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de lcaza calls OOXML a "Superb Standard" 615

you-bet-it's-not-out-of-context writes "A blogger on KDE Developer's Journal has found an interesting post by Miguel de Icaza, the founder of GNOME and Mono, in a Google group dedicated to the discussion of his blog entries. Six days ago Miguel stated that 'OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with it.' In the same post he says that to avoid patent problems over Silverlight, when using or developing Mono's implementation (known as Moonlight), i's best to 'get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include patent coverage.'"
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de lcaza calls OOXML a "Superb Standard"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:10PM (#20546717)
    I wonder how much Microsoft paid Miguel to say this.
  • First things first. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:11PM (#20546731)
    Can it be verified that it really was him posting that?
  • any futher code (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <> on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:20PM (#20546831)
    that miguel releases under a true oss licence should be treated with extreme caution and prejudice. Who knows where this guys eyes have been. All of his code is tainted as far as I'm concerned, unfortunately any Novell contributer should be treated in the same light as well. This SOB is on the microsoft payroll and it will come back to haunt the oss community in a few years.
  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <>> on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:28PM (#20546925)
    Maybe the opposite is Uninformed Praise and Optimism (UPO).

    It seems he hasn't read about how you can "look but not touch" when it comes to the internal data. An expert in the Office format recently proved you could modify the xml in the new Office formats but Office would complain and not load it.

    The fact that it's XML seems to only benefit the world in one way, it compresses nicer.
  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:46PM (#20547127)
    Well, I suppose there's room for opinion on that. For instance, Jim Mason [] seems to think it's a long way from prime time, just as a specification.

    Now, to put this in perspective: Jim Mason (of Oak Ridge National Laboratory) isn't on one side or the other, but has been doing document-format specifications for a looooong time -- he was, I believe, the founding chair of SC34 and had a hand in the creation of SGML. The dude knows documents, he knows standards, and when he writes

    the submitters obviously did not read -- and edit -- this submission into a consistent whole. If it were coming through the normal ISO process, I'd say it was in the state of a Working Draft and not yet ready for registration as a Committee Draft and assignment of a number
    I'm inclined to take his word for it than Miguel's.
  • Re:Nope (Score:1, Interesting)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) * <> on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:53PM (#20547205) Homepage
    That's clever. Did you miss the part of the standard where that sort of thing is required for backwards compatibility []? Apparently only Microsoft cares about that sort of thing, so that's why it's in the damn standard. If the ODF fanboys and FSF-sponsored trolls don't care about that sort of thing, I reckon they can safely ignore them and not implement them. But I guess that's no fun because it eliminates one of the fav memes being thrown around to prove that the standard is somehow deficient.

    When de Icaza talks about OOXML being "FUDed" to death, he's probably referring to this sort of ignorant thing. Bullet point evangelism seems to work quite well with the Slashdot/Digg crowds, which are amusingly enough the first ones to complain about Microsoft doing the same things to them.

    I don't particularly cherish the idea of XML-based file formats. A binary one could have been well-documented and work a hell of a lot better, so I dislike both ODF and OOXML. But the level of stupidity in the "criticism" being leveled at OOXML is just ridiculous. Complete with "OMFG the 1.0 implementation as a BUG!!! Therefore the standard SUCKS!!!" detailed articles that include blatant misconceptions about how certain things work, ignorant points about the compatibility sections and the number of pages in the fucking document.

  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by un1xl0ser ( 575642 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:54PM (#20547221)
    The fact that Microsoft has their legacy blobs all over the OOXML that they write is exactly why I don't like it. They don't seem to want to implement it in an open fashion. They just want to fein like they are being open so that all of the goverment agencies and corporations that are concerned about vendor lock-in are given a warm fuzzy feeling.

    So yeah, the standard is shit. Nobody can implement it the way that the creator can, by the creator's very design. It is defective by design, as the nutty FSF people like to say.
  • Re:Nope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:02PM (#20547295)
    I've developed in both formats, and ODF uses consistent naming conventions and builds upon existing standards whereas OOXML is exceedingly inconsistent (google: "sz" node) and it comes with a lot of new standards.

    The implications of this are that OOXML is considerably more expensive to implement because there aren't a lot of components to choose from (eg, compare the number of SVG serializers to DrawingML serializers). Building upon existing standards is a very important part of a good standard, I think (and so do the ISO)

    Don't take my word for it though, both files are ZIPs of XML* so google for some files and see which one makes sense to you :)

    [*] although it's recently been discovered that OOXML refers to OLE objects which are undocumented in OOXML and in Office '07 these are stored as binaries :( ODF and OOo have their own problems of course, but nothing complex like this.

  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RobertLTux ( 260313 ) <{gro.nitramecnerual} {ta} {trebor}> on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:05PM (#20547317)
    okay so try this one create a document in MSO2007 and save it to OOXML
    then open a copy of Open Office 2.2* and create the same document

    then give me stats on
    1 file sizes both bundle size and unzipped tree size
    2 actual readability of the payload file

    and as a bonus in the OOXML file try to find "legacy tags" only the program importing a legacy file should give a [redacted] about how a legacy file is hacked
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:09PM (#20547345)
    Even if we thought that it was a good standard--you know, something that would not contain ugly hacks like formatLikeWord95, would not need a major international company to brib^W cajole hundreds of Microsoft Certified Gold Partners to join NB's that are members of the ISO to get it passed--how does all that backwards compatibility hack^W support actually work in practice?

    Well, let's take a look at one company's deployment of Office 2007 to 25,000 workstations []. Oh, what's that? It's still crap? Figures.

    Yes, the information should help people interoperate with Microsoft. But all the parts they're keeping from us are important. They want to control de facto standards and keep all other ISVs at second-tier status without having to make good products.

    People would be better off with standards not controlled by any one company. Even if Microsoft were the most benevolent company in the world, there's no excuse for giving another company the power to hold your documents hostage in this day and age. And it's about time that people realized that, especially when Microsoft has intentionally perverted standards like ACPI to harm Linux [].

    The PDF link above is just for proof. Here's a transcript of the PDF so you don't have to view it unless you don't believe me:

    Plaintiff's Exhibit 3020
    Comes v. Microsoft

    From: Bill Gates
    Sent: Sunday, January 24, 1999 8:41 AM
    To: Jeff Weslorinen; Ben Falbi
    Cc: Carl Stork (Exchange); Nathan Myhrvold; Eric Rudder
    Subject: ACPI extensions

    One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn't try to make the "ACPI" extensions somehow Windows specific.

    It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work.

    Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me.

    Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open.

    Or maybe we could patent something related to this.

    MS-PCA 1389717

    Gates Deposition Exhibit 32
  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:31PM (#20547529)
    I might get modded down for this, but:

    I notice that in the very same Google Groups thread, Miguel makes a post [] that refers to what Gnumeric dev Jody Goldberg has to say regarding ODF and OOXML [].

    According to Jody Goldberg's blog entry, implementing the fundamentals of OOXML took only a few days, and that implementing ODF "was significantly more difficult" than implementing OOXML. Jody also says, "ODF's model of 'chartness' didn't fit well with Gnumeric."
    Is this not contrary to ODF proponents' claim that ODF is equally suitable for all word processors and spreadsheets to implement? That it doesn't favor any particular spreadsheet implementation (i.e. OO.o) over any other? That it was built from the ground up to be app-neutral, and that this is app-neutrality is a virtue that OOXML lacks (since OOXML of course favors MS Office)? What say you to Jody Goldberg?

    Not that Novell or former-Novell employees think that OOXML is perfect. But I think Miguel has it right, for in that same Google Groups post, he writes,

    He [Novell's Michael Meeks]
    certainly would like clarification in various areas [of OOXML] and more details in
    some. But Michael's criticism (or for that matter, the Novell OpenOffice
    team working with that spec) seems to be incredibly different than the
    laundry list of issues that pass as technical reviews in sites like Groklaw.

    The difference is that the Novell-based criticism is based on actually
    trying to implement the spec. Not reading the spec for the sake of finding
    holes that can be used in a political battle.

    Finally, Michael sounded incredibly positive after the ECMA meeting last
    month when all of their technical questions were either answered or added to
    the batch of things to review. ...

    I find it hilarious that the majority (not all) of the criticism for OOXML
    comes from people that do not have to write any code that interacts with
    OOXML. Those that know do not seem to mind (except those whose personal
    business is at risk because Microsoft moved away from a binary format to an
    XML format, which I also find hilarious).

    (I'm guessing that the latter comment regarding persons whose business is at risk due to MS moving away from binary formats refers to often-quoted OOXML basher Stepen Rodriguez, who has been blasting/FUDing OOXML, but who has a business based on maintaining XL spreadheets in the old binary format.)

  • Re:OOXML. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:35PM (#20547569) Homepage

    He didn't say it's a great standard. He said it's a great spec upon XLS serialization in XML, and hence it's easier for him to port XLS importer to XLSX importer. Is anyone even arguing about this here? If there is I never saw him/her.

    May I entertain the possibility you have difficulty understanding the fundamental difference between good spec, and a good standard?

    You can entertain it, but I never made the claim that Jody said it was a superb standard. Jody is addressing Rob Weir's criticism that "See! Gnumeric cant load it" when Gnumeric's support was written over two intercontinental flights (7-8 hours).

    I never said that Jody endorsed OOXML as a great standard; I think its superb as far as standards go, but that is my opinion. I like red wine, hate white whine; I like Chomsky, hate Fox news; I like tacos, hate burritos; but that somehow does not make it to Slashdot.

  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:38PM (#20547613) Homepage Journal

    (it is an optional tag that can be ignored).

    Not if Microsoft keeps using it you can't.

    Sure, you can ignore it if it comes up in a document, but if a user with little care or knowledge about such issues loads a document up that uses such a tag in (for example) OOo and their table doesn't look like it did in Word, they're probably going to think that OOo is at fault, and may make a decision to not use the alternative software in the future (or may go around telling everyone they know that said software sucks).

    If Microsoft, the developer of the main product which generates these data files continues to use these tags, they become impossible to ignore without introducing rendering issues which will be sufficient to annoy potential users of alternative software.

    Yes, purportedly these tags are only supposed to be used by Microsoft when converting documents in older Word formats -- but how many hundreds of millions of such documents exist out there? Quite a few, which seems to guarantee that these "ignorable" tags are going to occur quite frequently, and will impose sufficient differences on document rendering if they are ignored. So unless these optional tags are fully documented, why should anyone outside of Microsoft want to adopt this standard?

    Standards aren't often perfect the first time around, but someone at Microsoft should have realized this, and should have prevented themselves from trying to fast-track this standard. The biggest problem is that there is the appearance that Microsoft was trying to pull a fast-one on the international standardization community with an incomplete, and highly imperfect standard that they wanted to rush to fruition for purely competitive (and not technical) reasons. With time and revision, OOXML may indeed be a fine standard, but as it stood at the point where they tried to ram it through the ISO, it had (and has) serious flaws.

    In one of your other posts to this thread, you mention:

    Am personally proud that Jody and Michael made Microsoft add ~650 pages or so to the spec that documented the formulas (one of the things we struggled a lot with in the Gnumeric days).

    Here you admit that you've already seen first hand how incomplete standards can affect Open Source (and really any third-party) development. You had a problem with the lack of documentation, and pressured MS for more details to get your software working correctly. So why is it that you have an issue when others want to pressure MS into either rectifying other areas lacking proper documentation, or removing them from the standard altogether, in areas that matter to them?


  • by pallmall1 ( 882819 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:55PM (#20547749)

    Well, you quoted my posts out of context(I provided a *lot* of context).
    I did provide a link to the blog containing the quoted posts. Perhaps you could explain what I got wrong regarding this:

    Moonlight does not have the same policy that Mono does in terms of us working around to remove infringing code. For one, we do not know what it could be (that is how the patent system works) and two we have agreed and have obtained permission from any patents that might exist in Moonlight to implement it.
    This policy makes any software released under it a patent trap.
  • Re:OOXML. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmv ( 93421 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:18PM (#20548351) Homepage
    In particular the criticism from Groklaw is partisan, a guy on Brian Jones' blog tried to correct various statements made on the Groklaw document and he claims that his account was removed.

    Partisan or now, most of what I saw there was looked like real problems.

    Am not sure that it "contradicts" it just does not support every other possible standard. It has its own thing for Math instead of MathML, big deal.

    Well (from the document again), they use incorrect dates (the 1900 stuff) just to be compatible with "legacy software" and completely ignore SVG, MathML and other stuff. I mean, what's the point of having standards for that if every new thing ignores it.

    So does ODF (if you are referring to the capability of embedding OLE objects for example, or Windows Metafiles, they are supported in both products, and neither one has full specifications for them).

    I'm not sure about what ODF does, but in the worst case, if something's application-specific in ODF, you look it up in the OO.o source code and you can at least have a chance to understand how it's done. For things that are application-specific in OOXML, you're pretty much have to wait until Microsoft open's up the Office source code (I'm sure that'll happen any day now).

    I will agree with you that having two is suboptimal, but we have to support them both *anyways*, so its not like its a big deal.

    Can you remind me what is the point of standards bodies again? Rubber-stamping any de facto standard because "we have to support it anyways"? I don't think so.
  • Re:Riiiiiiiiight.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kaffiene ( 38781 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:38PM (#20548483)
    ECMA standards are meaningless. They'll "standardise" whatever they're paid to, and the "standards" are allowed to be patent-encumbered. It's madness calling anything they touch a "standard".
  • Re:Try #2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LDoggg_ ( 659725 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:01AM (#20548639) Homepage
    Come on, that's the only part of his argument you choose to respond to?

    Funny that you shy away from: "That's right. It's Microsoft's job to pay off officials, exert political pressure, and abuse due process to ensure that OOXML is forced into consumer hands before ODF catches hold."

    Why should we be interested in furthering the goals of a convicted monopolist?
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:50AM (#20548989)
    not really, he could be spending that time moving things ahead. The technical decisions are almost worthwhile, but their entirely trying to copy microsoft. They're not Apple and Miguel isn't jobs. At best Bill Gates has maybe heard of him. Miguel is just a business wananabe, while it would be nice to get even 1% of Microsoft's yearly take, it won't happen. In the case of standards like .Net or Office he'll never get there, hell Apple has a lawsuit-provoked open license to M$ patent list and they still only get 95% compatibility. Open Source at this point is "with us or against us". Even Apple with use of BSD doesn't get it and open up to formats like Vorbis, Theora or ODF.. when they are under the same open license they use for their main OS!
  • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:19AM (#20549149) Homepage

    OOXML could be the best thing since sliced bread, and I still wouldn't accept it. Not because I hate Microsoft; I most certainly do hate Microsoft, but I also recognize the technical contributions they've made to computing. I'd reject OOXML because Microsoft has ruined its (both OOXML's and Microsoft's own) credibility with its gaming of the standards process.

    I'll set aside for the moment the problems I see in the draft as it is. If Microsoft believed its format was good enough to be an international standard--as opposed to simply a de facto "standard"--why did it then try to mislead ISO members around the world with demonstrably false information? Conversely, if Microsoft didn't think its format was good enough to be an international standard, why did it submit the format to ISO in the first place? And what will Microsoft do to make amends for its improper actions? (I'm not asking you for answers to these questions, but I suspect most people in the anti-OOXML camp will want satisfactory answers before they're willing to focus on the merits.)

    I'm currently developing a collaboration system for a client which will (among other things) input and output spreadsheets in an XML-based file format. I was considering OOXML for a while, since its technical issues don't impact this particular application; but with the shenanigans Microsoft has pulled to try and force OOXML through ISO, I've settled on ODF. I simply can't support a company which engages in such unethical behavior.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:22AM (#20549155)
    Hi Miguel,
    yes, lets all talk AC, it makes our conversation so much more unclear...

    I find it hilarious that all the positive remarks on OOXML come from people who are employed by, or have business relations with Microsoft. I think this more than justifies most people's suspicion of Novel, and now you personally. Things are usually not black/white. Microsoft are not the Borg, Iran is not the source of all evil, and even terrorists love their children.

    However, that does not mean it is not worth fighting against it. Novel, and you, choose to support technologies of a company with a long history of playing dirty. I am sorry but I think that is just a bad idea. Especially when alternatives exist. There is no reason (yet) to go implement this format. It will give excuses for people to use it, and there is a chance that MS at some point turns on alternative implementations. So why do it? If OOXML gets widely used at some point in the future, then people can think about implementing it. I rather fight for preventing that from happening.

    I guess Novel at least things to get some money out of it. Well, that's nice, but that automatically will let them (and you) lose respect in the OSS community. So do not be so surprised at the post here. Some people will consider you morally corrupt, and you lose standing as a developer in their eyes. Others will think, perhaps rightfully, you blindly walked into a trap, and are being fooled by MS.

    You misunderstand what is "asking the right questions". It is not about technology. Until everybody and his mom is on OSS, it is also about ideology. And many people believe it is just a bad choice to go with something "tainted" like OOXML. You can not win such argument on technical merits alone. Especially if there are many problems with the proposed standard, and if there is an approved alternative...

    Also, as others have commented. You are not doing yourself a favor making comments as:
    "but you are going to need some legal training and get a lot more depth before we can have a productive discussion."

    It looks arrogant, and insulting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @03:00AM (#20549645)
    Better check out friends: []

    Friends of Miguel de Icaza (660439)

    Billly Gates (198444)
    Developers! Develope (669541)
    Office Clippy (442751)
    Steve Ballmer YEARGH (965544)
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @03:58AM (#20549973)
    If you are going to slander, then be accurate. Microsoft offered him a job, but Miguel turned it down! I know, I know the people who tried to get him.

    I used to be very skeptical of Miguel, but I am tempted to believe he has it right...
  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @04:15AM (#20550061)
    Icaza being a Microsoft shill seams to be the only logical explanation.

    Nobody who would create an international standard with the intent that it is actually used by the public would have created a standard covering 6,000 pages. That is just ridiculous.

    A "superb" standard would build on existing standards, like using standard XML (which is something you would really expect from something called OpenXML). It wouldn't introduce bugs in its date handling because some application (Excel) not using that standard has the bugs. If you read the comments from the British committee examining that "standard", it is completely riddled with errors big and small.

    Now I wouldn't want to decide whether the problems come from some Microsoft evilness, or from this being a complete rush job (if you compare this to how long development of the C standard or C++ standard takes, where every single line is examined again or again), but this "standard" should never, ever have been put on the ISO fast track. Maybe in a few years time, if Microsoft has had time to fix all the problems.

    For those who don't know: Usually introducing an ISO standard is a multi-stage process. The standard is suggested, then comments are collected, problems are fixed, again and again, until eventually the whole thing has the quality and the consensus that is required for an international standard and then it goes to the vote. This proposal has gone on the fast track, which should have been reserved for standards that have passed all the early stages. Like if there had been an industry wide consensus where everyone followed the same document, and then someone has the idea to turn this wide consensus into an official standard. It shouldn't be used for something thrown together quickly.

    No, I don't think that Icaza could call this a "superb" standard unless he was paid to do it. Not that I blame him; I would do the same thing if you gave me enough money. This post here is my unpaid-for opinion, I'll write another one if anyone comes up with say a five digit number.
  • by pablochacin ( 1061488 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @04:20AM (#20550097)
    > The guy's a complete microsoft fanboy troll who's trying to destroy Linux and Free Software in general.

    So, the guy who started Ximian, the company that developed Evolution and main supporter of Gnome, not to mention Mono, one of the best projects for a cross-platform development tools, is trying to DESTROY open source in general . . . wow this is the more interesting conspirancy theory since the X Files show ended!

    I know Miguel in person and I don't think he is a Microsoft fan boy. He just is not a fanatical and can acknowledge that Microsoft development tools are far better that any current open source alternative and that's why he is developing Mono, which if you haven't noticed is open source.

    By the way, what have YOU done for the open source movement?

  • by SavvyPlayer ( 774432 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @09:26AM (#20552231)
    This is ridiculous. Miguel simply recognizes the pragmatic value of the c# standard and the various .Net APIs and devotes his free time to bring that value to the F/OSS community. Understand that MS, like any large SW company, is at its heart staffed by competent un-indoctrinated engineers, who have a natural desire to contribute to global citizenship. Miguel's selfless efforts are to be lauded, not chastised.
  • by huckamania ( 533052 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:28AM (#20554367) Journal
    Saying a thing and having it be true are two different things. Miguel is just acknowledging the futility of making a pledge about not violating patents he is not aware of existing.

    As many people are quick to point out, Microsoft has more to lose by disclosing which of its many stupid patents the various pieces of software often refered to (rightly or wrongly) as Linux may be violating. If and when they release that list, then Miguel, and probably everyone else with half a brain, will be able to say whether or not their software is patent encumbered.

    Only a Stallman type would say in advance that their code is not violating any patents. It's probably in the GPL somewhere.
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:20PM (#20558407) Homepage
    Having just read the blog comments, they didn't really help. What are the "correct" conclusions supposed to be?

    I've been a defender of yours in the past (e.g. prior to Sun's dramatic liberalization of Java, I was advocating Mono as the least worst alternative), but this situation with Moonlight leaves me very uncomfortable. While the Mono patent policy seems sane, it seems the Moonlight policy means that Moonlight fails the "could you fork it?" acid test -- at least, forking Moonlight would mean knowingly assuming a patent liability with respect to Microsoft. That's a bit different from a project which has a less direct relationship with Microsoft IP.
  • by YetAnotherBob ( 988800 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:37PM (#20558769)

    I see the flame fest continues, but could you please take a little time out and give me an answer to a question I have.

    I've posted this in the past. I see a problem for us (humanity) in the future. We would like to be able to go to a digital world. As things stand now we can't. The reason is file formats.

    Documents like birth and death certificates, property deeds, legal writs, treaty's etc. need to be available and readable for CENTURIES. File formats for the last 30 years or so change every 3 years. After two or at most 3 cycles, the format is no longer readable. That makes digital documents unacceptable. We need centuries for file retention, with full readability. We get a couple of years.

    The only real contender right now is ASCII text. That file format has been with us for 50 years now, and continues to remain readable.

    I work for a government body, with buildings. Permits are a matter of life safety. If we can't keep track of what is in a building, people die. There is still no substitute for paper records. They are the ONLY long term recourse we currently have. the great need is for a file format that can remain unchanged for centuries. (The best long term recording medium seems to be mud. Summarian records and literature from 5,000 years ago are still readable, if you know the language.)

    we desperately need a real long term document format.

    ODF tries to be that. I believe that the jury is still out on whether it can fulfill that need or not. OOXML seems to be too linked to a product that will continue to change. OOXML also has those digital blobs that will NEVER be human readable without the originating program. The standard will change radically in the next few years too. That renders it unusable for my needs.

    Ideally, I'd like to have a file that would allow setting up forms that would be relatively easily for a human to read, and would explain itself adequately for document recreation. It needs to have this without having to have the originating program, or any other reference than the file itself. I need that for drawings too. It doesn't exist. Even for relatively easy things like forms and written reports it doesn't really exist.

    *Shouldn't we all be pushing for standards that are independent of any product?* That seems to be the only way we'll get what we really need.

    Maybe TeX? HTML showed promise for a while, but it keeps changing too. OOXML doesn't have what I need. I'm not at all sure that ODF does either.

    Oh well, I guess paper is not going to go away.
  • by codemachine ( 245871 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @03:31PM (#20559889)
    His bringing up the example of XLSX being easier for Gnumeric to implement than ODF spreadsheets is bizarre. The author of that post said that XLSX was easier because it shared much of the same code and concepts of the already reverse engineered XLS format. But if he didn't already support the legacy format, wouldn't it be expected that XLSX would be just as difficult to write an import filter for as ODF?

    Perhaps this is not true for spreadsheets though. It seems that open source support for most of XLS is excellent. It could very well be a different story for DOCX vs ODF text documents. Word processing is generally where the most attention gets paid.
  • It was a shock (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aim2future ( 773846 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @09:08PM (#20564911) Homepage

    First I was shocked, then I believed that someone was pretending to be Miguel, but when checking his profile and all it seems as it really was Miguel saying this. I also had hard to imagine that he would have been paid by Microsoft to say this, so I really don't understand his motives.

    Here in Sweden we are currently arguing with Klas Hammar, who is business area manager for Microsoft Sweden. Recently, in a a debate article [] (7th Sept, in Swedish) he claimed that OOXML is "future safe" and in another article [] (today 11th of Sept, also Swedish), he says "one could ask why it shouldn't become a standard".

    For him and others I collected the documents I had studied before the decision to reject OOXML and put them here [] (all in English). It is a collection of some documents from e.g. Google, Oracle, Spain FFII, Italian PLIO etc which very clearly describes the flaws of OOXML. This page could probably be useful for Miguel to read as well. This is not to compete with <NO>OOXML [], it is just to illustrate how we have come to this conclusion on our own.

    We are not opposing OOXML by principle just because it's Microsoft, in fact we looked forward to the Microsoft XML format a few years ago, but that was before we understood how bad an "XML" specification could be designed. OOXML is a rough draft, nothing to take seriously as it appears now. I also have a blog entry about this [] if you want to send me some comments. (I'm not a blogger, otherwise)

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?