03.26.08

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Applying Lessons from Web Standards to Document Standards

Posted in Antitrust, Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, Standard at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

This type of comparison which involves Web and document standards was made in this Web site several times in the past. One of the things that we study here is Novell’s work on Moonlight, which helps Microsoft 'steal' the Web with an alternative to HTML, AJAX, among other technologies, even rivals like Google who rely on Web pages being trivial to parse.

In our past writings we summarised some of Opera’s antitrust complaints about Microsoft’s deliberate abuses against Web standards (c/f [1, 2, 3, 4]). Not much has changed other than the volume of public relations stunts.

Very timely is this announcement about another “dump Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) campaign”. This was covered by The Register.

While Hudin acknowledged that two people can have the same idea, he noted that he kicked off his campaign – End 6! – last year and registered the domain name in October 2007.

“It does this by design, in order to facilitate a monopoly based on a de facto standard…”Needless to say, the most obnoxious characteristic of IE6 is that it encourages breaking the Web. It does this by design, in order to facilitate a monopoly based on a de facto standard (a single proprietary application, which is bound to a platform). Needless to say, it’s hard to believe that documents are (or will ever be) the exception. In fact, watch this remark from Microsoft’s Brian Jones:

“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

Also in the news, watch how Microsoft’s Web sites apparently derail competitors.

Microsoft Web sites and Adobe’s Flash sending Safari off course?

[...]

Though many are finding the free browser touted by Apple to be both faster and more accurate at displaying Web pages, not everyone is happy.

About a month ago, loud complaints were made about Microsoft’s online services that snub GNU/Linux almost as a matter of principle (capability is certainly there, but Microsoft sniffs HTTP headers). Some spoke about violation of antitrust laws.

Also in the news, it is now reported by Opera that is passes the Acid3 test. Have a look:

We have some excellent news! Lars Erik Bolstad, the Head of Core Technology at Opera Software, sent me the following information to share…

GNOME OGGInternet Explorer remains by orders of magnitude the worst Web browser when it comes to standards complaints (w.r.t. Acid3). It was shown very recently that IE8 (beta) is not much of an exception. Just as one might worry about Microsoft’s intentions with its document format (OOXML), one should watch what Microsoft does to the World Wide Web. It won’t play nice. Remember what happened to Ogg after the involvement of a former Microsoft employee.

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!”

–Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh About Microsoft’s OOXML (Fast Track)

“We’re disheartened because Microsoft helped W3C develop the very standards that they’ve failed to implement in their browser. We’re also dismayed to see Microsoft continue adding proprietary extensions to these standards when support for the essentials remains unfinished.”

George Olsen, Web Standards Project

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