Linked by David Adams on Sat 17th May 2008 03:35 UTC, submitted by fsmag
Microsoft Peter Hintgens, writing at Freesoftware Magazine, explains why the adoption of Microsoft's OOXML as an ISO standard is a dreadful development, and explains how some open standards partisans are organizing to combat insufficiently-open "open" standards.
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non sense
by Yuske on Sat 17th May 2008 04:51 UTC
Yuske
Member since:
2005-07-28

Those of us who choose to write free software are being targeted by legacy monopolists, because our software is too good

I stopped reading there.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: non sense
by satan666 on Sat 17th May 2008 05:46 UTC in reply to "non sense"
chemical_scum
Member since:
2005-11-02

Get out there and sign the Petition Supporting the Hague Declaration:

http://www.digistan.org/hague-declaration:en

Reply Score: 3

Jon Dough Member since:
2005-11-30

Get out there and sign the Petition Supporting the Hague Declaration:

http://www.digistan.org/hague-declaration:en


http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.asp

Reply Score: 2

Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

Thanks for the link, I recommend everyone in OSNEWS to read it.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Please stop posting links to netflix popup ads.

Reply Score: 2

Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

Since looks like you haven't discovered AdBlock plus I'll put a piece of the article:

Often petitions contain no information about whom they are ultimately intended for and instead are no more than outpourings of outrage. Expressions of outrage are fine and good, but if they don't reach someone who can have impact on the core problem, they're wasted. Thus, a petition that doesn't clearly identify the intended recipient may have some small value as a way for its signers to work off angst, but as an instrument of social change it fails

And here is another one related:

Slacktivism: We can't claim credit for having coined this term, nor do we know its actual origin, but we love it nonetheless. Slacktivism is the search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society's rescue without actually getting one's hands dirty, volunteering any of one's time, or opening one's wallet. It's slacktivism that prompts us to forward appeals for business cards on behalf of a dying child intent upon having his name recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records or exhortations to others to continue circulating a particular e-mail because some big company has supposedly promised that every forward will generate monies for the care of a languishing tot. Likewise, it's slacktivism that prompts us to want to join a boycott of designated gas companies or eschew buying gasoline on a particular day rather than reduce our personal consumption of fossil fuels by driving less and taking the bus more often. Slacktivism comes in many forms, but its defining characteristic is its central theme of doing good with little or no effort on the part of the person inspired to participate, through the mechanisms of forwarding, exhorting, collecting, or e-signing.

There you go.

Edited 2008-05-17 20:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Quality
by Alleister on Sat 17th May 2008 06:51 UTC
Alleister
Member since:
2006-05-29

Come one, Microsoft users. If even Microsoft isn't capable to correctly implement that "standard" in its products, it simply can't be a very good standard then, can it?

Reply Score: 6

RE: Quality
by Jezza on Sat 17th May 2008 06:54 UTC in reply to "Quality"
Jezza Member since:
2005-10-13

While I agree with the sentiment of this (and I doubt MS will ever correct this problem)

OOo doesn't implement ODF correctly either.

I'm sure Koffice and OOo etc... will implement the OASIS standard fine in future, but neither of the "standards" have a fully working implementation anywhere.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Quality
by segedunum on Sun 18th May 2008 08:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Quality"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

OOo doesn't implement ODF correctly either.

I here this oft repeated, daft remark time and time again, and it's usually used as some kind of bizarre justification for Microsoft to go off and implement their own OOXML format in Office, and it makes it all OK. It's quite funny as well, because it's an admission that Office 2007 is not OOXML compatible as the specification is now.

With ODF, people involved with Open Office, KOffice and other software are continually contributing to successive versions of ODF, and no, they're not going to have all of it implemented right now. However, there is an awful lot that has been implemented that is common between different implementations of ODF, and there are test suites and coverage reports available so you can verify how far they have got.

Can Microsoft provide that? Is there a coverage report and test suite for OOXML and Office? Considering that OOXML has been set in stone before it was ever submitted to the ECMA, and no changes have ever been made to it and no successive versions have ever been made, one would have thought that Microsoft would have had a fighting chance of implementing OOXML in Office, per their own specification, properly, no?

Edited 2008-05-18 08:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Quality
by tomcat on Mon 19th May 2008 04:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Quality"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I here this oft repeated, daft remark time and time again, and it's usually used as some kind of bizarre justificattion for Microsoft to go off and implement their own OOXML format in Office, and it makes it all OK.


I don't see it as a justification. It's just an interesting footnote in illustrating how difficult it is to live up to published standards. Anybody who doubts this should consider the history of Acid2/3.

With ODF, people involved with Open Office, KOffice and other software are continually contributing to successive versions of ODF, and no, they're not going to have all of it implemented right now.


Ditto, Microsoft.

However, there is an awful lot that has been implemented that is common between different implementations of ODF, and there are test suites and coverage reports available so you can verify how far they have got. Can Microsoft provide that? Is there a coverage report and test suite for OOXML and Office?


I'm not sure that I'd trust anybody's coverage reports without independent verification.

Considering that OOXML has been set in stone before it was ever submitted to the ECMA, and no changes have ever been made to it and no successive versions have ever been made, one would have thought that Microsoft would have had a fighting chance of implementing OOXML in Office, per their own specification, properly, no?


If you want to promote standards compliance, the best way to do it is to establish an independent test (akin to Acid2), and then hold the vendors' feet to the fire.

Edited 2008-05-19 04:20 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Quality
by segedunum on Tue 20th May 2008 17:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Quality"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't see it as a justification. It's just an interesting footnote in illustrating how difficult it is to live up to published standards. Anybody who doubts this should consider the history of Acid2/3.

That's another justification (oh, it's so difficult to implement our own specification!) - and the reason why we have real compliance issues with web standards is largely down to IE.

Yes, it's difficult to get different implementations of the same thing, but that's assuming that people are actually trying to implement said specification. In the case of ODF there's evidence that people are working towards covering the whole spec, and you can happily exchange documents today to a larger extent. In the case of OOXML, and Microsoft, there's little evidence to suggest they're trying that hard.

Ditto, Microsoft.

Hmmmm, no. I haven't seen successive versions of OOXML submitted to the ECMA and ISO, and I've seen no activity out of the discussion groups as to what will change. It's all fire and motion, as Joel Spolsky would say.

I'm not sure that I'd trust anybody's coverage reports without independent verification.

It would be nice if they provided anything for the purposes of any kind of verification ;-). It is, after all, their specification.

Catch-22. How would an independent test suite be developed without real input from Microsoft into what their own specification and its elements mean?

If you want to promote standards compliance, the best way to do it is to establish an independent test (akin to Acid2), and then hold the vendors' feet to the fire.

There's no fire to hold Microsoft's feet to here, which you and they probably know, which is why people have talked about open document standards and why ODF was developed in the first place. OOXML is a Microsoft backed, owned and developed specification, pure and simple. Unless other people can implement it, and unless Office itself implements it faithfully in a way that lends itself to wider compatibility, it's all a huge waste of time.

See? We just end up going around in a big circle talking about this, which is what Microsoft and their sympathisers hope will happen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Quality
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 17th May 2008 09:44 UTC in reply to "Quality"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Microsoft appears to have properly supported the ECMA version of the standard in the released Office 2007 product. It will obviously support the final version when the standard is released and the release wave (perhaps a service pack) comes out.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Quality
by segedunum on Tue 20th May 2008 18:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Quality"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft appears to have properly supported the ECMA version of the standard in the released Office 2007 product.

There's a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise, and this is the only way that people can go about verifying what OOXML as in Office 2007 is implemented:

http://ooxmlisdefectivebydesign.blogspot.com/

It will obviously support the final version when the standard is released and the release wave (perhaps a service pack) comes out.

What final version would this be? We already have it. There have been no successive versions of OOXML submitted to either the ECMA or ISO, and there is no timetable of improvements that Microsoft is going to make as a result of the review sessions and the list of objections.

OOXML was basically granted ISO status on the promise that all those objections could be fixed later. No such undertaking to fix anything has happened.

Reply Score: 2

Sign the petition
by Janvl on Sat 17th May 2008 13:05 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

This is important, I read an article of a lawyer on the way the ISO-certification was manipulated by MS and the consequences it has for the future.
I can assure you all, it is no good. I am no lawyer and am not capable to translate the juridical dutch to english but you might take my word for it.

Reply Score: 1

Nothing to see here, move on
by Ian Easson on Sat 17th May 2008 14:28 UTC
Ian Easson
Member since:
2008-05-17

I read the whole article, just to see if there was any actual substance to it.

There are the usual high-level accusations of abuse of the ISO process by Microsoft (no details, no proof). Plus, one specific claim in the entire article, that you can't legally write GPL software that uses the IS 29500 standard (OOXML). That's demonstrably false.

So, nothing to see here.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nothing to see here, move on
by sbergman27 on Sat 17th May 2008 16:00 UTC in reply to "Nothing to see here, move on"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

There are the usual high-level accusations of abuse of the ISO process by Microsoft (no details, no proof).

A good source of information and informed opinion on OOXML's fast track process (among other things) can be found here:

http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/

It is what Groklaw could have been if only Pamela could keep her vitriol under control well enough to avoid it damaging her credibility.

Andy ( http://www.gesmer.com/attorneys/updegrove.php ) is a real, honest to goodness attorney, with long experience practicing in this area of law, which is a real plus. (No IANAL but I think blah blah blah in *his* blog.) His views are, IMO, well balanced. And he is just suspicious enough of Microsoft to keep on eye on things, without spitting venom, making wild claims about them, or making it his life's work to destroy them.

All in all, it is a very informative and useful site for people interested in Groklaw-like topics, but turned off by Pamela.

Edited 2008-05-17 16:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Nothing to see here, move on
by Yuske on Sat 17th May 2008 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Nothing to see here, move on"
Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

In 2005 he was elected to the Boards of Directors of ANSI and the Free Standards Group (FSG), and in 2007 to the Board of Directors of the Linux Foundation

I don't thing we can spect an objetive posture on him, since he is to close to the FSF.

The objetive people I know (not close to MS or the FSF) are ok with the format.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I don't thing we can spect an objetive posture on him, since he is to close to the FSF.

In what way does his being involved with ANSI and the Free Standards Group or the Linux Foundation place him too close to the FSF, which has little to do with those organizations? Have you even bothered to read his opinions?

As a reminder, the original topic was "irregularities in the OOXML fast-track process" and not the quality of the standard, which is a different issue. Please don't try to muddy the waters.

Reply Score: 4

Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

Every minimal flaw in the process will be extrapolated for MS oposers, not because the flaw, but because it gives an excuse to atack MS and OOXML.

If we stay in the technical matters, the ones that count, all the anti-OOXML statements boilds down to nothing.

The anti-OOXML promoters have lost all credibility making false statements and acusations.

Till now, I don't know of any credible source that opose OOXML.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The anti-OOXML promoters have lost all credibility making false statements and acusations.

You did not answer my question. Have you bothered to even read his opinions before denouncing him? I have always advocated a "just the facts ma'am" style when discussing this sensitive issue. It is, of course, very difficult to avoid mixing fact with one's own opinion. One of the things that I like about Mr. Updegrove vis-a-vis Pamela is that he separates the two clearly. Perhaps that is a skill one develops as a conscienscious attorney.

I should say, at this point, that unless you show some sign of having even read his posts on relevant matters, there is a limit as to how much time I am willing to spend replying to you. To be honest and upfront about it, my opinion from looking over your posting history is that you intentionally or unintentionally a bit of a troll. But as for now, I am giving the the benefit of the doubt.

Reply Score: 4

Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

As much as I continue reading, I can't find anything, there is to much trivial material but nothing that talks about technical flaws of the OOXML, just links to the Norway case.

Reply Score: 1

ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

Ever heard of "Selection Bias"? Just because you choose to only look at the process flaws, doesn't mean that there are no technical flaws.

Remember all those technical comments and objections from the standards committees? The 3500 comments about various technical problems and ambiguities? Don't they count?

Reply Score: 2

Yuske Member since:
2005-07-28

Wasn't that the reason why MS made tons of changes to the format for a second review that was later aproved by the same commite who made the complains?

Reply Score: 1

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Wasn't that the reason why MS made tons of changes to the format for a second review that was later aproved by the same commite who made the complains?


Look, you'll never convince the conspiracy-theory prone loonies that the process wasn't tainted. It's really a waste of time. Let them waste their time complaining.

Reply Score: 3

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Every minimal flaw in the process will be extrapolated for MS oposers, not because the flaw, but because it gives an excuse to atack MS and OOXML.

Number one tactic to use if you support Microsoft and OOXML, and don't want to be backed into a corner about what the objections really are:

Say that everyone is an anti-Microsoft fanatic, and it's all an IBM backed conspiracy.

If we stay in the technical matters, the ones that count, all the anti-OOXML statements boilds down to nothing.

Without a discussion of the actual objections that means absolutely nothing, and those that have tried, such as Rick Jellife, have failed miserably.

Till now, I don't know of any credible source that opose OOXML.

If you don't want to read or debate anything, you don't have any credible sources whatsoever one way or the other.

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

In what way does his being involved with ANSI and the Free Standards Group or the Linux Foundation place him too close to the FSF, which has little to do with those organizations? Have you even bothered to read his opinions?


Hilarious. If somebody had even the slightest connection (however many degrees of separation) to Microsoft, practically everyone around here would be jumping him as a "shill" or "astroturfer". Which strikes me a bit hypocritical when FOSS fans think nothing of associations with causes they embrace...

Reply Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

...when FOSS fans think nothing of associations with causes they embrace...

1. Please try not to argue in terms of 'you people'. Speak to individuals. Treating a diverse community as being all of a piece is a waste of time for all involved.

2. Why do you devote so much time and effort as you obviously do to being anti-FOSS? It seems like it would be more fulfilling to be pro-something and to work toward some constructive cause.

Edited 2008-05-19 04:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

1. Please try not to argue in terms of 'you people'. Speak to individuals. Treating a diverse community as being all of a piece is a waste of time for all involved.


LMAO! Yeah, it's probably my imagination. In all probability, FOSS advocates would never try to marginalize somebody as a "shill" or "astroturfer"... [cough]

2. Why do you devote so much time and effort as you obviously do to being anti-FOSS? It seems like it would be more fulfilling to be pro-something and to work toward some constructive cause.


Look in the mirror.

Reply Score: 4

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Hilarious. If somebody had even the slightest connection (however many degrees of separation) to Microsoft, practically everyone around here would be jumping him as a "shill" or "astroturfer"....

Why do you think that is?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nothing to see here, move on
by gustl on Sun 18th May 2008 15:03 UTC in reply to "Nothing to see here, move on"
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

I don't need to be lawyer to come to a correct conclusion whether Microsoft sees GPLed implementations of OOXML as covered by their promise.

When MS lawyers were directly asked if GPLed projects can implement OOXML or any future derivative of it without ever beeing in danger of getting sued by Microsoft, they avoided to say a clear "yes".

So obviously Microsofts lawyers think that sueing somebody over OOXML related patents is possible.
As someone without the money to pay for a lawyer I would not touch OOXML with somebody else's 3 meter pole.

Reply Score: 3

xml
by renhoek on Sun 18th May 2008 07:55 UTC
renhoek
Member since:
2007-04-29

The biggest disadvantage of ooxml is that it is xml (if you want to know why xml sucks read http://modeemi.fi/~tuomov/b/archives/2007/01/20/T11_58_29/).

Given the complexity of ooxml we might as well go with binary files. Ever tried to edit a ooxml file manually? Even changing text at a known location is hard.

Instead of all those gpl hippies complaining, just make a superior format so we don't even have to care about ooxml.

Reply Score: 2

No GPL, so what ?
by trenchsol on Sun 18th May 2008 19:45 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

I was not particularly happy with Microsoft argumentation considering adoption of OOXML. I finally got over it. Nevertheless, I don't think that the skies will fall because GPL is excluded. There are many other licences out there for developer to choose. Maybe I should start to rant because GPL is not compatible with software that I write ? MySQL JDBC driver, for example. In fact, I am pretty much fed up with FSF (and others) hysteria. Somebody should tell them that most of us owe them NOTHING, so they should stop screaming, writing petitions and issuing demands based on nothing.

Reply Score: 2

If they really cared about Open standards
by madcrow on Mon 19th May 2008 00:42 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

...they'd be going after the MPEG standards. Seriously. OOXML may be no prize, but compared with the "you can't implement me without paying tons of royalties" nature of standards like MPEG, OOXML is a paragon of openess.

Reply Score: 3