12.23.07

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OOXML Causes Trouble in the Business World

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Doors still closed to proprietary OOXML

As we already know, OOXML files are rare. In fact, they are so rare that it’s unreasonable to use that format. Microsoft has tried to enforce its use by ending the availability of Office 2007 predecessors, but quietly enough it actually enables businesses to ‘downgrade’ their software (to XP and Office 2003). This was reported quite recently and its the result of continued customer backlash. Without plug-ins or new default file formats that rely on user innocence, OOXML is likely to be rejected for quite some time. It’s the big opportunity for ODF.

The following new article from the Korea Times demonstrates the issue.

Think of the productivity cost of millions like him having to adjust to a new system. Moreover, his coworkers couldn’t read the Microsoft Word files that he sent them in the new “.docx” format. They wrote back and asked him to resend files in the older “.doc” format ― which might not have worked if he had inadvertently used some new-fangled formatting feature.

Let us return to the GNOME Foundation and ask ourselves why it is helping Microsoft’s OOXML increase market penetration. It seems insane. OOXML is in a losing position, but it’s getting help from the FOSS world. Danijel Orsolic (Webmaster of Libervis) has just posted a good comment to express his feelings about this:

I’m not so deeply in-the-know about this whole issue, but I have been following it for a while, and I mostly tend to agree with what Charles says here.

I can’t possibly believe OOXML is an open standard and I can’t possibly believe that it’s propagation is in ANY way good or necessary in light of the increased ODF adoption. So excuse me to say this as a layman, the *user*, the one in the *market* who will be forced to deal with the consequences of what GNOME and others do here, but I see a lot of nonsense going on and am not in the least surprised that some people believe “conspiracy theories” like those on Boycott Novell.

It sometimes seems to me as if people get into some sort of a suspense mode and totally start ignoring certain memes which have been around for so long that they’re practically common sense. How the hell can you trust in ANY sort of collaboration with Microsoft or giving in to Microsoft just because they are ubiquitous and expect not to get hurt?

Why can’t we stick to our own damn guns? Remember? Free Software, Open Standards? If you ask me the whole “interoperability” thing is just an MS-serving FUD. Supporting OOXML is not about interoperability. How can supporting a closed standard be for interoperability when the whole idea of a closed standard is diametrically opposed to the idea of interoperability!

So I’m sorry if I’m starting to believe that some in our community have simply been played by Microsoft and Novell and that Microsoft IS actually getting what they want. If it wasn’t this way why are we even having this discussion? Step back and think, why are we finding ourselves worried about *ourselves* playing their game at all?

ODF is better. Free Software is better. Stick to it and don’t freaking give in!

You can ignore this comment as a rant of an “uninformed”, but I assure you it will keep popping up. As Charles well said, in this community users are equal to the mighty developers and “luminaries” of the community. Free Software is an user-oriented movement.

And guess what. I’m a user, a very concerned and involved one as well!

Thank you.

Thank you, Danijel, for acknowledging what many others simply refuse to see.

OOXML patent issue prompt

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