Bonum Certa Men Certa

Open XML and Its Media Coverage Are Flawed by Design

There appears to be no gentle way to put this, but there's still disturbing bias in the media, which sometimes sticks its fingers in its ears and sings "La la la". Either it does not understand the issues, or it simply does not want to understand the issues (a matter of convenience or the bliss of ignorance).

As it stands, Novell is helping Microsoft. It's in the contract, so there needn't be a conspiracy theory developing. Byfield's 'apoligism' continues and Sam Varghese seems to respond to this issues at hand.

...there seems to be a manufactured air of defeatism around - as Byfield puts it, "Whether or not OOXML becomes an official ISO standard, it will still become unofficial standard (sic), simply because Microsoft Office is the main office program used on computers." Why is this so?

If this kind of defeatist attitude had been there from the time Richard Stallman decided to create free software for use by everybody, would we have even come close to the stage we are at?


Sam is right on target. We must wake up and realise the implications of our actions before it's too late. The GNOME Foundation has been challenged many times to step up and reverse its deeds. There is truly nothing to see in OOXML and as further proof of this, here's some news which proves that only Microsoft and Microsoft Office actually implement something that resembles OOXML.

A new beta of the Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac has appeared on Microsoft's web site, but there is no indication of any functional changes.


Remember that even Microsoft itself is not using DIS29500 (its own specification). This means that even Office 2007 would not be ISO-compliant. This also means that DIS29500 has never been implmented properly. It's vapourware.

In an answer to a question on this issue, it turned out that, apparently, Office 2007 is not even using the ECMA standard.

Does anyone know the specifics of the difference between the ECMA Standard or for that matter DIS29500 and the OOXML being used in Office?

I believe I've seen 'Marbux' mentioning the lack of Sharepoint hooks/fields/tags in DIS29500 while there is an abundance of them in MSO2007 created files.

You can look at this from a few angles: 1) First, Office 2007 writes out things that are not described in the OOXML standard,such as scripts, macros, DRM, etc. Try encrypting a document in Office 2007. It is not longer even a zip file + XML at that point. 2) Also, I've heard reports that Office 2007 does not implement all of the features described in the OOXML specification. I haven't verified this myself, but I've seen reports that using some of the extensibility features of Part 5 of the standard will cause Word to crash. 3) Keep in mind as well that Office 14 (Office 2009) has been in progress for over a year now. The beta 1 release will be in early 2008. Presumably this has already extended OOXML as needed to handle the new features of Office 2009.

There is no editor reference application for Office Open XML

I think you'd be well advised to launch Micorosoft Office and try to save a file in the format specified by the draft standard at ISO. You can't. There is no compatibility mode in Office that limits input to the feature set specified in the official Office Open XML draft ISO standard. I have spent hundreds of hours poring through those 6,000-plus pages and comparing them to the undocumented APIs used by Office recently disclosed in litigation. http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/Supp_Rpt_Andrew_Schulman.pdf It is beyond question that in the Office Open XML draft standard, Microsoft disclosed only a crippled subset of the markup and functionality of its new file formats. But Microsoft has not enabled a compatibility mode for the feature set it put in the draft standard. Office can read Office Open XML, but is only a file viewer for that draft standard. How can you rationally suggest that there can be interoperability if everyone supports the Office Open XML specification? Particularly when Microsoft itself won't allow its customers to write to that format? Even when Microsoft released the feature crippled RTF format for interoperability, it supported both read and write capabilities in Office. But the new feature crippled Office Open format is a one-way format. Applications can send Office Open files to Microsoft Office, Office can open those files, but any edits are saved in a different format! May I respectfully suggest that your company is beyond question attempting to have a vendor lock-in format adopted as an international standard? The claims of openness are absurd. Even Microsoft Office doesn't write to that format


OOXML on the trash canThe arguments above hopefully sum up some of the problems which are typically overlooked. OOXML should be shunned (garbage can on the left) because it's somewhat of a decoy. It's intended to deceive governments that weigh in on ODF and it's intended to pretend that other programs can suddenly implement better Office compatibility. Remember: XML by its own right is not open, never mind the proprietary and O/S-dependent extensions OOXML contains (or doesn't bother to specify at all).

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