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Microsoft Votes to Add ODF to ANSI Standards List

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the curiouser-and-curiouser dept.

Microsoft 231

RzUpAnmsCwrds writes "In a puzzling move, Microsoft today voted to support the addition of the OpenDocument file formats to the American National Standards List. OpenDocument is used by many free-software office suites, including OpenOffice.org. Microsoft is still pushing its own Office Open XML format, which it hopes will also become an ANSI standard. Is Microsoft serious about supporting ODF, or is this a merely a PR stunt to make Office Open XML look more like a legitimate standard?"

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My Name Is Bill (5, Funny)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165557)

In an epiphany, Bill Gates realized that the lackluster sales of Vista were due to all the bad things he's done in his life. So now he's got a list of them on a sheet of yellow paper and he's going around making up for them. Having Microsoft back ODF is helping him make up for #38 on his list: "Screwed over consumers with proprietary formats."

Come on, couldn't you see Ballmer playing Randy? :-)

--Greg

Re:My Name Is Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19165583)

Oh lord, i wish i had mod points.... :)

Re:My Name Is Bill (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165735)

Hah hah, but exactly which versions of Word didn't support plain text and rtf? Consumers just don't care.

Re:My Name Is Bill (3, Informative)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166045)

rtf is not an open format. From a popular commentary [goldmark.org] :

In earlier versions of this document, I listed RTF (Rich Text Format) as a more standards based way of exchanging word-processor documents. I have been corrected on that point innumerable times. RTF is little better than MS-Word format itself. It is a little better, but it shares all of the problems as MS-Word. Although RTF was advertised as a document exchange format, it never lived up to that. It appears to have varying features, and the various version of RTF that Microsoft products create have elements which only Microsoft Products can read. Note that this is not because MS-Word is a better product, but because Microsoft keeps elements of what it considers to be RTF secret.
Consumers may not care what format their stuff is in, but when they get a replay saying "sorry, I can't seem to open that .doc, could you save it as .odt?" they'll care whether their word-processor can do it.

Re:My Name Is Bill (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166057)

Come on, if .rtf and .txt could store the files that Word could create, people would never have used .doc. What a poorly thought out response, equating .rtf and .txt with formats that can actually, you know, store all the formatting you applied to your documents.

Re:My Name Is Bill (3, Informative)

edwdig (47888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166307)

RTF is simply a version of .doc that's largely ASCII text. It's main purpose was to be a format that was easier for tools to parse. Windows Help files used to be based off it. You can still drop whatever random objects into it.

Re:My Name Is Bill (2, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166531)

I think that if rtf was the default file type for saving in word everybody would be using it.

I just hope that ODF being standard kind of forces MS to have it as default filetype for file-save else it would just be a meaningless standard, seriously.

Re:My Name Is Bill (2, Insightful)

hendersj (720767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166801)

I think you're wrong here - if RTF had been the default save format, everyone would be using it. Users don't want to think about what format to save documents in, they just go with the defaults most of the time.

So let's talk about poorly thought out responses, shall we? ;-)

The latter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19165569)

Let's tag this with "thelatter".

Re:The latter (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19165737)

Exactly. I'll believe that Microsoft is serious about interoperability when:

1) They stop with the patent FUD
2) They implement a functional ODF plugin

Re:The latter (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166311)

No, tag this with: embraceextendextinguish

Why would it be puzzling? (0, Troll)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165573)

Microsoft hasn't stood in the way of ODF at all. They just think there's room for more than one standard.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165767)

Sort of runs contrary to the point of a standard doesn't it? The purpose of standards is to put out an open method that everyone uses and interoperates with. If you have two, which is then the standard standard?

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (0, Troll)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165851)

What's "the" standard programming language?
What's "the" standard webserver?
What's "the" standard OS?

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165989)

'What's "the" standard programming language?
What's "the" standard webserver?
What's "the" standard OS?'

Yup, that would be why they aren't standards.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166007)

What's "the" standard programming language?

BASIC

What's "the" standard webserver?

Wildcat BBS

What's "the" standard OS?

DOS

BTW -- offtopic -- but a question popped into my head. If Redhat hired Britney Spears' ex-husband, would they issue a distro called "K-Fedora".

- Greg

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166065)

Um, you've completely misunderstood the network effect. Deliberately? None of the things you have mentioned are specifically meant to be used as a communication medium to transport information.

Instead examples should be networking protocols, spoken/written language, mobile phone protocols, DVD formats etc. Things which are designed to convey information. These are all highly standardised.

 

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166129)

Hello? This is 1991 calling, I have answers to your questions:
Fortran
NCSA HTTPd
UNIX System V
What's that? Lin-who? Sorry I can't year you over this analog telephone line.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (4, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166197)

You're missing the point of a standard. There can be multiple implementations of a single standard. There is a standard for a webserver (which, funnily enough, MS also break). It should speak the standard HTTP, and mostly likely that's layered on the standard TCP, and so on.

Same with the OS. The OS should follow the standard POSIX calls (which Windows sorta manages to do), and so on.

As for programming languages.. well that's too broad. For particular languages, there are standards. There is a standard for C, there is a standard for C++, and so on.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Insightful)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166235)

Of course there isn't a "standard" operating system. However, there are standards of OS components that make writing software easier (POSIX, etc)

There is no standard web server, but there is a standard http protocol for processing web requests.

You seem to be confusing standards with implementations of standards, or software written as to take advantage of a known standard.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165959)

Sort of runs contrary to the point of a standard doesn't it? The purpose of standards is to put out an open method that everyone uses and interoperates with. If you have two, which is then the standard standard?

But, that is exactly the point.

Microsoft has been proposing alternative standards for literally decades. Someone come up with a standard they plan on ignoring. They put out their own standard. People ignore it.

Eventually, who is the de facto standard is what Microsoft hopes to achieve. Except the ones they've had no choice but to adhere to (eg TCP/IP), they have almost universally never adopted any standard.

They're happy to water down the value of standards, push their own agenda, and the let the chips fall where they may as they wear down everyone, ensure they get industry acceptance by forcing it on them, and then wondering why nobody else uses their lovely standard.

Surely, this isn't news to you, is it?

Cheers

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166105)

'Surely, this isn't news to you, is it?'

Hardly, I was just pointing out that the comment made by the GP spouting MS PR nonsense was fundamentally flawed.

Don't we have 2 http standards? 5 TCP/IP standards (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166005)

I agree. Having multiple "standards" is stupid. There are times when it doesn't cause TOO much of a problem (DVD -R vs DVD +R). But usually it is more beneficial TO SOCIETY to have ONE standard that everyone can vote on to expand/extend.

Two standards in document formats is beyond STUPID.

Which is what Microsoft wants. Since Microsoft already owns 90%+ of the desktop market, whatever they sell becomes the "de facto" standard.

Even if it's broken and won't work with anything else.

Re:Don't we have 2 http standards? 5 TCP/IP standa (2, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166205)

There already are more than one document format standard. For instance, ODF and PDF are both ISO standards, and while they don't do precisely the same thing (there is plenty of overlap though), neither does ODF and OXML. Multiple standards exist because some standards aren't universally applicable. ODF can't do everything that PDF does and vice versa, the same applies to ODF and OXML.

Why is it, by the way, that having 300+ Linux distro's and dozens of GUI is "choice" and a good thing, but having more than one document format is "stupid"?

Examples? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166347)

There already are more than one document format standard. For instance, ODF and PDF are both ISO standards, and while they don't do precisely the same thing (there is plenty of overlap though), neither does ODF and OXML.

Since you agree that ODF and PDF do not do the same thing, you cannot say that they are multiple formats for the same thing.

PDF's are very handy for sending out documents THAT YOU DO NOT WANT CHANGED.

So, what does ODF do / not do that OOXML does do / does not do?

Examples.

Re:Examples? (0, Troll)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166515)

No offense, but google is your friend. ODF is a very simplistic document format. Which is great for simple documents, but there a lot of things that it doesn't handle. OOXML isn't simple, but it does a lot more.

Re:Examples? (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166729)

like what? i dont deny that's true, but you cant just say "go google it".

Re:Don't we have 2 http standards? 5 TCP/IP standa (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166703)

'Why is it, by the way, that having 300+ Linux distro's and dozens of GUI is "choice" and a good thing, but having more than one document format is "stupid"?'

Because those distros and GUI's adopt standards that allow them to all interoperate and exchange information. A document format is a means of storing and conveying information. All means of storing and conveying information should be standardized. It makes sense to have different document creation applications but they should all store the results in the same format so that your preferred application is interoperable with mine.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166025)

I think you're misusing the term. There's a difference between the phrase "THE Standard" and "A Standard". "A Standard" simply means the details have been opened and defined by a standards organization. "THE Standard" means "the most common way of doing it", and can refer to things that may or not actually be open standards.

There are many cases where there is more than one standard to do the same thing. For example, bolt sizes. There are metric and English standards for precisely the same thing. Even document formats have multiple standards already. Both ODF and PDF are ISO standards, for example.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166281)

There are many cases where there is more than one standard to do the same thing.
and in the cases where the 2 different standards are really for the same thing, it is a bad thing. Imperial and metric for example, are used for the same thing. different people might have different preferences, but i doubt anyone would argue that it's useful to have two.

and in the case of ODF and PDF, they're used for different purposes. one is meant to be editted, the other isnt.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166867)

'and in the case of ODF and PDF, they're used for different purposes. one is meant to be editted, the other isnt.'

Your point is spot on. But you are the second person I have seen either implying or outright saying the purpose of PDF is associated with the inability to edit it. The purpose of PDF is to provide a document that can be displayed on different media in the same way rather than having document information be tied to the physical characteristics of the display device. Of course PDF is commonly polluted with image formats that break this ability and more and more is used as you describe.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166481)

'I think you're misusing the term.'

I disagree. Your distinction while technically accurate ignores the fact standards bodies do not exist to publish standards just for the hell of it. A standard is published with the full intention of being universally accepted as THE standard way of accomplishing the given task. Standards aren't open merely opening details, they are about actual inter operation and predictable behavior. SMTP wouldn't be a useful worthwhile standard if I couldn't anticipate EVERY mail server adhering to it.

'"THE Standard" means "the most common way of doing it", and can refer to things that may or not actually be open standards.'

A closed standard is still a standard. Microsoft is a strong proponent of taking an open standard, extending it, and making their closed standard 'the most common way of doing it'. Once upon a time all standards were closed. Open standards were created so that open specifications could become the 'the most common way of doing it'. The entire idea is that the industry collaborates to develop an open specification and everyone agrees to use that specification.

'There are many cases where there is more than one standard to do the same thing'

Not beneficial cases.

'For example, bolt sizes. There are metric and English standards for precisely the same thing.'

That an excellent example that illustrates my point nicely. Metric is a unifying standard that has been adopted by almost the entire world. The United States has not converted to metric and this creates large amounts of confusion, errors in calculation, and general mayhem. It has even cost billion dollars spacecraft. Two standards for the same thing runs contrary to the purpose of devising a standard and is always a bad thing.

'Even document formats have multiple standards already. Both ODF and PDF are ISO standards, for example.'

It is actually you who are misusing the word standard. A standard is a specification that is adopted throughout the industry. A standards body develops those specifications and they call them standards on the arrogant assumption that everyone will use them. In principle these organizations have members that constitute a lion share of the industry and those members have an unspoken agreement to adopt the specifications they are helping to develop. Unless the industry actually DOES adopt the specification, it is simply a specification not a standard.

There are plenty of existing document specifications ODF and PDF are bad examples since they serve different purposes. Adopting a single open specification as the standard is the best thing for the industry in every case. Industry has recognized this long ago, that is why we have standards organizations.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (3, Interesting)

pohl (872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166151)

The purpose of standards is to put out an open method that everyone uses and interoperates with.

I disagree. The purpose of standards is not to create something that everybody uses. Rather, it's to sufficiently document something such that anybody could use it. A diverse collection of competing standards is nothing new [wikipedia.org] . If one standard becomes dominance, there are nice efficiencies that you get, but it's not the purpose of standards -- it's just the gravy.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166563)

'Rather, it's to sufficiently document something such that anybody could use it.'

That is a specification not a standard. I know that 'standards organizations' like ANSI and ISO make the arrogant assumption that they are defining standards but specifications they release are NOT standards unless they are actually adopted by the industry. The specifications these organizations release are supposedly developed by members of the industry who by participating are giving implicit agreement to adhere to the standards. In practice they often don't.

Many standards wouldn't even work without universal adoption. SMTP, HTTP, and TCP/IP are good examples of this. DVD-R and DVD+R are examples of specifications that are NOT standards. No standard has emerged to the detriment of manufacturers and consumers.

Standards make format translation easier (1)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166887)

It has always been fairly trivial to transpose content from one document standard to another. You sometimes lose something (most often precise placement) in the details of the translation, but you more often do not. The only thing that matters about making ODF a standard is that it becomes a benchmark that other formats can be translated to and through. Microsoft has no reason to oppose it, as they understand that, as long as ODF is less detailed than Microsoft's preferred standard, the small loss of detail will make Microsoft's products look good when they demo them to executives and purchasing agents. Very few people who actually work with documents will care, as they understand that most content repurposing requires some giggling of the details, but Microsoft isn't likely to win that class of users anyway.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165977)

Microsoft hasn't stood in the way of ODF at all. They just think there's room for more than one standard.

Actually, Microsoft does stand in the way of ODF adoption, just not of it becoming a recognized and official standard. I can see some good reasons from a PR standpoint to go this route. With Microsoft, you have to be very careful with the word "standard." MS is all in favor of standardization. They fight tooth and nail against anything that gives users most the benefits of open standards. When most people think of a standard, they think of something like SAE bolt specifications; something anyone can make standardized for the purpose of allowing interoperability. Everyone can see the benefit of such a standard for the construction industries, manufacturers, and end users.

When MS talks about standards, however, they are more commonly referring to something where they are the sole gatekeeper, and often the sole creator of items that follow said "standard." OpenXML, for example, is not a "standard" in the same way ODF is and it sure doesn't bring end users the lion's share of the benefits normally associated with what we call an open standard. This is because of the application of patents, the ties to secret information, because it is copyrighted, and because MS has a monopoly in the desktop OS space, a "standard" from MS is not just a "standard" as it would be referred to in most other industries. You could call ISO 898, industry members believing there is room for more than one bolt standard, because that is what ISO 898 is, another standard equivalent to SAE. Saying, however, that OpenXML, is just another standard is misleading to the majority of people, because openXML and ODF are not equal, in terms of what sort of standardization benefits they bring to the industry.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (2, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166707)

Actually, Microsoft does stand in the way of ODF adoption, just not of it becoming a recognized and official standard.

I disagree. I've followed this battle in pretty close detail. My observation is that Microsoft has only stood in the way of ODF being adopted to the exclusion of any other format. They seem to be perfectly happy with any case where ODF and other standards being allowed.

They fight tooth and nail against anything that gives users most the benefits of open standards.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I highly doubt your premise. Sure, Microsoft wants standards to benefit itself, but you claim that Microsoft is gainst anyone else benefitting from them.

When most people think of a standard, they think of something like SAE bolt specifications

Funny you should mention that. How many different standards are there for bolts? Several. SAE and a number of ASTM standards, ISO and ANSI standards, etc...

This is because of the application of patents, the ties to secret information, because it is copyrighted, and because MS has a monopoly in the desktop OS space, a "standard" from MS is not just a "standard" as it would be referred to in most other industries.

ODF is no more "open" than OXML is. It too is covered by patents (and required a patent covenant by Sun, just like OXML). It too is largely championed by a single organization (in this case Sun), with several other organizations involved. BTW, the very definition of a patent means the information is not secret. You might want to re-evaluate your argument.

Saying, however, that OpenXML, is just another standard is misleading to the majority of people, because openXML and ODF are not equal, in terms of what sort of standardization benefits they bring to the industry.

Ok, then you shouldn't have any problem explain exactly how they are unequal, right?

Since when? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166061)

MS has never supported pushing a standard unless it is theirs or it is a modification to a current standard. Even in HTML, they were late to that game and push for a number of mods (a number of which were insane but designed to give them an edge). In java, while the did not push for standards, one it was, they tried to control it.

This is totally out of character for MS, though the only issue that I can see, is that now MS will be allowed to push through a number of mods that will allow their proprietary EEE ©.

Re:Since when? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166901)

I think you are very confused about what standards are. Java is not any kind of standard. I don't know what you're talking about with HTML, Microsoft has been a member of the W3C since its inception. I don't see how they could be "late to the game".

And for the record, Microsoft voted for approval of ODF in OASIS as well.

Re:Why would it be puzzling? (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166485)

A "standard" that has things in it like a flag to say "handle this the way version XYZ of MS Word did it--it's so convoluted that we can't really describe it, but you have to do it if you want to conform to this standard"?

I think our understandings of what a standard is differ.

Microsoft hasn't stood in the way of ODF at all??? (4, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166687)

Really???

Then what the hell happened in Massachusetts wanted to switch to ODF?? Here's a long-winded citation: http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/origin alContent/0,289142,sid39_gci1144104,00.html [techtarget.com]

No, they'll do what they already do with everything that's not a .doc (or whatever extension is next) make it _really_ hard to use anything but .whatever.

Get Real, Nothing New from M$. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166771)

Behold the M$ party line and how it contrasts with reality:

Microsoft hasn't stood in the way of ODF at all. They just think there's room for more than one standard.

You forgot to tell me about how "open" the M$ "standard" is.

If they were in anyway serious about ODF, the new Office would be using it and there would be "patches" for users of older version s of M$ Office. Instead, they have graciously sold Novel enough information to create a partial implementation to import the text portions and called that interoperability. They expect the whole community to wade through their insane 7,000 page spec which tells them to look at 10 year old printed material! Can you really tell me that M$ is not playing the same old format war games because they did not exercise a vote in an obviously abusive way?

Re:Get Real, Nothing New from M$. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166895)

Twitter (or Erris), I have been sent from M$ (Bill Gates personally actually) to stalk you online. Its true, we are concerned about you telling the truth to the masses. Do much so that we have assigned a staff of 20 people to personally monitor your every move online.

Do you realize that you have now found out our real plan and now you must be reprogrammed? I will be down to LSU and the Cajun Clickers Club soon to reeducate you. Please step away from the GNU/Linux machine. You will not need it any more.

Is this a serious question? (-1, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165591)

Or is it merely a rhetorical question designed to encourage flaming and thus more page hits?

Wait, this is Slashdot.

Do I even need to ask this question, or do I just like to watch myself type?

Re:Is this a serious question? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165649)

Or is it merely a rhetorical question designed to encourage flaming and thus more page hits?

YES!

Wait, this is Slashdot.

YES!

Do I even need to ask this question, or do I just like to watch myself type?

YES! ... and likewise.

So, I'm just gonna post now, and I suppose you'll see it as you refresh every 10 seconds awaiting responce. Please post back, as I'm refreshing every 10 seconds awaiting for responce too!

THANKS!

Re:Is this a serious question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166323)

Personally, I like to refresh my user page, as it feels a bit more narcissistic, and it loads faster so that I have more immediate gratification. But this is AC, so that won't work. Pewp.

...wait, what was the topic again?

Its Obvious (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165595)

Somebody spike the coolaid in the Redmond cafeteria? :-)

win win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19165601)

now they don't have to worry about losing. They're double dipping!

Publicity? (2, Insightful)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165653)

I don't see how this looks like a PR stunt. Making ODF an ANSI standard isn't exactly making Office Open XML more popular is it?

Re:Publicity? (3, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165831)

No, I think it has to do with the fact that more and more governments are requiring ODF to be adopted.
MS was scared by this, as Office wasn't designed around it, so they're trying to put themselves in a position where they can supply what the governments want AND fulfill legislative requirements. They've learned that from the ongoing EU dispute, imo.
The fact that they're still pushing for their own format just shows that they want to retain dominance in the office world, and perhaps regain complete monopoly of the office programs suite. However, it's going to be harder and harder, as OpenOffice will implement a way to read and write MS's XML format, since it HAS to be documented if MS intends to satisfy government customers.
It's a business move, nothing less! I just hope that OpenOffice will catch up on the feature list quickly (there's some basic stuff that OO's still missing) so that the decision really does come down to TCO for the IT managers, and then OO will truly shine, as there is no license fee, only support cost, and I'm guessing it'll be cheaper than MS Office support.
Just my $0.02 of opinion on this matter.

Not necessarily. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166263)

However, it's going to be harder and harder, as OpenOffice will implement a way to read and write MS's XML format, since it HAS to be documented if MS intends to satisfy government customers.

As can be seen with their current "standard", they can just cite "behave the same way as MS Word version X.y.z on OS a" and claim that it is "documented".

Since Microsoft is the only ones who REALLY know how that behaviour was implemented, they'll be the only one who can write a compleat implementation.

Just as the situation is today. Look at the "reviews" of OpenOffice.org by various "journalists". You'll see them complaining that the formating on a document was "messed up" when they went
from MS Word
to OpenOffice.org
back to MS Word.

Now, if there are a dozen word processors out there and they all implement the ODF standard and none of them (except MS Word) trashes the formatting when bouncing a document between the other 11 ...

THAT is what businesses and governments want. The ability to see the same document the same way no matter WHO edited it on WHAT operating system using WHICH word processor.

If Microsoft fails at that it will be because Microsoft failed on their own.

Re:Not necessarily. (2, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166533)

Actually, I think they *want* to fail at that.
Microsoft is the predominant supplier, and if other programs don't work with Office, MS will claim that it's "inferior" code, that the *other* programs don't follow standards, and the people in management will buy that BS because they've been dealing with MS for ever. It's sad, really, that we lack properly educated IT people. IT is not just about understanding machines, it's also understanding humans who try to sell you machines or software that runs on those machines. It's something few people truly try to understand, but is essential to being fully aware of the situation.

Re:Publicity? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165901)

Sometimes standardization is a way to slow down a technology. I know this used to happen in the IETF, where competitors would send engineers to add endless features, producing a huge unwieldy mess.

Re:Publicity? (1)

Evil Cretin (1090953) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165909)

I don't think making ODF an ANSI standard is a big threat to Office Open XML (in terms of widespread use) as far as they're concerned:

The American National Standards list does not include a number of document format standards in wide use today, such as PDF, .doc, RTF and HTML.

itsatrap (0, Troll)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165677)

Is the wolf being friendly to the sheep?

Probably wouldn't have happended if it was close (5, Insightful)

SmackedFly (957005) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165683)

Not that strange, when you think about Microsofts "it's good to have more standards" argument. Knowing that the standard would be added anyway, they probably voted for it, to make that argument more credible, when OOXML is up for the ISO vote, besides ANSI is more or less irrelevant when ODF is already ISO certified. I would be very surprised if Microsoft doesn't later use this as part of an argument for accepting OOXML, directly or as a response to critics.

Re:Probably wouldn't have happended if it was clos (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166173)

My thoughts exactly - they did it because it's a vote, and theirs probably isn't going to change the result, so they're using it as a way to argue that they care about choice.

Re:Probably wouldn't have happended if it was clos (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166221)

You need to turn off your ethics for a minute and think only about maximizing Microsoft's position. Clearly Microsoft would benefit enormously if they can make it so that OpenOffice doesn't officially comply with its own standard file format -- the main reason anybody even cares about a standard is so that governments and localities have a check box that makes it 'ok' to use OpenOffice.

Imo Microsoft wants to move the standard to ANSI then because that process is easier for them to manipulate into adding unnecessary complications and impossible requirements. This will put OO on a treadmill trying to support their own standard and Microsoft get to say "See, OO doesn't implement halting problem either, might as well buy from us because Office is more compatible with Office."

PR stunt. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165703)

I am more likely to think of it as a PR stunt. If anyone votes against OOXML, they would issue press releases saying, "We voted for their standard, and they are voting against our standard". Lost in the argument would be the basic need to have just one standard.

But still, as long as customers dont know the difference between interoperability and "microsoft compatibility" they win these games. Sad.

Re:PR stunt. (0, Redundant)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165973)

You got it. That sounds like exactly the reason.

Re:PR stunt. (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166075)

Lost in the argument would be the basic need to have just one standard. I believe you have it precisely.

Peaceful Co-existence? Gimmeabreak! (3, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165707)

It's like the "peaceful co-existance" the Soviets were all in favor of. They want to then be able to say they support is even as they choke the life out of it.

Re:Peaceful Co-existence? Gimmeabreak!!!! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166509)

It's like the "peaceful co-existance" the Soviets were all in favor of. They want to then be able to say they support is even as they choke the life out of it.

Or how about Iran verses the rest of the world in peaceful co-existence? We're only enriching uranium for peaceful purposes. We only lie to infidels, as our religion [of peace] instructs us to.

Listen, Kreskin (2, Insightful)

NotFamous (827147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165739)

They did a good thing. It is fruitless to speculate why. 'Nuff said.

MS Open XML is NOT a standard.... (5, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165745)

If you can't read the "standard" documentation and develop a program that properly works for that standard, then it is not a standard. The "standard" still has things like "will support rendering of Office97 table format", and never define what the "Office97 table format" exactly is and how it works.

Until each and every thing in the standard is properly defined and explained, it is not a standard.

Does it really matter? (1, Troll)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165749)

The end result is that ODF becomes a standard. MS maybe gets a few brownie points in the public eye for supporting it, so good for them, but is this really an issue?

I'll repeat myself yet again (-1, Flamebait)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165759)


Microsoft sells lies, not software.

Period.

Therefore, nothing they do is to be taken as positive - even if Bill gave me all his money, I'd be suspicious.

If Bill gave *me* all his money ... (2, Funny)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165961)

Therefore, nothing they do is to be taken as positive - even if Bill gave me all his money, I'd be suspicious.
If Bill gave me all his money, I'd write him a nice thank-you note. Hell, I might even invite him to my next party.

Re:If Bill gave *me* all his money ... (1)

yahurd (1093957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166225)

id buy his lawyers, and not be forced to remain suspicious

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166555)

> Microsoft sells lies, not software.

That's the truth, parent post has accurately summed up Microsoft in one sentence.

Where is cairo, where is longhorn, where are these patent infringements in linux? The list goes on and on.

Sheesh (3, Insightful)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165781)

Apparently M$ can do no right. It reminds me of a quote from Jesse Jackson. He once said that if he walked across one of the Great Lakes, the next day the newspapers would report that "Jesse Jackson can't swim". Methinks some of you take your evil empire conspiracy too seriously.

Re:Sheesh (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165979)

When you've been burned by Microsoft enough times, when they do something that doesn't look so evil it's natural to become suspicious. I don't see the evil in this, but MS has fooled me before. I don't think the (reasonably educated and experienced in terms of technology) /. community really deserves to be bashed over something as sound as being suspicious over this. I know /.'ers will most likely be unable to relate to a girlfriend analogy, but... It's kind of hard to believe an (ex)girlfriend you've caught sleeping with your best friend - even if she seems to be telling the truth in this instance.

Re:Sheesh (2, Insightful)

lubricated (49106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166875)

As apposed to the alternate explanation. Microsoft is doing this out of the goodness of their heart. Yeah, that's more likely.

This is news? (1)

Baavgai (598847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165807)

Please. If the majority is clear they really have nothing to loose by going along with it. With the bonus of free future spin control.

What? Legitimate? (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165811)

How does supporting a format that probably goes against the company's welfare supposed to make its own format legitimate? That's like saying a hypocrite's arguments are void and null despite the fact that they're logically sound.

The Twilight Speculation Zone! (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165857)

Is Microsoft serious about supporting ODF, or is this a merely a PR stunt to make Office Open XML look more like a legitimate standard?

This is complete amateurs who wrote this. Here's how it's done:

---------

Did Microsoft just voted this way since they have no reason or gain of they voted otherwise and this is not even news worth reading...

OR

Microsoft has a very sinister plan in the works, the ultimate outcome of which is victory of OOXML over ODF. It involves vampires, politics, space ships, weapons, monsters, time machines, tornados, zombies, death stars, extra dimensional ports, robots, dinosaurs, seductive girls, perfect storms, fast cars... And all of this starts with ODF becoming an ANSI standard. And this is why Microsoft voted positive.

Re:The Twilight Speculation Zone! (1)

scooviduvoctagon (801935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166119)

Microsoft has a very sinister plan in the works, the ultimate outcome of which is victory of OOXML over ODF. It involves vampires, politics, space ships, weapons, monsters, time machines, tornados, zombies, death stars, extra dimensional ports, robots, dinosaurs, seductive girls, perfect storms, fast cars...

I find it highly suspicious and most telling that you failed to mention the use of ninjas, arguably the most effective and subtle weapon that MS currently has in its arsenal.

I, for one, wonder what else you might be holding back, and I ask my fellow slashdotter's: what, exactly, is this guy's agenda? I doubt I'm alone in detecting an obvious anti-linux tone in his post.

Interesting indeed! (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165871)

Are MS doing this to trick their customers and partners in to adoption, then 1 year down the line spring suprise lawsuits [cnn.com] or license fees on them?

Re:Interesting indeed! (1)

shvytejimas (1083291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166739)

I was also thinking about MS helping adopt the format, but in a little different way. Several countries in europe chose ODF as the format for government documents, which usually went along with choosing F/OSS as their main platform. This stance might work as well as saying "you don't have to ditch Windows as your OS, because we also support ODF nicely so don't hurry with the switch".

This vote is good for Microsoft (4, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165971)

This vote is good for Microsoft. It can work this way. With ODF on the list, and later with others like PDF on the list, plus their own OOXML added to the list, it can make the list itself look legitimate. Then they will argue that governments can meet their obligations for open documents by choosing any one format from the list, making it seem that OOXML will be at least as good a choice as ODF.

not that suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19165991)

sounds like the beginning of another "embrace, extend, exterminate" plan to me

ANSI (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19165993)

Now, im not american, so maybe i dont get this, but what is the point of a standerds institute if it starts to list standerds after they have become standerd. the artical talks about, some old, formats already in use for years as standerds, HTML, RTf. With the exception of ODf, which is still up and coming, this would seem to be a waste of a log time, and proberbly, money

semantic retardation .. (2, Insightful)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166081)

Can two or more standards be, by definitation, standard? Why not just publish a RFC and allow everyone write applications to that. What could be more standard than that.

What is a "Standard [case.edu]

"Is Microsoft serious about supporting ODF", NO

"is this a merely a PR stunt to make Office Open XML look more like a legitimate standard?", YES

Two or more standards (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166273)

Can two or more standards be, by definitation, standard? (sic)

Feet and inches / metres
Pounds and ounces / kilograms

Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166171)

this isn't news at all.

1) No reason to vote against it other than promoting their competing format
2) No one can vote against their standard simply as retaliation
3) They get to say that more standards are better, look we voted for the competition
4) anyone who votes against OOXML can be portrayed as being against customer choice

I had a few more points, but typing makes me sleepy.

Judge the actions, not the words (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166183)

The same I keep preaching when it comes to politicians. Don't judge them by their words, judge them by their actions.

It's easy to vote for something when you know that the vote is for /dev/null anyway. What would be interesting to see is whether that vote actually makes a difference. If it's already accepted or rejected by a magnitude, it's easy to cast a vote for the side which promises better PR.

Something about... (1)

ryanisflyboy (202507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166191)

embrace, extend... oh never mind. We'll never learn will we?

Don't you see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166199)

If OOXML fails, then Microsoft will 'surport' ODF, then they will change ODF to make it proprietary to Microsoft Office, and then when Sun sues them, Microsoft can countersue for the patents OpenOffice and ODF supposibly breaks.

This is a delaying tactic (1)

leereyno (32197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166211)

It takes TIME for an ANSI or ISO standard to be created. If ODF were to undergo this process it would create the impression that it was a rough or draft standard that had yet to have all the edges polished and kinks worked out.

It is interesting that they are doing this though since it is a clear indication that they see ODF as a real threat and something that they can really only hold at bay temporarily. Has Microsoft gone into hemorrhage control mode?

Red herring (5, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166243)

The problem isn't whether M$ supports a standard's adoption. They supported HTML but...

  1. IE renders differntly than many other browsers, which all look more similar to each other than IE (thinking FF, Opera and Safari here).
  2. IE supported non-standard tags (like, say ActiveX)
  3. Because of IE's automatic market penetration, their extensions (no doubt patented) and misrepresntations of the standard (maybe patented) became standard on the web.

Remember: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Plus, then they will "comply to open standards" removing a EU/Mass./Whoever-else objection to using their software.

ANSI = American standards, ISO = international sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166355)

Its quite simple, if something gets adopted as an ANSI standard then it is effectively controlled and maintained through the ANSI organization. It will be easier for Microsoft to pull the strings of ANSI than it would be able to do the same for ISO.

back peddling (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166363)

they're back peddling.

after the all the talk over the past week about M$ and "their" patents, people are starting to remember M$ is a convicted monopolist and why.

they have to put back on their friendly face for the press and make a good show.
atleast until they know they have the next group in the white house bought off.

Mysterious flying chair homicide in Seattle (3, Funny)

cyberianpan (975767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166365)

And in possibly related news Police in Seattle are reporting that Tom Robertson, general manager for Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft, was hit by a flying chair whilst out walking his dog. Police don't yet have any firm leads but are seeking to question a bald, red-faced caucasian man who was seen fleeing the scene.

Why is everyone so paranoid? (1)

voislav98 (1004117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166397)

Microsoft does something right for a change and everyone is discussing conspiracy theories. Could it be that they see the writting on the wall, that ODF is the way of the future and are willing to accept that and move on, no hard feelings? After all, that's how they got where they are now, by taking someone elses ideas.

WTF? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19166617)

We are talking about the same Microsoft here aren't we?

Seriously Folks... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166435)

Seriously folks, how else could they have voted?

Now it all makes sense.. (1)

hartek451 (971580) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166503)

I thought the reasons are clear.. M$ is going to push ODF for a while, wait till it has penetrated all levels, then spring the "BTW, we have 183 patents covering this, so all your ODF are belong to us"

A Standard Is ... (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166791)

A Standard is the whole world deciding to use your product instead of the competition. What, you thought this was all about the consumer? Since when?

I know why! (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19166809)

Web pirates touch themselves!
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