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When OOXML Attacks Free Software

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Machine gun

Summary: Europe’s transition to Free/Open Source software is stifled by the existence of Microsoft’s fake ‘open’ format

THE SUBJECT of OOXML/ODF was covered here thoroughly in 2007 and 2008. We showed a great deal of lies, corruption, and cover-up.

Putting aside the corruption behind OOXML, the anticompetitive aspect of it returns to haunt Europe. Ryan says that “they should get rid of it and use ODF” and notes that the “Open Source Business Alliance” has created a new working group – “Office Interoperability.”

“Business Alliance,” notes Ryan, is similar to the BSA and many times before we explained that interoperability is just a weasel word used to marginalise open standards. “I smell Ballmer,” Ryan says, but the report is not so amusing. To quote:

IT authorities from Germany and Switzerland have announced that they are working together, under the auspices of the Open Source Business Alliance, to improve the way that LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org display and process OOXML-formatted documents. The authorities involved include the IT groups from the cities of Munich, Jena and Freiburg im Breisgau, the Swiss canton of Waadt, the Swiss Federal Court and the Schweizer Informatikstrategie Bund (Swiss IT Federation) whose representatives met at a workshop in Zurich in October to launch the “Precise reproduction of OOXML documents in Open Source Office applications” project. Slides for the workshop provide more details of what was discussed.

This was the purpose of OOXML all along — throwing users back into the same loop and the same lock-in/trap.

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  1. Michael said,

    December 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm


    The purpose of moving to an open format is to throw “users back into the same loop and the same lock-in/trap”?!?!?!?!?


    If OpenOffice and LibreOffice can better work with MS Office this is a *good* thing… not a bad.

    Will Reply:

    Please explain why it would not promote interoperability just as well, if not better, if MS Office were to switch to ODF as its default format and drop OOXML altogether.

  2. Michael said,

    December 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm


    Why would I explain a claim I never made?

    Sure, it would be great if MS used ODF, just as it would be great if OO.o and LibrO used OOXML. But it is not as if MS has any obligation to do so – and there is no real reason to think ODF is even up to the task (it may or may not be – though I seem to recall it had significant areas where it did not… I do not recall details).

    But you completely dodged my point. Roy made an absurd claim: moving to an open format is not done to throw “users back into the same loop and the same lock-in/trap”. Roy is simply showing off his anti-MS bias and hatred.

    Will Reply:

    Seems like a healthy, well-designed, and truly open format would have more than one implementation after being in the wild for several years, though.

    ODF has over a dozen implementations.

    Will Reply:

    Seems like a healthy, well-designed, and truly open format would have more than one implementation after being in the wild for several years, though.

    ODF has over a dozen implementations.

    Michael Reply:

    Given that it makes sense why MS would not want to use it! Which implementation should they pick? And how confusing would it be for users.

    Will Reply:

    You misunderstood me. What I meant by that was that there are over a dozen programs that implement the (single) ODF standard, whereas interest in OOXML appears to be anemic and/or nonexistent outside of Redmond.

    Michael Reply:

    Frankly that is a rather silly way to look at it. Far, far more *users* are using OOXML as there are users using ODF. And do we even know if ODF would support all the features MS Office has? Say it did not and MS adopted it but extended it to accommodate their needs – the open source community would whine they were doing their “embrace and extend” BS… so this really seems like a no-win situation for MS. No matter what they did, many in the open source community would complain.

    So MS made a new format – an *open* format – which serves their needs well. Good. Sure, there are problems and those should be worked out, but what is wrong with a company making a format and allowing it to be open? Are you now against competition? Against choice? “Choice” is the mantra of many open source advocates as long as the choices that are made are the ones they like. As soon as someone makes the “wrong” choice they must be evil and choice is bad.

    And, of course, this is still a side issue on my main point: Roy made an absurd claim: moving to an open format is not done to throw “users back into the same loop and the same lock-in/trap”. Roy is simply showing off his anti-MS bias and hatred.

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