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12.22.07

OOXML: Both a Patent Mess and a Technical Mess

Posted in Asia, ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, SCO, Standard at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following new report about China’s UOF tells an interesting story.

While the total conversion potential was roughly equal in the case of both UOF/ODF and UOF/OOXML, conversions in either direction between UOF and ODF were found to be significantly easier to accomplish than with UOF and OOXML.

[...]

So what can be done? The most obvious way to avoid an unending series of standards wars – assuming that there is still time to do so – is for IT standards development organizations to try much harder to avoid the adoption of standard that require onerous financial and other licensing terms.

There are several points to be made here:

  1. The patent trouble that is embodied in OOXML is being acknowledged by more and more nations
  2. The inelegance of OOXML is proving to be a technical barrier
  3. Convergence is seen as crucial, but only one company (and its bought proxies) stands in the way

More can be learned by reading the article above in full. Meanwhile, Microsoft is trying to essentially hide all that ugly OOXML cruft. It hopes that nobody will notice that its incomplete specifications have proprietary extensions, serious bugs, an issue of human-readability and many other deficiencies. Here are some of the gory details.

Microsoft moves the hot potatoes in a ‘deprecated’ basket

[...]

Moving the hot potato in an ‘optional’ annex is not a solution. The solution is to remove those horrors out of the standard, not to sideline with a solution that please the vendor.

GNU on televisionIn the post cited above, ECMA is rightly described as a proxy. Microsoft loves to hide its presence behind seemingly-independent agents. We find this in analysts, in lawsuits and attacks, and even secrets payments made to SCO. There are heaps of examples, but that’s beyond the scope of this post. The only thing to be aware of is that there is media control which discriminates against Free software [1, 2, 3], all on behalf of wealthy sponsors.

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