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Microsoft’s Excel Fails at Maths Again, New Warnings About OOXML Defects

Posted in ECMA, Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME CalcA couple of nice items, one of which is a blog post and another one an article, have just been published. Together they illustrate both the ‘bugginess’ of OOXML and the office suite around which it’s actually modeled.

Let’s start with Rob Weir’s latest post, It sheds light on the huge amount of defects already found in OOXML. They remain largely unresolved while Microsoft rushes the process, breaking and bending the rules, as usual.

DIS 29500, Office Open XML, was submitted for Fast Track review by Ecma as 6,045 page specification. (After the BRM, it is now longer, maybe 7,500 pages or so. We don’t know for sure, since the post-BRM text is not yet available for inspection.) Based on the original 6,045 page length, a 5-month review by JTC1 NB’s lead to 48 defect reports by NB’s, reporting a total of 3,522 defects. Ecma responded to these defect reports with 1,027 proposals, which the recent BRM, mainly through the actions of one big overnight ballot, approved.

In case you believe that Microsoft’s OOXML is enough provided that you use Microsoft Office, question your beliefs again. For the third time in just months, a bug is find in the calculations done by Microsoft Excel. Watch in disbelief the outcome of poor quality control.

A bug in this week’s MS08-014 patch causes Excel to return zeroes instead of the correct number when certain types of macros are run within the program.

Depending on the domain in which Excel gets used, this could be critical. In some cases, such bugs can lead to death.

It was only days ago that we last identified a similar bug. Below we append several more, some of which may have expired for copyrights reasons for which only/mainly Associated Press is renowned.

Other incidents and reports of interest:

[1] Trouble In Microsoft World Over Calculator

The calculator post seems to be a reaction to a MS KnowledgeBase article titled Incorrect Calculator Results When You Use the Percent Key which implies the percent function screws up your results when you use it along with + or – in any combination. Way to go Microsoft!

[2] Microsoft Excel fails math test

Microsoft Corp.’s Excel 2007 spreadsheet program is going to have to relearn part of its multiplication table.

[3] Microsoft: Excel Bug Doesn’t Add Up

If you’ve been depending on your Microsoft Excel software to do your number crunching for you, you might want to grab a calculator and review your spreadsheets before you send the document out the door. That’s because the latest version of Excel is housing bugs that are dead set on ruining your reports.

[4] Mathematically Incorrect

So when it comes to comparing MSOOXML and ODF v1.0 on the basis of the inclusion of “Formula Definitions”, it becomes clear that the anti-ODF folk have not much to shout about. In fact MSOOXML’s “Formula Definition” is deficient and inaccurate.

[5] The Formula for Failure

As I’ve shown, in the rush to write a 6,000 page standard in less than a year, Ecma dropped the ball. OOXML’s spreadsheet formula is worse than missing. It has incorrect formulas that, if implemented according to the standard may cause loss of life, property and capital. This standard is seriously messed up. And shame on all those who praised and continue to praise the OOXML formula specification without actually reading it.

If you are aware of more such incidents and error, please shout out and share the knowledge.

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A Single Comment

  1. Shamim said,

    March 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm


    Thanks for including my article of Microsoft calculator confusion.

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