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Microsoft Fragments ODF While Trying to Paint it as “IBM Thing”

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Nightmare

“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

Ben Slivka, Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft derails ODF from the inside and recasts the standard as though it’s a property of IBM

LIKE they tried to fragment Java by 'embracing' it (see court exhibits), Microsoft managers appear to be trying to ‘embrace’ (pollute) ODF, quite maliciously and coyly. The very same people, Doug for example, also ‘embraced’ panels in order to corrupt their integrity. This was done in Malaysia in many other places, ISO included.

As we’ve shown before, Microsoft does not support ODF; it merely fragments it, just as it tried to do with Java (see the quote at the top). Then, having intruded ODF, Microsoft tries to seize more control of it.

As Groklaw reminds readers right now, Microsoft has attacked ODF right from the start and here are some details.

The best antidote against FUD is facts. FUD only works when people don’t know any better. So, given some recent anti-ODF FUD in the air, I thought it would be useful to provide some facts.

First, I’d like to show you who voted Yes to approve OpenDocument v1.1 as an OASIS Standard in January of 2007. ODF v1.2 is already being adopted by some now, of course, as development has continued, but Microsoft chose to stick with v1.1, so let’s do the same. I think you’ll find the list dispositive as to who is sincere in this picture. Next time you read some criticism of ODF, then, you can just take a look at the list and ask yourself what it tells you. And if you are a technical person, here’s ODF v1.1, so you can compare any claims of deficiencies. Here’s Groklaw’s chronicle of the OOXML/ODF saga, where you can find many resources, including a chronology of events from 2005 to the present.

There were some more recent attempts to hijack ODF [1, 2] and one of the representatives from Brazil now claims that “Microsoft attempts to fragment ODF.”

One of the first articles published about SP2 and for which I call the attention of everyone is from Rob Weir, chair of the OASIS ODF TC (group that develops the ODF, to which I belong). It is simply scary to see what Office 2007 does with existing ODF spreadsheets.

The technical details are all on Rob’s blog, but in summary, when opening an ODF spreadsheet (.ods file) using Office 2007, it simply removes all existing formulas without telling anything to the user, leaving only the values in cells (results of formulas evaluation, previously stored in the document). If a user wants to test the ODF support in Office, and without giving due attention, save an existing spreadsheet, will overwrite the document removing all the formulas (as if you were writing a table). I saw absurdities in life, but nothing compared to this.

Harish Pillay calls this “Engage, embrace, extinguish.”

Today we have OpenOffice.org 3.1 gets released. In the meantime, the proprietary product from Redmond claims to be able to wirte ODF format, but fails. Pity. Money corrupts, but MS Tax Dollars corrupts absolutely.

The press which is biased in Microsoft's favour hastily describes this as an “IBM vs Microsoft” battle, once again recasting ODF as “IBM” to make it seem like a dispute between greedy and hostile vendors. It’s part of an ongoing strategy wherein Microsoft deceives the press. IBM is merely one among many advocates and users of ODF, which is about making many office suites interoperate. OOXML can never achieve this because it was not designed for the purpose; it’s the same old proprietary format restructured. Everyone knows that.

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  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    May 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm


    Actually none of the articles provide an accurate view of what Microsoft is doing with ODF. And by doing so are giving Microsoft ways to ridicule the situation even further.

  2. c_day said,

    May 10, 2009 at 8:30 am



    I’m not sure what you mean by “an accurate view of what Microsoft is doing”, but there is a HUGE amount of documentation available regarding Microsoft’s odious behavior against the ODF standard. If Rob Weir’s detailed coverage isn’t enough for you, there’s also Groklaw, and Andy Updegrove’s blog.

    Microsoft’s “ridicule”? Who cares? Ridicule just seems to be the last defense of a company that couldn’t get its way without bullying and bribing. Sad, really…don’t you think?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 10, 2009 at 9:03 am



    Can you be specific? I’m genuinely interested in clarifications because I know Microsoft’s spin on this.

  4. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    May 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm


    By accurate view, I meant the bigger picture. It is clear that Microsoft is not writing to a ODF compatible file format, but to a format of their own, whose resulting files they insist in naming with an ending .odf. They do this to make sure that their product remains the one-stop place for anything related to office files, fragmenting real ODF files along the way. There are interesting things to point out here without having to go down to the file format details at the character level!

    (where specifically even ODF contributors have been vocal in the past to point the flaws)

  5. LinuxN00b said,

    May 20, 2009 at 9:25 am


    Looks like Toms Hardware Germany is not even capable of telling the difference between ooxml and odf iso standard :


    They are surely going downhill fast.

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