Linked by David Adams on Sat 17th May 2008 03:35 UTC, submitted by fsmag
Microsoft Peter Hintgens, writing at Freesoftware Magazine, explains why the adoption of Microsoft's OOXML as an ISO standard is a dreadful development, and explains how some open standards partisans are organizing to combat insufficiently-open "open" standards.
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RE[2]: Quality
by segedunum on Sun 18th May 2008 08:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Quality"
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

OOo doesn't implement ODF correctly either.

I here this oft repeated, daft remark time and time again, and it's usually used as some kind of bizarre justification for Microsoft to go off and implement their own OOXML format in Office, and it makes it all OK. It's quite funny as well, because it's an admission that Office 2007 is not OOXML compatible as the specification is now.

With ODF, people involved with Open Office, KOffice and other software are continually contributing to successive versions of ODF, and no, they're not going to have all of it implemented right now. However, there is an awful lot that has been implemented that is common between different implementations of ODF, and there are test suites and coverage reports available so you can verify how far they have got.

Can Microsoft provide that? Is there a coverage report and test suite for OOXML and Office? Considering that OOXML has been set in stone before it was ever submitted to the ECMA, and no changes have ever been made to it and no successive versions have ever been made, one would have thought that Microsoft would have had a fighting chance of implementing OOXML in Office, per their own specification, properly, no?

Edited 2008-05-18 08:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Quality
by tomcat on Mon 19th May 2008 04:19 in reply to "RE[2]: Quality"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I here this oft repeated, daft remark time and time again, and it's usually used as some kind of bizarre justificattion for Microsoft to go off and implement their own OOXML format in Office, and it makes it all OK.


I don't see it as a justification. It's just an interesting footnote in illustrating how difficult it is to live up to published standards. Anybody who doubts this should consider the history of Acid2/3.

With ODF, people involved with Open Office, KOffice and other software are continually contributing to successive versions of ODF, and no, they're not going to have all of it implemented right now.


Ditto, Microsoft.

However, there is an awful lot that has been implemented that is common between different implementations of ODF, and there are test suites and coverage reports available so you can verify how far they have got. Can Microsoft provide that? Is there a coverage report and test suite for OOXML and Office?


I'm not sure that I'd trust anybody's coverage reports without independent verification.

Considering that OOXML has been set in stone before it was ever submitted to the ECMA, and no changes have ever been made to it and no successive versions have ever been made, one would have thought that Microsoft would have had a fighting chance of implementing OOXML in Office, per their own specification, properly, no?


If you want to promote standards compliance, the best way to do it is to establish an independent test (akin to Acid2), and then hold the vendors' feet to the fire.

Edited 2008-05-19 04:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Quality
by segedunum on Tue 20th May 2008 17:59 in reply to "RE[3]: Quality"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't see it as a justification. It's just an interesting footnote in illustrating how difficult it is to live up to published standards. Anybody who doubts this should consider the history of Acid2/3.

That's another justification (oh, it's so difficult to implement our own specification!) - and the reason why we have real compliance issues with web standards is largely down to IE.

Yes, it's difficult to get different implementations of the same thing, but that's assuming that people are actually trying to implement said specification. In the case of ODF there's evidence that people are working towards covering the whole spec, and you can happily exchange documents today to a larger extent. In the case of OOXML, and Microsoft, there's little evidence to suggest they're trying that hard.

Ditto, Microsoft.

Hmmmm, no. I haven't seen successive versions of OOXML submitted to the ECMA and ISO, and I've seen no activity out of the discussion groups as to what will change. It's all fire and motion, as Joel Spolsky would say.

I'm not sure that I'd trust anybody's coverage reports without independent verification.

It would be nice if they provided anything for the purposes of any kind of verification ;-). It is, after all, their specification.

Catch-22. How would an independent test suite be developed without real input from Microsoft into what their own specification and its elements mean?

If you want to promote standards compliance, the best way to do it is to establish an independent test (akin to Acid2), and then hold the vendors' feet to the fire.

There's no fire to hold Microsoft's feet to here, which you and they probably know, which is why people have talked about open document standards and why ODF was developed in the first place. OOXML is a Microsoft backed, owned and developed specification, pure and simple. Unless other people can implement it, and unless Office itself implements it faithfully in a way that lends itself to wider compatibility, it's all a huge waste of time.

See? We just end up going around in a big circle talking about this, which is what Microsoft and their sympathisers hope will happen.

Reply Parent Score: 2