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12.06.07

Quick Mention: Will OOXML be Compatible With Anything at All?

Posted in ECMA, Microsoft, Open XML at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This one particular discussion we have been through before, but Rob Weir has just posted a very detailed blog post that explains why getting OOXML implemented is a lost cause.

Promises have been made. Assurances have been given. Commitments have been proffered. But far less has been delivered.

[...]

So what Ecma is offering SC34 is nothing close to what was promised. Ecma is really seeking to transfer to SC34 the responsibility of spending the next 5 years fixing errors in OOXML 1.0, while future versions of OOXML (“technical revisions”) are controlled by Microsoft, in Ecma, in a process without transparency, and as should now be obvious to all, without sufficient quality controls.

The gist: OOXML is a moving target.

Related old article: Microsoft won’t commit to the open document standard it’s pushing so hard

Now consider this from Brian Jones, a Microsoft manager who has worked on OOXML for six years. In July, Jones was asked on his blog whether Microsoft would actually commit to conform to an officially standardised OOXML. His response:

?It?s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK?d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don?t know what direction they will take the formats. We?ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it?s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.?

Now that?s cynical. After all this work to make OOXML a formal, independent standard ? a standard created and promoted by Microsoft, remember ? Microsoft won?t agree to follow it.

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