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12.14.07

OOXML: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader has just sent us a pointer to the following good blog post.

If Microsoft really cared about people’s concern with regard to the preservation of their existing files, they would have done just that: open their binary format. That’s the format that is being used, the format in which existing files are in. Opening that format would mean to fully document it and to remove any legal barrier to fully implement it.

You are strongly encouraged to remember that OOXML makes our information containers obsolete and thus inaccessible in the future (assorted references accumulated in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Any government should be able to see this and adjust its assessment criteria of formats accordingly.

OOXML is legacy, ODF is the future.

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2 Comments

  1. Robert said,

    December 14, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Gravatar

    You missed this in the acticle:

    “People don’t appear to understand that OOXML is a different format. They don’t realize that using it implies getting new software and converting all their files to the new format. They don’t understand that basically only Microsoft is in a position to reliably perform this conversion because they are the only ones to really know what’s in their binary format, which they did not open”

  2. Jose_X said,

    October 8, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Gravatar

    I added some comments over there. The title could have been:

    *Locking in Users Behind Their Backs*

    **********

    >> The reality is they need to buy Microsoft Office 2007 and, once again, open each and every one of their existing files and save them back using the new format. I was told Microsoft is working on a tool that will allow converting files in a batch mode. That sure would be helpful but does anybody think that tool will be free?

    They could do this for free since the result would be proprietary (ie, require MSOOXML office software) because then it would essentially require people to buy/use the latest MSoffice. Yes, it makes a lot of sense they’d give this away for no charge. They can instantly get everyone out there with older docs to have new dependencies and they likely would not be able to undo/unconvert the damage if they chuck their old files away.

    People would balk at paying for the invisible “utility”; however, people would pay with a lot less anger for a whole new set of bells and whistles.

    It would make sense that Microsoft make the converting process as inconspicuous as possible or even deceptively sell it. An example of the latter approach would be that they could add a software update to older MSOffices that allows the user to “Save to New Advanced Open Format” and have this save option become the new default save option. They may even try to bundle this update in with some security software update. They could also bundle it into something else that users not receiving updates might want to try out for free. And they could use this approach for all their software… Umm..

    Anyway, along with this update, they could update the older software to read some but not all of the new features just saved (so they would save to X and Y but only read back faithfully Y). In fact, they might recognize X and alert the user that a new MSOffice would be needed to unlock the power available in the new Advanced Open Format (the alert might be timed to coincide with something besides saving or opening). And maybe even have a timing mechanism so that users newly resaving/converting don’t get these messages and become suspicious.

    And by “MSOOXML” I meant something not quite OOXML and with proprietary features.

    **********

    “…not quite OOXML” ..and protected by issued patents ..sure, why not?

    [Who knows the many ways that proprietary vendors probably routinely use to help keep their users locked in to their brand of products.]

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