Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 7th Mar 2008 21:38 UTC, submitted by SReilly
Novell and Ximian Open-source pioneer and Novell Vice President Miguel de Icaza Thursday for the first time publicly slammed his company's cross-patent licensing agreement with Microsoft as he defended himself against lack of patent protection for third parties that distribute his company's Moonlight project, which ports Microsoft's Silverlight technology to Linux.
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RE[4]: Interesting
by segedunum on Sat 8th Mar 2008 19:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Interesting"
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

if you read his full reasoning on it here http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2007/Jan-30.html, you will see that his opinion on OOXML is well reasoned


Is it?

1. He tries to defend the 6000 pages of OOXML by trying to somehow argue that this gives us more detail than we've ever had before from Microsoft. Alas, those 6000 pages are largely a dump of the huge number of quirks of Microsoft Office, and gives little away in terms of how to actually implement them.

2. He tries to argue that with the information available on formulas in ODF that formulas simply cannot be implemented. However, given that Lotus, Open Office, KOffice, Google and Corel are all implementing ODF formulas, and there is feedback into improving and changing ODF in successive versions, his evidence for this is thin on the ground. I don't see anyone that has managed to implement the functions and formulas system as specified in OOXML, apart from that which has already been reverse engineered from Excel, which ironically makes the job easier. That doesn't make the spec any better, however.

3. He tries to criticise Groklaw for keeping track of problems and inconsistencies with OOXML. He tries to point out that OOXML references seven ISO standards where ODF only references three. While I can't verify that off-hand, that isn't the point. The fact is that OOXML comes up with, and references a lot of Windows-only implemented technology at the moment, where existing ISO or other standards could have been logically used to better benefit. He completely ignores the W3C standards that ODF uses as well.

4. He tries to claim that the information for Windows Metafiles is publicly available. WMF is a one-to-one mapping of Windows API calls. He would vote to add such information to the specification, but of course, Microsoft hasn't and won't do this. The complete lack of any amendments to OOXML after comments have been submitted shows this up. ODF, on the other hand, has successive versions.

5. He tries to give a weak justification as to why SVG shouldn't be used. Basically, he argues that it's too much work and would pull in too many other W3C specs. Incredible. However, other developers are using SVG now, or are at least using a subset of it, and if Microsoft actually had a web engine that adhered to many W3C standards properly then they wouldn't have such a problem.

6. He tries to argue that it is within reach to bring XAML and WPF to non-Windows platforms, but this just shows up where Miguel conceptually just doesn't get it. You can get 20%, 40%, 60% or even 80% of what Microsoft has implemented, but you can never have a situation where you have a 100% drop-in replacement. As Microsoft will also be first with any new implementation, you can never, ever be on a par with what they're doing. That's not what standards are about.

7. Like people like Rick Jelliffe, he brings up the response to OOXML's 6000 pages that seems to be doing the rounds - OOXML uses 1.5 line spacing versus ODF's single spacing! If this isn't straw grasping, I don't know what is.

and coming from his position as the creator of the most used spreadsheet in the free software world


I wasn't aware that he wrote Open Office Calc.

not as the VP of a company which has partnered with MS.


There's no evidence for that I'm afraid.

Reply Parent Score: 16

RE[5]: Interesting
by google_ninja on Sat 8th Mar 2008 20:54 in reply to "RE[4]: Interesting"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

1 - What he says is that from the spreadsheet point of view, you need that kind of size to actually have a usable spec. ODF does not give you what you need to write a usable spreadsheet, OOXML does. I do not claim to be an expert on any of this, but I am willing to bet he knows what he is talking about when it comes to spreadsheets.

2 - Yes, you have proven that it is possible to come up with your own formulas. Just because you can, doesn't mean that it isn't easier for someone to give them to you.

3 - I don't have a hard time buying that facts coming out of groklaw are only slightly less distorted and biased then those coming out of slashdot comments, but that is a secondary point. He is not saying that MS is not referencing their own stuff, what he is saying is that critising them for not referencing ISO standards is nit-picking, due to that they due in many cases, and some of the cases that people pull out to critise MS are strawmen. Just because it is an ISO standard doesn't mean it is used, or that it is even a good idea.

4 - That is very weak, are you saying that there are not equivilents to those APIs on other systems? If you have the spec for the file itself, it would be trivial to map it to other APIs.

5 - Just because it is a standard does not make it good for all purposes. SVG is a good intermediary vector format, but it was designed for compatibility, not for performance or size. Completely ignoring the valid points he brings up about SVG being a monster of a spec, for non trivial images, SVG is a good choice for only very specific circumstances due to it being XML based. Unless what your goal is to have the most wordy, cpu intensive format possible. Its like making an xml based music format, sure, it would be the most compatible format on earth, but that would be the only thing going for it.

6 - WPF is kind of beyond the scope of this specific discussion, but since .net is one of my favorite things to talk about, I'll address it anyways.

WPF should be alot easier to implement then winforms was, the problem is that WPF is so massive it isn't feasible right now due to the rediculus amount of code that would need to be written. When it comes to the vectory/animation stuff, there are plenty of libraries in the linux world that could be easily leveraged though.

You are right that they will never be on par, but you are wrong about drop in replacements. 3.5 just came out last christmas, and mono is close to 100% 2.0, and about 80% 3.0 compliant. Since most shops are conservative about new technology, and 3.0 didn't really have all that much to offer, the state of things in the .net world is still very 2.0.

As for WPF, it is actually the least adopted of the 3.5 technologies (either WF or WCF would be the most). People in the community are speculating that when Silverlight 2 hits, it will drive WPF adoption as people will have serious incentive to start learning it. As it stands now, the tools for both designers and developers are immature, and scalable, glitzy UIs are not enough incentive for everyone to learn a completely different technology (other then me of course, as a web guy, WPF is the first UI technology I have ever really enjoyed learning.)

As a side note, the reason they are able to get such good binary compatibility in the first place is that MS shares their test cases with them.

7 - His argument is that size is a good thing, so pointing out that it is actually 4500 pages is actually a negative. Are you a developer? If so, you will understand what he is talking about, its not like you can really have too detailed a spec, so the whole size issue is kinda dumb. I would take 6000 pages over a cocktail napkin any day.

I wasn't aware that he wrote Open Office Calc.


Either you only started using linux in the last few years, or you are being pedantic for no good reason. He wrote a full featured, widely used spreadsheet program. Based on his obvious credentials, I am willing to take his word about issues to do with spreadsheets.

There's no evidence for that I'm afraid.


I honestly find it sad at how rabid the linux community has gotten. Miguel is really one of the rockstars in that world, it is hard to think of people who have contributed more to making the linux desktop experience what it is then him. I started out as a mac developer, then became a linux developer. I am now a .net guy, and while windows is by far my least favorite of the three operating systems, the developer community is equally my favorite, mostly due to the lack of religion.

If you seriously can't see that he was giving his opinion as the guy who wrote Gnumeric in that post, you have gone beyond any point of objectivity.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Interesting
by segedunum on Sat 8th Mar 2008 22:25 in reply to "RE[5]: Interesting"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

What he says is that from the spreadsheet point of view, you need that kind of size to actually have a usable spec. ODF does not give you what you need to write a usable spreadsheet, OOXML does.


Open Office, Lotus, KOffice, Google and Corel have ODF formulas implemented now. Ironically, people have been implementing Excel's formulas and functions functionality with no documentation at all. The formulas specification in ODF needs more detail, and that's happening, but the notion that nobody can implement formulas with ODF is false. Miguel doesn't even say what is missing.

but I am willing to bet he knows what he is talking about when it comes to spreadsheets.


*Shrugs shoulders*. Can't argue with that logic. Claiming that Miguel is an expert on this stuff so we can take his word at face value doesn't address what he's saying.

Yes, you have proven that it is possible to come up with your own formulas. Just because you can, doesn't mean that it isn't easier for someone to give them to you.


Different applications using ODF are doing that now. I don't see half a dozen applications using OOXML that have been able to implement formulas and exchange documents with them in. I haven't seen any applications able to open Excel 2007 documents with formulas in them.

I don't have a hard time buying that facts coming out of groklaw are only slightly less distorted and biased then those coming out of slashdot comments, but that is a secondary point.


I'm afraid that's a worthless statement unless you can go through the points made on Groklaw and say why they're wrong. Miguel hasn't been able to do it and people banging away on their MSDN blogs avoid a point-by-point rebuttal of Groklaw's objections like the plague.

what he is saying is that critising them for not referencing ISO standards is nit-picking.......and some of the cases that people pull out to critise MS are strawmen.


Microsoft are free to use what they like, but when you are trying to get something agreed on as an ISO standard there is a reason why you use existing ISO and other standards and specification. It's so that the standard is reproduceable and reliable and communication between standards groups increases to solve any problems. I read that in a manual somewhere.

Just because it is an ISO standard doesn't mean it is used, or that it is even a good idea.


With such impeccable logic, why bother with standards at all then?

That is very weak, are you saying that there are not equivilents to those APIs on other systems?


To WMF? No. WMF is an insecure format from another era that maps 1-to-1 on to the Windows API. To implement WMF and to understand it when it appears you'll have to understand and have at least a partial implementation of the Windows API. It doesn't explain why it is used in place of CGM.

If you have the spec for the file itself, it would be trivial to map it to other APIs.


No it isn't. Just ask the WINE people.

Just because it is a standard does not make it good for all purposes. SVG is a good intermediary vector format, but it was designed for compatibility, not for performance or size.


SVG is being implemented by many software developers today, or at least a subset of it. Moaning about how verbose it is does not justify telling us that we should all just reimplement XAML and WPF, as Miguel seems to be doing.

SVG is a good choice for only very specific circumstances due to it being XML based. Unless what your goal is to have the most wordy, cpu intensive format possible.


I'm not sure how reimplementing XAML or VML is any better.

WPF should be alot easier to implement then winforms was


You're missing the point. Why are you and Miguel simply assuming that people should just implement WPF at all whilst railing on existing standards that people are actually implementing such as SVG?

the problem is that WPF is so massive it isn't feasible right now due to the rediculus amount of code that would need to be written.


There you have it.

As it stands now, the tools for both designers and developers are immature, and scalable, glitzy UIs are not enough incentive for everyone to learn a completely different technology


You're right there. There's also lots of legacy code.

Are you a developer? If so, you will understand what he is talking about, its not like you can really have too detailed a spec, so the whole size issue is kinda dumb. I would take 6000 pages over a cocktail napkin any day.


If a specification rumbles on for a whole chapter about a feature, and then tells me at the end that I need to reimplement the features of WordPerfect, Word 95 and Word 97, and it repeats this umpteen times, what does that tell me?

Either you only started using linux in the last few years, or you are being pedantic for no good reason. He wrote a full featured, widely used spreadsheet program.


I don't like to be pedantic about details, but you said that he created the most used spreadsheet application the the open source world. Gnumeric was, at best, an Excel wannabe that got nowhere near to being Excel.

Based on his obvious credentials, I am willing to take his word about issues to do with spreadsheets.


I'm not. I'd rather read what he says and make a judgement based on that.

I honestly find it sad at how rabid the linux community has gotten.


I find it sad when people take what someone says at face value, based on what they think his reputation is, without reading what he's written and dismissing Groklaw's objections without saying why. It's pretty old and tired now.

Miguel is really one of the rockstars in that world, it is hard to think of people who have contributed more to making the linux desktop experience what it is then him.


While he started Gnome, others have done far more to carry it forwards than he has. He found it more productive to start an incomplete clone of Excel, and a perpetually incomplete clone of .Netwhilst regurgitating Microsoft's marketing material.

If you seriously can't see that he was giving his opinion as the guy who wrote Gnumeric in that post, you have gone beyond any point of objectivity.


Objectivity is looking at what people say, write and do and making a judgement based on that. The opposite is to come up with a preconceived idea of someone's reputation and saying "Well, he wrote this so I'm willing to just believe him".

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[6]: Interesting
by viton on Sun 9th Mar 2008 12:29 in reply to "RE[5]: Interesting"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

What Microsoft really need is to push their new products.
Usually new Microsoft applications come with new incompatible formats. I.e. you can't open VS2005 project in VS2003 even if they're almost identical XMLs. It is not a technical problem, but marketing trick. Obviously you need to force incompatibility issues, because a typical XML document allows easy forward compatibility.

Probably anyone who stands for Microsoft "standards" was bought by Microsoft or listening too much of marketing blahblah.

Edited 2008-03-09 12:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2