36 responses to “How Long Until Tetracycline Is Lethal”

  1. Richard

    Thanks for this article. The whole thing is that OOXML is a political/economic solution and the rush to catch up with ODF threw FastTrack. Its only purpose is to allow MS to “boast” that their documents are an open ISO standard. They know its only intention is to make is as difficult as posible to implement and easily interoperate with MS Office so they can hold on to thier dominance.

  2. Matthew

    Achieving openness, not archiving openness.

  3. Linda

    Thanks, Matthew – I’ll make the change! Cheers, Linda

  4. Praveen P.P.

    I think, by now those who track the technology landscape is aware of the devious games played by the dominant player and those who support them.

    For their machinations to be defeated at the ISO, those who are in charge of the technical submissions should prepare themselves well in advance.

    The personnel behind open source has done this commendably well so far. I think the National Bodies are also aware of the advantages of adoption of ODF as the ISO standard.

    We expect the August National Bodies would not succumb to Office Open XML standard pushed by the dominant player.

    We have all seen the Internet with it Open Nature spawning so many far-reaching, influential, technical breakthroughs helping people across a broad social spectrum.

    Let us not confine ourselves to closed Windows. Look Out. Break Free.

  5. Richard

    “Achieving openness, not archiving openness”

    Archiving openness is appropriate, that is what MS is trying to do!

  6. The Open Sourcerer

    Russell, another well articulated piece.

    Thanks.

    Alan

    PS: Have you seen our efforts to help the NBs over on http://www.dis29500.org.

  7. Viral Tarpara

    Your “facts” are absolutely and completely incorrect regarding preserving the billions of legacy documents.

    You fail to talk about the fact that ODF can’t fully be implemented by any other office suite even with regard to some of the most basic feature sets. Have you seen the nightmares involved with manipulating full fidelity documents with OpenOffice and K-Office? You also fail to full appreciate the complexities of the of the political and business implications of not having OpenXML as an ISO standard, maybe it those reason have not been articulated to you. You also fail to mention that the fact that accessibility groups have nothing but fear of an ODF world because of the poorly specified guidelines. Why not discuss the fact that every single functional deficiency that the ODF spec currently has will require multiple technical reviews and updates…v1.1 v1.2 v1.3+. Which version will be supported? Will backwards compatibility break? These are complex questions with complex technical solutions. The ODF side destroying both the progress of OpenXML as well as that of ODF in this socio-political pursuit to bury Microsoft. None of these questions have even been raised by the proponents of ODF.

    You also mislead people by saying that OpenXML’s fasttrack process was inappropriate. Do you even know what “fast-track” means in the entire ISO process? I will tell you. Fast-track means that the spec was developed outside of ISO technical committee and can be submitted by outside standards organizations like ECMA and ITU-T.

    Did you ever stop to consider that OpenXML’s documentation was so long because that’s how many features are actually in the suite of applications? What do you think will happen to ODF once they define an actual competative spreadsheet specification? Recreating full-fidelity documents from over a dozen different version of applications is anything but a trivial task. Microsoft is trying to preserve the customer’s need to access legacy document while allowing them to move past the limitations of a binary format.

    How about this, instead of writing about what you hear on the web, why don’t you do some fact-checking as well as information gathering. After that, do some due diligence and ask someone as Microsoft about what’s up. I’ll gladly volunteer my time and we can have a healthy and open debate.

    What you don’t quite understand is that Microsoft has no beef with ODF. OpenXML is here for a completely different reason. The scope and definition OpenXML spec is orders of magnitude greater in design and intent.

    send me an email or call me if you’d like to chat.

  8. ModPlug

    No, the “facts” are actually absolutely and completely correct regarding preserving the billions of legacy documents. This reality lies in the simple nature of a human readable format that ODF is. As long as OOXML allows any (non-documented and as such unreadable) binary sections it’s unusable for preserving the billions of legacy documents and not appropriate to ever be accepted as an *open* ISO specification.

    You get a free cookie for nifty trolling, Viral Tarpara. Should have kept it a little less wordy though.

  9. Phil

    Viral, your blog’s subtitle is “Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist – UK” and your last post is about the “Microsoft Boy”.

    You’re obviously biased and you clearly believe everything Microsoft or their friends say.

    Although Russell may be exagerating in some of his points, the core of what he says is true: Microsoft is just using OOXML as a political weapon against ODF and ISO. Why? Money.

    If governments require ISO standard formats (which implies ISO is reputable) and ODF is the only one (more than one makes no sense), then Microsoft will have to implement it, and this will open the door for migration of government, companies, individuals, that are tired of paying Microsoft taxes and would like cheaper alternatives. It’s obvious that Microsoft wants to lock people in their product.

    So this is what they do to fight it. They rush in this half assed standard. If they don’t win it, they’ll hope to have made ISO the laughingstock of standard bodies. If they win it, they know nobody will be able to implement it. It’s huge, it’s overly complex. Microsoft’s product doesn’t exactly implement the standard to the comma, and if some product implements the standard and can’t open Microsoft’s documents, who will you think will get the blame?

    Anyway, as soon as someone gets close to implement it, Microsoft will introduce Office 2011 or 2013 or 2015 that implements OOXML 1.1 or 1.2 or 1.3, and obviously the product will be on the market before the standard is out.

    Viral, please try to think about the economic reason behind it. You may like Microsoft’s products, there’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is to accept their predator business practices, you should try to think of it in an unbiased way.

  10. Microsoft firm on OOXML ISO vote » D' Technology Weblog: Technology, Blogging, Tips, Tricks, Computer, Hardware, Software, Tutorials, Internet, Web, Gadgets, Fashion, LifeStyle, Entertainment, News and more by Deepak Gupta.

    [...] its submission of Office Open XML as an ISO standard. Open standards advocate Russell Ossendryver takes a look at those responses to see if Microsoft has made significant changes in either the substance of OOXML or the manner in [...]

  11. michael

    I have a growing (gut) feeling that even in the shameful event that OOXML succeeds in gaining ISO status, it will be a case of winning a battle but ultimately losing the war.

    Although plenty of governments may mandate open standards, in reality they will still need practical open standards. If the ’standard’ exists but nobody even implements it, they will gain nothing, and it can easily be argued against and will ultimately lose favour.

    MS realise that their business model is no longer relevant and they will cheat and lie and worse (like they have in the past) to keep as much of the pie to themselves as they can for as long as they can. But ultimately no empire lasts forever.

  12. Sam Varghese

    Excellent. This is the kind of work that organisations should be doing. One man shows them up repeatedly.

  13. Nuno Silva

    Like Phil said,
    “If they don’t win it, they’ll hope to have made ISO the laughingstock of standard bodies. If they win it, they know nobody will be able to implement it.”

    The worst thing about this is the negative PR for ISO. ISO will never be the same and the guilty part will not take the responsability (it’s just business…)

    Sad…

  14. Somebody

    Check out what the co-editor of ODF has to say about OXML and the process.

    http://www.durusau.net/publications/OpenXMLPosterChild.pdf

  15. hAl

    It seems evident dat MS Office 2007 is a better implementation of OOXML then there is an ODF implementation in existence.
    Also OOXML is supported on Mobile office suites on iPhone, Symbian, Pals OS and Windows Mobile where ODF for instance is not supported.

    Also you suggest that to implement OOXML you need a lot more information then is in the spec. That applies much more to ODF which actually required the full OOo sourcecode to implement it and even then it seems impossible to create interoperable implementations.

    You state that Microsoft retains the right to veto any changes that are proposed in TC45. That is actually a lie. The Ecma rules and bylaws are public and in that you can see that each Ecma member has only one vote in a TC (unlike the ODF OASIS TC which is controlled by IBM and Sun sharing 70% of the votes).

    You suggest that there is a lot of difference between versions of OOXML but actually as far as I know this is actually the issue of ODF which has the original v1.0 version, the v1.0 second edition version which is similar to the ISO and the ODF v1.1 non ISO version and of course the ODF version which is actually non complient with any of the of the 3 official standard versions. So what you are suggesting as a future for OOXML is actually the current situation with ODF.

    You suggest that the Fasttrack proces was inappropriate for OOXML but it is actually the normal and preferred method for specifications that are submitted by other standards organizations to ISO. And as is shown it can be lenghtened quite a bit when a large spec is on the table. Remember that ODF sailed trough ISO in 9 months whereas a descision on OOXML wil only be reached in march about 16 months after submission of the spec and also that the spec has recieved more scrutiny than any spec (certainly a lot more than ODF)

    Your entire post seems full with halftruth or even blatant untruths to show your point.
    what you are failing to mention is that OOXML has a superieur packaging format (OPC) allows tight integration between math and office functionality amking that superieur to ODF’s mathML embedding, uses DrawingML which is much more complete and usefull than the semi-noncompatible-SVG support of ODF and that allowing for backwards compatiblity is actually what customers of Office software want and that ignoring backwards compatibility is seen a a big mistake in ODF even amongst ODF supporters like Sam Hiser that you cite in your article.

  16. Ross

    Your “facts” are absolutely and completely incorrect regarding preserving the billions of legacy documents.

    What “facts” are those then? I don’t see you refute anything in the original article. Making misleading statements designed to sway opinion without backing up your point is commonly called “trolling”. Or as I prefer to call it: “lying”.

    And also “You also fail to … appreciate the … implications of not having OpenXML as an ISO standard”. Huh? So we should vote to have it as a standard because things will be too complex if we don’t? What kind of monkey logic is that?

    The implications of not having OpenXML as a standard mean we have a fighting chance of being able having an open, standardised document format in use worldwide. Not having OpenXML as a standard also means Microsoft might have to actually support ODF. Well, those implications sound pretty good to me.

  17. Mark Holland

    Great article.

    There is so much proof of the _real_ reasons of Microsoft’s push towards OOXML.

    The sad thing is, though, that I notice that all people around me simply ignore any news regarding this whole process of standardization.
    I live in the Netherlands, work in the IT, but the whole issue is simply unknown to many, many IT professionals here in Holland.
    The Dutch companies (and government) in general all lean towards Microsoft and it’s products.
    And as soon as OOXML receives ISO certification, Microsoft can and will use it to further brainwash the stupi…. uhhh unknowing Dutch ppl.
    Even if OOXML doesn’t receive ISO cert, it won’t hurt Microsoft for a bit here in Holland.

    One small example: The Dutch government recently started a European Auction for new software. Some of the demands were: interoperable with MSSQL, should use Active Directory etc.
    This, inspite the promise of the Dutch government to move towards open standards.
    The Dutch parliament stated that they _were_ heading towards open standards, but had to maintain interoperability with current technology in use. Bull. They just don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I of course hope OOXML won’t become an ISO standard, but my true wish is that my countrymates finally receive the insight and learn about the true identity of Mr. Microsoft…

  18. Jaap

    @Viral

    You fail to talk about the fact that ODF can’t fully be implemented by any other office suite even with regard to some of the most basic feature sets.
    You happen to have an example of one of these “basic feature sets”? And do you have an example of any application that natively supports OOXML?

    You also fail to full appreciate the complexities of the of the political and business implications of not having OpenXML as an ISO standard, maybe it those reason have not been articulated to you. No, these complexities are well known, and odf-proponents are sick and tired of them. That the reason for odf: freedom of data and applications. And no unbreakable ties to one organisation.

    Have you seen the nightmares involved with manipulating full fidelity documents with OpenOffice and K-Office?” No, have you?

    You also fail to mention that the fact that accessibility groups have nothing but fear of an ODF world because of the poorly specified guidelines.

    No Viral, _you_ fail to mention why these so called guidelines (who’s guidelines?) hinder accessibility groups (what a strange, broad, and sweeping statement). Shouldn’t you have said that odf poorly supports people with accessibility problems? However, I think I remember where this statements originates from: during the odf-brouhaha in Massachusetts it turned out that a well-used braille device in the US only supported Microsoft Office. And an organisation of blind people then opposed odf. Well, I don’t know if by now this device is supported by (for instance) OpenOffice or Koffice, but it may well be knowing the Open Source development community. I _am_ sure that OOXML doesn’t describe accessibility solutions because document formats don’t have _!!_ANYTHING_!!_ to do with with accessibility issue’s, applications do. This argument is a well known Microsoft fallacy. You show your colours.

    Why not discuss the fact that every single functional deficiency that the ODF spec currently has will require multiple technical reviews and updates…v1.1 v1.2 v1.3+”
    Erm… I … suppose you’re speaking of the development process of odf and that higher versions also need ISO certification? Well as OOXML isn’t even ready or ISO-certified yet (and it certainly won’t ever be ready, this is a fact of life in the computer industry, you know) I don’t see why this would only impede odf.

    You also mislead people by saying that OpenXML’s fasttrack process was inappropriate. Do you even know what “fast-track” means in the entire ISO process? I will tell you. Fast-track means that the spec was developed outside of ISO technical committee and can be submitted by outside standards organizations like ECMA and ITU-T.

    Mislead? Pot and kettle. From the http://www.iso.org website: In the so-called “Fast-track procedure”, a document is submitted directly for approval as a draft International Standard (DIS) to the ISO member bodies” I think the word “directly” is missing from your definition.

    Yes, that is the question, isn’t it? Or OOXML is a bloated obfuscation of a format, or odf is a wanting and unfinished excuse for a format. The answer is there for all to see: in 2006 odf unanimously passed its six-month ISO ballot after been developed by a Technical Committee of the OASIS (of which Microsoft is a member) since 2002. OOXML didn’t achieve the required number of votes for approval during the ballot phase in 2007 (all wikipedia). Questions?

    Sounds nice, but really? I think Microsoft is trying to preserve the ties that bind customers to it’s software imperium. I could be wrong, of course.

    How about this, instead of writing about what you hear on the web, why don’t you do some fact-checking as well as information gathering. After that, do some due diligence and ask someone as Microsoft about what’s up.”
    I suspect this someones answers are going to look remarkably like your answers. Heh.

    What you don’t quite understand is that Microsoft has no beef with ODF. OpenXML is here for a completely different reason. The scope and definition OpenXML spec is orders of magnitude greater in design and intent.

    Bollocks, odf solutions directly compete with Microsoft’s office solutions (this is Microsoft’s own choice, btw), and what’s more: odf can break the customers addiction to this one software suppliers products. And this last thing is what really scares Microsoft.

  19. A Deluge of Facts KOs OOXML (Office Open XML) « Edge of Reading

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  20. aussiebear

    Viral Tarpara mentioned the lack of fidelity between K-Office and OpenOffice for ODF.

    What about Microsoft solutions?

    Have you tried to exchange documents between MS Office 2007 and MS Office 2003 with the documentation compatibility add-on from Microsoft.

    Guess what? I have and I get similar problems! There is no “fully fidelity” between them. (Essentially, I’m saying you are indeed, full of it).

    So if MS can’t even implement their OWN document format in their OWN line of products, what makes you think anyone else can?

    OOXML may be considered as an open format (even that’s questionable), but its far from an open standard that everyone agrees on.

    I rather have a true inter-operable office suite like OpenOffice that allows me to run on whatever operating system I desire. ie: Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD, etc…Than be permanently anchored to a single platform solution that is MS Office/Windows combo.

  21. Michael

    This is from the scope of the ECMA TC45 committee responsible for OOXML:

    The goal of the Technical Committee is to produce a formal standard for office productivity applications within the Ecma International standards process which is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats.

    Odd language isn’t it? The goal is to create a standard that is fully compatible with itself? OOXML is the name of the standard, right?

    The OOXML the scope refers to is the file format used by Microsoft Office. From the start, the ECMA committee was constrained by a single vendor’s product: Microsoft Office. That’s pretty open isn’t it?

    Please. This whole thing is a farce.

  22. Rufus Polson

    You folks responding to viral are missing the point. Viral, responding to claims which seem accurate regarding the impossibility of implementing OOXML, tries to say that ODF is the same because OpenOffice and KOffice don’t as a matter of fact both implement ODF completely.
    Note the key difference here. The original article explains why OOXML can’t be implemented properly due to its inherent nature, and describes some issues. Viral claims that ODF “can’t” be implemented properly, but offers as evidence only the fact that KOffice currently doesn’t. That isn’t even *evidence* regarding the nature of the standard. When people try to pass off category errors as arguments, you know they’re not arguing in good faith but trying to propagandize you.

  23. Microsoft Standing Firm On OOXML ISO Vote - L0k1

    [...] its submission of Office Open XML as an ISO standard. Open standards advocate Russell Ossendryver takes a look at those responses to see if Microsoft has made significant changes in either the substance of [...]

  24. Jose_X

    Viral Tarpara:

    You offer no specificity for allegations nor challenge head on the many good points made in the article.

    I found this bit particularly interesting:
    >> You also fail to full appreciate the complexities of the of the political and business implications of not having OpenXML as an ISO standard, maybe it those reason have not been articulated to you.

    I wish you would indeed articulate some of these reasons out here for us in the open.

    >> You also mislead people by saying that OpenXML’s fasttrack process was inappropriate. Do you even know what “fast-track” means in the entire ISO process? I will tell you. Fast-track means that the spec was developed outside of ISO technical committee and can be submitted by outside standards organizations like ECMA and ITU-T.

    The author starts one section: “From the start OOXML was inappropriate for Fast-Track processing”. This section comes near the end after many of the problems with OOXML have been covered.

    I don’t think the intention was to say that fast track was accepted by ISO illegally. I think the intention was that this *particular* candidate standard was not a good choice for fast track because of the many deficiencies it came with. The proof in the pudding is that a very large number of problems have been found with it even during the very short fast track process.

    We are talking about creating standards whose purpose is to help interoperability as much as is reasonably possible. This is why ISO standards usually evolve a bit slower than the market place and advance piece-meal wise with as little duplication and wasted efforts as possible. If we had been talking about the market place, where businesses sometimes bundle weak components (sometimes a lot of them) with strong components in order to gain financially, then we’d have a different bowl of soup.

    As for helping out interoperability, where is the very important open source proof of concept reference implementation? It’s amazing anyone would argue that OOXML is ready when it is approx 10 times larger than ODF, yet ODF had a very good reference implementation (not sure if it was perfect, but it was close) while OOXML has nothing of the sort.

    And related is the issue of conformancy. Note that Openoffice implements the vast majority of ODF. [I'm assuming it isn't 100%, but I don't know.] OOXML defines conformancy in a very weak manner (see http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/01/standard-trolls.html ), so I expect a reference implementation to go way beyond this weak definition or, better yet, scrap the weak definition since the goal should be to have conforming products be very interoperable. We are talking about ISO approval not marketing gimmicks.

    >> Did you ever stop to consider that OpenXML’s documentation was so long because that’s how many features are actually in the suite of applications?

    Why is OOXML so big? So much of it overlaps with existing standards, principally with ODF, but also with W3C and other existing XML based standards. Or so that’s the impression I get.

    The ODF people did their homework before taking ODF to ISO. ODF takes less space because it leverages existing standards (though it might not have done so as much as it could have). This means there is a modest amount of new information that is introduced.

    The OOXML people and ECMA did NOT do their homework. The standard is huge and fails to make use of existing standards in many obvious cases, or at least to show that the same effect could not be achieved by them relying more on existing standards (like ODF).

    OOXML being (approx) 10 times longer than ODF would lead many to conclude, at least judging by this metric only, that OOXML should take 10 times longer than ODF for ISO approval. Complex interdependencies though might mean that it might take more than 10 times as long. Note that OOXML has a lot more than 10 times the issues ODF had within a comparable period of time before ISO. [or so I hear]

    Words are cheap. It’s more difficult to express the same amount of information and effect in fewer words than it is to do so with more words. Don’t judge by quantity but rather by quality (mainly consistency and precision).

    The OOXML effort should try to improve ODF. It should not be seeking to add a bunch more noise to existing standards.

    Fast track does NOT mean automatic approval. Otherwise, this would be called ECMA and not ISO.

    >> Your “facts” are absolutely and completely incorrect regarding preserving the billions of legacy documents.

    I can’t tell what “facts” you are referring to. Please detail.

    >> You fail to talk about the fact that ODF can’t fully be implemented by any other office suite even with regard to some of the most basic feature sets.
    >> Have you seen the nightmares involved with manipulating full fidelity documents with OpenOffice and K-Office?

    Feel free to give examples. Because Openoffice and Koffice are open source, either one of these coming up with an implementation makes it much easier for the other and every other group on the planet to do so too. But please, feel free to give examples.

    It would be interesting to contrast the ODF deficiencies with those of OOXML ..with specifics. And you can choose the level at which to discuss this: theory about the standards themselves or the existing practice out in the market place.

    >> You also fail to mention that the fact that accessibility groups have nothing but fear of an ODF world because of the poorly specified guidelines.

    What I remember is that initial fears some groups had when Massachusettes was going through it’s bit a while back were relieved to a large degree once they realized what was actually going on.

    Please explain the following piece of reality that seems to contradict what you might be insinuating: How does some (allegedly missing and) unspecified accessibility features in ODF keep accessibility applications away from ODF when Microsoft’s past formats were all closed yet this very closed MSOffice has third party plugins for accessibility?

    The main reason ODF is behind in these features I think has to do with the relative small market share of ODF relative to that of existing closed MS formats. This is a market situation and not a document format problem. This isn’t to say that ODF can’t improve accessibility support. For example, ODF takes advantage of some open W3C specs already, and the W3C has some well-defined accessibility standards in place and in widespread use (through HTML) that ODF might be able to use. If this happens, this would be the sort of borrowing of existing open standards that ODF does so much better than OOXML.

    >> Why not discuss the fact that every single functional deficiency that the ODF spec currently has will require multiple technical reviews and updates…v1.1 v1.2 v1.3+

    You should try and be more specific here.

    What I see is that with existing functionality, ODF is fairly clean. OOXML duplicates existing functionality and gets it wrong oftentimes (in terms of inconsistencies).

    As for the new functionality, perhaps once OOXML has been cleaned out over the upcoming years, the truly new features will be able to be incorporated into ODF. ECMA (with OOXML) and OASIS (and W3C and anyone else) can play an important role in coming up with this new material for future adoption by the existing ISO document standard ODF.

    Another important thing to consider is to what extent should an ISO standard leave so many holes for undocumented binary features to make their way into products that supposedly would be conformant and supposedly should interoperate as much as possible.

    >> Microsoft is trying to preserve the customer’s need to access legacy document while allowing them to move past the limitations of a binary format.

    How in the world does NOT specifying legacy binary bits and pieces help the customer? It seems to me that all that this does is to continue to keep customers artificially locked-in to MS Office applications.

    Openoffice does a decent job of interpreting past MSO formats, saving them to ODF. Given that this is a reverse-engineering effort, Microsoft (unless extremely incompetent in some capacity) should be able to do a much better mapping given that only they know both their closed formats and the open ODF.

    >> How about this, instead of writing about what you hear on the web, why don’t you do some fact-checking as well as information gathering. After that, do some due diligence and ask someone as Microsoft about what’s up. I’ll gladly volunteer my time and we can have a healthy and open debate.

    What specifically do you disagree with? You are very short on specifics. I think we would all like to have that open dialogue. That’s one of the reasons this article was written.

    >> send me an email or call me if you’d like to chat.

    I hope you aren’t trying to move this from an open forum (such as is this publicly accessible website with feedback comments enabled) into closed door discussions.

    I hope this [ >> You also fail to full appreciate the complexities of the of the political and business implications of not having OpenXML as an ISO standard, maybe it those reason have not been articulated to you. ] has nothing to do with it. If there is going to be $$$ spread around, I want my crack at it. If there is $$$ going to be pulled back, I want to know about it.

    There is much more money and political points to be made outside of Redmond headquarters if the Microsoft office suite monopoly is not supported explicitly by an ISO standard.

  25. bbyak

    It’s not “XLS: FO”, it’s XSL-FO.

  26. Jose_X

    To hAI:

    >> It seems evident dat MS Office 2007 is a better implementation of OOXML then there is an ODF implementation in existence.

    How did you reach this conclusion?

    But the issue is not can Microsoft implement their own standard. A better question is can anyone else and where is the bar located? If the bar is too low then perhaps anyone can, but what use would that be? [ http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/01/standard-trolls.html ]

    >> Also you suggest that to implement OOXML you need a lot more information then is in the spec. That applies much more to ODF which actually required the full OOo sourcecode to implement it and even then it seems impossible to create interoperable implementations.

    How did you reach this conclusion (that ODF needs more source code references than OOXML does, in fact, that it requires all of Openoffice source code)?

    Or can you even name any part of ODF that requires Openoffice source?

    Now, you might be right about needing source code in general. It’s very difficult to specify something (semantics) without leaving any room for doubt. That is a major reason reference implementations exist. ODF has Openoffice. What does OOXML have?

    So the good news for ODF is that if you do in fact need the source code from Openoffice you have it.

    Then the bad news for OOXML would be that if you do need the source code from MSOffice you don’t have it.

    >> You state that Microsoft retains the right to veto any changes that are proposed in TC45. That is actually a lie…

    I don’t know the rules; however, I think that national voting memberships changed drastically right before the ISO OOXML voting while nothing of the sort happened for the ODF case. That to me speaks volumes.

    >> You suggest that there is a lot of difference between versions of OOXML but actually as far as I know this is actually the issue of ODF which has the original v1.0 version, the v1.0 second edition version which is similar to the ISO and the ODF v1.1 non ISO version and of course the ODF version which is actually non complient with any of the of the 3 official standard versions. So what you are suggesting as a future for OOXML is actually the current situation with ODF.

    Well, I think the author to a large degree was talking about the current situation with OOXML (looking ahead just a bit perhaps). And even so, did you miss that he counted more for OOXML than you did for ODF which has been around longer than OOXML?

    The reason multiple existing versions might be used as an argument is that Microsoft claims there are many groups that implement OOXML, but we have to ask ourselves, what OOXML are they talking about? ODF exists and is stable for the time being. ODF proponents can say this. They can talk about the commitments to implement ODF and about the ongoing work. The OOXML proponents aren’t in that same position. OOXML is currently a moving target. You can’t say that this moving target has been widely adopted unless you are being untruthful or using a very strange meaning for words. [Of course, the only reason they partially get away with that language in the first place is because of the very low conformancy bar that OOXML sets.. which means products will be that much less likely to be able to interoperate than through ODF.]

    But let’s get to what really matters…

    Implicit in the article may have been that Openoffice is a reference implementation for ODF, is open source.

    It’s not a big deal in a competitive market place to have version upgrades of standards (especially if they are infrequent upgrades, do not break backwards compatibility, or if the products are fairly static (eg, typical hardare products)). It is a big deal when the standard basically belongs to a closed source monopolist.

    If Openoffice or any other open source implementation of ODF (or of some hypothetical OOXML for that matter) ever achieved monopoly status, it would most likely be because of its quality and low cost, not because of the inability for competing products to interoperate.

    Having a closed source monopoly, however, means that such a “standard” that it claims to follow is irrelevant. If as a competitor you don’t implement MS-OOXML (with bugs and all) in your product (a virtual impossibility), you don’t interoperate with MS Office. The monopoly status then pressures your implementation out the door (even if it was a perfect implementation of some hypothetical perfect standard).

    So regardless of any merits in OOXML (or not), ISO finds itself in the position to approve a standard that will be meaningless because only one necessarily buggy implementation of it can currently exist to any meaningful extent.

    For ISO to do this, it should find that OOXML is truly spectacular, so spectacular to warrant throwing away all the standards setting work done on ODF and all the industry work done on ODF implementations with the belief that even more could be achieved through this new standard.

    Given that OOXML is the format where the closed source monopolist has a vast lead over everyone else, I think this greatly handicaps OOXML (ignoring normal merits/flaws) if the goal of ISO is to promote the growth of open standards and of competition around these open standards.

    >> Remember that ODF sailed trough ISO in 9 months whereas a descision on OOXML wil only be reached in march about 16 months after submission of the spec and also that the spec has recieved more scrutiny than any spec (certainly a lot more than ODF)

    Some standards are cleaner and easier to digest and make consistent than is the case for others.

    Part of the reason ODF is cleaner and was easier to digest was that it was in the public view for longer than OOXML was before it got submitted for ISO approval. This means more time was spent fixing it ahead of time and more trust was acquired.

    There are many other differences, like that Openoffice has been open source for many years while OOXML has no such counterpart to this day. This is crucial in establishing that the spec can in fact be implemented and in helping to clarify ambiguities. OOXML doesn’t even have a test suite to partially offset this gross omission.

    Simply, OOXML was introduced into ISO through ECMA in a very uncooked state. It has a lot of ambiguities and hand waving which exist, to no small part, because of the missing test suites and reference implementations.

    The best thing ECMA can do is to take OOXML back, clean it up, break it up, and see what parts still remain that can be used to augment and improve upon ODF, which is the existing ISO document standard. That would be the appropriate way to handle the situation I think.

    Microsoft seems to be trying to apply its own low standards it uses in its products during the initial versions to how ISO should deal with low versioned specs of its standards. I think that is missing the mark on Microsoft’s part by quite a bit. Sun didn’t try and push Java through ISO, in part, because of the high requirements ISO can put on candidate standards. [Maybe Sun also didn't think it had the monopoly leverage to buy off enough votes.] ISO has a tradition of not being at the cutting edge but of trying to be a bit conservative and as precise and consistent as possible. I don’t think Microsoft recognizes this appropriately.

    >> Your entire post seems full with halftruth or even blatant untruths to show your point.

    I hope I helped clarify some issues for you. The article is actually much longer than your post or mine (especially when the referenced links are included), yet you addressed very little of it with specificity. Surely, there might be *some* mistakes made.

    Read the clarifications (or alternate viewpoints) that have been made and then see if you still think the article is “full” with halftruths or with blatant untruths?

    I found some problems with your suggestions and unfair comparisons as well as with the lack of evidence presented.

    >> what you are failing to mention is that OOXML has a superieur packaging format (OPC) allows tight integration between math and office functionality amking that superieur to ODF’s mathML embedding, uses DrawingML which is much more complete and usefull than the semi-noncompatible-SVG support of ODF

    You mention superior many times without any reference studies or concrete reasons so that someone can actually believe you. But let’s assume you are correct. You don’t pass 6000+ pages of mostly scrap or duplicated effort because somewhere within those 6000+ pages lie a few tens of or maybe even a few hundreds of pages that are actually new or an improvement over what currently exists.

    Again, the good stuff (if any exists) should be submitted for augmenting the existing ISO document standards.. or a better reason than hand waiving should be given as to why a whole new standard is needed, in which case, OOXML doesn’t seem to be it, at least not in its current very flawed form.

    >> allowing for backwards compatiblity is actually what customers of Office software want and that ignoring backwards compatibility is seen a a big mistake in ODF

    The past MS formats are closed formats. It will be up to Microsoft and no one else to open up those secrets to the world. If they do and if they incorporate these current secrets into a proper form and into a proper standard, then everyone will benefit. If they don’t, then we won’t benefit. ODF backers couldn’t do it. Microsoft can but isn’t.

    Certainly, I don’t see why we would ISO stamp something that is closed up. ..ISO stamp something that is closed up? You were kidding weren’t you? I mean, if we ignore the backwards compat angle, then maybe we can say that it falls outside the scope of the particular open spec (eg, ODF), but if you want to use compat as an argument, as a reason for even considering burdening ISO with a mostly duplicate standard, then I think you have to AT A MINIMUM open it up first, don’t you think? Hello? Open standards. Open. Open. Don’t use as a lever something that you are not opening up in the spec.

    “Hey doctor, certify this dead goose of mine as alive, won’t you? It may be dead in reality, but it sure is very compatible with the many existing also dead geese.. so please certify it as alive.”

    Only something like a monopolist would be so arrogant as to expect that they could keep closed within their candidate standard the information necessary for interoperability yet have this standard be branded open by the largest open standards organization in the world, all the time making reference to superior interoperability that only they can provide but do not detail in the standard.

    “Here, I am a monopolist. Sign on the dotted line. It matters not what the document says. The world needs me so do whatever I say.”

  27. Robert

    “Microsoft Standing Firm On OOXML ISO Vote”

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/12/2239224

  28. Reverend Egg Plant

    I find it odd that people still refer to Microsoft’s proposed standard as “Open XML.” It is far from open, as only Microsoft can fully implement their standard. Really, I’d prefer that people refer to it as what it really is: Microsoft’s Office XML.

    It’s all such a farce. Let’s call a spade a spade and be done with it. Really, this is the most cutting argument against making Office XML an ISO standard. When only one American software corporation can implement the standard to its fullest extent, how can anyone call it an international open standard at all?

  29. John Wilson

    “You fail to talk about the fact that ODF can’t fully be implemented by any other office suite even with regard to some of the most basic feature sets. Have you seen the nightmares involved with manipulating full fidelity documents with OpenOffice and K-Office?”

    Well, I’ll admit it’s not easy with the current editions of both, Viral, but at the same time you’re ignoring something very important.

    K-Office has been, for the past year, working on moving from the current release to one that works in KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1 due mid year. Implementing ODF in full has taken a back seat to that effort (rightly or wrongly) in the current version of K-Office until the new one appears in the spring.

    The new version will fully implement ODF and at that time full fidelity between OpenOffice and K-Office will be a piece of cake. It already is in alpha test.

    So, whatever your problems with the article please don’t demonstrate your ignorance too much by ignoring what is happening in the real world. Particularly when it doesn’t fit your arguments.

    ttfn

    John

  30. Stephane Rodriguez

    hal said “what you are failing to mention is that OOXML has a superieur packaging format (OPC) allows tight integration between math and office functionality”

    1) OPC is just a way to describe relationships between parts. It’s kind of metadata if you will. As such, it has nothing to do with the parts themselves. So your reference to maths and other things is irrelevant.

    2) OPC is an inferior specification. It includes evil “implicit relationships”, a mechanism by which a part depends on another without making it explicit by way of relationship parts (entries in the ZIP files ending with .rels). The consequence is that it is impossible for a application to determiniscally build a tree of dependencies among parts. For instance, if you are willing to delete a part, there is no way to know if this is going to corrupt the entire file.

    Of course OPC is a mess unless you are Microsoft. Obviously, those who own the source code of Microsoft Office have a trivial mean to know which implicit part relates to which other part : they just have to look at the source code. This excludes everybody else from doing the same reliably and determiniscally. ECMA 376 does not address this (ECMA 376 Part 1, fundamentals, only addresses EXPLICIT relationships, not implicit relationships).

    The consequence is that the number of Office 2007 documents that will be manipulated by third parties will continue to be corrupted as much as binary files. For the exact same reason by the way.

    This kind of fundamental issue was raised in my article OOXML is defective by design.

  31. hAl

    [quote]The consequence is that it is impossible for a application to determiniscally build a tree of dependencies among parts[/quote]

    Complete bullshit.
    The combination of .rels files and the actual XML data files have more information than the combination of ODF’s manifest files and XML data files with less duplication of information.

    In OOXML you can verify for each part where it is referenced without opening the possibly large data parts by simply opening the very small .rels files in the package.

    Also .rels files can be used to fully understand the entire relationships between all the files in a package. In ODF you need to parse the entire package for that.

  32. Stephane Rodriguez

    Well, this really shows how much of it you are implementing. Exactly ZERO percent.

    First of all, I am talking about implicit relationships. .rels are irrelevant for building the tree whenever there are implicit relationships since by definition an implicit relationship is not an explicit relationship.

    We are left with what you call “the actual XML data files have more information than the combination of ODF’s manifest files and XML data files with less duplication of information.”

    The last part of your sentence is just some random and bogus rant against ODF. Anytime someone brings a flaw in OOXML, there is always some jerk taking the opportunity to come around with ODF, as if it made the flaw in OOXML less a flaw.

    Really poor logic. We are talking about OOXML here, in case you did not know.

    Now for the first part of the sentence. You mean all the information is there. Well, that’s something you have to prove first of all. Since OOXML files are created by Microsoft Office and that Microsoft does not give the source code of this program, I have no idea how you can claim that ALL the data you need is in the file. What is the evidence? Can you name a reference non-Microsoft implementation?

    That leaves us with the main issue, which is the fact that with implicit relationships you don’t know where to look for the dependencies because it’s completely random. Any part can depend on another part by any tag the designer of the file wanted to make it work. In case you don’t understand what I mean, by any tag I mean anything other than r:id or r:embed (tags used for explicit relationships).

  33. Nadi

    That is all the OOXML folks can do, its impossible to defend OOXML because of all the problems so they attack ODF like children would do. This is not about ODF, this is about OOXML which is being stuffed threw the standards process and in the current state, does not qualify.

    Look maybe ODF is not perfect, but it is developed by consensus and developable and that is what Open Standards are about. Not one company pushing its own agenda. And to top it off, many including IBM’s Bob Sutor on several occasion have invited MS to join in on the development of ODF so the global community can benefit. But no MS is only interested in M$

  34. hAl

    [quote]Any part can depend on another part by any tag the designer of the file wanted to make it work[/quote]

    The relation ship files within an OOXML file should contain all of of its relationships with other internal and external fileparts.

    I am not sure why you claim that it contains implicit relationships that you are unable to find using the .rels files.

    If you read in all of the relationship files of an OOXML file (which could easily be as little as 1% of the file) you should have an accurate map of all the file-elements and their relationships.

  35. Greg Smith

    This is a good discussion. But apart from having online discussions, is there anything the average person can to try to stop Microsoft? I am in the US. Can I write to some government organization? Not that they would listen to me vs. the billions in Microsoft money, but at least I/we can try. Could some of you who know this issue well tell me what I can do to help?

  36. Nadi

    Hi Greg

    In the USA write to ANSI: http://www.ansi.org/ Email: info@ansi.org Sorry I do not have a direct contact.

    Here is a list of all National Standard Bodies and contact information, http://www.noooxml.org/delegations

    Hope that helps

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