Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jul 2007 22:00 UTC
Features, Office Massachusetts has proposed changing its standards policy to make room for Microsoft Office document formats. The state's Information Technology Division on Monday posted a draft proposal, part of a periodic revision to its overall technical architecture, to its Web site where it will be under review until July 20. If accepted, the policy update would list Office Open XML as acceptable 'open formats' for use by executive-branch state agencies. Office Open XML, also referred to as Ecma-376, are the XML-based file formats in Office 2007 that Microsoft standardized at Ecma International late last year.
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bah
by miserj on Mon 2nd Jul 2007 23:45 UTC
miserj
Member since:
2006-05-15

Grr people just don't get it. Well fine they can enjoy their death trap. I was so hopeful and proud to be in MA, the state fighting for open formats, but now this happens.

Reply Score: 5

RE: bah
by trenchsol on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 09:42 UTC in reply to "bah"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

OOXML format is as much open and standard as any other. The fact that it is owned by Microsoft does not change anything.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bah
by miserj on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 10:28 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
miserj Member since:
2006-05-15

"OOXML format is as much open and standard as any other. The fact that it is owned by Microsoft does not change anything."

True, it is a much better attempt than their previous one I give em that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: bah
by dsmogor on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:28 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Read that and think again:
http://www.noooxml.org/local--files/arguments/TheCaseAgainstOOXML.p...

OOXML may be an nonbinary XML format but missing crucial specifications it's far from being open. For non-microsoft world wanting to support it fully it is not much of a gain because:
1. Binary ole container is currently best reverse engineered of all aspects of doc format . Having xml dump of it doesn't buy much today.
2. It's the meaning of all attributes, precise definition of their impact and MS commitment to that definition what is most needed and incidentally lacking from OOXML spec.
Until I see a 100% correct .docx viewer running on non-windows OS and written with 0% of MS-deriven code I can assure it's open.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: bah
by msundman on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bah"
msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

> Until I see a 100% correct .docx viewer running on
> non-windows OS and written with 0% of MS-deriven
> code I can assure it's open.

If such an implementation existed it would certainly use several of the optional elements of the spec and thus be vulnerable to patent violation lawsuits by MS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: bah
by walterbyrd on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

>>OOXML format is as much open and standard as any other.<<

It most certainly is not. Read this:

http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/06/no-representation-without-speci...

Reply Score: 5

Worst article name ever.
by Nelson on Mon 2nd Jul 2007 23:51 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

I for a second thought it got the favor of the masses.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Worst article name ever.
by flanque on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 01:04 UTC in reply to "Worst article name ever."
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Same. Tutt tutt, Tom.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Worst article name ever.
by shykid on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 06:58 UTC in reply to "Worst article name ever."
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

Saw "Mass. Favour" and thought it'd gained the favor of the masses in the UK, because of the British spelling. Vivid imagination, I have.

Reply Score: 2

Open isn't open...
by JonathanBThompson on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 00:02 UTC
JonathanBThompson
Member since:
2006-05-26

At least that's what all the naysayers would say nay to the concept of a file format used by Microsoft, even if submitted as an ecma standard, where it must be fully documented.

People bash Microsoft (or any other closed-source or proprietary software developer/publisher) even when they use open formats, if it suits their ideology to bash them. They're damned if they do, and damned if they don't. Well, if you want interoperability between Office Suites, being an ecma standard assures that as long as nobody goes out and adds extensions to it that aren't listed in the standard, everyone is fine.

Of course, people will whine that the creator of the format (Microsoft in this case) will have an unfair advantage, because they had the information first, so they're likely to be way ahead of everyone else when it comes to using it.

The old saying goes: "That's the great thing about standards: there's so many to choose from!"

Reply Score: 3

RE: Open isn't open...
by melkor on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 00:23 UTC in reply to "Open isn't open..."
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

What a load of hogwash. If Microsoft was so concerned about open formats, why didn't they get behind ODF like all of the other major players did? mmm? Tell me that answer please? I can tell you why - with their format, it guarantees vendor lock in, with Microsoft Office, which is *what* Microsoft wants. Microsoft does NOT want competition. So what did it do with ODF in MA? Why it politically interfered, that's what it did. Wow, if you Americans call that democracy, it probably explains why your country is so ****** up right now. The governor and Senator of MA are rotten and corrupt to the core, and everyone knows that they were on Microsoft's take. Period.

You can make Microsoft look all pretty with nice words and sentiments, but it doesn't change the facts about its tactics or desires.

And why isn't the DOJ investigating this as being an abuse of Microsoft's monopolies, mmm? Let me guess, because at a federal level, Microsoft has so many politicians on the take, that it knows that it can get away with anything now.

As anti US sentiment grows world wide, it's only a matter of time before countries start banning Office and Windows in the public arena, and the quicker this happens, the better imho. Let America stay corrupt, and empower the big business at the expense of the citizens, eventually it will be the downfall of your once great nation.

Dave

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by ssa2204 on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 01:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22

"As anti US sentiment grows world wide, it's only a matter of time before countries start banning Office and Windows in the public arena, and the quicker this happens, the better imho. Let America stay corrupt, and empower the big business at the expense of the citizens, eventually it will be the downfall of your once great nation."

Well why do you think we still have that massive Navy with big 30" guns? Seriously, you need a healthy dose of reality. Saying Microsoft, a business, does not want competition is like saying the sun is yellow. EVERY business would prefer less competition. The difference is you are prejudice against the US. Big freakin deal, so the US is the only superpower...get over it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by Soulbender on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 05:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Big freakin deal, so the US is the only superpower...get over it."

My dad is stronger than your dad.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by JonathanBThompson on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Thank you, Dave, Sir, for making my point by attacking everything with such vim and vigor that is just this side of having you lose by definition of Godwin's Law. You have also narrowly avoided running afoul of the OSNews rules by using **** which indicates that what you mean is fairly clear, and just consists of foul attacks.

Yup, you attacked Microsoft and anyone else that's closed-source for releasing a document format as part of an international standard (which leaves it far outside of the jurisdiction of the US government, by the way, and that includes our DOJ) and then you made the crazy assumption that democracy and business are supposed to simply work together, etc. but I don't ever remember anything stating that any democratic government (more technically correct, the US is a republic, which isn't entirely the same thing: democracy tends to happen in a more accurate form on a lower-than-federal level) and how it does business is determined by some sort of ideal, or that it must be so. In fact, businesses are rarely ever democratic if they're privately owned, regardless of country origin.

And of course, your last paragraph is a lovely red herring that attacks the US as being worthless ;)

Absolutely nothing is preventing other Office Suite developers from innovating in the US, or anywhere else, and outdoing Microsoft or anyone else, at least not here in the US. Sure, it's a major mountain to overcome: after all, Microsoft has been working on Office for Windows since at least the early 90's, if not sooner, but hey, Open Source development allows many people to work on something all at once, all over the place, and surely an Office Suite is easily enough defined such that it can be developed with many people in parallel, right?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by melkor on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

That's why I said your once mighty nation...

It's not typical for business to directly interfere (ie. bribe) governments to get their own way.

Someone mentioned the Office open document format going via ECMA - yes it did, and big business sided with Microsoft, except for HP which abstained, and IBM, which of course, chose true openness (ie. one not dictated by a convicted monopolist).

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20051208160725422&query=ec...

For those that objected to the standard, they could submit reasons for rejection:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070123071154671&query=ec...

Check out the list of objections on that last URL (especially points 12, and all sub-points, and point 14).

Now, 20 nations had issues with it:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070206212917261&query=ec...

I'll quote:

"Ordinarily, contradictions would be posted at the JTC1 site relatively quickly. However, in this case I am told, Ecma will be given the opportunity to prepare responses before the contradictions will be posted, with a deadline of February 28. On or before that date, Ecma will respond with its proposed "resolution" for each contradiction. Once this has been received, JTC 1 will publish the response, accompanied by the text of the contradictions themselves, as submitted by the national bodies. At that point, a decision can be made on the next step."

Why are the rules being changed for Microsoft? I can tell you why, but many proud Americans don't want to believe it.

And finally, this lovely article:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070312083134403&query=ec...

I love this quote by PJ:

"Oh, and Nick McGrath (director of platform strategy at Microsoft Ltd) wants us all to petition our local standards body (BSI) to support the ratification of Ecma Open XML as an ISO standard (a pleading letter was included in the conference pack). "The issue should be technical, not political," he says. Really? Since when was standards-making not political, in part at least? Why do you think that the (mostly excellent) OMG UML 2.0 standard has redundancies in it, if not to keep participating vendors happy?"

Why, on why, did Microsoft become politically involved in MA and have political connections kill ODF? mmm? Can you answer that one for me? One rule for Microsoft, one rule for everyone else perhaps?

Everything prevents other office suites from competing on equal footing, because Microsoft dominates the operating system market due to illegal monopolistic and anti competitive tactics. That allows them to control what software runs on their operating system. And since Windows is installed on 98% of computers, naturally, Office will be running on the vast majority of those by default. Many are unaware of OpenOffice, and those that are, want 100% compatibility, which it's impossible for 3rd party office software vendors to do since Microsoft:

a) obfuscates how their formats work
b) obfuscates how they communicate with the operating system
c) changes the formats every so often to deliberately create issues for 3rd party office software vendors

Now if we had totally open format standards, then anyone could build software that would 100% perform correctly (providing the coding was done well of course). This means competition would be solely based on:

a) how well the project was coded
b) pricing
c) styling
d) marketing/advertising

It would be a much more equal footing than what the current scenario is.

The US government isn't as innocent as you either think, or would like to make out. Political interference in other countries (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Venezuela, Brazil, shall I keep on going?) means that the US government not only interferes on a political level, but on a economic/financial level (remember the UN deals done to secure votes on certain Eastern Bloc countries to use their landspace/airspace for air attacks on Afghanistan in late 2001/early 2002?). Sure, other countries do the same thing, but not to the same degree as the US government does imho.

And yes, you're correct, the US is a republic, although it is considered a democratic republic. Democracy is for the people, not the business. That's why businesses don't have the right to vote, and that's why your founding fathers did it that way, because they felt that businesses would influence the political leaders to their favour, to the detriment of the populace. As businesses have become intertwined with government decisions, we've found that the level of corruption has increased, and the government now has little understanding of the fundamentals of supporting the people (poor welfare support in the US, poor medical support, low wages that puts a significant number of US citizens well and truly under the poverty line, all of this why big business gets richer). I could go on and on, but if you're a blinded patriotic US citizen, then there's not much more I can do.

I am glad to see that many see Microsoft's political favours and bullyism as corruption, and I'm glad to see that many Americans that I now speak to are very unhappy with their country, and their leader, and their government. They feel lost and helpless. I mean, if Bush and Co. say that they're above the law (which is what they are doing to the US senate investigative committe as we speak), how is that democratic? That's a fascist dictatorship in my book...

Anyways, this discussion has went off topic, so feel free to mod me down. I said what needed to be said.

Dave

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by anevilyak on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 04:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14

What a load of hogwash. If Microsoft was so concerned about open formats, why didn't they get behind ODF like all of the other major players did? mmm? Tell me that answer please?


Maybe because ODF is laughably incomplete? There's no way in hell they could implement 90% of Office's features in ODF without extending the spec, *especially* in Excel since ODF has a nearly non-existent specifications for formulas, etc. So exactly what did you expect them to do? Axe most of Office's features so they could use ODF?

Edited 2007-07-03 04:15 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by Matzon on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 07:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
Matzon Member since:
2005-07-06

here's no way in hell they could implement 90% of Office's features in ODF without extending the spec, *especially* in Excel since ODF has a nearly non-existent specifications for formulas, etc. So exactly what did you expect them to do? Axe most of Office's features so they could use ODF?

I don't know, participate in ODF development instead of rolling their own?

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by Beta on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 10:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Firstly, he meant get behind as in contribute to the spec. They've had more than enough time. That would've been in 2003.

"Maybe because ODF is laughably incomplete?"

It isn't, have you been reading Brian Jones' blog?

"There's no way in hell they could implement 90% of Office's features in ODF without extending the spec,"

Office (application) is ODF's (format) yard stick huh ?

The benefit of the design of XML (& ODF), is that moving to ODF 1.1 or 2.0 will not affect any document's use in future or previous apps. It only extends it, with, say, tracking changes, or paper clips ;) .

"*especially* in Excel since ODF has a nearly non-existent specifications for formulas, etc."

There is, OpenFormula.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Open isn't open...
by anevilyak on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 17:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Open isn't open..."
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14


Office (application) is ODF's (format) yard stick huh ?

If it can't support all of Office's existing features that may be in use at customer sites, then a new version of Office cannot effectively use ODF as its default format. Hence, in this case, yes it very much is the yard stick.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Open isn't open...
by Beta on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 18:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Open isn't open..."
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Amusingly, OOXML doesn't encompass the entire existing features of previous Office file formats either.

So both formats are on par.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by ubit on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Microsoft joined OASIS. They declined to participate in making suggestions to ODF though.

Gee, I wonder why.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by Gone fishing on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 06:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

“As anti US sentiment grows world wide”

This is true, but I think mistaken – it is certainly possible to feel pro American without being pro GW Bush the Moral majority or the ‘intelligent design’ fundamentalist Christian right.

When I think of the US I can’t help but think of Thomas Jefferson and ideals of freedom from the tyranny of Kings, liberation of Europe at massive cost both financial and human from Nazism, Writers such as Steinbeck etc, singers, such as Woody Guthrie etc. How can I be anti American?

I suppose I feel having the US as a Super power (even a flawed super power) with its founding fathers might be better than having China and Mao tse tung.

OK feel free to mod me down I deserve it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Open isn't open...
by Soulbender on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open isn't open..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"When I think of the US I can’t help but think of Thomas Jefferson and ideals of freedom from the tyranny of Kings, liberation of Europe at massive cost both financial and human from Nazism, Writers such as Steinbeck etc, singers, such as Woody Guthrie etc. How can I be anti American? "

How can you be anti- any country really? It's not like U.S is the only (or even first) country with ideals of freedom, good writers, good singers etc.

"I suppose I feel having the US as a Super power (even a flawed super power) with its founding fathers might be better than having China and Mao tse tung."

The lesser of two evils, eh?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by Bit_Rapist on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 13:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

Wow, if you Americans call that democracy, it probably explains why your country is so ****** up right now.

As anti US sentiment grows world wide, it's only a matter of time before countries start banning Office and Windows in the public arena, and the quicker this happens, the better imho. Let America stay corrupt, and empower the big business at the expense of the citizens, eventually it will be the downfall of your once great nation.

Slow down there chief, lets not turn this into some bash fest towards specific countries. Some people take that to be a personal attack.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by arielb on Wed 4th Jul 2007 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
arielb Member since:
2006-11-15

instead of whining and complaining, why not come up with something that's better and easier to use than Office 2007? Until you do, we'll be happy Microsoft is moving away from the completely closed doc formats

Reply Score: 1

RE: Open isn't open...
by butters on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 01:27 UTC in reply to "Open isn't open..."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Microsoft has won the XML document format war, and they did it by being open enough. The only way a multilateral consensus of businesses and organizations can beat Microsoft in a format war is if they're open and Microsoft is closed. Microsoft has too much marketshare, influence, and resources. They'll win every battle where they publish open specifications.

No, OpenXML is not as open as ODF. It's much more complicated to implement, and much of its complexity is due to MS Office implementation details. It's a format that doesn't make any sense in the context of any other office suite other than to provide Microsoft compatibility. But it's open enough that, with some considerable effort and dependence on patent-encumbered object formats, third parties will be able to implement full support.

I'm as disappointed as anyone, but Microsoft won this format war. Nobody can beat a more-or-less open Microsoft format. Nothing short of an EU injunction.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by g2devi on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

Microsoft won a few office format battles, but this hardly classifies as winning the war.

The comment "OpenXML is not as open as ODF" is an understatement. It's not even as open as DOC since DOC has been thoroughly reverse engineered and is, for all intents and purposes, cross-platform and multivendor (just like ODF) whereas OpenXML is neither. So when it comes down to actual implementation and finding document processing tools, OpenXML is the odd man out. It's not as flexible as ODF and it can't be grandfathered in like DOC.

This doesn't even take into account that some of the arguments in favour of OpenXML are that it will be an ISO standard. It's far from certain that it will be. If it doesn't pass, because among many other things, it depends on standards that have previously rejected by ISO, OpenXML may fall flat on it's face or at least face a backlash.

When the dust settles, OpenXML might yet lose the war.

Edited 2007-07-03 13:06

Reply Score: 4

RE: Open isn't open...
by Soulbender on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 05:01 UTC in reply to "Open isn't open..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"People bash Microsoft (or any other closed-source or proprietary software developer/publisher) even when they use open formats, if it suits their ideology to bash them"

That might have something to do with MS history of screwing up their implementations of established standards in ways that make it incompatible with already existing implementations.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Open isn't open...
by Beta on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 09:54 UTC in reply to "Open isn't open..."
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

OK JT,
If ECMA did such a good job accepting the standard, why does the specification still contain over 300 errors in code examples alone ?

Here Microsoft isn't using an open format, they're passing their own off as one (big difference, i'm sure you can learn what that means on your own).

All (pro-open, pro-competition) people wanted was them:
1, to publish their spec for current legacy formats.
2, to cooperate in producing an office format for everyone. They were invited to the OASIS task force 5 years ago and ignored it through each stage of production.

After all that's happened with ODF, they're having to buy their OOXML cred. That is what MS lobbying is, afterall?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Open isn't open...
by dsmogor on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Open isn't open..."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Actually accepting something in such a shape as a standard tells more about ECMA that about that format.

Reply Score: 3

Open can come from a corp.
by TechGeek on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 00:42 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

It is possible for MS to create a standard that people would actually want. MS will never do that but thats their problem. Open means without patent issues. When you define a standard based on earlier file formats that are patent encumberred, then it really isnt open now is it? They have absolutley no intention of making it easy for OO.o to interoperate with Office. Otherwise they would release the specs to NTFS, AD, and a whole slew of other "standards".

Reply Score: 5

RE: Open can come from a corp.
by flanque on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 01:07 UTC in reply to "Open can come from a corp."
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Well to be fair, it is standard to build 2000/XP and Server hosts with NTFS as the file system. It's also standard now days to use AD as your directory server in a Microsoft environment.

I guess it depends on the context of the word standard. For instance, it's standard for me to back up my files weekly, but for companies it's standard to do it daily, even hourly.

All about context.

Reply Score: 2

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

What does NTFS, AD, or any of the other standards have in common with the office format??

Implementing an office suite is hard. Parsing the document format is not the hardest part. OOXML has the advantage that you can ignore the parts you haven't implemented yet and still be considered a conforming product. Things won't look exactly the same, but word processing formats are not designed for image-perfect fidelity.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open can come from a corp.
by TechGeek on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 03:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Open can come from a corp."
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

My point was that MS has had plenty of chances to be open to better the industry. Time and time again they have gone out of their way to NOT play nice with anyone else. This is just more of the same.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Open can come from a corp.
by dsmogor on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Open can come from a corp."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Things won't look exactly the same, but word processing formats are not designed for image-perfect fidelity.

In business world (any serious roudtrip use) this is pretty much a critical requirement.

98% fidelity have been achieved by competitors a long time ago, and still they are mostly useless in envoronments including doc usage.

People and institutions demanded MS to provide a robust solution for document exchange. MS still haven't delivered and now are positioned to get away with that. This is the showcase of lobbying power.

Reply Score: 2

Sure it's open.
by systyrant on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 03:14 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

I believe that OpenXML is a fully open format created by Microsoft. I believe OpenXML was created by Microsoft with the intent of having a singular XML document format.

However, I don't believe that Microsoft's intent is to better the document format world. They saw a threat in ODF and reacted by trying to muddy the waters. If Microsoft was interested in pursuing a single document format they would, as others have pointed out, worked with the ODF group to make ODF a better standard. With that said I don't believe that Microsoft would have had to give up it's own format, but rather just help make ODF a great universal format.

For me it's very simple. Microsoft saw a threat with ODF and took action to reduce or eliminate that threat. I don't believe in the end we will be any better of for it either.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sure it's open ... **NOT**
by lemur2 on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 15:07 UTC in reply to "Sure it's open."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I believe that OpenXML is a fully open format created by Microsoft. I believe OpenXML was created by Microsoft with the intent of having a singular XML document format.


Err, no. Just no.

Microsoft made a "promise not to sue" over OOXML ... but it turns out that that promise does not extend to things "referenced" by OOXML.

That in turn works out to be a raft of "sub-formats" such as WMF, VBA, Winforms, ActiveX, WMV, WMA, .NET ... all sorts of things. Microsoft calls these "enabling technologies". These "enabling technologies" are all proprietary to Microsoft, and strictly Windows-only. You will not be able to create any sort of modestly complex document using Office 2007 and expect to be able to open it using any other application other than Office 2007 running on a Windows platform.

If you store your documents in Office 2007 default format, you will soon find out how locked-in to Microsoft products running on Windows X86 platforms you have become.

Office 2007 formats = No cross-platform interoperability for YOU! All your data belong to US!

OOXML (the specification itself) is "open" ... but it is merely a wrapper for Microsoft proprietary lock-in formats at a deeper level.

Edited 2007-07-03 15:11

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Sure it's open ... **NOT**
by n4cer on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 17:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Sure it's open ... **NOT**"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Which is no different than the situation with ODF (as has been shown many times in the past despite the selective ignorance of that fact by several posters here). I can embed any content I want with no guarantee you can access that content in either format. The formats cannot define every possible representation data may have, nor is it realistic to expect the format license to cover external technologies since anything can be embedded whether from Microsoft or anyone else.

The key in either case is that you can ignore any content you don't understand and can still access the information in the document you do understand. It's of little value (and possibly has security implications) to access information you can't understand anyway because if your app doesn't understand it, it doesn't have feature parity and can't use that content in a non-rudimentary way.

If your goal is external publishing and interoperability, you simply don't use non-standard embedded content, but not everyone is using the formats for wide reach scenarios. They are using them on intranets in automated reporting scenarios where external reach is not the primary means for publishing the document. The ability to embed whatever they want to best convey critical information, again in either format, adds to the overall value of the format.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Which is no different than the situation with ODF (as has been shown many times in the past despite the selective ignorance of that fact by several posters here). I can embed any content I want with no guarantee you can access that content in either format. The formats cannot define every possible representation data may have, nor is it realistic to expect the format license to cover external technologies since anything can be embedded whether from Microsoft or anyone else.


ODF does indeed call up "sub-formats" in a similar way that OOXML does.

The crucial difference is that ODF calls up open standards that anyone may implement freely for its sub-formats.

As an example, OOXML calls up a licensed-on-Windows-only proprietary Microsoft sub-format called "WMF" for scalable vector graphics that might be included in a document, where ODF calls up an open freely-implementable W3C standard called "SVG" for scalable vector graphics that might be included in a document.

As another example, OOXML calls up Microsoft-proprietary VBA for scripting (and that is all you get in Office 2007, no other choice so you can't write in an open language):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_for_Applications
"Microsoft plans to eventually replace VBA with Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA), an application customization toolkit based on the .NET Framework. However, these technologies are still under construction, and Office 2007 continues to use the legacy VBA engine. However, support for VBA in Microsoft Office for Mac will be dropped with the release of version 12, in 2008."

So, in 2008 (next year), all your macros won't work any more ... probably. Oh, and VSTA will be far more locked-in to Windows than VBA is currently.
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/aa700828.aspx

... where OpenOffice has support for a number of standard open scripting languages:
http://framework.openoffice.org/scripting/
"The Scripting Framework allows OpenOffice.org users to write and run macros in multiple languages including OpenOffice.org Basic, Python, Java, BeanShell and JavaScript. These macros can then be assigned to menus, toolbars, keyboard shortcuts, events and embedded objects. "


The ODF format is designed from the ground up for platform-independence, interoperability, and multiple vendor support. It is an ideal candidate for a document format standard.

The OOXML format is designed from the ground up to be a wrapper for Microsoft proprieatry lock-in. It is the empitome of something that should never be considered as a standard.

The ability to embed whatever they want to best convey critical information, again in either format, adds to the overall value of the format.


I don't really disagree with that observation. What I would add though is that Microsoft use this as an excuse to build lock-in to exclusive sub-formats that prevent interoperability and open-ness, where ODF uses it to expand functionality and interoperability in an open, vendor-neutral and platform neutral way.

I would also observe that it could be you who is seen as the ignorant one if you didn't realise this fact.

Edited 2007-07-03 23:46

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Sure it's open ... **NOT**
by n4cer on Thu 5th Jul 2007 01:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Sure it's open ... **NOT**"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

ODF supports the embedding of arbitrary objects which can be from any vendor and totally opaque to anyone that vendor doesn't want to have access to their technology. It is this fact that is often omitted by ODF boosters and is what I was referring to in my previous post. In your words, "I would also observe that it could be you who is seen as the ignorant one if you didn't realise this fact".

Edited 2007-07-05 01:13

Reply Score: 2

yawn
by raver31 on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 07:55 UTC
raver31
Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a shit-storm headed towards the US. It will hit in soon. IP, software patents and locked down file formats will leave the US's IT industry floundering and in-fighting. It is a disgrace. The lawyers should be executed. Btw. I wrote this on my slvr l7... iPhone? Pfff

Browser: Opera/9.50 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/4.0.8462/20; U; en)

Reply Score: 2

OOXML is not very open
by msundman on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 12:34 UTC
msundman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Here are a few point on the "openness" and "fairness" of OOXML as compared to ODF: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2007/06/14/achieving-openness-a-...

Reply Score: 5

This is a sad day
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 13:38 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

...for open standards!

Before someone rips my head off, I know OOXML is an open standard (in as far as wrapping a proprietary format in an open one is truly open) but if MS really wanted open standards and formats, they could have easely joined in with the development of ODF.

The sad thing is I can't even find a good reason to think 'conspiracy' here as I'm pretty sure this policy change was proposed by a clueless bureaucrat with a bunch of brown nosed flunkies to second it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: This is a sad day
by ubit on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 18:27 UTC in reply to "This is a sad day"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

OOXML has a ton of contradictions against it, references Microsoft patented, copyrighted proprietary software like VML and WMF, has unspecified references to "autoSpaceLikeWord95" (how exactly does one do that? Decompile Word 95?) etc-- it's notAStandard. It's open in name, sure, but read Groklaw or use a search engine to find out more about its problems.

Ask yourself why Novell, Linspire, Corel, and Xandros all needed to get an NDA IP license from Microsoft before doing an OOXML translator (who knows how that will work).

Reply Score: 5

RE: This is a sad day
by MollyC on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 19:15 UTC in reply to "This is a sad day"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Before someone rips my head off, I know OOXML is an open standard (in as far as wrapping a proprietary format in an open one is truly open) but if MS really wanted open standards and formats, they could have easely joined in with the development of ODF."

As I've grown bored of this topic, I refrained from posting, but I keep seeing this canard. The reason that Microsoft didn't want to use ODF as its primary native format is that ODF is designed with OO.o in mind. ODF's feature set and indeed its syntax is built for OO.o, period. OO.o is little more than a standardized version of OO.o's previous XML format. Indeed, OO.o admits that ODF is based on OO.o's previous XML format (or, at least they used to).

Here is the proof:
This is OO.o's xml.openoffice.org page as of December 2006.
http://xml.openoffice.org/" rel="nofollow">http://web.archive.org/web/20061205013726/http://xml.openoffice.org...
Here's what it says about the file format known as "OpenOffice.org XML file format"
"OpenOffice.org XML file format:
The OpenOffice.org XML file format is the native file format of OpenOffice.org 1.0. It has been replaced by the OASIS OpenDocument file format in OpenOffice.org 2.0."

Here's what the same page says about ODF:
"OASIS OpenDocument file format
The OASIS OpenDocument file format is the native file format of OpenOffice.org 2.0. It is developed by a Technical Committee (TC) at OASIS. The OpenDocument format is based on the OpenOffice.org XML file format."

Note that the last sentence says that ODF is based on OpenOffice.org file format, which, as stated in my first excerpt, is OO.o 1.0's native file format.

So we know that ODF is based on OO.o's previous file format.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument also says as much, "[ODF] is based upon the XML format originally created and implemented by the OpenOffice.org office suite.", but I prefer referencing OO.o's own site.

The reason I post the above is that ODF advocates like to pretend that ODF is some app-neutral format, when it is anything but. It's based on OO.o's previous format, and is designed with OO.o in mind. OO.o devs didn't have to change their internal code much in order to support ODF. On the other hand, Microsoft would've had to make major changes to their internal code to support ODF. It's foolhardy to expect Microsoft to reengineer their own office suite, a suite with 90% share (I don't know the exact number) around what is, not an app-neutral format, but essentially the native format of a suite with 3% share (I don't know the exact number). Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

And even expecting Microsoft to waste time participating in the process of development of such a standard is naive. Can you imagine Microsoft trying to cram all of its requirements into what is OO.o's format via a committee process? I find the claims that "they could have easely joined in with the development of ODF" to be disingenuous.

And the invitations that the ODF committee made to MS for such participation were for show. "Microsoft, we cordially invite you to participate in the development of an office document standard based on OO.o 1.0's format, a format that OO.o will have to do next to nothing to support, but you'll have to make massive changes to your code in order to support. If you don't accept this invitation, we'll label you as uncooperative and against open standards. Please RSVP." The ODF committee knew darn well MS wouldn't go for that.

Microsoft did what OO.o did. OO.o created ODF, based on OO.o 1.0's format, put it through committee processes, and got it recognized as a standard. Microsoft created OOXML, based on their previous XML and binary formats, put it through committee processes, and got it recognized as a standard. Both are open, but neither are app-neutral. Naturally, OO.o would support the open format that's based on their internal code, and Microsoft would support the open format based on their internal code.

Now, if someone wants to develop a true app-neutral format from the ground-up, with no previous app in mind, then they can invite all interested parties to participate. But don't expect Microsoft to participtate in the development of OO.o 2.0's format at the expense of their own.

Edited 2007-07-03 19:35

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is a sad day
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 20:56 UTC in reply to "RE: This is a sad day"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Hi MollyC, was wondering when you'd say your peace. As always, an informative and well researched post. And, as always, very much following the letter but avoiding the spirit of the argument.

Apart from the fact that MS has shed loads of cash and if they really wanted interoperability they could very much do so, what makes you think that MS would have to re-engineer their own office suite to provide support for ODF when other people have provided, free of charge I might add, plugins for said office suite?

But all that is really missing the issue. If MS really wanted an open standard like the one that you described, why the hell would they then release a standard which is only really an XML wrapper for their existing non open file format?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is a sad day
by cyberkoa on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: This is a sad day"
cyberkoa Member since:
2006-10-18

If other software vendors like IBM , Corel can spend time & money participate in improving the ODF , what is the reason MS cannot do the same ? The answer is obvious.

ODF is the file format for OOo but it is truly open and not controlled by solely by one commercial organization.

If the OOXML - > ODF converter project can read from the MS Office memory and do the conversion , do you think MS need to do a lot changes in the MS office code to have a "Save as" ODF format as default ?

Go and read "Linux User & Developer" issue 72 , listen to what the expert said. One of the OOXML-> ODF converter project developer said that MS Office source code is very well organized, to add a feature to save as ODF is only 2 weeks project for them.

The reason why MS still do not want to include "Save as ODF" as a built-in feature is what ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: This is a sad day
by lemur2 on Wed 4th Jul 2007 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This is a sad day"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The reason why MS still do not want to include "Save as ODF" as a built-in feature is what ?


It is the same reason why Microsoft provide no support as standard for a raft of standard open formats (other than ODF) on their platform, including but not limited to: SVG, SMIL, XForms, Ogg vorbis, NFS, Python, Java etc, etc. The also have very limited support for other open standards, such as CSS. Whenever Microsoft has provided a facsimile of any such as these in the past, they have tried to extend the "standard" in a non-standard way, in order to attempt to maintain lock-in.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace%2C_extend_and_extinguish

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is a sad day
by dsmogor on Wed 4th Jul 2007 12:00 UTC in reply to "RE: This is a sad day"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

This would be true if odf would be reinvent everything in its peculiar way, but the fact is it reuses established web standards wherever possible and is much more completely specified.

It may be heavily based on quite recent OO sxw format (native to OO.o not previous Star Office), but that's a testament to Sun foresightedness .

Reply Score: 2