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ISO Says No To Microsoft's OOXML Standard

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the try-again-later dept.

Microsoft 315

qcomp writes "The votes are in and Microsoft has lost for now, reports the FFII's campaign website OOXML. The 2/3 majority needed to proceed with the fast-track standardization has not been achieved. Now the standard will head to the ballot resolution meeting to address the hundreds of technical comments submitted along with the votes." Here is yesterday's speculation as to how the vote would turn out.

cancel ×

315 comments

It ain't over yet... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464457)

It ain't over 'till the fat man throws a chair...

Re:It ain't over yet... (1, Insightful)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464541)

Indeed. We may have won the battle, but the war isn't over.

What is particularly interesting about the result is the "new" members of the voting body (you know the ones that don't normally voted but suspiciously wanted to this time) all voted for YES. Its obvious Microsoft has been bribing voters, surely this won't go unnoticed by the heads of ISO? Perhaps it's time the changed the rules to prevent this happening again?

Re:It ain't over yet... (5, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464931)

Actually of the 26 latest P-members, 21 voted 'YES', 1 voted 'NO' and 4 abstained.

You could have said that and people would have believed you, so why lie?

Re:It ain't over yet... (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465215)

Photos or it didn't happen!

Re:It ain't over yet... (2, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465329)

Actually of the 26 latest P-members, 21 voted 'YES', 1 voted 'NO' and 4 abstained.

You could have said that and people would have believed you, so why lie?


After all the furore in Sweden, Norway and Hungary, would people still find it difficult to believe that a few 'coutries' like Cote' de Ivorie, Cyprus etc. were bribed to vote 'Yes'?

Re:It ain't over yet... (1)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465569)

Sorry my mistake. Even still that's a hell of a high percentage to be voting Yes.

Re:It ain't over yet... (5, Interesting)

elgaard (81259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465717)

I think the people that talked Cuba and Syria into voting for MS OOXML should have some kind of award.

"Please vote for our standard. BTW we make the only software can use it properly and we wont sell it to you".
http://www.microsoft.com/exporting/faq.htm [microsoft.com]

Re:It ain't over yet... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464829)

Gotta love the FOSSie hypocrisy. Go ahead and accuse Microsoft of bribing the electorate, but FFII gets to offer a 'prize' [ffii.org] to people who lobby against OOXML and nobody bats an eyelid. Good job!

Re:It ain't over yet... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464937)

...FFII gets to offer a 'prize' to people who lobby against OOXML and nobody bats an eyelid. Good job!
You sound like you just crapped your pants about it. Keep up the good work, and I'll buy you a pizza!

Re:It ain't over yet... (5, Insightful)

Proteus (1926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465455)

Go ahead and accuse Microsoft of bribing the electorate, but FFII gets to offer a 'prize' to people who lobby against OOXML and nobody bats an eyelid.
You do realize that there is a difference between paying people to lobby and paying people to vote a certain way, right?

By your logic, bribing a Senator is no worse than giving money to the AARP.

Re:It ain't over yet... (1)

Synt4x_3rr0r (921206) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465073)

Haha this had me laughing so hard! Thanks for that. Easily the quote of the day =)

Re:It ain't over yet... (4, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465183)

It ain't over 'till the fat man throws a chair...

Interesting you should say that:
http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/articl e.php?story=20070718060228231 [consortiuminfo.org]

OOXML is not to everyone's liking, with Sun Microsystems being denied a seat, and Microsoft holding the chair (President) ...

Pursuit (1)

jafoc (1151405) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465351)

I'm really impressed by this comment that was posted anonymously on Groklaw [groklaw.net] :

An important thing to remember is that this isn't over by a long shot. There's a military adage about not stopping the fighting when the enemy is momentarily defeated; you need to pursue and keep up the fight or he'll just turn and fight again.

As Sun Tzu put it, defeat occurs in the mind of the enemy, and clearly Microsoft hasn't given up on this yet.

As others above have pointed out, there needs to be a serious push in all those countries with voting irregularities (which includes the US with our last minute vote change) to root out exactly what happened and why, and to bring popular opinion and, if appropriate, legal action to bear against any who acted unethically. Certainly shine a bright light on the activities.

This pressure has to be maintained to discourage others from being corrupted by MSFT shenanigans and to keep up the pressure on "no" voters to not change their vote without their concerns being seriously and legitimately addressed.

This battle is over, and we can all take a few minutes to cheer and congratulate ourselves. But we haven't won the war yet.

Note in particular the importance of taking legal action now in those countries where corruption occurred, in order to discourage corruption from occuring now in those countries that have appropriately voted "disapprove with comments" in this round, but which are still able to change their votes.

The Delivery (5, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464475)

Faux standard was not certified.
[A]bort, [R]etry, [F]ail?

Wait (1)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464739)

I thought it was [A]bort, [R]etry, [I]gnore [deathstar.org] ...

Re:Wait (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464979)

Every version of DOS I ever used had Fail. I have used a couple that have Ignore in addition to the others, though.

Re:The Delivery (4, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465043)

Faux standard was not certified.
[A]bort, [R]etry, [F]ail?


That is the DOS error message.. these are Vista days.

It appears Microsoft is polluting the ISO and offering gold to their 'Gold' partners...

Cancel / Allow ?

Re:The Delivery (5, Funny)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465307)

Hi! I see you are trying to ram a ill conceived standard through ISO. Would you like me to

1. Bribe a bunch of guys to vote yes for you?

2. Provide a specification thats so incomprehensible the only Word will be able to fully implement it?

3. Make dubious FUD statements about OpenDocument?

Can a committee stop the rotation of the Earth? (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464495)

This move is a non-story because regardless of what the ISO approves or disapproves, Microsoft will continue to go the way they want to go and the 90% of the Office customer base will follow them, just as will the pre-install bundled customers. Other office suites are advised to ignore the upcoming de facto standard at their own peril.

But now... (4, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464665)

...Microsoft doesn't have the air of legitimacy that ISO approval would have brought.

Re:But now... (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464695)

When you're a Korean missionary and a Taliban thug has an AK-47 pointed at your head, it really doesn't matter all that much whether he is a representative of the legitimate government of Afghanistan, now does it?

Re:But now... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465051)

It does when you know that the AK-47 is also the name of Nokia's new PDA with bluetooth. It even comes with OpenOffice installed.

Re:But now... (5, Funny)

bidule (173941) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465725)

...Microsoft doesn't have the air of legitimacy that ISO approval would have bought
Here, fixed it for you!

Re:Can a committee stop the rotation of the Earth? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464733)

Where it may (if Microsoft ultimately fails) effect their business is when governments and organizations began demanding things be stored in open formats. If OOXML isn't recognized by bodies like the ISO as an open format, it could be the first very big chink in Microsoft's armor.

Re:Can a committee stop the rotation of the Earth? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465039)

I'd like to believe that, but I suspect that they will market Office as "Saves to OOXML, a format which is in the process of being ratified as an ISO standard" indefinitely, in the hope that "in the process of being ratified" is enough.

Re:Can a committee stop the rotation of the Earth? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465477)

They might try the "patent pending" approach, but I think even the powerful marketing machine that Microsoft really is would have a hard time selling that, particularly to governments, who are more than a little cynical of Microsoft to begin with.

Re:Can a committee stop the rotation of the Earth? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464809)

Well, the good old "you can't be fired for chosing MS" does not sound the same in "you can't be fired for chosing an ISO-rejected format"

Dr. Claw.... (5, Funny)

petercruickshank (1132185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464497)

I'll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!

Oblig. (0)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464605)

It was a trap!

Good for... (3, Funny)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464517)

The banks will be happy with the fresh large money transfers

Hurrah! (4, Insightful)

crush (19364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464525)

A small victory, but an important one. Maybe Massachusetts [fsf.org] can now be persuaded to move to an actual open, easy-to-implement and reliable standard to preserve government records. It can join [odfalliance.org] Russia and Norway in using ODF.

Not likely (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464611)

The first time they chose ODF, that was about doing a standard. Now the OOXML is about buyouts, and has nothing to do with standards.

System continues to work (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464539)

Film at 11.

Of course, Microsoft will address the changes and probably buy a few more votes. Their timetable is probably still not in jeopardy.

Like Jason at Halloween, they will just keep coming.

Re:System continues to work (3, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464629)

So can IBM and Sun. Votes at standard bodies are not that expensive. On top of that as the IEEE 802.11 work proves pulling a filibuster at a standard's setting meeting is absolutely trivial. By the time all comments are handled and by the time it is approved most of us will be retired anyway. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:System continues to work (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464765)

Of course, Microsoft will address the changes and probably buy a few more votes. Their timetable is probably still not in jeopardy.


If Microsoft addressed all the concerns, then they would likely have an open standard. Microsoft won't do that, because within a few months of them having an open standard, OpenOffice and KOffice will have OOXML support.

Re:System continues to work (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465241)

Microsoft won't do that, because within a few months of them having an open standard, OpenOffice and KOffice will have OOXML support.
it's more amusing than that... OpenOffice and KOffice would have OOXML support before Microsoft... Microsoft are having enough problems themselves supporting their own format... they don't even have a compliant application available yet...

Re:System continues to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465379)

Jason comes on Friday the 13th, Michael Myers comes every Halloween, and Freddy Krueger comes in your dreams.

I wonder? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464545)

Can they re-try the fast track again, or is this forever tabled? If forever tabled, than ISO will be useless to MS. They would need to explain ALL of their work and they do not even know it, let alone explain it to others. Basically, iso for MS would be dead.

Re:I wonder? (3, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465289)

This was their one chance to fast track. That's meant for excellent standards that have no dissenting views, and no discernible problems. Now they have to address the problems.

I rather suspect that OOXML is in fact dead, even if they eventually manage to get an ISO certification. Its too late now. After all ODF is already an ISO, easier to implement then OOXML, patent free, with no issues of any type whatsoever. People will choose it simply because its the better format. OOXML will be what people use if they must interact with Microsoft office.

How bad is this? (3, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464593)

If Microsoft did force their "standard" on people, how much would it cripple the marketplace? Already at work we are dealing with Microsoft's proprietory components causing a severe case of "haves vs have-nots" in file sharing. And what is most fustrating, is how people do not grasp what they are doing, in that using the proprietory components, they are locking out their co-workers, reducing work output as we have to get them to export their documents into a more generally accepted form. And they turn around and blame the majority of the office. Too sad.

Re:How bad is this? (3, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464727)

If Microsoft did force their "standard" on people, how much would it cripple the marketplace?

It wouldn't cripple a market but their monopoly status continues to destroy wealth, eliminate efficiency through interoperability, and chill innovation. Your story clearly highlights the lack of interoperability and inefficiency achieved through forcing upgrades.

This issue is critical and I don't count Microsoft out for the count. It will not surprise me when they play more parliamentary tricks. It remains to be seen how much money it takes to buy an ISO standard.

Re:How bad is this? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464815)

I don't know where you work, but every job I've had the IT department standardized, so there was no 'locking out' of co-workers. As far as crippling the marketplace, the most common office suite is MS office, so I don't see how moving to the next version of Office changes much.

Re:How bad is this? (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465669)

I also don't know where you work, because IT departments in different companies (or even distributed IT in the same company) standardize on different versions of Office causing mismatches in file sharing. "Please resend in Office format."

Re:How bad is this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464841)

"If Microsoft did force their "standard" on people, how much would it cripple the marketplace?"

with an American company blatantly trying to rig an international vote, why do you insist on seeing this as an economic issue? Oh, that's right, Hitler made the trains run on time. Well, whatever's good for business is good for America.

Offtopic but... (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464989)

...it was Mussolini, not Hitler.

Still not official (1, Insightful)

Nate B. (2907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464599)

The linked article above states the presumed "No" vote to be unofficial and according to unamed "sources". This could well go the other way and in fact be approved. Any celebration should wait until ISO offically releases the voting results.

I no longer presume "sources" to have any credibility.

Re:Still not official (4, Informative)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465589)

The linked article above states the presumed "No" vote to be unofficial and according to unamed "sources". This could well go the other way and in fact be approved. Any celebration should wait until ISO offically releases the voting results.

Like here? [iso.org]

Sesostris III

Good (3, Interesting)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464609)

Because, as a Microsoft dev myself I like to think the technology field I base myself in is popular based on technical merits rather than stupid market hacking. Tactics like the OOXML fiasco only distract people from the actual benefits of MS technology.

Remember folks, for a company of several hundred thousand, unfortunately not all are going to be good guys - theres plenty more that are however.

Flame away.

Re:Good (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464659)

Could that imply that there are possibly also bad open-source programmers?

*shiver*

Re:Good (2, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465583)

Could that imply that there are possibly also bad open-source programmers?

*shiver*

You've seen EMACS, right?

(I'm kidding you bastards!)

/P

Re:Good (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464661)

I salute your bravery!

Countdown to twitter/Erris in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464753)

would it be a fair assessment to say that a greater proportion of the good guys in Microsoft are in development, and a greater proportion of the bad guys would be in legal, marketing and management?

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464825)

would it be a fair assessment to say that a greater proportion of the good guys in Microsoft are in development, and a greater proportion of the bad guys would be in legal, marketing and management?

Only if you can deem the Auschwitz gas chamber operators as less guilty than the leaders of Nazi Germany in the extermination of minorities. If "only following orders" deems you less culpable than issuing those orders, then sure. You can claim the implementers of bad software are "good guys".

Re:Good (2, Funny)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465197)

Sir, your name is indeed well-chosen. I applaud you for making the worst analogy I have heard all day - which is truly an accomplishment, as I teach undergraduates how to communicate.

Re:Good (2)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465491)

Godwins law :(

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464833)

No problem with the good guys!

Indeed, no problem with most of the guys (and gals!). All companies have some shi*s in them.

What we have problems with is Microsoft's way of doing business. I don't know how many guys are responsible for that. I suppose it's possible that nobody is, and it's just a hangover from the way it was always done many years ago. Maybe it's just a few guys in Marketing and Legal?

All I now is, if you want to discuss .Net with me, I'll happily buy you a beer. But if you want to pursuade me that DRMing the world's computers is in the customer's best interests, I'll happily punch you in the face....

 

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464845)

Tactics like the OOXML fiasco only distract people from the actual benefits of MS technology.

Perhaps that's why they engage in these practices? Surely if developers and end users were aware of the "actual benefits of Microsoft technology", they'd switch to a platform that benefits them rather than Microsoft.

Re:Good (1)

crush (19364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464851)

Hear hear! If it's good enough for Kazakhstan, Kenya and Saudi Arabia then it ought to be good enough for the world. It's technical merits are obvious. I salute your bravery Sir in speaking the thoughts which the Stalinist, politically correct oppressors will no doubt now jump upon and demolish. We need more forthright people like yourself, unfraid to speak their minds in the midst of conformity ;)

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464859)

Remember folks, for a company of several hundred thousand, unfortunately not all are going to be good guys - theres plenty more that are however.


So the official line from you shills is still going to be "It was rogue employees" eh?

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

aim2future (773846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464957)

France, and I think some more, has suggested to split OOXML in two parts, one which is ODF compatible, one which deals with the old Office formats.

What is your view as being a MS developer, do you think Microsoft are able to do this?

(I don't mean technically, merely politically) For my own I think that is a great idea.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465165)

You are correct on many levels. People with anti-MS agendas could hardly ask for a better opportunity than OOXML and the tactics used to promote it.

I think the lesson to be learned is that beneficial technology does not need much of a marketing engine behind it. For example: MS is one of the co-founders of XML, which has achieved popularity without any questionable tactics.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465463)

As a disgruntled Microsoft customer, I'd like to ask "WTF?!"

Seriously, I don't believe the devs working within the company are bad, but you guys need to stage an uprising or something. The people running your company seem to be total dicks.

Yay technical merits! (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465481)

I have only ideas of the Microsoft corporate culture.

At some point, I heard that a lot of developers would rather use actual open standards than Microsoft pseudo-standards but have no choice if they want to keep their jobs. Perhaps you and a lot of the other developers can get some momentum behind that idea in upper management?

Wait. Who am I kidding?

I like to hope, and have faith in humanity, but my cynicism over Microsoft's bad behaviors is too entrenched. Microsoft will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into using a standard they didn't invent.

Re:Good? I think it's rotten! (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465615)

as a Microsoft dev myself I like to think the technology field I base myself in is popular based on technical merits rather than stupid market hacking. Tactics like the OOXML fiasco only distract people from the actual benefits of MS technology.

There's a saying where I live that goes... "You just need to sample a single grain of rice to judge an entire pot..." Microsoft's dubious and nefarious tactics wrt OOXML have shown them to be ruthless cowards; and enemies of technical merit; as software developers like you must know.

Other than rewriting the same code every 3 years when MS decides to rebrand an technology and stop supporting old versions... what are these 'benefits' you see in MS technology? Spreading disinformation amongst the developer community is a very grave sin, in my book... much worse than 'Get the Facts' aimed at consumers.

Lessons learned - the job isn't over (4, Insightful)

btarval (874919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464623)

All the people involved in shutting down this attempt at extending a monopoly by hacking the voting system through bribery deserve a hearty congratulations in stopping this for now.

I submit though, that the job isn't over, but incomplete. The ISO seriously needs to look at fixing how Microsoft attempted to hijack the process to suit their own gain, and ignore the real purpose of International Standards.

Until this fixed, we'll see more of the same, on a greater scale. And not just by Microsoft. The end result would be the weakening of the usefulness of real standards, if the current system is left as it is.

Good luck to the ISO.

Re:Lessons learned - the job isn't over (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464963)

From what I can tell, they've only stopped the fast-tracking. Microsoft still can (and likely will) resubmit OOXML.

MSFT promotes choice among certifying bodies (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464631)

In a recent development MSFT spokesman said that, one standard specifying body meets all is not a viable workable solution for the whole world. Mr Tong'n Cheek said that Microsoft will promote an alternative standard specifying body Open ISO. He said that Microsoft wants its customers to have a choice in international bodies creating standards, choice in standards themselves too. This way users can have various choices like, OpenISO certified OOXML saving MSFT product, or ISO certified OOXML saving MSFT product or, uncertified OOXML saving MSFT product or unsupported ODF saving MSFT product or...

Re:MSFT promotes choice among certifying bodies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20464775)

I vote this gets its deserved "Funny" tag, as it tickled all my buttons. (don't go there)
140Mandak262Jamuna - you got my anonymous vote, at any rate. :)

I forceful ly submit

Anonymous Coward Cowering over here.

Re:MSFT promotes choice among certifying bodies (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465105)

I think Microsoft should immediately found the MSO or Microsoft Standards Organisation. That way they will not need to pay hefty bribes to get their so-called 'standards' declared so.

Some details... (4, Informative)

frakir (760204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464767)

breakdown by country votes: http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2007/09/03/ecma-37 6-dis-29500-ooxml-the-voting-so-far/ [theopensourcerer.com]

Note 7 countries ( marked *** ) just recently updated their status within ISO from 'O' (observer) to 'P' so they could vote. Those are mostly small countries and likely to be Microsoft puppets within ISO body. Which means MS can now actively block *any* new proposed standard and promote their own more easily.

Mod Parent Informative (0, Offtopic)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464861)

This information, and the consequences of it, leave no doubt Microsoft now meaningfully games the ISO process going forward.

Re:Mod Parent Informative (2, Insightful)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465059)

This information, and the consequences of it, leave no doubt Microsoft now meaningfully games the ISO process going forward.
While I agree Microsoft probably bought those countries' votes, like they admitted to doing in the Swedish vote, I would like to see a little bit of evidence before completely condemning Microsoft for it.

Re:Some details... (2, Interesting)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464919)

It's interesting that Trinidad and Tobago are marked down as a possible paid-off Microsoft puppet and yet they still voted to Abstain rather than a Yes

Re:Some details... (1)

dominux (731134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465005)

my guess is that they were suckered in to upgrading, then actually read some of the spec and commentary.

Fair enough (3, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464785)

Fair enough. I'm no fan of ODF, and I think OOXML has gotten a lot of crap for bogus reasons. But OOXML is a buggy, broken standard. Hopefully Microsoft will clean up some of the issues and we'll see a better standard as a result.

In the mean time, I'm going to continue sending PDFs around. Neither OOXML nor ODF provide the level of consistency in layout that PDF provides.

Re:Fair enough (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464939)

Let MSFT show that it wants others to implement OOXML seriously. Let is open source all the old defunct no longer supported/developed products source code to implement, "autospace like in Word 5" or "do page break in (what msft believes to be) word perfect 6 style". These were all deprecated anyway and its only function is to bring old legacy format documents upto the interoperable arena. But wait, that is the mother lode and the crown jewels. They are the fundamental vendor lock in procedures. Give them away? What an idiot I am to think MSFT would even consider it.

Re:Fair enough (3, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465267)

I think OOXML has gotten a lot of crap for bogus reasons. But OOXML is a buggy, broken standard.

Isn't being buggy and broken enough for it to take a lot of crap? Seriously, "spaceLikeWord98?" WTF?

Re:Fair enough (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465663)

PDF, really ?

How does that work with people who want to use and manipulate your data, as opposed to just view it ?

I think PDF is great, for viewing, but is a crappy format for collaborating with others.

Re:Fair enough (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465683)

To be honest, I really don't, just *don't* understand why people can't agree on satisfactory format. I refuse to use MS Word because it changes so much from version to version, you don't know how it's going to render in a different version, and it's closed anyway. Personally I use ODF and don't have many problems, but I believe you that there are inconsistencies. PDF does successfully give you consistent layouts, but it's only good as a final product. You can't really send someone a PDF and expect them to edit it further (or at least, you shouldn't). Then there's Apple's Pages, which seems to do well, but then there's only one program that reads or writes Pages files.

Seriously, I wish someone could force Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and Sun to work together on a single set of office-suite formats, which each suite would support fully. Ok, Microsoft will never do it, and you can't really blame Sun since ODF is the most open, but at least Sun and Apple should work together. If Apple has valid reasons for not using ODF, then let them make suggestions and help revise the format. Make it as consistent as PDF, let users embed fonts if necessary, but still make it editable. I just can't believe that it's an irreconcilable issue.

[/rant]

OOXML and ODF both suck (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464863)

I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

I can take 20 year old TeX documents and render them just fine. But you give me even a 10 year old WYSIWYG file and there is a good chance I won't be able to do anything with the file.

What is it going to be like 50 years from now when you try to pull up an old manuscript? You know how Popular Science likes to pull up magazine issues from 40+ years ago, I wonder how they are going to manage that 40 years from now when the proprietary and open file formats are unsupported and "obsolete".

Really the only safe choice is to make a hard copy and hope the OCR of the future is better than it is now.

Re:OOXML and ODF both suck (4, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465055)

I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

Indeed. You'll also find that hammers are poor at undoing screws and cars aren't so good at taking you overseas.

What is it going to be like 50 years from now when you try to pull up an old manuscript? You know how Popular Science likes to pull up magazine issues from 40+ years ago, I wonder how they are going to manage that 40 years from now when the proprietary and open file formats are unsupported and "obsolete".

They'll use a format that actually meant for that sort of thing like, say, PDF.

The point of "WYSIWYG" is not - despite what a lot of people (including those that should know better) think - that a document looks the same on computer B as it does on computer A. It's that the document that comes out of the printer looks the same as it does on the screen.

Word processing != desktop publishing.

Re:OOXML and ODF both suck (1)

petercruickshank (1132185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465065)

No, exporting it as a unicode text file would be better.

Re:OOXML and ODF both suck (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465077)

I'll bite.

I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

Please provide references to ODF ties to OpenOffice rendering. I guess having it supported in other suites like MS Office (through third-party products) and KOffice means they are tied to OpenOffice as well. And please define "archival safe". As far as I know, TeX is completely defined (which makes it a useful file format), and so is ODF. Please prove me wrong.

Oh, and lest I forget, what is more WYSIWYG than a hard print? At least with TeX you have sections, subsections, etc, sprinkled in the text that explicitly tell what is going on. Good luck making an OCR understand what is a title, a subtitle or whatever.

Re:OOXML and ODF both suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465161)

With an open format which complies with standards such as date representation (especially with separation of styling information), it won't be such a big deal to convert this XML format into the future... That may be a different story with a format like OOXML...

Re:OOXML and ODF both suck (2, Informative)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465417)

ODF is open so anyone 50 years from now can read the specs and write a converter. OOXML is not an open spec. Minor parts are open, but there are still a lot of proprietary, binary blobs (.bin) in a OOXML file. The OOXML spec makes no mention on how to interpret these proprietary binary blobs. So 50 years from now with "open" Office XML, you will be screwed if you try to convert anything more than a simple text-only MS Word document.

I would rather have my documents in a a format that I can get the spec to so I can at least convert the files vs. Microsoft's OOXML with all of its still-proprietary, closed, undocumented parts.

With Microsoft's History... (2, Funny)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464875)

...of fair business practices and open standards I don't see why there is all this backlash against OOXML. I mean, it's gonna be a de facto standard anyway. Why fight it? Imagine if the same kind of stance were taken with operating systems. Some boneheads out there decide that they're going to take on Microsoft which owns the de facto OS platform and they put together their own OS. How far would that get them? Especially if they tried to get people to actually use it! I'd say that it would probably take them a good forty or fifty years of work to break even. Why bother? I mean, just imagine if something that monumentally stupid was attempted. We'd probably have compatibility issues for decades before anything got better! I say, just let Microsoft do what it wants and everything will be a-OK.

Wonderful! (0, Flamebait)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464887)

Now let's hope that ISO fixes their flaws with the voting process so that Microsoft have to actually fix all the flaws with the OOXML specification before it can be voted on again. Then make every attempt to game the system an automatic no-vote.

ISO press release (5, Informative)

eknagy (1056622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464903)

Re:ISO press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465501)

according to the press release

Comments that accompanied the votes will be discussed at a ballot resolution meeting (BRM) to be organized by the relevant subcommittee of ISO/IEC JTC 1 (SC 34, Document description and processing languages) in February 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The objective of the meeting will be to review and seek consensus on possible modifications to the document in light of the comments received along with the votes. If the proposed modifications are such that national bodies then wish to withdraw their negative votes, and the above acceptance criteria are then met, the standard may proceed to publication.

Otherwise, the proposal will have failed and this fast-track procedure will be terminated. This would not preclude subsequent re-submission under the normal ISO/IEC standards development rules.

which means it's not quite over yet...

MS needs to be less paranoid (1)

stony3k (709718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464925)

This vote only reinforces my belief that Microsoft went about this completely the wrong way. The way I would have approached it would have been to support ODF (with extensions would be even better from a lock-in point of view) or to really create an open documentation standard.

I don't understand why they were so paranoid about competing on features. I'm not sure they would have lost any significant market share if they had competed fairly, because the truth is that MS Office is still the best office suite available today.

I think this has been a PR disaster and has undone a lot of the good work that many MS employees have been doing (including working with OSS) lately.

Re:MS needs to be less paranoid (2, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465047)

I think MS were stuck, really. The new format had to be sufficiently similar to the old binary format to allow relatively simple conversion of files.

Re:MS needs to be less paranoid (1)

stony3k (709718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465137)

See, I'm not sure of that because O2k7 came out with a new default format in any case. They could have easily made this format an open one or supported ODF (yeah, in my dreams)

more info (4, Informative)

qcomp (694740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20464927)

Microsoft puts its own spin on the result in this press release [cnn.com] .

More information on the upcoming proceedings at ISO are explained in this discussion [noooxml.org] on the currently slashdotted noOOXML site. (my apologies for poor HTML in the original post that made <no>OOXML come out as OOXML.

Groklaw also has some commentary and more links [groklaw.net] .

It's clear that this is far from over. Microsoft will convince more countries to become O or P members in the respective committees and Further effort (exposing fraud, convincing your national bodies) is required to prevent OOXML from being accepted as a standard. But it is encouraging to see that resistance is not futile ;-)

I have an idea! (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465017)

Why not integrate .odt into MS Office? It seems like Microsoft is just throwing its weight around when this is not a battle/war that they necessarily need to fight. Wouldn't it be cheaper than bribes to incorporate existing standards into new products?

Re:I have an idea! (1)

Synt4x_3rr0r (921206) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465353)

Its all about profits. Microsoft wouldn't profit from incorporating ODF in their products, but they would profit from having their own standard that practically forces people to use their products.

Re:I have an idea! (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465645)

The minute that Microsoft accepts ODF, particularly through easy integration via "Save As..." and allowing it to be set as the default document format, they have started down the path to the ending of their monopoly. At some point, some manager is going to ask "Why are we paying $xxx,xxx in licensing to Microsoft when this OpenOffice my brother-in-law installed on my computer can save in this OpenDocument format costs nothing?"

Once you break the Office lock-in, the potential for Windows itself to be compromised, because moving away from Office means having the capacity to move away from the entire Windows platform. For Microsoft, ODF is an enormous threat. Not today, not tomorrow, but within the next five to ten years, particularly if the trend of various governments and other groups to push for documents being stored in open formats continues. Microsoft has to find a way to get OOXML defined as an open format, and now it has made it clear that it is willing to pay to make sure that standards body are undermined so that it can do so.

It has failed in the fast-track, which, I'd say, reduces the possibility of OOXML as it now stands ever getting an ISO stamp. However, it has sent the message to its business partners throughout the world, and likely to a many nations themselves, that if they are willing to be bribed, it's willing to put money in their hands.

It's shown a rather ugly side of ISO, and international standards in general, but here's the real problem. No one cares. Where is the BBC, CNN or any major news site picking up on the story of a major corporation attempting to undermine the ISO to get a standard which even the most generous experts are calling flawed passed? Where are the investigative reporters looking into attempts to undermine open document adoption in places like Massachussetts? Where are the editorials condemning Microsoft for undue influence over public policy? I mean, every time Sony so much as appears that it's going to do something nasty, the BBC tech site has a writeup on it. When some director at AT&T burps, it's over the financial pages?

Is it just that open document concerns aren't as sexy as network neutrality or rootkits?

Has MSFT damaged its own reputation in ISO? (2, Insightful)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465089)

I wonder if Microsoft's scandalous misbehavior in regard to this vote will follow them permanently? It seems as if people with deep roots in any field, be it literature or science, have longer memories than the population at large. Hopefully we have been reminded (again) that Microsoft's business model is currently dependent on leveraging its monopoly on the desktop, and that it will do *anything* to preserve that monopoly. Microsoft has shown only average or sub-par performance in driving revenue in sectors where its monopoly does not serve it as well, such as the Zune or the X-box or search or SaaS (Software as a Service). Microsoft's genius is not really engineering, where it is merely an average company, readily eclipsed by Apple or Google, for example. Microsoft's genius is really in marketing strategy, and until now, that strategy has been asserting a value proposition that has proven difficult to refuse by the various supply-side and demand-side players in the desktop space.

Now that a little polish has been taken off its faux standards, perhaps we will see a bit more free market competition enter into a previously broken market. I wonder how well Microsoft would compete in the Office productivity market if it were unable to charge exorbitant prices for its commodity office productivity solutions? I am betting that a large segment of the market is going say that OpenOffice.org is "good enough" for them, and abandon Microsoft.

At any rate, Microsoft's most recent round of bullying will serve as a visible reminder to the world why it is dangerous to allow Microsoft to continue to hold its monopoly: because it will abuse its power.

Hugo Chavez and Microsoft... (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465279)

Venezuela voted along with the USA in supporting this....

In Washington there were sounds of heads imploding at the idea that they'd found something they agreed on. Meanwhile further evidence of the UK's distancing themselves from the US came with the UK voting a strong "no", but Australia with George Bush visiting today decided to go for the less politically charged "abstain".

Will Balmer declare a new Axis of Evil? News at 11.

Seriously though, its hard to argue even if you support OOXML that this isn't a bad thing as it now means that the standard will be subject to proper review, surely the least worrying decision from a committee of all time.

Steve

oh well (0, Troll)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465349)

Better luck next time.

This is a good indicator that their (substantial) monetary influence could not sway ISO, and the process is at least somewhat subjective.

Sorry, I see this differently - ENFORCE that spec (2, Insightful)

cheros (223479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465751)

I think the approach is flawed. You should not be working on the ISO committee - you should be working on industry and government. A numerically small membership can be bought and/or coerced and is thus de facto vulnerable to process abuse and vote rigging.

Let's turn this one on its head. I'm perfectly happy with MS ratifying a 6000+ page spec, because the moment they have the ISO standard status they will to abide by it to be compliant.

I don't think it would be wildly unfair to ask MS to then ensure AND PROVE BEYOND DOUBT that the product they supply is FULLY compliant with their ISO standard.

To me, that would mean:

(1) A full test suite needs to be constructed of which independent scrutiny is paid for by MS. MS Office needs to be fully compliant with statements as made in the specifications. No ifs, no buts, no maybe. Only full compliance means an acceptable product, but that's only 50% of the requirement - there's more, mainly addressing the reason the whole ISO standard compliance is required:

(2) The identification and demonstration of a mature, competing product that can read, edit and write the documents produced by the above compliant suite to a standard that makes it clear there is 100% interoperability.

The latter proves to the evaluating entity that:

(1) the standard is complied with, and is not just a marketing gimmick.
(2) the interoperability needs are addressed
(3) there is an alternative product which prevents vendor lock in (this is why I used the word 'MATURE' - you don't want some last-minute coded piece of junk from an MS friendly vendor pretending it's a product). A product has an established user base.

If the product on offer cannot meet those two requirements the story is over. Simple. If no 3rd party can create a competing product or, at a minimum, achieve unencumbered interoperability (i.e. not depending on a license) then the product is unsafe from a disaster recovery point of view.

So, if Microsoft's 6000+ page spec is a bit too much for either themselves or someone else to implement, the answer is easy - make one that works. That's all the world has been asking, simple unencumbered interoperability. I'm fully aware that that doesn't agree with their current business model, but they ought to read "who moved my cheese" - the supply is dwindling.

IMHO they had their opportunity with ODF. They blew it.

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