Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Feb 2007 18:58 UTC, submitted by WillM
Microsoft Microsoft is accusing rival IBM of orchestrating a campaign to block efforts to standardize Office document formats. In an open letter released Wednesday, Microsoft executives contend that IBM is trying to influence the standards process to limit choice. It also said that IBM is encouraging governments to mandate a document format that IBM favors. Pot, kettle, something.
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what should i think of it...
by smashIt on Wed 14th Feb 2007 22:41 UTC
Member since:

i somehow understand both sides.

ibm bet on odf, so they don't want any competition to it. and then comes ms and opens their office-format (and don't forget pdf which will soon be ISOed)

and i understand ms. as things are developing now in the public sector, it's a "you support odf, or you lose". where is the choice here?

we are in the process of falling from one extreme into another. and i don't like either

Edited 2007-02-14 22:42

Reply Score: 2

RE: what should i think of it...
by twenex on Wed 14th Feb 2007 22:56 in reply to "what should i think of it..."
twenex Member since:

and i understand ms. as things are developing now in the public sector, it's a "you support odf, or you lose". where is the choice here?

The choice comes from being able to use any one of several ODF-compatible apps/suites, which are not locked in.

If MS wanted people to have a choice of formats they should have opened - really opened - .doc or OOXML.

I too, understand MS's reluctance - at 90% of the market any change almost inevitably means your share decreases. However, for one thing they brought it on themselves; and for another, as with the recent Apple fiasco, MS accusing anyone else of hypocrisy is just funny.

Reply Parent Score: 4

stestagg Member since:

1. When you're talking about Industry STANDARDS, choice is a bad thing. For example: metric vs. Imperial (mars orbiter crash). the concept behind a standard is that it defines a single, set way of doing things that everyone knows.

2. PDF/A is already an ISO standard. And seeing as the current format war frontline is the Government document archive formats (The actual users are just really colateral here), a special Archive (that's what the A means) PDF standard is relevant here.

3. The real choice comes in making sure that ANY related software project can have the ability to talk in these formats. If that means coding huge modules just to emulate MS Word 95 quirks, then a lot of programmers giving their free time to develop open software will probably throw in the towel.

Reply Parent Score: 3

"you support odf, or you lose"
by gustl on Thu 15th Feb 2007 13:37 in reply to "what should i think of it..."
gustl Member since:

That is exactly the point.

Microsoft can CHOOSE if they want to fully support ODF or not.
No choice is required by anybody else.

If you look at freedom and choice you have to look at: Choice for whom? Choice between what?

MS wants everybody to believe that having 2 standards instead of one would be a good thing because then everybody could choose which standard to support. But in reality no office software user WANTS to choose a file format, an office user wants to SAVE A DOCUMENT. The less choices he has, the better for him. If that user knows that everybody else on the planet will be able to read his document, then no choice is needed.

Of course such a planetary format would have to have certain aspects:

- Vendor neutrality
- Extensibility
- Future-proofness
- Ease of implementation
- Fully supportable by everybody

All of these aspects ODF provides and MS OXML lacks. So the choice as to which format should be chosen as the sole office format is clear.

Having two standards (metric and US) already costed the NASA several gagging bagfuls of money, because an interplanetary probe crashed on landing (distance meters where measured and then interpreted as foot). Obviously one common and sane standard like metric units would have not led to these difficulties.

Reply Parent Score: 3