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 OpenOffice.org, 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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It's Very Simple
by segedunum on Sun 25th Nov 2007 00:30 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

The criticism is very simple and understandable. While the old office binary formats are pretty much universal, and all office suites generally need to handle them in one form or another, OOXML is not. OOXML is simply the old binary format, regurgitated into a bastardised XML form with some new stuff thrown in for good measure - that isn't XML.

Because of this, trying to implement OOXML is pointless. I should also draw a distinction between OOXML and OOXML as implemented by Microsoft Office, because Microsoft Office is the only test suite we have for OOXML. The Microsoft Office implementation of OOXML is the only one that matters. Any collaboration is fruitless.

This materially harms the support and usage of open formats in open source applications that everyone can implement on a level playing field. Telling us that OOXML is easier to implement is not terribly reassuring that this principle is being upheld, and Microsoft employees using that as proof that OOXML is an implementable, and therefore open, format is not helping:

http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/08/15/why-there-s-no...

I don't find that position to be emotional or paranoid.

Reply Score: 26

RE: It's Very Simple
by butters on Sun 25th Nov 2007 01:28 in reply to "It's Very Simple"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

If there were some sort of international regulatory body that could force Microsoft not to use OOXML as its default file format in MS Office unless it's accepted as an ISO standard, then maybe I'd agree with you.

But Microsoft is only pushing for ISO approval as a half-hearted nod to the "rest of the software ecosystem", and if they can't lie, cheat, and steal their way to official standardization, then becoming a de facto standard will be alright on them.

In fact, if their competitors don't want OOXML to be a standard, then Microsoft has every business incentive to make it a moving target in retribution. "Hey, you guys didn't want a standard, so enjoy chasing our tail lights."

The free software idealists' stance is similar to boycotting an election. Great, you stood by your principles, and now you get to live under the most repressive regime.

The outcome of this format war is obvious: it's a game of chicken to decide which format becomes the pivot, and it's Microsoft's Hummer vs. everybody else on motor scooters. The free software community needs to support OOXML more than Microsoft needs to support ODF.

To quote David Addington, Dick Cheney's chief legal counsel: "We're going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop." Show me the larger force that's going to prevent Microsoft from pushing OOXML and maybe then the free software community can afford to shun it.

Edited 2007-11-25 01:38

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: It's Very Simple
by marafaka on Mon 26th Nov 2007 10:50 in reply to "RE: It's Very Simple"
marafaka Member since:
2006-01-03

If you ask me, Hummer is a fat piece of crap and on a dirty terrain like this one I can tell you precisely who will be the victim slained in the mud.

If you don't mind to abuse your rhetorical instruments ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: It's Very Simple
by schoate09 on Sun 25th Nov 2007 01:36 in reply to "It's Very Simple"
schoate09 Member since:
2007-08-19

Microsoft isn't the only suite that supports it, IIRC, Apple's iWork 08 also supports OOXML.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: It's Very Simple
by segedunum on Sun 25th Nov 2007 14:02 in reply to "RE: It's Very Simple"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft isn't the only suite that supports it, IIRC, Apple's iWork 08 also supports OOXML.

Can you tell me how much of OOXML Apple has been able to implement, how much compatibility they have with Office 2007 and can you point me to the test suite that Apple and everybody else is using so they can work towards a 100% implementation?

This is my very point. Coming up with an exceptionally basic spreadsheet and then opening it up in Numbers and Gnumeric doesn't prove a thing.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: It's Very Simple
by google_ninja on Sun 25th Nov 2007 01:37 in reply to "It's Very Simple"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The criticism is very simple and understandable. While the old office binary formats are pretty much universal, and all office suites generally need to handle them in one form or another, OOXML is not. OOXML is simply the old binary format, regurgitated into a bastardised XML form with some new stuff thrown in for good measure - that isn't XML.


That is a common opinion that is going around around. Miguel, talking from his position as founder of gnumeric, says that OOXML has a far more usable spec for spreadsheet apps, and goes into a high level comparison of the two here http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2007/Jan-30.html, but that it is really hard to say one spec is better then the other.

There are really only three main areas not open in OOXML, that is backwards compatibility with binary office formats, clip art, and encryption. That is far from the popular opinion that OOXML is basically an XML wrapper around binary blobs.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: It's Very Simple
by segedunum on Sun 25th Nov 2007 14:14 in reply to "RE: It's Very Simple"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Miguel, talking from his position as founder of gnumeric, says that OOXML has a far more usable spec for spreadsheet apps...

Miguel can say this all he wants, but it isn't backed up by facts. Open Office, KOffice, Lotus and Google Docs are all implementing various spreadsheet features like the often criticised formulas part and people are improving it as part of something called a community.

...but that it is really hard to say one spec is better then the other.

There is ample evidence that it is going to be as close to impossible as possible to get a 100%, complete implementation of OOXML that is interoperable with Office 2007. You and Miguel should read it, because we're not going to go over it again.

There are really only three main areas not open in OOXML, that is backwards compatibility with binary office formats, clip art, and encryption.

OOXML is merely various parts of the old binary format thrown into a XML format with most of the implementation not specified. That much is obvious when you read it. Backwards compatibility is a central reason why Microsoft has justified OOXML, clip art is very much a part of the spec, and it is exceptionally inadequate for an international standard as most of it is westernised, and where's the interoperability if you can't open an encrypted document?

Saying something is open does not make it so, but then, that's all the OOXML proponents seem to have in response.

That is far from the popular opinion that OOXML is basically an XML wrapper around binary blobs.

You obviously haven't read the spec documents. Some light reading:

http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-376.h...

Very little of the useful information in a file is encapsulated in XML, and XML doesn't make it usable either.

Reply Parent Score: 10