Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft Joins OpenDocument Alliance

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the hey-no-one-invited-me dept.

256

Jim writes "Microsoft has joined a committee that has a key role in the ratification of OpenDocument as an international standard, leading to accusations that it intends to sabotage the process. Microsoft has denied this accusation, claiming that the only reason why Microsoft employee Jim Thatcher has joined the group was to get involved in the ISO standardisation of its own file format." From the article: "'There sits Microsoft, waiting, like a spider,' wrote Jones, in a posting on her site. 'I am imagining ODF plodding along, with Microsoft asking questions, fine-combing through the comments, did you mean this or that?, getting bogged down in minutia until, lo and behold, either Microsoft's XML makes it as an ISO standard first, or they arrive neck and neck.'" More information here on a subject we touched on in a recent Slashback. update a few readers have asked for the clarification that MSFT has not joined ODF, but rather the "INCITS/V1 Technical Committee"

cancel ×

256 comments

eerily familiar (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011664)

I don't know if Microsoft's motivation is sabotage by joining ODF, but from the article, an eerily familiar description:

"There sits Microsoft, waiting, like a spider," wrote Jones (Pamela), in a posting on her site. "I am imagining ODF plodding along, with Microsoft asking questions, fine-combing through the comments, 'did you mean this or that?', getting bogged down in minutia until, lo and behold, either Microsoft's XML makes it as an ISO standard first, or they arrive neck and neck."
(BTW, isn't there a Donovan song about Pamela Jones?)

Ahem, back to the topic... I worked on a group from our company and Microsoft on an e-commerce soon-to-be-standard (related to xml), and Microsoft's attitude, performance, and etiquette was embarrassing, annoying, and unprofessional. Aside from the unsurprising Microsoft employees' strong-arming the agenda, it was clear they had no affinity or appetite for any of our ideas. It was also equally clear that their intent was the final result would be their way or the highway.

Also, having worked briefly at Microsoft, the description resonates with the "triage" meetings at Microsoft -- at the time, the hot topic was IBM's MCA bus architecture, and ideas to make sure it would not be important in the emerging PC technology.

Superficially, it may be a good thing having Microsoft join ODF, but I wouldn't let them bring in or take out any pencils, paper, or recording devices of any kind of the meetings. Just my hunch, I don't trust them.

Re:eerily familiar (2, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011674)

I dont' see any added information than what was already on the slashback. Just total speculation. Not that I'm terribly pro-MS, but come on! They both need ISO approval, and they both go through the same committee. Microsoft is one company. TFA states there are several others. If MS, as one company, tries to block ODF, then what do you think the other companies will do? Granted MS is a large company, but I can't imagine it'd be terribly difficult to find things for the other companies to gripe about in xmlrs. Golden rule here people!

Re:eerily familiar (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011696)

We all know where this is going. We've been down the road before.

I'm beginning to think that an adequate punishment for Microsoft's monopolistic practices would be to forbid them to submit any standards, sit on any standards committee or have anything to do with drafting of standards. It's punitive and it would fuck up one of the big ways in which MS has been able to screw the industry.

Re:eerily familiar (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011764)

Microsoft never have had much to do with standards, other than to completely ignore them and create their own stuff regardless.

They don't ignore standards (2, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011830)

They intentionally pervert the standards. See Kerberos as an example. They have to know what the standards are to screw things up so royally.

Re:They don't ignore standards (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011883)

Kerberos comes to mind as being one of the most notorious instances, and in this case, it's a good example of why forbidding Microsoft to submit standards, forcing Microsoft to have to be fully compliant with recognized standards and forbidding them the ability to "extend" standards would ultimately benefit the industry and the consumer. Let's be blunt, when it comes to standards, Microsoft is evil.

Re:They don't ignore standards (2, Informative)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011896)

Well correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Kerberos designed to be extendable? In other words, isn't the ability to extend the standard part of the standard itself?

Re:They don't ignore standards (2, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012063)

The extension should not be required to communicate. Otherwise it isn't really an "extension".

What are the Committee Rules? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012207)

1.In Government you can be required to not-participate in some decision-making group which relates to your self-interest.
2.Is this true nowhere else? SHOULD it be true of Standards Committees?
3.If it is not currently true, can a proposal before the Committee make it true?
4.After all, existing rules don't require unanimous approval of a rules change, right?
5.Thus, Microsoft can be outvoted with regard to a rule excluding the biased-to-a-different-Standard.
6.And then Microsoft can be evicted.
7.Standard gets implemented quickly.
8.Profit!

Re:They don't ignore standards (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012034)

"They have to know what the standards are to screw things up so royally."
If you prevent people from knowing what the standard is, is it really a standard? In fact, aren't you merely doing what MS has done in the past?

Re:They don't ignore standards (4, Funny)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012089)

Also, see Windows TCP/IP implementation in Win95/98. Working as an ISP call center tech during it's reign of terror was fun.

"You can connect OK but can't get any web sites?

Tries pinging

DNS is hosed

"OK now, open network properties. See TCP/IP? Delete it. Go ahead and delete everything in this window. Click OK all the way back out. Now restart when Windows asks you to. If it doesn't, restart anyway."

Minutes pass

"OK now, let's go back to network properties and readd TCP/IP. Windows is asking for the CD? Just put it in the drive---you don't have the CD? I'm sorry, I'm sure that I asked you that before we started. Be sure and call back when you find your CD, OK? Bye now"

Re:eerily familiar (4, Informative)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012009)

"Microsoft never have had much to do with standards, other than to completely ignore them and create their own stuff regardless."

I am not so sure about that. They made a fine [newsforge.com] friggin mess [messagingpipeline.com] of the SPF [openspf.org] standard by introducing patents on several key parts of the standard while delaying and filibustering until the IETF working group (MARID [circleid.com] ) became defunct as a result. I am sure I could find other examples of MS strong-arming, delaying, and otherwise being a general pain in the ass to standards bodies.

Golden Rule (1)

kybred (795293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011852)

Golden rule here people!
By Golden Rule here, of course you mean:

He who has the gold makes the rules!

Re:eerily familiar (4, Informative)

killmenow (184444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011716)

...joining ODF...Microsoft join ODF...
Nobody can "join ODF". It's a physical impossibility. ODF is a format. You can't join ODF any more than you can join RTF, CSV, etc. Microsoft could join the OpenDocument Alliance (ODA), perhaps. But they have little interest in doing so. And they haven't. They've joined INCITS. It's a technical committee that steers the ISO adoption process. Joining ODA would mean they support ODF. Joining INCITS can mean any number of things...most likely that they want to slow down ODF ratification as an ISO standard. Any other reason they give has about as much truth in it as "Read my lips...no new taxes."

Can't join CSV? (4, Funny)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011977)

Can't join CSV eh? $ ruby -e 'p [1,2,3,4].join(",")' :-P

Can you say OpenGL ARB? (4, Interesting)

saha (615847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011746)

Microsoft managed to stall OpenGL 2.0 and other improvements for the longest time by claiming potential patent infringements with its vertex and pixel shader technologies. As a result OpenGL stalled for some time. Microsoft has since left the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) after doing the damage it needed to do. Deja vu.

Re:Can you say OpenGL ARB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012290)

Bullshit; I dare you to submit verifiable evidence. The infighting between the various members of the OpenGL standards committee is responsible for its glacial pace, not Microsoft.

Re:eerily familiar (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011877)

(BTW, isn't there a Donovan song about Pamela Jones?)

I think you're thinking of Pamela Jo [lyricsdownload.com] , not that I'm a big Donovan fan or anything.

But Microsoft isn't joing the ODA, they're joining the ISO group that's responsible for ODF's ISO certification.

Interestingly enough, despite Microsoft's protests to the contrary, as the person who is quoted in the article (Groklaw's PJ) has stated on her site [groklaw.net] , the specific committee on which Microsoft sits just happens to be the one that's responsible for tallying up all the votes and giving the final yay or nay.

Sorry, but Microsoft's statements of 'we're not gonna do anything, we're just here to watch,' sound just a bit increduluous if you ask me.

Re:eerily familiar (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011908)

I don't know if Microsoft's motivation is sabotage by joining ODF, but from the article, an eerily familiar description:

What's the saying? "Hold your friends close, but your enemies closer?" Looks like Microsoft practices this.

Re:eerily familiar (5, Funny)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011965)

Dr. Weird: GENTLEMEN! I give you - MORE STANDARDS MICROSOFT IS INVOLVED WITH!

Assistant: Well, gee, I dunno, last time...

Dr. Weird: THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT!

Assistant: Well, OK, we could use Microsoft's support after all, and -

Microsoft starts adding in .Net components and ActiveX controls

Assistant: AEEEIEEE!!

Dr. Weird: It's not different at all, is it, Steve?!

Ballmer: Steve smash! Throws a chair at the assistant

Dr. Weird & Ballmer: Maniacal Laughter

Re:eerily familiar (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012177)

Also, having worked briefly at Microsoft, the description resonates with the "triage" meetings at Microsoft -- at the time, the hot topic was IBM's MCA bus architecture, and ideas to make sure it would not be important in the emerging PC technology.


Well, Microsoft didn't have to do anything about that since IBM wanted royalties for MCA and back royalties for ISA for anyone implementing the MCA bus.

Imperial March (3, Funny)

NETHED (258016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011679)

Why did I hear the Imperial March when I read this story? Now MSFT will try to strong-arm the alliance into recognizing that MSWord is the only way.

Re:Imperial March (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011701)

"Why did I hear the Imperial March when I read this story?"

Because you're a hopeless nerd who has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, and is prone to exaggeration and paranoia?

Re:Imperial March (0, Flamebait)

paxgaea (219419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012114)

"Because you're a hopeless nerd who has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, and is prone to exaggeration and paranoia?"

The question becomes then, what are YOU doing on /.?

News For Nerds. Stuff that matters. Remember?

Are you suggesting... (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012196)

...that equating Microsoft with the Imperial March is being unduly suspicious and paranoid about empires?

Re:Imperial March (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012233)

It's not paranoia if they really _are_ out to get you.

Obvious (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012242)

You must be new here.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012321)

>You must be new here.

Nope, you're thinking of this guy [slashdot.org] .

Re:Imperial March (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011703)

Why did I hear the Imperial March when I read this story?

Because you have been trained like a Pavlovian dog instead of thinking for yourself.

Re:Imperial March (2, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011768)

Unlike the AC responses, I'll posit that it's because you thought it was funny. Of course, ACs are mostly asshat trolls anyhow, so it's no wonder they have a difficult time lightening up and seeing an attempt at humor. I've already commented on this topic, so I can't mod you as funny.

But, hey, may the shwartz be with you.

Re:Imperial March (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012312)

No, Sun. I am your codebase!

Jesus Christ (5, Informative)

killmenow (184444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011681)

Could you PLEASE fix the headline?! Microsoft most definitely DID NOT JOIN the OpenDocument Alliance. ODA is the group who is trying to push for ODF adoption. Microsoft can join if they want, but they don't want.

They joined the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee. They're not even remotely the same thing and don't even look remotely similar (ODA vs INCITS). Way to go on the asinine headline Zonk.

Re:Jesus Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011750)

I don't believe the founder of Christianity relates to your post in any way. Perhaps you meant to type "Oh come ON!" or "Fix the title" as your subject.

Re:Jesus Christ (3, Funny)

killmenow (184444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011802)

I wonder: Do you work for Microsoft? I only ask because your comment, while 100% technically accurate, was completely useless.

BUUURNED! (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011897)

niceshot, you gotta laugh outta me

Re:Jesus Christ (0, Offtopic)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011827)

Jesus Christ was a jew, he did nothing of the sort.

Re:Jesus Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011980)

Jesus was not jewish [twelvearyannations.com]

Re:Jesus Christ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012101)

That has got to be the most retarded bunch of misleading hogwash ever. It's amazing how Christians can trick their broken brains into believing anything that supports their "Cause".

Also, why are Christians so threatened by the concept that Jesus shared the same religion as those who are called Jewish today? There was obviously no Christianity at the time, it was split from those at the time who believed exactly as the Jewish. There was no giant repository of "Neutrals" from which Christians were pulled, they were mostly Jewish who kept their current faith and added Jesus into it.

Get over yourselves. There is nothing special about Christians when compared to Jews, Muslims or Buddhists (except that Christians are currently in the position to do the most damage to the world, and are taking advantage of the position).

It is still just another evil cult.

Hey, if anyone actually read this far. I watched the first of that show last night where they were giving out 1.5 million dollars. Towards the end they listed three secrets about three contestants. The first one was that one contestant declared bankruptcy while earning over $100,000.

Now THAT is obviously a Christian. I knew immediately that it was the preacher girl, and of course it was. No shame about it, no nothing. Just pure fucking evil.

Yeah, I'm posting anonymously--these evil bastards will KILL you, like dead. They will slice your family up like the sacrifices that their god demanded back before they were "Forgiven" by the Jews killing his son (Funny, would they be forgiven if the Jews hadn't killed Jesus? Would they still be required to murder their daughters if it turned out they weren't virgins on their wedding nights? Every fucking dumb-ass Christian should be thanking their asshole of a god that the Jews did what they did--they should be bowing down in praise to every Jewish person they encounter.)

Sorry for the rant, but it felt good. these hypocritical bastards are driving me nuts lately.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012180)

Not to digress too much because it's so off topic, but I do find the website that you posted interesting, even though I take everything from such a website with a grain of salt. I will happily investigate some of the information that is provided.

I like to study population movements during the historical period from 2000 BC and 100 AD and I had myself concluded a few weeks ago that Israelites were in fact Aryan (Abraim). The bible itself isn't clear on the makeup of Israelites. It mentions 12 sons entering Egypt which spawned 100K+ a few hundred years later, which is impossible. Thus Israelites were probably an aggregation of various peoples living in and around Egypt who were enslaved at some point.

Of course, while it's interesting to study history, I find any talk of Aryans in relation to today's human almost always stupid. What's next, the Spanish-Visigoth nationalist movement?

Getting as bad as digg .... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011819)

... moronic, hyped-out-the-ass, and most importantly, WRONG headlines. Digg has an excuse: ignorant (not stupid although sometimes) user submits WRONG headline, more ignorant users digg it up.

Here, the blame lies right on Zonk's pointy little head ... it's the eds JOB to weed out stupid headlines. Oh well, I'm an unemployed computer engineer ... where the hell do I get a job like this?

Jesus Christ-Shipping Damage. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011826)

Fix it? How'ed it get broken in the first place?

Seconded (0, Redundant)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012199)

I second that. The headline is flat out wrong.

why would they sabotage it? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011682)

I can't imagine why anyone would think that Microsoft would sabotage this project. After all, their past statements clearly show that they fully support it.

hmmm (3, Informative)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011686)

I really can't see Microsoft ever sharing the 'office' market, using universal formats, with any other company but MS.

PDF is more standard than .doc, in my business experience, for sharing documents intercompany.
We're stuck with .xls for the forseeable future with spreadsheets though.

Suspicious (0)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011689)

Although I am instantly suspicious of anything and everything microsoft does in this instance I will refrain from making a judgement one way or the other until I see how it progresses, however, that being said I don't think it would do a lot of harm to their current image to be seem to be involved in a project like this, especially considering the problems they have had in the EU recently.

Re:Suspicious (1, Flamebait)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012075)

Said by liliafan in response to a child molester applying to work at a daycare:

Although I am instantly suspicious of anything and everything a child molester does, in this instance I will refrain from making a judgement one way or the other until I see how it progresses. However, that being said, I don't think it would do a lot of harm to their current image to be seem to be involved in a project like this, especially considering the problems they have had in prison recently.

So at what point *do* you become concerned? How many times does a company have to screw the public before you *don't* give them the benefit of the doubt?

Not much to do (2, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011700)

I'm not sure if it matters if the MS format becomes an ISO first or at the same time. The lines are already drawn. Every software group that produces word processing documents seems to either be using or at least supporting ODF. Who supports Microsoft's format aside from Microsoft? No one right now, and those who do support it will follow microsoft no matter what the outcome of all of this is anyway.

If anything I'd say they put him there to observe the progression more than anything else.

Or maybe I forgot my tinfoil hat today.

Re:Not much to do (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011745)

You did forget your tin foil hat.
M$ has only M$ interests in mind. They will either take control, or try to anyway. They will want it only thier way and no way else. Don't you know that history repeats itself?

Re:Not much to do (1)

snoopyowns (963875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011890)

And that's why you went back to using "M$", welcome to 2006. That was used years ago. But I do agree, they care about themselves, of course you can't really expect them to do otherwise. They are a corporation. That's just how corporations work. I doubt they will do much other than sitting there observing what's going on. I'm sure the others on the committee are already going to be critical of Microsoft.

Re:Not much to do (2, Insightful)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011803)

Every software group that produces word processing documents seems to either be using or at least supporting ODF. Who supports Microsoft's format aside from Microsoft?

Standard, schmandards. The real question is who's productivity software (word processing, spread sheets, etc) does business use? A related question is what are the *costs* to business of switching to ODF? I used to use WordPerfect (I have since version 4.1) but I got tired of file format conversions with co-workers (yes, I did need clean conversion for all those plucky features like comments, edits, etc), so I switched to Office for work and home and I am one guy. I couldn't imagine trying to migrate to another format and recreate all the applications, tool, and corporate knowledge in Office products in some other suite.

Me thinks this is a PR move only and support for ODF will be forthcoming only if dictated by large customer body like the EU nations, but that support will be very, very limited.

Re:Not much to do (2, Insightful)

electroniceric (468976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012284)

Ahem, Google. Think ODF export from Writely, from IBM's Workplace tools, from a Lotus email, from tax prep software, etc. All these players would love to have a standard not controlled by MS. If those products crowd out your use of Word, then the switching issue becomes much less relevant.

Re:Not much to do (2, Insightful)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012316)

The cost of switching for most people and organisations will be pretty low. Some organisations which do depend on complex macros and templates may have difficulty, but in my experience organisations implementing OpenOffice have faced very few implementation issues. Having other applications be able to modify documents has been the bane of my life prior to OO when it comes to document management. OpenOffice made document generation easy without needing to have server side Word instances.

Often Office is used as a glorified viewer - where people have Office just to view content created by others. In the last six months the only PPT files I've received were slideshows of joke images; seems that power point is being used more for recreation than business.

Useful opinion: (2, Funny)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011713)

I'm sure that will work out fine.

Finally.... (1)

ranga_the_don (956067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011722)

This was pending from Microsoft's side for a long time now... proprietary document formats that MS follows is never known to be business friendly, and they change lots of things in the format in every new release of office just for the heck of it!

Similarities to OpenGL (1)

BladesP9 (722608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011727)

I wonder if they'll sit on this board or committee for a while until it's no longer to their benefit and when they pull out we'll read articles about how Microsoft's pullout could cripple the whole thing. It just seems like they join them to get their ideas and then leave when there is nothing more to be offered.

FUD? (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011732)

FTA: ""In order for Jim to participate in the future Open XML File Format work he needs to have standing in JTC1 SC 34 [a committee that mirrors INCITS/V1] which mandates participation over time. His presence in this group will have no impact upon the voting process for the ODF standard. Just as we have a seat on the board of OASIS and have not participated in the ODF process there, we will not participate in the JTC1 process," said Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of standards affairs, in a statement." (emphasis mine)

Anyone have any info on whether MS has truly laid off with OASIS and the ODF process there? Not to say that non-interference there means non-interference with Open XML, but it's a start.

We nerds lack malice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011778)

So microsoft is joining the discussion over ODF and perhaps will sabotage it or at least slow the process, why can't the ODA have someone at the XML meetings and do their part?

Unfair... (0, Flamebait)

turtleAJ (910000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011789)

This doesn't make sense...

We damn Microsoft if they do, and damn them if they don't.

Yeah, so I just found out my Karma is negative... Let's see if it can go lower...

Re:Unfair... (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011923)

We damn Microsoft if they do, and damn them if they don't.

If Microsoft really wanted to support ODF, they could stop screwing around and start doing their job: programming! I want MS Word to natively support the ODF.

Re:Unfair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011984)

Same here. It's funny how easy it is for microsoft to solve the issue with Mass and at the same time give itself a huge PR boost. Instead they come up with the lamest excuses not to comply with open standards. But I guess heads really do need to roll over at Redmond....

Re:Unfair... (5, Informative)

KDN (3283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011957)

We damn Microsoft if they do, and damn them if they don't.

To badly paraphase Forest Gump, "Damnable is as damnable does". If Microsoft is either quiet or makes positive contributions to the ODF standard, more power to them and maybe they will become a good corporate citizen.

But if history is any guide, they will do everything in their power to beat the standard into the ground and anyone who supports it. They will do everything from dirty tricks (remember DRDOS?) to patent litigation (OpenGL), just ignore your patent (Stacker), to "growing the polluted environment" (Java) to "cutting off the air supply" (Netscape) to making incompatible versions (Kerberos, CHAP, DNS, TCP) to "put the competition on a treadmill" (everyone) to FUD (Linux and GPL are a cancer).

Not unfair (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012103)

We damn Microsoft if they do, and damn them if they don't.

Actually, we damn Microsoft for their general attitude about standards bodies. The company has a deserved reputation for ignoring standards when it helps them, and subverting standards when they can't ignore them. Microsoft has engendered ill will through past behavior, and it takes more than an announcement that they are acting in good faith to get me to believe them.

Actions speak louder than words.

They'll fail (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011809)

ISO certification or not, true open standards are the wave of the future. Too many companies and people have gotten burned by vendor lock too many times, to the point where the movement toward open standards and open source here in Taxachusetts has attracted mainstream press, not just technical journalists. Perhaps ODF won't gain steam quite as quickly if it became an ISO-certified standard immediately, but with states' and commonwealths' accepting ODF as the document exchange and archival solution, it will quickly filter down to education, state vendors (who want to keep their contracts) and law offices, and from there trickle down to everyone else. Small companies will quickly learn "Oh, I DON'T have to plunk down $450 for Microsoft Office any more? Where do I get this OpenOffice?"

Not any time soon, unfortunately (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012256)

ISO certification or not, true open standards are the wave of the future. Too many companies and people have gotten burned by vendor lock too many times, to the point where the movement toward open standards and open source here in Taxachusetts has attracted mainstream press, not just technical journalists.

Most of whom wouldn't know a truly open standard from an industry con-job if they sat on one. We used to have this problem with poor business processes, and now we have ISO 9000 and Tick-It, which don't actually say much useful, but tick some pretty boxes on contract proposals. Yay for the illusion of progress!

In any case, your pleasant dream misses the slightly important point that no software using ODF is currently even close to catching the MS equivalent in either functionality or installed base. It's going to take a lot more than making ODF an open standard to get people to use it in large numbers: it's going to take an Office-killer, and nobody's got one yet.

Can't believe it hasn't been said yet... (1, Interesting)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011811)

Embrace and Extend?

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been said yet... (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012301)

Embrace and Extend?

And then exterminate.

Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011818)

If MS doesn't join the alliance, they're seen as factious and self-serving.
If MS joins the alliance, they're seen as sneaky, underhanded, factious and self-serving.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011865)

Solution: stop listening to anything slashbots say, start listening to paying customers. Of course most of those customers would like interop as well, but aren't nearly as abrasive about it.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011894)

Let me remove some redundancy for you...

If MS doesn't join the alliance, they're seen as [nothing].
If MS joins the alliance, they're seen as sneaky, underhanded.

MS is ALREADY factious and self-serving, whether they join or not.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011920)

Good faith and trust last only so long?

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15011946)

That's because it's already been established that they're factious and self-serving.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011990)

Do you not look at past history when judging intentions?

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012014)

Yes, but I try to do it without the underlying assumptions that there's a Red under my bed and a little green man in my head.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012001)

If MS doesn't join the alliance, they're seen as factious and self-serving.
If MS joins the alliance, they're seen as sneaky, underhanded, factious and self-serving.

If Hussein doesn't join the alliance, he's seen as factious and self-serving.
If Hussein joins the alliance, he's seen as sneaky, underhanded, factious and self-serving.

Maybe if you don't build up a reputation as a sneaky, underhanded, factious, self-serving, criminal, people won't suspect the worst of you all the time. If MS completely changes its business practices and behaves fairly, evenly, and honestly for a few years people will start to change their minds. Until that time, there is no use crying that people are judging you based upon your past misdeeds.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (3, Insightful)

AnObfuscator (812343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012136)

If MS doesn't join the alliance, they're seen as factious and self-serving. If MS joins the alliance, they're seen as sneaky, underhanded, factious and self-serving.

Yep. /.'rs, by and large, see MS as facetious, self-serving, and sometimes sneaky and underhanded... This is because by and large MS *is* facetious, self-serving, and sometimes sneaky and underhanded.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I think we have very good historical reasons [wikipedia.org] for keeping a very, very wary and suspicious eye on MS's behaviors.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012205)

If MS doesn't join the alliance, they're seen as factious and self-serving.
If MS joins the alliance, they're seen as sneaky, underhanded, factious and self-serving.


So... you're saying I hate MS either way?

I can live with that.

They didn't join the alliance, wrong headline (1)

VP (32928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012208)

They joined the ISO committee which is working on making the ODF an ISO standard.

Re:Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't (1)

Nail (1195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012280)

LOL! I am soooo sorry, but this is just what happens when you are the screwer a few (*cough* hundred *cough*) times too many.

Microsoft was already a member of OASIS, too... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011825)

You can see the list of OASIS members here:

    http://www.oasis-open.org/about/ [oasis-open.org]

Re:Microsoft was already a member of OASIS, too... (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012276)

Wow, chair throwing and singing? I never knew Ballmer was so talented!

is this a joke? (2, Informative)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011861)

MS in an open document group? I mean, I have to convert Word 2003 files to pdf (using OpenOffice) before sending it to employees who have Word 2000!

This is just a badass joke, isn't it?

Re:is this a joke? (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011893)

Zonk is just getting the April 1st dupes in early this year...

Re:is this a joke? (5, Informative)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011903)

Overrated -1
Overrated? Tell that to my boss, who has Word 2000 and can't open the brochures I prepare in word 2003 (same office building, bad IT). So I end up downloading Portable OpenOffice because I have no administrative right to install a pdf printer, open my Word doc in OOo, fix it, export to pdf, and send that... And I get overrated. peh!

Re:is this a joke? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012131)

RTFM....

Like DUH!!!

In Word 2003 - "File", "Save as" then under "Save Type" select "Word 97-2002 & 6.0/95 - RTF(*.doc)" format, Save. Give to boss and open in Word 2000.

Re:is this a joke? (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012215)

In Word 2003 - "File", "Save as" then under "Save Type" select "Word 97-2002 & 6.0/95 - RTF(*.doc)" format, Save. Give to boss and open in Word 2000.
1. point taken

2. Doh, than the boss would be able to edit the file I did with so much effort...

3. You pretty much know what my point was...

Re:is this a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012237)

So, your IT department blocks printer installs but let you boot a separate OS from flashdrive? Interesting approach.

Pointing them to the Free Word Viewer 2003 [microsoft.com] would maybe solve your problem somewhat easier. Or try a Word/PDF converter [microsoft.com] . Or use the default install document image writer printer driver in Word to save to TIFF file, if they haven't managed to remove it. (I'm guessing you have tried just saving the file as RTF..).

Conspiracy theories too soon (5, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011880)

Guys: I am a member of the group that Microsoft joined, JTC1 SC34. This is a very broad group that encompasses SGML, XML, HyTime, topic maps, Font Interchange and ODF. As per Microsoft's claim, it would probably include Microsoft's formats when they show up at ISO.

http://www.jtc1sc34.org/#scope [jtc1sc34.org]

The Slashdot heading is VERY incorrect and biased against Microsoft.

Re:Conspiracy theories too soon (4, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011932)

The Slashdot heading is VERY incorrect and biased against Microsoft.

Here? On Slashdot? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Re:Conspiracy theories too soon (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012006)

Out of general interest, how many people are on that committee? This is being presented as if the very act of MS putting a representitive into the body means that they are exercising some sort of control over it, whereas in my (albeit limited) experience, such groups usually have people from a fair number of commercial entities in them (together with various non-commercial ones), so Microsoft's single member would be unlikely to have any notable influence on anything.

Typical Growlaw (0, Troll)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012211)

I don't think this is a huge thing to get up-n-arms about either. PJ at Groklaw is very quick to react and shoot off her mouth. She seems to have Eric Raymond syndrome. She thinks she's much more important to open source than she actually is. I know this isn't a popular opinion on slashdot, but I've yet to see her do anything important. She seems more like a liability than anything. I would absolutly love someone to prove me wrong, but time after time she shoots off her mouth and makes outrageous accusations without any real understanding of the issue. It just makes open source users look like even bigger zealots.

Re:Conspiracy theories too soon (1)

asabjorn (903413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012255)

I would argue that considering Microsofts earlier behaviour in hindering open standards work (e.g Open GL) when this standard is in opposition to technologies they generate a lot of revenue from I think it is reasonable to oppose Microsoft joining such a group. Although you are of cause more knowledgeable on this specific group I do think it is very indolent to believe there is no malicious intent here since Microsoft must be expected to do everything it can to protect the revenue stream from the Microsoft Office family of products. This is bussiness as usual.

The Cold Dead Hand of Redmond (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011935)

This sucks! How the fudge did MS manage to get a seat on the board of a competing organization?

Someone needs to be beaten badly for that mistake.

Patent Disclosure? (4, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011952)

Does this technical committee require full patent disclosure by all members? If so, might this help ODF by forcing Microsoft to state now if they have any patent claims on anything that makes it into the final standard?

I'd hate to see Microsoft secretly steer the committee towards something that, five years later, they would shut down as a patent violation. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened *cough*Rambus*cough*.

Re:Patent Disclosure? (1)

dfaure (115987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012016)

OpenDocument Alliance is not the OASIS Technical Committee. It has no say whatsoever on the contents of the OpenDocument specification, it is merely "big companies getting together to promote OpenDocument".

Re:Patent Disclosure? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012190)

OpenDocument Alliance is not the OASIS Technical Committee.

In that case I'll ignore them.

Not a dupe (2, Insightful)

k1980pc (942645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011961)

Atleast I don't think so. I mean, you cant get more original than Microsoft Joins OpenDocument Alliance, can you?

but seriously, what is the issue in whose format is the standard, as long as it is standard? The standard needs to be something easily defined, can be adhered to without loss in functionality and is extensible. If MS's XML satisfies that, good enough..just make sure balmer guy does not sabotage that once it becomes the standard

Then the alliance must be ignored (0)

HiThere (15173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012141)

I'm sorry, but we can't be letting MS set our agenda. If they are on the standards committee, then we must, perforce, ignore the standards committee. There really *isn't* any other choice...well, one. We could set up a new standards committee.

I understand that we would like to get approved through the committee, but if they have decided to allow MS on the panel of "judges", then that has to become a "trailing edge" kind of loose end. It may not be what we want, but it's what's necessary. And if the ISO insists that we go through a checkpoint throttled by MS, then the ISO needs to start being ignored.

There are good reasons why Linux never tried for POSIX standardization. Cost, expense, and timeliness. This looks like the same situation repeating itself. The ODF is currently a workable standard. It's open, and free for anyone to implement. Release a dated and versioned copy and declare THAT the ODF standard. If various people want to suggest improvements, have a project manager who vets them and a team that decides which to include and which to reject, just like a normal software project. And release updates.

If we can't go through the official channels, we'd best take advantages of the strong points of the methods *we* have developed. Stick it in a cvs or subversion tree, let people download and submit fixes. Etc. Release early and often. Things we couldn't do with an ISO standard, but if they're going to put MS on as a gate keeper, well, "You can't fight corruption with card tricks". (I got that from someone's sig, and I don't know the original, but it seems to fit the situation.)

This is a positive step for MS (1, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012163)

The government should either have forced MS to publish its DOS API in full back in 1983 so others could write competing operating systems to that API, or converted to a net present asset valuation tax base [geocities.com] but failing all that the move by MS to open standards is the first real indication that they actually believe their material about having all this power due to having the best software -- as opposed to having a natural monopoly. Good for them.

Microsoft is....... (3, Funny)

mormop (415983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012191)

A Cancer, eating away at open standards from the inside!!! A Cancer I tell ya!! They're like communists, No, Facists, No! MONKEY DANCERS!!!!!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and foam at the mouth and throw some furniture.

Deja Vu - JAVA (5, Insightful)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012270)

I remember M$ infiltrating some JAVA organization and then tried to derail the standard by releasing their own Windows-centric JAVA engine. Sun successfully sued them for breach of contract and the M$ JAVA engine was pulled off the market.

There was some reluctance from members of that JAVA organization back then too, and their worst fears proved correct.

Other examples of the same M$ infiltration method are out there and they earned a reputation that they cannot be trusted on a standards organization.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...