Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reply to: Open XML Crunch Time

Rod Drury Blogged today on Office Open XML

My Answer to Rod on his blog:

Rod respectfully, I suspect that you have been talking to far too many people who have already hitched themselves to the Microsoft horse.

I work in Government and there is serious concern throughout government that this standard will perpetuate monopoly and achieve nothing else, except get around some mandating of standards in Government purchasing.

Microsoft has documented OOXML, great.
OOXML has different use-cases to ODF, great.
OOXML preserves legacy document formatting, great. Lets hope that Microsoft Office will actually display it correctly across versions, they often fail.

But why do we need to standardise something that is looking backwards not forwards. Standards are designed and discussed in order to serve the requirements of the future, and this standard wasn't designed to address the future and is badly designed for it. Why do we have to allow this standard that has massive holes in Internationalisation, Documentation, flexibility and implementability.

Ask your Microsoft friends to please throw out this insulting 'Promise not to sue' and actually give us a licence (irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, sublicencable). We don't even have the right to amend the documentation for the standard to fix the gaping holes.

The standard will go through even with my vote of "No, with comments", because Microsoft and the ISO working group will fix many of the issues and re-submit the standard, because this isn't about not having a standard, it is about having a good one.


Additionaly it is named (or perhaps misnamed) Office Open XML, which is bound to confuse, unpronouncable and misleading compared with OpenOffice.Org (ooo). The earlier name "MS Office Open XML", is much clearer and accurate.

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