Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Sep 2007 07:55 UTC, submitted by Augusto
Novell and Ximian "Two months ago, the Brazilian Linux community gathered around BR-Linux invited Novell to answer 10 questions sent and selected by the users, about the company's stance on Linux, open source, licenses, document formats and other subjects." "Novell has been very consistent on this issue and we have publicly stated that we do not believe that Linux infringes on any Microsoft patents. That being said, our agreement with Microsoft takes the patent issue off the table for customers. We have simply made the patent issue a non-event as part of a customer buying decision."
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RE[2]: A good interview
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 27th Sep 2007 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE: A good interview"
PlatformAgnostic
Member since:
2006-01-02

What's the point of the OSS community doing nothing but trying to destroy Microsoft's market share?

According to you, it's been "proved" (proven) that OOXML cannot be compatibly implemented. Well, Novell engineers are working on it, so it's hard to say that anything has been proven, except by the rhetoric of Rob Weir. Seeking to convert everything to ODF will not work since that format currently does not support everything that Office does, and in places where it does the internal structure is sometimes too different to accurately convert between the two. I'm not saying that one format is better than the other, but it is the case that there cannot be a bijective mapping between DOC and ODF. DOC is the common world-wide format. If you don't try to remain compatible with it, you run the risk of having your new format passed up by ordinary business customers because it really doesn't give them tangible benefits (they're just as happy buying Office as they are with paying for support on OOo or buying Lotus).

Apple has become successful because they thought carefully about what they could contribute and how they could define a lucrative market for themselves. As Steve Jobs put it, they learned that for them to win, Microsoft didn't have to lose. Currently, it's in Microsoft's interests to release their file formats in a way that could be accessed from other platforms. As much as you wish it to be the case, OOXML is not really tied into Windows. It has warts and it is a big spec, but it can be implemented, particularly by programs that already have an investment in fully processing the old binary files. Instead of bitching about OOXML and seeking petty world domination through ODF (chances of that actually happening are slim), why not use this OOXML move as Novell is: to find a way to win customers over slowly to OSS. Or one could build OSS document processing tools, so that you can use Linux servers to store and slice up Office documents or to process them for publication. This server-based document processing stack becomes more complete, OSS developers can move it closer and closer to an Office replacement.

If the OSS movement spent less time impotently raging against Microsoft on forums and more time actually doing things that average people want, Linux would actually have a shot on the desktop rather than being totally eclipsed by the Mac among the UNIX-using computer elite.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: A good interview
by Matzon on Thu 27th Sep 2007 14:58 in reply to "RE[2]: A good interview"
Matzon Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, Novell engineers are working on it, so it's hard to say that anything has been proven, except by the rhetoric of Rob Weir.

have you actually READ the specification? - it's a clear cut case that no-one else but microsoft can implement it compatibly. Why do you think it lost its ISO fast track?
Try reading the Danish no, with comments - it's pretty good actually:
http://www.ds.dk/_root/scripts/getmedia.asp?media_id=2791

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: A good interview
by chrono13 on Thu 27th Sep 2007 18:00 in reply to "RE[3]: A good interview"
chrono13 Member since:
2006-10-25

Thank you very much for that link.

Just counting the "like" specs such as "autoSpaceLikeWord95" and "lineWrapLikeWord6" OOXML is worse than I though.

But it gets really interesting when they actually place provisions in the standard specific to fix or "combat" bugs and help compatibility with older versions of MS Office.

Every single one of those who voted yes either did so corrupted or on the good and reliable word of Microsoft (laugh, it's funny) that this insult to ISO was even an attempt at a standard.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: A good interview
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 27th Sep 2007 16:00 in reply to "RE[2]: A good interview"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

I looked through the first 30-40 comments in that Danish reply. Some of them are unnecessary ("make this change to do it like ODF") because ODF and OOXML are different specs and it's okay for them to diverge in minor ways (they are wildly different in overall structure anyway). Others are easily fixable (typos) or revisable (eliminating VML from the next version of the spec). The OLE comments in there are interesting: if you have some data linked into the document and you don't have OLE on your platform, what are you going to do? Regardless of whether you allow KParts or Bonobo or anything else, you still need a viewer for that embedded element and the document wouldn't work on the alternate platform anyway. The same is true of ODF or any other format which allows embedding data and rendering instructions from outside apps. This doesn't make an actual difference for interoperability, because one would only presume docs to be interoperable if they stay within the standard and are produced solely by the standardized implementation (i.e. not using non-standard pieces, like OLE embeddables).

Do you have something specific here from these comments, or is there some set of specific complaints that you think will make OOXML unimplementable by outsiders? Keep in mind that implementing an Office Suite is hard and that the file format isn't usually the biggest issue. (Incidentally, check out Jody Goldberg's post on dealing with SpreadsheetML for Gnumeric: http://blogs.gnome.org/jody/2007/09/10/odf-vs-oox-asking-the-wrong-...).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: A good interview
by segedunum on Thu 27th Sep 2007 16:30 in reply to "RE[4]: A good interview"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Others are easily fixable (typos) or revisable (eliminating VML from the next version of the spec).

If Office 2007 produces documents with VML in it (as a result of legacy Office documents being opened and saved) then on a practical level, this is absolutely meaningless.

Regardless of whether you allow KParts or Bonobo or anything else, you still need a viewer for that embedded element and the document wouldn't work on the alternate platform anyway. The same is true of ODF or any other format which allows embedding data and rendering instructions from outside apps.

The difference is that ODF references standards that have largely been implemented elsewhere in the open source world, such as SVG. Anyone implementing OOXML will need to recreate large amounts of technology that only runs on Windows.

This doesn't make an actual difference for interoperability, because one would only presume docs to be interoperable if they stay within the standard and are produced solely by the standardized implementation...

Errrrr, right, yer. Take a look at what Office 2007 produces:

http://www.codeproject.com/cs/library/office2007bin.asp

What was that about interoperability again?

Do you have something specific here from these comments, or is there some set of specific complaints that you think will make OOXML unimplementable by outsiders?

I would suggest some serious reading before asking that question, because it has been done to death.

(Incidentally, check out Jody Goldberg's post on dealing with SpreadsheetML for Gnumeric:

Have you seen how utterly basic that example file is? People have macros, charts, formulas etc. etc. in the real world. Jody also tells us this:

"Brianís example of Numbers reading an OOX file written by Gnumeric could just as easily been an XLS file.....In contrast XLSX may be ugly, but itíís concepts were very familiar from XLS. We already had much of the code required to handle it."

So in order to handle a naively simple spreadsheet file, they already largely had what they needed to implement it having mucked about with XLS for several years? Well that's just brilliant, and not exactly a ringing endorsement for OOXML.

I would advise reading Stephane Rodriguez's comments in that article for a fuller picture.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: A good interview
by segedunum on Thu 27th Sep 2007 16:14 in reply to "RE[2]: A good interview"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

What's the point of the OSS community doing nothing but trying to destroy Microsoft's market share?

It's not about that at all. It's about getting a format that open source software can actually use and manipulate. If you think that's trying to destroy Microsoft's market share then that's more a reflection on Microsoft and how you view this.

If Microsoft doesn't want to play, that's up to them.

According to you, it's been "proved" (proven) that OOXML cannot be compatibly implemented. Well, Novell engineers are working on it

Novell are basically working on getting OOXML documents consisting of nothing but text, bold and italics to display in Open Office. Implementing it as a whole is an entirely different matter.

Seeking to convert everything to ODF will not work since that format currently does not support everything that Office does

LOL. It's the reverse actually. ODF actually supports a great deal more than OOXML does, which is where many of the conversion problems have actually come from:

http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=200701172052169...

Apple has become successful because they thought carefully about what they could contribute and how they could define a lucrative market for themselves. As Steve Jobs put it, they learned that for them to win, Microsoft didn't have to lose.

Which is why the Mac still has miniscule market share presumably. The markets that Apple now make real money from, Microsoft aren't involved or can't get involved.

Currently, it's in Microsoft's interests to release their file formats in a way that could be accessed from other platforms.

It's not practically implementable on other platforms, and we have seen the reasons why played out in articles and comment on here over many months.

As much as you wish it to be the case, OOXML is not really tied into Windows.

Saying it doesn't make it true. Can you prove that to me?

It has warts and it is a big spec, but it can be implemented

Can you prove to me that it can be implemented in full? Can you point me to a OOXML test suite that Microsoft has produced, apart from Office 2007?

Instead of bitching about OOXML and seeking petty world domination through ODF (chances of that actually happening are slim), why not use this OOXML move as Novell is

Because OOXML is simply not usable.

Or one could build OSS document processing tools, so that you can use Linux servers to store and slice up Office documents or to process them for publication.

The format and what Office 2007 churns out as a test suite makes that impossible.

If the OSS movement spent less time impotently raging against Microsoft on forums...

No one's raging against Microsoft sweetheart. I'm merely advocating that open source companies use what they know they can implement rather than promising something that they can't.

Linux would actually have a shot on the desktop rather than being totally eclipsed by the Mac among the UNIX-using computer elite.

Running around, fannying about with trying to get compatible OOXML support is what is going to keep Linux and the Mac where they are.

Reply Parent Score: 4