05.20.09

ODF Alliance, Jeremy Allison and Others Tell Microsoft to Fix Its Broken ODF Implementation

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft, OpenDocument, Samba, Standard at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gray Knowlton

Summary: The pressure is rising for Microsoft to stop vandalising interoperability while keeping disingenuous

WE KNEW that the ODF Alliance would issue such a statement and eventually, as promised, it did. Here is their document [PDF] and also the press release, which they have channeled further via PRNewsWire.

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) Alliance today cautioned that serious deficiencies in Microsoft’s support for ODF needed to be addressed to ensure greater interoperability with other ODF-supporting software.

Groklaw has already elaborated on it:

ODF Alliance Tests Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 ODF Support – Finds Serious Shortcomings

The ODF Alliance has prepared a Fact Sheet [PDF; also available as text on their website, if you scroll down] for governments and others interested in how Microsoft’s SP2 for Office 2007 handles ODF. The ODF Allliance says their testing revealed “serious shortcomings that, left unaddressed, would break the open standards based interoperability that the marketplace, especially governments, is demanding”. The Fact Sheet itemizes the major problems testing revealed. Marino Marcich, managing director of ODF Alliance, points to one huge shortcoming:

“For example, even the most basic spreadsheet functions, such as adding the numbers contained in two cells, were simply stripped in an ODF file when opened and re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007. A document created in one ODF-supporting application, when re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007, rendered differently – missing bullets, page numbers, charts and other objects, changed fonts – making collaboration on an ODF file with Office 2007 very difficult. Indeed, some of the so-called ‘plug-ins’ were revealed to provide better support for ODF than the recently released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2. This is no way to achieve the interoperability around ODF that the marketplace is demanding.”

For context, see:

For those who think that only the ODF Alliance was disappointed with Microsoft’s work, here are some more new examples of opposition. Rob Weir from IBM writes:

Last year, when I was socializing the idea of creating the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC, I gave a presentation I called “ODF Interoperability: The Price of Success”. The observation was that standards that fail never need to deal with interoperability. The creation of test suites, convening of multi-vendor interoperability workshops and plugfests is a sign of a successful standard, one which is implemented by many vendors, one which is adopted by many users, one which has vendor-neutral venues for testing implementations and iteratively refining the standard itself.

[...]

The pretty words have been shown to be hollow words. Microsoft has not enabled choice. Their implementation is not robust. They have, in effect, taken your ODF document, written by you by your choice in an interoperable format, with demonstrated interoperability among several implementations, and corrupted it, without your knowledge or consent.

Stephane writes:

Once again they did it. Microsoft is telling the world that they are improving interoperability across existing office formats and applications thanks to their native support for the ODF file format, a leading office file format based on existing ISO standards. But it could not be further from the truth.

Microsoft are actually killing ODF, like the digital nazis that they are. Kissinger is proud of their spiritual sons.

What kind of white phosphorus are they using ?

First they don’t write to ODF but to a canada dry version that we shall call MS-ODF, a variant filled with countless exploding mines, thrown from the air like any coward would do. Namely they are implanting the proprietary Excel formula syntax right inside files expecting the ODF formula syntax as exposed by all the ODF compatible applications out there. Since formulas are used in many elements such as charts, conditional formattings and so on, it wrecks any serious spreadsheet.

The SolidOffice team was apparently angry as well:

While Microsoft Office 2007’s latest service pack purports ODF support, it’s not complete, nor does it appear designed to provide usable interoperabilty with other ODF-capable applications.

For users of MS Office who need better compatibility, the solution is the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office:

* The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office gives users of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint the ability to read, edit and save to the ISO-standard Open Document Format (ODF).
* The plugin works with Microsoft Office 2007 (Service Pack 1 or higher), Microsoft Office 2003, XP and Microsoft Office 2000.

Jeremy Allison (Google) denounces Microsoft too, despite being one who works with Microsoft on so-called “interoperability” (Microsoft promised to assist Samba):

Yet Microsoft Office SP2 claims to have a fully compliant version of ODF, and that’s probably true, as defined by the specification. It’s just completely useless at interoperating with other vendors products. This is not interoperability, it’s an attack on the very concept.

This discussion can be also seen in ZDNet where Microsoft is claimed to be sending employees to spin (based on a whistle-blowing Microsoft employee). Here is a collection of links criticising Microsoft’s ODF approach. There is also related coverage in non-English languages.

“Microsoft is already propagating fluffy press releases about “interoperability”. It talks about ODF, so maybe they try to drown out the many critics.”Microsoft is already propagating fluffy press releases about “interoperability”. It talks about ODF, so maybe they try to drown out the many critics. Matthew Broersma parroted Microsoft at ZDNet and Elizabeth Montalbano, who is focused on Microsoft at IDG, did the same thing. This means that the real news about Microsoft destroying interoperability will be washed away by its PR. Microsoft employees and their partners twitter in harmony about a Patrick Durusau writing a letter on MSODF. He has not been reliable ever since his trip to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

As someone who is close to the process (Jomar Silva) put it (in two parts), “Microsoft is always supported by independent consultants (as Patrick Durusau, Rick Jelliffee, and Alex Brown)… Strange, isn’t it ? [...] If the[ir] partners supports them, ok, but always being supported by the same group of independent folks is, at least, weird.”

The same guy also wrote this:

As most of you already know, I spent the month of October in a marathon of speeches about ODF. During the marathon, I had the opportunity to attend some presentations about Microsoft Interoperability and would like to share with you here some information about that cool experience (the post is long but worth a read).

The first opportunity to see our friends from Redmond featuring the theme was at the rally held by them at the end of Latinoware 2008. I do not call that a presentation, because they did not allow questions from the audience, as a rally. Luckily the audience was not that big and I was on that room just be able to “write the facts” about the speech.

Another notorious Microsoft booster, Wouter van Vugt, is prodding the Microsoft line. They all pretend to be innocent, as though they are the poor victim in forking of ODF. They mess about with ODF while smiling and pretending nothing they do is ever wrong. As Microsoft’s Vice President Jim Allchin once explained it, “We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.” To twist this quote a little, Microsoft realises that it needs to slaughter ODF before it gets stronger….If they are going to kill something, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. They just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. Microsoft needs to smile at ODF while it pulls the trigger.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/05/20/microsoft-broken-odf-implementation/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, February 26, 2021



  2. Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  3. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  5. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  6. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  7. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  9. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  10. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  11. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  12. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  13. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  14. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  15. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  16. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  17. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  18. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  20. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  22. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  23. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  24. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  25. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  26. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  27. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  28. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  29. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  30. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts