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. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  2. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms



  3. Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  4. Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do



  5. Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property...

    Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts



  6. Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won't Respect Access to Information Either

    The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn't novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 17, 2020



  8. Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 16, 2020



  10. Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  12. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  13. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  14. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  16. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  17. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend



  18. Today's EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

    Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 14, 2020



  20. One Need Only Look at ZDNet's 'Linux' Section to Understand It's a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

    A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on



  21. Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

    Links for the day



  22. The Uselessness of Social Control Media and Why We Need RSS Feeds' Resurgence More Than Ever

    Social control media became pure noise or misinformation, usually in pursuit of financial expansion alone, and it is also a censorship machine which discourages not falsehoods but unconventional thinking



  23. Another New 'Clown' for the UPC 'Circus'

    A former writer of IPPro Magazine (which seems to be defunct now) reports another shuffle -- perhaps the fifth in a few years -- of "IP" [sic] Minister for the UK; it doesn't bode well for the Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 13, 2020



  25. Links 13/2/2020: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, Septor 2020, Endless OS 3.7.7, Wayland 1.18.0, KDE Plasma 5.18 and GTK 3.98 Released

    Links for the day



  26. The Microsoft Propaganda Model

    Classic new examples (real screenshots) of how Microsoft-funded media entraps people looking for information about "Linux" to actually push Microsoft talking points and marketing, cover-up, face-saving lies etc.



  27. What's Evil is Forcing People to Use Something They Don't Want and Typically Dislike

    The difference between Google Search and Microsoft is that many people actually want to use Google (and don't have to)



  28. 2020: The Year Microsoft Became Honest... About Being Corrupt and Criminal

    Microsoft is destroying any past attempts to portray itself as a reformed company or 'recovering criminal'; nothing is really changing and everyone has noticed



  29. Free Software is Being Abandoned by Opponents of Software Patents and It's Being Attacked by Patent Trolls

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is rotting away as an advocate against software patents; Patents on algorithms are still being granted (even when courts repeatedly reject these) and Red Hat's Chief Patent Counsel remains Manny Schecter, one of the loudest proponents of such patents (citing the likes of Adam Mossoff this week, in effect Koch operatives); this is a very big problem because Free software projects come under a barrage of lawsuits, using patents like those IBM lobbies ferociously to legitimise



  30. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 12, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 12, 2020


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