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Microsoft Wins Industry Standard Status for Office

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bully-for-them dept.

Microsoft 281

everphilski writes "The International Herald-Tribune reports that Microsoft has won industry standard status for Office. EMCA International, a group of hardware and software makers based in Geneva, approved the MS file formats with only one dissenting vote - IBM. IBM backs the OpenDocument standard, which was approved by the ISO in May of this year." From the article: "Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president for open source and standards, called Microsoft's Office formats technically unwieldy - requiring software developers to absorb 6,000 pages of specifications, compared with 700 pages for OpenDocument. 'The practical effect is the only people who are going to be in a position to implement Microsoft's specifications are Microsoft,' Sutor said."

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Sounds about right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166376)

As long as by "industry standard" you mean buggy, bloated, insecure, unreliable, overpriced, nonintuitive, clunky piece of dog shit. Am I right, or am I right?

Re:Sounds about right (0, Flamebait)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166416)

I wasn't aware that file formats could have all those flaws. Perhaps you didn't even read the summary.

Re:Sounds about right (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166560)

Sure it can

buggy- well, it can't be buggy but it can be so complex that its hard to implement without bugs

bloated- a file format can easily store data in unefficient formats

insecure- hold important data without encryption

unreliable- hold the data in a lossy way

overpriced- Standards don't have to be free, they can charge a license fee (or even refuse to license on a RAND basis)

nonintuitive- Ever tried to decode all the variations of .bmp?

clunky piece of dog shit- A hard to implement format is easily described as clunky

Re:Sounds about right (1)

Anivair (921745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166750)

I suspect they mean, "What the dumbest people use."

Basically, indistry standard must nessisarily play to the least common denominator. If 50% of the people are using word formats and they couldn't find the save as button with both hands and a screenshot, then the industry is forced to use word even ifit sucks, because the alternative is shutting down that industry.

Re:Sounds about right (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167062)

"The great thing about standards is that there are so many to chose from." --Attributed to Admiral Grace Hopper

6,000 pages (in what format?) (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166378)

Wow, 6,000 pages to describe an "open" format? Never underestimate the power of committees.

Sutor, IBM's dissenting voter says: "The practical effect is the only people who are going to be in a position to implement Microsoft's specifications are Microsoft." This in the context that the OpenDocument (competing) standard is only 700 pages. Seems like both must be quite verbose, but I'd opt for mastering 700 pages.

6,000 is a lot of pages to master, but it should be freely available for others to interpret, correct? On the other hand, since it is "essence of Microsoft", there's probably lots to misstep with and lots to nuance for interpretation letting Microsoft essentially maintain a proprietary flavor of a supposedly open standard.

Also of note from the article:

Van den Beld of ECMA International said the standard recognized reality. "The vast amount of data in the world is in Microsoft format," he said.
Van den Beld might be an idiot. Using his logic we should strike Microsoft Windows XXXXX as the standard for OSes, not.

Hopefully there is still some inertia for the OpenDocument (yes, I know it's an ISO Standard) standard to gain purchase and compete. It is largely the emergence and work done with OpenDocument that has pushed Microsoft into the uncomfortable arena of pretending to like open standards.

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166550)

Yeah, we're going to need to send that off to the Reader's Digest to get it condensed.

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (3, Insightful)

enc0der (907267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166760)

1. I'd hate to see the word file with 6,000 pages in it, will that fit on a dual layer DVD?

2. I guess I kind of look at standards like the dictionary...just cause I don't know everything in there doesn't mean I can't speak at least at some meaningful level. I'd also take 6,000 well written, well thought out pages as opposed to 700 if they were missing content. Comparing page count to me is like comparing CPU Ghz....it's not the whole story. I've seen neither document, so I really don't know.

3. Now I understand why word.exe was so huge... :)

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (5, Insightful)

SquareOfS (578820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166762)

6,000 is a lot of pages to master, but it should be freely available for others to interpret, correct? On the other hand, since it is "essence of Microsoft", there's probably lots to misstep with and lots to nuance for interpretation letting Microsoft essentially maintain a proprietary flavor of a supposedly open standard.

The problem is, if we know anything about Microsoft, even if they're doing it with otherwise decent intentions, they're writing Office-the-software first and Office-the-standard second -- and therefore, there's a significant risk that the standard will always lag the implementation, and since their installed base is so big, the implementation will just win over the standard.

Exactly what was happening on the web for a while when IE's implementation of HTML/CSS could trump the standard to the degree that other vendors had to encode "quirks modes" into their own implementations to deal with people who wrote to the implementation rather than the standard. . .

And I would feel differently about this if it weren't for the fact that MS is bolting an XML format onto an existing product, which means that reverse-compatibility decisions are likely going to be determinative in the engineering.

So it's not the 6,000 pages -- it's the internal memos interpreting the 6,000 pages that we never get to see that are the problem.

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167078)

Actually, "quirks mode" refers to the way earlier versions of Netscape displayed pages. That's why IE also has a "quirks mode" activated when doctype sniffing fails.

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166796)

Wow, 6,000 pages to describe an "open" format? Never underestimate the power of committees.
Even more important than the length, is it really accurate and specific enough to write software that can access .doc? Remember, Word was not written to this spec, it's the other way around. So it may be more descriptive than definitive.

Re:6,000 pages (in what format?) (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166942)

Question is, which version of the office formats?

If you don't know, Office 2007 changed file formats after nearly a decade of staying the same...

EMCA (3, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166386)

Does EMCA standardize anything other than MS apps? Before MS started using them, I'd never heard of them. My guess is its a mouthpiece for large companies who want a body to declare them a standard. At this point I'm ignoring anything from them- if you want to call it a stadard I want to see ANSI, ISO, IEEE, or IETF on it.

Re:EMCA (3, Informative)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166538)

On the top of my head: EMCAScript, Eiffel. See for yourself. [ecma-international.org]

ECMA (5, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166630)

EMCAScript

It's ECMA. It even says that in the page you've linked to. And the original article. This Slashdot typo's infectious - it seems to have spread to half the comments posted already...

Re:ECMA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166888)

Sure, it's really ECMA, but that's no where near as much groovy fun.


Young man, there's no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy.

Young man, there's a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.

It's fun to stay at the E-m-c-a.
It's fun to stay at the E-m-c-a.

EMCA != ECMA ? (2)

weston (16146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166666)

Conspiracy Theory: EMCA created/used for the purposes of the appearance of endorsement by ECMA without the burden.

More likely theory: editorial dyslexia.

Re:EMCA != ECMA ? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167034)

EMCA is just ACME spelled backwards.

Re:EMCA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17167070)

ECMAScript was also driven by MS, in competition with de-facto standard JavaScript.

Re:EMCA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166546)

EMCA standardized Javascript, the standard version is known as "EMCAScript"

Re:EMCA (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166558)

Does EMCA standardize anything other than MS apps?

ECMA have ratified a few standards relating to JavaScript - for instance, ECMA 262 defines the language that JavaScript, JScript, ActionScript and QtScript are implementations of, and the E4X extension that allows XML literals is also an ECMA standard.

Re:EMCA (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166598)

They standaridized JavaScript; hence js's official name ECMAScript. However, although Netscape created javascript, ECMA based their standard on the "clean room" document Microsoft created in the process of reimplementing javascript, errors and all. The upshot was that after standardization, netscape was instantly in violation the standard of the language they themselves had created.

Re:EMCA - Javascript, Actionscript, JScript (1)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166654)

You might have heard of some ECMAScript (ECMA-262) implementations. Like Javascript (not only used in browsers, but also for scripting in PDF and Photoshop), JScript and Actionscript.

Re:EMCA - Javascript, Actionscript, JScript (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166860)

I'm not sure on the history here, but wasn't ECMAScript standardization a product of Microsoft working to get its somewhat-incompatible copy of JavaScript written into an international standard? If so, I'm not sure its really the best possible counterexample to the claim that ECMA is just standardizing Microsoft apps.

Standards for Standards. (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166688)

I guess your standards for standards is higher than the standard industry standards standards used by standard Microsoft employees. In other words, "I've upped my standards, so up yours".

fud fud fud (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166388)

IBM is worse than Microsoft. They have done far more to stifle competition and the "Open Document" format is just an extension of this.

Look at the history. Look at the facts. Open your eyes.

Bias (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166394)

IBM's vice president for open source and standards, called Microsoft's Office formats technically unwieldy - requiring software developers to absorb 6,000 pages of specifications, compared with 700 pages for OpenDocument.

This piece of information is of little use without comparing the supported *features* in both format and their implementation.

OpenDoc is NIBM (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166478)

(Not Invented By Microsoft) so naturally IBM would prefer it.

Re:Bias (2, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166646)

I had to laugh when I hear IBM describe a competitors offering as 'unwieldy', as opposed to anything IBM which requires legions of IBM 'consultants' to achieve basic functionality. That aside though I belive the majority of the 6000 pages he is referring to is actually a 4000 page primer on the markup MS use, complete with verbose desciption, examples and pretty pictures etc.

Re:Bias (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166772)

That aside though I belive the majority of the 6000 pages he is referring to is actually a 4000 page primer on the markup MS use, complete with verbose desciption, examples and pretty pictures etc.


Even assuming that's true and the meat is only the remaining 2000 pages of the specification, its still over 3 times as big as the 600 pages cited for OpenDoc.

What value does it offer (aside from currently being implemented by Microsoft) that OpenDoc doesn't for the additional complexity?

Re:Bias (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166840)

Pages 700-6000 are marked "This Page Intentionally Left Blank"

Re:Bias (2, Interesting)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167096)

Well, the IBM consultants are at least implementing Open Standards. They push Linux servers, WebSphere for J2EE environments, and (OK there's one proprietary thing here) DB2. I'd rather pay the consultants for providing me with an accountable amount of service (how often were you in the office, what meetings did you attend, where's our new server, etc.) rather than some unknown amount of proprietary closed-source code that took some guy 2 days to write, but we have no idea what it is since source isn't provided. IBM is my favourite vendor these days, what with the pushing of the Linux and the SCO-whomping in the courtroom. A vendor this large that's pro-GPL might actually have some concept of why Open Source (and Open Standards) work.

mandelbr0t

Re:Bias (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166778)

Yeah, first thing that struck me is - are we comparing apples to apples.. for example, I know the OO format allows MathML, is that included in those 700 pages or is it really "700 pages + whatever we reference"?

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166826)

This piece of information is of little use without comparing the supported *features* in both format and their implementation.

What do features in an implementation have to do with it? We're talking about standardizing a file format.

Re:Bias (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166924)

I think it's a stretch to believe Microsoft's specifications have over 11 times the "features" of their OpenDocument counter parts... no? I mean 6000 is a *lot*. Printed out, that'll stack up a foot or two... or three.

Re:Bias (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167020)

Assuming Microsoft doesn't have a *lot* more pretty pictures in theirs, I bet I can read the OpenDocument spec in roughly 1/10 the time of the Microsoft spec. That has plenty of impact on implementation when you are talking about several days for the one and several weeks for the other...

OpenDocument vs. XML (0, Redundant)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166426)

Which one can store more features about a document? which one is more flexible? Would that warrant the difference in the size of specifications? (besides a bad specification, if that being the case).

It's that or.... um... IBM used like a 6 pt. font for it's entire document! ;)

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166548)

They are both XML

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167054)

arrgh, i meant ".. vs. OpenXML"

another post down the drain :-p

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (-1, Troll)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166608)

MS's format is technically superior, and produces smaller file sizes because of the compression algorithms. It is also going to be more widely used because despite the best efforts the OSS community Open Office just can't compete with Office 2007 in the work place. And yes, before I get slammed as a troll, I'm not saying there are no downsides to the MS format... but it does allow for more features.

The big downside (for slashdotters) is that Open XML is a MS product and not "owned" by the Open Source community. People on this site hate it, not because it's bad or worse than ODF, but because it's MS's creation.

For you anti-ms people i have a question, a hypnotical really. If you had cancer and were on your death bed and "Satan" creates a cure for cancer, do you take it? Your only option is die or take the cure. But the devil made it... what do you do?

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166834)

So you're saying we should just give up and forget EVER trying to create and promote a different standard?

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166884)

Not at all - the great thing about standards is that there's so many of them to choose from.

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

Falesh (1000255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166872)

Well, I don't believe in god/devil based on lack of evidence. But if the devil appeared then religion would become scientific, i.e. I can test that the devil is sitting on my bed. Therefore I would not take the cure from the devil as I would not like the statistical probability of going to Hell.

If it were MS offering the cure then I would take it (while crossing my fingers that they had removed all the bugs in it first).

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

forrestt (267374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166910)

while crossing my fingers that they had removed all the bugs in it first

Come on, that's just extra protein!!!

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166886)


As the Devil usually isn't in the altruism business, I would expect that we would be asking his usual fee, either explicitly or through deception.

So, my choice: So long, been nice to know ya.

You certainly made an interesting choice for an analogy.

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166992)

For you anti-ms people i have a question, a hypnotical really. If you had cancer and were on your death bed and "Satan" creates a cure for cancer, do you take it? Your only option is die or take the cure. But the devil made it... what do you do?

The question isn't whether I'd take the medicine, it's whether I'd let Satan set the standards for the medicine, set the price for the medicine, and change both at will.

In the first scenerio, I get cured. In the second one, I may be cured, but those after me might get medicine that includes a mind control agent and those that cant afford the medicine's new prices would just die.

If a generic drug manufacturer was offering pretty good medicine for almost free, and any manufacture could use the formula at will, then I'm thinking that might be better than dealing with the devil.

BTW, I'm not anti-MS. I just don't think a category of product that is abosolutely neccessary should have a "standard" that effectively damands people buy proprietary, expensive goods. It's a bad idea.

TW

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167000)

This is more akin to Satan making a topical cream that makes skin cancer "look" slightly better in certain cases, but dries your skin out worse than with the other cream. Seriously, do you really think there is a lot new in the word processing world? Honestly? Some kind of killer features that require that many more pages of documentation? And besides that fact, a practical open source reference implementation is by far a better standard than any standards body could ever produce. I wish open source project leaders would wake up and realize: work together and your PROGRAMs are the standards. And the only reason I absolutely abhor the idea of anyone calling Microsoft's documentation a "standard" is because any support of proprietary originated "standards" result in the lag of adoption by others. So its not really a "standard" any more, is it, when other projects are continuously playing catch up with the last Microsoft bullshit deviation of "the standard". By contrast, open source originated standards could even be directly incorporated into other programs so there is no lag for anybody, with feedback and contributions from everybody, and the end result is an actual high compliance standard.

Fuck ECMA. And for that matter fuck IEEE, W3, IETF, etc. Open source *could* play this game far better. Modularize better, incorporate other's modules more, establish best of breed standards in your implementation and make sure its documented. Just imagine where Firefox would be right now if it actually pushed and promoted XUL to a first class, vector themeable, web enabled interface language. The Canvas extension is a nice step, but even it was brought out by ECMA first. Its time the open source community woke up. The other side is never going to actually "play by standards". So make the god damn standard, and shove it up the other side's ass when their users start requesting the features they only see in X open source product. *end rant*

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167042)

For you anti-ms people i have a question, a hypnotical really. If you had cancer and were on your death bed and "Satan" creates a cure for cancer, do you take it? Your only option is die or take the cure. But the devil made it... what do you do?
This should not be an emotional argument. Microsoft's format is unwieldy, and there is almost zero chance that anyone else will ever be able to implement it 100% - which calls into question anyone who labels it a "standard". And you are implying the people who don't agree with you religious fanatics?!?

Anybody can compress a file. (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17167048)

MS's format is technically superior, and produces smaller file sizes because of the compression algorithms.

Anybody can zip a file, doorknob. In fact that's what OpenOffice does automatically.

It is also going to be more widely used because despite the best efforts the OSS community Open Office just can't compete with Office 2007 in the work place.

I would bet differently. The good thing about Open Document is that everyone is implementing it:
Word, WordPerfect, OpenOffice, Koffice, Abiword, and many others. Once people realize that they can
buy a cheaper software tool and still have it interoperate with everyone else, I think you'll see change.
That is why M$ is so strenously trying to knock it down in Massachusetts.

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17167056)

MS's format is technically superior, and produces smaller file sizes because of the compression algorithms.

I have to call troll on this:

  1. Open XML is an verbose, human-unreadable tagsoup [groklaw.net] that looks more like a memory dump then a real file format--it's technicaly superior (faster to be precise) if, and only if, your Office suite is MS Office.
  2. Both use zip for compression

Re:OpenDocument vs. XML (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166662)

Which one can store more features about a document? which one is more flexible? Would that warrant the difference in the size of specifications? (besides a bad specification, if that being the case).

It's that or.... um... IBM used like a 6 pt. font for it's entire document! ;)
OpenDocument *IS* an XML format. IANAD (I am not a developer), but the difference might come down to the number of tags and their usage. Maybe the Microsoft document is very verbose. Maybe the OpenDocument document is not.

Just to set things straight... (5, Informative)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166436)

ECMA just confirmed the MS Open Office XML format as a standard, not Office in general. MS further states that OOXML will be an "open and royalty-free" specification.

What's also interesting is that MS will be offering a "bridge" (as a separate download) that enables Office software to read and write ODF (the OpenOffice Open Document Format) files.

Re:Just to set things straight... (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166632)

Way to bring facts into the discussion. Your Slashdot license is hereby revoked.

Re:Just to set things straight... (1, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166720)

MS further states that OOXML will be an "open and royalty-free" specification.
This sounds nice, but is a serious trap.
  1. Microsoft "open and royalty-free" licenses are normally non-transferrable: users of software written by licensees have to get their own license to use the software. This sounds fine in principle, but in practice it makes writing free (or even open-source) software relying on such licensed technology impractical: people who download your software will have to individually logon to Microsoft's website, identify themselves, and exectue a license. As you are probably aware, the GPL is incompatible with such a setup. You see, non-MS people expect "Open" to be more than just "open for anyone to implement", it also means: "open for anyone to sublicense".
  2. In particular, patents related to this technology must be made clear from the get-go.
MS adding ODF support to Office is great. It's what they should have done from the start (MS-Word has always supported import/export from other word processors, in large part to attract customers to switfch).

Re:Just to set things straight... (2, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166912)

There is a difference between specifications and software. Really there is. End users do not need specifications in order to run software. Thus, your dooom and gloom is unjustified. As long as the specs are patent-hindered, use them to your heart's content.

Reverse compiling Microsoft's software to figure out how they implemented the spec, on the other hand, is a whole other kettle of fish. So don't do it. Get the specs directly from ECMA and start implementing.

Authentication Error (1)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166442)

I'm sorry, but you're not running the right version of Office to read this comment. Click on me to learn more!

Someone must be confused... (2, Interesting)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166490)

Tom Brookes, a Microsoft spokesman in Brussels, said the software maker had created open-source versions of Office and...

Malice, or an incompetent journalist?

Re:Someone must be confused... (1)

ruben.gutierrez (913239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166682)

I agree. It seems MS creating an open source Office apps would be bigger news than some organization's acceptance of their open format.

Re:Someone must be confused... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166756)

It would be funny as hell is th ext slashdot story was "MS opens Office!"

Re:Someone must be confused... obvious malice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166802)

It's another piece of the MS attack on the term. It's no mistake.

Does anybody remember "Did the term "Open Source" mean anything, any longer?"

e.g. http://www.smallworks.com/archives/00000472.htm [smallworks.com]

Industry Std or approval by one stds body? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166504)

I don't think "Industry Standard" is any sort of official designation.

Will it backfire? (2, Insightful)

Sgt_Jake (659140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166506)

If the format is designated as an "industry standard", won't that make it more susceptible to regulation by governments needing access?

why are there two standardization groups (3, Insightful)

moochfish (822730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166514)

I am not an expert on these bodies so can someone please explain the difference between EMCA International and ISO and how the approval from each organization differs.

Re:why are there two standardization groups (2, Funny)

Kopl (1027670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166674)

"The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from"-Grace Hopper

Re:why are there two standardization groups (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166906)

First off it's ECMA. Second, how hard would it be to look it up?

    European Computer Manufacturers Association
    International Standards Organization

Capisce? See wikipedia for digested details.

Sure ECMA rubberstamps stuff that gets adopted more broadly (or has already been)
e.g; LiveWire/LiveScript/JavaScript/ECMAScript, but they aren't the defacto int'l
group.

Really though, there's plenty more than two, don't forget IETF and W3C

Industry Standard? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166516)

Now that it is a standard, does that mean that the specifications are openly available, and that other programs can use these standards to make compatible documents without royalty concerns? Does it mean that there are no hidden or proprietary options that only Microsoft can use?

Will Microsoft stick to it? (3, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166668)

It's all well and good that OOXML is a published standard, but how long until Microsoft decides they need some enhancement and just add it without going through a revision to the ECMA standard? It's one thing to get something to become a standard, quite another to adhere to it. Think of how Netscape decided they wanted new HTML features but didn't want to wait for W3C and just dreamt up stuff like the blink and marquee tags. Once Microsoft Office diverges from the OOXML standard we're right back to where we started—a proprietary document format.

Microsoft as a company may decide product features mean more to them than adhering to a standard, even one they created. I'll never forget Microsoft's FORTRAN compiler under MS-DOS described by Microsoft as "a superset of a subset of FORTRAN 77." In other words, whatever they hell they felt like implementing.

Re:Will Microsoft stick to it? (2, Informative)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166820)

Umm blink was NS marquee was IE.

Re:Will Microsoft stick to it? (1)

SquareOfS (578820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166892)

{VB, VBA, C++} : a superset of a subset of Fortran

Hear me out: remember from math that the null set, {}, is a subset of any set -- so if you're just supersetting the subset that is the null set, you can do whatever you want.

And it's instructive that MS thinks so.

Seriously, parent post is spot on -- MS's allegiance (and profit motive) is for the implementation, not the standard. And if they need the format to do something funky to enable the next wave of you-can't-live-without-it super-collaboration mumbo-jumbo to justify major $$ outlay for Office v. 23, they'll do it and never look back.

No (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166768)

Now that it is a standard, does that mean that the specifications are openly available, and that other programs can use these standards to make compatible documents without royalty concerns?
According to Marbux (a retired attorney; see GrokLaw) the MS "we won't sue you into oblivion" pledge contains enough lawyerese that it turns the apparent promise into "unless we damn well feel like it, and there's nothing you can do about it."

One question... (3, Insightful)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166542)

'The practical effect is the only people who are going to be in a position to implement Microsoft's specifications are Microsoft,'

Then WHY was it approved as a "standard"?

Re:One question... (0, Troll)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166574)

Because that's a biased point of view only held by one member of the voting council which has vested interests in the format that lost ?

Re:One question... (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166774)

How does IBM have any more of a vested interest in OOo than anyone else?
Now if the lone vote were Sun (of StarOffice, predecessor/cousin of OOo) then yes.
IBM's special interest would be in the Lotus office suite.

Re:One question... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166622)

Then WHY was it approved as a "standard"?

You my friend are asking the exact right question, one that I'm sure is to be repeated many times in the near future...

I for one (0)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166554)

I for one welcome our industry backed overlords!



(pause)



Not! (like in Borat)

Question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166580)

Which Industry?

Open source DB2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166584)

Is IBM ever going to open source DB2? How about the database file's full specification? What about AIX, or the enterprise version of Websphere? I don't think they will.

Still, I thank them for fending off SCO.

Re:Open source DB2 (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166776)

Actually, there are infact ANSI standards for databases. This how you can have a single database schema and codebase support MS SqlServer, DB2 and Oracle.

AIX conforms to posix and uses utilities common to all Unixes.

Websphere can conform to the specs for J2EE.

Who cares about pages? (0, Flamebait)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166638)

IBM FUD. Comparing two standards by the number of pages is like measuring programmer productivity by lines of code. Many pages is just as likely to mean "complete and well-documented" as it is "unwieldy."

I'm all for open standards and I'm not a Microsoft fan-boy, but Microsoft's flagship product is Office. Excel kicks OpenOffice's ass around the block still in stability, speed, and features, so I'm comfy with Microsoft knowing what the hell it is doing with the standard.

I create XML Spreadsheets all the time without problems in the applications I manage, and I'm comfortable with what I've read of the newer XML standard in Excel 2007. I'm not happy about everything, particularly the separation of worksheets into separate XML files in the zip package, but overall I'm comfortable that we'll be able to support it well before 2-3 years from now when our clients finally upgrade.

Re:Who cares about pages? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166726)

True, but none of those reasons makes a good arguement that it should be a standard.

You create a 'framework' thats a standard and people can build on that, and that at some level all products that meet that standard can share data.

MS has a history of changing thing unexpectedly, and that is bad for a standard.

Re:Who cares about pages? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166790)

Comparing two standards by the number of pages is like measuring programmer productivity by lines of code. Many pages is just as likely to mean "complete and well-documented" as it is "unwieldy."

Fair enough. So here's a comparison of the ODF and MS-XML formats [groklaw.net] .

In this case, it means "unwieldy".

ECMA not EMCA (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166650)

That took a second. Typo is in the summary. I also asked who the heck is EMCA?
I think it must be one of those typos from constantly typing DMCA. :)

In other news.... (4, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166652)

Microsoft's spokesman countered the IBM executive's statement by pointing out,

"Actually the Open standard we propose is six thousand pages, but that's only because we printed it in 256 point boldface fonts in order to be handicapped accessible for the visually impaired, you insensitive clod."

Microsoft further countered allegations of being too hard for developers by pointing out,

"If you take away the title information, the table of contents, the index and the pages that say This Page Intentionally Left Blank, all the standards document says is 'Buy a copy of Microsoft Office'. What could be simpler than that?"

Re:In other news.... (2, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166870)

"...we printed it in 256 point boldface fonts..."

Actually the layout was done by an ex-editor for the New York Post.

"OPEN STANDARDS WREAK HAVOK ON CITY!"

Re:In other news.... (1)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166978)

Oh, Shi...

OSI is an "industry standard" protocol, too... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166690)

... that doesn't mean anyone will support it.

I sure don't care (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166692)

requiring software developers to absorb 6,000 pages of specifications, compared with 700 pages for OpenDocument

OK then. Well, since neither of these documents seem to be intended to be read by mortals, I'm personally feeling more than a little "emotionally detached" from these news... :-p

This will make for some slick legal arguments... (2, Insightful)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166696)

"Your honor, since Microsoft <product> is recognized by ECMA - an independent European standards organization - as an industry standard, any attempt to <name your negative action> will irreparably harm <name your industry/collection of interest groups>."

Damn, they're good.

Meaning MS Office docs will have public specs? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166712)

I'm all for it if the world will be able to implement code to read the docs and the specs are openly available for that purpose. It would mean that OpenOffice would be able to read and write office formatted documents correctly right?

I don't expect this to be true. What I expect to be true is the same that has been true for the Windows API. In Win32's API, you can know all the documented functions and features, but could never implement the stuff that's not documented... at least not publicly.

Now would this mean, though, that MS docs will likely be decidedly non-compliant with their own "standards?"

6000 pages (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166734)

Holy crap, 6000 pages? I thought OpenDocument was bloated (which it is), but that's just absurd.

And in other news (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166744)

Microsoft's PR/media department launches a not so subtle stealth marketing campaign intended to drum up support for software that most people don't seem inclined to purchase.

iWork? (2, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166766)

Does anyone know whether Apple will include support for ODF (Open Document Format) in Pages? For more a bigger testament of industry standard is getting it used by enough people.

BTW It should be noted that Office essentially uses OLE for its binary document formats. For this reason anything you add to an Office document is essentially an embeded data type. Their XML format is another beast.

The question is ... (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166806)

Which version of Office does the ECMA standard match, and what version are they trying to sell to Massachusetts?

Bitch, bitch, bitch...... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166828)

Less pages than Open Document = "Microsoft sucks, Office is too basic."

Equal number of pages with Open Document = "Microsoft sucks, they copied Open Document."

6000 pages = "Microsoft sucks, the format is too complex for anyone than Microsoft."

Apparently, no matter what they do, Microsoft cant suck enough.

ECMA & ISO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166836)

ECMA seems to do good business approving MS tech specs as "standards." How much funding do they get from MS? What is the relationship between ECMA and ISO?

MS Office XML sucks badly (3, Informative)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166858)

Go take a look at it and judge for yourself. The open document formats are fairly reasonable XML-based structures (as "reasonable" as XML can ever be). MS Office XML abuses XML and is horrendously complex.

From a practical point of view, OpenDocument already works for interchanging between multiple open source apps.

In addition, Microsoft's file format is patented and Microsoft uses that patent to spread FUD. While the patent probably wouldn't stand, it's an additional reason not to use MS's office formats.

definition of 'standard' (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166862)

I'm probably going to get all sorts of dictionary quotes but last time I checked, standard is a by-word for Norm.

Most people use Office, few use Open Office, why should it becoming the standard really suprise people? When you force standards which few people are already following you get the farce caused by the W3C who are constantly revising and ammending what was an established format so that every browser has a different implementation of the supposed standard and everyone of them has flaws in meeting it.

Could we get one thing straight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17166956)

ECMA is NOT a standardisation organisation !

Whatever. (1)

lifebouy (115193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17166984)

Sorry, but the only practical effect of this is to boost Microsoft's stock. People will use what they will use. In shops where .sla is used, it will still be used. OpenOffice is still going to continue to refine itself and spread into all sorts of nooks and crannies just like Firefox. With Vista being so disenchanting, and OpenOffice being part of the standard install on Ubuntu, I expect this will end up looking like what it is: Microsoft trying to plug it's finger in the hole in the dam.
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