11.05.07

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ECMAJavascript and ECMA’s OOXML Are a Sign of Things to Come

Posted in ECMA, Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”Marie Curie

An anonymous reader contributes the following piece of analysis.


Microsoft benefits from standard bodies, then breaks/drops the standards

This is what Microsoft does, and proof of how much respect Microsoft has for standards and standards bodies: When it best suits its interests, it relies on ECMA (replace ECMA with any standards body) as has been the case with MSOOXML. On the other hand when ECMA standards are supported by the competition (like Mozilla and Javascript/ECMAScript), they try to break them (Extend, Embrace, and Extinguish) or come out with something different and utterly incompatible.

Links of interest:

Microsoft Mozilla Disagree Over JavaScripts Future

Open Letter to Chris Wilson [of Microsoft]

Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, writes:

“The history of ECMAScript since its beginnings in November 1996 shows that when Microsoft was behind in the market (against Netscape in 1996-1997), it moved aggressively in the standards body to evolve standards starting with ES1 through ES3. Once Microsoft dominated the market, the last edition of the standard was left to rot — ES3 was finished in 1999 — and even easy-to-fix standards conformance bugs in IE JScript went unfixed for eight years (so three years to go from Edition 1 to 3, then over eight to approach Edition 4). Now that the proposed 4th edition looks like a competitive threat, the world suddenly hears in detail about all those bugs, spun as differences afflicting “JavaScript” that should inform a new standard.”

It reminds me too much of the way Microsoft has recently used ECMA in order to advance their competing office format and tried to avoid/derail adoption of the (truly) open standard already approved by ISO: ODF/ISO26300.

”…they will for sure “break” the standard or drop it altogether in order to keep its monopoly…“So, even if the ISO had passed MSOOXML as ISO standard, or if it eventually does so (remember there will be a “political” ballot held in February 2008 in order to decide on MSOOXML being granted an ISO Standard, as opposed to the previous “technical” one, where MSOOXML failed miserably despite Microsoft attempts to stuff the technical committees and other various maneuvers intended to hijack the process) This recent ECMAJavascript example should serve as proof that, should at any time become convenient for Microsoft to disengage from that format in the future, they will for sure “break” the standard or drop it altogether in order to keep its monopoly and lock-in on the application market in question (In ECMA case, it is Internet Browsers, in the MSOOXML case, it is Office Productivity Suites).


Mind the following previous coverages of ours:

The first item shows that Microsoft hasn’t strong intentions of sticking to its own ‘standards’. The second is another quick analysis involving this recent development that revolves around JavaScript. It was only about a week ago in this Web site that I said I cannot trust Chris Wilson. It finally turns out that these suspicions were justified.

We have covered Microsoft’s perversion of Web standards many times before and Novell’s role in this mess is made most apparent because of their Silverlight support. They lend Microsoft a hand and essentially serve as a GPL proxy at the same time.

Novell loves the monopoly

When it comes to ‘extension’ and corruption of well-established consensus, it’s not just the Web, let alone OOXML. Think about HD/JPEG. As we have argued in the past, Microsoft will possibly have MS-DRM ‘addons’ as soon as this direction suits its financial interests. The same goes for XPS, so let’s keep our eyes open.

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6 Comments

  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    November 5, 2007 at 7:02 am

    Gravatar

    “When it comes to ‘extension’ and corruption of well-established consensus, it’s not just the Web, let alone OOXML. Think about HD/JPEG. As we have argued in the past, Microsoft will possibly have MS-DRM ‘addons’ as soon as this direction suits its financial interests.”

    I kind of disagree on that, on two fronts.

    1) Each case is enough different not to fit the same problematic. HD/JPEG is provided with the source code (builds on non-Windows OSes as well). This definitely cannot be compared with OOXML for example.

    2) MS-DRM : it’s dying by itself. No need to worry.

    3) XPS. That’s part of Windows Vista. I don’t think anyone is expecting to render this stuff the same on something else. Customers will decide if they want to use XPS or not. The network effect pretty, or lack thereof when it comes to XPS, pretty much guarantees this is not a threat for the years to come.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 5, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Gravatar

    1) Each case is enough different not to fit the same problematic. HD/JPEG is provided with the source code (builds on non-Windows OSes as well). This definitely cannot be compared with OOXML for example.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t checked how patents (if any) fit into all of this. Is Microsoft ‘donating’ something? What about JPEG2000?

    2) MS-DRM : it’s dying by itself. No need to worry.

    For music, DRM is ‘dying’ (as a whole). I’m not sure that filmmakers will permit DRM to ‘die’ quite so quickly though.

    3) XPS. That’s part of Windows Vista. I don’t think anyone is expecting to render this stuff the same on something else. Customers will decide if they want to use XPS or not. The network effect pretty, or lack thereof when it comes to XPS, pretty much guarantees this is not a threat for the years to come.

    Given Microsoft’s aggressive push to promote its own technologies (watch what they do with Silverlight at the moment), I wouldn’t be apathetic. Complacency cost a lot of companies their relevance.

  3. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    November 5, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Gravatar

    “I’ll admit that I haven’t checked how patents (if any) fit into all of this. Is Microsoft ‘donating’ something?”

    Yes, as strange as it sounds. I guess they are betting that this could have side effects, but for now both the licensing (royalty-free) and terms of use (commercial) is fine for me. And there is the full source code of the codec (cross-platform). You can easily find links to all that. Frankly, Microsoft needs more guys like that inside the borg.

    JPEG 2000? It’s inside riddled with patents. In fact, Microsoft acquired a startup called SeaDragon which implements a subset of JPEG2000. Not sure they’ll do anything with it in the future though (best play : virtual earth zooms). Relation between JPEG2000 and HD/JPEG ? None. HD/JPEG is a very simple codec. (something you can verify if you take a look at the source code). JPEG2000 is the world math wavelets (i.e. modern Fourier) : it’s a monster.

  4. Serenitude said,

    November 5, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Gravatar

    There is an excellent (but long) paper here, which discusses MS/Vista DRM technical issues, and adresses some of the points brought up here:

    http://users.bestweb.net/~pogo/vista_cost.html

  5. Zaine Ridling said,

    November 5, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Gravatar

    This is best reason for many YES votes at ISO should turn and become NO votes next Feb/March. MS-OOXML is as toasted as Vista in the market’s eyes.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 5, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Zaine,

    What’s your take on the Foundation? A source has begun reckoning that this multi-billion-dollar beast (Office) will have anything necessary simply bought, but I’m very skeptical, particularly after being in touch with the Foundation for a long time.

    I haven’t an idea if there’s a conspiracy going on which — unlike that which the Foundation describes — actually included the Foundation.It’s all becoming rather mysterious.

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