Bonum Certa Men Certa

The OOXML Trap Bites British Parliament

OOXML data vacuum

"Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don't evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, 'how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?'"

--Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

Observers have warned for quite a long time that not only will OOXML lead to confusion, legal problems and corruption of the process but it will also lead to eternal incompatibilities. The latest victim which finds this out the hard way is the the UK parliament, which is unable to exchange documents even when the same program from the very same vendor is in wide use.

Microsoft is working with Westminster technology chiefs after politicians and peers complained of being unable to open the latest Word documents.

The [Microsoft] Office 2003 software used by the UK's 646 MPs and 742 peers is incompatible with Microsoft Word 2007 document formats, leaving politicians and civil servants unable to read some correspondence.

It's worth adding that the same version of Office on different platform is also incompatible. That's how bad it is. And for Microsoft to have adopted OOXML means that many products which used to work fairly well with (binary) Office files are no longer able to do so. This means that Microsoft's move to proprietary XML is doing more harm than good, i.e. it's reducing inter-application compatibility rather than improving it.

The likely solution? Upgrade treadmill. Buy more software. Everyone must purchase the latest versions of Windows and Office. If it's demanding, buy a new computer too (there will hardly be a choice of anything but Vista, which even Microsoft seniors passionately hate).

The SoftMaker Insult

“This means that Microsoft's move to proprietary XML is doing more harm than good, i.e. it's reducing inter-application compatibility rather than improving it.”One reader wrote to us a few days ago, arguing that " has published an advertisement dressed as an article and featuring a Microsoft talking point.

"It's that old canard about "interop." It's popped up in that article, and several business communities nearby. The baseless assertion is that (OOo) has difficulty reading and rendering Microsoft Office documents whereas Softmaker, for a fee, can."

Softmaker even insists that ODF is not the focus of its agenda (see comment).

Further, says our reader, "Obviously the article is simply a disguised advertisement and the author either has never run OOo or else is pretending to never have heard of how it performs.

"Myself, I cannot recall a time when OOo had trouble reading or rendering Microsoft Office documents, but then again my full time usage of OOo only goes back to 2002. One of my main reasons for moving to OOo from Microsoft Office was that it was far superior at reading and rendering Microsoft Office documents than Microsoft Office itself."

Similar argument are sometimes made w.r.t. Wine, which some say offers superior backward compatibility (win32 APIs) to Windows Vista. Going back to the reader, he concludes:

"Many have kept OOo around for rescuing files that Microsoft Office corrupts and renders unreadable. OOo can read and fix most of those. Also, it has always had superior support for old Microsoft Office formats. Now that Microsoft has pulled the plug on its own old formats, it is not just a hands down win for OOo, but also no contest.

"I guess that explains why during the first 4 weeks, 3.0 had 10 million Windows and Macintosh downloads from the official Web site. Most GNU/Linux users and most mirror sites are not included in that figure."


Recent Techrights' Posts

The Ongoing Evolutionary Process of News-Reading (or News-Finding) on the World Wide Web
it gets worse
"It's Obvious There's No Future For Any of Us from Blizzard at Microsoft"
The rumours suggest that more Microsoft layoffs are on the way
[Meme] Who's the Boss?
"I thought EPC governed the Office"
Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) at the EPO and Why Workers' Salary is Actually Decreasing Each Year (Currency Loses Its Purchasing Power)
outline and update on a years-old blunder
Links 27/02/2024: PlayStation Layoffs and More Oppressive New Laws for Hong Kong
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/02/2024: Facebook as Containment Field and Depression Driven Development (DDD)
Links for the day
They're Adding Warnings Now: The Site "It's FOSS" is Not FOSS
It's better that they at least explicitly state this
Links 27/02/2024: Nevada Versus End-To-End Encryption, Birmingham Bankrupt
Links for the day
End of an Era
The Web isn't just filled with marketing spam but actual disinformation
[Meme] Onboarding New EPO Staff
You read the patent application and grant within hours
The Legacy Prolific Writers Leave Behind Them
"Free Software Credibility Index" after more than 15 years
Phoronix in Google News
congratulating or welcoming Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (E.E.E.)
Google Fired Many Employees Working on Google News (Which Had Deteriorated and Became Gulag Noise, Littered and Gamed by Blogspam, Plagiarism, and Chatbot/Translator-Generated Spew), Now Comes the Likely 'Phase-out'
No wonder many yearn for the days of DMOZ and Web directories in general
IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 26, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, February 26, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Exposed: FSFE, Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), Legal Network & Modern Slavery
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 26/02/2024: Mastodon Trouble, RSS, and Zombie-scrolling
Links for the day
Links 26/02/2024: Suicide Crisis and Doctor Walkouts in South Korea
Links for the day
Why Do People Who Attack GNU/Linux Hate Women So Much?
My wife is being viciously targeted again
Ongoing Media Campaign, Sponsored by Bill Gates, to Portray Critics of Gates Crimes as "Conspiracy" Cranks
In prior years we wrote about this PR tactic of Gates
[Meme] Follow the Law, Not Corrupt Bosses
pressuring staff to break the rules to make more money
The EPO Uses Appraisals to Force Staff to Illegally Grant European Patents or Lose the Job. The Matter is Being Escalated en Masse to ILO-AT, Requesting a Review of Appraisal Reports.
it is only getting worse over time
Debian History Harassment & Abuse culture evolution
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 25, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, February 25, 2024IRC logs for Sunday, February 25, 2024
Gemini Links 25/02/2024: Chronic Pain and a Hall of the Broken Things
Links for the day
Links 25/02/2024: New Rants About 'Hey Hi' Hype and JavaScript Bloat
Links for the day
Going Static Helped the Planet, Too
As we've been saying since last year
Chris Rutter, Winchester College, Clare College choir, Arm Ltd, underage workers & Debian accidental deaths
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 25/02/2024: Blocking Crawlers and Moving to gemserv
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 24, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, February 24, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day