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OOXML Denied INCITS V1 Approval

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the stacking-it dept.

Microsoft 159

Xenographic writes "INCITS V1, the US group responsible for the US vote over whether or not ANSI will grant fast-track approval to Microsoft's OOXML format, failed to reach the 2/3 consensus required to recommend OOXML to ANSI. What makes this vote interesting is the graph in the article, showing all the new Microsoft business partners who joined INCITS just this year to vote for OOXML. The INCITS Executive Board will now deliberate further, until they can come to some agreement on what to recommend to ANSI, but it's pretty clear that Microsoft is pushing OOXML as hard as it can."

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wha? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882513)

IDK, my BFF Jill?

Re:wha? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882729)

aww, c'mon that wasn't a troll.
Someone please explain what those 500 Acronyms are for please, there's probably +1-3 informative in it for you.

Re:wha? (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883387)

Does anybody else find it really confusing that MS calls it OOXML. To me, OOXML would mean OpenOffice XML, but then I have to remember that it's ODF, which is the Open Document Format, because it's not specific to OpenOffice. Does anybody think that Microsoft gave it this name specifically to confuse people who would see the acronym and think of OpenOffice?

Re:wha? (3, Informative)

boxxertrumps (1124859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883521)

No, no... Its "office" THEN "open" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_Open_XML [wikipedia.org]

Re:wha? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883747)

Exactly. It looks like they gave it this name specifically to confuse people. I think OpenOffice should sue them for trademark infringement. I'm pretty sure MS would sue me if I released a product called PointShare portal server.

Re:wha? (3, Funny)

jack455 (748443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883991)

it's also not eXtensible because they fail at desribing what it should do, it's not markup for the same reason. as ooxml it fails to be anything but OL. (I won't even make the argument that it's NOT open. Duh.)

My irony meter just exploded (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884845)

I think OpenOffice should sue them for trademark infringement

OpenOffice should sue them? Don't you mean OpenOffice.org should?




(See here [openoffice.org] , under "Trademark", for what I'm talking about.)

Re:wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19884199)

You can tell your bff Jill, that i'm taking away your phone.

Disapprove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882543)

Without comments.

Approve. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882579)

Any denial of approval for something involving XML is a morally good thing, in my book.

Re:Approve. (1)

Nikron (888774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882593)

How can a denial of a document be moral? In any way shape or form? I want .odf to win too, but it's not like the balance of good and evil depends on it.

Re:Approve. (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882689)

Consider, if you will, the need for metaphysical symmetry.
Ponder the roughly decade-long pageant of XML "textnologies" that were supposed to magically unfrobnicate everything, and usher in Web X.O.
From a certain aesthetic/spiritual vantage, we need another decade of unrelenting rejection of bloated obfuscations just to bring the software industry back to a contemplative, resting state.
Or has this just been dogma lifting the leg on another bad /. karma analogy?

Re:Approve. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882739)

How about when the document tries to patent mathematical formulae and then put it under "reaasonable and non-discriminatory" licenses that conflict with the GPL (yes I know they backed down to BSD compliance but how hard did we have to fight!)?

How about when they use binary formats within the XML for "backwards compatibility"?

How about when they have deliberate bugs in the standard so that "converters" don't work?

How about when they don't include ODF by standard in the possible file formats to save in?

If you want to complain, the guy directly responsible is a Micro$hill scumbag called Brian Jones who pontificates at great length on his blog about supposedly technical aspects but strangely doesn't mention the politicians they've bought and the committees they've conveniently stuffed full of cronies and shills and the honest men and women (like the IT manager in Massachussetts) who have lost their livelihoods and have suffered such great stress because of him.

Why don't we let him know what we think of his morals here [msdn.com] ?

Re:Approve. (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884897)

I think the parent was complaining about XML itself. In the "uses XML" criteria, both ODF and OOXML are equally hideous.

It would have been nice if ODF had avoided the XML bandwagon. I feel that a document format should have the requirement that a UTF-8 text file with newline only seperating the paragraphs and a very small set of ASCII characters (perhaps only 0-31) not occurring should be a legal document. XML fails this test.

Fighting XML is even harder than fighting the billion-dollar Microsoft FUD machine. It just isn't going to happen.

Cash is King (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882589)

Guys,

We'd all love to see the proprietary and over-complex OOXML file format die on the vine. It's sickening how they've purposefully obfuscated the issue, how they've picked a name that's confusingly similar (think Florida's 2000 election all over again!) and have lied and misrepresented what it is.

But just look at that graph! The lengths that Microsoft will go to in order to prevent people from being free of the vendor lock-in... Cash is king, and Microsoft has more available cash than many countries's GNP. How far can they corrupt the process? Probably far enough, with enough time and money, and the only holdback is the time.

What we need to do is simple: continue building world-class software. Continue to push for open standards. Make quality, useful, non-locked software and eventually, the marketplace will correct itself. That we've come this far is a testament to the power of the marketplace.

Re:Cash is King (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882635)

That we've come this far is a testament to the power of the marketplace.

It's more a testament to the power of the word "free".

Re:Cash is King (0)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882699)

The thing is: a standard is just a piece of paper. There's no enforement body - that's the difference between the law and a standard. A good standard documents what the industry leaders have done, which creates strong financial motivation for others to follow that standard. Such standards are often ugly, but at least someone follows them.

The SCSI standard (INCITS T10) is an example of this. Originally it was just "what Shugart did", as Shugart Associates was the only real player, so if you wanted to make a SCSI hard drive you did it his way. Later Apple embraced and extended the SCSI standard, and had such a dominant market share that the SCSI standard became "what Apple did" for a while. By the time the SCSI 2 standard was released there were several strong players, and the standard worked because it documented the intersection between what each major player did. Today the SCSI standard is largely "what Dell will buy", though they're just the biggest player, and still have to compromise.

It's not about making a conceptually clean standard: there are dozens of standards that no one implements that are elegant and look good on paper. The ugly compromise between what the market leaders actually do is a good, useful standard. This is where the HTML standards fell apart: Microsoft and the W3C couldn't compromise. You could criticise MS for not being "standards compliant", but the interesting standard was "what Microsoft did" for many years, back when they dominated the web browser "market" (and developer cries of "but it's easier to implement this clean standard that 5% of the market uses" naturally fell flat with most managers).

Now Microsoft is at least willing to describe "what Microsoft did" in this new arena. Clean or ugly doesn't enter into it. The standard is what the market leader does. Using the ugly thing that's available off the shelf and works, and making something good from it, is called "engineeering" where I come from.

Re:Cash is King (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882787)

Now Microsoft is at least willing to describe "what Microsoft did" in this new arena.

No, it's not! Even with infinite allowance for ugliness, the sewage that Microsoft is trying to foist upon everyone isn't even sufficiently complete enough to write an independent implementation with! You can't have a standard that says "do it the way $foo did it;" you have to at least actually describe how $foo did do it. Microsoft has failed to do even that!

Re:Cash is King (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882835)

And that presumably is why the standard was rejected. However, most people find most standards really hard to read and complain that they can't possibly be implemented, so I hesitate to take such claims at face value. English can either be unambiguous *or* easy to read, but almost never both. The only easy to read standard I've yet seen in the XML standard, as it's mostly EBNF and examples, and most of the English words are clarifying comment, not normative text.

Re:Cash is King (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882905)

However, most people find most standards really hard to read and complain that they can't possibly be implemented, so I hesitate to take such claims at face value.

I'm not complaining about it being hard to read, I'm talking about it literally saying things like "format the text the way Word 95 does it," which would require somebody wanting to implement the standard to reverse-engineer Word 95! The reason Microsoft is the only entity that can possibly implement the standard is because the standard is just (incomplete) documentation of how Office already works, hacks to provide a semblence of version compatibility and all.

Re:Cash is King (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883105)

Sometimes I wonder whether Microsoft can implement the standard either. I suspect that the reason they say "like Word 95 does" is that they have a functional code base that works that way, and they couldn't possibly tell you the details of *how* it works (if you've worked at large enough software company this will sound familiar). This of course isn't particularly useful when writing a standard, and if MS wants acceptance they should damn well reverse engineer Word 95 themselves and publish the results.

Re:Cash is King (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883213)

This is completely apocryphal hearsay, so I'd really be interested to hear from someone with more concrete facts.

Supposedly there is no reference description of the ".doc" format, there is only the reference implementation source code.

On a similar note, supposedly once Microsoft spoke of crafting insanely complex and multi-variate binary standards specically in order to confound reverse-engineering. Some might consider this the exact opposite of good engineering.

Re:Cash is King (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883655)

Sometimes I wonder whether Microsoft can implement the standard either. I suspect that the reason they say "like Word 95 does" is that they have a functional code base that works that way, and they couldn't possibly tell you the details of *how* it works (if you've worked at large enough software company this will sound familiar).

Not only is this exactly what I believe is happening, it's exactly what I've been trying to tell you for the last two posts!

Re:Cash is King (2)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884181)

saying things like "format the text the way Word 95 does it," which would require somebody wanting to implement the standard to reverse-engineer Word 95!
Bullshit. The standard has things like that Word 95 tag but it explicitly states that they are optional and you are not required to support them to be compliant.

So take them out. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884291)

What possible purpose can they serve?

Other than, say, being occasionally used by Word, creating documents which break under other implementations, making it look like a bug in those implementations?

Re:So take them out. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884637)

The purpose they serve is to provide a means for converted legacy documents to retain information that would otherwise be lost. Those fields are deprecated, not just optional, and are actively suggested that they NOT be implemented. They're not intended to be used in any NEW documents, and I find it highly unlikely that Microsoft would let any apps create deocuments with them. It's pure paranoia, fear mongering, and FUD to suggest what you are suggesting.

The fact is that ODF, while a great office format for new documents, falls flat on its face when it comes to preserving legacy documents, something that is required by LAW in many cases. The whole purpose of the new file format standards is to allow documents to be read long after the applications that created them are dead and buried. ODF forgets about legacy documents, which means that unless a document converts perfect, or you hire a lot of staff to reformat documents that don't convert correctly, you're stuck keeping them in proprietary formats if you want to meet your archival responsibilities. ODF, and it's proponents, ignore this vital issue.

If OASIS had considered this problem, and addressed it in ODF, say by allowing application defined supplmentary tags for legacy support purposes, then this might never have been an issue. But by ignoring the legacy documents out there, they left the door wide open for Microsoft to argue this side of things and draw support.

Re:So take them out. (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884841)

So where are the "paginateLikeFrameMakerV2.73" (and similar... that particular version number was totally made up) tags in OOXML so I can retain my non-MS legacy documents?

> ODF, and it's proponents, ignore this vital issue.

Because they cannot possible succeed. And neither can Microsoft. (and btw, you should have used "its")

> or you hire a lot of staff to reformat documents that don't convert correctly

Most of those legacy documents will not need to be edited, now, will they? So just converting them to PDF would be sufficient. I'm sure someone provides that service. I've even heard rumors here on Slashdot that Microsoft provides some kind of plug-in which can read most of the old Office file formats in the newer versions of Office. Luckily I don't need that. With my minuscule experience with trying to read old MS docs, I doubt it works in all cases (say, documents with embedded math formulas).

Re:So take them out. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884949)

So where are the "paginateLikeFrameMakerV2.73" (and similar... that particular version number was totally made up) tags in OOXML so I can retain my non-MS legacy documents?

Actually, there are such tags. For instance, suppressTopSpacingWP is there for Word Perfect documents and there's a date format that is there because of bug in Lotus 123. However, i doubt there is a gigantic legacy archive of framemaker documents out there, unlike word or excel documents.

Most of those legacy documents will not need to be edited, now, will they? So just converting them to PDF would be sufficient.

PDF is a far more complex format than either OOXML or ODF. It requires a postscript engine to translate. One of the big wins of ODF and OOXML is that XML documents are easily indexed by search engines, something that is significantly harder to do with PDF.

Re:So take them out. (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884967)

ODF provides namespaces for exactly this purpose. You can add tags that readers are allowed to skip, to convey information that is outside the standard. These tags have rules so they are recognizable.

Obviously this can be abused, I would expect Word to do this extensively if they are forced to read/write ODF. I also expect Open Office to do so. Expect lots of arguments about whether some use of this is abusive.

HOWEVER:

The first difference with OOXML is that unlike these tags, the document is not required to simulate the results using the "standard" part, thus any document with these tags in it will not be readable unless the reader understands them.

The second difference is that there is no "namespaces". Instead there is a set of tags specifically designed for undocumented parts of Word. There is no rule for recognizing the optional tags, or rules for creating new ones. Other programs that want to insert non-standard information are not able to do so (unless they abuse these existing tags, which they probably will).

Re:So take them out. (3, Informative)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885001)

The fact is that ODF, while a great office format for new documents, falls flat on its face when it comes to preserving legacy documents, something that is required by LAW in many cases. The whole purpose of the new file format standards is to allow documents to be read long after the applications that created them are dead and buried. ODF forgets about legacy documents, which means that unless a document converts perfect, or you hire a lot of staff to reformat documents that don't convert correctly, you're stuck keeping them in proprietary formats if you want to meet your archival responsibilities. ODF, and it's proponents, ignore this vital issue.
Nice astroturf. Microsoft -- pack the committees and turf the boards.

Legacy document support in Microsoft OOXML is based on patent encumbered proprietary format tags. The "standard" only preserves legacy documents by keeping them in the proprietary format they were made in. And it took Microsoft 6000 pages to say, "if you want to open a Word 95 document, buy a copy of Word 95," and then in fine print, "just because there is a reference to Word 95 in our patent unencumbered, pledge protected standard doesn't mean that you can use the patent encumbered and highly proprietary Microsoft Word 95 format in any implementation other than one purchased from Microsoft, now or at any time in the future."

ODF has not ignored the issue of legacy formats, and neither has Microsoft. Microsoft wants to keep legacy formats closed and preserve the lock in mechanism you blamed on ODF. ODF objects to referencing closed, proprietary formats in standards that are supposed to be open.

Re:Cash is King (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883951)

And that presumably is why the standard was rejected. However, most people find most standards really hard to read and complain that they can't possibly be implemented, so I hesitate to take such claims at face value. English can either be unambiguous *or* easy to read, but almost never both. The only easy to read standard I've yet seen in the XML standard, as it's mostly EBNF and examples, and most of the English words are clarifying comment, not normative text.
Most people don't read standards. The fact is that programmers for decades have been able to utilize standards, even those that are complex to read and comprehend. I remember the first time I delved into an RFC so that I could write an SMTP proxy to allow our ancient mail server to stop being an open relay, now that was fun. But even a moderately skilled programmer like myself who had never done socket programming of any kind prior to this SMTP proxy could, with patience, get enough out of the documentation to make a compliant server.

Microsoft has some of the most talented and well-paid coders in the business. If some dumb hacker that got pushed into a project so that his employers' network didn't end up on blacklists can comprehend a documented standard, then I'm sure Microsoft can.

OOXML is a scam. It's meant to give Microsoft some air of respectability in an arena that it is, to say the least, deeply distrusted. The documentation is intentionally incomplete, and that's because Microsoft doesn't want anyone to implement it. This is simply part of their war on up-and-coming competitors. The whole thing is a lie, and it appears that a strong enough minority of the committee recognize this stunt for what it is. What is sad is that money may very well win the day, when Microsoft should be shown the door and told not to come back until it has a standard that any competent programmer could build an interface in an application for, even if they possess no libraries to help them along.

Re:Cash is King (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885205)

However, most people find most standards really hard to read

Most people find anything hard to read. Seriously. Although most western countries claim literacy rates over 90%, in reality more like a quarter of people are functionally illiterate. (http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470.PDF) (Functional illiteracy is reading so poorly that it seriously diminishes one's earning ability.

Re:Cash is King (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882975)

The thing is: a standard is just a piece of paper. There's no enforement body - that's the difference between the law and a standard. A good standard documents what the industry leaders have done, which creates strong financial motivation for others to follow that standard. Such standards are often ugly, but at least someone follows them.
That's a great description of history. The only problem is that it's... well... history. It was true when the Industry followed product lines in a sort of monolithic product manner. But things have changed over the years. We're getting away from "this is how Vendor X does it" and moving towards "this is how Vendor X and Y will interoperate."

Standards are no longer arbitrary product descriptions. True (open) standards are commitments from vendors that purchasing their wares will lead one to an infrastructure that has a fighting chance to work with any other given components - assuming everyone is following the standard. Those who don't will quickly be outed and lose market share.

At least - that's the idea. There's still something of a transition going on. Those who profit from standards being arbitrary product descriptions are going to be resistant to this migration to true, open standards. And that seems to be what's going on here.

Re:Cash is King (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883075)

Well, I can't say that you're wrong, but as someone with actual experience working on an international standards committee, what you're decribing is nothing new. "commitments from vendors that purchasing their wares will lead one to an infrastructure that has a fighting chance to work with any other given components " is always the intent, and rarely the practice.

When two components form different vendors work together in practice, it's almost always because some test lab somewhere discovered the interoperablilty issues before you, and had the influence to get one side or the other to change until the products worked together (and the result of that work rarely matches the written standard precisely).

Standards and Law. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883623)

There's no enforement body - that's the difference between the law and a standard.

No. Standards are supposed to reflect and guide best practice. Laws codify people's morals.

Both should be ethically produced and neither is supposed to be sold. M$ has it's ugly hands corrupting both for their purposes at everyone else's expense.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882941)

"(think Florida's 2000 election all over again!) " I don't get the connection...did the FSF pick the name for OOXML?

Re:Cash is King (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883393)

The voting cards in the 2000 Florida election were confusing so that people sometimes were unsure what (who) they were actually voting for. By picking a name that's confusingly similar people would likely lock on to a word they get "Oh, the OPEN one!" and vote for it - which is why the name "Office Open XML" to oppose the "Open Document Format".

Look at it like this:

Microsoft Office (closed proprietary) == Office Open XML

Open Office (Free, Open Source) = Open Document Format.
Even the name behind OOXML implies that it has something to do with Open Office! Tell me that OOXML wouldn't easily be misinterpreted as Open Office XML. (since ODF is XML based, eh....)

Disclaimer: Yes I know that there are other implementations of the ODF standard, plugins, blah blah blah. But the most commonly referenced user of ODF is Open Office.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883501)

Yes, but those supposedly confusing voting cards in Florida were designed by...wait for it....the Democrats. So for this situation to be similar to Florida the FSF would have had to choose the name for Microsoft's OOXML. You are right that it seems likely that OOXML is intentionally designed to confuse people only vaguely familiar with what is going on. My problem is that you somehow drew a parallel to Florida 2000 where Democrat voters were confused by a ballot created by Democrat politicians.

Re:Cash is King (4, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882981)

What we need to do is simple: continue building world-class software. Continue to push for open standards. Make quality, useful, non-locked software and eventually, the marketplace will correct itself. That we've come this far is a testament to the power of the marketplace.

I was with you until this last bit of advice for future action. Building world-class software is not the solution - think Kerberos, think Netscape, think Samba. Nor is the conitnuing push for open standards... we have just seen how standards bodies are geting polluted by cash-rich firms. The market-place is not being allowed to correct itself, by shills and so-called business partners... besides share-holders who can only think on quarterly basis, and forget the larger issues involved.

We've come this far because of the GPL, and because in a panic, Linus chose to use the GPL. And now so-called 'commercial users' (there is no commerical user of Free Softwar - only commercial exploiters like Tivo, Apple, Novell and Microsoft) are cashing in on the Free Software movement. GPL3 is a well thought out move, and IBM has now promised not to use their patents against developers.

Now that there is enough critical mass behind the open source movement, I think we need to cash in and become more vocal about abuse of standards, patents and monopolies. The blog by Rob Weir is a step in the right direction. I for one, wouldn't mind a year of dupes on Slashdot, that highlights continuous abuse by commercial firms, of the standards processes.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884413)

And now so-called 'commercial users' (there is no commerical user of Free Softwar - only commercial exploiters like Tivo, Apple, Novell and Microsoft) are cashing in on the Free Software movement.

Wait... what?

I suggest the following: If you carefully stop talking, you can avoid saying anything stupid like that in the future. If there are no commercial users of free software, then why does MySQL exist, and who uses it?

Re:Cash is King (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884597)

If there are no commercial users of free software, then why does MySQL exist, and who uses it?
MySQL AB is not a commercial 'user' of Free Software - they are one of several commercial 'distributors' of Free Software. Those who use MySQL for their own projects are non-commercial users, those who bundle MySQL along with their 'software products and services' are again commercial distributors of Free Software like MySQL.

Companies like RedHat and Canonical are commercial 'Service Providers' and 'Value Added Distributors' for Free Software - they are not users.

I think Google and other SAAS companies might be described as "Commercial Users" - if and when they have a considerable impact on the desktop, a future version of the GPL might consider addressing them.... maybe GPL6.

I suggest the following: If you carefully stop talking, you can avoid saying anything stupid like that in the future.
If you are careful enough while posting, you can avoid abusing others, and focus on the point you're debating instead.

Re:Cash is King (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884627)

Actually, given that MySQL is dual-licensed, it's questionable whether it even is free software.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884745)

Actually, given that MySQL is dual-licensed, it's questionable whether it even is free software.

Even Richard Stallman wouldn't look at it that way. MySQL is available under the terms of the GPL, so it's free software. Like the LGPL, the total license that MySQL AB offers compromises the viral nature of the GPL for another goal (profit isn't innately an ethically positive goal, but it's still a goal).

Compare the effects to releasing the program under the MIT license or some other non-copyleft free software license. The only real difference is that MySQL AB gets to charge a bunch of money to the developers of proprietary products that use the software.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884665)

Those who use MySQL for their own projects are non-commercial users

Here's where the disagreement is. That's an interesting claim, what's your argument to support it?

If you are careful enough while posting, you can avoid abusing others, and focus on the point you're debating instead.

Fortunately, not abusing others isn't one of my personal goals.

Re:Cash is King (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884931)

Those who use MySQL for their own projects are non-commercial users
Here's where the disagreement is. That's an interesting claim, what's your argument to support it?
Please state your argument that opposes my claim, and I'll see if I can defend my stance.

Re:Cash is King (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885035)

Please state your argument that opposes my claim, and I'll see if I can defend my stance.

If people are using MySQL in any sort of product or website that they intend to use for revenue generation, that makes them a commercial user. Heck, any use by a for-profit corporation should count as commercial use, and thus that corporation is a commercial user.

Re:Cash is King (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885129)

If people are using MySQL in any sort of product or website that they intend to use for revenue generation, that makes them a commercial user. Heck, any use by a for-profit corporation should count as commercial use, and thus that corporation is a commercial user.
I don't think even Microsoft uses this definition of a 'commercial user'. You are either an End User or a Value Added Reseller or Distributor; hence their EULA or End User License Agreements as opposed to the GPL. The EULA applies whether you use Microsoft software to make money OR play gmaes.

Atleast as far as Free Software is concerned, the GPL (and other Free licenses) do not concern themselves with the nature of end-use - whether they be commercial or not; infact the license kicks in only when there is distrbution involved, in which case it automatically implies the distributor is not an End User.

how many more partrners needed? (1)

derrida (918536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882599)

7?
22/33=2/3.

maybe its just me (4, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882605)

but It seems that the OOXML format is intentionally large/bloated and hard to implement. I get the feeling that MS wants people to implement the "standard" to the best of their ability while changing things ever so slightly in the MS office implementation-- like what they did with the Microsoft Java VM. This way the majority of people (most of which already use MS office) will be hesitant to ever switch to a competing product.

Re:maybe its just me (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882819)

Maybe it's just me, but It seems that the OOXML format is intentionally large/bloated and hard to implement.

Intentional? No. It's merely the result of some poor sod documenting the Office formats, which are essentially dumps of the programs' internal state. What you see is merely the consequence of the fact that Office is held together with spit, bailing wire, and the curséd blood of sacrificed Microsoft H1-b programmers.

No, it's M$. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883673)

It's merely the result of some poor sod documenting the Office formats, which are essentially dumps of the programs' internal state. What you see is merely the consequence of the fact that Office is held together with spit, bailing wire, and the curséd blood of sacrificed Microsoft H1-b programmers.

No, it's ugly because M$ has been playing this game forever. Office 2007 does not export to systems before Office 2007 is because it can't and it won't export well to any other system but it's own. M$ is going to play this game as long as people fall for it. Corrupting standards bodies is part of making people believe that this time they've changed. If they wanted to do something good for their customers they would be using ODF, which is a complete, reasonable and free standard.

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883849)

Hey, nobody ever said you couldn't attribute malice and stupidity!

Also, by the way: you're ranting at the choir. Cut it out.

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884077)

I'm not sure what to answer to this. Half of it is all too true, the other half is complete bullshit. Office 2007 can and does export to earlier formats (Office 2003 and below, I think it still does WordPerfect, and even - with the right converters installed - OpenDocument Format!).

Then, corrupting standards bodies ... yeah, can't disagree with that. Of course there's more than one company that plays at that game.

If they wanted to do something good for the customers, they wouldn't just be using OpenDocument, they'd join the group developing it.

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884769)

If they wanted to do something good for the customers, they wouldn't just be using OpenDocument, they'd join the group developing it.

You know as well as I do that the offer by Oasis for Microsoft to participate is disingenuous. The group is dominated by Microsoft's competitors who would do everything in their power (as evidenced by the blog articles they write on a daily basis, and legal maneuvering they keep coming up with) to sideline and make their participation in the group moot.

I believe that Microsoft would have participated in ODF if they believed their requirements for a file format would be met (ie. one that would support legacy documents and allow 100% document fidelity). I am certain they believed that participating in the Oasis group would have been a pointless exercise in futility, and they would end up with the same useless (to them, because it won't represent legacy documents) spec they have now.

You'll want to spin this as a power struggle, and claim that Microsoft wouldn't participate because they would not have been abke to control things. To that, i counter that Microsoft has participated in many standards, such as C, C++, XML itself, etc.. all without control over the working group. But the difference here is that the ODF committee was, by nature of it's makeup consisting almost entirely of their competitors, deliberately hostile to Microsoft.

It's no surprise they decided not to participate, and develop their own XML format. ODF was never intended to support Office, and was likely positioned to make it difficult for Microsoft to do so.

You really have to look at this from the political aspect, as well as the technical one. Read between the lines.

I'm not saying that OOXML is a great format. In fact, I think it sucks. But it does something ODF doesn't, and was deliberately prevented from doing, and something that is vitally important to the success of an open format, and that's legacy documents support.

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884925)

It's no surprise they decided not to participate, and develop their own XML format. ODF was never intended to support Office, and was likely positioned to make it difficult for Microsoft to do so.
What bullshit! Microsoft where asked to join in with the ODF Specs and they REFUSED!

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885101)

What bullshit! Microsoft where asked to join in with the ODF Specs and they REFUSED!

Maybe you should read the whole comment before saying something so stupid. I specifically addressed that, and you seem to have ignored it.

They refused because it wasn't a genuine invitation. It's like when you invite the next door neighbor to your party so they can't complain about the noise, but you desperately hope they say no, and make plans to make them uncomfortable and sideline them if they actually do show up.

They invited them because they knew Microsoft would refuse, given the makeup of the working group, and who was in control of it. I mean, come on.. even the name of the group was biased. It was called the "Open Office XML Format Technical Committee" [oasis-open.org] IBM, Sun, and Adobe employees make up almost half the membership of the committee.

Please don't play dumb. Regardless of where you stand on the OOXML issue, you have to know that Sun and IBM used OASIS as a tool in their fight against their #1 competitor. This is clearly obvious by simply reading the tone, and content of their blog entries. They see it as war, and are constantly fighting the adoption of OOXML despite the fact that Microsoft has never once done ANYTHING to stand in the way of the adoption of ODF, other than when OOXML was being excluded from consideration. Microsoft even voted for ODF standard acceptance. Playing dumb about this is just as disingenuous as IBM and Sun's attempts. Just admit it, and don't act all hurt that Microsoft saw through the charade.

You know as well as I do that Sun and IBM would not have allowed Microsoft to influence ODF in any meaningful way, so what purpose would there have been for them to participate?

Read the Halloween memos... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884943)

> You know as well as I do that the offer by Oasis for Microsoft to participate is disingenuous. The group is dominated by Microsoft's competitors who would do everything in their power (as evidenced by the blog articles they write on a daily basis, and legal maneuvering they keep coming up with) to sideline and make their participation in the group moot.

Oh no, beware of the bloggers? Umm, it's Microsoft who got Peter Quin fired for using ODF. It's Microsoft who is stuffing the ballot boxes here (and managed to get Sun & IBM excluded in Portugal... I'd link, but the article is in Portuguese, see Groklaw). And how can they "make it hard for Microsoft" when there are several existing, open source applications that use ODF? It's not like they can all just rewrite their code at once to screw Microsoft. It was never even made with that goal in mind; you just have your tinfoil hat on too tight.

> I believe that Microsoft would have participated in ODF if they believed their requirements for a file format would be met (ie. one that would support legacy documents and allow 100% document fidelity). I am certain they believed that participating in the Oasis group would have been a pointless exercise in futility, and they would end up with the same useless (to them, because it won't represent legacy documents) spec they have now.

There are plenty of ways to extend ODF with vendor-specific extensions. Do they really need something like, say, yet another way of word-wrapping? (Maybe, but only if they want to preserve the internals of long-dead legacy applications in every format in the future... they DO have a formatLikeWord95 flag in there, and it's not alone). But while ODF is full of open standards, Microsoft stuffed every Microsoft proprietary "standard" into OOXML.

As for why, haven't you read the Halloween memos? They've considered open protocols a threat for practically a decade now. They want them nice & proprietary so Microsoft can collect a toll on everyone using them.

> You'll want to spin this as a power struggle, and claim that Microsoft wouldn't participate because they would not have been able to control things. To that, I counter that Microsoft has participated in many standards, such as C, C++, XML itself, etc.. all without control over the working group. But the difference here is that the ODF committee was, by nature of it's makeup consisting almost entirely of their competitors, deliberately hostile to Microsoft.

Ahh, C/C++ were well outside their control. And they didn't need to control the language itself, just to have their own Windows APIs to keep control. XML is similar. Also, just who do you think isn't a Microsoft competitor? I see that you left Java off of that list, too.

> It's no surprise they decided not to participate, and develop their own XML format. ODF was never intended to support Office, and was likely positioned to make it difficult for Microsoft to do so.

The people developing ODF have their own products to support. They can't just make life miserable for Microsoft without making it hard on themselves, too. And why couldn't Microsoft's own standard have been based on ODF? They don't need anyone's approval for that! They could do it all themselves and build in what they need. And just what, pray tell, do you think they need that they can put in OOXML but not ODF? Unless you mean the garbage dump of legacy code represented by all those bugs they're carrying forward (the Excel date bug, the formatting quirks of every word processor format Office has ever been able to import, and many, many, many more).

> You really have to look at this from the political aspect, as well as the technical one. Read between the lines.

Yeah, everyone else worked together to make a format that would work for them. Microsoft said, "Screw you, I'll make my own format! With blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget the bad Futurama joke!" Then people started going for the other format instead of Microsoft's and Microsoft realized that that would be a threat to their Office revenue. I mean, if people didn't need to upgrade Office every 4 years in order to read the documents other people sent them. Yeah, you don't have to, but really, you do. Even though people don't need anything _new_ from the program, they're shelling out big bucks and have created a steady revenue stream that Microsoft would have us pry from their cold, dead hands.

I understand the political part. I really do. Office and Windows are Microsoft's only two profitable divisions. Take away those and all they'll have is crap like Zune. And Steve Ballmer had to "brainwash" his kids to get them instead of iPods (won't let them use Google, etc.) so it's pretty pathetic. Don't get me wrong; they won't die on us any time soon. But hit them there and their wallets will feel it. So they've spared no expense in pushing this through.

> I'm not saying that OOXML is a great format. In fact, I think it sucks. But it does something ODF doesn't, and was deliberately prevented from doing, and something that is vitally important to the success of an open format, and that's legacy documents support.

Such as, what? The proper way to do a conversion is not to dump "set the margins the way legacy_app used to" but to convert the old markup to new, generic markup (say, set the margins to 1.25" for legacy_app, or whatever). That way, you don't carry along loads of worthless baggage into each new version. The converter knows and cares about legacy_app, but there's no way any other program should know or care that that document was once created in legacy_app. That's really the point of making a new standard, but I'm not surprised that Microsoft doesn't do it that way.

They want standards to be really expensive for everyone else, just like the mess they made of ACPI. And they're pulling that old trick all over again. Don't believe me? I don't expect you to take my word for it. Read the memos. These are old tricks. I'm still waiting to see the new ones.

- References -

Halloween Memos:
http://www.opensource.org/halloween/ [opensource.org]

Microsoft & Standards:
http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2007 0127202224445 [groklaw.net]

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884265)

Wow, and to think I've been exchanging MSO2007 documents for six months with Office 2003 users. With no problems at all. It's like I live in this parallel dimension where everything you claim doesn't work actually does. I feel a Rod Serling moment coming...

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twitter Zone.

Dollar signs, OMG COOL!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19884355)

Office 2007 does not export to systems before Office 2007 is because it can't and it won't export well to any other system but it's own.

Erm, do you really believe people will fall for this? This is complete bullshit. Have you ever even *used* Office at all?

I'm not the biggest fan of Microsoft or their products, but you need to stop this. You make the rest of us look stupid and ignorant, and I'd just as well you look stupid and ignorant on your own.

Re:No, it's M$. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884693)

If they wanted to do something good for their customers they would be using ODF, which is a complete, reasonable and free standard.

I'm sorry, are we talking about the same ODF here? Even OASIS doesn't agree with you, as they've already set up 2 working groups to address the incompleteness of it, namely accessibility and formulas. The one piece they still haven't addressed is legacy documents from Microsoft, Word Perfect, Lotus, and others, which is a HUGE problem for anyone that will want to convert their archive of documents to an open standard.

Other than the Accessibility and formula issues, I agree that ODF is a great office file format for new documents, but it's a royal pain in the ass if it's your job to keep legecay documents identical while converting to the new format.

Standards organizations are politics... (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882619)

... which is war by another name.

They're supposed to be setting up mechanisms for cooperation. But all too often they become political battlegrounds, where each member organization tries to warp the standard to make things easier for itself and to sabotage its competition.

Now we have Microsoft going a step further, not just trying to get its own stuff approved as a standard, but packing the committee just before the vote.

And missing by one vote. Oops! B-)

Re:Standards organizations are politics... (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882937)

I can't understand why Microsoft didn't bring in a hundred new companies. Then they could boast a 107-6 result.

Re:Standards organizations are politics... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884011)

I can't understand why Microsoft didn't bring in a hundred new companies. Then they could boast a 107-6 result.
There are only so many hookers on the street at any given time. Wait until the next batch of shameless trollops come along to stick their venal posteriors in the air to receive the sordid blessings of the Redmond crowd. I think a proper and fitting way for Europe to punish Microsoft, and for the next generation of DoJ prosecutors to do it is forbid Microsoft from ever sitting on any standards committee, ever breaking a standard or directly or indirectly (through so-called partners) contributing to a standard. That is where their power over the market place has been for nearly twenty years, and that's where they should be stopped.

Cool to see msft lose, even with a stacked deck (2, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883151)

Of course, it isn't over yet. I get the feeling that msft will win. Hard to lose with all that money, and influence.

where is the list of ooxml supporters (1)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882621)

title says it all

i'm fucking pissed as to i clicked the link of possible ooxml supporters microsoft got to cooperate
the only thing i can see on the sea is a stupid graph which only shows ooxml beeing relatively more pushed than
before, but still where is the list of ooxml supporters, this summary is extremely misleading

Re:where is the list of ooxml supporters (4, Informative)

klingens (147173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882697)

I can't give you a "who voted how" but I can tell you who can vote:
http://v1.incits.org/v1mem.htm [incits.org]

Apart from a few biggies like IBM or Sun, most of them you never ever heard of.
The interesting part what is RH doing there except what MS does, but within the opposite camp? E.g. being there purely to thwart MS' doings.

Re:where is the list of ooxml supporters (1)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882919)

What's with IBM?
I wonder what they are thinking.

red hat cares about standards, that's what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19883381)

Red Hat punches far above its weight on US/Europe national and international standards bodies. Of course they are on this committee, and are voting members: they are the real deal, not just talking the talk. It's hard work that is very rarely noted, but Red Hat is active on a ton of standards bodies, and monitors even more. I dare any RH customer or potential customer to ask Red Hat for the list of standards bodies involvement/membership: do it, they have it and will give it out when asked, and you'll be impressed.

It's easy to be all "open source" and lip off about shit, but Red Hat is still OLD SKOOL and cares about "free software" and real standards, not pussy ECMA bullshit.

Re:where is the list of ooxml supporters (1)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884743)

Can you also give us a 'who joined when'?

With 14 of the 16 latest joiners voting yes, and one of being RedHat, I'll estimate the votes of the remaining 15.

Hack Back (5, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882629)

It's especially interesting how Microsoft is trying to hack the standards process [robweir.com] . If you read this linked comment you'll see the list of new members, their relationships to Microsoft, and a long and interesting essay by Marbux about why this shouldn't be happening.

But it is.

The good news is that it appears money can fix this - short money for most (the cost of a couple copies of Microsoft Office). If you have any discretionary budgetary authority and would be adversely affected by OOXML being an ANSI standard, please go here [incits.org] , read about the membership process (it appears to cost $800 to be on the technical committees) and fill out the membership form [incits.org] . If you're an academic institution you can get on the technical committees and have an advisory role for $2000.

Yes, the process is broken, but it appears this can be stopped pretty quickly. They're hacking, all we can do is hack back.

It would be great if a hundred universities and a couple hundred Slashdotters' businesses were able to get on the committee by the end of the week. It would reverse the trend, by quite a margin. By all means, try to get the process fixed in parallel, but any such efforts there will likely come in too late.

Re:Hack Back (2, Insightful)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882707)

Yeah, that's definitely the best way to do things - giving Microsoft another box of ammo in the proverbial war. "Oh no, all these zealots joined the organization JUST TO HURT US. We're VICTIMS! It's unfounded! Don't support these lunatics!"

There are also some other issues to consider. What other responsibilities does this organization have? How will they be fulfilled them when the only reason people joined was to stick it to The Man? Or is everybody just going to quit cold turkey and give Microsoft reason to call for a recount/vote/whatever?

Re:Hack Back (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882761)

"Oh no, all these zealots joined the organization JUST TO HURT US. We're VICTIMS! It's unfounded! Don't support these lunatics!"

Um, that's exactly their tactic.

"Son, never start a fight, but always finish one."

Re:Hack Back (1)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882921)

Yeah, it is their tactic. And if we adopt it, they will be the ones to finish the fight.

Re:Hack Back (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883253)

Yeah, it is their tactic. And if we adopt it, they will be the ones to finish the fight.

Ummm, if we don't adopt it, they win. US votes for OOXML to be an ANSI standard. Fight over.

Re:Hack Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882709)

Hey, M$ already won by 15 probably bribed votes against 10.

You suggest that we hack back, but that is not etical.

Re:Hack Back (2, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882823)

Hey, M$ already won by 15 probably bribed votes against 10.

They would need 20 to get a 2/3 majority vote.

You suggest that we hack back, but that is not etical.

When somebody's clubbing you on the head, first you stop the clobbering, then you worry about what to do with them. One can prefer a happy community spirit while still not subscribing to radical pacifism [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hack Back (1)

kandresen (712861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883045)

Your hack back comment may work as a temporary bandage, however I do prefer Marbux's position and given that he is a retired lawyer with the interest of actually doing something, I think backing him would be a better choice. I like his list: - there is no legal authorization for INCITS to be formulating the position of the U.S. government - there is no statute where Congress even granted NIST the authority to proclaim the U.S. position on internatonal standards - legally, the decision must be made by a federal agency head or cabinet level official, after giving official notice and soliciting public comment - Charging $800 to have a voice in formulating an official U.S. government position on a matter that imposes legal obligations on all all levels of the U.S. government is anti-democratic and outrageous - Allowing people with vested financial interests to cast ballots on federal government decisions also violates federal conflict of interest laws - Asking elected federal representatives and senators to explain how NIST acquired the legal authority to represent the U.S. government at ISO and how it legally acquired the right to delegate such authority to an industry consortium (both clearly set out in the memorandum of understanding) asks the right questions AND will result in massive pressure on NIST to intervene. That is because the Congress critters will forward those letters/emails to NIST for response and NIST folk know who writes the checks for their salaries and programs. - Letters to Congress Critters complaining about NIST's improper delegation of governmental functions to an industry consortium would likely be far more effective than buying into the practice of responding to the illegal stuffing of the ballot box by a countering effort to outdo the other side in the illegal stuffing.

Re:Hack Back (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883239)

Your hack back comment may work as a temporary bandage, however I do prefer Marbux's position and given that he is a retired lawyer with the interest of actually doing something, I think backing him would be a better choice.

If you only follow Marbux's position, the US will vote for OOXML to become an ANSI standard. That's why I advocated doing both in parallel. I guess if you had to chose among the two, Marbux's has the better long-term benefit, but we don't have to chose.

Re:Hack Back (1)

rvqbl (906692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883491)

I really do appreciate your efforts and desire to do this the democratic way. If I had mod points, I would mod you up, but I think that $800 go a lot farther than a letter to congress. I hate to say it, I really do.

You are applying for accreditation? Allow or Deny (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882669)

DENY

ISO credibility is at stake (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882685)

If Microsoft is able to buy ISO's approval of this farce, it would destroy ISO's credibility. Does ISO want to commit suicide?

And yet, Microsoft might be cutting its own throat. If ISO loses
its integrity, there won't be any more standards, and Microsoft won't be able to claim it has a standard.

OK.. (1)

Revenge_of_Solver_Ta (862178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882693)

whether or not ANSI will grant fast-track approval

Can someone clear this up?

Does this just mean they aren't going let it through right now but will eventually?

I'm a little confused about what this standard will be used for too..Thank you in advance.

INCITS has a vote in ANSI (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882865)

INCITS is the US organization with a vote in ANSI. Right now, they're deadlocked on what to recommend to ANSI because Microsoft didn't get enough partners to join up.

ANSI will eventually vote on whether to fast-track OOXML as an ANSI standard. It's on the fast-track because ECMA has already accepted it (i.e. it was force-fed through by Microsoft, but that's not very hard to do with the ECMA).

So what's at stake here is one vote in ANSI. And I gather that ANSI will eventually vote for or against it as an ISO standard. Or something like that. But there are so many votes, and even more push from Microsoft, that I barely have any clue where things stand now.

Microsoft's OfficeOpen XML in Massachusetts (4, Informative)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882733)

Lifted from www.groklaw.net, but relevant!

Massachusetts would like to recieve comments about Microsoft's OfficeOpen XML specification (now Ecma 376) being proposed as an addition to their list of usable "open standards". I'm hearing that they are reading the emails and will take them seriously.

It's a proposal, and it's not yet carved in stone. Time will tell if they mean it, but with that reassurance, I have to put my cynicism on hold, at least for now, and say that if this is an issue you care about, you need to let them know how you feel in polite and informative emails before July 20th, 2007. It never hurts to try, particularly since I've no doubt Microsoft is lobbying wherever it can. When I thought it was useless, I didn't want to pretend otherwise or have you engage in make work. But if it has a chance, it's very different.

Here's the address to write to: standards at state.ma.us. (Only use the @ symbol instead of the at.)

I suspect the most important thing right now is numbers, so even a short email is helpful. They can't know how you feel unless you tell them, and they can't understand the tech unless it's presented with proofs of statements made. And remember, it's a new crew, so some of the things we explained the first time may not have been transferred to the new brains at the helm. So please let me provide you with some resources, so that if you wish some materials at hand to compose a more thoughtful and more technical email, it will save you some time.

Re:Microsoft's OfficeOpen XML in Massachusetts (1)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883135)

can I write if I don't live in MA?

Re:Microsoft's OfficeOpen XML in Massachusetts (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883419)

Yes you can, visit this article at Groklaw [groklaw.net] and look at a sample from the ones that were posted. The idea is to let them know they are setting standards that may be viewed from around the world, and that they are being watched as an example. While initially there were only 50 letters submitted, we all know what the power of slashdot users can do.

Woops Wrong Link (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883455)

The correct link is here [groklaw.net]

Misunderstandings of the standards process (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19882793)

First, one of the commenters on the linked page doesn't seem to understand the voluntary, consensus international standards process. Participation is not a government function. It is a voluntary function. ANSI is the US representative to ISO. US government agencies can be members of ANSI committees, just like anyone else. To be sure, in some countries the equivalent of ANSI is a government agency there.

Second, in SDO's it accredits, ANSI requires balance among participants to ensure that all kinds of stakeholder viewpoints are included and no stakeholder class is dominant. It looks like ANSI let this one get away. They should also have rules against packing committees.

Why the push? (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882843)

I thought one of the reasons MS was dominating the Office realm was because of legacy .doc formats. Even in college I dished out for a student copy of Word just because some classes required it (OO wasn't out yet).

If MS wants to keep that going having a completely open spec format kinda limits their "keep buying Word, or you wont be compatible" argument. There has to be another reason but it eludes me.

Re:Why the push? (1)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882931)

Because some governments (and other institutions) are tired of the lock-in are passing rules that say that they will only buy products that have open formats.

This is Microsoft's way of having their product officially stamped as being "open."

Re:Why the push? (5, Informative)

january05 (1126057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883131)

"If MS wants to keep that going having a completely open spec format kinda limits their "keep buying Word, or you wont be compatible" argument. There has to be another reason but it eludes me."

Perhaps you haven't heard, but OOXML is not anywhere near an open standard. Google: autoSpaceLikeWord95 (...how exactly do you autoSpaceLikeWord95? Decompile Word 95 on Windows 95? Where do you get these programs?), VML (is that even implementable outside of Windows and Internet Explorer? oops!), WMF (ditto), and "referenced" patents. MS is even employing Linux companies to write "translators" that can never fully implement OOXML because of these intentional problems. Just read the Halloween documents where MS says they need to innovate above standards (embrace + extend) or some Comes v MS documents. Google "Microsoft on standards". http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/01/microsoft-on-s tandards.html [robweir.com]

I'll have to say, so many people are falling for the Open Office, er, I mean Office Open XML "standard" that MS's PR firm must have been paid very well.

From the OOXML patent promise:

"Microsoft irrevocably promises not to assert any Microsoft Necessary Claims against you for making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing or distributing any implementation to the extent it conforms to a Covered Specification (Covered Implementation), subject to the following. This is a personal promise directly from Microsoft to you, and you acknowledge as a condition of benefiting from it that no Microsoft rights are received from suppliers, distributors, or otherwise in connection with this promise. If you file, maintain or voluntarily participate in a patent infringement lawsuit against a Microsoft implementation of such Covered Specification, then this personal promise does not apply with respect to any Covered Implementation of the same Covered Specification made or used by you. To clarify, Microsoft Necessary Claims are those claims of Microsoft-owned or Microsoft-controlled patents that are necessary to implement only the required portions of the Covered Specification that are described in detail and not merely referenced in such Specification. Covered Specifications are listed below.

This promise is not an assurance either (i) that any of Microsofts issued patent claims covers a Covered Implementation or are enforceable or (ii) that a Covered Implementation would not infringe patents or other intellectual property rights of any third party. No other rights except those expressly stated in this promise shall be deemed granted, waived or received by implication, exhaustion, estoppel, or otherwise."

Oh, you mean VML is only referenced and therefore not covered by the patent promise, at the same time MS is throwing their patents around Linux? Too bad it's inherently part of the OOXML spec....

It's a shame really... (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882867)

Just think of the great and functional technologies MS could develop if they would invest the time and resources into their product instead of ganking the system.

Ballmer seems desperately desperate, I think he might depart MS by November 08.

OOXML... (1, Troll)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19882957)

... the best standard that monopoly money can buy.

The questions remains - just how good are the purchased goods?

What can I do? (4, Interesting)

Qubit (100461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19883197)

I give money to various FOSS projects that I use at home and work, and I have my FSF card and my EFF decoder ring, and I feel pretty good about all that, but what can I do to help promote the use and standardization of ODF over OOXML?

We all have our prejudices, and a lot of us geeks are (not unduly) suspicious of anything "open" coming out of Redmond, but to step back and compare these two formats I see ODF as a clear winner:
  • OOXML is controlled by one company, not a standards body.
  • Microsoft likes proprietary formats and has only gone the open format route because the market/industry forced them to do so.
  • Microsoft was invited several times to join the ODF standards committee and refused all invitations.
  • The OOXML format is not actually open for anyone to implement: part of the specification references proprietary file formats (older ms-office formats) and proprietary, microsoft-only code.

So what can I do to promote ODF? Write to my congresscritters? Spend some time proofing drafts of the spec?

I intend to write candidates. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19885057)

Mostly because I have not seen any candidates weigh in on technical issues that I care about:

  • DRM
  • The DMCA (please legalize DeCSS for things which don't already violate copyright)
  • Trusted Computing (a step further -- please don't let them restrict what I can run on MY hardware)
  • Open standards (ODF)
  • Net neutrality (be very clear here, as the term now means two opposite viewpoints)
  • Voting machines (Diebold needs to die)
  • Software patents (Abolish them until reform, at least)
  • Length of IP (patents and copyrights), especially on software
  • Frivolous lawsuits (MAFIAA) and DMCA notices (Uri Geller)
  • Campaign finance reform (no one should be allowed to buy legislation)

I think I've got everything. The trick is to write a letter that is short enough to actually be read, long enough to explain the above to a layman, and polite enough that it doesn't insult the layman's intelligence -- and then to fire it off to all the candidates I would consider in the first place, and see if I get a real response.

Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19883479)

I am with Linus on this one.

Why is MS taking all this trouble? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884277)

From the abstract: it's pretty clear that Microsoft is pushing OOXML as hard as it can.

If MS really believed in their products they wouldn't need to push OOXML so hard. It's obvious from their behaviour that they're scared to death about ODF. I wonder how many people would switch to Open Office if ODF really takes off. I think you will find that the number of switchers will not be as big as MS is afraid of. People are too used to MS's stuff and usually reluctant to change.

Re:Why is MS taking all this trouble? (3, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884867)

It should be pretty obvious. Microsoft is afraid of losing lock-in.

Yes it is quite certain that if ODF was required, Microsoft word would read/write ODF. And Microsoft word would almost certainly still be the number 1 word processor, and just like .doc format today it is likely that 95% of the ODF documents would never be read or written by anything other than Microsoft word. And Microsoft would (initially) make exactly the same amount of money as they do now. They may even make a big windfall, if the ODF read/write is only a feature of the new version that people need to buy.

The difference is that a number-2 word processor could then at least exist.

Microsoft is not worried about Open Office, that is just another bit of FUD they throw out (they act like there is some physical impossibility of any program other than an open-source Open Office working with ODF, which is a blatently false, but unstated, premise, of all their arguments).

What they are worried about is a *commercial* number-2 word processor. Say Google-word. Or maybe a company we never heard of. But suddenly no "something is wrong with open source" arguments will work (whether these are FUD or not), and any other argument against it will sound like Microsoft is claiming that they are the only company legally allowed to write software.

Such software would cut far more into Word sales than Open Office (I think the result would be 50% Word, 40% this competitor, and 10% divided amoung Open Office, a dozen other free open-source products, and 5 or 6 other commercial attempts). Retaining their market share would also require them to compete on functionality by developing the software, further cutting profits.

More serious is that it removes a possible lock-in for server products for the office. Even if a place uses 100% Word, the pointy-haired boss may actually have a hint and question why the "microsoft document server" they are thinking of buying will not work with this possible competitor, and for the same price they can buy the IBM unit that works with both. Microsoft will be forced to make such products that work with both or they will lose all the sales. But they will then lose that lock in, and then lose the lock in of things that run on or talk to these servers, etc, etc.

evil (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19884609)

For Microsoft to push 14+ new members into a standards body of previously 7 members just to get their agenda passed is evil; standards bodies are supposed to be based on unbiased expert opinions, not short-term commercial interests. Some bias can't be avoided, but one doesn't have to create it artificially.

I think ANSI should remove authorization from INCITS to make recommendations, since INCITS has demonstrated that they can't be trusted.

The process is manipulated worldwide by MSFT (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19884921)

As an example of how Microsoft is manipulating the whole process everywhere, take Portugal IPQ standards body (the national ISO body there): The chairman of the technical committee to study the granting of the ISO standard to MSOOXML happens to be a Microsoft employee, first they tried to fill as many seats as possible at the committee with Micrososft partners, including Microsoft employees, one of them at the presidency, such as "Primavera", "Jurinfor" and "ASSOFT", then they denied Sun and IBM the possibility of participating in the process with the lame excuse that there were not enough chairs on the meeting room!!!! (Was Ballmer visiting the premises before the meeting?)

Join the www.noooxml.info campaign and also the www.openxml.info sister campaign for latin america!

Sources:
In English:
http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&si d=20070716141225333&title=More+Portugese+OOXML+blo gs&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=595143# c595183 [groklaw.net]
http://joaobarros.bsdtech.org/2007/07/17/not-enoug h-seats-for-sun-and-ibm-to-discuss-ooxml/ [bsdtech.org]
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F %2Fabretesw.blogspot.com%2F2007%2F07%2Fsun-microsy stems-sem-espao-na.html&langpair=pt%7Cen&hl=en&ie= UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools [google.com]

In Portuguese:
http://www.openxml.info/index.php?option=com_conte nt&task=category&sectionid=5&id=7&Itemid=13 [openxml.info]
http://mv.asterisco.pt/2007/Jun/cat.cgi?MS%20OOXML [asterisco.pt]
http://abretesw.blogspot.com/2007/07/sun-microsyst ems-sem-espao-na.html [blogspot.com]

As Joao Barros report:
Not enough seats for Sun and IBM to discuss OOXML

Just read Paulo Vilela's post about how a request by Sun and IBM to become part of the Portuguese Technical Committee established to discuss document standards in Portugal was denied. Why? There are no seats. And I do mean CHAIRS!!!

I'm ashamed of my country, again.

Note: Paulo Vilela is a Sun employe in Portugal and his post is in Portuguese, so here is the page translated to English, via Google.
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