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The Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the are-you-saying-odf-won't-make-my-docs-smell-bad dept.

Software 213

eldavojohn writes "Groklaw is examining the possibility of an anti-ODF whisper campaign and the effects it has had on the ODF and OOXML Wikipedia articles. In the ODF article, Alex Brown bends the truth to make it seem like no one is supporting ODF, and that it is a flawed and incomplete standard. From the conclusion, 'So what is one to do? You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to "improve" the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.'"

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213 comments

Let's start with the truth (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28279965)

It might be useful to acknowledge what software DOES actually support ODF--including pretty much all of the more popular office and word processing suites [from Wikipedia]:

  • Adobe Buzzword
  • AbiWord (Users of Windows installations must first download and install Import/Export Plugins)
  • Google Docs
  • IBM Lotus Symphony
  • KOffice
  • Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 (with plugin)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • NeoOffice
  • OpenOffice
  • Sun Microsystems StarOffice
  • SoftMaker Office
  • Corel WordPerfect Office X4
  • Zoho Office Suite
  • TextEdit (for the Mac)

That doesn't sound like "no one" to me.

Re:Let's start with the truth (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280023)

Kind of sad how few Word processors there are these days.
Even on your list at least four of them are based on the same code and two of them are Office.

Re:Let's start with the truth (4, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280177)

Kind of sad how few Word processors there are these days.
Even on your list at least four of them are based on the same code and two of them are Office.

I don't know that it's necessarily a bad thing. Word processors have a pretty big network effect, especially in business. So long as the same document format is rendered differently on different word processors (no matter how small that difference), there will be an incentive to standardize on a handful.

Re:Let's start with the truth (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280319)

When have we seen any real innovation? It is like we got to Word and everything stopped. Than and most WP programs have become these huge monster applications that do more than 99% of their users need.

Re:Let's start with the truth (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280401)

I agree, at this point the only thing to really innovate is making them smaller and more efficient. Dumping unnecessary functions into some sort of addon/extension system and slimming them down. As you note there isn't really a whole lot that the average word processor can't do and which people need.

Personally, while I have an old copy of MS Office XP, I haven't used it in years, except to export the files to an interoperable file format, and that wasn't much work, since I had so few of them.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280679)

When have we seen any real innovation? It is like we got to Word and everything stopped.

We haven't seen real innovation in a while. But, there's a good reason for that: First, there isn't a whole lot that a modern word processor can't do already. And second, major changes would, most likely, bring additional incompatibility, lowering the value added by the network effect.

In short, people just don't value many new features highly enough to give up the huge value that interoperability brings. It's pretty much the same reason it took so long to improve upon analog color TV. Sometimes "good enough" is good enough.

Re:Let's start with the truth (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281247)

Actually there is a lot, a whole lot.

Anyone who wants good quality page layouts has to wrestle these programs to the ground and force them to do it. Try integrating drawings in your text with Word or OO, it is awful. Word 2003 plants a giant drawing canvas in the middle of the page. Laying out text with graphs and getting anything sensible looking is worse. Ask a typeface geek about typefaces. Ask Edward Tufte if default page layouts are anything approaching decent.

I know the fallback response is that most people don't care, or don't need proper page layout features, but that is just a chicken and egg argument. People have made due so long they no longer recognize the absurdities. Galileo published books in the 1600s that integrated text and pictures better than most modern word processing programs can.

They don't need to become full blown Pagenmaker-esque graphics hybrids, but there is whole lot of room to improve.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281427)

Try integrating drawings in your text with Word or OO, it is awful. Word 2003 plants a giant drawing canvas in the middle of the page. Laying out text with graphs and getting anything sensible looking is worse. Ask a typeface geek about typefaces. Ask Edward Tufte if default page layouts are anything approaching decent.

I'm not exactly saying that there isn't room for improvement in word processing. There is. But, for the vast majority of people, the benefit they receive from the network effect of having a widely-compatible word processor outweighs the benefits they would get from the improvements you mention.

If we could start over from scratch, and disregard all the network effect value in the current system, we could design, implement, and deploy a vastly improved word processor. But, as we can't just disregard all that network value, we're probably stuck with what we've got until a set of killer-features become so attractive, that people are willing to trade the network value for those features.

You can't easily force that change on people, as can be seen from Vista and DTV.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281467)

Don't hold your breath, the next time you go "wow" at a word processor you will probably be seeing the same old Word but on a touchscreen PC, in which case you're not really impressed in Word.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281773)

When have we seen any real innovation? It is like we got to Word and everything stopped.

That would be because Word 4.0 for Mac did everything a word processor ever needs to do and did it well.

Than and most WP programs have become these huge monster applications that do more than 99% of their users need.

That would be because people insisted on "innovation" when the software was already complete.

Okay, there's one thing that could have been added at that stage that would have been an improvement: optional plugins. Then those 1% of users who have a specialized need only they require could add a plugin that does that, without clogging up the app for everyone and not having to get every specialized feature other people in the 1% category need. Instead, all that crap got thrown into the main app.

Re:Let's start with the truth (5, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280191)

On the other hand, there also is lots of support for MOO XML :
- Microsoft
- cows

And there are *lots* of cows.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280415)

Could you please not insult cows!? -- they are really useful animals.

Re:Let's start with the truth (2, Funny)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280503)

Some of my best friends are cows.

Re:Let's start with the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280567)

Some of my best cows are friends.

Re:Let's start with the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281171)

A cow bit my sister once.

Re:Let's start with the truth (5, Interesting)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280683)

On the other hand, there also is lots of support for MOO XML : - Microsoft

Unfortunately this gives the impression that Microsoft supports Office Open XML but they don't. They plan to on the next version of MS-Office. They do support DOCX which is an ancestor of OOXML but they don't support OOXML itself. Neither does anyone else.

Re:Let's start with the truth (5, Informative)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281119)

I thought it best that I provide evidence:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/165077/microsoftled_forum_yields_tools_for_ooxml_interoperability.html [pcworld.com]

An update this year adds support for ECMA-376, an earlier version of OOXML standard, to Office 2007, but Microsoft won't support the ISO29500 specification until it releases its forthcoming Office 2010 technology. Office 2007 is the software that set off the controversy over document formats when Microsoft developed OOXML as its own XML-based file format for the suite.

Is ODF cross-application compatible? (2, Interesting)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280217)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard that ODF documents created in, say, OpenOffice weren't entirely compatible with AbiWord. Granted, I haven't had the chance to try this out myself.

Also, from what I hear, OOXML is even worse, since it seems to be deliberately broken.

Re:Is ODF cross-application compatible? (5, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280439)

I wouldn't use MS' ODF, last time I wanted to export ODF from MS Office, I used the plug in provided by Sun microsystems. I haven't used it lately, but it's up to version 3.1. Last version I used was 1.1.

Sun ODF Plugin [sun.com]

Re:Is ODF cross-application compatible? (3, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280511)

I heard that ODF documents created in, say, OpenOffice weren't entirely compatible with AbiWord.

Here is a simple study. [robweir.com]
Any spec is going to have some ambiguity about how things should be handled in some cases, so compatibility will always depend, to some degree, on whether or not software authors want to be compatible with other implementations. As ODF matures, more of the details will get nailed down, and there should be less compatibility wiggle-room.

Re:Let's start with the truth (4, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280329)

Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2)

Isn't that one "read only" for some files ? Such as ODS (aka. spreadsheets) and possibly others (But ODS is the only one where I've heard of real problems).

MS has the source code for their implementation of whatever standard they're following at the moment (MOOXML possibly, or whatever), they have the specs for ODF (which, granted are incomplete for spreadsheets for *very good reasons*, look it up), *and* they have the source code. But being *MS* they somehow manage to generate something that's illegible.

Hmmm.

Disclaimer : I don't use MS stuff (or rather haven't for the last 15 yrs, I just use their OS to run games every now and then), I do switch small businesses *away* from Microsoft (successfully too, thanks to *ubuntu most of the time). It doesn't mean I have to know the intricacies of their software. I wish I could care but I don't have the time anymore. I just read the news.

Microsoft will call it "supported" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280371)

if it's needed to get a sale.

Re:Microsoft will call it "supported" (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28282015)

s/will/does/g
Don't believe they waited for you. ODF *definitely* has a tick mark next to it in MS land nowadays (as in "we fucked those suckers").

Microsoft.
Now supporting open standards (cough cough *spit*).

Re:Let's start with the truth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280585)

they have the specs for ODF (which, granted are incomplete for spreadsheets for *very good reasons*, look it up)

So it is "FUD" and "a whisper campaign" that "Alex Brown bends the truth to make it seem like ... it is a flawed and incomplete standard."?

I've never really understood the acceptance that ODF has received. While I applaud and want an open document specification, why should we use ODF before it is complete?

We wouldn't accept such an incomplete standard from Microsoft. In fact, the rallying cry against OOXML was that it was "too complete" because it was X pages long.

Maybe the rabid ODF supporters should accept that ODF is *currently* flawed and incomplete. It's ok. Things have bugs and are missing features. Work to fix it instead of demonizing anyone who points this out.

Re:Let's start with the truth (4, Informative)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280939)

We wouldn't accept such an incomplete standard from Microsoft. In fact, the rallying cry against OOXML was that it was "too complete" because it was X pages long.

It wasn't that it was too long that people complained. They complained because it enshrined errors that Microsoft had made in their earlier formats (wrong leap years for example). It also ignored existing standards (like how leap years are figured). Further it had things in the form of "Do like Word 95" rather than an actual definition of how.

ISO standards should respect and adhere to prior standards where they overlap rather than recreate it in an incompatible way. The leap year example shows how OOXML ignored existing standards.

Re:Let's start with the truth (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281511)

It was also a problem that it was too long.

For example they have their own vector graphics format (ODF just uses SVG), their own math mark up (ODF uses MathML), they have 4 completely different ways to mark up tables, depending on where they are (ODF I think has just 1. Maybe 2?).

Re:Let's start with the truth (4, Informative)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280507)

I compared the ODF article to the OOXML article. The most striking difference is the "Criticism" sections of the ODF article is twice as long, and points out really minor stuff that hardly deserves inclusion in such a summary. On the other hand, the OOXML article fails to mention ANY of the major criticism that has gone across Slashdot in recent years, including Microsoft's paying off countries to support them on the standards committee, or how Microsoft purposely refuses to support the ODF standard in any useful way (I still import/export Word/Excel/PowerPoint, in Open Office - far less broken). There is also no mention that ODF is short, sweet, and nearly complete, while OOXML is Webster Dictionary sized, yet highly incomplete. The low complexity of an ODF implementation relative to OOXML is missing.

In short, we here on slashdot would write very different articles on the two formats. The gist would probably be:

  • ODF - Reasonable format, with room for improvement
  • OOXML - Evil ploy by Microsoft to continue world-wide domination

Not that I'm against world domination by US corporations :-)

Re:Let's start with the truth (5, Insightful)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281751)

Why is it remarkable to you that a list of criticisms about the objective technical merits of a proposed standard does not include items about the political actions of parties to the standardization process?

Did ReiserFS gain or lose functionality for the sole reason that the author committed a crime? Did any of Alan Turing's theories gain or lose logical validity due to his sexual orientation becoming revealed? Did the arguments of the civil rights movement become wrong when they engaged in some quid pro quo actions to gain exposure?

Re:Let's start with the truth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281957)

The political problems did sidetrack actual technical problems which should have prevented the use of the fast-track process. If they had done right and actually spent some time fixing the technical problems in the draft standard, the final standard would have been a lot easier to implement in a compatible manner.

Re:Let's start with the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280915)

Sir Humphrey: I am discussing our position minister, the facts are neither here nor there.

Re:Let's start with the truth (3, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281431)

Conspicuously absent: Apple's "Pages" word processor. I'd happily pay Apple for a word processor that plays nicely on my PPC Mac, but I'll be damned if I'm going to lock my data into Yet Another Weird Apple Format. Seriously, what genius at Apple said "we have a 0% share of the word processing market - let's invent our own incompatible format so that no one can exchange data with us!"

Re:Let's start with the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281683)

You do know that it can both read and write Word files, right?

Re:Let's start with the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281687)

I would take a guess that these applications support only a subset of ODF.
Different subsets at that. This is certainly the situation for spreadsheets.

That brings you back down to zero.

Corporate FUD is the real enemy here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28279995)

It really shows how desperate a company is when they have to get the FUD written so they can refer to it as tho it were fact. Its just like "get the facts" which was show up as paid for information. How many times have we seen information come from Microsoft that states the truth but they leave out the relevant parts that make it the complete opposite of what they say. Rob Weir gives an example of Microsoft have 15 proposals for ODF 1.2 and Microsoft says none of them made it into ODF 1.2. All was true but they failed to say they withdrew so it wouldn't hold 1.2 up. So what they say may be true but one still can't believe what they. I can't anyway and I think more and more people worldwide are starting to see thru them.

Re:Corporate FUD is the real enemy here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280131)

It really shows how desperate a company is when they have to get the FUD written so they can refer to it as tho it were fact.

Well, okay but the problem is that Wikipedia can easily be skewed by people with an axe to grind, and time to do so. This is especially true of relatively obscure matters, as standardization is for most people. "Common" knowledge with many independent experts who know about it tends to be more accurate. It is just too bad that Wikipedia is more and more used as if it were an authoritative source. The present Groklaw article shows how this can actually do real harm!

I'm a bit bitter about Wikipedia myself, because of a matter close to my heart, relating to a certain proprietary technology that is little known outside a small circle. It really should not be mentioned in Wikipedia at all. A former employee of the company where it was created made a self-agrandising Wikipedia article about its origins. I know the truth, but cannot really start rebutting it, because all relevant documents are company-confidential and I work under a pile of NDA:s (and would like to keep the interesting job). I have been wondering for years what to do about it, and concluded it is probably better to do nothing, as the other guy is of the obsessive sort, and has far more free time than I have. So I would inevitably lose any editing war... But this really taught me that Wikipedia cannot be trusted. A nice idea, but does not work.

Re:Corporate FUD is the real enemy here (3, Insightful)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280251)

Maybe you could suggest the wiki entry be deleted. It doesn't sound like this guys posts have enough external reference points to hold itself up, and it doesn't sound like it is relevent enough to warrant a wiki article... There was a thing a while back about how wikipedia was clearing out those kind of entries. Just a thought.

Re:Corporate FUD is the real enemy here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280183)

It's better with windoze.

Watch the wikipedia history (3, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280173)

Sunlight is the best antiseptic.

Exactly. Watch the history of the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] . Now that light has been shed on the issue, I'll bet the article becomes extremely accurate by the end of the day.

OK, but (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280367)

What defines accurate?

I love how ambiguous this all is. It really comes down to is "Bob doesn't think this but Rob does" How does the average person on the street know when accurate has been reached?

One could say that the accuracy of the article will suffer even more based on the bias of the site this article was submitted to.

 

Re:Watch the wikipedia history (1)

JJJK (1029630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281893)

1 2 3 4, I declare an edit war! (5 6 7 8, log in while it's not too late!)

What "whisper campaign"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280187)

I'm sorry, you haven't even credibly established that there even is a 'whisper campaign against odf' in the first place. Just because someone edits wikipedia and doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they're a paid anti-odf shill from Microsoft.

Re:What "whisper campaign"? (3, Informative)

Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280303)

Unless of course the person in question is a *known* paid anti-odf shill from Microsoft. As in this case.

Jeremy.

Re:What "whisper campaign"? (-1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280729)

Unless of course the person in question is a *known* paid anti-odf shill from Microsoft. As in this case.

Proooooof?

People say this on Slashdot all the time. I've been personally accused of being a paid shill for Microsoft dozens of times. (For the record, I'm not. If you know how I can get money to post my opinions, though, please let me in on it.) I think it's all bullshit. Nobody's even been able to prove anything.

Re:What "whisper campaign"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281503)

I've been personally accused of being a paid shill for Microsoft dozens of times. (For the record, I'm not. If you know how I can get money to post my opinions, though, please let me in on it.) I think it's all bullshit. Nobody's even been able to prove anything.

So, what you're saying is that you are an unpaid shill?

Re:What "whisper campaign"? (2, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281225)

Which makes Rob Weir what, exactly?

http://www.robweir.com/blog/rob.html [robweir.com]

... I work for IBM, as Chief ODF Architect ...

Also interesting is the fact that, as far as I can tell, these "shills" are editing Wikipedia with their real names, or with well-known handles uses elsewhere that identify who they are. As opposed to "WackyButterfly1965" or something - not a particularly hard thing to do on Wikipedia at all.

Facts. Presented out of context (or without enough of it) have been used extensively on Wikipedia and elsewhere to paint Microsoft and everything they do in a negative light. I'd suggest these people either suck it up now, or stop whining about how Wikipedia is being gamed and use their considerable energy and time to work the website's bureaucracy. $Deity knows they're going to need it. I loved this part of that Groklaw article:

This certainly is an interesting statement. There is nothing I can point to that is false here. Everything here is 100% accurate. However, it seems to be reckless in how it neglects the most relevant facts, namely that the proposals did not make it into ODF 1.2 at Microsoft's sole election.

For anyone involved with OOXML on the Microsoft side, this is sweet revenge. Hoisted by their own petard and so on. I think it's funny as hell.

Just another Slashdot MS troll/flame (0, Troll)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280255)

My response to this is exactly why I have bad karma because I'm not blindly on the linux bandwagon. This article itself is FUD and nothing but trolling and flamebait. Of course I'll get modded down for saying this because blasting MS is fashionable here. I've never been one for fashion. Seriously, enough with the "MS is the devil" nonsense. People who actually believe this are just following the /. heard. Linux is great for what it is - an alternative and something for super geeks to play with. But stop the madness that is MS trolling. It's just bad form.

Re:Just another Slashdot MS troll/flame (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280611)

Eh, you have bad karma because you deliberately post inflamatory comments without any basis. It actually takes a fair amount of work to get as many negative mods as you've gotten, I'm sure you're mother is proud.

But then again, you're just a fanboi, who seems not to comprehend the topic at hand so I'm not going to benefit you by getting modded down.

Re:Just another Slashdot MS troll/flame (1, Offtopic)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281359)

It actually takes no work at all. All one has to do is make a positive remark about Windows and BAM! -1. My mother is very proud that I think for myself and don't blindly "hate the man" just because it's the cool thing to do. I've outgrown that paranoia. I'm the fanboi? Sif. I comprehend what's going on here just fine - look at the mod! Just because you're so smart doesn't mean you're in the majority. I work on a Mac btw. I use Windows sparingly and have a linux machine that I loaded just to do it to see what all the fuss was about. I'm an anti-fanboi and that's the reason for the attitude. So your critique has missed its mark. Given the environment this is oh so expected.

Re:Just another Slashdot MS troll/flame (0, Offtopic)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281197)

Hah! I'm friggin psychic. A lot of posts are supporting the idea that the original article is complete bullshit, but say one bad word about linux and the mod gods start falling over each other to punish you. So let me get this straight, if I post while logged in I get punished for having an opinion not in the mainstream here, but if I post anonymously there's no fear of the linux police. Mod me down all you want - I wear my bad karma as a badge of honor here.

How do you define a 'whisper campaign'? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280279)

If people tell each other that Microsoft sucks, and that Microsoft products are buggy and easily penetrated, would you say there is a 'whisper campaign' against Microsoft?

If people say that republicans are dishonest assholes, is that a 'whisper campaign' against republicans?

In short, how do you define 'whisper campaign'? Is it simply "when people we don't like speak negatively about something we like without being purely factual"?

Re:How do you define a 'whisper campaign'? (5, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280463)

A whisper campaign is when you tell outright lies in private that you would never dare to say in public, because they are so outrageously false that you would be immediately challenged on it. Saying that Microsoft products are buggy, etc., is not a whisper campaign, because we can and do say this publicly without fear of contradiction.

Re:How do you define a 'whisper campaign'? (0)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280741)

While a whisper campaign does by its very nature seek to avoid detection is does not necessarily involve "outright lies". It does in this case but that's not what makes this a whisper campaign. Marketing companies use whisper campaigns all the time to hawk goods. they pay some guy to go into a bar and order the spirit they are marketing really loud or buying a round of said spirit for the bar patrons without telling them he works for the company that makes the stuff.

The answer is in the question (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280529)

It is a "whisper" campaign because if the same things were said out loud the speaker would be open to ridicule. Open to ridicule - because the comments are completely untrue, and the speaker is being deceitful.

If you speak out openly against someone or something and take whatever criticism comes - and rebut or retract, then it is not a whisper campaign.

Alex Brown (3, Funny)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280361)

So where is Alex Brown's Wikipedia page? One needs to be created so that every Slashbot can update it every second of the day to say that he is a Microsoft marketing agent.

Re:Alex Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280545)

Better yet, make him a Dickipedia entry.

You think ODF vs. OOXML is bad over there? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280449)

You should see the quark stars vs. peon stars crowd. Hooboy, I wouldn't touch that with a 3.048 meter pole.

Who to consult (2, Informative)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280479)

I'm not at all saying that the wikipedia article is accurate... but I'd hardly say consulting the people who are behind the standards are the best ones to get an honest view of its stability, completeness, and real-world support. That's like turning to Larry Ellison and asking if Oracle is the best database in the world. Of COURSE he's going to pimp his own goods. I'd prefer to see people pointed to an independent third-party. Whether that be a forum full of users, or large corporations who have standardized on it in the business sector.

Sunlight in basements... (1, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280513)

Sunlight is the best antiseptic.

Good luck finding that in the average Slashdotter's subterranean dwelling...

Re:Sunlight in basements... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280727)

Hey, my basement is two stories, and the top story is actually above ground!

But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (1, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280551)

The latest published standard version of ODF (1.1) is flawed - perhaps the most frequently mentioned flaw is that it does not define a syntax for spreadsheet formulas. An ODF 1.1 compliant spreadsheet application can thus generate ODF 1.1 compliant spreadsheet documents that are incompatible with other ODF 1.1 spreadsheet applications.

When completed, ODF 1.2 will fix this flaw and others. But ODF 1.2 is not yet finished.

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (1, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280905)

Exactly. Trying to phrase this as a battle between ODF, the perfect standard, and OOXML, the unimplementable and broken standard, is not going to work. Both ODF and OOXML have serious flaws. Both have people working to fix them. Neither of them should have been rushed through standardisation without proper review, but since ODF was it's difficult for the ODF backers to justify not giving OOXML the same treatment.

Having two good standards for office documents would be okay. Having one would be ideal. Currently we have none, but we have two bad standards with their backers both trying to shout loudly that the other one sucks, to distract from the fact that their favourite one does too.

If either camp put as much effort into their standard as they have into their PR, we would have something very clean and easy to implement by now.

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (2, Interesting)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281051)

Neither of them should have been rushed through standardisation without proper review, but since ODF was...

I wasn't aware of that. Could you please elaborate on that, with authoritative references? Thank you.

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281249)

Wikipedia isn't an authoritative source - as this article affirms - but it should give you somewhere to start looking. I don't have any to hand, because I was following the standardisation process at the time, and didn't keep track of the sources I was reading. The relevant passage is:

After a six-month review period, on May 3, 2006 OpenDocument unanimously passed its six-month DIS ballot in JTC 1, with broad participation,[7] after which the OpenDocument specification was "approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard" under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006.

This cites an ISO press release which has since moved, as well as the participation in the voting [jtc1sc34.org] . Note that it was only reviewed by ISO for six months (if you want an authoritative source, compare the dates of the OASIS and ISO ODF specifications). The standard at this version was a little over 700 pages, meaning that the reviewers working every day would have had to review around 4 pages per day; more if they didn't work weekends. This is far from enough time to be able to do a detailed review.

They trusted that OASIS had done their job doing a proper review, just as they trusted that ECMA had done a thorough review of OOXML. Neither of these seem like good assumptions; ECMA has a track record of producing bad specifications, OASIS had no track record at all.

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (5, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281759)

Which conveniently omits that ODF was submitted under PAS - the process for reviewing and approving something that's already a standard and is already in use. ODF officially started the standardization process in OASIS in December of 2002, starting from the StarOffice format.

As for OASIS's track record, I refer you to http://www.oasis-open.org/specs/ [oasis-open.org] that lists the standards they've originated. These include DocBook and a large number of SOAP-related standards. That's hardly "no track record at all". And their heavy concentration in XML-based standards makes them a good place for another XML-based standard.

Not quite the case. (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281153)

If you take as a criteria for a "good standard for office documents" that it have a number of interoperable implementations and provides all generally-required functionality, ODF clearly meets that standard, MSOOXML as clearly fails it on lack of interoperable implementations.

Neither standard is perfect, and there are bugs in the various ODF implementations, but it's obviously usable, as it's being widely used. Not even MS Office actually uses OOXML as documented.

Re:Not quite the case. (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28282115)

If you take as a criteria for a "good standard for office documents" that it have a number of interoperable implementations and provides all generally-required functionality, ODF clearly meets that standard, MSOOXML as clearly fails it on lack of interoperable implementations.

Many of these implementations don't implement the standard as published, or add extensions. If most implementations (or the most widely used ones) deviate from or extend the published standard, the published standard is less useful and the de facto standard becomes "ODF as implemented by OpenOffice.org and a few others". And the most popular ODF implementation does not follow a published standard: OpenOffice.org 3 implements ODF according to a draft of ODF 1.2.

The old Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats have a few interoperable implementations as well (OpenOffice.org, Office, iWork...)

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (2, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281755)

Not saying you're wrong, but to be a bit pedantic, ALL standards are flawed and incomplete to some extent. The issue is how much those items matter and to whom.

It's obviously in Microsoft's best interest to highlight these issues with ODF, even though the same sentiment, "flawed and imcomplete", could also be applied to any of their own file formats...

Re:But ODF is a flawed and incomplete standard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281891)

I wouldn't say flawed, I would say "not documented yet". After all, it isn't a singular program, it's a reference. The reference for ODF 1.1 doesnt' define how spreadsheets should do their formulas is all.

Groklaw raises concerns of theft of bodily fluids (-1, Troll)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280591)

This is a very badly written, badly reasoned article, nearly incoherent (guessing not everyone there is a lawyer), but if I'm understanding it correctly, is it saying that MS is producing statements that are anti-ODF, some objective, some not (hello, it's marketing, people), and then some Wikipedia editors are using that as sources to edit the ODF article on Wikipedia? And one guy from MS, who happens to be employed in the same field of document formats, edits the article too? And that's a super serious scandal worthy of posting to /.? Are you serious?

Re:Groklaw raises concerns of theft of bodily flui (2, Interesting)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281021)

And then sending that information to national standards committees to argue against the adoption of ODF, and to other government officials. Yes, I think that when you use this mechanism to deceive governments (or any other customers for that matter) it is scandalous. Marketing/spin is one thing. But outright lies and deception is something else, don't you think?

Re:Groklaw raises concerns of theft of bodily flui (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281267)

All scandals involving Wikipedia are super-serious. Just ask The Register.

Re:Groklaw raises concerns of theft of bodily flui (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281305)

Since when does something have to be super serious to warrant a post to /.? Seriously?

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280625)

Who cares about OpenOffice and ODF? OOo is the main factory of ODF documents around the world, but only GNU/Linux users use it, everyone else uses MS Office because OOo is slow and ugly, yet not as feature-complete as the competition. Get on to a standard tookit, like QT, cut out the Java creep (into Base and such), get a better interface, then we'll worry about the competition.

By the way, GNU/Linux sucks: it doesn't support most Bluetooth and wifi adaptors, webcams, iPods and other hardware. The Flash implementation sucks (yes, that is Linux's fault as it works perfectly on every other platform). Also, upgrades to the most popular distros lead to regressions in graphics and sound.

Get your own house in order before moaning about what everyone else is doing. Stop commenting on this article now! Go and help write some code: GNU/Linux sucks, and badly needs the help!

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28280861)

By the way, GNU/Linux sucks: it doesn't support most Bluetooth and wifi adaptors, webcams, iPods and other hardware. The Flash implementation sucks (yes, that is Linux's fault as it works perfectly on every other platform). Also, upgrades to the most popular distros lead to regressions in graphics and sound.

/quote>
Obviously, flash works perfectly on openbsd for SPARC 64

Rob Weir rigged his tests (4, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280859)

Weir's tests of MS's ODF implementation made a big point of the fact that if you saved a spreadsheet in OO, and read it with Office, it was not fully functional (you get the cell values, but not the formulas, so it becomes a static snapshot of the data).

Yet Lotus Symphony has almost exactly the same problem [lotus.com] . Weir got around that by using a beta of a future version of Symphony that fixes the problem.

Re:Rob Weir rigged his tests (2, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281111)

I stated exactly what application versions I used in the tests. How is that "rigging" ? Of course I'll use the latest code available to me. That's a no-brainer.

Re:Rob Weir rigged his tests (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281407)

As others have posted, this is a fundamental problem with the ODF format, so all implementations will have this problem.

Too late (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280871)

...Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic...

The problem is the time it takes to recognize the FUD and eliminate it all to often is too late and the damage has been done.

Bad information spreads quicker then good information because good information is usually boring and doesn't generate hits\traffic on the invisible series of tubes we call the Internet.

Re:Too late (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281089)

People like to feel important. Someone comes up to you and says, "Look, I'm going to give you some inside information on XYZ." You feel like you've been given a valuable stock tip or a lead on the Next Big Thing. But in reality, everyone is getting the same story, just like that e-mail from the Nigerian Minister of Finance.

Its an old marketing ploy that smart people recognize. Unfortunately, being smart isn't a prerequisite for becoming a PHB. But being susceptible to having one's ego stroked is.

all i want to know is (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#28280955)

will i still be able to open these files in VI?? if not, im willing to try EMACS as a workaround, but only if i can virtualize it like my other operating systems.

Alex Brown - Corruption in Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28281385)

Alex Brown clearly has no personal integrity. He makes biased rulings at international meetings to unfairly give his handler an advantage. Nothing he does or says can be believed or trusted. Alex Brown, under the guiding hand of Microsoft, brought the ISO system to it's knees and it's still broken. Maybe it's time to go after him personally.

MS not the only ones (3, Interesting)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28281729)

I remember that the Budweiser [wikipedia.org] article read like a marketing brochure one time, but it appears to have been cleaned up. The worst offender I've seen is the Debeers [wikipedia.org] . I went there once after reading an article about successful marketing of diamonds for wedding rings in Japan, and was shocked to find that it didn't even have a history page (it now does). Revisions of the article from it's early days gave me a pretty good idea of it's history. You can see a great deal of controversy via it's talk page [wikipedia.org] .

Conflict of Interest Noticeboard Incident (0, Troll)

samj (115984) | more than 4 years ago | (#28282039)

Earlier today I created the hAl Microsoft Topic Ban [wikipedia.org] incident on Wikipedia's Conflict of Interest Noticeboard [wikipedia.org] , highlighting some of the particularly troubling points in the contributions [wikipedia.org] of a user called hAl [wikipedia.org] (who reveals little beyond liking beer). It seems I'm not the first [boycottnovell.com] to stumble on this apparent Microsoft shill, but hopefully I'll be the last (at least on Wikipedia) as with any luck he'll land himself a topic ban having been blocked 4 times already.

Sam

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