Bonum Certa Men Certa

OpenXML is Really Funny (But It's a Joke That Can Cost Lives)

As an addendum, yesterday we mentioned the latest OOXML slam from Rob Weir. To repeat what was said:

OOXML: The Formula for Failure

[...]

As I've shown, in the rush to write a 6,000 page standard in less than a year, Ecma dropped the ball. OOXML's spreadsheet formula is worse than missing. It has incorrect formulas that, if implemented according to the standard may cause loss of life, property and capital. This standard is seriously messed up. And shame on all those who praised and continue to praise the OOXML formula specification without actually reading it.


Rob talked about some of the mind-blowing problems with the specifications. It is clear that working on a program without specifications for many years leads to non-elegant inelegant [Thanks, John] code, workarounds, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and some 'features' that are intended to make different versions of the same software incompatible (to force upgrades and thereby elevate revenues). Writing (or rather "deriving") specifications from 20 years of coding is no way to write a specification. It's just a description of a program, with its bugs and deficiencies included.

An ongoing analysis of OOXML, to be carried out by a technical committee, will lead the way to a working group meeting. They can already see deficiencies. Read their observations carefully:

"OpenXML is designed to represent the existing corpus of documents faithfully, even if that means preserving idiosyncrasies that one might not choose given the luxury of starting from a clean slate. In the ODF design, compatibility with and preservation of existing Office documents were not goals. Each set of goals is valuable; sacrificing either at the expense of the other may not be in the best interest of users." (p.6 Ecma Response)


As usual, the smart folks from OpenMalaysiaBlog have produced a fairly comprehensive and well-studied article. It demonstrates the serious problems which Rob refers to.

[OOXML:] Mathematically Incorrect

[...]

So when it comes to comparing MSOOXML and ODF v1.0 on the basis of the inclusion of "Formula Definitions", it becomes clear that the anti-ODF folk have not much to shout about. In fact MSOOXML's "Formula Definition" is deficient and inaccurate.


Can Novell (and particularly de Icaza) still praise OOXML? Can they truly recommend it, invest resources in it, and imply it is the way to go (or at least suggest it's an acceptable specification)? This whole scenario is worrisome. Is this what Novell got paid over $300,000,000 to do (at least in part)? Whose side are they committed to? The Free software community, which supplied all the software? Or is it Microsoft, which has just betrayed Novell? Perhaps the Jim Allchin comment on "slaughtering Novell" should have served as a clue. Microsoft only embraces in order to weaken and destroy (not only ODF, but also Novell).

This debate about document formats continues. Simon Phipps of Sun Microsystems has published his own bits of advocacy in his professional Web log. He distinguishes between standards that serve companies and standards that serve the customer (that's where preservation and portability, for example, play a significant role).

There are plenty of examples of a choice of "standards" in our lives (usually validated in some way by a vendor body), but I have yet to find one that actually leads to a benefit to the customer.


Yesterday we talked about some unfortunate news. TurboLinux's involvement in this 'scandal' must now be taken into consideration. I have not read the press release at the time. The press release came from Redmond (not TurboLinux). There were hints there which expose Microsoft's trick of shoving in proprietary formats through the desktop monopoly. TurboLinux has apparently been paying Microsoft for the right to play media files encoded using proprietary code. Novell was indirectly involved in something similar. This leads to Linux 'taxation'. OOXML achieves exactly the same thing. That's why it must be rejected. The world has already got a single, unified document standard.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] Objective Objection at the EPO
No more quality control
EPO Staff Explains Why It Cannot Issue EPC-Compliant European Patents (in Other Words, Why Many Fake Patents Get Issued)
chaos inside
Links 24/02/2024: More Sanctions Against BRICS, Software Patents Squashed
Links for the day
Microsoft's Demise on the Server Side Continues Unabated This Month
Netcraft says so
Bonnie B. Dalzell Explains Her Experience With Richard Stallman
new essay
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: OpenBSD Advocacy and Nonfree Firmware Debated
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth & Debian Day Volunteer Suicide cover-up
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 23, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, February 23, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Links 24/02/2024: EA Planning Layoffs and 'Liquor Regulators Are Seeking Revenge on Bars That Broke Pandemic Rules'
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: In Defense of Boilerplate and TinyWM Broke
Links for the day
Microsoft's Pearls of Wisdom: Layoffs Are Growth
Microsoft boss: layoffs are "long-term growth."
[Meme] Hide the Bodies
hiding EPO's role in funding Lukashenko
Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)
Huge corruption
Microsoft Lacks a Solid Strategic Plan Other Than Buying Its Own Stock (and Paying Staff in Shares)
Beware and be cautious of bubbles
Debian trademark canceled
Debian trademark canceled
Links 23/02/2024: Feed Aggregator and 2 Years of Invasion, Alexei Navalny’s Mother Blackmailed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/02/2024: Getting 'Sick' of Modern Tech and Deletion of One's Reddit Account
Links for the day
Links 23/02/2024: 227 Microsoft Layoffs Noted in Santa Clara and Disaster in Rivian
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 22, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] It's NOT Your PC
losing control of hardware
Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy Resulted in Massive Losses, So Now It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as 'Hardware Company' (Once Again, Years After XBox, KIN, Windows Phone and Surface Failed Miserably)
revenues associated with Windows has fallen sharply
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: Removing Radio Ads and Being Seen on the Internet
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth and the Question of Liability (Debian Volunteers He Pressured Before the Suicides)
Humanity for me
Mark Shuttleworth's (MS) Canonical Running Microsoft (MS) Ads, Mischaracterising Mass Surveillance as 'Confidential' (the Usual Lie)
The money talks, so the facts are absent
Ads as 'Articles'
Money buys perception manipulation (or reputation laundering) campaigns
Abraham Raji & Debian, DebConf kayak death: search abandoned, evading liability
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 22/02/2024: Chatbots Failing 'Big Time' and More Condemnations Appear of Bill Gates
Links for the day
There May be Close to 100,000,000 Laptops and Desktops Running GNU/Linux Around the World in 2024
hard to track the number
Search Engine Market Share Worldwide Shows How Badly Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy (Hopes) and Vapourware Have Failed
Bing, which was marketed as the forefront "product" for chatbots (Microsoft paid the media a lot of money for hype campaigns), gained nothing at Google's expense
[Meme] Demoralising and Putting Down Your Staff
unproductive and dangerous approach
This Week's Letter to António Campinos About Mean-Spirited Line Managers at the European Patent Office (EPO)
Seems like a way to get rid of staff. Some will resign in anger.
Software in the Public Interest (SPI) & Debian obfuscated structure fooled suicide victim's family: the ultimate example of bad faith
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: What We Pass On and HTTP Header Viewer
Links for the day