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Microsoft Spokesman Says ODF "Clearly Won" Standard War

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-just-better dept.

Software 289

Elektroschock writes "At a Red Hat retrospective panel on the ODF vs. OOXML struggle panel, a Microsoft representative, Stuart McKee, admitted that ODF had 'clearly won.' The Redmond company is going to add native support of ODF 1.1 with its Office 2007 service pack 2. Its yet unpublished format ISO OOXML will not be supported before the release of the next Office generation. Whether or not OOXML ever gets published is an open question after four national bodies appealed the ISO decision."

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289 comments

The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872227)

Sadly, no, this is not the end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft. I guarantee that ODF will not be the default format and that Microsoft's implementation of ODF will clearly be some variation of 'embrace, extend, extinguish,' just like everything else they do.

Still, it feels good to hear a Microsoft employee admit that OOXML lost.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (4, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872293)

Im not against Microsoft (or any software developer) having their own format, even if its the default format, however, I think that 1) ODF should be left alone (no EEE) if added to a Microsoft product, and 2) that they supply a converter (as lossless as possible) that can convert both ways, from ODF, and to ODF.

Likewise, im glad to hear them admit it, but not as glad as I would be to hear that they are dropping OOXML.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872603)

Well, sure but this isn't just any software developer. Word format documents probably hold 80% of the world's knowledge. Including tons of publicly funded stuff - eg laws, research, etc.
So its important that this stuff be readable in the future and able to be shared.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872637)

So its important that this stuff be readable in the future and able to be shared.
I have one word for you: Extend

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872965)

your getting ahead of yourself. First it is Embrace.

What is MSFT doing right now? Embracing ODF, next comes a slow extension of ODF to make it MSFT only.

1) Embrace --- MSFT is doing this part now
2) Extend -- wait about a year for this to start happening
3) Extinguish --- OOXML rulez. in about 2010 or when the next version of Office Ships.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873193)

An alternative step #3 may yet be possible (bear with my mild optimism - it is Friday, after all):

#3: Quietly give up on OOXML but claim to have invented ODF, just like they created DHCP.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872787)

Yeah, sure. The whole web is a big pile of word documents.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872813)

Knowledge or information?

Jim-Bob's report on "Charlotte's Web" isn't really the same thing as cutting edge physics research.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873277)

Word format documents probably hold 80% of the world's knowledge.

You have got to be kidding. I don't pretend to know what percentage of the world's knowledge is in .doc format, but I'd be amazed if you weren't at least an order of magnitude out.

Just think of all the knowledge that is in text fields in databases, on web sites in HTML, in PDFs (extremely popular especially online, even MS offer documents in PDF), and of course *printed out on paper*.

80% of the world's knowledge in .doc? Rubbish.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872909)

No. That's the problem. ODF wont mean squat if it doesn't become the default format. Because no one will bother "Saving As..." to ODF before publishing documents.

Heck, I still receive Word documents as emails. I wont even mention the PowerPoint-as-postcard crap emails I get on a regular basis.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873045)

Partially true, but thats a problem with humans in general, not the format, or its implimentation into a application.

I have no trouble using 'Save As...' and 'Export', but alas I am also not the type to save documents as "New Document (1035).poo", but then again I always have "show extensions" and almost always manually type the *.xxx" on the file name.

If the original is saved accordingly, then modifications should save as that format by default, just new documents would save as *.ext

Plus, if its really that big of a deal, then it should be specified that the needed format be specifically *.odf and its up to the person creating the document to make sure of that, otherwise [insert appropriate consequence].

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (4, Funny)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873395)

however, I think that 1) ODF should be left alone (no EEE)

Hey, I'm using OpenOffice on my Eee PC right now, you insensitive clod!

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872389)

No, it doesn't mean that Microsoft will make ODF the default format. It does mean, however, that I could send an Office 2007 user an ODF document that I made with OpenOffice.org and they would be able to open it. They, in turn, could save their file as ODF and send it over to me if I ask for all documents to be sent in ODF format. This represents a serious hole in the "must send everything DOC to ensure compatibility"* lock-in.

* Yes, I know that DOC had troubles across Office versions, but still sending DOC was your best bet if you wanted the party at the other end to be able to open and edit the document you were sending.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872441)

No, it doesn't mean that Microsoft will make ODF the default format. It does mean, however, that I could send an Office 2007 user an ODF document that I made with OpenOffice.org and they would be able to open it.

And render correctly, just like if you created a W3C-compliant HTML 4 document with a W3C-compliant CSS style sheet that displays correctly in every other browser other than IE, right?

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872895)

Right is a frame of mind :)

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872967)

apples to oranges

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

sricetx (806767) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873247)

Just save/export to PDF or Postscript if you want the doc to render correctly. ODF and DOC are for editing.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872631)


Yes, I know that DOC had troubles across Office versions, but still sending DOC was your best bet if you wanted the party at the other end to be able to open and edit the document you were sending.

Your statement, taken as a whole is correct. I just don't believe the last part "and edit the document you were sending" comes up very often. I can't think of one time I've been sent a document that someone wanted me to edit during the whole 18 years I've had internet access. 99.99% of the time I get documents someone wants me to review, but not edit in any way. In those cases I'd much rather get a PDF.

If it's a collaborative editing situation, I'd rather use something like Google docs (and have).

The bigger deal for a single document format is really just archival purposes. I want to be able to save a document today, and open the same document in 10 years with totally different software, on a completely different OS and computer. You're not really even guaranteed of doing that TODAY with .doc.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872975)

I just don't believe the last part "and edit the document you were sending" comes up very often.

For some of us, it comes up quite often. As tools get better and more people are online with easy networking, I think collaboration on documents will also become more common and choice of tools to use with a real, open standard becomes more important as well.

In those cases I'd much rather get a PDF.

Usually I agree (although .doc is better if I'm mining it for data the user didn't know they sent). For the average person, however, this may be a different story for a number of reasons. First, the most popular PDF reader (Adobe's) is horribly slow and bloated in tis default configuration and most users don't know of better option or how to use it. Most users are not even capable of copying and pasting text from it into something else. Combine this with PDFs on the Web using IE+WinXP+Adobe's plugin and you have a terrible experience for the average person reading PDFs from the Web. This leads a lot of people to avoid the format altogether and .doc is the next closest thing the average person has seen for communications of that sort.

If it's a collaborative editing situation, I'd rather use something like Google docs (and have).

Google docs is fairly new and is still a bit lacking in features for many people. It is also not really an option for a lot of internal communications in a work environment. I do think collaborative editing will move to ODF unless MS manages to upset things.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872831)

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=590199&cid=23872563

Not if this guy [slashdot.org] is telling the truth. I have no reason to think he'd be lying, either.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872849)

Actually, in the session McKee said it will have an option to make ODF the default format. You just have to tell it to.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873467)

So, it can be the default, it's just not the default for it to be the default?

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Funny)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872891)

And we know Office will render/produce ODF just as well as IE 6 renders standards compliant HTML.

The ODF version of this comment is best opened with Microsoft Office 2007 or higher.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873033)

It will probably render ODF just fine (at least initially), but I bet it's gonna create ODFs messier than Word's HTML so other programs will have trouble rendering Office-produce ODFs. Microsoft will try to make the other applications look bad.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872983)

Yes, I know that DOC had troubles across Office versions, but still sending DOC was your best bet if you wanted the party at the other end to be able to open and edit the document you were sending.

Well, depends. In my experience .rtf worked better in most cases (actually one of the few decent formats that creeped out of Redmond) and if you have a more complex document at hand .tex is still your friend.

(And exchanging .doc-files between different Office version from a Mac to a MSWindows machine can make you cry.)

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (5, Informative)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872485)

http://www.betanews.com/article/Next_Office_2007_service_pack_will_include_ODF_PDF_support_options/1211343807 [betanews.com]

There will be an option in both the installer and options menu to choose ODF as the default format, if you want.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872615)

There will be an option in both the installer and options menu to choose ODF as the default format, if you want.
Hmmmm... I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one -- "Oh, well, we tried, but we couldn't make it the default format because ODF is just too lacking." or other some such nonsense.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (-1, Flamebait)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872519)

Mods on crack. Overrated != "I don't agree with you". Fucking pussies.

Re:The end of vendor lock-in for Microsoft? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873147)

Why the hell does it matter if it's the default or not? As for your theory, how about you wait and see what happens... MS can't be painted with a single brush, anymore than the government can be.

In other news... (5, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872231)

Ice-capades grand opening in hell marred by dive-bombing pigs.

That's It???! (3, Insightful)

Lil'wombat (233322) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872241)

So after all of the time and money and arm twisting MS engaged in because they had to have THE open standard, they're just going to say 'Oh well, ODF was better anyway'?

Re:That's It???! (2, Funny)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872303)

Does it need to be anything more? Do you want a cake?

How about we just accept it for the victory it is and move on to the next battle.

Re:That's It???! (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872395)

Given the lengths they went to, first to fight the very notion of an open standard format, and then to push OOXML, it seems hard to believe that this is over.

I'm as happy as anyone else if it is, but it's very unlike MS. To my knowledge, this has happened only once before, with HTML, and we're still paying for the fallout of that one.

Re:That's It???! (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872401)

Two phrases come to mind:
"The cake is a lie."
"Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."

Re:That's It???! (5, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872785)

"Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."
Correction: "Beware of Geeks bearing .gifs"

Re:That's It???! (2, Funny)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872807)

Let me correct that for you: "Beware of Geeks bearing gifts."

Re:That's It???! (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872947)

...but not, "Cake or death?" ?

Re:That's It???! (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873425)

"Uhh, cake please."
"Very well! Give him cake!"
"Oh, thanks very much. It's very nice!"

Re:That's It???! (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873321)

"The cake is a lie."

What are you trying to say?

Is the next version of Office going to flood a user's room with a deadly neurotoxin for using ODFs? That'll certainly be one way to dampen uptake of the format. Shit MS is clever aren't they! I'm making a note here, huge success.

Re:That's It???! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23873397)

Pssst...over here....the cake is a lie.

Re:That's It???! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872335)

Well if they are professional about it. They will not let get their emotions in the way, and realize that they loss. They are not admiting that ODF is better OOXML just that they won the standards war. When you loose you can either cry fowel fight to the bitter end and possibly hurt yourself more then you gain (think SCO) or just go Damn they won. Well I guess we better comply, and at lest show some grace. (And perhaps easing some pressure from the Anti-Trust people by saying "see we loose too, and we are good sports about it".

Re:That's It???! (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872777)

There's nothing graceful about this. We know the history here; embrace... extend... extinguish.

I guarantee you that within five years, Microsoft will have its own variant version of ODF with unpublished extensions which will force guys like OO.org and KOffice to once again reverse engineer to maintain compatibility.

Re:That's It???! (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872393)

So after all of the time and money and arm twisting MS engaged in because they had to have THE open standard, they're just going to say 'Oh well, ODF was better anyway'?

Well, yes. But that's just what they say in public. In private they're probably saying, "oh shit, we were way too obvious and public about our criminal behavior and the EU looks ready to stomp on us hard for this one. Maybe if we pretend to roll over and pretend to support ODF for a while, the EU will not make this a priority and use the courts to force us to play nice, with real consequences and oversight. At least if we look like we're willing to be open, we can subtly break compatibility with others and try to extend it with proprietary DRM or something. Really anything that stops us from being declared to have monopoly influence in the office suite market and doesn't make us compete purely on our software's merits is workable."

Re:That's It???! (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873145)

Sunk costs. There's no point spending more money fighting if you've already lost.

For many other areas, Microsoft can effectively buy market share by throwing money at it. But this is an explicit standards war: you either win or lose, you can't hang on to ten percent and hope to claw your way back. The ISO standardisation process can be corrupted, as we've seen, but I think even Microsoft can't halt or reverse the standardisation process.

Re:That's It???! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873399)

I didn't see where they said it was better, I only saw they said it won.

Re:That's It???! (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873475)

This reminds me of Internet Explorer.

Microsoft worked hard to create the best browser at the time, and then when it was clear they had won, they took most of the developers off the project and let IE rot for several years. Internet Explorer went from being a top priority to being mostly ignored.

Why did Microsoft fight to completely own the browser market if they weren't planning to do anything with it? They could have made things much more difficult for their competitors if they had put the slightest bit of attention into IE.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has put a lot of effort into something and then let it go like it was nothing.

Wait and See (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872253)

Now we shall all have to wait and see if MS plays nice with ODF because they are scared of the EU, or if they try to extend and break the standard to prevent true interoperability, as they have done with HTML, CSS, etc. since being late to the Web standards game.

In other news... (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872275)

Porcine aviatrixes were spotted across the country.

Boomn Boom..... sniff..... what's that smell (0)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872277)

That, I believe, is the smell of heads exploding!

Is this a new embrace and extend policy? Will it cleverly be name capitulation? To say that ODF clearly won implies that there was a competition. Can anyone find quotes where MS denied such a thing?

Is this the moment that Linux fanbois have been waiting for? I don't know, but I DO know that whether ODF is perfect or not, it is open, and that make so much more sense that it shouldn't even be an argument. WOW

Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872287)

... wait for the next phase!

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872491)

Are you guys a bit too paranoid?
Fight Microsoft, We Win!, We won it must be part of Microsofts plan lets rechange everything we fought for.
I am not sure if you have noticed it or not but Microsoft is no longer the powerhouse it use to be. It is still a big company that is not to be taken for granted. However the general population is tech savy enough to not deal with that behavior. Lets take the browser war of the 90s microsoft won. However they spent all this money and didn't get what they wanted. Active X technology is on its way out. .NET is only a developer tool to create mostly standard complient HTML code. IE8 needs to follow the international standards better or it risks killing itself to all the others. Internet explorer failed on the extend portion for the web.

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872679)

There is an old saying: "Once lied, never be trusted again".

Microsoft now gets bitten by that.

It's not paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872749)

when they really are out to get you.

This is the company whose CEO said they were going to kill google.

The company that has tried to get GPL invalidated in the US as "un-american". Paid for shills left right and centre to attack FOSS.

They ARE out to get us.

That isn't paranoia.

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872751)

See White, Great [youtube.com] .

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23873449)

Step 1 - pull Microsofts' pants down
Step 2 - Oh shit, they're another step closer to screwing us!

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (3, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872761)

... wait for the next phase!
YAY! They're going to extend the format! Microsoft and Open Source working together for a change, maybe this is the turning point for the world! I can't wait, I just have to skip ahead and know happens after that!

...Ohh... I see.

*cry*

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (2, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872985)

One year later, OpenOffice has both an option to save ODF, and an option to save "ODF -with hacks to make it look right in Office"

Re:Ok, this is the "embrace"-part... (2, Insightful)

david.emery (127135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873241)

Well the question is, when Microsoft embraces you, are you facing forward or backward?

dave

yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872301)

frist post!!11

Re:yay (3, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872697)

You obviously used OOXML to post your comment.

Embrace Extend Extinguish (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872309)

Need I say more?

Consumer vs Professional (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872317)

Microsoft is trying to position ODF as a "consumer" format, and OOXML as the more capable "professional" format.

The question is whether Microsoft is going to really support ODF or just give lip-service token support. For example, how fast are bugs in the ODF support going to be fixed? Remember how Micorsoft "supported" Java with their non-compliant, buggy implementation?

Re:Consumer vs Professional (3, Informative)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872413)

The question is whether Microsoft is going to really support ODF or just give lip-service token support. For example, how fast are bugs in the ODF support going to be fixed? Remember how Micorsoft "supported" Java with their non-compliant, buggy implementation?
Considering that they have an open source codebase to work from, which wasn't true of Java at the time, they don't have much of an excuse to write a buggy implementation.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (1, Redundant)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872873)

How do you explain their buggy implementation of HTML+CSS then? There are multiple Open source projects which support HTML far better than IE. The problem is that they aren't allowed to copy them, because they are mostly GPL (or similar). I imagine the same will happen with ODF.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873011)

Considering that they have an open source codebase to work from, which wasn't true of Java at the time, they don't have much of an excuse to write a buggy implementation.

They didn't have an excuse at the time, either, which is why the courts convicted them of antitrust abuse for doing it.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873341)

The courts did not convict MS of anti-trust abuse over Java. Sun sued them for breach of the terms of their licence (they included their own proprietary classes in the java.* hierarchy instead of putting them in e.g. com.microsoft.*) and won.

Apart from that you're right, MS licenced the source from Sun. I don't recall it being particularly buggy at the time either, although obviously as soon as the court case happened they dropped support for it.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23873221)

Considering that they have an open source codebase to work from, which wasn't true of Java at the time, they don't have much of an excuse to write a buggy implementation.
Oh come on... You know very well what they are capable of. Does "TCP/IP stack" ring a bell?

Re:Consumer vs Professional (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872863)

Perhaps. Here is hoping that they support ODF and if they need a feature added to it they go through the normal process for a revision of the standard not just break compatibility to add new features.

I agree J++ was a really bad idea. I've seen podcasts where internal MS VS team people admit that J++ sucked. In a way you can kind of understand what caused the fiasco though. Java was the next big thing, the .com bubble was in full swing and java was marketed as THE web programming language. So MS needed a clone to make VS look good. That they did a piss poor job is unfortunate, but that they tried made sense at the time.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (2, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873199)

Perhaps. Here is hoping that they support ODF and if they need a feature added to it they go through the normal process for a revision of the standard not just break compatibility to add new features.

It's my understanding that Sun has patents that cover a lot of the OpenDocument Format. They have signed a covenant promising not to sue for use of those patents so long as they implement the specification as sun helped to outline. If Microsoft tries to extend the specification, they may find themselves subject to patent lawsuits.

I think a bigger concern might be a poor implementation of the same specification. They could easily argue that they're within the patent covenant, while giving the consumer a poor impression of ODF.

Re:Consumer vs Professional (0, Flamebait)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873459)

Remember how Micorsoft "supported" Java with their non-compliant, buggy implementation?

I really wonder sometimes whether that was purposeful, or if they're just unable to make a non-buggy implementation of... well, anything.

After trying out Windows Vista, it almost seems like they're trying to "embrace, extend, extinguish" their own products.

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872331)

!!!

Did I read that right? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872439)

Its yet unpublished format ISO OOXML will not be supported before the release of the next Office generation.

Microsoft doesn't even support the format they've been bribing through the certification process? Wouldn't you think they'd want all their products supporting that standard before embarking on such an ambitious process? Talk about Ready, Fire, Aim.

After a while one comes to expect that MS is more chainsaw than timber but this effort seems even less organized than usual.

Re:Did I read that right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872623)

Shoot first, think later. Optionally, just shoot.

Re:Did I read that right? (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872753)


Wouldn't you think they'd want all their products supporting that standard before embarking on such an ambitious process?

Yes, that would have been smart, but Microsoft is a company with thousands of people who don't always agree.

It really reinforces an idea I've had for a while not that there's currently a large culture war going on at Microsoft. The battle is between the old thinking "lock em in and control it!" vs "we need to adapt to standards or become extinct".

It's A Trap People (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872451)

Hello, it's a trap people, not a sudden outbreak of commonsense. M$ is doing this to embrace, then to extend by adding all sorts of proprietary shit, and finally extinguishing it by eliminating that and going to their proprietary office closed XML format. Once done, ODF will be anchient history and M$ will reign once again.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.

tagged with "woot" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872459)

tagged with "woot".

nuff said.

Can we not see straight even here??? (3, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872483)

Whether or not OOXML ever gets published is an open question after four national bodies appealed the ISO decision.

Interesting that anyone should choose to phrase it that way, since it was already an open question (ISO had missed the deadline, by a lot, with no explanation, and no announcement as to when the standard could be expected) before the appeal, probably because it was and is such a massive mess that they were overwhelmed by the task.

April FOOLS! (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872549)

Hahahahaha!

Oh, it's June? Crap, and now fire is falling from the sky. I guess this is the apocalypse.

Let's not get too excited! (4, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872553)

OK, this is the first shoe to drop. (Sorry British Columbia, no offense)

The is the "embrace" part. Once they start using the format, just you watch, like Java, HTML, CSS, SQL, C++, C, etc. they will add features that break compatibility, because of, wait for it, "customer demand." As we all know "customer demand" will be asking a room full of carefully collected idiots a set of loaded questions.

I have worked closely, in the past, with Microsoft and they view any real standard as a threat. They wield their monopoly power and "defaco" status like a sledge hammer. They've done it in the past, and they'll do it with ODF.

The computing community has to monitor the situation and fight incompatibility as the run of the mill consumer has absolutely no idea what is going on.

I was in this session... (5, Informative)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872563)

And in fact asked the question "Is this just Microsoft doing the first stage of embrace, extend, extinguish?" I was not happy with his response. He floated the idea of merging the two standards, which really concerns me, and also seemed to acknowledge that there was going to be some extension.

From the impression I got, we got thrown a bone, and ODF and OOXML are going to be merged in the next couple of years, and MS will have de facto control because OOXML allows for proprietary extensions.

MS is not going to take this lying down.

I did shake Stuart's hand afterwards, however. He deserves props for showing up and taking a little abuse, although I was not near as hard on him as I would have liked to be, just because other people also deserved a chance to ask questions.

One thing that struck me is that one of the Singapore standards guys was there, and he was NOT happy. He was pretty pissed off that they could not provide even one reference implementation.

But... like I said. Props for showing up, MS. Now you just have many years of monopolistic behavior to live down, and I'll never trust anything you say again.

It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872575)

It has to be! Microsoft and common sense? Give me a break!

Innovation at it's finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872591)

This is Microsoft Innovation at it's finest. Don't like existing formats, propose and 'buy' a new one.

IT standards are not all that stringently controlled either, no wonder Microsoft doesn't even want to try the IEEE, they would need real honest to goodness engineers, and not 'Microsoft Engineers'.

In the end, its another piece of software, other fine programmers and developers will find a way around.

In Other News (0, Flamebait)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872605)

Mods at Slashdot are still virgins living in their mother's basement....happy 40th birthday you fucking ass clowns.

Perhaps Microsoft is disorganized (3, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872683)

It certainly is a mystery why Microsoft would spend all the money and accept all the bad publicity with their effort to bribe everyone in the world to mark MSWordXML as a standard, and then just drop it right after they "won". With one press release they have killed their format dead, and thus they have cancelled every bit of the bribes, FUD, and the expense of a chunk of their remaining karma, so that they have lost everything.

Why the hell do all that work to end up in exactly same position they would be if they had just accepted ODF?

I don't think it's possible this is some nefarious complex scheme by Microsoft. It seems to indicate that this giant organization is losing control of itself. Somehow the FUD & bribery machine was started up, and probably immediately some engineers there started saying "whoa! whoa! It's not necessary!" and they were unable to stop the machine, which has it's own enormous momentum, until millions are spent and the company loses a good chunk of it's remaining karma.

Re:Perhaps Microsoft is disorganized (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872829)

It is just a sign of the end-times.
First Hillary saying she would gladly support Obama as the Democratic Party nominee. The only things missing are "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Re:Perhaps Microsoft is disorganized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23873353)

The whole notion of dogs and cats living together has always intrigued me. I've seen dozens of families with boths cats and dogs and they seem to get along fine. Now on the other hand, I seem to not get along with dogs. They all just growl at me and bite me.

ODF Compatibility test utility (5, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872731)

We are in a very important phase. We (someone) needs to create an ODF compatibility test utility, like an HTML validator, that will test the compliance of an ODF file.

It can be used to catch Microsoft's crap. Remember, a word processing document is unlike HTML. HTML is likely to be seen by a multitude of people where as a document is probably only going to be seen by a specifically targeted group. Microsoft will be able to add incompatibility and almost no one will be able to notice until they wish to open THEIR document with a non-microsoft word processor or spread sheet. At that point it will be too late.

We also have to make sure that Microsoft's products render ODF compliant documents correctly when they are created by non microsoft applications.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Re:ODF Compatibility test utility (4, Insightful)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872957)

Really what you mean is:

a). A Reference implementation conforming 100% to ODF 1.1 . Open source, freely reusable.

b). Requirement for any conforming implementation which wishes to be known as ISO ODF to be certified to pass a standard test suite.

c). Any "extensions" introduced after MS does the "embrace" to be by some standard mechanism which enables other implementations to quickly adapt to it.

Since (c) is practically a given where MS is concerned I'm most worried about that one.

Andy

Re:ODF Compatibility test utility (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873245)

Maybe we can add an extension to "Google Desktop" that will test ODF files when they are indexed and warn users that their applications are producing broken documents.

Re:ODF Compatibility test utility (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872963)

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Actually, the price of freedom is $1.05

Re:ODF Compatibility test utility (5, Informative)

ender_01 (1145117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873269)

You mean something like this [oasis-open.org] ?

standard business tactics (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872793)

Of course, they will support ODF. It's too big a thing to ignore.

Also of course, their implementation will have a few... quirks. You know, implementation bugs that happen symmetrical on both import and export, so they never show up to you, as long as you stay within the MS world. Meanwhile, everything someone with a different ODF implementation sends you will show up buggy, and everything you send them will not quite properly work.

Details, of course. Like footnotes misaligned, or small formation differences. Just enough that nobody calls it bugs, just "quirks", but enough to make sure nobody within a corporation, for example, uses something different.

Something seems fishy (2, Interesting)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872867)

So Microsoft seems to have a new tactic of admitting defeat. First the fall-through on the Yahoo deal. Now the battle for ISO OOXML. Vista may be next. Does Microsoft have something up its sleeve? All this open defeat is not normal Microsoft behavior. In fact China's correction of the fake anti-trust report among other reports makes it seem like the clown is getting pulled off stage. Where's Microsoft's plan for the future? Are they putting all their money on "Windows 7"?

They cry Wolf (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872951)

Well it's more the opposite. And who can blame me for not trusting them. It's still Microsoft.

OOXML Porn:Microsoft&Novell-Two Companies,One (1)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873077)

The whole sick [boycottnovell.com] and distasteful saga [boycottnovell.com] perpetrated upon the public by these two companies should not go unpunished.

The only thing that makes the two companies actions even more perverted is that the number of Microsoft and Novell advocates/astroturfers who were "wacking off" while watching it unfold.

Frist Pots! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23873143)

Sweet, fuck ya! FirsT Postt!!!!! Wootlies ^_^

Microsoft is not stupid (3, Interesting)

rmcd (53236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873185)

Just possibly, Microsoft is sincere about supporting ODF.

Microsoft cannot possibly be ignoring Apple, Google, the EU, the emergence in the last year of mainstream desktop linux and the $400 laptop, the OLPC, the mixed press that accompanied Vista and Office 2007, the bad press received by Windows mobile and the Zune, etc. It is a company that will go through major changes in the next few years. Ballmer is the boss, but probably not for long. Ray Ozzie is CTO and he and a host of managers below him will ultimately be rewarded for figuring out how to succeed in this new world where Microsoft has lost a lot of its market dominance and even more of its mindshare.

If I were at Microsoft I'd be figuring that hardcore corporate MS shops are going to stay MS shops for the forseeable future whether I support ODF or not (they've probably built their business around Exchange server). The fringe --- governments, small business, K-12 schools, universities --- are gone in the next two years unless I start to interoperate in a serious way. So I would support ODF, and I would do it sincerely, and I would figure that by doing so I'd be holding on to some of my customers in the short run. In the long run, well, everything is up for grabs. I'd be better be doing some heavy R&D in the hopes of competing with Apple, Google, and the linux community.
 

What war?!? (2, Insightful)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873263)

I don't remember there being a standards war. There was not two parties competing. It was an established standard (ODF) and MS attempting to corrupt it, dilute it, bribe their way in with their own product. It is amusing that "ODF won" when there wasn't even a competition.

Possibly the real deal. (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873411)

I'm as jaded about MS as the next person, and always watch carefully where their interests lie before trying to second guess them.
This time, I think they may be serious about full ODF support. Without the 'extend' section.
The reason I think this is that they're no longer pitching to a set of businesses that can do what the hell they feel like, and ignore the rest of the world.
They're now having to play ball with governments. And many governments have been bitten by the 'changing of the format' game in word, where they can't read older documents anymore, thus the rising insistence on being able to reliably and moreover accurately save in a known, documented open way that anyone in 50 years time will be able to build a reader for from the well documented specification if there isn't one available.

If they're to sell to government (a lot of money is at stake here; they need to at least be in the market. If a government can't buy word, quite a few businesses would invest in alternate word processor software to maintain compliance with government and ensure they can pass documents around reliably), they have to abide by the full letter of the spec, and not break it. Governments can be quite uppity when you take liberties with their internal workings.

That doesn't mean that ODF will supplant OOXML in all places though, as I daresay there are things that can be saved in that format that ODF doesn't support. They're just few and far between. But you can guarantee the suits in the businesses will just hear the "Our format does more", and "You can easily make prettier presentations with our software", and the MS suite will still be sold.
They'll still have lock in to a level with business (who are far more prone to using the 'shiny' parts of software that are just toys, but require the 'extended format' of OOXML), plus the momentum they have there isn't going to go away anytime soon (IT departments not wanting to support more than one vendor of software for cost reasons).

For purely monetary reasons, I can see the benefit in them toeing the line on a standard. Which is why I think they'll do it and leave it alone (and then use the standard smoke and mirrors to try and get everyone, apart from Governments who insist on it, to completely ignore it).
I use both OOO and Office 2007, and honestly, getting full ODF compliance in Word would only make me more likely to use it more often (I currently only use it when I want to make some pretty things very quickly; all the real work is done in OOO).

Stepping towards a brighter tommorrow (1)

UseCase (939095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23873433)

This is definitely a good thing and it all is happening the right way. We must understand that the choices of the user/consumer should drive file formats, software quality, etc... Commercial software can only be as closed as the consumer allows, and only as crappy as the consumer will allow.

Early in words life-cycle it was for the most the only game in town therefor the consumer would bear with and work within M$ set of rules. A$ controls the music we listen to by way of being the only real place to get the music we want to listen to in town. Whats best now will probably not be best in 10 years. These bubbles form and pop.

Now that tech hardware is more decentralized "the market" is pushing the entire industry towards open formats and data sharing across system types and OS's. We want our applications to just work , we want them to work together, and to work on the platforms we chose to use. This is happening in multiple industries.

It is time,driven by consumer demand, for the Word bubble to pop or deflate. Whose to say that they wont be the premiere ODF document generation tool on the market. They just wont enjoy the monopolistic control they have had over the industry anymore.

My point is that these large companies will and should fight tooth and nail to maintain their supremacy. This insures that the successor is worthy. The choice must be made by the consumer. In this case we have chosen ODF.

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