02.24.11

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OOXML is Running Out of Space, ODF Plugfest UK Opens

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sun rise

Summary: OOXML is shown to be broken just as the fifth ODF plugfest starts in Maidenhead town hall (UK)

SEVERAL years after Microsoft’s push for OOXML really began it still remains rather extinct. People make a mental note which says that .docx is a format people dislike and are often unable to open. Search engines too can provide some evidence of the scarcity of OOXML on the Web. Technical people know that OOXML such a bad, poorly-constructed specification, whereas computer users who are less technical usually view it as alien and unfamiliar (even if Microsoft assigns the same icons to OOXML). Rob Weir highlights the important findings about OOXML breaking apart and causing great trouble:

Microsoft’s controversial Office Open XML format, now officially called just Open XML*, has an embarrassing bug in its Office 2010 and/or Office 2007 implementation, as reported by Dennis O’Reilly on Cnet.

In a nutshell: if you save a document from Word 2010 using the default .docx format, and send it to a user with Word 2007 but who has a different default printer driver, then a few seemingly random spaces may get dropped from between words or sentences when it is opened on the other machine. When saved in Word 2007, the spaces remain missing if the document is re-opened in Word 2010.

Even CNET (CBS) has just covered it:

Some readers took exception when I stated in a post from last month on future-proofing your data archive that Microsoft’s proprietary Office file formats may not stand the test of time. Well, compatibility problems have already surfaced between the two most recent releases of MS Word.

Several people report spaces being dropped randomly from documents created in Word 2010 when the files are opened in Word 2007 on another machine. (A post on the Microsoft Answers forum explains the problem in more detail.)

So there we have another lesson regarding the failures of OOXML. Support for ODF, on the other hand, keeps expanding. Incidentally, the UK-based ODF plugfest starts today. It started 2 hours ago.

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