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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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 Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: ah...
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Dec 2006 00:31 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: ah...
by n4cer on Tue 5th Dec 2006 01:23 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: ah...
by renox on Tue 5th Dec 2006 06:23 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: ah...
by tomcat on Tue 5th Dec 2006 17:35 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 Parent Score: 2