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ODF 1.2 Is Approved

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the boy-that-was-fast dept.

Software 110

An anonymous reader writes with news that the Open Document Format 1.2 specification has finally been approved. "The most important improvement to ODF 1.2 is the newly built spreadsheet support. The old format was buggy and had a lot of legacy problems. Therefore the new spreadsheet module was written from scratch. 'A complete clean room implementation of the spreadsheet formula was built,' said [Michiel Leenaars, director of the Internet Society Netherlands]. ... Another important improvement in ODF 1.2 is the support for Resource Description Framework (RDF) metadata, a W3C standard model for data interchange on the Web. ... Instead of only being able to link to a URL, RDF allows users to link text in documents to other things like a V-Card or a calendar item. Companies can use this technology to structure their workflow."

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110 comments

file type (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37580858)

Will such files end with .odf? Looks like a pdf ripoff to me.

Re:file type (2)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580896)

Text files use .odt, spreadsheet files use .ods, presentations use .odp.

(Or am I feeding a troll?)

Re:file type (3, Funny)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580924)

You replied to a FP AC. Do you need a diagram? The only thing missing was a goatse tinyurl.

Re:file type (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580954)

(Or am I feeding a troll?)

In many cases, yes. However this time the AC led off with a first post that could well have come from general ignorance. Many people still fear openoffice, and show that level of complete lack of understanding. There are many people around here who still think that openoffice is a java-dependent product of Sun Microsystems that is determined to takeover your entire desktop and consume absurd amounts of resources in order to do the simplest of imaginable tasks.

So this time, the jury is out. The AC may well have been trolling, though in this case it is equally probable they just simply were ignorant.

Re:file type (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581112)

There are many people around here who still think that openoffice is a java-dependent product of Sun Microsystems that is determined to takeover your entire desktop and consume absurd amounts of resources in order to do the simplest of imaginable tasks.

That's because they are right. Well, it's Oracle now, but still:

# yum install openoffice.org-calc
[...]
Resolving Dependencies
[...]
Installing:
[...]
  java-1.6.0-openjdk x86_64 1:1.6.0.0-54.1.9.9.fc14 updates 26 M
[...]
Installed size: 418 M
Is this ok [y/N]: N

418 MB just for the calc? Seems bloated to me. And seems like it requires java too.

Re:file type (3, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581270)

Clever trolling, but no.

The size depends on what you (and/or) your package manager choose to install. To quote the FAQ "For certain features of the software - but not most - Java is required. Java is notably required for Base." http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/system-requirements/ [libreoffice.org]

Re:file type (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583150)

Clever trolling, but no.

How is this trolling, exactly? Is it the old "disagree with fanbois, must be troll"? It's my honest opinion, based on evidence of what an end-user actually sees.

To quote the FAQ "For certain features of the software - but not most - Java is required. Java is notably required for Base." http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/system-requirements/ [libreoffice.org]

Does it really matter just what pulls it in, as long as the end user tries to install Calc and java gets pulled in? That is, from the end user's perspective, a dependency on java. No ifs and buts about it.

Playing the "blame the distro" game isn't helpful either. If the app devs make it too difficult for the world's biggest OSS contributor to provide OO.o without java, the blame should not be placed with the distro. Nor the end user.

Re:file type (2)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587688)

Does it really matter just what pulls it in, as long as the end user tries to install Calc and java gets pulled in?

Yes, it matters. You aren't installing vanilla OpenOffice; you are installing a custom version crafted by Fedora Core. Windows users don't need Java. Debian users don't need Java. Users of Oracle's generic Linux build don't need Java.

Playing the "blame the distro" game isn't helpful either. If the app devs make it too difficult for the world's biggest OSS contributor to provide OO.o without java, the blame should not be placed with the distro. Nor the end user.

It's a tradeoff between installing Java or crippling OOo's more enterprise-friendly features until the end-administrator installs it manually. As an enterprise-oriented distro, it makes sense for Red Hat to include Java as a dependency.

Re:file type (3, Insightful)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581272)

My main question here would be why the hell are you still using OpenOffice.org anyway? I've been on LibreOffice for ages now, and (in Debian at least, as far as I can tell) LibreOffice Calc does not require any sort of Java runtime.

This would make sense given that one of the aims of LibreOffice is to "reduce Java dependency [documentfoundation.org]".

Re:file type (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583088)

My main question here would be why the hell are you still using OpenOffice.org anyway?

Um, because this thread talks about Openoffice, so I went to a box that actually provided OO.o instead of LO in order to avoid confusion?

Re:file type (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584930)

I can't answer for him, but I can for me:

1) Because the name "LibreOffice" sucks. It really, really, really sucks.
2) I have a vested interest in keeping my users happy, and right now, that doesn't mean throwing away 10+ years worth of the name "OpenOffice".
3) Because on my systems, OpenOffice loads much faster (for equivalent version)
4) A greater rather than lesser Java dependency doesn't bother me all that much.
5) It is what I am used to setting up and customizing (at the system level).

I am likely to switch, eventually and reluctantly. Would be a LOT easier if they had a rebranding option.

Re:file type (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582246)

How much space does an install of excel take? OO may be bloated in its own right, but not when you compare it to the competition...

Re:file type (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583650)

How much space does an install of excel take?

Good question!

Disabling everything but Excel x86_64 from a Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 DVD states 1.39 GB. I suspect that some of that is because of non-selectables always installed with the Professional Plus version, but that it's still horribly bloated.

OO may be bloated in its own right, but not when you compare it to the competition..

But what is the competition for OO.o calc? The several-hundred-dollar and closed Excel?

Or free and open spreadsheets like gnumeric, which weighs in at around 14 MB, and IME[*] has better compatibility with Excel than OO.o has?

[*] At least up to but not including the changes mentioned in the submission. I have both installed, and frequently have to open Excel-created sheets that my boss or other colleagues send me, and sometimes make corrections and send them back. gnumeric is less problematic, especially when people have been "fancy" and used smaller fonts or different colors. YMMV, but for me and the work I do every day, gnumeric is the competition, and has so far won.

Bloat is bloat, whether it comes from Microsoft or Sun/Oracle/OSS-coders. Whether it has less bloat than the competition doesn't reduce the bloat.
"Our soup only has half as much urine in it as the competition" is not a winning argument.

Re:file type (0)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581002)

And 99.9% of the population uses .doc, .xls, .ppt (except for the rebels that put append an 'x' to the extensions).

*yawn*

Next?

Re:file type (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581148)

And 99.9% of the population uses .doc, .xls, .ppt (except for the rebels that put append an 'x' to the extensions).

99% of the sheep in the US.

The rest of the world is more enlightened.

Re:file type (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581826)

The rest of the world is more enlightened.

Yeah, we kind of lost our *cough*enlightenment edge after we walked on the moon ovER THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Re:file type (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581228)

> And 99.9% of the population uses .doc, .xls, .ppt
> *yawn*
> Next?

Hi, I'm IE, I used to be dominant, the boss, the one who gave the cards... but then came that pesky fox and its toy-like Chromatic friend. Well, I guess I'm gonna retire soon.

> (except for the rebels that put append an 'x' to the extensions).

We have a normal report at work (let's call it Report A), and the same one with an Excel data export feature, aptly named Report A-XLS. Very well, people ask me what is XLS. This is the result of that braindamaged policy of defaulting to "hide known file extensions" or whatever it's called.

Do you care? Let me tell you, your 99% users will double-click on an odf file with a text-like icon, Writer will open, they'll edit the file, print and save it -- and they'll never know they didn't use Word. M$ has taken extensive measures to ensure its users can't recognize its products.

Re:file type (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581308)

Anybody that cares about the documents functioning properly in the future or when exchanged with random other people doesn't use the MS Office formats. MS does go to lengths to maintain backwards compatibility, but ultimately it's still risky to use different versions to work on a file.

Re:file type (-1, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581240)

I don't think he/she is a troll because frankly I didn't have a clue whether it ended in .odf or not either. I don't think it matters though because as long as businesses demand .doc you're pretty much stuck with MS Office anyway. that's the thing about de facto standards, once something gets entrenched good luck getting something new in there.

But you try sending your resume in odt or even pdf and if they don't file 13 it they'll send you an email saying "Can you send it to us in a word doc?" and if you don't? Forget it. Protip for all the "Just use PDF" FOSS guys out there: They will never accept PDF and will can your file as ALL the HR depts now use these resume scanning software and guess what format they take? Not odt, not PDF, not even .rtf from what I understand...just .doc. And no they ain't made by MSFT either, it is just businesses use doc so the infrastructure is built around .doc files. That's just the way it is folks.

Re:file type (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581318)

If you send it as an RTF they shouldn't have any trouble opening it. Chances are that they won't even notice that it isn't a DOC.

Ultimately, anybody that demands that they be sent a DOC deserves to receive a word macro virus infected document.

Re:file type (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581964)

The "If it's not done the "True Open Source way", I'm going to infect your computer with malware" attitude that keeps Open Source office software in its own little ghetto.

Resorting to vandalism doesn't get anyone to adopt the software. Writing excellent software gets people using software.

Re:file type (3, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582502)

The "If it's not done the "True Microsoft way", I'm going to infect your computer with malware" attitude that keeps Microsoft office software in its own little ghetto.

Resorting to vandalism doesn't get anyone to adopt the software. Writing excellent software gets people using software.

Re:file type (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583958)

> If you send it as an RTF they shouldn't have any trouble opening it.

This is not Office, this is a document scanning system - and it may very well have issues with RTF. That being said, I found RTF to be generally less well supported on pretty much all office suites - it usually supports less features and causes more problems. DOC was actually pretty well supported outside of Microsoft, too, but with DOCX we are pretty much back to square 1 (although it should be easier to read in theory).

Re:file type (1, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581468)

1. The parent post is from hairyfeet, a paid Microsoft astroturfer. Last time he submitted his resume to anyone was when he was hired to whore for karma and post Microsoft propaganda here.

2. HR departments accept PDF just fine, and there is no such thing as "resume scanning software". Recruiters insist on Word, so they can remove your contact information and send a copy to every company they know. This is the only thing I have ever seen recruiters doing.

Re:file type (0, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581920)

The parent post is from Alex Belits, a jobless Linux astroturfer. Last time he submitted his resume to anyone was when he tried to be Linus Torvalds bootlicker and was turned down for drool.

See how nicely that fits there loony tunes? Oh and I'm not working for anyone but myself, I am your worst nightmare...I'm a retailer. you see we have tried your product and found your bullshit and lies to be just that so maybe you'd like me to enlighten some of the masses, hmm?,

Isn't it sad, how like a frightened child afraid to look under the bed, you cower at the truth? if your driver model isn't shit then why does Dell have to run their own repos [theinquirer.net] even though we are talking a teeny tiny subset of hardware? Oh right because Linux shits itself and dies if you use the default repos! Man that is some excellent product you got there! Bleeding yet douchey? want some more? nice thing about having the truth on your side, you can keep throwing punches all day! How about how a decade old Windows beat the shit out of Linux on netbooks [computerworld.com] or how ASUS has given up on your bullshit [computerworld.com.au] or how about Walmart running away from linux as fast as it can [pcworld.com]? You got the crazy koolaid drunk enough to say they ALL are paid shills because they won't do your forum dance or CLI horseshit? Meanwhile your "hero" Torvalds the great says Plans? We don't need no steenkin plans! [kerneltrap.org]. Why don't you tell them that at work next week, see how quick you get a pink slip? More? How about you actually have the balls to celebrate getting a whole 1% market share [slashdot.org] while you are actually lower than JavaME [netmarketshare.com] and there is a whole website dedicated To your bullshit and excuses [tmrepository.com].

Meanwhile i'll go back to enjoying my nice new Asus EEE Windows 7 HP netbook, which I got myself as a little prezzie with some of the profits I made from NOT carrying an inferior product. If you don't like being last? Try putting out a product worth actually stocking. You know what you remind me of? A religious nutball. When someone points out a hole in your dogma you go "La la la, it can't be true! U must be a M$ Ninja!" while we all laugh at your batshit insanity. But hey friend here is a nice video of your hero RMS showing why he is the great one [youtube.com] so that should cheer you up.

Re:file type (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582758)

The parent post is from Alex Belits, a jobless Linux astroturfer. Last time he submitted his resume to anyone was when he tried to be Linus Torvalds bootlicker and was turned down for drool.

See how nicely that fits there loony tunes? Oh and I'm not working for anyone but myself, I am your worst nightmare...I'm a retailer. you see we have tried your product and found your bullshit and lies to be just that so maybe you'd like me to enlighten some of the masses, hmm?,

Isn't it sad, how like a frightened child afraid to look under the bed, you cower at the truth? if your driver model isn't shit then why does Dell have to run their own repos [theinquirer.net] even though we are talking a teeny tiny subset of hardware? Oh right because Linux shits itself and dies if you use the default repos! Man that is some excellent product you got there! Bleeding yet douchey? want some more? nice thing about having the truth on your side, you can keep throwing punches all day! How about how a decade old Windows beat the shit out of Linux on netbooks [computerworld.com] or how ASUS has given up on your bullshit [computerworld.com.au] or how about Walmart running away from linux as fast as it can [pcworld.com]? You got the crazy koolaid drunk enough to say they ALL are paid shills because they won't do your forum dance or CLI horseshit? Meanwhile your "hero" Torvalds the great says Plans? We don't need no steenkin plans! [kerneltrap.org]. Why don't you tell them that at work next week, see how quick you get a pink slip? More? How about you actually have the balls to celebrate getting a whole 1% market share [slashdot.org] while you are actually lower than JavaME [netmarketshare.com] and there is a whole website dedicated To your bullshit and excuses [tmrepository.com].

Meanwhile i'll go back to enjoying my nice new Asus EEE Windows 7 HP netbook, which I got myself as a little prezzie with some of the profits I made from NOT carrying an inferior product. If you don't like being last? Try putting out a product worth actually stocking. You know what you remind me of? A religious nutball. When someone points out a hole in your dogma you go "La la la, it can't be true! U must be a M$ Ninja!" while we all laugh at your batshit insanity. But hey friend here is a nice video of your hero RMS showing why he is the great one [youtube.com] so that should cheer you up.

Nice try, Ballmer.

Re:file type (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583154)

Nice try, nutjob hippie faggot.

Re:file type (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37586432)

Nice try, nutjob hippie faggot.

I'm okay with this.

Re:file type (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37586454)

For the dell mini the problem was the graphics card which had no history with linux and was released with closed drivers. Currently there are two open drivers available. A stub driver that provides a basic frame buffer, and a driver that supports some 2D acceleration.The same graphics tech is coming back around with cedar trail and intel has committed to developing a open driver for both it and the GMA 500. ( I also believe it was the Xorg side driver that broke and not the kernel side) Absolutely nothing anybody in the open source community could have done about it anyways. Anybody knowledgeable on the topic will tell you that closed source drivers are liable to bite you in the ass in open source operating systems. Dell shot themselves in the foot by not vetting the hardware more closely.

Re:file type (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582074)

Yea, I noticed headhunters wanted .doc format. I once complied and the headhunter modified my resume before he send it on to my next employer. I didn't know he would change it, so I got a bit in a bind during the interview as there were lies on it. Strangely my resume was impressive enough and I got hired.

The second time another headhunter wanted a .doc file as well, and I asked him about it and he told me straight out he wanted to embellish it a bit. I told him no, and gave him the .pdf. That interview went a lot smoother.

It now seems that word documents now come with settings, so when you open it, word comes up in strange modes. If you just want to read a document, a .doc file is not the way to go.

Yes but (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580914)

Will it run in Excel?

Re:Yes but (2)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581150)

The question is the wrong way around. Will Excell run it is the proper question.
The answer is of course: not properly.

Re:Yes but (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581184)

not really, the common denominator here is excel, I seriously cant expect to send a odf file and have some random person open it in excel (or word for documents etc) I use open office, I spread it around my workplace like candy, but at end end of it all the files get defaulted to save in MS format cause that is what everyone else uses, and I cant really soapbox to a customer who is using something that works fine in their minds

Re:Yes but (3, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581338)

the common denominator here is excel

Is it really? Excel's problem with their existing ODF support was that it strictly adhered to the specification, rather than supporting the extensions that were used by OpenOffice. The common denominator is actually the useless specs of the previous standard that did not completely include everything that was required (mainly the fomulas).

It is similar to the useless standard of OOXML which is not representative of what MS-Office actually uses. If OpenOffice provided a complete implementation of the strict version of OOXML, they would not be compatible with Microsoft's product. Would you consider the common denominator to be Office or OpenOffice there?

Re:Yes but (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581796)

its simple, what does most of the people use, excel, normals have never heard of any of this, they just want excel files, what happens when you send a open blah blah file to them?

you could build the best office file format ever, it does not help if no one uses it

Re:Yes but (2)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582220)

Send them a download link to a free ODF 1.2 compliant office application?

Re:Yes but (2)

lastx33 (2097770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582698)

This is a good solution but until there are significant inroads made into getting corporate IT specifiers to adopt ODF compliant software, users won't be able to use it on most corporate machines. The solution must be to actively market the standard to the corporates who currently can't see past proprietary formats and counter MS's dominance. This is easier said than done as MS aggressively pushes their product and spreads disinformation. Corporate buyers also tend to distrust anything which is free to install as they can't imagine it will be any good. I know this from experience of a trial in my workplace where I and a colleague have for the past 4 years, used only Openoffice for all our word processor and spreadsheet work while all our other colleagues have used MS Office. Despite only having problems opening two .doc formatted spreadsheets in that time, most of our colleagues including the MD have decided to stick with MS office - the main objection being that MS Office must be better because it is expensive! Another argument I have heard is that there is a high cost to retrain staff due to minor differences in the interface even though MS Office now sports the "ribbon" interface which to be frank couldn't look more different to the previous menu based interface. The real problem is that there a lot of people with a vested monetary interest in keeping MS Office dominant and support staff don't want to learn to support something different.

Re:Yes but (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582288)

So both formats have flaws, but there are some key differences...

The guys behind ODF are actively trying to fix their flaws (hence this story)
The guys behind OpenOffice aim for compatibility instead of blindly implementing a spec that is flawed and noone else follows

MS could easily have implemented the same extensions to ODF, and they had already done so in the earlier ODF plugin they sponsored, which was BSD licensed so they could have simply reused the code. Instead, they chose to go out of their way to write a new implementation which they knew would be incompatible with everyone else.
They only implemented ODF at all to try and pull the wool over people's eyes, it was the bare minimum to try and fool those who were demanding open standards, while still trying to maintain their lock-in.

Re:Yes but (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583892)

The guys behind ODF are actively trying to fix their flaws (hence this story)

And Office 2010 has better support for their standardised file format than 2007. Everybody tries to improve.

The guys behind OpenOffice aim for compatibility instead of blindly implementing a spec that is flawed and noone else follows

And if they are not aiming for the standard, who are the guys behind OpenOffice attempting to be compatible with? They are the trendsetters with the ODF format. Other office packages are expected to be compatible with it.

Re:Yes but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581786)

Will it run? ODF is a specification not an implementation, so it doesn't run anything. Only Microsoft can make it run in Office. Based on the fact that they already support ODF (thanks to pressure from the open standards lobby) I'm pretty sure that they will support it. When is another question though.

Re:Yes but (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587064)

It's an ISO standard document format, so there will probably be a plugin for it at the least otherwise government wouldn't be able to use excel.

Well, that it then . . . (-1, Troll)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580916)

Now every company on earth should drop microsoft office and open office and adopt this superior product. Why? Well, don't think about that part too much.

Just use on desktop linux for best results, but first turn off your bitcoin client and your 3d printer.

Re:Well, that it then . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37580956)

Now every company on earth should drop microsoft office and open office and adopt this superior product. Why? Well, don't think about that part too much.

Open Office uses Open Document Format, so there's no need to drop it. Or would you call that thinking too much?

Re:Well, that it then . . . (0)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580972)

If you remembered what happened in 2002, you would not ask that question. Look it up.

Re:Well, that it then . . . (2)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581060)

Several things happened in 2002. Can you be more precise?

Re:Well, that it then . . . (-1, Troll)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581396)

Wow, the ignorance of some people. Sigh... it had a "f" in it. Do I have to draw you a map?

Re:Well, that it then . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581596)

Communicating badly and then acting smug when you're misunderstood is not cleverness.

hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37580918)

If the spreadsheet system was fucking awful, how did it get standardised in the first place?

Suddenly the OXML standardisation has become less offensive..

Re:hmm.. (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582264)

Exactly. The ODF specification was a complete mess last time I read it (1.0) and was rushed through ISO. OOXML then got rushed through ISO with the justification that ODF had been allowed in its crappy incomplete state (with 0 fully compliant implementations), so why shouldn't OOXML (also with 0 fully compliant implementations)? It would have been a lot easier to block OOXML if ODF hadn't been rushed through by the 'anything but Microsoft' crowd (IBM, Novell, Sun, etc).

Re:hmm.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582370)

Nice try. You clearly didn't serve on any of the standards committees. ODF1 wasn't a complete mess, perhaps you could enlighten us to where it was a mess? Unlike the OOXML I read, and I did read a lot of it, ODF was not broken.

Re:hmm.. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583810)

You clearly didn't serve on any of the standards committees

Damn straight. If I had, neither spec would have had my vote for counting as a standard. ODF 1.0 was fine as a first draft. As a standard, it was an embarrassment and most of the problems were met with 'we'll fix this in a later version'.

wasn't a complete mess, perhaps you could enlighten us to where it was a mess?

It's been a couple of years, but as I recall the table format was horrible, the spreadsheet description was basically missing. The spec itself was far too short to do what it claimed. I looked at implementing some bits, but basically the only thing to do when you got to some ambiguity was to see what OpenOffice.org did and make something compatible with it - an experience that the AbiWord developers shared. I doubt anyone who did not have a copy of OO.o could have implemented even a moderately compatible ODF parser or generator. With a decent spec, you would need nothing other than the specification. Contrast it with the W3C specifications, where each element is documented in detail.

Unlike the OOXML I read, and I did read a lot of it, ODF was not broken

Then why was even OO.o, which was supposedly the reference implementation, able to fully implement the spec? The entire point of something like ODF is interoperability between applications. A requirement for passing it as a specification should have been two, complete, independent, compatible implementations. It was passed with no complete implementations.

Re:hmm.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37585432)

It's been a couple of years, but as I recall the table format was horrible,

It was fine. It allowed nested tables but also conventional row/cell spans. Infact it was a good example how they weren't following OO.o's format because it didn't truly understand spans at the time (instead, it mimicked them with nesting). Despite OO.o's flaws they put spans into the spec because it made sense.

the spreadsheet description was basically missing. The spec itself was far too short to do what it claimed.

It wasn't missing -- it clearly wasn't there and they didn't claim to have formula interoperability. ODF 1.0 did make some rules around formulas, and said to put cell references in [square brackets] but Microsoft failed to even follow that.

Then why was even OO.o, which was supposedly the reference implementation, ... A requirement for passing it as a specification should have been two, complete, independent, compatible implementations.

OASIS and ISO standards don't have "reference" implementations. ODF has changed a lot based on KOffice requirements. IETF have the requirement of two implemenations but most standards organisations, including the W3C, don't.

most of the problems were met with 'we'll fix this in a later version'.

Did HTML4 have a video tag? No, they decided to release it without one (despite discussing it vigorously on their lists) because it was better to have what they agreed upon released as a standard, and not to push for perfection. As the saying goes: "perfect is the enemy of 'good enough'", and many standards are released as agreement is reached without being complete. E.g. HTML5 is an emerging standard that is incomplete, and fixing the problems later is an appropriate way of releasing standards providing that's made clear (which it was).

I doubt anyone who did not have a copy of OO.o could have implemented even a moderately compatible ODF parser or generator.

You "doubt" ... "moderately compatible"? What scientific terms. You're just making stuff up and you're ignorant about the format and the standards process.

Re:hmm.. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585410)

Yes the ODF1 spreadsheet specification was complete crap. Huge portions, like the entire formula language definition, and all the function definitions were completely left out, and what was there was vague and inconsistent. As a result, while word processor documents largely transfer well between OpenOffice, KWord, MS Word, and others, but spreadsheets don't transfer at all. You loose not only formating and plots but even calculations. ODF1 is a completely worthless standard for spreadsheets.

While working on the spreadsheet format... (1, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37580920)

It would have been great to see them do some work towards importing excel macros into openoffice. Obviously there are ample good reasons not to do it; but plenty of reasons in favor of it as well. And really, anything that encourages MSOffice -> openoffice migration should get some attention, IMHO.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581036)

"anything that encourages MSOffice -> openoffice migration should get some attention"

OpenOffice is a ball blowing sack of shit and always will be, and it will allways be technically behind everything else unless it is commercialized, but in that case one might just as well just use office.

So while it's nice the "community" is producing this token office program some of us actually have work to do and need to be productive, and not be plagued with incompatabilities and using bug fucked steaming heap of code.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581088)

Weird, I use OO for just about all my documents and including some Excel macro' s it just plain works.

I might be lucky and be in a company that' s not overdoing the mark up of it's various documents

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

ancienthart (924862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581216)

He posted a pretty vitrolic comment, and did it as an Anonymous Coward, so I think he might have been trolling, Teun.

If not Mr. AC, how about you create an account? :P

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581358)

You really should move over to Libreoffice, despite the stupid name that's where all the developers are, and it works a lot better than OpenOffice does in my experience. But then again, based upon your post, I have a feeling that it might be up to IT to switch over.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582376)

Yes I run LibreOffice on my private computer and it too just does the job.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582308)

It was commercialized originally as staroffice, it sucked a lot more then than it does now...

Really it's not practical for a commercial vendor to compete in this space, they face a huge uphill battle against ms and would need to bleed money for years before they started making any profit, and then ms would buy them out and shut them down... Open source is really the only practical way to compete, as you can slowly improve over time without having the pressure of profit requirements.

Incidentally, msoffice users are also always plagued with incompatibilities and bugs, infact these problems are well known and only tollerated because people don't realise alternatives exist.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581606)

These are the document standards people, not the application developers (though you may get some overlap, I doubt it would be huge). Open Office's ability to import Excel macros or formulas unfortunately has no bearing on this and really they could have worked this is parallel, but seeing as everyone has jumped ship from Open Office I wouldn't hold my breath that it will get support for anything these days.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581866)

It's a specification! 'Them', for clarity, are standards developers - not necessarily OpenOffice.org coders. OpenOffice.org is not the Open Document Format if that helps to make it any clearer.

That said, OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice both import Excel macro's quite well and have for a very long time. Unless you have failing examples I'm pretty sure you're just sucking that assumption out of thin air.

It might be worth noting that the part of ODF1.2 that deals with spreadsheet formulae started first by documenting all formulae out there. Then they properly specified each of them. They also included the ability, where it made sense, to use broken behaviour expected by some implementation. Interestingly they found mathematically incorrect assumptions and implementations in Excel. In this process they built the first correctly specified and open formulae language. A language that can help spreadsheets be interoperable (a common standard), run on many platforms (small, medium, big formulae sets) and one that could see them used for things outside of spreadsheets.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581926)

It would have been great to see them do some work towards importing excel macros into openoffice. Obviously there are ample good reasons not to do it; but plenty of reasons in favor of it as well. And really, anything that encourages MSOffice -> openoffice migration should get some attention, IMHO.

The main questions still is will MS ever adopt open standard as it's default format. That would mean opening the field for competition and for also others that Libre/OpenOffice. It (open market) would be a huge benefit for whole industry and consumers, but MS will probably not see it like that. Collecting taxes with monopoly is so easy money.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582728)

It would have been great to see them do some work towards importing excel macros into openoffice. Obviously there are ample good reasons not to do it; but plenty of reasons in favor of it as well. And really, anything that encourages MSOffice -> openoffice migration should get some attention, IMHO.

This is about ODF, not about OpenOffice. Aside from that, I think it would be wasted time. Importing macros means that you need to translate VBscript into something else. If you translate macros, there is always something that's not going to work. Those excel-scripts that some companies use can be very complex. You can never trust it completely without testing it extensively, and probably having to change a few things. Just that is enough for most IT-managers to decide not to use it. If OO would completely support vbscript, that would be another situation. Still - is there a change that a script won't work? People can be paranoid about this.

Now that I write this down, considering what people do with javascript nowadays, using javascript to emulate vbscript could be an option. That could be a nice project, for another organisation.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583588)

I'm pretty sure that vbscript is not the same as VBA. MS Office uses VBA for its' macros.

Pretty much works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37584270)

I wrote some pretty complex scripts for Excel VBA recently (what they use at work) and tried them out in OpenOffice and save for commenting out a few page formatting commands (4 lines!), they worked perfectly without any changes at all. I was very impressed.

Re:While working on the spreadsheet format... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37586006)

I rather prefer a decent scripting API in OO.o/LO. Maybe is just me, maybe there is lacking documentation, but I tried to write a pretty simple script in Writer a few days ago and I just had to give up, I only got to think the UNO API is awful.

Compatibility? (1)

ascrewloose (2428700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581054)

Will my old .odf files be updated, then? I often worry about not being able to properly open my old writings and such. I'd hate to have to manually re-save everything.

Re:Compatibility? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581102)

That's the whole point of having these standards. Excel is a great app, but if MS decides to make a non-backward compatible change, it's on individual users to maintain their documents and software so as not to be in the situation you describe. On the other hand, when a standard gets an update, the old versions of said standard haven't gone anywhere, which means that if there were versions of open software available that were in compliance with that version of the standard, you can still get it. And if for some reason all such software was proprietary, the fact that the standard was open, it's possible to tailor solutions to access or migrate legacy content. In the case of ODF 1.1, we're already not facing that problem, since there is not one, but several OSS suites that are compatible with older spreadsheet formats before they were pulled into the ODF spec. Presumably all those suites will be compatible with ODF 2 and on.

Re:Compatibility? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581208)

and just how many times have they actually done that? I can open excel files I made in the early 90's on a mac on excel 2010

Re:Compatibility? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581374)

As long as it's a one way trip you shouldn't have much trouble. The main reason that office files are such a mess is that they maintain backwards compatibility more or less to version 1.0. But the problem tends to be that not everybody uses the same version of Office which can and does lead to problems.

I've personally seen it myself where formatting and all that goes to hell because I'm not using the correct version of Word. And good luck if you don't want to upgrade your copy to match everybody else' copy.

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581624)

You don't seriously think that it will be any different with "open standards", do you? It's the implementation that's the problem, not the standard. HTML is an open standard, but you don't dare produce a web site without testing it in at least 5 different browsers because they all implement the "standard" slightly differently.

dom

Re:Compatibility? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581698)

If they vary significantly enough to cause problems then they either aren't standards compliant or the standard needs to be fixed. Suggesting that it's somehow inevitable demands some evidence that it's the case. MS can't ignore the standards without risking another costly antitrust probe, and everybody else needs it in order to have a viable product.

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582032)

If they vary significantly enough to cause problems then they either aren't standards compliant or the standard needs to be fixed. Suggesting that it's somehow inevitable demands some evidence that it's the case. MS can't ignore the standards without risking another costly antitrust probe, and everybody else needs it in order to have a viable product.

But the issue with Excel and OpenOffice compatibility up until now has been that Excell actually implemented the standard, as published and approved, not the various 'improvements' to the standard that OpenOffice used. There certainly was need to improve the standard, but if the definition of compatibility is whatever OpenOffices latest version support, ratified standard or not (which is what many OSS people have held MS Office/excel to in this situation), then it really isn't about standards.

Re:Compatibility? (3, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582318)

Actually both implemented the standard...

The standard did not define how to store spreadsheet formulae, so OpenOffice being the first implementation was forced to create their own extension to store this data. Most other implementations of ODF, including the microsoft-sponsored ODF plugin copied the OpenOffice extension in order to maintain interoperability...

MS however ignored this, and now created their own incompatible extension... Technically in compliance with the standard, but in practice they went out of their way to exploit flaws in the standard to break interoperability.

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582662)

Actually both implemented the standard...

The standard did not define how to store spreadsheet formulae, so OpenOffice being the first implementation was forced to create their own extension to store this data. Most other implementations of ODF, including the microsoft-sponsored ODF plugin copied the OpenOffice extension in order to maintain interoperability...

MS however ignored this, and now created their own incompatible extension... Technically in compliance with the standard, but in practice they went out of their way to exploit flaws in the standard to break interoperability.

How can it be a standard when this is the case? Sounds like 'the standard' was forced through non-complete and non-functional when it is needed that OpenOffice do their own non-standard additions that others have to copy and adopt for interoperability.

Re:Compatibility? (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582902)

That is correct, the standard was incomplete and not fully functional in the 1.0 revision, and the 1.2 revision is aiming to address those problems.

That said, many standards are like this and have areas within them which are open to interpretation, generally those implementing the standards care about interoperability and will work together to work around the flaws in the short term, and fix them in the long term. Unfortunately this requires good will and doesn't work when you have parties such as MS who are intentionally seeking to subvert the standard.

As it stands, MS intentionally chose to implement their own extensions for spreadsheet formulae rather than following the general consensus everyone else had - namely to implement the same as openoffice (which itself is based on excel), and also chose not to participate in the development process for the ODF standard itself. MS actually went out of their way to implement their own nonstandard extensions, MS themselves sponsored the ODF converted plugin (http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/), and the source for it is available under the BSD license. It would have saved them a lot of time and effort to reuse this existing code which can already interoperate with other implementers, and yet they were willing to spend time and money to implement an intentionally incompatible version. A most despicable act if you ask me.

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581902)

Well they actually have done it... the count and your personal experience is pretty much irrelevant as this is a macro issue. It's enough of an issue that archivests are worried (There is a reason they want the exact computer and software that created the document). With records being kept for 10-20-50 and more years this was a very serious concern that pushed the whole open format debate. It was one of the strongest arguments against Microsoft's proprietary formats, the formats where you have no chance of recovering a document without a lot of effort if at all.

Re:Compatibility? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585842)

Just because some archivists were worried (rightly) about archiving MSOFFICE formats doesn't mean that ODF is the right solution. The impression I get is that ODF is mostly a red herring and was brought in by groups with a vested interest in unseating MS who want to use it as a lever to replace MSOFFICE with OOo.

IMO the real issue is that WYSIYG office formats blur the line between input and output and in the case of spreasheets blur the line between data input and processing rules input. The files store the input but the user is always (or nearly always) looking at the output so they think of the file as representing the output. That works fine as long as everyone is using the exact same applications but if an office file is archived and later read with a newer version of the office suite or with a different office suite the document may change.

They can try to specify things so tightly that any conforming implementation gives the same results but it is extremely difficult not to leave corner cases. It only takes a tiny difference in rounding to change the document. From a quick read of the ODF 1.2 spreadsheet formula spec it is nowhere near tight enough to guarantee that every spreadsheet app will give the same results. Heck it explicitly says that some things are implementation defined.

When archiving the first question should always be what you are trying to preserve? Are you trying to preserve the formulas your accountant used or are you trying to preserve the figures he produced? Are you trying to preserve the formatting commands you user entered into the word processor or are you trying to preserve the set of laid out pages the word processor produced from that input?

Re:Compatibility? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582028)

Hey, get off my lawn. I am still using Excel for DOS 3.3 on my Zenith laptop.

Buggy format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37581164)

The old format was buggy and had a lot of legacy problems. Therefore the new spreadsheet module was written from scratch.

So wait - when Microsoft was saying that they can't support ODF formulas properly in Excel because the spec is messed up, they were right?

But but... that's unpossible!

Re:Buggy format? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581386)

They were semi right. They could have in the same way that everybody else doesn't seem to be having that trouble, they just chose not to to use a compatible namespace. The folks over at MS could easily have picked up the phone or sent an email to the other projects and informally agree upon some sort of namespace that would be compatible. Or, they could always just issue an RFC and do something about it ad hoc until the next revision came out.

What I've read about the issue sounds more like attorneys justifying something in a post hoc fashion than a legitimate problem with the spec. They could have done something about it, but ultimately opted not to. The lack of a specific standard namespace should have been a huge neon sign saying that they were about to implement something that wouldn't interoperate.

Compatibility (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37581962)

So, is this actually going to ruin compatibility?
Just when office finally has started supporting ODF, it's time to make it even harder?

Re:Compatibility (1, Insightful)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582112)

if you by office mean microsoft office - so is the support for 1.0 so that is already ancient and useless since Microsoft deliberatly made sure their implementation differ from all other implementations of ODF 1.0

The part that was made incompatible was the spreadsheet part where everyone else just used microsofts office format - and microsoft used something else....

Microsofts implementation shows that they are intentionally trying to undermine the standardardisation on ODF by making incompatible versions.
Microsofts normal embrace and extend practice. So stop buying Ms office and get a real office package witch full support of ODF1.2

Many office packages - except for Microsoft office - supports ODF1.2 already.

Stone Age Order Mangler (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584638)

So stop buying Ms office and get a real office package

That's sort of hard if your business depends on commercial off-the-shelf applications that run in Access+VBA, such as Stone Edge Order Manager [stoneedge.com].

Re:Compatibility (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585262)

From TFA:

Organizations that work with Microsoft Office have to wait to take advantage of improvements to the specification. While other vendors have implemented ODF 1.2, Microsoft has been at version 1.1 since Office 2007 SP2. "Microsoft addicts will have to wait," said Leenaars, adding that Microsoft is actively working on support for ODF 1.2. The software giant will host the eighth ODF plugfest in Brussels where they are expected to announce ODF 1.2 support. The event is scheduled to take place April 26 and 27.

As a highschool teacher. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583606)

I have two wishes.
Polynomial regression on ods
Write code to convert mathematical formulas from word to odt and back again.
When these two wishes have been fulfilled. Libreoffice will be ready for use in high schools.

And who wrote the old format? (2)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585328)

"The old format was buggy and had a lot of legacy problems. Therefore the new spreadsheet module was written from scratch."

O rly? And whose fault was it that the old format was buggy? Was it perchance the the same organisation which is releasing the new format? So why exactly should we believe that the new one is "better"?

I'm tired of format churn. 90% of it doesn't need to happen. Just get it right and stick with it, and if you try to tell me that you can't tell whether or not you've ever "got it right" because there's, like, no right or wrong, dude, and I should just lighten up and sorta go with the flow of the vibe of the zeitgeist of the moment and buy this month's iPad -- well, then you've just invalidated your claim to have got it right this time.

Surely data formats aren't rocket surgery. Just build it so it's a bit extensible, doesn't hardcode any silly assumptions, doesn't embed a Turing-complete binary format which can root your OS, and you'll be pretty much there.

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