Google has slammed Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format as being “insufficient and unnecessary”. The internet giant’s open source programs manager Zaheda Bhorat said yesterday on Google’s official blog that Redmond’s attempts to convince the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to adopt OOXML as the …
She's just in a bad mood because of the continual jokes people make about her surname.
"...Instead she calls for the “unification” of OOXML into OpenDocument Format (ODF)..."
What for? Why bother?
Sorry, but I cannot take anyone seriously with a name like Bhorat...
Good on Google
There's absolutely no need for OOXML, there's already a perfectly sufficient standard. Microsoft just need to comply with it.
But then, MS and compliance with standards don't really go together, do they?
Send more standards!
"I love standards .... send more standards ... these taste great."
We have a standard (ODF), so what do you do if the standard is not your standard? Create another standard which you can then modify (it's your standard after all) so that other standard compliant applications don't work and then your standard is everybody's standard. "OOXML ... back from the dead and ready to party"
One "standard" that I'd like to see, "If the application, without a document open" consumes more than 5Mb of system memory then it's out of compliance."
Winword is 24Mb just to wake up and scratch its arse.
AC because I use Winword at work (I'm so ashamed), and tux because there has to be a better way...
It's not just the core
As with Microsoft, it's not just the core technology (search, or the OS) that matters - it's the whole package. More often than not it is the add-ons that create the lock-in and especially how that is leveraged by Google.
A simple test
Without access to Microsoft proprietary software or information, and using only the published specification, can the proposed standard be implemented in an open and platform independant manner ?
If the answer is no, ISO must immediately reject OOXML until these conditions are met.
@Graham's simple test
DIS29500 as it stands today incompletely and ambiguously specifies OOXML. Worst still, you can write conforming OOXML which will not be read by Office.
The first may be solved by ISO's current Ballot Resolution Meeting, although with a massive 1,000+ comments on a two-day work programme I have my doubts.
The second will only be solved if Microsoft gives a rat's about interoperability. Since we got to this point because Microsoft doesn't want to use OpenDocument because it would be too interoperable, I wouldn't be counting on prompt resolution of those bugs.
@Send more standards!
[quote]One "standard" that I'd like to see, "If the application, without a document open" consumes more than 5Mb of system memory then it's out of compliance."
Winword is 24Mb just to wake up and scratch its arse.[/quote]
I just fired up OpenOffice, and the soffice.bin process is using 39,796k, according to task manager.
Thank goodness we can rely on open source software for such efficiencies!
OOXML acceptance would be mean business as usual for Microsoft.
Microsoft has no intention of making their own Office suite comply with OOXML, but they will wave a piece of paper in the faces of legislators and pretend that it does. Then, when 'average computer user' tries to use a competing product to open a 'Word Document', it won't work and they will assume that the alternative software is no good. Then they will think "Hmm, maybe I will stick with Microsoft products after all, because at least that way I can be sure that I won't get this problem again". And they would be right.
By deliberately failing to adhere to its own 'standard' Microsoft will be able to maintain its monopoly. Furthermore, if it is the case that the ISO standardisation process is shown to be so easily corruptable by Microsoft's bribery and dirty tricks so as to pass such a clearly broken closed format, then it's credibility and reputation as a respected standardisation body would be seriously damaged, possibly even eventually requiring its replacement with one that has better safeguards against such corruption.
Any of the more malleable ISO officials should probably consider any such possibilites before passing their off-shore bank account details to Microsoft's Accounts/Slush-Fund department.
Standards for sharing information
The debate about quality of standards may be as important as the question of technical lock-in. There is a significant portion of DIS-29500 which points at Microsoft specific products, but the technique for incorporating these "add-ons" are made as they should be made in an XML specification. However, the important point here is that there are no specifications demanding that included objects should also be represented in the general XML-document (as non-"blobs", real content-markup XML) and no specification on how other applications should handle those "blobs" of non-standard material.
Maybe it has already been stated in this thread that Microsoft-add-ons are not necessary content-wise; the "blobs" are not necessary in order to convey the content of a document with a foreign-formula or spreadsheet-table. One could argue that the foreign, MS-product specific "blobs" are necessary in order to provide a reliable lay-out, meaning that a document for e.g. government negotiations often have the need for lay-out being exactly the same at sender and receiver, page breaks and weights having considerable influence on the interpretation of such content. XML does not cater for that need except if new lay-out elements are introduced. There are such elements in both ODF and MSOX.
Considerable efforts will be needed in order to get a smarter, legible XML Scheme for MSproducts. In the meantime we are best off using the ODF standard which produces quite extraordinarily good results with the different open-source implementations as well as with some big-vendor apps.
The German Fraunhofer investigation summing up the basic needs of an XML scheme for office usage may form the foundation for a future request to software vendors including, of course, Microsoft. However, MS have so far fought in order to escape common needs, arguing that MS-de-facto-standards are good for all (MS-customers, that is).
MS thus insists on keeping the key to the office-apps market. After all, MS-Office is their golden elephant.
Yes Chris, that is the most probable scenario!
I am afraid that Chris has described the real strategy quite precisely, but note that I in my previous comment outlines the official not-so-real strategy, which is the one that has to be analyzed and voted on.
It's called "Office Open XML" for a reason.
JohnQPublic: How can you say with a straight face that it's open?
SteveB: It's open because "we" say it is. And "we" also get to say what the meaning of "open" is. And what the meaning of "is" is.
JohnQPublic: But will I still be able to use my old documents in the future? After all, with Office 2007, I can't open files from 15 years ago.
SteveB: We will continue to exercise leadership over the Office Open XML format to leverage increased profitability for our company and, by exercising control over the entire document creation, revision and access process, simplify the consumer experience.
JohnQPublic: You didn't answer my question!
SteveB: Thank you for your time. The $250 fee for high-level interaction will be deducted from your registered bank account for each of the next 36 months.
[SteveB has left the conversation]
From the Approved Dictionary, 1984-Centennial Edition:
free-dom (ˈfrē-dəm), n. (obs.): A mythological basis for Government, briefly popular as feudalism transitioned to modern fascist kleptocracy.
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