When logic comes together…
The previous post explained why Microsoft’s strategy is only to drag time when it comes to its unsubstantiated, unproven claims against GNU/Linux. It is very much the opposite when it comes to OOXML, which Microsoft tried to fast-track (and subversively did). The longer it’s out there in the wild, the more scrutiny it is going to fall under. And scrutiny OOXML shall have! Here is some of the latest.
OOXML: Microsoft Windows-only, Microsoft Office-only
Microsoft is striding all over the place (even spamming YouTube) to give people the illusion that OOXML makes not just a representation of a single product from a single vendor. Actual users are not buying it (neither the argument nor Microsoft’s products) and it shows.
First of all, I will like to point out that the format of documents produced by Microsoft Office 2007 is not OOXML (Ecma 376). Microsoft Office 2007 documents contains, according to my sources, many elements not specified in Ecma 376, such as binary code, macros, OLE objects, ActiveX, DRM and SharePoint metadata.
I do not own a license for Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, and I will not buy one either. It might be possible to open documents produced by Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac with iWork ‘08, iPhone or NeoOffice, but that is irrelevant. One of the major points with interoperability, is vendor independence. If I have to buy a license for Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, Microsoft has succeeded in creating a standard so difficult — not to say impossible — to implement, that users will have to buy Microsoft’s software.
As a final statement, I would like to point out that the allegations on OOXML beeing implemented in iWork ‘08, iPhone and NeoOffice are wrong.
How about macros?
The ECMA/Microsoft’s answer is not providing anything to be sure your macro will be interpreted in the same way on all platforms (Windows, Linux, OSX, Plan9, VxWorks, etc…):
ECMA is truly becoming a disgrace because every single country appears to be complaining about unreasonable excuses and no consideration from ECMA. Rather than aspiring to produce standards, ECMA becomes just a tool for fending off critics on behalf on Microsoft, which pays ECMA’s bills.
OOXML is the Past, Not the Future
It is becoming very clear that OOXML is filled with a baggage of legacy code. There is no point denying it, but since the BRM in Geneva has already been corrupted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), there is no point raising it, either.
I believe the backwards compatibility with the documents of a single vendor is totally unsuitable for an international standard. And it is impossible to verify if the OOXML formats represents legacy formats more faithfully than the existing ISO standard. Unfortunately the ISO process does not permit to raise this issue at the BRM. This seems to me an indication that the ISO process is broken as it does not offer room to discuss what really matters.
The Open Malaysia blog has some more new examples of this.
The “existing corpus of binary documents” is Ecma’s stock solution to most of Malaysia’s comments. Instead of cleaning things up, they give the impression that they are brushing things under the carpet and putting the burden of document fidelity on the shoulders of future developers instead of addressing it today. This is a fixable problem which can be handled by todays conversion software. Let’s put an end to the propagation of 20 year old bugs once and for all.
The last long post could be put under multiple different headings because it shows:
- That ECMA is indeed what some call “a Microsoft shill”
- OOXML is all about Microsoft Office
- OOXML contains a legacy mess, including software bugs
It is truly shame that the world’s standardisation framework can be not only fooled, but also corrupted like this. In case you did not realise this, the fight for OOXML is the fight for the continued relevance of Microsoft’s biggest cash cow amid serious Microsoft troubles. The company has not only lost a great deal of its cash reserves, but yesterday it also lost some of its most senior people, who abruptly quit the company, joining many others.
As several major publications (including the Wall Street Journal) have stated recently, Microsoft is fighting for its long-term survival. As such, unacceptable (even vile) behaviour is only to be expected from a multiple-time convicted monopolist which is currently under 3 separate antitrust investigations in the European Union. █
- Evidence of Microsoft Influencing OOXML Votes in Nordic States
- Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
- The OOXML Problem
- Corrupt countries were more likely to support the OOXML document format
- Microsoft accused of more OOXML standards fiddling
- Microsoft’s secretive standards orgs in Former Yugoslavia