05.12.09

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Why Microsoft-ODF (MSODF) is Broken by Design and Why Microsoft is Daemonising Rob Weir Now

Posted in IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft mockup
Microsoft engineers ‘implement’ ODF for interoperability

Summary: Does Microsoft’s ODF ‘support’ work best when it doesn’t work (with other office suites)?

NOW that antitrust law is being elevated, Pamela Jones over at Groklaw lists some reasons to grill Microsoft. She writes: “Does funding SCO count? How about avoiding interoperability with ODF? Say, this could be fun. How about getting people fired? Smear campaigns? Let me count the ways.” Microsoft has done all of that and even a lot more in order to stifle the progress of a free, capitalistic market. It’s Microsoft’s way or the high way.

The same rules apply to everything Microsoft has done to ODF. All along it has been little short of sabotage with deeds and words [1, 2, 3]. Also see:

Sun’s Simon Phipps is already implicitly recommending that people use the ODF Plug-In for Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 rather than rely on Microsoft’s own broken implementation. Open Malaysia explains just why it’s so broken.

My point is that if you know something is broken, the correct engineering approach is to see how others have fixed it and to follow their footsteps if the fix is reasonable. As it so happens, others have replicated OpenOffice with decent results. If Microsoft had done the same, their users would be able to share documents between other ODF supporting office suites just fine. Now, that would truly be serving the spirit of an open standard!

Perhaps it’s time to call it MSODF in order to warn users and distinguish between the real ODF and the fake ODF. Having no terminology to distinguish between the two can be terminal. Let’s look at an example.

“…Gray just tries to individualise the debate and pretend that Microsoft’s ODF stance is a matter of “company”, not decision-makers.”Gary Edwards links to this article which totally misses the point by saying nothing about the fragmentation Microsoft causes, just as it did with Java for instance. Ben Slivka from Microsoft wrote internally: “Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

Microsoft is obviously unhappy with our analysis, but rather address the issues, Gray just tries to individualise the debate and pretend that Microsoft’s ODF stance is a matter of “company”, not decision-makers. Well, companies are people (that includes you, Gray). It’s as simple as that. Peripheral people like shareholders count too. To his rescue come quotes from biased people like Alex Brown, so who is supposed to be impressed? He selectively quotes Rob Weir in order to daemonise him. See the quote from Pamela Jones again (at the start), particularly the part about “getting people fired” and “smear campaigns”. These are things Microsoft is very good at. Just ask folks like Peter Quinn or even last week's reviewer of Vista 7. Those who stand in Microsoft’s way will be ripped apart.

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“

Microsoft on OOXML

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A Single Comment

  1. David Gerard said,

    May 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Gravatar

    “Demonising” – if they were daemonising him, they’d be setting him to run at maximum efficiency in the background with no controlling terminal. Which is probably the opposite of what they want.

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