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It’s Unofficially Official: OOXML is Now Deprecated

Posted in ECMA, FSF, Microsoft, Open XML at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

The ‘end of life’ milestone has been reached by OOXML, which is already fragmented, inconsistent, and was never complete anyway. It’s a farce, a decoy. You may also enjoy this new article from the FSFE. It explains why OOXML may be deprecated even before its use.

Simultaneously, ECMA addresses this in Response 34 of its proposed Disposition of Comments by removing all references to idiosyncrasies from the specification and placing them in a newly formed Annex for deprecated information. With the removal of this information from the DIS-29500, the design goal of MS-OOXML can no longer be met. The entire specification has therefore effectively become obsolete.

Microsoft can still join the side which includes everyone but Microsoft. It’s the side which comprises supporters of the international document standard. Microsoft has already shown sign of defecting away from OOXML, or at least considering duality. This is said to be inevitable (Walli thinks so), so why procrastinate?

The longer Microsoft pushes for OOXML, the more abuse the world will identify and report (consider examples from only hours ago [1, 2, 3]). It badly hurts Microsoft’s public image whenever it gets caught with its pants down like this. It’s time to call it quits.

OOXML data vacuum

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  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 12:18 am


    >The ‘end of life’ milestone has been reached by OOXML
    At least as a open standard. It lives on in Office 2007, but more as a non-open standard.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 12:28 am


    BTW, I’d say that anything that is in Office 2007 that is not part of the ODF standard can be implemented as extensions to ODF. In other words, if Microsoft absolutely must have support for VBA and IRM, for example, implementing it as an extension to ODF is better than creating a completely different standard (le OOXML) for that.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 1:04 am


    > At least as a open standard. It lives on in Office 2007,
    > but more as a non-open standard.

    Yes, “corpus porkus”, as Open Malaysia puts it.

    > BTW, I’d say that anything that is in Office 2007 that is not
    > part of the ODF standard can be implemented as extensions to ODF.

    Yes, that’s precisely the key point which is being raised here. I included a citation to evidence that Microsoft considers pulling over its binary mishmash over to an ODF ‘skeleton’. I posted another item earlier tonight and it included more citations of relevance to this.

  4. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 1:27 am


    BTW, here is an interesting coincidence: Both NT 4 and Linux 2.0 was released in 1996, Windows 2000 and Linux 2.2 was both released in 1999.

  5. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 1:47 am


    On the matter of ECMA-234, Win32 existed even before Win95 was released. Win32 existed since Windows NT 3.1. So ECMA-234 was going to be obsolete even as it was being developed.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 1:57 am


    OOXML contains legacy as part of the ‘standard’, IIRC, but they separate the two bits (deprecated binned in a separate ‘basket’) in order to deceive, in order to conceal.

  7. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 2:58 am


    I think the final straw to OOXML will come when OOXML is rejected as a standard by the ISO.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 3:09 am


    Assuming that happens at all. I count on:

    1. The EC’s intervention; and
    2. Last-minute ‘smoking guns’, such as this new one

    if you have a Slashdot account, please consider giving it a kick, shall time permit.

  9. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 19, 2008 at 3:15 am


    BTW, on the matters of ECMA-234, I read that MS opposed it.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 3:47 am


    In OOXML or in general?

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