EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.22.10

Facebook Joins Microsoft’s War on ODF

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Facebook

Summary: An announcement from Mark Zuckerberg reveals his true colours and long known connections with Microsoft; Oracle’s bizarre decision regarding the ODF plug-in for Office is debated further

A WEEK AGO we wrote about Microsoft dumping "to suppress OpenOffice.org adoption (and thus development)" and yesterday we wrote about Oracle's idiotic move which is likely to harm ODF. On previous occasions we also emphasised that Facebook’s Zuckerberg is in bed with Microsoft (he has been in it for years [1, 2]) and even its extortionate patent trolls . It therefore does not surprise us that Facebook is joining Microsoft’s attack on rival office suites, based on the following news:

Docs.com: Facebook and Microsoft Go After Google Docs

During today’s F8 keynote, Mark Zuckerberg announced a number of new products and features for Facebook, including a new collaboration with Microsoft. With Docs.com, Microsoft’s FUSE labs just launched an online document editor and viewer that connects directly to Facebook and uses all of the new social features for third-party sites that Facebook announced today.

Getting back to Oracle’s apparent neglect of ODF for Office users (it is not too likely that many companies will pay when they already have fake ‘support’ from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]), Andy Updegrove emphasises that $9,000 — not $90 — is the cost of this package (it comes in larger units).

Moreover, it’s not just $90 you’ll need to fork over – the plug-in is only available in packages of 100.

Before you ask: (a) yes, an Office 2007 service pack released some time back by Microsoft allows users of that version of Office (and also of Office 2000, 2003 and XP) to work with documents using ODF 1.0, but not the most current version of ODF, which is version 1.2; and (2) no, unlike OpenOffice, the plug-in was never made available by Sun as open source software.

For me, this raises three important questions:

1. What is Oracle trying to accomplish?

2. Is it likely to work?

3. Given that Oracle controls OpenOffice.org, developer of the most widely used desktop direct implementation of ODF, what does this indicate for the future of that software?

[...]

Conclusion: While the existence of OpenOffice was essential to ODF in the first few years after Peter Quinn’s quixotic decision to support the rebel standard, ODF is now past the point where it’s future is dependent on it. And in point of fact, Sun was always at best a flawed steward for the poster child implementation of ODF, keeping too close control over it to attract the kind of broad individual and enterprise support that flocked to contribute to Linux and Apache, for example.

Overall, though, I think that Oracle has probably made a reasonable decision insofar as its own self interest is concerned. It does leave open one tantalizing question though, that’s harder to read: does the decision to charge for the plug-in indicate that Oracle is taking its ODF-compliant office suite unit seriously as a money maker, and plans to put serious resources behind it, or that it is simply imposing a bean-counter’s discipline on the unit to make money?

If it’s the former, than that’s good news for the ODF community, because OpenOffice still has the most dedicated users, and the most credibility, of all the alternatives. And if the paid version gets traction, there will be more third party software developers, like those that create crucial software, such as document management tools, that will take the time to integrate with it. This is essential to creating a true proprietary as well as an open source competitor to Office.

One news outlet says that “Oracle Wants to Charge $9,000 for ‘Free’ Download” and Rob Weir is trying to identify the positives, but he is biased because his current career depends on ODF. He writes:

At the risk of pouring oil on the fire, let me say that I think this is an exciting development for ODF. We have three solutions for providing ODF support in MS Office:

1. Oracle’s Plugin
2. CleverAge Add-in
3. Microsoft’s native ODF support

These three solutions have always varied in terms of quality of conversion, versions of MS Office supported, versions of ODF supported, level of integration into MS Office, etc. And now they vary based on price. This is a good thing. It is called “competition”. I like it.

Here is an opinion from someone who commented in Weir’s blog:

It seems entirely likely that this will allow ORCL to say “We gave it a fair shot, but there’s just no demand for it.” With that, Oracle could abandon the ODF-translation field, leaving it to the Microsoft-sponsored Clever Age plugins project and the not-so-interoperable built-in functionality in recent updates to MS Office.

As an aside, is it likely that something like this is coming to MySQL soon?

What does this say for the OpenOffice.org project? Obviously, no one knows yet. At least, no one outside of Oracle knows.

Regardless of Oracle’s plans, there are many other companies which are involved in ODF, so the standard ought to thrive. Here are two new reports, one from Document Freedom Day in Slovenia and another from the ODF Plugfest in Granada.

The first Document Freedom Day in Slovenia has passed and it went pretty good.

I know that for the biggest impact I should have reported about it the very same day or at least the next one, but a) I was too tired b) I had to much other important tasks to do and c) I wanted to gather everything so I can submit a nicely rounded off report. Warning: longer post ahead.

 

Rob Weir of IBM summed up the status of the next version of the standard. ODF 1.2, which is almost done, will be divided in three parts: one for the core schema, one for the container and one for OpenFormula (do you remember that the first generation of ODF compliant spreadsheet suites lacked formula compatibility? This should fix that problem for good). New features will include digital signatures, support for RDF capabilities (see below) and native tables in presentation slides. An Interoperability demonstration of ODF 1.2 will take place at the OOoCon Conference in Budapest next September. Rob also mentioned that everybody can send in suggestions for the next version of the standard, that should include things like modularization, web profiles, enhanced SVG support and Xform integration. You can either answer OASIS calls for public comments, join the OASIS ODF TC or implement ODF 1.2 and send feedback.

OOXML is a one-company format that no company has implemented (Microsoft says it might implement it within several years), whereas ODF is here and it is properly supported by many companies, excluding Microsoft which is conveniently faking support.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

2 Comments

  1. Charles Oliver said,

    April 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Gravatar

    “As an aside, is it likely that something like this is coming to MySQL soon?

    What does this say for the OpenOffice.org project? Obviously, no one knows yet. At least, no one outside of Oracle knows.”

    That opinion from Weir’s blog seems to ignore the fact that the plugin was closed source but Mysql and Open Office are FLOSS. Could Oracle take the FLOSS base of MySQL, tack on extra features and close an extended version which would be sold at a price to compete with MSSQL Server? Certainly (they own the copyright) but they can’t stop a fork of the code in the state it’s in right now.

    I’m with Eben Mogwai (ok Moglen). Trust the GPL.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    April 24, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Gravatar

    On this, here is an TechCrunch comment from a MS employee:
    http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/04/23/privacy-issues-google-engineers-leaving-facebook-in-droves/#comment-351158

What Else is New


  1. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism<



  2. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  3. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  4. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  5. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  6. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  7. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  8. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  9. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  10. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  11. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  12. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  13. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day



  14. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

    The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President has a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption



  15. Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

    Links for the day



  16. Software Patents 'Quality' Debated in Courts, Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll Still a Chronic Liar

    Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's and Bill Gates' largest patent proxy, continues to spread lies about its motivations, claiming that patent assessment is among the goals when in fact only the courts and patent offices do this



  17. New Article Explains How Bill Gates Prevents Schools From Moving to GNU/Linux and Free Software

    A new article from Al Jazeera provides details about the role of so-called 'charities' of billionaires inside school systems



  18. Microsoft Sued for Large-scale Copyright Abuses

    Microsoft reveals its disregard for copyright law which it loves so much to wield as a weapon against its competition and clients



  19. Links 5/9/2014: New WordPress, Systemd Debate Continues

    Links for the day



  20. 'Embrace and Extend' at Microsoft: The New Generation

    Some of the latest examples of Microsoft's predatory acts against Free software and against competition in general, disguised as acts of friendliness



  21. Bill Gates' God Complex: Common Core a One-Man Campaign of Greed and Control

    The push for Common Core is overwhelmingly dominated by Bill Gates, who intimidates and even resorts to retribution against critics while bribing those who help him accomplish the goal of privatised (for his private profit) indoctrination in US schools



  22. Bill Gates Investments Harm the World, Not Improve the World, Based on New Exclusive Piece of Investigative Journalism at The Nation

    The Gates Foundation's profiteering efforts and lack of ethics outlined in a new report that many sites around the Web find fascinating and mostly irrefutable



  23. Links 3/9/2014: Android Gadgets, New Tails OS

    Links for the day



  24. Linus Torvalds DebConf Talk

    Torvalds' latest talk which got media attention earlier this month



  25. Microsoft Should Not be Considered Too Big to Jail

    Microsoft continues to use dumping as a strategy which revolves around starving the competition, not beating the competition



  26. Pro-Software Patents Voices Finally Acknowledge the Demise of Software Patents in the United States

    A milestone is reached as even the most zealous supporters of patents on algorithms (or computer-implemented inventions, or software patents) are admitting that the era of software patents may be over



  27. New Lies About Microsoft 'Privacy' and New FUD Against the GPL Comes From 'Former' Microsoft Staff at Black Duck

    More AstroTurfing by sites that are run by Microsoft MVPs and firms which were created by people from Microsoft



  28. Links 2/9/2014: GNU/Linux in BBC, Calls Against systemd

    Links for the day



  29. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  30. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts