EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.18.08

Uh Oh! Microsoft Already Supports OpenDocument Format?

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We should dedicate a cross-group team to come up with ways to leverage Windows technically more.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

How quickly things change. Several months ago, Stephen Walli, a former a Microsoft manager and also a consultant/advisor to them, said that Microsoft would need to support ODF. He argued that this was inevitable. Are we beginning to see first signs of this prophecy materialising? It sure looks like it. [via Andy Updegrove]

Also, if individual governments mandate the use of ODF instead of Open XML, Microsoft would adapt, Knowlton said. The company would then implement the missing functionality that ODF doesn’t support. However, those extensions would be custom-designed and outside of the standard, which is counter to the idea of an open document standard, Knowlton said. “Disastrous? No. But definitely not preferable,” he said.

It is worth adding that Microsoft took a similar approach in the adoption of next-generation DVD formats. Even though it backed Toshiba’s HDDVD and may have issued a fat cheque (bribe) to support Toshiba, Microsoft also said that if Sony’s Blu-ray wins, it will support it. These claims were made earlier this year and then again approximately a week ago. The funny thing is that earlier this week Microsoft jumped at the press again and claimed this a to be mistake made by a Microsoft spokesman. Microsoft surely realised that this was damaging to its attempt to save HDDVD amid a stunning defeat.

OOXML is badThe same goes for ODF and OOXML in this case. The quote above shows that Microsoft is already looking at the possibility of supporting, implementing and incorporating ODF. It makes it clear that this is doable, but the company is very cautious with its use of words. If it utters something which can be perceived as ODF endorsement, ISO can reject OOXML and claim that ODF (plus the extensions that Microsoft speaks about in this case) may be sufficient, rendering OOXML totally obsolete. Standards should be unified, single, universal. By putting opaque extensions in a "deprecated basket", Microsoft has just made ECMA-OOXML simply a duplicate candidate, which surely should be rejected.

Mark those word from Microsoft’s Knowlton. They will be very handy in the future. Essentially, Microsoft has just shown willingness to deviate from its broken formats (OOXML). The aim is of course to keep its cash cow (Microsoft Office) relevant to a wider audience. It hopes to conquer even countries where ODF is strictly required. What this means to interoperability is a separate matter worth discussing in isolation.

Early in the week we spoke about the Dutch group which demanded access to old and increasingly-deprecated binary formats. This is required for easing the migration from Microsoft Office binaries to ODF. The group appears to be getting its way at the moment if Groklaw’s suppositions are in fact correct. But there is also a big catch.

There’s nothing like an EU Commission investigation to get Microsoft to open up a little, is there?

[...]

Microsoft says it will make the release of the binary formats by February 15th. I don’t see how that gives anyone time to evaluate before the ballot resolution meeting at the end of February.

Whatever happens at the end, ODF is here to stay and thrive. Andy Updegrove’s words on this matter are very reassuring.

The unexpected success of ODF in the marketplace is a symptom of fundamental shifts in a maturing IT ecosystem, characterized by increasingly sophisticated and demanding end users, resurgent competition, new enabling technologies, and other forces that are largely beyond Microsoft’s control.

History teaches that monopolies in the marketplace, like empires in the broader world, are rarely sustainable over long periods of time, and ultimately fall victim to both external attack and internal weaknesses. The degree to which Microsoft’s competitors have embraced, and many Microsoft customers and national governments alike have resonated, with ODF are strong indications that the foundations upon which Microsoft’s historical dominance has been based may at last be weakening.

The most important message of this post is that Microsoft has just admitted that it can graft its ECMA-OOXML ‘extensions’ and mount them on top of the international standard, ODF. Microsoft has given yet another reason to reject simplified OOXML, which is a case of reinventing the wheel and unnecessarily fragmenting the industry.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

11 Comments

  1. peter frank said,

    January 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Gravatar

    wow, everybody is taking this open document and open source stuff, i found a blog thats its all nonsense, http://www.opentopix.com

  2. Amit said,

    January 18, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Gravatar

    great post !

    bookmarked @ http://livbit.com

  3. Andy said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Gravatar

    What are you on about exactly? Of course Microsoft supports their own standard. It’d be crazy if they didn’t. OOXML has been in use since the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007 (in form of .DOCX and the like).

  4. Andy said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Gravatar

    nevermind, I skimmed through the text too fast. Shouldn’t read and comment on stuff at 6 in the morning.

  5. AntiWindows said,

    January 19, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s very good and great. Microsoft sucks.

  6. BuBLe_GuN said,

    January 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes!!! Linux FOREVER!!!

  7. Nephersir7 said,

    January 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Opensource FTW! We should only have to pay for hardware. Microsoft is sinking!

  8. ulric said,

    January 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re totally wrong about this, you misunderstand the use of words ‘deprecated’ and ‘extensions’.

    If Microsoft support ODF as its native format (which is what your blog post is about, since it supports it already through an open-source plug-in Microsoft sponsorts http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/ ) it would use ODF, and store anything that isn’t defined in the spec in MS-specific _extensions_. _Proprietary blocks_. Anything that you can create in Office 2007 that isn’t in the ODF spec would be in these blocks.

    The _deprecated_ blocks in OOXML, are for features from OLD VERSIONS that you can NO LONGER CREATE in new documents. That’s why they are DEPRECATED in OOXML. It’s to tell other apps to not bother reading/creating these blocks, they are only for backward compatibility with the old .doc format.

    A Native implementation of ODF in Office 2007 would contain extensions for things that are BOTH deprecated and NOT-deprecated. So it would be less specified than OOXML

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Gravatar

    ulric,

    I think that the point you somehow missed is that if you strip down all the deprecated and additional bits in OOXML, then all your are left with is a more fundamental structure of a document. This already exists and it’s the international standard we know as ODF. What Microsoft has done here is akin to replacing a white car with a vanilla white car. This harms uniformity and it is only built to accommodate the needs of one single application. Why, for example, would Microsoft create DirectX to ‘replace’ OpenGL (they are no longer participating)? It is a similar situation. It creates fragmentation and increases workload for GPU engineers.

  10. Paul said,

    April 23, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Gravatar

    I think they tried the same tactic with Internet Explorer, by extending the technology beyond the defined standards for better integration with windows, and which is why Internet Explorer is STILL broken!

  11. chris said,

    July 12, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    great effort to gett all this

What Else is New


  1. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  2. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  3. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  4. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  5. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  6. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  7. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  8. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  9. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  10. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  11. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  12. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  13. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  15. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  16. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  18. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  19. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  20. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'



  21. Links 16/4/2015: Opera for 32-bit GNU/Linux, New Chromebook Site

    Links for the day



  22. Links 15/4/2015: Plasma 5.3 Beta, Docker's New Funding

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft is Still Googlebombing the Term Open Source and Fooling Politicians Who Now Think Microsoft is Open Source

    Microsoft's attempt to assimilate (to confuse) bears some fruit and the Microsoft-linked media plays a considerable role in it



  24. Back Doors/Bug Doors in All Versions of Microsoft Windows Need a Name, a Logo, and Branding Too

    All versions of Microsoft Windows are found to have been insecure since 1997, but the bug responsible for this is not named as candidate for back door access, let alone named (with logo and marketing) like far less severe bugs in Free/libre software such as OpenSSL



  25. OnePlus (or OnePlus Customers) Should Wipe CyanogenMod From Existing Devices and Install Something Else

    A call for OnePlus to reconsider any future updates from Microsoft's Trojan horse, Cyanogen



  26. Links 14/4/2015: 3DR Dronecode, Z1/Z2 Tizen

    Links for the day



  27. Links 13/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Released; A Look at Antergos 2015.04.12

    Links for the day



  28. EFF Uses Alice v. CLS Bank Case to Pressure USPTO to Halt Software Patenting

    A look at recent patent policies and actions from the EFF, as well as increasing secrecy at the USPTO



  29. No, Panasonic Did Not Open-Source Anything (Another Example of Openwashing for PR)

    A dissection of media deception (or media being bamboozled) regarding the act of promising not to sue using patents, which in no way relates to Free/Open Source software



  30. Yes, Software Patents Are Dying, But Media Continues to Be Dominated by Those Denying it For a Salary

    The debate about software patents in this post-Alice era parallels the Net neutrality debate, where voices of people with vested interests contribute to confusion and meddle with largely-accepted views/consensus


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts