EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.18.08

Uh Oh! Microsoft Already Supports OpenDocument Format?

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We should dedicate a cross-group team to come up with ways to leverage Windows technically more.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

How quickly things change. Several months ago, Stephen Walli, a former a Microsoft manager and also a consultant/advisor to them, said that Microsoft would need to support ODF. He argued that this was inevitable. Are we beginning to see first signs of this prophecy materialising? It sure looks like it. [via Andy Updegrove]

Also, if individual governments mandate the use of ODF instead of Open XML, Microsoft would adapt, Knowlton said. The company would then implement the missing functionality that ODF doesn’t support. However, those extensions would be custom-designed and outside of the standard, which is counter to the idea of an open document standard, Knowlton said. “Disastrous? No. But definitely not preferable,” he said.

It is worth adding that Microsoft took a similar approach in the adoption of next-generation DVD formats. Even though it backed Toshiba’s HDDVD and may have issued a fat cheque (bribe) to support Toshiba, Microsoft also said that if Sony’s Blu-ray wins, it will support it. These claims were made earlier this year and then again approximately a week ago. The funny thing is that earlier this week Microsoft jumped at the press again and claimed this a to be mistake made by a Microsoft spokesman. Microsoft surely realised that this was damaging to its attempt to save HDDVD amid a stunning defeat.

OOXML is badThe same goes for ODF and OOXML in this case. The quote above shows that Microsoft is already looking at the possibility of supporting, implementing and incorporating ODF. It makes it clear that this is doable, but the company is very cautious with its use of words. If it utters something which can be perceived as ODF endorsement, ISO can reject OOXML and claim that ODF (plus the extensions that Microsoft speaks about in this case) may be sufficient, rendering OOXML totally obsolete. Standards should be unified, single, universal. By putting opaque extensions in a "deprecated basket", Microsoft has just made ECMA-OOXML simply a duplicate candidate, which surely should be rejected.

Mark those word from Microsoft’s Knowlton. They will be very handy in the future. Essentially, Microsoft has just shown willingness to deviate from its broken formats (OOXML). The aim is of course to keep its cash cow (Microsoft Office) relevant to a wider audience. It hopes to conquer even countries where ODF is strictly required. What this means to interoperability is a separate matter worth discussing in isolation.

Early in the week we spoke about the Dutch group which demanded access to old and increasingly-deprecated binary formats. This is required for easing the migration from Microsoft Office binaries to ODF. The group appears to be getting its way at the moment if Groklaw’s suppositions are in fact correct. But there is also a big catch.

There’s nothing like an EU Commission investigation to get Microsoft to open up a little, is there?

[...]

Microsoft says it will make the release of the binary formats by February 15th. I don’t see how that gives anyone time to evaluate before the ballot resolution meeting at the end of February.

Whatever happens at the end, ODF is here to stay and thrive. Andy Updegrove’s words on this matter are very reassuring.

The unexpected success of ODF in the marketplace is a symptom of fundamental shifts in a maturing IT ecosystem, characterized by increasingly sophisticated and demanding end users, resurgent competition, new enabling technologies, and other forces that are largely beyond Microsoft’s control.

History teaches that monopolies in the marketplace, like empires in the broader world, are rarely sustainable over long periods of time, and ultimately fall victim to both external attack and internal weaknesses. The degree to which Microsoft’s competitors have embraced, and many Microsoft customers and national governments alike have resonated, with ODF are strong indications that the foundations upon which Microsoft’s historical dominance has been based may at last be weakening.

The most important message of this post is that Microsoft has just admitted that it can graft its ECMA-OOXML ‘extensions’ and mount them on top of the international standard, ODF. Microsoft has given yet another reason to reject simplified OOXML, which is a case of reinventing the wheel and unnecessarily fragmenting the industry.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

11 Comments

  1. peter frank said,

    January 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Gravatar

    wow, everybody is taking this open document and open source stuff, i found a blog thats its all nonsense, http://www.opentopix.com

  2. Amit said,

    January 18, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Gravatar

    great post !

    bookmarked @ http://livbit.com

  3. Andy said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Gravatar

    What are you on about exactly? Of course Microsoft supports their own standard. It’d be crazy if they didn’t. OOXML has been in use since the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007 (in form of .DOCX and the like).

  4. Andy said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Gravatar

    nevermind, I skimmed through the text too fast. Shouldn’t read and comment on stuff at 6 in the morning.

  5. AntiWindows said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s very good and great. Microsoft sucks.

  6. BuBLe_GuN said,

    January 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes!!! Linux FOREVER!!!

  7. Nephersir7 said,

    January 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Opensource FTW! We should only have to pay for hardware. Microsoft is sinking!

  8. ulric said,

    January 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re totally wrong about this, you misunderstand the use of words ‘deprecated’ and ‘extensions’.

    If Microsoft support ODF as its native format (which is what your blog post is about, since it supports it already through an open-source plug-in Microsoft sponsorts http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/ ) it would use ODF, and store anything that isn’t defined in the spec in MS-specific _extensions_. _Proprietary blocks_. Anything that you can create in Office 2007 that isn’t in the ODF spec would be in these blocks.

    The _deprecated_ blocks in OOXML, are for features from OLD VERSIONS that you can NO LONGER CREATE in new documents. That’s why they are DEPRECATED in OOXML. It’s to tell other apps to not bother reading/creating these blocks, they are only for backward compatibility with the old .doc format.

    A Native implementation of ODF in Office 2007 would contain extensions for things that are BOTH deprecated and NOT-deprecated. So it would be less specified than OOXML

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Gravatar

    ulric,

    I think that the point you somehow missed is that if you strip down all the deprecated and additional bits in OOXML, then all your are left with is a more fundamental structure of a document. This already exists and it’s the international standard we know as ODF. What Microsoft has done here is akin to replacing a white car with a vanilla white car. This harms uniformity and it is only built to accommodate the needs of one single application. Why, for example, would Microsoft create DirectX to ‘replace’ OpenGL (they are no longer participating)? It is a similar situation. It creates fragmentation and increases workload for GPU engineers.

  10. Paul said,

    April 23, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Gravatar

    I think they tried the same tactic with Internet Explorer, by extending the technology beyond the defined standards for better integration with windows, and which is why Internet Explorer is STILL broken!

  11. chris said,

    July 12, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    great effort to gett all this

What Else is New


  1. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  2. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  3. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  4. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  5. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  6. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  7. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  8. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  10. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  11. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  12. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  13. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  14. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  15. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  17. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  18. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  19. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  20. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  21. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  22. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  24. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  25. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  26. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  27. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  28. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  29. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  30. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts