“There won’t be anything we won’t say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go.”
–Bill Gates (Microsoft’s CEO at the time)
Andy Updegrove has just completed and published the 5th installment of his excellent, in-progress eBook. In this chapter he explains what practically separates standards from non-standards — namely diversity and choice.
One of the two articles of faith that Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn embraced in drafting their evolving Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) was this: products built to “open standards” are more desirable than those that aren’t. Superficially, the concept made perfect sense – only buy products that you can mix and match. That way, you can take advantage of both price competition as well as a wide selection of alternative products from multiple vendors, each with its own value-adding features. And if things don’t work out, well, you’re not locked in, and can swap out the loser and shop for a winner.
Do remember that no software supports OOXML as it is laid out for ECMA. Not even Microsoft Office 2007 supports it, but Office is closest to matching these specifications, which Microsoft is likely to just ignore in the future in the name of more ‘features’ (more undocumented extensions) and larger profits.
The latest Microsoft Word for Mac is hot in the news at the moment. It is important that Apple Mac users are made aware that by embracing Microsoft Word (2008), all documents of these users are then only accessible using Microsoft Word (anything else would be lossy). Microsoft controls patching, upgrade pace, and pricing, rendering the user and his/her data a hostage. SJVN has just published an article about NeoOffice, which makes a brilliant ‘escape route’ for Mac users.
So NeoOffice, while it uses the OpenOffice.org 2.2.1 code base, has been customized for Mac OS X and Aqua. It brings to the Mac essentially all of OpenOffice’s functionality, which I find is approximately the same as Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac.
The article ought to mention ODF support as well. It is a most fundamental feature that secures the data, which immediately becomes portable (cross-application and cross-platform/device). █