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Stephane Rodriguez’s Latest on OOXML Intra-operability, Munich’s Mayor Protests Against OOXML

Posted in Europe, Formats, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cracking attempts against my Web sites continue, so I am likely to find little time to post here. It’s more severe than some previous issues.

In general, it’s all just a tad suspicious. I now find Microsoft partners like Stocholm posting on a regular basis in Linux newsgroups (most recent example here). But what is curious are not the cracking attempts, some of which were successful, but the quick response.

“Anyway, education about OOXML must carry on to combat disinformation and manufactured consent.”As soon as a site gets hacked, Microsoft Munchkins are accusing me in public of spreading malware (portraying a victim as a criminal) and trying to have my sites blacklisted. They are flooding the whole of USENET, which gets mirrored and accessed via HTTP. At times like these, I can’t help but think about Bob Sutor’s almost obsessive patching habits.

Anyway, education about OOXML must carry on to combat disinformation and manufactured consent. As a few links and articles worth reading today, consider this new technical analysis which speaks about the impossibility of OOXML interoperability.

A couple of counter examples have demonstrated that Microsoft Office document interoperability is wishful thinking at this point. The documents made available by Microsoft for direct download won’t and shouldn’t impress third-party implementers since it does not help much.

What is being shown is that in addition to missing documentation, the binary documentations sometimes conflict with the ECMA 376 documentation, itself not a full documentation of the new XML-based formats anyway.

Remember ECMA's response to such issues (hint: “I Have Never Seen a Person So Nervous and Ashamed in My Life” ).

In other good news, just days after protests from Oracle, Red Hat, Google and others, the mayor of Munich calls for abolishment of OOXML. Groklaw has a translation. Here is part of it.

Mayor of Munich opposes OOXML being made a Standard (German)

Munich’s mayor Christian Ude says in a letter to the Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, Michael Glos, he thinks there should be a clear “no” to the standardization of OOXML. The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) is currently evaluating how to vote in the ISO standardisation procedure. All the city needs, Ude indicates, is OpenDocument Format (ODF), already an ISO standard, and he believes competition is weakened by a competiting standards….

What the world needs is an industry-wide standard, not a bunch formats that are controlled and can only be implemented by one company and supported (almost properly) by just one single application on one single platform.

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  1. Victor Soliz said,

    March 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm


    Oh my, I just found the lamest issue with xls files, I still use Microsoft Excel for a very specific case, printing a margen.xls file for my brother that’s just too specific.

    Today for a totally unrelated issue, I moved a lot of fonts, including Arial out of the windows’ fonts folder in my virtual windows machine. (This was to deal with another MS problem, you can’t get rid of MS fonts in IE without this sort of thing) Anyways, today I tried to print that file and all shape sizes in the file got screwed so it was printing very big things. I had a hunch that it was because of the font files, moved them back and that fixed the issue:

    The problem is this: http://excel-tips.blogspot.com/ (Read “Square Cells in Excel”) Anyways, what happens is that there is a very good chance Excel would store shape sizes proportional to cell sizes instead of using fixed sizes. But cell sizes actually depend on Arial! So, shape sizes in the xls format actually depend on what fonts you got installed.

    I don’t have an OOXML capable spreadsheet software, but even if this serious flaw didn’t got into OOXML by inheritance, you got to wonder what sort of serious mistake went into OOXML after seeing what MS is capable to do with their file formats, and to implement OOXML you need to implement a bunch of legacy stuff so I wouldn’t be surprised if this Arial dependency was included as required…

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 16, 2008 at 8:30 pm


    Only Microsoft’s engineers know their own deficiencies well enough, not just because they get access to the source code. Remember that OOXML is not what’s implemented in Office 2007 (definitely not in Office 2009) and for interoperability purposes that will strictly required.

    I often wonder just how many embarrassments in OOXML Microsoft is well aware of while it fearfully hides them from critics, nervous that they would find out in time (thus the Fast Track process).

    See this recent bit: From the OOXML BRM: ‘I Have Never Seen a Person So Nervous and Ashamed in My Life’

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