novell has been a long time OpenXML backer
by MollyC on Mon 4th Dec 2006 23:58 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

This isn't a surprise. Novell has been supporting OpenXML since it's inception as a proposed ECMA standard, and is a member of the ECMA committee that worked on it. They already added SpreadsheetML (the spreadsheet portion of OpenXML) to Gnumeric. Apple is also a member of the OpenXML ECMA committee, and it's likely that the next version of iWork will support OpenXML.

A list of the ECMA OpenXML committee members can be found here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2006/10/09/Office-Open-XM...

Adding OpenXML support to OpenOffice.org (along with other apps doing the same, such as Corel adding OpenXML support to WordPerfect) puts an end to the FUD purpetrated by certain posters to osnews that OpenXML isn't cross platform, only works in MS Office, blah blah blah.

Edited 2006-12-05 00:05

Reply Score: 5

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//OpenXML isn't cross platform//

Well, it isn't. Not fully. OpenXML still includes myriad dependencies on Windows platforms, so that OpenXML documents created in Office 2007 will not fully open properly even in this announced version of OpenOffice from Novell.

http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=1145

So where, pray tell, is the announcement of "Microsoft Office for Linux"?

Then, and only then, would OpenXML be fully cross-platform.

Until we see that offering, then using ODF format is still by far & away the better option. If you want to stick with Windows, then use the soon-to-be-released plugin for ODF sponsored by the OpenDocument alliance (not the one sponsored by Microsoft, get the good one).

http://www.osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=16617&comment_id=187653

Whatever you do, do not save your documents in OpenXML format. It will cost you plenty downstream if you do.

Edited 2006-12-05 00:42

Reply Score: 5

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

OOXML is dependent upon Windows in the same way ODF is dependent upon Windows. Both formats allow the embedding of elements that may not have a renderer for the specific platform which you're using. The solution in both cases is obvious -- if portability is your main concern, don't include non-portable elements. If you just need to read the document, you may still do so in many cases, with the document viewer ignoring elements it can't parse.

Is there any valid challenge to OOXML's openness from someone not pushing ODF?

Reply Score: 4

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//OOXML is dependent upon Windows in the same way ODF is dependent upon Windows. Both formats allow the embedding of elements that may not have a renderer for the specific platform which you're using. //

This is correct, but disingenious.

ODF does indeed have dependencies external to ODF itself, just as Open XML does.

The difference is, the dependencies of ODF are themselves open standards, such as PNG or SVG or ogg or SIML.

A good many of the dependencies of Open XML, however, are Microsoft proprietary and found only on Windows platforms.

//Is there any valid challenge to OOXML's openness from someone not pushing ODF?//

Yes, there is. See posts above, and this post.

Edited 2006-12-05 01:55

Reply Score: 3

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

I can embed a COM component in an ODF document just as easily as I can embed one into an OOXML document, in both cases potentially tying that document to Windows if, for whatever reason, other platforms don't have the facillities to run that component.

Nothing in ODF excludes the creation of documents containing proprietary elements, just as nothing in OOXML mandates using proprietary elements.

The argument of the one-way street is disingenuous because it is mainly a matter of other office suites not offering feature parity and instead depending on the 5% or 10% theory. The people pushing ODF keep trying to turn Microsoft's feature advantage into a disadvantage. For the many people actually using Office in business processes and as a development platform, and even regular end users that have a need for certain features not available elsewhere, this criticism falls on deaf ears.

Reply Score: 4

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//in both cases potentially tying that document to Windows if, for whatever reason, other platforms don't have the facillities to run that component. //

Misses the point entirely. Continues with "disingenious".

For ODF, all platforms are "permitted" to implement all of the required "facillities to run that component". It is entirely open, free to implement as there are no encumberances, either within the ODF spec itself or within any of the dependent facilities. Anyone is permitted to implement SVG, PNG or OGG, these are all open and unencumbered.

That is not the case at all for Open XML via its attendant dependencies.

If a Windows platform does not have a given facility (such as, for example, the ability to render SVG), then that is because Microsoft do not want to support open standards. It is not because Microsoft are not permitted to support SVG on their Windows platform.

If, OTOH, a Linux or OSX platform is missing a given facility (such as, for example, the ability to use ActiveX controls or to run Visual basic macros), it is because these facilities are Microsoft proprietary, and Microsoft do not allow anyone else to implement them, and they are restricted to Microsoft platforms only.

Therefore, via "inheritance" of the dependencies, Open XML is not open at all, whereas ODF in contrast is "open all the way down".

Open XML is indeed a "one way street", without any doubt at all. My very strong recommendation remains, DO NOT SAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS IN OPEN XML FORMAT.

Edited 2006-12-05 02:40

Reply Score: 5

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Why do you continue to ignore that I can include an AX control in ODF and achieve the same situation you continue to promote as unavoidable in OOXML. There is no difference. I include a proprietary component in an open format, thus potentially blocking full fidelity rendering on another platform, making ODF just as much of a one-way street.

Reply Score: 4

Shaman Member since:
2005-11-15

thus potentially blocking full fidelity rendering on another platform, making ODF just as much of a one-way street.

Yes, but where ODF could be a one-way street, OpenXML already is a one-way street.

Reply Score: 3

smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

Why do you continue to ignore that I can include an AX control in ODF and achieve the same situation you continue to promote as unavoidable in OOXML. There is no difference.

You have a point, but there is a difference in how the format is used. Both formats are fine, IMO, but the way they are used is quite different. MS Office is going to use wmv, activex, and other non-portable formats inside, while OpenOffice most likely isn't. It's not really a problem with the format, IMO, just the way the different office programs use them.

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

sorry dupe deleted

Edited 2006-12-05 06:45

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Thanks for this very illuminating series of posts and links. It makes the facts of the situation very clear, and the strategy behind Open XML equally clear. It reminds one a bit of the saga of Office on the Mac. You've always had Office for the Mac. You can swap Word and Excel documents with your co-workers. At least, you've had quite a lot of Office.

What you cannot get is just enough to stop the platform being a viable business competitor to Windows. But evidently not enough to stop people claiming that Office is multiplatform, which in the important sense, it is not.

The strategy is the same. Its disappointing that the standards bodies didn't grasp the point, which is a very clear and simple one.

You don't have to be any kind of zealot to be attached to the ability to move your documents from one vendor's application to another. I've had three totally convincing experiences. One was with two versions of Access, another with multiple versions of Word, a third with a proprietary database package which shall be nameless, which was implemented in a way that put any sort of usable data exports beyond the ability of anyone who couldn't write code. In each case the suggested solution was upgrade. In two cases you couldn't just upgrade the package, but were trapped into a cascade of upgrades.

There is really no excuse for claiming that documents saved in Open XML are being saved in any sort of open format. It is just false.

Now, whether Novell or OpenOffice should support this new closed standard? Probably. Just don't claim its open, its not.

Reply Score: 1

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"Is there any valid challenge to OOXML's openness from someone not pushing ODF?"

I.e., "Is there any valid challenge to [rigged game]'s openness from someone not pushing [fair game]?"

The bottom line here is not this kind of chronic intellectual dishonesty of Microsoft advocacy; no, what matters here is that we must feel these insults in order to grow more backbone to fight the injustice Microsoft perpetrates.

Reply Score: 2

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

So the game is now rigged because MS has the majority of users and a format that moves those users forward without sacrificing their existing data wheras ODF has issues interoping with other ODF implementations? I see intellectual dishonesty, but it isn't eminating from me.

Do Sun/IBM have branch offices in OSNews forums now?

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"So the game is now rigged because MS has the majority of users and a
format that moves those users forward without sacrificing their
existing data wheras ODF has issues interoping with other ODF
implementations? I see intellectual dishonesty, but it isn't eminating
from me."


It is emanating from you, however. (sorry)

Several comments have already pointed it out and will continue; in addition to the arguments already presented, Microsoft cannot escape the consequences of its monopolist status.

"Do Sun/IBM have branch offices in OSNews forums now?"

We can speculate about them, although not such a leap is needed for Microsoft, honored as a recent example in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

Nowadays, Microsoft is surely more sophisticated with its "concerned citizens."

Edited 2006-12-05 03:54

Reply Score: 2

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

It is emanating from you, however. (sorry)
Several comments have already pointed it out and will continue; in addition to the arguments already presented, Microsoft cannot escape the consequences of its monopolist status.


Support of Microsoft itself is not a case of intellectual dishonesty. If you believe so, your position is devoid of logic, clouded in bias and breeds dishonesty due to a need to prove the MS position to be wrong in all cases.

Reply Score: 4

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"Support of Microsoft itself is not a case of intellectual dishonesty. If you believe so, your position is devoid of logic, clouded in bias and breeds dishonesty due to a need to prove the MS position to be wrong in all cases.

That's a simple strawman, since at most I referred to a "chronic intellectual dishonesty of Microsoft advocacy". The problem, yet again, is not ignorance on your part, but willful attempts to distort.

This is not to say all of the deception is equally exercised. People have ripped into Ballmer only because he is obvious, while they let Gates get away because his deception flies completely over their heads.

This is no game: it necessarily divides people, harms society, and corrupts and squanders the most talented. How can you stomach being part of it?

Edited 2006-12-05 13:46

Reply Score: 2

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//So the game is now rigged because MS has the majority of users and a format that moves those users forward without sacrificing their existing data wheras ODF has issues interoping with other ODF implementations?//

This is a flawed arguement on so many levels.

(1) MS Office has many issues with interoperability with earlier versions of itself.
(2) "without sacrificing their existing data" - surely you jest? ROFLMAO.
(3) "ODF has issues interoping with other ODF implementations?" - minor ones, yes, but nothing like the extent that Office has issues "interoping" with earlier versions of itself, let alone "interoping" with any other Office suite or any other platform.
(4) "Interoping"? No wonder Microsoft has issues interoperating with anything else, when pro-Microsoft people can't even spell the word at issue.

Edited 2006-12-05 04:55

Reply Score: 4

TheProdigy Member since:
2006-12-05

//(3) "ODF has issues interoping with other ODF implementations?" - minor ones, yes, but nothing like the extent that Office has issues "interoping" with earlier versions of itself, let alone "interoping" with any other Office suite or any other platform. //

Issue 17/06 of german magazine c't tested ODF compatibility between OO, Abiword, Textmaker and Microsoft's plugin [1]. AFAIR opening documents created with one application in another one resulted in major issues (e.g. missing pictures, misaligned tables). So there's still lot of work to do for true "interoping".

At work I use Microsoft Office since Word 2.0, but with simple documents only. Until now I have never experienced major troubles opening older documents, sometime some small misalignments only. But as I am interested in the content and not in an exact layout reproduction this was no major concern for me.

[1] http://www.heise.de/kiosk/archiv/ct/06/17/180/
(german only, you'll have to buy this article)

Reply Score: 2

Open XML is a rigged game
by b3timmons on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:19 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Indeed, what from Microsoft is not rigged? See the article "Is Open XML a one way specification for most people?":
http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=1145

Reply Score: 3

I don't like OpenXML, but...
by Ford Prefect on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:04 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

I can't understand anyone bashing Novell for this step.

It is very important for OpenOffice to be able to work with the "industry standard" document format, which is sadly enough dictated from Microsoft.

People should choose OpenOffice because it is "better", it is free as in beer, it is free as in speech,... if they don't, even while OOo can process "document files" the same way MS Office can, well, then obviously they seem not to have a need for this great, free piece of software.

If people have to switch from MS Office to OOo because of document format pressure (ODF), this would be a _bad_ thing. Seriously, this would be the same "lock in" Microsoft does for years.


So, if you are for choice, and for free users, support that free software can talk to proprietary the same as to other free one.


And as others already pointed out, Novell releases their changes as free software, usable to every one, wether Novell customer or not. If Microsoft would manage to raise patent claims against users of this piece of software, this is a problem in itself; and perhaps has to do with the MS/Novell deal. Apart from that, wether Novell would incorporate OpenXML support or SUN or anyone else, it doesn't matter, _and_ it is a positive thing, as nearly every publication of free software.

Edited 2006-12-05 01:05

Reply Score: 5

RE: I don't like OpenXML, but...
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:19 UTC in reply to "I don't like OpenXML, but..."
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//It is very important for OpenOffice to be able to work with the "industry standard" document format, which is sadly enough dictated from Microsoft. //

Only partly correct. If you had said "commonly used in industry" document format, in place of "industry standard", you would have been fully correct.

In actual fact, there is only one standard document format at this time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opendocument
"OpenDocument or ODF, short for the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications, is an open format for saving and exchanging office documents such as memos, reports, books, spreadsheets, databases, charts, and presentations. This standard was developed by the OASIS industry consortium and based upon the XML format originally created by OpenOffice.org. OpenDocument was approved as an OASIS standard on May 1, 2005, was approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 26300) on May 8, 2006 [1] and published November 30, 2006 under the name ISO 26300.2006 on the ISO website [2] where this official standard is available for 340 Swiss francs. A free unofficial copy is available at the OASIS foundation website.

The OpenDocument standard has been developed by a variety of organizations and is publicly accessible. "


That is the only format that is a standard.

//And as others already pointed out, Novell releases their changes as free software, usable to every one, wether Novell customer or not. If Microsoft would manage to raise patent claims against users of this piece of software, this is a problem in itself; and perhaps has to do with the MS/Novell deal. Apart from that, wether Novell would incorporate OpenXML support or SUN or anyone else, it doesn't matter, _and_ it is a positive thing, as nearly every publication of free software.//

It is not the software that is the worry, but the format. It would be no problem if people used Microsoft Office if they would only save documents in a proper, open, cross-platform, standard format.

Reply Score: 2

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

Sorry, this is a translation problem. In German, "Industriestandard" describes what is correctly called "de facto standard" in english.


You're right, the OpenXML format has its drawbacks and should be avoided. Still OOo users can only benefit from the support for that format. OOo has to be able to exchange documents with MS Office. It's bad the way it is.

I never intended to defend OpenXML (see the caption), but the piece of software written by Novell. I can perfectly understand that Microsoft wouldn't switch to ODT per default though, I wouldn't either on their side.

Reply Score: 2

something to consider
by TerryADavis on Tue 5th Dec 2006 02:11 UTC
TerryADavis
Member since:
2006-12-01

The ability to generate and process a document from somebody's program is important. Can you grep ODF? How easy is it to output an ODF from your own program? I don't like Outlook, for example, because I cannot access my emails from my own programs.


For the industry's vitality a key factor is the ease the format can be encorporated into new programs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: something to consider
by hal2k1 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 02:18 UTC in reply to "something to consider"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//The ability to generate and process a document from somebody's program is important. Can you grep ODF? How easy is it to output an ODF from your own program?//

The answer to both of those questions is yes, ODF has better provision for these things than Open XML does.

Reply Score: 2

the real issue
by arielb on Tue 5th Dec 2006 03:32 UTC
arielb
Member since:
2006-11-15

OpenOffice needs to do whatever it can to get marketshare. Without openoffice marketshare, all this talk about ODF vs Open XML is meaningless as Microsoft will win in any event.

Reply Score: 1

Good
by IanSVT on Tue 5th Dec 2006 03:44 UTC
IanSVT
Member since:
2005-07-06

From someone in charge or 800+ desktops all running Windows/MSOffice, this is a good step at best of letting me dump at least MSOffice for OO.org sooner rather than later. At worst, Novell goes down the tubes completely and ODF is still considered and equal to MOOX which make OO.org a more viable choice.

And one other thing, PJ from Groklaw, or whoever came up with Novell forking Open Office posting needs to pull his or her head out of their rear and start paying attention. There has been an Open Office Novell Edition for a while now. Idiotic sensationalism from a blog title.

Reply Score: 2

ODF is still encumbered by Sun's patents
by NotParker on Tue 5th Dec 2006 04:00 UTC
NotParker
Member since:
2006-06-01

ODF is still encumbered by Sun's patents. I really wouldn't trust Sun not to sue.

Reply Score: 1

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//ODF is still encumbered by Sun's patents. I really wouldn't trust Sun not to sue.//

Sun have provided an inronclad, perpetual promise not to sue over ODF. All of the dependencies of ODF are similarly open and unencumbered. Anyone may implement. All the way down.

This is most definitely not the case for OpenXML, as it depends on (for example) ActiveX, wmv, wma, Visual basic, microsoft exchange protocols and many other patented and proprietary-to-Microsoft technologies.

If you don't trust Sun not to sue despite their promise, then that is you perogative. However, you can be absolutely certain that Microsoft would sue if anyone other than Microsoft tried to implement any of those proprietary-to-Microsoft technologies named above.

With Sun, you have a promise not to sue.

With Microsoft, you have a dead certainty they will sue.

Reply Score: 3

n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Sun have provided an inronclad, perpetual promise not to sue over ODF. All of the dependencies of ODF are similarly open and unencumbered. Anyone may implement. All the way down.
This is most definitely not the case for OpenXML, as it depends on (for example) ActiveX, wmv, wma, Visual basic, microsoft exchange protocols and many other patented and proprietary-to-Microsoft technologies.


More FUD. The format is not dependent on any of those technologies. The use of these technologies is determined by the user, and they don't prevent rendering of the format while ignoring what is unsupported.

With Sun, you have a promise not to sue.
With Microsoft, you have a dead certainty they will sue.


Except for the existance of two documents (see previous postings about CNS and OSP) stating they will not sue you for implementing the format (in part or in full). Please stick to the facts.

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"ODF is still encumbered by Sun's patents. I really wouldn't trust Sun not to sue."

How can you, in turn, be trusted to acknowledge facts such as the following about the Massachusetts general counsel Hamel's confidence in Sun?

"In a message dated July 22, 2005, Sun's Jonathan Nimer notified the state that the company was "just about finished with preparing a statement about not asserting our patents, subject to reciprocity, concerning the OpenOffice.org XML" file format specification. State records show Nimer sent the statement on Aug. 1. Eight days later, Hamel informed various IT division colleagues via e-mail that Sun's covenant "fully" satisfied any legal concerns she had."

(from Computerworld article in http://technocrat.net/d/2006/12/4/11731)

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

It would be helpful if you would say exactly which of Sun's patents are at issue, and exactly what rights are affected by the 'encumbering'. 'Encumberment' isn't a legally clear term.

Reply Score: 2

I choose not to support McSoft
by aGNUstic on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:11 UTC
aGNUstic
Member since:
2005-07-28

I choose not to support McSoft and have since October of 2003.

I choose to spend my money that I saved by not supporting the Billionaires by choosing other software - be it shareware, donation or open-source.

I find it funny McSoft has promised not to rape Novell and Novell thinks it has a contract that will prevent it.

Only time will tell ...

Reply Score: 2

RE: I choose not to support McSoft
by grat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:19 UTC in reply to "I choose not to support McSoft"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I find it funny McSoft has promised not to rape Novell and Novell thinks it has a contract that will prevent it.

I think Microsoft has more to lose than Novell in this case, and Novell has demonstrated they will not shy away from suing Redmond.

I honestly think Novell is the one with a Very Large Gun-- or the deal wouldn't be so ludicrously lopsided in Novell's favor. I'm curious which of Novell's patents might be expiring in 2012. ;)

Then again, I'm enough of a nutcase to suggest that the replacement for Windows Vista may in fact be based on an open source product, like OS X is.

Reply Score: 1

give it a rest
by AdamW on Tue 5th Dec 2006 05:23 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

As someone working for one of Novell's direct competitors (Mandriva)...

give it a rest, guys.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this.

They're implementing OpenXML support as an open source licensed plugin and submitting it for inclusion in upstream OO.o. It doesn't replace ODF support.

This is a useful feature that would have been done by someone else if Novell hadn't done it first. It's entirely clean from a licensing and code standpoint. It's good work by Novell that they're contributing back to the whole community and there's no legitimate reason for anyone to attack it, no matter what you think of their other recent moves.

Reply Score: 5

RE: give it a rest
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 06:03 UTC in reply to "give it a rest"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Just to make it clear: I don't think it's a bad move for Novel to include this. The only thing this discussion has made me realize is that ODF is still the better file format.

It also makes me realize how much the DOJ wasted their times going after IE...the real monopoly to break has always been the Office file format. Without it, Microsoft's monopolist dreams crumble.

Reply Score: 2

RE: give it a rest
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:31 UTC in reply to "give it a rest"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

As someone working for one of Novell's direct competitors (Mandriva)...
give it a rest, guys.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this.

...


Agreed. I'm done with this thread.

Reply Score: 5

Big implications
by seguso on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:05 UTC
seguso
Member since:
2005-06-29

If OpenOffice.org has full support for MSOffice's new format, then you are free to switch from MSOffice to Openoffice, that is, vendor-lock in does not exist anymore. And therefore competition is now fair. But then, this means that Microsoft is no more evil. The difference between, say, Google and Microsoft is vendor lock-in.

However, this seems a counterproductive move for Microsoft, so I am puzzled.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Big implications
by smitty on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:11 UTC in reply to "Big implications"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

However, this seems a counterproductive move for Microsoft, so I am puzzled.

Not really - it basically get rid of the main reason for ODF's existence, or at least it's growing relevance. Think Massachusetts. Without a serious threat from ODF, MS's format will remain dominant for the foreseeable future. Even if you think MS will play fair, they no doubt think they can implement an office suite that will interact with their own format better than a competitors, and that the reverse would be true for their competition. It also leaves available the option to go dirty, by extending the format back into one that only works with MS Office. I'm not sure that will actually happen, but I am pretty sure that having that option was a plus for MS. Especially when you consider their alternative.

Reply Score: 2

great news
by REMF on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:16 UTC
REMF
Member since:
2006-02-05

the reason why I CAN use Linux at work is precisely because i am able to interoperate with MS document standards via openoffice.

if this were not possible, i would not use it as i could not communicate properly.

the recent groklaw post by some cretin insinuating that Novell is going to fork openoffice is typical of the useless hysteria displayed by shallow people who need an evil 'enemy' to prove their own self worth.

those who have genuine, well constructed, philosphical objections to the MS/Novell deal are being drowned out by muppets, and possibly being tarred with the same brush in the eyes of more reasoned observers.

best regards

Reply Score: 2

what about...
by linux-it on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:31 UTC
linux-it
Member since:
2006-07-13

I stated this in another thread as well. Why not give Novell the credits instead of keeping bashing novell.

What happens now is that inside (!) the linux community we have a huge split in two. People that amplify the FUD by thinking the deal is bad (so far, Novell has shown otherwise, both in the SCI case as well as this) and the others who don't follow the gut feeling and first sit and wit, think about it etc.

If the FUD continues there is only one winner and that is MS. And *we* the linux community helped them!. Same for the FSF who wants to change the GPLv3 so that a might-be-positive-deal is killed because we do not want interoperability. We do not want that linux can be used in a heterogenous server park.

We should be ashamed that we react like this, FSF included!

We should have supported Novell in this. Fiancially it was a good deal for Novell, the intentions in the past have proven to be right and still looks right so wait, see and don't kill Novell, as MS will thank you all for your short sights.

Reply Score: 3

RE: what about...
by smitty on Tue 5th Dec 2006 08:38 UTC in reply to "what about..."
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

I agree. A very vocal portion of the community has devolved into launching the kind of FUD attacks MS is better known for. I'm not sure what to think about the Novell-MS deal. I see some positives and some negatives, but what is clear is that all these anti-Novell attacks are both pointless and mostly wrong.

I think Balmer made that quote about Linux patent infringement solely because of all the noise being made by certain people these days and he thought it would be a good way to further divide the competition.

Edited 2006-12-05 08:41

Reply Score: 4

Problem with support OpenXML
by cycloneous on Tue 5th Dec 2006 10:58 UTC
cycloneous
Member since:
2006-01-11

While it is fine and dandy that Novell's OOo supports Microsoft's OpenXML format the problem here is that now they can say, "you see, open source does use our patents! We should start charging you guys now!" So, Microsoft's OpenXML format isn't as open as you would expect it to be.

The Novell-Microsoft pact are one of pacts that can be compared to a non-agression pact Nazi Germany signed with Stalin's U.S.S.R., it is just buying time for Microsoft to go on some PR or legal offensive. It is obvious, Novell hasn't learned its' lesson from the past, anyone remember WordPerfect? While the deal looks nice on paper, in actuality, the devil is in the details and the devil does not do anything for nothing. Who is Novell kidding?!

Reply Score: 2

Relationship
by zam001 on Tue 5th Dec 2006 11:07 UTC
zam001
Member since:
2005-08-12

Any possibility of relationship between Massachusetts thing, Novel/Microsoft agreement and OOO fork !!!
Will microsoft give anything for free?

Reply Score: 0

Strange..
by kaiwai on Tue 5th Dec 2006 11:14 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know why some people are bagging out Novell; atleast with support of OpenXML is available NOW it means thats going forward, OpenOffice.org will have compatibility with Office 2007 onwards, which will be all standardised on the OpenXML format; and if XPS is supported as well, it would act as an icing on the cake.

It would be nice to see if Microsoft took a more adult approach to the industry and created and supported technologies and encouraged others, via the required documentation, for compatibility.

Lord knows, I want to see Adobe crushed and pushed out of business given their arrogant atitude in regards to them failing to release Framemaker for Linux after promising; complaining about Microsoft but doing everything in their power to prop up Microsofts monopoly by failing to port their applications to another x86 platform (MacOS cannot be regarded as part of the x86 platform as it doesn't run on generic pc's).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Strange..
by segedunum on Tue 5th Dec 2006 13:20 UTC in reply to "Strange.."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

...which will be all standardised on the OpenXML format; and if XPS is supported as well, it would act as an icing on the cake.

Since neither of thse formats are widespread or popular, and they're controlled by a company in a monopoly position that can insert binary and proprietary data within the open bits at any time, what exactly is the point of bolstering support for them?

Edited 2006-12-05 13:25

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Strange..
by kaiwai on Wed 6th Dec 2006 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Strange.."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Compared to Adobe which controls PDF and threatens anyone in a dominant position who dares implement it in their product - aka Microsoft threatened by Adobe when they raised the idea of providing PDF support natively in Office.

I'd prefer Microsoft to control things rather than Adobe, who quite frankly, doesn't have the maturity to handle such a responsibility.

Oh, and XPS will become wide spread popular because it'll be the default supported format for Windows Vista, and the default file format publishing in Office 2007 - interesting, it could have been PDF, but due to Adobes arrogance, they've now lost that and they'll lose their marketshare.

Reply Score: 2

This is msft's "embrace" phase
by walterbyrd on Tue 5th Dec 2006 14:29 UTC
walterbyrd
Member since:
2005-12-31

Msft is claiming to embrace an open standard. Soon, the standard will be extended, then extingished.

We've seen it all before.

Reply Score: 1

Missing the point
by Headrush on Tue 5th Dec 2006 15:44 UTC
Headrush
Member since:
2006-01-03

So many posts talking about how this is good for OO users, blah, blah. This may be true from a user point of view that you can work in an MS Office environment better, but this "arrangement" is much big than just that.

What happens when MS changes/modifies the format and is slow to publish or give the changes to Novell? You have a temporarily crippled version. You might think that in a month or so we will get the update, but this does not fly in business situations.

So what does MS gain? Legally they can now say, we don't have a monopoly, see we use this format and Novel OO can use it. But in actually they still control the format and the market and can use that strength to control marketshare.

So what incentive does MS now have to really give a 100% effort in developing/maintaining the odt format? None.
In the long run this hurts all Linux apps using the odt format, not just OO.

Edited 2006-12-05 15:45

Reply Score: 1

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Please bookmark and visit
http://www.boycottnovell.com/

Even a Novell supporter will note how its frequently updated content touches on Microsoft shenanigans such as what has been missing in this debate, how it cleans up some of the sloppiness of Groklaw, etc.

Even a simple glance at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interoperability

shows how the EC has the right idea that it is Microsoft that needs to make amends. If only the US could get a clue--it does not take a Democrat to see that on a number of levels, Mr. Bush has been Microsoft's biggest gift in its existence.

Edited 2006-12-05 16:03

Reply Score: 0

IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

Even a Novell supporter will note how its frequently updated content touches on Microsoft shenanigans such as what has been missing in this debate, how it cleans up some of the sloppiness of Groklaw, etc.

Great, it regurgitates news; news that has more to do with Microsoft than Novell. That site would be better off being called boycottmicrosoft.com. Microsoft has been using the same tactics for years. There is nothing new there, other than what the current subject is.

I've posted about this before, and I'll continue to do it. Something that people like Pamela Jones and whoever runs that site don't seem to take into account is that businesses and organizations cannot just jump to a new format like ODF without there being a solid technological path. On the face of it, this deal creates that path. I can, technically, move all my workstations or open office and play nice with MSOffice 2007. I can not do that without Novell. And what does that mean? That's one HUGE barrier to dumping Windows all together. A lot of people who are going to be deploying Linux in the future have their hands tied. Some network admin can't go install a "pure" linux distro with a "pure" install of openoffice and then tell his CEO that he can't open up his .doc file correctly that he got from a colleague. It doesn't work that way. That admin will lose his job. It's not completely black and white out there in the real world.

Now whether Microsoft uses this to start legal actions is to be seen. I don't trust Microsoft either, but I'm also not assuming this will end badly either. Microsoft can't sue the open document format. If Novell goes down the tubes from all of this, I can still support ODF.

Reply Score: 1

Please
by Headrush on Tue 5th Dec 2006 19:07 UTC
Headrush
Member since:
2006-01-03

Hogwash MollyC.

The ODF format is extensible and at its core is a text based XML document. So you are telling me, there is no way MS could embed these "features" into that if they wanted?

That would suggest that they are embedding binary data into their files, which is a poor solution but still could be handled via an extension.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please
by PlatformAgnostic on Tue 5th Dec 2006 19:30 UTC in reply to "Please"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

What part of embedding additional structures into the ODF format is not "embrace and extend"? You are proposing that MSFT extends ODF so that Office produces files that cannot be fully parsed by OO.o. This is no better than having two different formats that share a similar core but have widely divergent details. Not much different than the current situation with OOXML and ODF. I think that things are going in the right direction currently because both OO.O and MSOffice are going to be able to open each others' files. Now they can compete on features and price and not on file-format lockin.

People should not complain when a company is doing work and releasing the results for free (as a plugin or as an entirely free product). Why would you want to stop someone from doing free work for you? Instead of being douchebags, just accept the files that you can open and ask senders to translate and resend if you can't open them. None of this stuff is actually a serious problem for people who use documents for important purposes rather than as topics for religious wars.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Please
by Jemm on Wed 6th Dec 2006 12:35 UTC in reply to "Please"
Jemm Member since:
2005-07-25

Microsoft tried to do that with HTML and got crap for it. They didn't want to do the same mistake again.

Reply Score: 1

IP infringement
by twenex on Tue 5th Dec 2006 20:15 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

This is probably one of those "IP infringements" Steve Ballmer was talking about. No doubt he is hoping people will get hooked on OXML and then in a few years, everyone who used it in OO.org will have to switch to MS Office because of lawsuits.

Contrary to popular belief (in Redmond), Linux users, developers, and advocates aren't stupid, Ballmer. We can read your (small) mind.

Edited 2006-12-05 20:16

Reply Score: 1

Why importers for Linux are a waste
by Headrush on Fri 8th Dec 2006 16:51 UTC
Headrush
Member since:
2006-01-03

[quote]Whats foolish is that its practically impossible to write an importer for Microsoft's format that is anywhere near complete, due to the fact that its not just a fileformat, its an accumulation of all things that happened in the last 10 years with MSOffice. Including bitfields and exceptions like "interpret this bit as X when it comes from Mac, as Y when it comes from Win32 and even different when its written before date Z".
No wonder the format is 7000 page long!

If it takes Microsoft at least a year to finish import (not export) on their Mac version of Word, which already has all the features, and they can reuse the code from Windows, then no other office suite will reach an acceptable interoperability level in this decade. And probably not for many years after that either.[/endquote]

Well said.

You're living in la la land if your really think MS is going to let other products have the same level of functionality of Word so fast. It doesn't make business sense.

Edited 2006-12-08 16:53

Reply Score: 1