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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.

Sun Microsystems 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."

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ODF is for niggers, anyway (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810063)

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!

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

ibbo (241948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810253)

Damned MS Nazi. Your not the master provider get that into your think head!

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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 years ago | (#18810475)

But, English is in the public domain :)

Re:Numbers game (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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.

Microsoft already won that battle.

Re:Numbers game (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 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 6 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 6 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://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/23/23 23237&mode=thread&tid=155&tid=99 [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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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
Google's Documents
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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 years ago | (#18810443)

it's just a battle of Sun versus Microsoft, which none of them deserves to win.
Even if neither wins, M$ deserve to lose and I hope they do.

Re:Numbers game (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 6 years ago | (#18810481)

Last time I saw it, ODF was not controled by SUN. It was an international standard, created by several companies and other kinds of entities.

Now, it's SUN pushing for ODF there... And so what? If it was Microsoft pushing for an open standard wouldn't it be as good? (Of course MS won't do that).

And, maybe ODF has its flaws (I don't know, I don't like OOo a lot, but don't know the format that well). But it's a well docummented, short, simple and formal standard. If we get something better later, we can just convert our documents.

Re:Numbers game (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#18810737)

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.
But Sun doesn't control the ODF Format. It doesn't matter if sun becomes evil because they don't control anything. That's where you seem to have it wrong. ODF is an OASIS standard agreed upon by many companies and no one company can just change it when they feel like it. I would like to know which specific deficiencies exist with ODF. Don't complain that it's slow, because that's an application problem, not a file format problem. Just because OO.o is slow, doesn't mean that all word processors that use ODF have to be slow. There are already few out there that are quite faster than OO.o. I think that it's always going to be slower than .Doc, but that's only because .Doc is a big memory dump, and is not made to be readable or understood by anything other than MS word.

Re:Numbers game (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#18812199)

Waiting for perfection results in never doing anything.

Doing something imperfect invariably results in tuning to address those imperfections.

Harmonize or Adopt? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810337)

If China adopts ODF thats a good thing.
If China 'harmonizes' with it, thats a bad thing, it creates yet another format.

Re:Numbers game (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810375)

Until someone at MS decides that they're "going to f'in kill China", and starts spreading crap about their weird isolationist document format that only commies like, so that everyone else shies away from it.

When the greedy are playing dirty politics, and decent people still care about their reputations, there's no such thing as game over. Well, not for the good, anyway.

Is Your Son A Computer Hacker? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810389)

As an enlightened, modern parent, I try to be as involved as possible in the lives of my six children. I encourage them to join team sports. I attend their teen parties with them to ensure no drinking or alcohol is on the premises. I keep a fatherly eye on the CDs they listen to and the shows they watch, the company they keep and the books they read. You could say I'm a model parent. My children have never failed to make me proud, and I can say without the slightest embellishment that I have the finest family in the USA.

Two years ago, my wife Carol and I decided that our children's education would not be complete without some grounding in modern computers. To this end, we bought our children a brand new Compaq to learn with. The kids had a lot of fun using the handful of application programs we'd bought, such as Adobe's Photoshop and Microsoft's Word, and my wife and I were pleased that our gift was received so well. Our son Peter was most entranced by the device, and became quite a pro at surfing the net. When Peter began to spend whole days on the machine, I became concerned, but Carol advised me to calm down, and that it was only a passing phase. I was content to bow to her experience as a mother, until our youngest daughter, Cindy, charged into the living room one night to blurt out: "Peter is a computer hacker!"

As you can imagine, I was amazed. A computer hacker in my own house! I began to monitor my son's habits, to make certain that Cindy wasn't just telling stories, as she is prone to doing at times.

After a few days of investigation, and some research into computer hacking, I confronted Peter with the evidence. I'm afraid to say, this was the only time I have ever been truly disappointed in one of my children. We raised them to be honest and to have integrity, and Peter betrayed the principles we tried to encourage in him, when he refused point blank to admit to his activities. His denials continued for hours, and in the end, I was left with no choice but to ban him from using the computer until he is old enough to be responsible for his actions.

After going through this ordeal with my own family, I was left pondering how I could best help others in similar situations. I'd gained a lot of knowledge over those few days regarding hackers. It's only right that I provide that information to other parents, in the hope that they will be able to tell if their children are being drawn into the world of hacking. Perhaps other parents will be able to steer their sons back onto the straight and narrow before extreme measures need to be employed.

To this end, I have decided to publish the top ten signs that your son is a hacker. I advise any parents to read this list carefully and if their son matches the profile, they should take action. A smart parent will first try to reason with their son, before resorting to groundings, or even spanking. I pride myself that I have never had to spank a child, and I hope this guide will help other parents to put a halt to their son's misbehaviour before a spanking becomes necessary.

1. Has your son asked you to change ISPs?

Most American families use trusted and responsible Internet Service Providers, such as AOL. These providers have a strict "No Hacking" policy, and take careful measures to ensure that your internet experience is enjoyable, educational and above all legal. If your child is becoming a hacker, one of his first steps will be to request a change to a more hacker friendly provider.

I would advise all parents to refuse this request. One of the reasons your son is interested in switching providers is to get away from AOL's child safety filter. This filter is vital to any parent who wants his son to enjoy the internet without the endangering him through exposure to "adult" content. It is best to stick with the protection AOL provides, rather than using a home-based solution. If your son is becoming a hacker, he will be able to circumvent any home-based measures with surprising ease, using information gleaned from various hacker sites.

2. Are you finding programs on your computer that you don't remember installing?

Your son will probably try to install some hacker software. He may attempt to conceal the presence of the software in some way, but you can usually find any new programs by reading through the programs listed under "Install/Remove Programs" in your control panel. Popular hacker software includes "Comet Cursor", "Bonzi Buddy" and "Flash".

The best option is to confront your son with the evidence, and force him to remove the offending programs. He will probably try to install the software again, but you will be able to tell that this is happening, if your machine offers to "download" one of the hacker applications. If this happens, it is time to give your son a stern talking to, and possibly consider punishing him with a grounding.

3. Has your child asked for new hardware?

Computer hackers are often limited by conventional computer hardware. They may request "faster" video cards, and larger hard drives, or even more memory. If your son starts requesting these devices, it is possible that he has a legitimate need. You can best ensure that you are buying legal, trustworthy hardware by only buying replacement parts from your computer's manufacturer.

If your son has requested a new "processor" from a company called "AMD", this is genuine cause for alarm. AMD is a third-world based company who make inferior, "knock-off" copies of American processor chips. They use child labor extensively in their third world sweatshops, and they deliberately disable the security features that American processor makers, such as Intel, use to prevent hacking. AMD chips are never sold in stores, and you will most likely be told that you have to order them from internet sites. Do not buy this chip! This is one request that you must refuse your son, if you are to have any hope of raising him well.

4. Does your child read hacking manuals?

If you pay close attention to your son's reading habits, as I do, you will be able to determine a great deal about his opinions and hobbies. Children are at their most impressionable in the teenage years. Any father who has had a seventeen year old daughter attempt to sneak out on a date wearing make up and perfume is well aware of the effect that improper influences can have on inexperienced minds.

There are, unfortunately, many hacking manuals available in bookshops today. A few titles to be on the lookout for are: "Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson; "Neuromancer" by William Gibson; "Programming with Perl" by Timothy O'Reilly; "Geeks" by Jon Katz; "The Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling; "Microserfs" by Douglas Coupland; "Hackers" by Steven Levy; and "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric S. Raymond.

If you find any of these hacking manuals in your child's possession, confiscate them immediately. You should also petition local booksellers to remove these titles from their shelves. You may meet with some resistance at first, but even booksellers have to bow to community pressure.

5. How much time does your child spend using the computer each day?

If your son spends more than thirty minutes each day on the computer, he may be using it to DOS other peoples sites. DOSing involves gaining access to the "command prompt" on other people's machines, and using it to tie up vital internet services. This can take up to eight hours. If your son is doing this, he is breaking the law, and you should stop him immediately. The safest policy is to limit your children's access to the computer to a maximum of forty-five minutes each day.

6. Does your son use Quake?

Quake is an online virtual reality used by hackers. It is a popular meeting place and training ground, where they discuss hacking and train in the use of various firearms. Many hackers develop anti-social tendencies due to the use of this virtual world, and it may cause erratic behaviour at home and at school.

If your son is using Quake, you should make hime understand that this is not acceptable to you. You should ensure all the firearms in your house are carefully locked away, and have trigger locks installed. You should also bring your concerns to the attention of his school.

7. Is your son becoming argumentative and surly in his social behaviour?

As a child enters the electronic world of hacking, he may become disaffected with the real world. He may lose the ability to control his actions, or judge the rightness or wrongness of a course of behaviour. This will manifest itself soonest in the way he treats others. Those whom he disagrees with will be met with scorn, bitterness, and even foul language. He may utter threats of violence of a real or electronic nature.

Even when confronted, your son will probably find it difficult to talk about this problem to you. He will probably claim that there is no problem, and that you are imagining things. He may tell you that it is you who has the problem, and you should "back off" and "stop smothering him." Do not allow yourself to be deceived. You are the only chance your son has, even if he doesn't understand the situation he is in. Keep trying to get through to him, no matter how much he retreats into himself.

8. Is your son obsessed with "Lunix"?

BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are all versions of an illegal hacker operation system, invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War. It is based on a program called "xenix", which was written by Microsoft for the US government. These programs are used by hackers to break into other people's computer systems to steal credit card numbers. They may also be used to break into people's stereos to steal their music, using the "mp3" program. Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for writing many hacker programs, such as "telnet", which is used by hackers to connect to machines on the internet without using a telephone.

Your son may try to install "lunix" on your hard drive. If he is careful, you may not notice its presence, however, lunix is a capricious beast, and if handled incorrectly, your son may damage your computer, and even break it completely by deleting Windows, at which point you will have to have your computer repaired by a professional.

If you see the word "LILO" during your windows startup (just after you turn the machine on), your son has installed lunix. In order to get rid of it, you will have to send your computer back to the manufacturer, and have them fit a new hard drive. Lunix is extremely dangerous software, and cannot be removed without destroying part of your hard disk surface.

9. Has your son radically changed his appearance?

If your son has undergone a sudden change in his style of dress, you may have a hacker on your hands. Hackers tend to dress in bright, day-glo colors. They may wear baggy pants, bright colored shirts and spiky hair dyed in bright colors to match their clothes. They may take to carrying "glow-sticks" and some wear pacifiers around their necks. (I have no idea why they do this) There are many such hackers in schools today, and your son may have started to associate with them. If you notice that your son's group of friends includes people dressed like this, it is time to think about a severe curfew, to protect him from dangerous influences.

10. Is your son struggling academically?

If your son is failing courses in school, or performing poorly on sports teams, he may be involved in a hacking group, such as the infamous "Otaku" hacker association. Excessive time spent on the computer, communicating with his fellow hackers may cause temporary damage to the eyes and brain, from the electromagnetic radiation. This will cause his marks to slip dramatically, particularly in difficult subjects such as Math, and Chemistry. In extreme cases, over-exposure to computer radiation can cause schizophrenia, meningitis and other psychological diseases. Also, the reduction in exercise may cause him to lose muscle mass, and even to start gaining weight. For the sake of your child's mental and physical health, you must put a stop to his hacking, and limit his computer time drastically.

I encourage all parents to read through this guide carefully. Your child's future may depend upon it. Hacking is an illegal and dangerous activity, that may land your child in prison, and tear your family apart. It cannot be taken too seriously.

In the same vein... (1)

triso (67491) | more than 6 years ago | (#18813437)

My Pathetic Story

This is a true story that depicts my descent into the hellish world of "computer customization."

It started innocently about a year ago; as few friends of mine sat around the glow of the monitor and trolling for Grammar Nazis on Usenet. Lucie said something or other about different keyboard layouts. I didn't think anything about it until the next time we met over at Bill's place.

Lucie had this black bag with her and she pulled out a keyboard. "C'mon," she urged with a malicious twinkle in her eye, "its called a Dvorak and all the kewl kidz are using them."

Bill said that was cool and plugged it in. We each took turns typing with it and all of us liked it much better than the old QWERTY keyboards.

I felt odd going back to the old layout on my own computer so I gave Lucie a call a few evenings later and she said her brother was expecting a big order at the end of the month. I managed to wait four more days until the 31st and I was riding high until the 18th when I was called in to the Principal's office. She asked me if I was alright or if there was something stressful happening at home. I said I was fine and I went to Lucie's place to wind down after school.

Lucie told us that the latest thing was "ergonomic keyboards" and she had only two for us to sample tonight. I fell hard for this and bought one before leaving. By this time I was leaving school at noon just to type on my new keyboard.

Over at Mike's place on Saturday evening Lucie pulled out a track ball and made Mike unplug his mouse and use this instead. Mike was too square to try using it and we all had a laugh at his old-school QWERTY keyboard and his cheap clone mouse.

Lucie and I began dating during the summer and then her brother committed suicide on June 15th. I started pushing peripherals in July and we bought his and hers Porsche Boxsters in August. Apparently this was too much for our parents, Mike's Dad ratted us out and we now face charges of trafficking in computer accessories and other electronic devices. We lucked out since the police never found the boxes of aluminum mouse pads and chording keyboards in my folk's garage.

School starts in a week and I think we will each do well in our senior year. We have learned our lesson and now use standard peripherals only. Once a week we attend an accessories-anon meeting with our parents which helps a lot. Don't let this obsession ruin your life.

NAMES have been changed to protect the innocent.

playing the numbers game :) (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#18812907)

Hmm, last time i read M$ sold only some ~300 Vista licenses in China in 2 weeks. Not much more of a loss if China uses ODF.

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 6 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)

DigDuality (918867) | more than 6 years ago | (#18810429)

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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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

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        * If all else fails, try using a different Web browser, such as Firefox.

If you still need assistance, please contact updegrove at consortiuminfo.org.
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(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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 years ago | (#18810789)

don't quit your day job

Re:Just a negotiating tactic (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 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 6 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 6 years ago | (#18810739)

Sun threatens global warming and heat waves if they do not comply.

Lest we forget (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 years ago | (#18813535)

Are you saying that Chinese characters are alphabetic? I thought they were morphemes.

the mcneal (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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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