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# Sun Asks China to Merge its Doc Format With ODF

#### CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate dept.

114

christian.einfeldt writes "Sun's Chairman Scott McNealy has asked the world's most populous nation to merge its Uniform Office Format with the Open Document Format. Tech lawyer Andy Updegrove thinks that McNealy would not have flown to China and taken this chance of rejection if McNealy didn't think that there was a good likelihood of success."

Heil Hitler!

### Re:ODF is for niggers, anyway (-1, Redundant)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810205)

No Bill no! And put that hand down, now!

You're grounded for the rest of the week!

And no friends or nintendo for you!

### Mod parent up (3, Funny)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810307)

Post is very insightful and well-worded

### Numbers game (5, Insightful)

#### Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810065)

Playing the numbers game, if a country as large as China were to adopt ODF (via harmonizing with it), it's game over, and ODF wins. That wouldn't spell the end for Microsoft's XML standard, but it would be a major setback, globally speaking. I wish him luck.

### Re:Numbers game (4, Insightful)

#### EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810161)

I beg to differ. Given that English is still considered the "language of business" even in the East, I'd think that China would adapt to whatever format its potential buyers use.

### Re:Numbers game (4, Insightful)

#### Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810207)

They could, and you're right that China could change their minds and opt for the MS Office formats. (That the leader of China wanted to meet Bill Gates on his visit to the US is worth noting.) But there are a couple problems. One, MS's office formats can't easily be implemented by third parties, particularly if those third parties want to remain independent of Microsoft (and not licensees). Second, China already has a non-MS office format, so they were thinking of diverging from Microsoft's lock-in model long before now.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810273)

I purchased dollar-store goods from Chinese manufacturers/sweat shops for a few years. Regardless of what document standard they may have adopted already, any correspondence I ever received was MS office format, and in broken Engrish. It matters not what their standard is if they're going to use MS office in any outbound correspondence to accommodate their Western buyers.

### Re:Numbers game (2, Insightful)

#### Andy Updegrove (956488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811337)

The big difference is the sweat shop copy of MS was undoubtedly pirated. Now that China is cracking down, nobody wants to pay Microsoft prices. Instead, they'd like to use a cheap, homegrown product - built on UOF (or, if it goes that way, UOF/ODF). - Andy

### Re:Numbers game (2, Interesting)

#### EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811481)

They would? How exactly do you know this? China's businesses don't rely on domestic sales for their profit, they rely on exports. Despite the fact that you and others may dislike MS, the majority of the business world still uses Office. As long as that remains true, the Chinese will use it to accommodate their Western buyers.

### Re:Numbers game (2, Insightful)

#### ronocdh (906309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812507)

They would? How exactly do you know this? China's businesses don't rely on domestic sales for their profit, they rely on exports. Despite the fact that you and others may dislike MS, the majority of the business world still uses Office. As long as that remains true, the Chinese will use it to accommodate their Western buyers.
I don't see the sense in this. Are the products they're exporting word processing documents? If not, it doesn't matter one bit what the customer is using as far as a word processor goes. Additionally, OpenOffice has always offered the ability to save as a MS Word .doc is need be; the Chinese companies could use this feature if a client specifically requested to see something.

More likely IMO is that China would continue to use ODF for all its internal documentation, which constitutes the vast majority of paperwork produced by any organization. This way they are guaranteed access to their own documents into the future, without being trapped into having to deal with a company to access certain closed formats.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812613)

I hate Microsoft. Call the Waaaaaahmbulance!
You clearly have superior knowledge about the Chinese culture and its business practices. Congratulations.

### Re:Numbers game (2, Insightful)

#### Shotgun (30919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812553)

And all the American corporations scrambling to cut their own throats to get into China? What do you think their reaction will be to the Chinese government proclaiming, "Use and open format if you want to talk to us". We don't care to be owned by Microsoft"? That's right. The chief execs will all surrender their left nuts to switch to ODF documents (and that includes Carly Fiorna).

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812671)

Nah. I've dealt with them. They kiss ass like no others. Again, just because *you* hate MS doesn't mean that everyone in the world does.

### Re: McNealy is another McEvil (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18813565)

Now, i will ask to McNealy.

Why is bad the presentation of OO document?
Why there are still OO flaws since many years ago?
Why don't you release Java as GPL?
Why have i to fill your form register when OO starts?
Why OO is slow running over your still private JVM?

I hate you McNealy.

Chinese friends, don't agree them, it's a trap!.

### Re:Numbers game (2, Funny)

#### marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810475)

But, English is in the public domain :)

### Re:Numbers game (1, Insightful)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18811749)

You're deluding yourself if you think that English is the language of business *in* Asia - or in China itself. That has occurred in India for historical reasons.
Remember English took the international language title from French due to the importance of *selling* to the English speaking market - particularly the US. When - in 10 years - China is the biggest market, they'll begin to take that title.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811999)

Crap you mean I have to learn Chinese in 10 years! I'm screwed, I only got a C in French at highschool

### Re:Numbers game (-1, Troll)

#### suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810267)

Playing the numbers game, if a country as large as China were to adopt ODF (via harmonizing with it), it's game over, and ODF wins. That wouldn't spell the end for Microsoft's XML standard, but it would be a major setback, globally speaking. I wish him luck.

Why do you wish him luck exactly. Both formats are terribly flawed, and although one may have reasons to stay way from MS Office, OpenOffice's features are quite limited and outdated, compared.

Don't fool yourself: this is not some noble battle of OSS vs evil Microsoft, it's just a battle of Sun versus Microsoft, which none of them deserves to win.

How many times should this story repeat until slashdotters learn: all corporations are the same. Not soon after ODF takes over MS Office, we'll be running daily articles of the "but ... Sun promised to not be evil!" kind, just like we're doing with former favorites Google, Red Hat, Novell, Adobe etc. etc.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810341)

Yes, ODF is IMO flawed, but at the moment we don't have a better alternative, do we?

### Re:Numbers game (0)

#### suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810403)

Yes, ODF is IMO flawed, but at the moment we don't have a better alternative, do we?

That might be quite unpopular with the crowd here, but right now, MS Office is the better alternative.

Have you actually reviewed Office 2007? Unlike previous versions, they've made incredible improvements in the whole suite, and I'm not just talking about the ribbon UI.

When you have to select a piece of software for doing real work with it, you don't just weigh in the license cost and claim anything free and open is always better. Or well, you don't do it if you have some hard and very real work to do, but you might do it if you don't, and just have an agenda to follow for the hell of it.

I need to be productive and be compatible with the rest of the world. MS Office just wins here, if Sun thinks they have the resources and skills to outdo (or at least match) MS Office in quality and features we need, I'm always ready to reconsider. This day hasn't come yet.

### Re:Numbers game (5, Insightful)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810423)

Since when was MS Office an alternative to ODF?

Office is an application suite. ODF is a document format. They're apples and oranges. With appropriate plugins, Office will interoperate with ODF documents -- just as any number of other applications will.

Claiming that OOXML is better than ODF because MS Office is better than OpenOffice is disingenuous; there's no reason MS Office and ODF can't be used together, and quite a bit of money and development time is being poured into making that an effective solution (thanks in no small part to .ma.us).

### Re:Numbers game (0, Flamebait)

#### suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810489)

Office is an application suite. ODF is a document format. They're apples and oranges.

You know, I'm happy for you're so naive, it's a bless. Office application suites compete on features, and as such, each is bound to either extend ODF into a mess, or introduce their own formats if they don't have any.

There's a reason why we have "source" formats, and "final" formats. I don't need your browser to support the latest effects and features in Photoshop, since I'll export it to JPG/GIF/PNG for you, that preserves presentation, but not editability.

We already have our "common" document format, and that's PDF. Remember my words that ODF isn't going anywhere. There's simply no reason for it to succeed.

### Re:Numbers game (4, Insightful)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810625)

Office suites may compete on features, but not all of those features need imply format extensions. There used to be competition between different OS vendors' networking stacks as well, but I think we're all better off now that everyone uses Ethernet and speaks IP -- and that standardization hasn't resulted in stagnation in the operating system market or a mess of incompatible IP variants.

I find it interesting that you advance the argument that having a standardized final format is adequate and folks can use whatever source formats they please while slamming me for naiveté. Applications where the ability to send documents which can be edited and transformed between parties in different organizations is critical abound, so using a view-only destination format for external communication is clearly inadequate. Preserving presentation is fine in a significant number of cases -- but if I'm standardizing on the document format used for communicating site surveys (which may be parsed and used to automatically configure servers) between my company (where the engineering department does not run Windows), its support and sales staff and VAR force (which largely do), I need documents which are editable, archivable into a database server and queryable at each stage (the latter being something XForms is quite useful for; I understand that Microsoft's InfoPath may provide some comparable functionality).

### Re:Numbers game (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810623)

(thanks in no small part to .ma.us)

Hmm, no. First off, Google finds no ODT documents [google.com] in .ma.us at all (although plenty of .doc [google.com] ).

Secondly, even if we were to go to the Massachusetts government website [mass.gov] , you'd also find practically no ODT [google.com] (29 total) compared with about 208,000 [google.com] .DOC files.

Interestingly enough, all the ODT files Google finds are discussing the use of ODT in Massachusetts.

Keep in mind that Massachusetts originally claimed that they would switch over to all ODF at the start of 2007. Well, we're four months in to 2007 - and there's nothing.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810653)

I said that the money has been (and is being) spent largely because of Massachusets. I didn't say Massachusets was actually taking advantage of it yet.

### Re:Numbers game (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810885)

With appropriate plugins, Office will interoperate with ODF documents --

Like the one mentioned here [sun.com] from Sun.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811449)

Since when was MS Office an alternative to ODF?

Office is an application suite. ODF is a document format. They're apples and oranges. With appropriate plugins, Office will interoperate with ODF documents -- just as any number of other applications will.

I think the reason is that this doesn't work both ways - while Office could have a plugin written to support ODF, you can't write an alternative Office suite which supports OOXML. Not because there's anything wrong with OOXML as such, but a few issues surround implementing it:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/13/161124 4 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/articles/03/04/13/2031259.shtm l?tid=109 [slashdot.org]

If China standardises on .DOCX (Office XML) as a file format, Sun haven't got a hope of selling StarOffice there. Similarly, if they standardise on their own format, StarOffice is at a disadvantage because the format isn't native to Star/OpenOffice.

But standardise on ODF, and suddenly Sun are on a reasonably level playing field with Microsoft (and, for that matter, the incumbent company producing office software which writes the native Chinese file format) at selling their office suite. That's assuming Microsoft *do* wind up providing a ODF plugin (I won't believe it until I see a download available from the Microsoft website). If they don't, Sun have a huge advantage.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### Bramantip (1054582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811705)

Office is an application suite. ODF is a document format. They're apples and oranges. With appropriate plugins, Office will interoperate with ODF documents -- just as any number of other applications will.

True, they are different things, but one is the cause of the other. Put in another way - what good would .odt be without a program that can read them and produce them? Having the best and most capable document standard (SGML comes to mind) doesn't mean that anyone will actually use it (how many SGML editors are there?).

True enough Office could interoperate with almost any format - the question is whether it is worth the time and money to develop the software to do so... and probably from the MS standpoint, probably not, as they get more money from people being forced to use documents in their format (and thus with their program). Microsoft plays the format wars because they know that no matter what format you have, you still need the program to use it.

Claiming that OOXML is better than ODF because MS Office is better than OpenOffice is disingenuous; there's no reason MS Office and ODF can't be used together, and quite a bit of money and development time is being poured into making that an effective solution.

Well, even if ODF was vastly superior to OOXML, if the tool you have to create documents is vastly inferior, there is no question as to what tool to use - and the format will follow the tool, not the other way around.

I think most people simply use any office suite simply to write documents. They probably couldn't care less as to what format they are in as long as they can write them with ease. The only time the format really becomes a problem is when you want to share that information with someone else (who doesn't use the same tools) or use it in some other medium (such as the web, etc.).

Thus there is some point to the fact that MS Office is 'better' than Open Office - if the tool isn't easy to use, powerful enough for one's purpose, and stable, there isn't much point in creating documents in the format that it uses. Though I haven't really seen how MS Office is all that much better than OpenOffice.

Thus ODF might be the best for interoperability, as it is an 'open standard' but most of the time interoperability is accidental to the process of creating actual documents. But one might even question the interoperability of ODF, as the only application that I know of that uses it is Open Office - none of my other programs can even read this format (except vim when you unzip the archive). Until OpenOffice provides something for this purpose better than MS Office, the question of format will never be important.

Oh, and by the way I do use Open Office, as it is good enough for my purposes - as a Physics teacher - but really couldn't care less about its format as long as my students can read the printed text.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812215)

True enough Office could interoperate with almost any format - the question is whether it is worth the time and money to develop the software to do so... and probably from the MS standpoint, probably not, as they get more money from people being forced to use documents in their format (and thus with their program). Microsoft plays the format wars because they know that no matter what format you have, you still need the program to use it.
The thing is, Microsoft aren't the only folks who can do this, and interested third parties have already decided that supporting ODF from Word is worth the time and money. See the da Vinci ODF plugins for Office [googlepages.com] . In short -- MS Word already is an ODF editor, though roundtrip support will be substantially improved after ODF 1.2 comes out.

Well, even if ODF was vastly superior to OOXML, if the tool you have to create documents is vastly inferior, there is no question as to what tool to use - and the format will follow the tool, not the other way around.
As I think I've established, the market leader among the tools is already -- with the use of some zero-cost 3rd-party software -- able to use either format. This means that the folks who do care about the format can select that independently. For some of my purposes, the ability to use XPath and XSLT-style templates with ODF is extremely helpful; other folks are more concerned about long-term document compatibility, lest Office 2043 be unable to read documents created today with Office 2003.

Putting my idealist hat on, I'd argue that in cases where documents are intended to be disseminated to the public at large, accessibility (to those who can't afford MS Office or those who run on a platform where Office is unavailable) is socially responsible as well. To be sure, lossy conversion is available -- but using a format developed as an open standard with ease-of-implementation and standards reuse in mind in mind (and thus which is reasonably implementable by more than one vendor) strikes me as the Right Thing to do. Taking the idealist hat back off, I still support ODF -- because it makes the things I want to do with my IT infrastructure (using XPATH and a bunch of preexisting infrastructure to build servers based on the contents of site survey forms provided by sales reps) easy, and allows me the ability to leverage 3rd-party implementations of reused standards for which open toolkits are available in future infrastructure as well.

### Re:Numbers game (1, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810377)

The post you're replying to didn't bring up this good/evil business. And ODF is better because it actually is open, regardless of who is pushing it. What other open alternatives are there?

So indeed, good luck to McNealy on this mission.

### Re:Numbers game (5, Informative)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810401)

Waitaminute here -- why do you switch from talking about ODF to talking about OpenOffice? Unlike OpenXML, ODF was written based not on a single application's requirements (although that was used as a starting point), but by getting a bunch of interested parties (particularly, parties with an interest in long-term document archival and storage), and building to their requirements.

And ODF is absolutely the better standard. It leverages preexisting standards such as SVG and MathML instead of reinventing the wheel; it's structured to permit XSLT-style transformations; a complete implementation isn't required to have support for legacy bugs from MS Office. Version 1.2 of the standard will require that implementations preserve unknown attributes to allow support for lossless roundtripping to and from legacy formats; support for lossless roundtripping to and from Word is an early application for this, already available in prototype. The only serious deficiency I'm familiar with is that spreadsheet formulas are unspecified and left to the implementor -- and while that is unfortunate, it's not like there aren't de-facto standards to work from until it's resolved (also in OpenDocument 1.2).

I realize it's trendy to be jaded, and I have little love for many of Sun's actions -- but I'm pretty sure they're on the right side inasmuch as ODF is concerned.

### Re:Numbers game (-1, Troll)

#### suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810417)

Waitaminute here -- why do you switch from talking about ODF to talking about OpenOffice? Unlike OpenXML, ODF was written based not on a single application's requirements

I'm sorry but you're dead wrong right there, which kinda makes the rest of your post pointless. Read up on ODF and how it was created.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810445)

I've done a lot of reading on how ODF was created, and I hold to my position.

### Look at KOffice and others (1)

#### shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810565)

I assume that you are claiming that ODF is the StarOffice format and that OpenOffice.org is the open source fork of StarOffice. The problem with this is that the format did change significantly when OASIS took over and sought input from many organizations. ODF has been adopted by the KOffice team, the folks writing Goolge web apps, IBM, etc. But don't be swayed by name dropping, just look at documents in the format, they are worlds apart from OOXML in terms of readability and conformance with existing XML standards. MS took existing binary formats and converted them to XML, this is quite different from taking existing XML tools/standards and combining them when possible and adding to them as needed. Its a completely different mindset and it leads to completely different results, even if both are superficially similar 'zipped XML' formats.

### Re:Numbers game (2, Informative)

#### Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810419)

You do realize that already there are several office suites that implement ODF?

Sure the only open source ones are OpenOffice and KOffice, but many small 3rd party wordprocessors have changed to ODF. So at no point will we be trapped by Sun, we will have the option of buying any of a handfull of commercial implementations, and probably 1-2 two other open source ones.

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810431)

Sure the only open source ones are OpenOffice and KOffice, but many small 3rd party wordprocessors have changed to ODF. So at no point will we be trapped by Sun

"Supporting ODF" is a very vague statement. OpenOffice and many small 3rd party word processors support Ms Word .DOC format too. Then how, all of a sudden we need ODF then, if a bit of 3rd party support takes care of the issue at hand.

### Re:Numbers game (4, Insightful)

#### mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810807)

OpenOffice, and all the other non-license paying software that support .DOC format do so through reverse engineering the format. Their accuracy in importing and exporting that format varies, because they don't know for sure what the format actually is, and MS seems to change it slightly with every new version of Office.

We need ODF so that we can have more than one office suite available to choose from, and still be able to exchange documents accurately. It's the same reason we have standards for anything, computers or otherwise.

OpenXML on the other hand can not be accurately implemented by anybody other than Microsoft and is controlled by nobody other than Microsoft. On top of that, it's a badly written format that even requires that implementors perform miscalculations so that Microsoft doesn't have to actually fix their own product.

Even more compelling is this list of ODF implementors:

OpenOffice.org/StarOffice
KOffice
Abiword
Gnumeric
Lotus Notes
Apple's TextEdit (in Leopard)
Corel WordPerfect (mid-2007)
Microsoft Office XP/2003/2007

As opposed to the list of Office OpenXML implementors:

Microsoft Office 2007
Corel WordPerfect (mid-2007)

So if you want to use anything other than Windows, ODF is your only choice.

### Re:Numbers game (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810893)

As opposed to the list of Office OpenXML implementors:

Microsoft Office 2007
Corel WordPerfect (mid-2007)

So if you want to use anything other than Windows, ODF is your only choice.
No, there's Mac Office 2008 (currently in beta).

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810991)

I wasn't aware of that, Mac Office 2008 will support Office OpenXML? Will it also support ODF? Which format will be the default?

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811049)

Nevermind, I thought you were talking about an Apple product. After a quick google search I now know that this is Microsoft Office for Mac. Still more than a year out though.

### No (4, Insightful)

#### g2devi (898503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810435)

> it's just a battle of Sun versus Microsoft, which none of them deserves to win.

No. It's a battle between ODF and OOXML.

ODF was approved over a long drawn out process that took the input from various companies and can be implemented by multiple companies and open source projects. It reuses existing standards wherever possible. ODF is open to criticism and has already included revisions to include support for disabilities and generally specified formulas. Hopefully, it'll absorb China's format too. The official version of ODF is what's specified in the standard (regardless what OpenOffice implements), so you can be sure of a level playing field.

OOXML, OTOH, was rubber stamped by ECMA (that was one of the conditions of the submission) and fastracked to the ISO despite the objections of a record number of countries. It reinvents stands wherever possible, forces the implementation of bugs in the standards (i.e. implement the Y2K bug), has references to external specifications that are not being standardized, and has cute phrases like "Do this the way Word95 did it" without specifying what that means. The official version of OOXML is what Microsoft implements (regardless what ISO specifies), so you can be sure of an uneven playing field with Microsoft being 2 steps ahead of everyone else.

Given these two document formats, ODF clearly deserves to win.

### Re:No (2, Informative)

#### I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813611)

OOXML, OTOH, was rubber stamped by ECMA (that was one of the conditions of the submission)

Sorty, this is bullshit.
The ECMA process took over a year to complete, and there were many revisions and multiple drafts released during that time. The ratification vote wasn't guaranteed. IBM was on the committee and voted NO. All other members had the same opportunity to vote NO as well (though nobody else did, since they didn't have an pro-ODF agenda that IBM did; IBM lost 20-1). Those other members included Apple, Novell, government entities, etc.

If anything was "rubberstamped" by anyone, it was ODF being rubberstamped by ISO. ISO approved a standard that wasn't even complete. It doesn't even have a standard for saving spreadsheet formulae. Oh, and Microsoft was on that IDO committee that rubberstamped ODF and raised no objections (unlike IBM throwing a temper tantrum at the ECMA/OOXML vote).

### Re:Numbers game (1)

#### Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810443)

it's just a battle of Sun versus Microsoft, which none of them deserves to win.

### I can't wait (4, Insightful)

#### DigDuality (918867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810095)

This could be an awesomely smart idea and all the power to all parties involved making it work. I really like open source software, but i could really care less in the big picture. There's more to stand for in open formats than software. The illusion of openeess that OpenXML is needs to go away. I hope MS office continues to grow and improve but their strong hold on document formats need to go.

### Re:I can't wait (5, Insightful)

#### ror (1068652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810155)

If Microsoft lose their hold on the document format then there would be little to tie people to office, and through that, windows. Every time I try and 'sell' openoffice to my family they scoff and say "but it's NOT office" despite the fact they're using office 97 that can barely handle office 2000 documents.

There is a perception that people NEED office to function, getting ODF widely accepted would be a huge blow to Microsoft.

### Re:I can't wait (5, Interesting)

#### aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810255)

There's also the perception that if they can get Office at a discount they're saving money. Recently Microsoft offered office (and some other programs like the latest Outlook Express) for Australian university students at $99 or$199 (I can't remember). My father recommended I get it so I had a look and couldn't find any new features in Office that I would use and I didn't use any of the other software that came bundled with it. Well my sister and her boyfriend thought I was crazy. After all, it was SO much cheaper then Office normally is. I asked them what features the latest Office had that they used, they couldn't name one. Her boyfriend mentioned the great spam filtering in Outlook, but that was it. My sister liked the look of it. I said well I didn't use Outlook and I'd need a bit better feature then its "new look" before I'd buy it, they thought I was crazy.

So if the people making this decision in China are like my sister and father, all they need do is offer them a discounted Office and they'll go with Microsoft's XML format, simply because there's the perception that they'll be getting a discount.

### Re:I can't wait (1)

#### charlieman (972526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811503)

Yeah, i think all the 244 people [slashdot.org] there who buy MS stuff will definitively go for it with a discount.

### Re:I can't wait (0, Flamebait)

I disagree. While i prefer and primarily use Koffice and OpenOffice, MS Office wins in terms of user interface, usability, and functionality across the board. It is a superb office suite that wins hands down. Even the biggest linux and FOSS fanboy has to admit it's absolute awesomeness. Sure if an open standard was accepted broadly, ms office sales would drop. But that's because not everyone needs a $150-500 office suite. Most people could get by just fine, with little or no problems with alternative office suites. But MS would still be dominant purely out of quality of software, at least in this regard. ### Re:I can't wait (1) #### macshit (157376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810895) It is a superb office suite that wins hands down. Even the biggest linux and FOSS fanboy has to admit it's absolute awesomeness. You've got to be kidding. There are surely high points and low points to ms office, but it most certainly is not "awesome." A more accurate description might be "adequate for many tasks if you're not picky, but in constant danger of imploding under the weight of its own pointless bloat." ### Re:I can't wait (2, Insightful) #### 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811059) While i prefer and primarily use Koffice and OpenOffice, MS Office wins in terms of user interface, usability, and functionality across the board. It is a superb office suite that wins hands down. Even the biggest linux and FOSS fanboy has to admit it's absolute awesomeness. Actually, the relative merits of MSOffice and OpenOffice depend a lot upon what you do with it. MSOffice loses on the following points: • Initial cost - OpenOffice wins on initial price by being free. • Upgrade cycles - in order to be up to date with MSOffice and be able to open all the latest Word files, you need to pay for new versions every few years. MS Office loses here too. • Cross-platform - MSOffice does not run on Linux or OpenBSD and thus can't be deployed across our entire company's workstations. (This is arguable due to OO mac support.) • Archival ability - MSOffice relies upon proprietary formats which means we cannot be assured anything easily available will open them in 10 years, or even if it will be possible to hire someone to build a converter. This has already been a problem at a company I worked where no currently available version of Word would open old files and we had no legal recourse other than trying to hunt down someone with an old copy of Word that would open and convert the files on our behalf. • Format support - Word can't open the OO files I am sent by co-workers and colleagues. OO can open the .doc files I'm sent as well as the OO files. • long document support - Word falls down on large documents (>200 pages with a graphic every other page). The current version and all versions since 2000 I have tested since have all silently corrupted these files on save making them unopenable the next time one tried about one time in 50. I submitted this bug many, many years ago, and several times since and had to build a cumbersome workflow for one company as a way to work around this failure. • source licensing - MS Office is licensed as closed source, thus resulting in less assurance for the future of the code, less ability to customize, increased likelihood of unfixable security problems, increased likelihood of very poor coding practices, and increased likelihood of an included trojan. • software licensing risks - with MS Office we need to pay for a professional license tracking package to mitigate the risk of the BSA suing us because we forgot to remove a copy from some old machine or we did not count our licenses properly. This is a significant expense/legal liability that is not an issue with OO. Because of the above list, I take issue with your assertion that MS Office wins across the board. I simply is not so. MS Office does win in a lot of ways, although I almost completely avoid it these days despite having a licensed copy installed. Mostly that is because it is not as functional or fast as other applications I use to perform the same tasks. Claiming that the buggy and bloated MS Office is "awesome" however, makes my head hurt. It crashes, it messes up, it's expensive, it's intentionally limited in some ways. For many people it is the best option, but a lot of that has more to do with the current install base than to do with concrete qualities of the programs themselves. That is why I'm such a strong supporter of ODF. I think if everyone can access the same data with any application, we'll actually see competition again and that will mean both MS Office and OpenOffice and all the other alternatives will get a lot better as they try to win customers. And let me tell you, they all need to get a lot better. ### Re:I can't wait (1) #### Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812279) I still have trouble getting away from office as well. Partially, it is not that it has a better interface but that we are familiar with it. I know OO gives me fits with the way they moved some things even tho I recognize the moves were logical and Office is irrational (and is going to change a lot with the Vista Version). But I *will* change to OO. I've been slowly doing so for about 2 years now. It's getting very good and I'm getting more familiar with it. ### Re:I can't wait (0) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18811499) Please never put the words "blow" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence. ### Re:I can't wait (1) #### triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813597) Please never put the words "blow" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence. Why not? You did. Oh! Earth humor. I get it. ### Re:I can't wait (1) #### whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810439) Maybe Sun should extend their invitation to Microsoft as well - surely this would be the killer to getting the more open standard accepted. Or maybe Sun should be working to adopt Office Open XML, which is likely to be the most adopted format. I know that Microsoft could have some ulterior motives behind making their XML format open - and perhaps it isn't open at all, but why can't the open source community use the same tactics to their advantage and make an effort to steer the populist formats towards their personal goal? ### Re:I can't wait (1) #### whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810499) erm - did I say more open, I meant more popular... ### Why websites shouldn't use User-Agents detection (-1, Offtopic) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810111) Precondition Failed We're sorry, but we could not fulfill your request for /standardsblog/article.php?story=20070417025728436 on this server. We have established rules for access to this server, and any person or robot that violates these rules will be unable to access this site. To resolve this problem, please try the following steps: * Ensure that your computer is free of viruses, Trojan horses, spyware or any other sort of malicious software. * If you are using any sort of personal firewall or browser privacy software, check to ensure that its settings do not cause your web browser to inadvertently violate any of the rules listed below. * If you are behind a Web proxy or corporate firewall, the proxy must conform to the HTTP specification with respect to proxy servers. Contact your network administrator if the trouble persists, or bypass the proxy and connect directly if possible. * Disable any download accelerators you may be using. They don't speed up your downloads anyway; in most cases, they actually run slower! * If all else fails, try using a different Web browser, such as Firefox. If you still need assistance, please contact updegrove at consortiuminfo.org. More Information For your reference, the conditions for access to this server are: Robots: * MUST read and obey robots.txt. * MUST identify themselves properly; for example MUST NOT identify as Mozilla. * MUST NOT pretend to be a human. Humans: * MUST NOT pretend to be a robot. * MUST NOT use a computer infected with viruses, Trojan horses or other malicious software. Both: * MUST NOT harvest email addresses. * MUST NOT attempt to send spam. * MUST NOT attempt to compromise server security. * MUST NOT use excessive amounts of bandwidth or other server resources. The precondition on the request for the URL /standardsblog/article.php?story=20070417025728436 evaluated to false. Apache/1.3.36 Server at www.consortiuminfo.org Port 80 Stupid fuckers! I'm not a robot! I'm not pretending to be one! FUCK! (Posted Anonymously Because.) ### Hopefully they go for it. (-1, Troll) #### apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810137) Firstly I have read the article. But only 'cause the webmaster is a stupid fucker. Hear that webmaster? YOU ARE A STUPID FUCKER! Onto the thingy now ... As has already been mentioned, it would be good if China did adopt ODF over their own format. Numbers numbers numbers. However, don't think that Sun are doing this out of the goodness of their own hearts. They want to open up a market for their own products (Star Office). The fact that Uniform Office Format [wikipedia.org] is already an open XML format doesn't make this a high priority though. It can easily (relatively speaking) implemented into OpenOffice.org and using XSL you don't even need to do that I would imagine. ### Re:Hopefully they go for it. (1) #### Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810179) "They want to open up a market for their own products" You DO realize we are talking about China here, the country that hasn't sold over 300 legit copies of Windows Vista yet, right? ### Re:Hopefully they go for it. (2, Informative) #### aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810327) You DO realize we are talking about China here, the country that hasn't sold over 300 legit copies of Windows Vista yet, right? They sound like a country full of smart people. I know a ton of people who are avoiding Vista like the plague, while in China they've got less then 300 stupid fucks (or less then 300 computer users. I somehow doubt the latter). ### Re:Hopefully they go for it. (1) #### the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810595) That is because China is one of many countries where MS do not enforce copyrights. A Chinese company selling in China might get atleast a reasonable proportion of people to pay. I do not know China, but in my part of the world, no-one buys Windows, but corporates are paying up for Lotus Notes because IBM is starting to enforce it. Similarly you can get pirated DVDs of most films, but not films imported by a particular distributor. ### Re:Hopefully they go for it. (0) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810183) And of course I meant that I hadn't read the article. Not that I had. (Posting anon because ...) ### If Scott brings the correct carrot (2, Insightful) #### ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810173) i.e., a suitcase of US dollars, then I predict success. ### Re:If Scott brings the correct carrot (1) #### wbren (682133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811157) ...or better yet, a suitcase full of British pounds [google.com] . ### Re:If Scott brings the correct carrot (1) #### hackingbear (988354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813249) that depends on who receives this case. better not someone who make exaggerated claims of having strong links to some powerful officials but really having none. it is only a success if the suitcase reaches the hands of the powerful official or better of his son/wife/relatives. that's what china really is. ### Nobody in China will use either (5, Interesting) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810175) I live in China. All I see is Office 2000 or 2003 with windows 2000 or Windows XP, and it's all free for them so nobody is going to change. Except perhaps they'll change to Windows Vista and Office 2007 in 2010 when enough schools buy new computers with it installed already.. and no, don't think for a minute they are legal copies. ### Re:Nobody in China will use either (2, Informative) #### aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810289) I'm an Australian student in China at the moment via a program at my university and all I see is UOF, UOF, UOF with windows 2000 or Windows XP. ### Re:Nobody in China will use either (1) #### totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810549) Programme. (Sorry. Maybe a program helped you enrol in the programme.) ### Re:Nobody in China will use either (4, Insightful) #### DownWithTheMan (797237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810501) I was under [zdnet.co.uk] the [sfgate.com] impression [desktoplinux.com] that [linux.org] China [com.com] was [infoworld.com] moving [slashdot.org] away [businessweek.com] from [newsforge.com] Windows [internetnews.com] ... :-/ ### Re:Nobody in China will use either (1) #### FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812245) No they aren't. I've been there too. It's Windows everywhere I see it. I don't even see Macs. ### Don't carry a snake in your shirt (-1, Offtopic) #### Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810235) China will ask for IT concessions from Sun et. al. for this, and they'll promise that they'll keep them all secret, and only use them for in-house stuff. Then, you'll find them on the clone market in 3 months, and we'll discover that the next (in a long series) egregious human rights abuse was made possible by Sun's "shared" technology. Sun seems great at giving away the store, getting farked over, then crying foul, while their market share and relevance dwindle. ### geeze it's the 21st century (0) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810265) Tech lawyer Andy Updegrove thinks that McNealy would not have flown to China and taken this chance of rejection if McNealy didn't think that there was a good likelihood of success. Yes, only if he was that sure of success would he brave the several weeks journey via galleon across the mighty Pacific. ### china and open standards (2, Insightful) #### ceroklis (1083863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810387) From TFA: [...] China's overall strategy, which for the last several years has been oriented towards developing "home grown" standards in areas where high foreign royalty payments, or product prices, would otherwise be encountered. These standards have most notably been in the area of wireless (WAPI), video (AVS), and 3G telephones (TD-SCMA), with other standards on the way. For China to give up independence with UOF would run counter to this trend, and would provide a very interesting bellwether indeed regarding China's future standards strategy. Wrong: \begin{lemma} The author is an idiot. \end{lemma} \begin{proof} It will not run counter to this trend, since there is not royalty payment for ODF. \end{proof} A merger would not cost anything to China, but allow them to share development cost with others and compete on a broader market than their own. It would seem China can only benefit from a wider adoption of open standards. At least for now. In a couple decades they may be able to impose their own on the rest of the world. ### Just a negotiating tactic (-1, Offtopic) #### 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810455) Please let us not forget that Chinese are extremely good negotiators and bargainers. Look at the way North Korea is playing six countries like a well tuned orchestra. If NKorea can play this well, imagine how well China will play it. It is very much possible it is a negotiating strategy by Chinese to extract maximum benefit of their eventual suitor MSOffice XML. So let us be cautious and see real committment by the Chinese (and India/Kerala, Brazil, and other developing nations/states) before jumping to conclusions. Words are cheap. Pleasant words are even cheaper. Unless these governments put money where their mouth is, Sun will be just another pawn in the games between these governments and Microsoft. ### Re:Just a negotiating tactic (1) #### N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810789) don't quit your day job ### Re:Just a negotiating tactic (1) #### 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811085) Cant figure the mod. We have seen numerous governments announce big deals about Open Source and standards and then quietly use the press coverage to squeeze a better price from MSFT. This could be one such ploy. Agree with it or disagree with it. Like the implications or hate the implications. But off topic? Come on, mods, think straight. ### Re:Just a negotiating tactic (0) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18811215) Do you seriously think China sets up a committee of scientists that spends years on developing a working document format only to squeeze a cheaper MS deal? MS software is free in China at the moment, can't get any cheaper. ### Sun Asks China to Merge its Doc Format With ODF (-1, Offtopic) #### Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810739) Sun threatens global warming and heat waves if they do not comply. ### Lest we forget (1) #### vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810937) Let's don't overlook that Chinese is generally written using an extensive set of non-alphabetic characters. My guess would be that the Chinese, like the Japanese, prefer their written materials to be in their characters, not in romanized text that conveys less information. So, one issue would be whether ODF is suitable for representing Chinese (and Japanese) text. ... and how much aggravation is involved in using ODF to represent the chanacters -- compared to whatever solution(s) they are using now. ### Re:Lest we forget (3, Insightful) #### ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811101) Of course ODF can handle Chinese characters, just like anything that supports Unicode. You'd be hard pressed to find a modern word-processing format that cannot contain Chinese characters. ### Re:Lest we forget (2, Informative) #### Tipa (881911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811205) ODF has had this support since 2002. See: http://opendocument.xml.org/milestones [xml.org] 2002 Definitions for CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) and complex text layout languages get added to the OpenOffice.org XML file format specification. ### Re:Lest we forget (1) #### fuzz6y (240555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811819) Let's don't overlook that Chinese is generally written using an extensive set of non-alphabetic characters. non-English-alphabetic characters. And you know who this stunning insight has occurred to before? China. ### Re:Lest we forget (1) #### serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813505) > ... Chinese is generally written using an extensive set of non-alphabetic characters > non-English-alphabetic characters. No, non alphabetic. You know alphabet == alaph-bet or alpha-beta. The name derives from the first two letters in middle eastern/western system. The Chinese use an ideogramic character system, the Japanese use a combined syllabery and ideogramic system and in Europe and the middle East, languages are written in the Roman/Greek/Cyrillic/Hebrew/Arabic/etc alphabet. As usual, Wikipedia has some excellent articles on the subject if you wish to find out more. ### Re:Lest we forget (0) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18813527) Wrong. Chinese characters are indeed "non-alphabetic". Alphabets are phonetic systems. Chinese is... uh... not, since matching characters to spoken words is a matter of rote memorization rather than simple or complex procedural rules. Written Chinese involves Characters, not an "alphabet". Yes, characters can be combined for new meanings like "lightning / picture", but this is analogous to "tele-vision" or word-level combinations in alphabetic languages, not the combination of letters into sound. Your correction, "non-english-alphabetic characters", is wrong, and would be correct in, say, accented Spanish, or Cyrillic. ### Re:Lest we forget (1) #### Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813535) Are you saying that Chinese characters are alphabetic? I thought they were morphemes. ### the mcneal (1) #### timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810941) he wouldn't do it if he didn't think he would be sucessful? yeah right... his other option is to sit back and watch his steadily dwindling market share. last ditch effort is what this is ### Mr. Tao, tear down this wall! (1) #### Nexus7 (2919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811221) That's what he said, ol' Scott McNealy, "Mr. Tao, tear down this wall!" ### Probably Because (2, Interesting) #### Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811285) In Sun you need to file a business justification to run a Windows machine. If China runs ODF then Sun's China sales and support force does not need to run Windows or Word. ### FAILZORS (-1, Offtopic) #### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18811921) may do, may not when IDC recently partAies). At THE Distro is done Here you down. It was but suufice it downward spiral. way. It used to be violated. In the ### What irritates me is subsidizing my competition (-1, Troll) #### Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812315) Every time I pay rack price and read that people around the world are paying between$3 and $30 (below cost when you consider patents) it really irritates me. Because part of the reason my milk is$5, and my taxes are high, and my costs are high is that everyone else here is also paying full price.

Then I get put into competition with these people who I am subsidizing and see jobs in my field offshored left and right because they are cheaper. It is just not right. It is not fair.

### The rest of the world subsidizes the USA (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18812929)

One of the reasons you have a nice way of life is because we, the rest of the world, are supporting it. The USA give us paper (or just a flow of bits) in exchange of natural resources so you can waste them however you want.

### Another article linked by Andy Updegrove. (1)

#### ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812623)

Andy Updegrove gave interesting link to article: Sun's McNealy Proposes Merging ODF with Chinese Counterpart [betanews.com] .

The article goes into into technical side of merge highlighting technical differences between the two file formats. And from my reading it seems like UOF is superior to ODF in many aspects.

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