Bonum Certa Men Certa

Standards for Uncertainty and Moving Goalposts

"We will never make a 32-bit operating system."

--Bill Gates, At the launch of MSX[3]

Transparency is an important issue which is discussed in this new interview with Bob Sutor and it's lesson for Microsoft to learn from [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Undocumented 'extensions' -- or "undocumentation", as Microsoft refers to these internally -- are definitely the plan for OOXML. Alternatively, there is the possibility of demanding a fee for access to undocumentation.

This interview with Sutor also touches on the issue on tensions and controversies, which in light of the old ECMAScript battle, become even more relevant. On the face of it, based on the following new article, Microsoft's plan to 'extend' the Web with neither transparency nor consent lives on.

"Why do we care about ECMAScript 4.0?" asks Mozilla's vice-president of engineering, Mike Schroepfer. The answer is that JavaScript is the language of the net. We want to keep pushing that technology forward to make it easier for people to build bigger, faster, more secure websites."

Asked if Microsoft will implement ECMAScript 4.0, Mr Hachamovitch prevaricates and talks about competing demands on the IE development team.

"Right now there isn't really an ECMAScript 4 offering to implement, there is an ECMAscript for discussion." he says.


Remind yourself of Microsoft's history with Java. Also recall XAML and Microsoft's Silverlight. Microsoft pretends to obey Web standards, but it's only means of diversion.

Microsoft continues to praise itself at every opportunity given, even if only its business partners are used as pseudo-endorsement. It's the "Yes men" tactic. Here is the latest example:

Microsoft's Statement Appears to Be Sycophantic



In the Indian context, Microsoft's post [OOXML] rejection statement carries no weight. When the statement itself is communicating that even at international level, the final decision is still pending, it was a vainglorious hope for the organization that the Indian body would accept its proposed format, especially, when the proponents of the idea of independence of standards from any particular environment or application are quite active here.


From the same site, the following new article is noteworthy also. Of interest:

One major reason for such anti-XML sentiment is that Microsoft does not intend to support its own standard. According to Microsoft once OOXML becomes a standard, it will have a governing body outside of Microsoft therefore it cannot guarantee if that governing body's decisions will be acceptable by itself.

[...]

Microsoft's overzeal to have the OOXML format adopted as a standard seems to have let these issues remain unaddressed. With these limitations, OOXML may at best acquire the status of a technical specification (TS) that does not the very high consistency and completeness criteria of a standard.


The article is correct in pointing out that not even Microsoft will support OOXML. The company will adhere to all sorts of undocumented or scarcely-available derivatives. In other words, OOXML is a tool for ensuring that Microsoft's competitors remain 'incompatible' and poorly suited for the task. You may wish to see this new open letter which explains in simple terms why OOXML should be terminated.

OOXML data vacuum

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