Microsoft OOXML opponents won't back down

Microsoft OOXML opponents won't back down

Summary: If Microsoft wants its standard to stand on equal footing with the ODF, it needs to stop embedding closed binary objects in the Office format, and stop treating it as proprietary.

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Hillary ClintonAfter Hillary Clinton spoke last night I listened closely for what the loudspeakers would play.

It was Tom Petty's hit "I Won't Back Down." (UPDATE: Clinton did back down Wednesday, with the official announcement now expected in two stages Friday and Saturday. OOXML opponents, meanwhile, fight on.)

This is also the theme song for opponents of Office Open XML (OOXML). The Microsoft Office format may be an ISO standard, but opponents won't back down and will keep fighting it.

This is the first ever appeal of such a standards ruling, notes Rick Jelliffe. He has a long post at O'Reilly on the issues and the process, but it comes to this. ODF supporters have as much chance of overturning this as Clinton does of overturning her rejection.

Which does not mean there isn't any recourse, in either case. And the answer is also the same in both cases.

It lies with the winner.

If Microsoft wants its standard to stand on equal footing with the ODF, it needs to stop embedding closed binary objects in the Office format, and stop treating it as proprietary.

Recognizing the other side, offering a real concession, is often the only way for a winner to achieve real closure. Convincing the other side that the concession is real and worthwhile is the art of business and politics.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Microsoft

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24 comments
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  • It lies with the <i>winner?</i>

    Microsoft didn't win--it did it's usual thing of lying and cheating to steal a result it couldn't earn. E.g.,

    http://deepakphatak.blogspot.com/2008/05/this-is.html
    Henry Miller
    • Doesn't mater

      It doesn't matter what they did. They still won, OOXML is a standard, and the only thing anyone can do is keep forcing the issue so that Microsoft makes OOXML and ODF play nice.
      superbus
      • how is OOXML a standard?

        Please show me the OOXML standard. It (the specifications) hasn't been shared with the public. It isn't implemented in in any shipping products, even MS Office. MS announced that they will support ODF 1.1 before they will support OOXML. So, we have a ISO approved 'standard' that nobody can review, so this isn't useful as a de jure standard. It isn't implemented by anyone so it isn't a de facto standard. It is merely a pyrrhic victory.
        shis-ka-bob
        • I second that

          What Standard? What is the point? With nobody using it, nobody shipping it, and nobody needing it, what the heck is this about?

          Are future versions of MSoffice going to to use it by default? So What? They don't use it now. They ship with the Non-ISO version. And the users are switching Office Defaults to the old DOC and XLS "Standards" so they can work with other offices.

          OOXML is DOA. A pointless exercize in pirating market share away from legitimate standards and established defacto standards.
          Deefburger
    • If Microsoft wants its ISO victory to count for anything..

      It has to respect the idea of open standards, and open OOXML. If it fails to do this, its victory will be meaningless.

      Whether it cheated along the way is not at issue. The question is what will Microsoft do to win Deepak Phatak's business, if anything, and that of millions of others who, like him, remain suspicious of Microsoft's motives.

      If they do nothing they won nothing.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Whether it cheated along the way is not at issue.

        Actually it is, that is the point of the EU investigation to the ISO process on accepting OOXML, it is also the point of the objections, which also are about the process.

        The entire process, of accepting OOXML, seems seriously flawed, with numerous reported irregularities. Each of the appeals are with reference to process and ISO/IEC rules, which appear to have been either broken or seriously manipulated to achive the current result.
        tracy anne
    • Like the members of ODF Alliance India?

      Sorry, but why would someone who is a memeber of the opposing document format vote honestly?

      As allways, people are willing to slam MS while turning a blind eye to their side pulling the same crap.
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • So?

        As in at worst, does one wrong (India) make another wrong (Microsoft) right?

        Next you'll be saying that [insert non-windows OS name here] problems make Windows problems disappear.
        zkiwi
      • FUD.

        You have not read or followed India's decision. It is all based on fact, their extensive list of comments and concerns caused it to vote No originally and continue to do so at the DRM DESPITE intense lobbying and complaints to those in power that it was unfair to vote no just because of a few issues.

        Venequela, Brazil, they have already gone heavily open source, that may have swayed their opinion, but everything I have read about India's decision was technical and fair and completely out there for everyone to see/read/know why it felt OOXML is not ready to be called a standard.

        Now, on the pro-OOXML side, why is it that all the new "P" members can't be bothered to comment or work or even abstain from new votes? They have already stalled several standards and deadlocked ISO. If that doesn't deserve some criticism, what does?

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
        • Yes, but Pliny, like ALL MicroShaft Bigots, MUST PROTECT M$!!!!!

          At ALL COSTS!

          Damn you OSS and Apple Commierat Islamosymp Libburuls, anyway! We're MicroShaft Ammurika! We're Number One!

          We're NUMBER ONE!

          WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

          ::throws chair at people in moment of Ballmerian ecstasy!::
          drprodny
      • Please be more specific

        What "same crap" that ODF Alliance India has done are you referring to? Please either give examples to back up your allegations or take your FUD elsewhere.
        masonwheeler
      • Would you care to elaborate on that?

        "Sorry, but why would someone who is a memeber of the opposing document format vote honestly?"
        A member of the opposing document format? The committee was composed of prominent IT experts who have no corporate interests. The OOXML vote was decided not based on political or commercial interests, but TECHNICAL merit. It's all documented and available for public perusal
        http://www.bis.org.in/oxml/ooxml.htm
        All you have done on the other hand is cast aspersions on the honesty of the panel members with absolutely nothing to back up your statements, just as MS did. In other words, an ad hominem argument.
        If you had even bothered to do some background reading in this matter you would have seen that the Indian committee had spent a lot of time and effort in going through the proposed specification and had identified the shortcomings which had to be overcome for it to fulfill the requirements to be an open standard. MS chose to ignore much of these recommendations and then tried going behind the committee's back and approached the ministry of commerce. When the administration refused to believe that the committee did not have India's best interests at heart(and MS did!?) they went to the political leadership(who again failed to see that MSFT knew what was best for India and her people).
        Is MSFT really so naive to believe that India would give up its sovereignty and act against its own interests just because a big corporation said so. The last time such a big corporation came along and hoodwinked the Indians, the result was two hundred years of colonization and exploitation. The East India Company might have pulled it off back then, but I can hope that Indians have come a long way since then, and will not let the wool be pulled over their eyes as easily.
        balaknair
      • Who cares how anybody voted?

        MS doesn't even implement their own standard!!!! It's a lot of hoopla over something NOBODY uses ANYWHERE!
        Deefburger
        • My sentiments, exactly, but........

          Think like a sneak here, for a moment. <sneak mode on> Since Microsoft now (thinks) they OWN the STANDARD, they can adopt ODF (which they have already announced they will, sorta makes anyone with a brain wonder why they didn't do that to begin with, eh?), so now they can SELL ODF, a free document format. <sneak mode off>

          And these clowns applaud Microsoft and think that ODF is now wonderful because they have the OPPORTUNITY to PAY Microsoft, but it was worthless whenever they could get it for free.

          No wonder the world is in such a mess, eh?
          Ole Man
      • What ODF Alliance India?

        As the people that have been accused of belonging to said organization have pointed out it seems to be an invention, out of whole cloth, by Micosoft.

        Silly question, I know, but why would they vote any more dishonestly (or honestly) than bought and paid for Microsoft corporate fanboys in India? Or Brazil, or Venezuela or Denmark?

        Another MS fanboy/astroturfer post, I'm afraid.

        ttfn

        John
        TtfnJohn
  • Not a standard, yet

    With the appeals and the lack of publishing, it's still not a standard.
    rpmyers1
  • OOXML is largely irrelevant and will "die"

    ISO will waste time and money over the next couple of years doing "maintenance", however, the writing is on the wall. Who can be compliant? Add in the delays now for the appeals process, maintenance, then coding time to become even remotely compliant, you are looking at 3 years.

    That's too long. ODF is a standard now, and in 3 years will be the de-facto public standard for documents. With 10+ vendors, and what will be a continual adoption of ODF by more countries, goverments, organizations, it will simply be too late to swap it out, even if OOXML becomes standard like.

    MS was hoping for the rubber stamp ECMA gave to be duplicated by ISO so that they could be compliant now. It didn't happen, OOXML will undergo radical change, so MS did what it had to do to preserver it's 85% marketshare, adopt an open standard to prevent any more defections for this reason.

    .doc and .xls will continue (with gradual migration away from) to be the dominant de-facto standard, ODF is now the only Open Standard, so no matter what ISO does with OOXML, it will be one of many standards that never sees widespread adoption.

    http://blogs.eweek.com/brooks/content/office/microsoft_ooxml_dead_format_walking.html
    [B]Microsoft OOXML: Dead Format Walking[/B]
    [I]Since most Office users would be happy to continue using Microsoft's old binary formats, and since those for whom open standards are important would probably prefer ODF or PDF formats anyhow, I won't be surprised if OOXML quietly dies before that future Office iteration ever sees the light of day.[/B]

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • RE: Microsoft OOXML opponents won't back down

    Microsoft is Microsoft. They are om-nip-ee-tant
    bill_stanley@...
  • Funny that...

    The crazy fanatical people lost in both cases.
    Spiritusindomit@...
  • What "closed binary objects?"

    Do you mean the OLE objects that Microsoft puts in OOXML (in compliance with the specification) and describes as MIME type
    application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.oleObject?

    Or do you mean the OLE objects that OpenOffice.org puts into ODF (in compliance with the specification) and describes as MIME type
    application/vnd.sun.star.oleobject?

    And which convert in both directions (via Office binary formats as intermediaries when OO.o is not using OOXML converters).

    If this is what you have in mind, I am pretty confident that neither Microsoft Office nor OpenOffice.org are going to give up the ability to embed OLE objects in the near future.

    Now, how this could be defined better and made more agreeable in a document-interoperability setting is an important challenge and something that the OOXML and ODF teams could work on via the ISO Harmonization effort and by simple interim agreements.

    Meanwhile, it seems that Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org are working with this just fine.
    orcmid