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06.27.08

OOXML Abuses a Prelude to Battle for the Web

Posted in Formats, Google, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ODF = A portable Web; OOXML = The Microsoft .Net

O

n two separate occasions so far this week [1, 2], we happen to have mentioned Microsoft’s remarks where they claim ‘OOXML innocence’. They claim not to have known the rules and add that they have no regrets for breaking the process using bribes, bullying, blackmail, and lies.

Andy Updegrove finally gets around to commenting on Microsoft’s remarks. He too does not buy these excuses.

How ‘Ignorant of Standards’ was Microsoft Really?

[...]

Why “Huh?” Because Microsoft has been playing the standards game, butting heads over prior technologies such as ActiveX, Java and much, much more with the best of them for decades as a member of hundreds of standards organizations. Moreover, it has held many board seats along the way, and has had a staff of attorneys for some time dedicated to standards matters. That staff includes the former General Counsel of the American National Standards Institute.

In the mean time, Microsoft does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt.

Moving on, it’s worth considering a new case of ODF support. This time it comes from EditGrid.

To use EditGrid , you need a broadband internet connection and a web browser that supports JavaScript (as most do). After signing up for a free account, you can up – load up to 2GB (8GB in the paid version) of existing spreadsheet files created in Excel, OpenDocument, or Lotus 1-2-3.

As you can see, it’s Web-based and it support ODF (nothing explicit there about OOXML). We shall be seeing plenty more of that, and not just from leaders like Zoho and Google. There’s plenty of room for specialised applications (niche) and portability of data depends greatly on open standards like ODF.

Sun, whose crown jewels include OpenOffice.org, is not shy to admit that the future may be in cloud computing. Published just a couple of days ago:

Speaking at the Structure 08 conference here, Sun Microsystems CTO Greg Papadopoulos predicted that by the beginning of 2010 the majority of systems sold would be for Web, high performance computing and software-as-a-service applications. “We are going through this phase change in computing in a big way,” he said. He made a similar prediction last year.

Papadopoulos also advocated a free market in which all interfaces and formats are based on open standards; customers own their data, relationships, and metadata; and customers can extract, synchronize or purge their data unilaterally. This echoes recent efforts to promote openness and data portability.

Computer Weekly has just reviewed OpenOffice.org and its conclusions are very telling too. We wrote about this before.

OpenOffice.org: a viable alternative to Microsoft Office?

[...]

Ironically, by striving to overcome the inertia and the sense of devil-you-know security that keeps most users with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org may be fighting last year’s battle. In fact, too close an identification with Microsoft Office means OpenOffice.org risks becoming associated with an obsolete IT model, as attention moves to online applications and “the cloud”, where deployment and version compatibility problems are a thing of the past – as long as your connection holds and your browser behaves itself. This would be unfair to OpenOffice.org, which is already available online as part of the Ulteo Virtual Desktop. Other major OpenOffice.org suppliers will follow as they square up to the challenge of Google Apps.

This serves as further proof that ODF is not just about a limited set of native office suites, but also about the ability to change SaaS vendors while grabbing data along with the user. ODF is hugely important because it is not tied to a business model of lock-in.

Microsoft wishes to exploit its broken OOXML — with SharePoint tags (as part of the ‘standard’) — to build a Web-based framework of lock-in. Call it Live Lock-in if you will…

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

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