Linked by David Adams on Tue 4th Dec 2007 19:39 UTC, submitted by michuk
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "It may be a brave opinion but I predict that Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista are going to be the two operating systems that will take over the largest chunk of the desktop OS market during the next couple of years. This comparison is based on my experience with both systems during the last couple of weeks on two different computers."
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RE[7]: Silly
by google_ninja on Wed 5th Dec 2007 05:47 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Silly"
Member since:

I can't believe how easy it is to get modded up here. Think about what you wrote

OOXML is riddled with references to Microsoft-proprietary APIs.

It is explicitly designed to be able to implemented fully only by Microsoft, and it is explicitly designed to be able to be run fully only on Windows platforms.

It is ABSOLUTELY an abuse of Microsoft's near-monopoly.

How in the world is MS changing their own internal file format anti-competitive? How is opening the majority of it up to the public abuse? Sure, not all of it is open, but how is that worse then NONE of it being open?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Silly
by lemur2 on Wed 5th Dec 2007 06:08 in reply to "RE[7]: Silly"
lemur2 Member since:

How in the world is MS changing their own internal file format anti-competitive? How is opening the majority of it up to the public abuse? Sure, not all of it is open, but how is that worse then NONE of it being open?

"The OpenDocument standard was developed by a Technical Committee (TC) under the OASIS industry consortium. The ODF-TC has members from a diverse set of companies and individuals. ... The standardization process involved the developers of many office suites or related document systems. The first official ODF-TC meeting to discuss the standard was December 16, 2002"

OK, that is the first point. There was a demand (mainly coming from governments) for an open, future-proof, consensus industry standard for electronic document storage. Microsoft was on this committee, from day 1. Even Microsoft agreed that existing obscure binary formats had to go, and be replaced by an XML-based document format. Here was the god-given opportunity for industry-wide interoperability on this.

Microsoft attended every meeting, and said not one word the whole time.

"; OASIS approved OpenDocument as an OASIS Standard on May 1, 2005. OASIS submitted the ODF specification to ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) on November 16, 2005, under Publicly Available Specification (PAS) rules."

Not fast-track rules, but PAS rules. Harder to get passed, and it took longer ...

"After a six-month review period, on May 3, 2006 OpenDocument unanimously passed its six-month DIS ballot in JTC1, with broad participation, after which the OpenDocument specification was "approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard" under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006."

... but pass it did. Unanimously. No unanswered objections. Industry consensus reached.

Microsoft at this point simply said "but we are not going to do it". They also claimed (at that time) "there is no demand for ODF".

Then they produced their own bastard-child XML specification for a document format, requiring as many dependencies on Microsoft-only technologies as they could think of, and essentially mandating that any compliant application had to be written to run on a Windows platform and no other.

If there was no demand, why did Microsoft produce OOXML?

Microsoft changed their tune. They now claimed that "ODF was not designed to support the information in billions of legacy documents".

If that was so, tell us exactly were the deficiency lies? And why did they not speak up before, at any time during the four-year "consensus" development process they attended?

OOXML is worse than none of it being open, because it is written to explicitly undermine the ISO-standard for electronic document formats by PRETENDING to be open, and PRETENDING to be an alternative.

Give it up Microsoft. Just go with the ODF standard that you yourself agreed to.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[9]: Silly
by google_ninja on Wed 5th Dec 2007 07:32 in reply to "RE[8]: Silly"
google_ninja Member since:

Ok, I understand where you are coming from now. A few points:

1) Being part of a committee doesn't mean you must adopt the standard, or that the "official" standard will become adopted. You say MS didn't speak up at all, I would like to see some links saying that, but even if it is true it isn't exactly damning. These comittees tend to be very political, and I wouldn't be surprised if other members blocked MS out of spite, or if MS tried to take it over, and failing that went their own route. A good example of that kind of nonsense is how IBM has been trying to steal java from SUN, and how SUN made some stupid design decisions just to spite them for it.

2) OOXML is not as closed as many people imply. Backwards compatibility is in binary format, but it would have been that way if MS had gone ODF. DRM is binary, but again, it would have been that way if MS had gone ODF. Graphics are binary, but honestly, MS has good reason to stick with their in house format here. SVG sucks, and there isn't anybody even in the open source world who fully implements the spec. (including OO.o) Windows metafiles aren't included, but the information is available in other places.

If it was impossible to implement text formatting, or tables, or formulas, you would have a point. But we are talking about a very few features that most people never even use.

By contrast, ODF is far less complete then OOXML. For example, ODF has 4 pages on spreadsheet formulas, which is nowhere near enough to build a spreadsheet app. Ironically, the 325 pages dealing with formulas (out of 1090 for spreadsheet processing) in the OOXML spec is one of the places one would have to go to get that information.

Technical merit of the two specs is kind of a side issue in this discussion, but I did want to point that out. OASIS has been on a misinformation campaign of their own. Neither OOXML or ODF are where they need to be to be good specs.

3) I do understand what you are saying, MS should have taken a leadership role in ODF instead of launching a competing format. MS should also release the .net library sources under a liscence mono can use. It should also publish specs for smb, active directory, and exchange. While we are at it, apple should stop suing bloggers with insider information, should provide ways for third parties to work with their DRM, and remove the TCP aspects of their hardware to allow their os to be installed wherever it can. Xgl shouldn't have been written behind closed doors, forcing redhat to do AIGLX. CentOS shouldn't repackage Redhats enterprise class distro and give it away for free, abiding by the letter, but not the spirit of the GPL.

As soon as you put money into the mix, corporations act like, well, corporations. There are a lot of politics involved in the ODF vs OOXML thing. MS should have played nice with OASIS, but ISO should never have passed ODF in its current state. If you look at the big picture, we are seeing MS actually making some gestures at interop for the first time ever. Sure, it is on their terms, but IMHO interop on their terms is better then no interop at all. MS adopting ODF would have been nice, but it doesn't make sense for them to give control of their office formats away to what is essentially their competition. The real problem is that OOXML takes away the most compelling reason to go with an open office suite. Miguel DeIcaza put it really eloquently in his blog.

Open standards and the need for public access to information was a strong message. This became a key component of promoting open office, and open source software. This posed two problems:

First, those promoting open standards did not stress the importance of having a fully open source implementation of an office suite.

Second, it assumed that Microsoft would stand still and would not react to this new change in the market.

And that is where the strategy to promote the open source office suite is running into problems. Microsoft did not stand still. It reacted to this new requirement by creating a file format of its own, the OOXML.

Anyways, all that to say that I was wrong. You do have a valid point. I don't fully agree with it, but OOXML could be seen as anti-competitive if you look at it from a certain point of view. Regardless, that post was the single most concise and intelligent argument for ODF I have seen so far. Really, I have a very pessimistic set of expectations when it comes to dealing with any corporations, even ones I like (such as Google or Apple) It is great when they do something altruistic, but I would rather be pleasantly surprised then shocked and angry. OOXML could have been much worse then it is.

Reply Parent Score: 2