01.26.08

Geneva BRM on OOXML: Technical? Political? None of the Above?

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 10:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s to stop a multi-billion-dollar purchase of an ISO standard?

A couple of weeks ago, Russell Ossendryver and I exchanged some E-mails and documents (ODF-formatted of course) which raised some key deficiencies in OOXML. He addressed a comment which was sent to him by one of the “Microsoft zombies” who was about the attend the Geneva BRM only in support of OOXML. As we continue to stress — and we cannot stress strongly enough — what you are about to see in Geneva is most likely an abomination. It is a closed process attended by some of Microsoft's own staff and the rules are (off)set so as to ensure that Microsoft can hardly lose.

Russell has just published an excellent article in Linux.com where you can find a nice bus analogy and a technical dissection.

Features such as the Microsoft Office OOXML file format with DRM, Sharepoint tags, passwords, reliance on Devmode (a method Windows uses for handling information about printer or display settings), GUID (a proprietary Microsoft Windows and .Net implementation of the UUID standard for applications to coordinate and identify resources within an operating system), migration tags, VBA macros, and other hidden system dependencies effectively prevent competing applications and even other operating systems from achieving full interoperability, while at the same time tying OOXML files to a Microsoft environment.

If you can explain to people what OOXML actually is, please do. By all means remember how Microsoft virtually paid Novell for OOXML support, which is the reason such as issue is very relevant to this Web site.

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