Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Jan 2008 21:31 UTC, submitted by WillM
Microsoft "For years, the poster child of the anti-open source movement was Microsoft, with its proprietary software model. In recent years, however, the company has changed its views, starting an open source software lab to work on interoperability issues. It's even become a purveyor of its own open source-approved licenses. What do these efforts mean? For Sam Ramji, Microsoft's director of open source technology strategy, they indicate the company is 'open' for business."
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RE[3]: Interoperability issues
by Jemm on Sun 27th Jan 2008 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Interoperability issues"
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That's nice. Why couldn't Microsoft have simply sat on the Oasis committee to ensure their obviously deep seated concerns over ODF were addressed in the standard


"Why didn't Microsoft simply work with the original ODF people to help build their specification?

There are at least four good reasons why this was not a valid option:

1. ODF started out and was largely completed as an XML format specifically supporting OpenOffice with a tight scope around that product.
2. It was not until 2005 that the ODF specification was offered up as a general XML office document format and consequently renamed to ODF.
3. No opportunity existed for Microsoft to actually participate in this full process given both the original scope and the six months between the re-naming of the spec to ODF and its subsequent approval by OASIS as a standard.
4. The scope of the ODF specification never included even the basic requirements that Microsoft required to support a fully open format and nor did the OASIS technical committee want to include these requirements. They include:
* Spreadsheet formulas
* Tables in presentations
* Accessibility features
* Custom-defined schema support
* Custom metadata"

That link has many other myths explained, too.

I think ODF is good as a general format for exchanging information between products, a bit like RTF is for formatted text. Before ODF could work well with the Microsoft Office, it would have to be expanded to be as large as Open XML is now. Microsoft didn't make the spec that large just for the kicks.

I don't consider Open XML to be pretty as far as its XML is considered, but much better than previous binary formats. It is not a replacement for ODF, but it doesn't aim to be one, either (different goals).

I'm also curious to see, how all the implementors of the ODF aim to keep the format compatible between products in the future. Each new feature in the office suite will need modifications to the standard.

Will IBM's offering and OpenOffice be compatible after, say, next two versions? How about all the rest supporters? Or will the ODF-standard be revised and approved first and then implemented by each vendor? How can they compete with features if specs are done together? Or will it be like it is now with web browsers and HTML where someone is always behind (like IE is playing catchup now)?

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