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What Does the Microsoft ODF Converter Mean?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the pulling-hard-on-the-rudder dept.

177

Andy Updegrove writes "It's been a week now since Microsoft announced its ODF/Office open source converter project - time enough for 183 on-line stories to be written, as well as hundreds of blog entries (one expects) and untold numbers of appended comments. Lest all that virtual ink fade silently into obscurity, it seems like a good time to look back and try to figure out what it all means. In this entry, I report on a long chat with Microsoft's Director of Standards Affairs Jason Matusow, and match up his responses with the official messaging in the converter press release. The result is a picture of a continuing, if slow and jerky, evolution within Microsoft as those that recognize market demands for more openness debate those that want to follow the old way. This internal divide means that the proponents of change need to point to real market threats in order to justify incremental changes. This adaptation by reaction process leaves Microsoft still lagging the market, but has allowed those that favor a more open approach to gradually turn the battle ship a few degrees at a time."

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Duh (4, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706098)

Embrace, extend, extinguish? At least that is what everyone here is going to say, so I don't even see why the editors bothered to post this story. It's slashdot, we always have the same response to news about microsoft.

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of: (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706155)

It means: there will be yet another way for desk potatos to potentially send me emails that aren't loaded up with some bell or whistle or whatnot that breaks them under anything other than the very newest version of MS Office.

Along with text, RTF, and older MS formatting.

And just like all those other options, they won't use it.

Re:Duh (2, Interesting)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706242)

I've been saying the same thing about this issue from the start:
If they wanted an open-source project, they should have published an open-source application. Furthermore, the ODF converter doesn't hook into the save-as dialog. Why? Because plugins in office don't support that.
If they wanted ODF compatability, they should have PATCHED THE FILE DIALOG, not do some Open-Source song-and-dance to turn some RMS fanboys' faces red and Redmond fanboys' pants white.

Re:Duh (2, Insightful)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706342)

Furthermore, the ODF converter doesn't hook into the save-as dialog. Why? Because plugins in office don't support that.

Hmm -- there's other converters that plug into the Save As dialog. I suspect this is just a packaging issue that they haven't gotten to because they're only at version 0.01 or whatever.

Can they extend the format? (0, Redundant)

bcmm (768152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706099)

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish?

Re:Can they extend the format? (5, Informative)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706422)

You mean, like OO.o already has?
OO.o has extended ODF for its own purposes since the ODF spec itself is incomplete (e.g. lack of a standard for storing spreadsheet formulas).

And how about this little gem?
http://opendocumentfellowship.org/applications/kof fice [opendocume...owship.org]
"Our tests show that OpenOffice and KOffice have some problems opening each other's OpenDocument files. Also, support for drawings is a bit incomplete."

I wouldn't be surprised if MS ends up with better ODF support (i.e. more compliant to the spec, as opposed to just trying to mimic whatever OO.o does) than most ODF-native suites.

Re:Can they extend the format? (2, Insightful)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706630)

(i.e. more compliant to the spec, as opposed to just trying to mimic whatever OO.o does)

You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seriously, it has almost never been in MS best interest to adhere to standards and MS has a long history of bastardizing standards. While I fully expect them to "extend" functionality in the specification, I am pretty sure that will not be "compliant" with the specification.

Re:Can they extend the format? (2, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706661)

I can assure you that while OpenOffice will extend the ODF format in a documented way, with an eye on interoperability and trying to add the extensions into the next version of the standard, If MS does it, it will be in a undocumented way, with the spirit of breaking interoperability and make it windows/office centric.

Don't you remember java?

OOo is okay for me (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706712)

Open Office has worked okay for me. I do write [mappinghacks.com] occasionally [amazon.com] , and I am usually impressed with some feature I find in bits of OOo, that handle the functionality that is expected (when exchanging digital documents).

I sure hope Microsoft makes it easy for others to exchange documents with me.

Re:Can they extend the format? (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707363)

I just assumed ODF was popular because it was already fully capable of representing everything the popular word processors do. I guess that was a bad assumption. :-(

This will give Microsoft a chance to embrace and extend ODF, so maybe in a few years everyone will be using Microsoft's ODF format. If the format isn't capable of doing everything that existing formats already do, then it isn't ready to be a standard yet.

So I'm going to use OpenOffice, you will use KOffice, and my boss will use Microsoft Office, and none of us will be able to read each others files. Welcome to 1989 when people got sick and tired of converting between WordStar, WordPerfect, MS Word, and AbiWord - so slowly everyone moved to the dominant player because interoperability was just too frustrating.

If ODF doesn't have a solution to this problem then it is completely pointless.

Re:Can they extend the format? (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707371)

I believe that OOo will strive to maintain compatibility, while M$FT really will not bother.

Oh, Boy! (2, Interesting)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706105)

I can keep using microsoft office forever if they support, fully and properly ODF. Actually that is only a semi-funny thought as I actually do enjoy using microsoft office as compared to the alternatives.

Re:Oh, Boy! (1)

avatar4d (192234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706252)

Waif69, you just got within range of the answer to this post: "What does M$ ODF Converter Mean?"

While I agree with you that M$ Office is nice (probably the best thing to come out of Redmond), they are starting to feel threatened. Some of the reasons why are because we have states (Mass., not sure of any other states) that are adopting ODF and the excellent OpenOffice.org-2.0 release.

This new release of OO.org has is great and has allowed me to migrate to a FreeBSD only environment. OO.org version 1 sucked and there was no real great alternative suite other than that (KOffice was alright, but doesn't run on Windows). No M$ is starting to get some serious competition in this market. This is a cashcow for them and they certainly do not want to lose marketshare so they are extending an olive branch here to make it seem like they are playing nice, IMHO.

Re:Oh, Boy! (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706341)

I don't think it's funny at all. Look, for lots of everyday uses, Microsoft Word isn't a bad program. Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint-- these all have their valid uses, and they all do a pretty decent job.

Is it good enough that I'd want to spend hundreds of dollars for it when there are free alternatives? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what I'm doing and what I want, but I've spend money on Photoshop and Acrobat, and those also have free alternatives. I could imagine Microsoft Office remaining successfull if Microsoft starts selling it based on its own merits.

However, as someone running an IT department, I'm trying to migrate to OpenOffice where ever I can. It's not so that I can save a couple hundred dollars here and there, but I'm just entirely sick of the abuse Microsoft heaps on its own customers. All the vendor lock-in, piracy checks, and all the rest-- it hurts my company's flexibility. It worries me that my company might find itself in a position where it can't access its own data. I'm annoyed by the idea that Microsoft's default format isn't real XML, which would be easier for our databases to generate/process.

So what I'm saying is, yes, I'd like Microsoft to use/support real open standards. I'd like their systems to play well with others. I'd like to see a better version of Office for the Mac, and a version for Linux-- there have been times when I would have bought Office for Linux, even though Evolution/OpenOffice is working well enough.

I'd like Microsoft to do those things specifically because I kind of like Microsoft Office, and I'd like to keep using it. However, I can't, in good conscience, put my company's future at Microsoft's mercy because some executive in Microsoft is a childish prick who insists on leveraging their monopoly to the point of hurting their own customers. It's unacceptable.

Best comment I have read on this issue (1)

Tran (721196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706462)

and MS in general. Too bad i don't have any mod points.

Re:Oh, Boy! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707054)

Back when I switched away from Windows I had to buy Applix when I needed an office suite. If MS had made a decent competing product, I probably would have considered it (it's not as if Applix was in any way open anyway, and it didn't work that well anyway).

Now I'm probably too used to OOo after using it and StarOffice for years. Plus I like the openness in design. Of course being a SOHO, I have a lot more flexibility in the matter than a corporation would. However Linux MS Office would be very helpful for a lot of people who are stuck with the accumulated crud of Office macros or untranslatable (by OOo) Excel spreadsheets (you know how everything tends to end up in an Excel spreadsheet eventually).

People in the corporate world buy their software, they even buy Linux, they'd buy MS Office for Linux in a snap. As for the home users, they aren't buying MS Office as it is, so if they copied the Linux version it wouldn't really change anything...

Beating Microsoft to the punch... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706115)

Not so good times for Microsoft anymore... :-)

Today I saw this: www.officeviewers.com

You answered your own question (2, Insightful)

dougman (908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706116)

"...183 on-line stories to be written, as well as hundreds of blog entries (one expects) and untold numbers of appended comments"

While I'm sure they will come out with a useful tool of some sort, the bottom line is free marketing (IMHO).

It means... (1)

sweetnjguy29 (880256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706130)

...that you can convert ODF documents to and from Microsoft products with a simple plugin, I hope. Otherwise, I will have to keep on converting to .doc whenever I have to send out my CV.

Re:It means... (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706149)

Write your C.V. in HTML and hand out the URL. Much more fun and saves on the bandwidth.

Tom

Re:It means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706209)

PDF.

Re:It means... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706234)

ClarisWorks format!

Re:It means... (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706636)

I once had a recruiter get PO'd when I sent him a PDF of my resume. He wanted to take all of the contact info and put his own banners on it and couldn't. I don't know if it was a good thing or bad, but it does go to show the power of the desk potatoes when it comes to MS Office.

Re:It means... (2, Interesting)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706203)

Sorry, this plugin is not going to magically make ODF an popular interchange format. It's for governments and others who want to use ODF as a archive format. It's going to take a long time for the converter to have any real installed base, and HR drones will continue to delete "wierd attachments" as IT instructed.

Just create your resume in HTML and rename it to .DOC, nobody will notice the difference.

Re:It means... (4, Insightful)

X43B (577258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706262)

I don't need people modifying my CV so I send it out in PDF and have never heard one complaint about the file format.

Re:It means... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707110)

One would think that would be the norm.

Re:It means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706453)

...that you can convert ODF documents to and from Microsoft products with a simple plugin, I hope. Otherwise, I will have to keep on converting to .doc whenever I have to send out my CV.

If you weren't such a fucking idiot you wouldn't have to be sending your C.V. out so often.

Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (5, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706132)

I'll avoid the typical MSFT bashing and move on to a tangent.

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents? It's great for short documents, posters, etc. But for real professional looking documents it's hard to beat a typesetter like TeX [or LaTeX].

This has nothing to do with bashing MSFT and everything to do with bashing the "one size fits all" mentality.

Tom - Who hates writing a book in Word but will do it anyways because its good for the resume.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (2, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706182)

I write my resume in LaTeX. It allows me to have one source and offer formats in html and pdf automatically.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706225)

To be fair, OpenOffice will let you save in HTML and PDF as well [so will AbiWord] and with extensions so will Word.

Though I do admire the geek-pride of using TeX for that. I used to Blog in TeX, often because I didn't like MathML and was talking about math. :-)

What I'm talking about moreso are books [even non-math books] and papers. It's so much cleaner to write them in LaTeX with the book class macros then in Word. For one thing, TeX handles all the layout for you, so the even/odd margins [e.g. where the fold goes], starting chapters on the right page, headers/footers. Then not to mention the easy to auto-number [and list] figures and other goodies.

Most of which [except the layout] you can do in Word, just it's a royal pain in the ass. For example, I routinely have to tell Word to "restart counting" because it thinks all number lists are joined some how. In TeX, it's just \begin{enumerate} and you're off to the races.

My first book [BUY IT!!!] was done purely in LaTeX and in my opinion looks classy. My second book [not out yet] is being written with Word and while I pray the final product looks good [and reads well] it's hard to get all jazzed about a non-laid out document which I can only picture what will look like...

Tom

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706347)

The only thing I don't like about LaTeX is the weird syntax it uses. It seems to me that marking up documents like this is one of the things XML actually is suited to, so I'm more interested in learning DocBook (I haven't gotten around to it yet). Do you have any experience with it?

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706554)

I don't know if you were seeking general input, but I'll throw my 2 cents in. (YMMV, see your Slashdot is-not-a-lawyer for details, not trying to start a big thing here)

I learned LaTeX while writing my dissertation; I had started with a wordprocessor (MS Word), but switched to LaTeX for a ton of reasons (many of them mentioned by other posters in this forum). So, I've been using LaTeX for a while (well before I'd heard of docbook), and the syntax seems fine to me. But I also don't need to produce many different formats (usually just pdf, sometimes rtf, rarely html), and I work in philosophy (so much of the stuff in docbook that would really help with, e.g., documentation writing is wasted on me).

Every so often I think about taking up docbook, but I'm put off of it each time by a few different things. The biggest thing, for me, is that each of the tagged elements has to have an opening and closing tag---styles, section indicators, paragraphs, etc. I get (or at least think I get) why docbook works this way and I think the philosophy behind it is great, but it gets in the way of how I work. I find the tags visually clutter the screen, and I find it gets in the way of my cutting and pasting pieces of text in lots of places. (Of course, if you're coming to LaTeX from a word processor, you'll probably feel the same way.)

Of course, you might find this not to be a problem, and you might like the docbook toolsets; XML might work with your aesthetic sensibilities, and you might prefer the docbook or XML editors (or text editor plugins) more than I do.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

kie (30381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707021)

I also wrote my first book* in LaTeX,
which allowed me to concentrate on the content rather than the formatting.

Given that you clearly know how to use LaTeX, what on earth has possessed
you to attempt to write your second book in word?

*Practical Tai Chi Student's Handbook - you can buy it from amazon.co.uk
(I also designed the cover with gimp and made the barcode using barcode).

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (0, Troll)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706199)


For 'short' documents, why bother with some huge bloated thing anyway, plain text works just fine.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706248)

Well sometimes you have to write a quick project summary or some such. You want it to LOOK decent but don't want to spend a lot of time on it. So you copy/paste some charts, throw in a few paragraphs and voila, an executive summary. Sure you can do that in Tex but for the value of the document and time spent you're wasting time [like mgmt reads them anyways].

For really quick things [e.g. emails, usenet posts, etc] I agree that plain ol' simple text is the best.

Tom

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1, Flamebait)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706244)

When will "hobbiest dabblers" realize that nobody uses TeX/LaTeX outside of academics and people with the title of "Typesetter"? In non-Slashdot reality, tools like FrameMaker and Quark/InDesign are used much more in publishing than TeX/LaTeX. (And even these tools are generally only as the final production step -- the writing and editing is done in a word processor.)

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706279)

This is typical anti-OSS flamebait but I'll respond anyways.

TeX is a 30 yr old system still used today for a reason. Not saying the commercial side is bad but if you're working on a budget and need precision nothing beats TeX. Not only that but TeX is CVS friendly which comes in handy if you work in a team.

Besides, academia is moving towards Word for the very reason I cited. "oh it can do anything". Look at the recent LLNCS call for papers. They used to only accept photo-ready postscripts. Now they accept .doc files straight for the submitters.

And to add to that, writing a book in Word is cruel. You never get to see the final product and the flow/layout is just awful. When I was working on my first book I could easily make a modification then see what the final product would look like. Regenerating the entire 320 page book takes a mere minute [less really]. As an author it's encouraging to know what your presentation will look like as you work on it.

With my second book I will know what my pages look like a mere week or two before it hits the printers. That gives me very little time to review the layout and submit feedback. So I may get stuck with a book that really doesn't reflect what I wanted to accomplish.

Tom

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706322)

This is typical anti-OSS flamebait but I'll respond anyways.
"OSS" has nothing to do with this argument, Mr. Open Sores.

And to add to that, writing a book in Word is cruel. You never get to see the final product
And that's just the point -- most people don't want to see the "final product" until the editing cycle is complete and the publication is in the production phase. For a publication with an establshed DTP workflow, "camera ready" is a hindrance, not a help.

TeX might be the greatest publication tool in existence (debatable), but it's rarely if ever used as a writing/editing workflow format outside of academia.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706518)

You're right in saying that TeX and LaTeX are rarely used in writing and workflow in the professional world, but many of the high-end vertical-market book *layout* systems use customized versions of TeX. FrameMaker is, of course, also very common.

The fundamental problem with TeX that prevents it from getting any traction for general workflow is it doesn't cleanly separate content, presentation, and markup. For this reason, it's fine as a workflow tool for academics, but poor as a writing tool for general users. LaTeX does a decent enough job at attempting a separation, but it's obvious that it's built on top of TeX and shares many of the same limitations. For instance, writers have to manually insert smart quotations (using a different key to create the quotation marks that begin a quotation and end a quotation), a rather surprising omission for a system that has one of the most fantastic hyphenation inference engines around.

The other thing worth mentioning is that now that InDesign has advanced typographic layout that surpasses TeX (Adobe hired two of the Ph.D. students who've done a lot of good work extending TeX, and those algorithms, such as typographer's punctuation, are now in InDesign), it's getting harder to argue the importance of using TeX to generate beautiful documents. InDesign also has a decent separation between content and presentation, with copyeditors able to edit documents using the InCopy tool.

Sorry for posting this as AC, I don't have my password handy right now.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

stuuf (587464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707012)

For instance, writers have to manually insert smart quotations (using a different key to create the quotation marks that begin a quotation and end a quotation)

Automatically inserting smart quote characters only makes sense in a WYSIWYG environment (which TeX is not). If it did that, there would be now way to override the default choice if necessary. Besides, if you have an editor like emacs that changes the " key to insert `` or '' as necessary, it doesn't matter.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (2, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706250)

Although the capabilities of Latex are nice I do have one beef with it: it's still eassier to use the equation editor that comes with Word (in the windows version of office). The Word equation editor lets you select formatting options from a list, each of which is accompanies by a visual representation, and you can see the results immediately. With Latex you have to remember all the formatting commands you want, and you have to wait until the very end, when you compile your document, to see what you have actually created. More frustrating is that with the version of Latex I am using when you use a command improperly you simply get an error message, leaving the user to find what was wrong by themselves, in contrast with the Word equation editor where errors are impossible. In summary I'll take usability over power anyday, because I simply want to get the job done; it doesn't matter how pretty the math is, it simply needs to be readable.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706297)

I'll grant you that the error reporting in TeX totally sucks balls. Usually though my trick is to compile soon compile often. So when I get a bug I know it's in something I just recently added. The equations in LaTeX get easier with time. Once you know the jist of the \over \sqrt \lbrace whatever you can readily express pretty much anything in it.

I suppose if you are willing to spend the time you can get properly laid out document in Word as well. just from what I've seen the typical user doesn't spend the time. So they might as well learn TeX and let it do that work for them :-)

Tom

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706325)

Try LyX

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706286)

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents?

People often comment on how nice my documents look, my response is, it's because I don't use Word. Microsoft Word has always been terrible at creating attractive documents. It doesn't follow typesetting rules. I use Apple Pages now, used to use WordPerfect. Both produce documents that look much better than a standard Word document. In fact WordPerfect of ten years ago produced better looking documents than the current version of Word.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706320)

Never used Pages or WordPerfect [I was a claris works fan back in the day ... of course I was also 10 yrs old so what did I know].

Glad to hear there are proper editors out there. I've dabbled briefly in FrameMaker and it's decent too for layout. I dunno, my affinity for TeX comes from the fact that it's free and once you get over the initial learning curve, really easy to use.

I wonder if Pages will be ported to Linux? :-)

Tom

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (5, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706313)

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents?...This has nothing to do with bashing MSFT and everything to do with bashing the "one size fits all" mentality.
I agree fully.

I'm currently working in an office environment. Personally, I haven't used MS Word here yet - for every document I've created I've either used LaTeX (great for citations, macros, and breaking things into chapters) or Pagemaker (great when you want to do layout by hand.)

Everyone else in this building, however, uses MS Word as their Blunt Instrument to do whatever task they have to get done. They use Word primarily because it's what they know, it works (albeit poorly) and in the end, they're uncomfortable with computers. To a lot of the general population, even an office population, computers are still magic black boxes. I'm not sure if there's a way to combat that fear. How many people can change their own oil? Fix their own TV?

We're geeks. We learn the most efficient way to do things because that is in our nature. Most people won't bother. They just want to get the damn job done, even if they end up wasting more time in the long run.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706345)

Agreed. That's why when people ask you about your documents you say "I used LaTeX, want to see?" and start that way. Not all non-nerds are totally against progress. The problem is the ones in control tend to be that way and it's disheartening.

I think the trick is to have a good technical case and a good business case. You won't switch the world in an instance but you can certainly move things in the right direction. :-) ... oh who am I kiddin, I use Word for everything at my work. Like F!@# they would use anything else hehehehe

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (5, Insightful)

rockmuelle (575982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706547)

"We're geeks. We learn the most efficient way to do things because that is in our nature. Most people won't bother. They just want to get the damn job done, even if they end up wasting more time in the long run."

I've spent a good deal of time in both Word and LaTeX and hear this all the time from geeks who still use LaTeX for everything.

It's worth pointing out that LaTeX is not the most efficient way of doing most documents. It is very good at handling citations, but that's it. For everything else, it is inefficient compared to a word processor. And, word processors could have excellent support for citations, if there was a market for it (a few thousand acadmics who expect all software to be free is not a market).

To back up that statement a bit, consider the process of createing a document in LaTeX. Usually, you open up a text editor, write your document using LaTeX's markup language and 'compile' the document. Once its compiled, you look at it in xpdf, find the layout/grammar bugs, and repeat. At some point, you start breaking the document out into sub-files that contain sections or complex equations, and it's not uncommon to have a main.tex file that builds the final document, usually with the aid of a makefile.

Given that workflow, can you see any reason LaTeX would appeal to geeks? Think about it. It's exactly the same way we learned to develop code in school! Edit, compile, run, subroutines, makefile. It _appears_ to be the most efficient way because it maps nicely to something we do on a regular basis. But, most people stopped using text editors and makefiles when IDEs matured. Here's the secret: Word processors are the IDEs of layout.

Let's look a little deeper. To do any basic formating in LaTeX, you have to surround your text with markup. That's extra typing, which is not terribly efficient. And, when you're reading heavily marked up text, you have to filter out the markup to make sense of things. To catch any layout errors, you rely on a viewer for feedback, which adds a roundtrip between the viewer-editor-web. I threw Web in there, because if you've ever tried to do any _real_ layout in LaTeX, you'll need to hunt down the secret incantation that solves your problem. Then there's spell checking. Sure, FlySpell is nice in Emacs, but it's hardly state of the art. Grammar checking? Don't even thing about it (yeah, I know this is of limited usefulness, but it helps sometimes).

Now, go back to a word processor. There's no extra markup to type, layout problems can usually be resolved by tweaking a few settings available from the context (right-click) menu, there's no compile-debug cycle. Styles (even in Word) can be defined to change the look of a document instantly (as long as you know how to use them, but the same is true for LaTeX). For complicated documents, word processors do start to show their rough edges. But, LaTeX doesn't scale that well, either. And, that's a customer issue, most people just don't do enough complicated layout for it to matter. Output formats? "Save as..." (and don't try the human readable claim - how often do you really go back and edit things outside the program you created them in? Be honest.)

So, next time you find yourself claiming that LaTeX is the best way to do everything, take a step back and make an honest evaluation of your workflow.

-Chris

WYSIWYM document processor (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707130)

"you .. write .. using LaTeX's markup language and 'compile'.. look at it in xpdf, find the layout/grammar bugs, and repeat."

Re:WYSIWYM document processor (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707193)

LyX [lyx.org] ... forgot the link

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707233)

Mod parent up!

I had to use LaTeX in school (CSE grad, out in the working word now), and absolutely hated it. Yeah, it was cool if I wanted to build a document from scratch. I hear it's really good for academia and math graphics and crap. But for writing a goddam letter or resume or book report or anything else 99% of the world is going to do most of the time, why in the blue hell would you use that instead of something like Word/WordPerfect/OO? For what we did in class with LaTeX (project documentation), I could have done in a fraction of the time if we'd used MS Word instead. You're only kidding yourself if you believe otherwise.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707213)

How many people can change their own oil? Fix their own TV?

Dude...that's like saying,
"How many people can build their own birdfeeder? Build their own House?"

Fixing a TV requires replacement of high-voltage electronics. Good diagnostics require at least a multimeter, and preferably an oscilliscope...and if you do it wrong the high voltage could kill you.

Changing oil requires an oil filter, a screw driver, and a pan, and if you do it wrong you'll usually just get oil all over the place (although a friend of mine did accidentally destroy my transmission by changing the transmission fluid instead of the oil).

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706373)

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents?... Tom - Who hates writing a book in Word but will do it anyways because its good for the resume.

You just answered your own question!

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706430)

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents? It's great for short documents, posters, etc. But for real professional looking documents it's hard to beat a typesetter like TeX [or LaTeX].

The problem I see is that most people don't want to have to look at markup. A lot of people flat-out don't get the idea. Text that you write in, but it won't show up when you print it...?

I agree, though, that Word isn't well-suited for all purposes. I'm excited to hear about some of the supposed Pages improvements [thinksecret.com] , including a separation of "Word Processing" and "Layout" modes. I've been suggesting something like this for a long time.

I know Office 2007 is doing something similar to this, but I've just always wanted to do those two things completely separately-- sort of like the separation between html and css. One for making sure your data is right, one for laying it out. But again, I don't really want to deal with actually writing the markup.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706456)

When will "professionals" realize that Word is not meant for all documents? It's great for short documents, posters, etc.

I'd like to think that "professionals" have no problem grasping that Word isn't really good for anything. Office drones and beginners may get by with writing shopping lists and memos in Word, but I consider it unfortunate that their sheer number perpetuate the notion that Word is the tool to use for generating documents of any type.

But for real professional looking documents it's hard to beat a typesetter like TeX [or LaTeX].

Agreed, but most anyone can crank out a short document, poster, etc. faster in LaTeX than some else pointing and clicking their way using Word. Long articles and books doubly so.

I submitted the following as a story some time ago. It wasn't accepted so I'm guessing most /. readers are more interested in reading about inconsequential techno-trivia or games. Maybe someone will find it as interesting as I did.

Love at First Byte -- Among the many enduring passions of Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming is only the one with the most pages. [stanfordalumni.org] ,

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706484)

That's very true. And also anyone doing any kind of screen writing or play writing should be using Final Draft or similar type of text editor. Final Draft is 1000 times superior to Word for this type of work.

Actually come to think of it, while it can at a push be used for anything text based, Word is really best used for business type applications. There are better apps for anything outside of that realm.

A publishing company that used Word (2, Interesting)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706549)

I used to work for a company now called Financial Campus.

Their stock and trade is Securities and Insurance Course ware. When I started there, they were in the midst of a massive project to migrate from Word perfect to Word for all heir courses.

That's right, they maintained 200 plus page securities courses in Word, running on Windows 95 and 98.

One problem with this was the fact that word always formatted the document for your "Default Printer" which in this case caused things like floating text boxes and graphics to move around the page. Every time someone worked with the files on a new computer they had to start by reformatting the document for their desktop. (Shared printers were a novel concept at the company, which was another part of the problem.)

I tried to get the company to at least try Quark, Pagemaker and the like. It got shot down for two reasons. First, they couldn't pirate them as easily as they could Word 98 and 2000, so it would be too expensive. The second reason blew my mind.

The owner told me: "I never even heard of these things. What do you think Word is for anyway? Do you think they became the biggest company on the planet by selling crap? I'm not shelling out hundreds of dollars for something inferior to Word."

The company owner had a very clear and definitive, "If it's from Microsoft, it MUST be the best product available" attitude.

Re:A publishing company that used Word (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706917)

The funny thing is that Microsoft even sells a seperate Page Layout program, MS Publisher, for when Word Can't Do The Job, although it's very consumerish.

Re:A publishing company that used Word (2, Interesting)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707031)

The company tried using Publisher for a single document.

Then they tried sending a Publisher file to their preferred printing company. (Financial Campus' owner was a part owner of the printing firm)

It turned out their hardware couldn't use Publisher files, and the Publisher generated EPS files were apparently a Microsoft Specific variant on EPS that their systems couldn't parse.

So Publisher was similarly discarded, and the owner continued to insist Word was the "Best tool for the job."

Re:A publishing company that used Word (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707315)

That doesn't surprise me -- RIPs can be very picky about their PostScript, and it is an issue for real page layout software as well.

Avoid the tangent and move straight to the bash (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706759)

The "existence" of the ODF plugin might really mean the exact opposite of what everyone would like it to be. In fact, it might mean the same thing as "Posix compatibility" or "Kerberos" did.

In other words, big migrations never happen overnight. Let's say that an executive has made a commitment to move his organization over to ODF. If Microsoft were to continue stiffing ODF acceptance, the first action would be to start rolling out and training an alternative tool, like OpenOffice. On the other hand, if Microsoft has announced an ODF plugin is coming, the first action is to stand pat, and wait for it. At this point, 3 things may happen:
1: Microsoft delivers an ODF plugin, and the migration moves onward.
2: The executive moves onward to a new position, and the ODF migration can be safely ignored and/or rescinded.
3: Things continue as-is until the deadline approaches and there's still no ODF plugin. At this point the business can either go into some sort of panic mode or make the first, perhaps of many, perhaps indefinite, ODF migration deadline postponements.

Note that all it takes is the promise of an ODF plugin to defer the whole "ODF threat". It's easy to add "schedule slips" and other such to slow the entire migration plan to a crawl, possibly even to increase its cost until everyone cries "Uncle" and decides that Office licenses until Doomsday are cheaper.

Re:Avoid the bash and move straight to the tangent (1)

numbsafari (139135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706835)

My father used to work as an editor of military history books and publications.

All of the publishing houses switched to Word because they could use the editing and revision tracking features.

My father also published a magazine for a veterans organization--using Quark.

My girlfriend publishes a perfect-bound, high-quality magazine. All articles are submitted in Word form, handed over to the layout guys who work in Quark who then give it back to her in PDF form.

By and large, people write using word processors and publish using publishing tools. I haven't met a "typesetter" yet who uses TeX or LaTeX. They've all used Quark or (sadly) Pagemaker. I'm sure they are out there, but they aren't the majority by a long shot.

It's a step forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706141)

I feel good about Microsoft's willingness to adopt a more open model even if only for one or two projects. This is quite a step forward for the software giant and I think there will be many more to come.

That being said, I'll still use LaTeX :-)

Turning the ship heading... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706150)

Bah, it's only an illusion. Microsoft's behaviour is not an accident, it's by design. This will only last for as long as it gives positive PR (a few weeks at most). Then it will silently fade into oblivion. That will be the sign that the captain is still at the wheel.

Duh (2, Funny)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706180)

It means Open Document Format...geez, some acronyms are just easy...

Battleship (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706183)

turn the battle ship

And that's the problem. The public perception is still Microsoft as a weapon of war. And it's the perception because that's still how Microsoft operates. Going beyond the open/closed debate they need to stop treating IT as a battleground. As soon as they switch from a war mentality to a peace and cooperation mentality things will go a lot smoother. For as long as they make a fight out of things there will be trouble. Maybe one day they'll learn there's actually money to be made while at peace with others.

Re:Battleship (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706269)

Define "public." Slashdot will forever hate Microsoft (childish Borg icon, thousands of "M$" comments) but the general public hates Microsoft more due to the mediocrity of Windows 98 than due to their "battleground" tactics. Please don't buy into the Slashdot tabloid mentality of every conflict being a war, a battleground, a struggle. Judge products on their own merits and perhaps you'll gain a better understanding of why OpenOffice.org still has a very long way to go before it can displace Microsoft Office in a large business.

Re:Battleship (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706362)

You can't just judge Microsoft based on their products. Their tactics [msversus.org] are destructive. They may have the best word processor on the planet. I don't care. I will not give money to a company that hurts my industry and the overall economy if I don't need to.

I don't like to think of business as a battle. Every conflict is not a war. But Microsoft chooses to make it one.

Re:Battleship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706407)

Who's to blame for the fact that OpenOffice.org, like any other "competitor" to Microsoft Word, is even more riddled with bugs caused by a slavish devotion to imitating Word in every way?

"Boy, this coffee tastes like shit!" "Yeah, but at least it's not Starbucks!"

Re:Battleship (0, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706530)

I will not give money to a company that hurts my industry and the overall economy if I don't need to.

Wow. Do you seriously think that the company that made it so that every retard on the planet can and does use a computer is "hurting your industry"? Do you have two brain cells to rub together? How, exactly, do they "hurt the economy"? By creating billions of dollars in revenue every year which is paid out to the shareholders? By creating hundreds of thousands of jobs? Try using your brain. The biggest threat to "your industry" and "your economy" is Open Source Software. Yo'uve got legions of clueless fanboys (like yourself) giving perfectly good code away for some stupid, bullshit, short-sighted idealistic ideas that actually put people like you out of work. Try using your brain, buddy. You're an unthinking drone.

Re:Battleship (2, Funny)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706666)

Do you seriously think that the company that made it so that every retard on the planet can and does use a computer is "hurting your industry"?
Asked and answered your own question there - good job!

Re:Battleship (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706386)

The 'general public' doesn't hate Microsoft, they actually don't care. Like with all things popular, successful or current, its popular to complain about it.

Re:Battleship (5, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706424)

Slashdot will forever hate Microsoft

That's a load of crap. There are valid reasons for disliking Microsoft at the moment. They try to push proprietary, patented file formats/codecs/protocols into the community so that everyone feels pressure to use Microsoft software.

I don't mind if Microsoft software is crap, because I can just choose not to use it.
I don't mind if Microsoft software is proprietary, because I can just use something else.

I DO MIND when Microsoft forces their users to try to exchange files with me that are in formats that Microsoft have made sure I can't read, either through secret specifications or through legal (software patent) pressure.

If Microsoft played nice, they could get along well with the Slashdot community. Have you ever considered why Microsoft has Internet Explorer? They don't make money by selling it. It's not really a decent browser - other browsers are better. So why do they have it? Why not just bundle Firefox or something else with Windows? IE is a power grab. Its sole purpose is to be incompatible with web standards so that websites are written specifically for IE and won't work well for users of other operating systems.

Re:Battleship (1)

ddtbhai (886859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707035)

"If Microsoft played nice, they could get along well with the Slashdot community"
I wonder how many gazillion (no, make that a brazillion ;-) ) dollars they stand to make by getting along well with us, chiefly belonging to The Ancient Order of I-won't-part-with-my-money-even-if-you-have-to-pry -it-from-my-cold-dead-hands !

Re:Battleship (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706398)

The public perception is still Microsoft as a weapon of war.

No, that's the fringe geek perception. The regular public perception of Microsoft is that they make Windows, and it ends there. I tell ya', every day the fringe Slashdotters become more and more disconnected from reality, and (according to Business 2.0/CNN/CNN Money) matter less and less.

Re:Battleship (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706514)

First of all, the "fringe geeks" you refer to encompass millions of people. Second, major media regularly reports negative news about Microsoft. Windows-based viruses have been front page news. Every day you can find an editorial bashing Microsoft. I can't talk to an "average" Windows user for long without hearing complaints about the software and questions as to why the creator does nothing to fix problems. General public perception of Microsoft is most definitely negative.

Re:Battleship (1, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706570)

Are you delusional? Are you off your meds? Buddy, go to Wal-Mart in anytown USA and ask people what they care about. They care about American Idol or whatever TV show is on this week, MySpace, their friends and family in Iraq, their jobs, the new rims on their car, etc. Real people couldn't give two shits about Microsoft. Real people don't even know what "Open Source" is or what it means. And if you explained it to them, most people still don't give a shit. The only people obsessed with Microsoft are the Slashdotters and the OSS fanboys. Somehow, I think that if people really did care, they wouldn't be the largest company in the US, and Bill Gates wouldn't be the richest person in the world, don't cha' think?

I can't really debate this with you. You're just going to have to leave your cubicle and go out into the real world and meet real people to see what I'm talking about.

Re:Battleship (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707328)

I love how its marked flamebait instead of actually rebutted, as if to say, "wah, this isn't what I want to hear, so I'll just squelch you instead of re-evaluating my beliefs." It is sad how much dogma there is around here, but somewhat funny how much faith people have in OSS while at the same time finding it impossible to see how people have faith in a deity.

Re:Battleship (4, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706421)

As soon as they switch from a war mentality to a peace and cooperation mentality things will go a lot smoother.

I think it is almost the opposite. Microsoft has always been at its best when it was not in control of the market, and had to fight for success. I remember very, very fondly Word 2.0 on DOS. That was a thing of beauty, and it came out of the need to compete with WordPerfect and Wang and all the other word processors on the market in those days. Microsoft weren't trying to lock out new competitors in those days, they were participants in a competitive landscape. That is what is missing -- that idea that they are participants in a fray, not the idea that they should enforce the Pax Microsoftia where no competitors are allowed.

Re:Battleship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706997)

Heh, Heh, Heh. He said wang. Heh.

Re:Battleship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15707203)

whoa, who let the kids stay up late?

Re:Battleship (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706531)

Rule of Acquisition #34 War is good for business.
Rule of Acquisition #35 Peace is good for business.

Re:Battleship (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706545)

gradually turn the battle ship a few degrees at a time

Oh wait... it only looked like the battleship was turning. It's not.

That's just the cannons slowly swinging around.

-

Re:Battleship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706682)

Transport Tycoon has taught me that while peace is good, the ways of war give you more money than you can ever spend. Btw, 15 minutes ago I was playing OpenTTD on Vista Beta 2.

Nothing (1)

lyz (988147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706267)

It means nothing at this point. It's only usable with Word 2007 and .Net 2.0. They are probably just trying to put on a show till all the government pressure is behind them.

Open ODF in MS will work great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706280)

Opening an ODF in MS Office will most likely work great. But, there will prob'ly be unexplainable and there-by unuseable and unfixable problems with converting Word/Excel functions to ODFs.

Depends on the Implementation (4, Insightful)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706282)

Depending on how Microsoft chooses to implement it, it can be a Good Thing or a Distracting Thing. For example:

  • They can make it simple or difficult to change the default file format (hide the option in some obscure dialog or make it impossible to implement via a group policy)
  • They can change the default file format back to the proprietary format whenever there is a service pack (think Internet Explorer browser tug-of-war)
  • They can throw up dialogs like "If you save in this format your document may look like crap later" (sort of what they do now)
If they stick to previous behavior, the converter will work, but it will be annoying enough to implement that a lot of people and organizations won't bother with it.

Re:Depends on the Implementation (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706477)

A couple of points:

  • Microsoft is not implementing it, companies paid by Microsoft are.
  • It's open source. If they do something stupid the project will get forked and the stupid stuff will be removed from the fork.

Re:Depends on the Implementation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706519)

1. It's not a file format as recognized by Word, it is an export format. As such you don't save to it, you export to it or import from it. It appears that it will be treated much like PDF and XPS is in Word 2007. It's a separate menu item directly off of the new main menu (accessable from the Office logo in the top-left corner, since Word 2007 no longer has a File menu.) As such it is very doubtful that you could specify that ODF be a default format for Word.

2. Due to point 1, this is moot.

3. If one format does not contain the necessary markup to support a feature or a function then I do believe that it is appropriate to enumerate those risks to the end user. You will think it's intentional sabotage if the program warns the user, and you will think that it's intentional sabotage if the feature simply isn't exported, or is exported incorrectly due to implementation differences. Frankly it's a lose-lose proposition.

Re:Depends on the Implementation (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707361)

"They can throw up dialogs like "If you save in this format your document may look like crap later" (sort of what they do now)"

This is one of the biggest problem I have with open standards. Basically anything anyone wants to add to their word processor will now have to either have to be part of the standard, degrade in some way, or simply not be added. We're stuck with the lowest common denominator syndrome and no one wins here. If Microsoft adds a feature that's not part of the standard they'll be accused of trying to embrace and extend to dominate the world. If they fail to add a feature then the people who use Word, and its myriad of features, will be screwed by not being able to do things they want to do until the elder ones in their ivory tower of standards compliance deem the feature worthy of inclusion in the standards. Word processors are doomed thanks to the state of MA using open standards as a political chip but what's next, is Adobe going to have to open up their .PSD format so everyone can create compatible image editors? Where does open standards end and innovation begin?

The real reason for this project is... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706306)

Imagine if Microsoft Office had the ability to create PDF files from any application without the dependancy on an Adobe plugin? Well, they already proposed that to Adobe and were denied. This is the solution, eventually PDF documents will become obsolete!

some sort of OpenOfficeConverter??? (2, Interesting)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706431)

I was just thinking, when I read the lines:
"if even one citizen wants to send a document to a government in ODF form, they have to be able to deal with it."


I realize that OpenOffice has got an incredibly complex build system, and just sitting down and modifying is more than a simple task. However, it IS open-source, so I was wondering if anyone has considered this possibility:

What about a nice, self-contained version of OpenOffice, but with all of the GUI stuff stripped out, which instead of opening the editor, simply opens a little drag'n'drop dialog box. You select your desired "output format", and drop any document supported by OpenOffice into this window. This would include ODF files, Word docs, RTF, etc. It would then perform the equivalent of "Open" and "Save" in OpenOffice, in whatever format you specified.

Voila, instant converter!
I would think this would be a baby-step towards having a nice universal document converter. It doesn't strike me as totally necessary to have it as an Add-in to Word, at least not immediately.

Yes, this would use OpenOffice's reverse-engineering MSdoc parser for converting to ODF, rather than using Word's native code, but I imagine it would be a good start anyways, and easier to do.

Anyways, I've tried to build OO before and quickly ran out of RAM and disk space, but maybe someone would be up to the task.

HTML is also an open standard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706657)

does Internet Explorer follow it?

"Director of Standards Affairs" (3, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706709)

...I report on a long chat with Microsoft's Director of Standards Affairs Jason Matusow...

Presumably his title is Director of Standards Affairs because Microsoft's relationship with standards is only ever a quick fling, and someone usually gets fucked.

Outlook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706721)

...evolution within Microsoft ...

Wouldn't they use Outlook?

Apples - Oranges (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15706935)

I love this quote from the article

"OpenXML and ODF were created for two very different purposes, and OpenXML is far superior to ODF."

If two things are created for two very different purposes how could one possibly be better than the other? Allow me to butcher a common colloquialism.

The apple and the orange were created for two very different purposes, and the orange is far superior to the apple.

Oh. (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15706944)

Well, if MicroSoft have a Director of Standards Affairs, then I'm sure it won't take threehundred people years to comply with a simple EU-ruling, now will it ?

Two camps (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707080)

It seems to me that there are two camps inside Microsoft: the developers and the management. The developers seem to want to do cool things. They are reaching out to the development community. (With open source [sourceforge.com] , coding4fun [microsoft.com] , blogging, channel9 [msdn.com] , etc). But the management is still trying to hold on to the old ways and the cash cows [microsoft.com] .

Thank goodness... (2, Interesting)

doctorjay (860762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15707104)

This is probably going to be modded troll or flamebait, but I really dont mean it to be. In my social circle of geeks there are those who are ODF nazis. They refuse to send me documents in anything but ODF and it pisses the hell out of me. I have held my ground for a while because I, for various reasons, use MS office. Now both sides can be happy. Thank Goodness.
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