Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 24th Nov 2007 23:31 UTC
Gnome "The GNOME Foundation has issued a statement in response to recent accusations that it has been supporting the acceptance of Microsoft's Office Open XML format as an ECMA standard at the expense of the Open Document Format, the open standard used by, KOffice and other free software office applications. However, whether the statement's attempt at logical rebuttal will do anything to reduce the emotions or altruism behind the criticisms is anybody's guess."
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RE: ...
by apoclypse on Sun 25th Nov 2007 01:19 UTC in reply to "..."
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The problem is not in the implementation but in the collaboration. What he was trying to say was that at the end of the day ooxml is an MS office format and that the format will most likely primarily cater to MS office as opposed to being something that all projects can give input on. Even if the format were accepted as an open standard only one implementation really matters, and thats Microsoft's. If every other office suite were to implement the standard to the letter but MS doesn't then the standard is not a standard because all anyone is going to care about is how MS implements the standard, thus MS's version of ooxml (eventhough they wrote this one)is the defacto standard not the one held by the ECMA. Kind of like the Renderman spec. Pixar released a standard spec of their Renderman platform hoping that other rendering systems would implement them, yet Pixar themselves have added things that go beyond the spec (they do update it eventually but note that not all things have to be implemented in-order to be called renderman compatible, but what use is that?) at the end of the day the only "standard" people adhere to is the implementation (product) that Pixar has released and very little focus on the actual standard specification that is released.

What exactly does that mean? It means that the OSS community will always be playing catch-up with MS, Any office suite that implements ooxml will always be one step behind MS, because they have to be compatible with MS's version of ooxml not the one released by the ECMA. The problem is that the ooxml standard actually allows this. ODF was created without MS but that was MS's own fault (or plan?) they did not want to get involved in the standardization of the format, but MS wasn't the only being asked, it wasn't just one company but many all agreeing on the standard, and to adhere to it in varying degrees (if I'm not mistaken, with ODf you can always implement less but not more to the format). That in my opinion is what makes ooxml so dangerous. Its not really a standard that anyone will adhere to and it ill put us back into the same situation we are already in where huge amounts of data is at the mercy of one company with everyone else trying to follow with their half-ass implementations trying to grab stray users who don't want to be tied down.

The biggest example I can think of in the OSS community is Mono. If Mono isn't a poster child for why you shouldn't follow a MS "standard" then I don't know what is. At the beginning Mono was just implementing the standard ECMA version of .Net, then MS releases a whole bunch of things to .net outside of the ecma standard. The devs have to re-implement these things into Mono. It doens't matter that most of these things aren't part of the ecma standard, people expect them because they are standard (on an MS platform) and so Mono has to constantly go sniffing MS's ass trying to re-implement everythign they have added to the platform that are outside of the standard (asp,net, winforms, etc.) That will most likely happen with ooxml.

Edited 2007-11-25 01:22

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