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OpenDocument Foundation To Drop ODF

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the microsoft-cheering-from-the-sidelines dept.

Software 325

poet sends us to Computerworld for a story on the intention of the OpenDocument Foundation to drop support for Open Document Format, OASIS and ISO standards not withstanding, in favor of the Compound Documents Format being promoted by the W3C. The foundation's director of business affairs, Sam Hiser, dropped this bomb in a blog posting a couple of weeks ago. Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year.

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questions (2, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177025)

The first place I saw this was LinuxToday which linked to this cnet article on the matter [news.com] and I've done some digging since and I've got a few questions. Maybe someone here will know.

Is there a difference between Compound Document Formats and the Compound Document Framework. Are the formats implementations of the framework and if so are they supporting a chosen format or the entire framework?

Do any existing office suites support this framework/format?

OpenDocument Foundation? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177275)

Forgive me if my memory is bad, but aren't they that unimportant bunch of nobodies who formed their own organization and decided that Microsoft compatibility was their #1 goal?

As I recall, in spite of the grand-sounding name, the people in that organization don't have anything to do with anything. They're busy recommending this and that, but they don't actually do anything.

Ahh, here we go, here's my source on this [robweir.com] :

The mythology of Silicon Valley is filled with stories of two guys and a garage founding great enterprises. And here we have two guys, and through blogs, interviews, and constant attendance at conferences, they have become some of the most-heard voices on ODF. Maybe it is partly due to the power of the name? The "OpenDocument Foundation" sounds so official. Although it has no official role in the ODF standard, this name opens doors. The ODF Alliance , the ODF Fellowship, the OASIS ODF TC, ODF Adoption TC (and many other groups without "ODF" in their name) have done far more to promote and improve ODF, yet the OpenDocument Foundation, Inc. seems to score the panel invites. Not bad for two guys without a garage.

Re:OpenDocument Foundation? (5, Interesting)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177645)

As one of the founding members of the OpenDocument Fellowship http://opendocumentfellowship.com/ (although I no longer consider myself a member due to time constraints), I can say that in every effort made to get a real community going with ODF/OO.org there was always a pushback from Sun, and it's really sad to see. I don't think Sam is right that CDF is the answer, but I do think that his comments about Sun not caring about ODF are probably very true.

OpenDocument is an already vetted ISO format. Why should we return to the back of the line now? We have our format, it's approved, and has support in many applications. No need to start bickering between ourselves when we're already fighting a lot of the corporate proprietary software makers.

Re:OpenDocument Foundation? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177935)

Additionally, the CNET article and the descussion there point to the fact that there is too much loss in presentation switching between MS Word and ODF, and that the world needs something better. ODF is NOT a presentation format. It is an office suite format. Geez. Can't they get that?

If they want perfect presentation, use a presentation format like PDF (even make your own international format ... I don't care). "ODF wasn't designed with this in mind." No shit, Sherlock! It doesn't make it a bad office suite format.

Re:OpenDocument Foundation? (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177653)

Wow. Someone who is paid to promote ODF doesn't like people who have problems with ODF. Is there going to be film at 11?

Umm... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177909)

Yes, it's true that Rob Weir is an IBM employee. How does that impact the accuracy of his story? Can you point to any fact in that story which is wrong or misleading? It matters not who he likes or hates if his arguments are sound.

Now then, it's also true that this "Foundation" has no official role in ODF whatsoever. It was started by a couple of random people who do little more than blog, attend meetings, and feed quotes to the press. And right now, the "OpenDocument Foundation" is abandoning ODF for CDF. Let the "Closed Document Format" jokes begin.

So, really, why again should we care about their opinions? They're certainly entitled to them, but like so many Slashdot posts, do they actually matter? Or is this fuss unseemly given that the "support" the OpenDocument Foundation offers amounts to little more than words? It's not like they're actually coding anything, developing the standard, or any actual, useful work.

It's tantamount to trumpeting "Anonymous Coward drops support for Windows!" when I can't really imagine that my opinion of Microsoft's code is worthy of front page news. Though I'll certainly settle for a (+5, Insightful) or two :-)

Re:OpenDocument Foundation? (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177753)

Thanks for clearing that up.

Toys and prams (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177911)

From their web site, it looks like they tried to have a pet feature added to the format and threw their toys out of the pram when it was rejected.

 

Re:questions (5, Informative)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177343)

Its blatantly obvious that Sam Hiser, proponent of the blog post that sparked this frenzy [typepad.com] , doesn't know jack shit about the real specs of ODF, read the comments on the blog I linked, they more than make the point (aside from the initial long-winded comment attempting to discredit anyone with enough common sense to disagree with Hiser, its a nice try but anyone with a hint of mental forethought and reasoning ability, can see right through the propaganda). Twenty minutes of actual research would've saved Hiser and the ODFoundation a lot of grief.

Additionally, if this isn't some backroom Microsoft inspired posturing, I'd be VERY surprised. The very essence of "CDF" in the way Hiser frames his argument is compatibility with MS OOXML. Who gives a rat's ass about specific compatibility within the framework of a particular document directly with another type of document, thats not the point of the whole exercise the odf format is attempting. The ODF is OPEN for any application to implement 100%, that allows for clearer communication between applications, and as a result, real living people.

Cheers.

Re:questions (1, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177583)

The ODF is OPEN for any application to implement 100%, that allows for clearer communication between applications, and as a result, real living people.
Funny, that's the exact same logic used by proponents of Esperanto.

ODF won't be worth anymore than the proprietary format OOo used before it, if there isn't enough added-value that it's worth it for common people to spend the resources to convert. Right now, there isn't -- not until either Microsoft signs on, or an ODF compatible software package is able to reach the level of expert-usability that Office has.

(Tonight's list of what an ODF suite needs to do before it can dethrone MS Office? PDA/smartphone capability, and direct script control of the UI.)

Cue Ackbar (-1, Troll)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177035)

"It's a trap!!!"

Re:Cue Ackbar (0, Offtopic)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177369)

AAHahhah ahaHAAHA Hha haha hahahahahahah aAH AHAAH ahahahahah ahhahaha AH HAhahahahahahahahaahaha hahaHAA HAHhahahahahahahahahahaA HAHAAH ah hhahahaAHHAhah hah aha hahah aaha

Nope (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177057)

Nothing has a chance at compatibility with OOXML except the bloated crap churned out by Word and its ilk.

Driving to achieve closeness or compatibility with Microsoft formats, except as something kept at arms length, is essentially suicide.

Re:Nope (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177447)

Driving to achieve closeness or compatibility with Microsoft formats, except as something kept at arms length, is essentially suicide.

On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide. Microsoft exists, and dominates the office application market, pretending it doesn't exist and that you can 'do your own thing' without taking it into account is utterly stupid.

Re:Nope (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177749)

That's a possibility. It's another possibility that those companies who are chained to MS fucked up formats are going to bear ever increasing costs trying to deal with vast amounts of complexity that do not generate any return, but are obligatory for legal reasons, while their competitors who are not burdened with this defeat them in the marketplace by virtue of their not having this lead weight around their neck.

I'm inclined to think it's the latter, personally. It just takes a while.

Re:Nope (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177817)

That's typical short term commercial thinking, which is entirely inappropriate for open source. Remember, open source is about creating the best tool for the job, not squeezing users for cash. If it takes a few years longer to get there, so be it.

Open source can easily afford to take the long view in technical matters, because the bottleneck are the programmers and other volunteers. So if you want open source to thrive, make it interesting and simple for programmers to add a little bit here, a little bit there, and promote technical excellence, not compatibility to today's garbage.

Your concept of market suicide makes no sense for open source. If however some people still want to chase a moving commercial target for "compatibility", they can just put up some money and pay somebody instead of expecting it for free. They'd better do it fast, though, because in two years it will all be out of date again.

Re:Nope (3, Insightful)

porl (932021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177839)

compatibility with ooxml is an *application* problem, not a document format issue. ogg, flac and aac audio formats aren't 'compatible' with mp3s, but what is the point? they serve the same purpose but they are *different formats*. mp3 might be the most popular at the moment, but that doesn't mean every format must be as close to it in implementation as possible.

porl

Re:Nope (2, Insightful)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177855)

Let me get this straight: you think that a document format should be compatible with MS formats? Isn't this an application-level thing? What groundbreakingly useful features can be expressed in OOXML and not ODF?

Re:Nope (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177959)

But 2007 doesn't dominate the office market, no one saves in .docx hardly except for MS loyalists, most people even still have '97 or 2003 on their machines, the steep learning curve for 2007 is putting people off as is OOo as it retains the same look and can do most editing just fine for 90% of people.

Re:Nope (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177979)

On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide.

That's why OpenOffice (and many other applications) have the ability to read and write Microsoft Office files (.doc, .xls, .ppt). But trying to make those your standard document formats for your office suite would be completely retarded, since they're not open standards and you don't know the specs. And Microsoft can change the specs and not tell you.

So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (-1, Redundant)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177069)

Does this mean that ODF is just going to die, now? It seems like a real mess to be backpedaling like this after the big push for ODF...

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177145)

For more info, check here: http://netcraft.com/ [netcraft.com]

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (5, Insightful)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177149)

No, Sun and IBM, Wordperfect and others are still working with it. It is strange to me that the so called Open Document Foundation can do this as was pointed out in the article link, that it is a non-profit established to help with Open Document Format, that they would steer their organization to an opposite position to its namesake. I think all the officers should be kicked out and a realignment with their charter should be taken.

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (-1, Flamebait)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177205)

In practical terms though it's dead. The foundation setup to promote it has abandoned it.. so it's a walking corpse now.. pity, but I'll wait for openoffice to support whatever this new standard is in the next release.

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (2, Insightful)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177227)

Foundation or not, ODF is still an ISO standard, don't forget.

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177333)

Splendid! Who wants to contribute to a foundation to "promote" OOXML?

The only thing that really matters is that developers of products that people use support the format. A foundation is just another entity that has its own peculiar interests to pursue. The importance of a foundation is in who decides to work with it, no more or less. It's just a mechanism for cooperation.
 

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (4, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177459)

Splendid! Who wants to contribute to a foundation to "promote" OOXML?


Miguel de Icaza?

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177943)

Which layer of that is the funny one? Icaza likes OOXML, so it wouldn't make sense that he would "promote" it, in the same sense that the ODF group is "promoting" the ODF standard by dropping it. Is it funny because we secretly suspect his love for open sourcing MS is an triple cross maneuver to bring them down from the outside while appearing to be on the inside? Explanation required.

I think the mods just didn't get the joke, and should be prevented form moderating anything funny. Thats an idea for Taco, if he's lurking around here. Make the categories of moderation, dependent upon how their mods have held up in meta moderation. Some folks might have a skill at modding insightful posts, but have the humor of a wet sponge.

Just in time for halloween (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177345)

The foundation setup to promote it has abandoned it.. so it's a walking corpse now

It's not dead, it's... UNDEAD!

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177377)

so it's a walking corpse now..
So it's in with a chance as the official document format for Plan 9.

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177433)

The foundation setup to promote it has abandoned it

If I founded "The Windows Foundation", promoted Microsoft Windows because it was a very window-y thing, then moved on to promote french doors because they were doors you can see through, Microsoft Windows would die?

The "Open Document Foundation" has to do with open documents not the Open Document Format. They promoted ODF because it was what met their needs at the time, now they're promoting CDF to meet their needs.

Follow the Money (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177307)

that it is a non-profit established to help with Open Document Format

Stop right there. If that is the sole purpose for the organisation to exist, then it makes no sense at all for it to start promoting an alternate format.

The most logical reason for this change of heart I can think of - given that nobody seriously expects "compatability with Microsoft formats" to ever be anything more than a pipedream - is a big bag of cash.

Re:So is ODF (the format) dead, then? (-1, Flamebait)

hritcu (871613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177609)

Yes, ODF is going to die because some f***ing foundation about which no f***ing human heard of decided to get f***ed for money by f***ing Microsoft. And you're next.

Could someone please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177099)

...get me those guys heads ?

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

bakuun (976228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177129)

This, if something, will convince people that Microsoft's competing standard is better for them. Dropping support for the very format that they've been pushing for so hard, so recently?

That will have agencies and large corporations running away from ODF - and any successors - right into the welcoming arms of Microsoft.

I almost hoped that it was April, 1st - but when I checked, it was still October. Damn.

Re:Seriously? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177539)

I almost hoped that it was April, 1st - but when I checked, it was still October. Damn.
Don't worry, the "foundation" that sold-out for Microsoft money is just a bullshit organization with an authoritative name.

Re:Seriously? (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177587)

OpenDocument Foundation is not any sort of official or central proponent for ODF. Looks to me like Microsoft bought this two-man operation off and are attempting to throw in a little more chaos in with the threat to OOXML.

Huh? (5, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177133)

is it April 1st?
Is this posted on theonion?
is taco drunk in charge of a keyboard?
has darl got a new job?

How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177263)

How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?


This was my first thought: How much did MS pay off the OpenDoc Foundation?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177455)

How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?
Or a reacharound, as may be the case here.

Oh, My - What will PJ say? (2, Interesting)

eer (526805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177147)

Looking forward to reading her reaction on Groklaw...

someone wake me up please (0)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177153)

a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML
WHY? OOXML is not an open standard if they include obfuscated word 97 sh@t in it ...

Re:someone wake me up please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177711)

This is the internet, you're allowed to fucking swear you shithead.

Instability (1, Flamebait)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177191)

It's instability like this that usually plagues proprietary software, not open source software. Even if they no longer endorse odf, programs like Abiword, Open Office, and Koffice should still support it. That's the future-proofness of FOSS. In fact, it was stupid, arbitrary changes like this that drove me from MS Office to OOo in the first place, way before I discovered Linux.

While this decision will only hurt them, I do not think that it will undermine the value of odf, nor will it have governments such as South Africa rethink their open source strategies.

Re:Instability (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177305)

"Dear God, hope you got the letter and
I pray you can make it better down here
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer"

Sorry, I just had to...

http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9624.htm [positiveatheism.org]

Boards, Foundations and Working Groups, OH MY! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177197)

This is why having "boards" and "foundations" and "working groups" equals death for free software. They get bogged down, undermined and subverted by politics and beaurocracy.

Re:Boards, Foundations and Working Groups, OH MY! (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177367)

From what I'm reading in other comments, this "foundation" was never meant to promote ODF at all. Basically, it's a couple of shills, probably paid off by MS, who set up this cleverly-named "foundation" to make it appear as if they are some official body in charge of ODF (they're not), just so they could tarnish ODF by speaking out against it and in favor of Microsoft formats. Basically, they're a form of astroturfing.

Re:Boards, Foundations and Working Groups, OH MY! (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177917)

Sadly, Microsoft often doesn't have to pay shills like this. They can sell their services in "promoting compatibility" to third parties who don't know any better.

Witness the career of Meng Weng Wong, who naively cooperated with Microsoft in accepting SenderID into his SPF standard and watched Microsoft's proprietary, patented XML lunacy effectively destroy further SPF deployment, while allowing Microsoft and SenderID to take credit for all the good SPF had already done.

It's like dealing with Wal-mart: you may be forced into doing so in the short term by the need for expansion, but in the long term, it's usually death for you company or your project.

Quote from TFA: (4, Insightful)

rumith (983060) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177201)

"All Sun cares about is its application," Hiser claimed. "Sun never thought of the format as being more important than the application. Sun's position has always been that interoperability with Microsoft formats is outside the scope of ODF."
A solid and justified position, if you ask me. Has this Hiser guy had a heat stroke recently?

Re:Quote from TFA: (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177643)

Especially since MS cares more for its application than the OOXML format too. I smell a buy-off.

Re:Quote from TFA: another quote from TFA (1)

darealpat (826858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177781)

"In a blog posting, Jason Matusow, director of corporate standards at Microsoft, said the new controversy over ODF proves that what really matters are the desktop applications, not the file formats. "When you are speaking about document formats, you are really speaking about an adjunct technology to the applications, which are the real 'solutions' in this discussion," Matusow wrote." So I suppose that Microsoft also shares Sun's position about desktop applications, and experience bears this out. See what are Microsoft's greatest sources of cash, and greatest sphere of influence: Their OS, and their flavours of Office. That latter is what the common man, and the common business worldwide have an exceedingly hard time withdrawing or migrating from. It helps that the document created with said applications cannot be 100% reliably opened with anything other than their applications. it's called "vendor lock", and MS is the item in the dictionary next to the word.

Compat with OOXML??? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177203)

"Hiser noted that the requirements for a universal file format include full compatibility with Microsoft Corp.'s Office formats, including Office Open XML"

Does it matter? (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177211)

If OpenOffice.org, Sun (StarOffice), IBM (Lotus Symphony) and KDE (KOffice) all continue to support ODF, what difference does it make what the Foundation does or says?

Re:Does it matter? (4, Insightful)

DaleCooper82 (860396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177387)

None for you and me and others here... I am afraid though that it will have negative impact on decisions about the format used by corporations, countries (like SA last week?). They want to see support behind whatever format they choose... and well, marketing is (unfortunately) huge player these days... And there will be ODF version of 'Get the Facts' soon. How sad.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177431)

Yes, but ODF un OOX is already enough. If even some document format looks good on paper and concept, it doesn't mean that they missed the train. Actually, I think OOX even did, because no way Office Vista will be universally acepted as old Office releases and lot of people already fine with OO.o/NeoOffice.

So it is just someone's wet dream to add another format in this brouhaha. I even thing it is done intentionally to add confusion. Yes, you can say that it is nuts, but Microsoft have done ANYTHING and then some to have ODF brought down, OOX accepted universally and even corrupted ISO system to push it trough as ISO standard just because they want so.

I guess it talks into volumes that Microsoft can easily use such proxy to move their agenda forward. Unfortunately, I don't believe in any such organistaions which consists from business people, because they only know business, how much it costs, not concepts in long term.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177485)

It gives other people less incentive to implement ODF in their own products. If there is an non-biased organization backing it, the makers of other office suites would be more likely to consider implementing it themselves.

Re:Does it matter? (4, Informative)

hritcu (871613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177509)

What foundation? Never heard about it until now.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177799)

Hopefully and theoretically none, but this decision provides more FUD fuel to discredit claims that ODF and other open standards provide longevity for documents better than corporate closed formats do.

- RG>

Hmm (0, Troll)

evil9000 (72113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177217)

Did Miguel of Gnome have anything to do with this?

Have you been bought, sir ? (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177229)

compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML
what the f**k does that mean ? we are trying to make ODF THE format, we dont care about what ms is pushing or its compatibility. ms should try to make whatever they have compatible with it. they have forced enough stuff to the i.t. world already, its time they adapt their ways to what majority wants.

Re:Have you been bought, sir ? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177417)

Hate to break this to you, but MS is the majority. To the victor go the spoils. Microsoft will have no real reason to implement a standard developed by some arbitrary group of its competitors unless/until many large governments and corporations force them to. Personally, I don't think it will happen. Most people don't really give a shit one way or the other.

Re:Have you been bought, sir ? (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177565)

This is why I use RTF for everything. Everyone reads it. It was originally developed for interoperability. Of course, now Microsoft will have to change it...

Re:Have you been bought, sir ? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177499)

they have forced enough stuff to the i.t. world already, its time they adapt their ways to what majority wants.
Does the majority want ODF support though? It doesn't seem that way.

Everyone's bought (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177575)

The problem for "you" is that Microsoft is the one who has 400 million or so installs of the dominant de facto office suite in the planet. "You" can either try to get them to play nice with you by applying pressure intelligently, or you can organize an exciting jihad to stick it to them. In a make-believe world where companies choose technology based on, well, technical merits and openness, the second approach will usually work. In the real world though, the former option would have been a better idea. But when you have well-paid shills like Rob Weir (courtesy of IBM) and his co-religionists who rarely take a break from hating Microsoft (except for lame attempts at making fun [robweir.com] of Microsoft) it's difficult to get away from the join-us-or-die approach. It just feels so right, I guess.

I'm going OT here but seriously, Weir is just the cat's meow. Every single time Microsoft has challenged his hyperbolic rants and outright lies he's essentially ignored them or just penned some more. He thinks the OpenDocument Foundation is an irrelevant fly-by-night fanboy club (which I guess is possible), but he has no problem quoting obscure African groups [robweir.com] and his groupie bloggers to prop up his "Microsoft is evil and Office sucks and remember, IBM had nothing to do with this post" arguments. If the man spent 1/10th as much time writing some code or documentation as he does bitching about the Office toolbar buttons, ODF would have conquered the world by now.

With people like that at the helm it's not difficult to see why a document format controlled by a single company and an elite group of testy technorati has gotten to where it is now. Not that I think OOXML is a particularly good idea, but at least there's someone out there with the balls to point out that the emperor is buck naked. I guess they better get ready for the DoS attacks, hate mail and death threats.

"we" (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177725)

here are many people in i.t., who actually decide what is going to be used in their respective companies as it people, and many big i.t. companies in the field against microsoft. i dont see any "majority" or "power" on microsoft side apart from being able to grab casual, irrelevant old-age user in a remote state by the balls, because s/he doesnt know jack about computers. these kind of majority dont dictate anything, unless it is during a tea party in a suburb.

Re:"we" (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177843)

No offense, but you've clearly never had a real job at a real company. Your views are commendable, but flawed.

Smells like someone got big check from Microsoft (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177231)

Yeah, another stupid, flaming, fanboyish, conspirancy loving comment.

But...I really don't see any other reasoning here. Compatibility with OOXML?! Last year?! Wtf!

ODF went ISO in 2005. In last year it achieved some kind of visibility because of OOXML ISO fight. What is his arguments?

Thanks a lot, guys. B-( (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177261)

My department has been migrating TO windows .doc format (over my objections) for internal documentation - apparently due to inertia among the managers.

I'm not just annoyed by getting tied to a proprietary format: I'm particularly worried about all the windows tools running, since IMHO our company is a prime target for Spear Phising. (And I know there's been some harvesting going on by ordinary malware because, just today, I got some spam coming in from outside forged to claim it's FROM an internal mailing list.)

I've been pushing for standardizing on an open format - specifically ODF - for some time now. (This has been hard, because the last time I edited a .doc format document with Open Office it broke the hyperlinks, and the last spreadsheet I touched ditto lost a bunch of graph annotation.)

Now the rug gets pulled out from under my credibility (yet again) by the open community itself.

I'm throwing in the towel on this. I'll just sit back and use the Microsoft tools and let IT handle the malware. Open documents can wait until somebody in upper management drives it when it becomes the latest management fad (which probably means when the winter olympics is held in hell). If the company's crown jewels get stolen by a spear-phisher I'm on record for an "I told you so!" and I have enough squirreled away to retire.

Re:Thanks a lot, guys. B-( (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177393)


I've been pushing for standardizing on an open format - specifically ODF - for some time now. (This has been hard, because the last time I edited a .doc format document with Open Office it broke the hyperlinks, and the last spreadsheet I touched ditto lost a bunch of graph annotation.)

Now the rug gets pulled out from under my credibility (yet again) by the open community itself.


This isn't the "open community", this is a group of shills paid by Microsoft who have cleverly selected a name for their "foundation" to make it appear as if they have some power over the ODF standard. Blame MS for pulling the rug.

Re:Thanks a lot, guys. B-( (0)

imemyself (757318) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177577)

Honestly, using .doc makes sense. It is supported by *everything*. All versions of MS Office, all versions of OpenOffice/StarOffice, and by pretty much every other office suite as well. It's not necessarily a wonderful format, but its the least common denominator. You're not going to have to worry if the person you're emailing it to can open it. The same thing can be said for PDF's(which I think is probably a better choice for finalized documents or documents that are being given to the public). I'm not necessarily sure what spear phishing has to do with open/proprietary document formats. And using Linux isn't going to stop people from replying to phishing emails.

Re:Thanks a lot, guys. B-( (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177733)

My department has been migrating TO windows .doc format...
Then they'll be very sad when you move to Office 2007, where .doc has been downgraded in favor of .docx. Yes, you'll still be able to open and view .doc files, but trying to get 200 employees to understand why they can't open Word2007 files on their home copy of Word2003 without downloading the patch is a fucking nightmare.

Re:Thanks a lot, guys. B-( (1)

qedramania (707958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177955)

Ungrounded Lightning sentiment is precisely what this little exercise seems to be about. As other have noted, the Open Document Foundation isn't ODF. The likelyhood of them being agents from dark side whose aim is to increase uncertainty in the public about the viability of ODF is pretty high. Certainly for 2 guys without a garage but a substantial public profile and no other real claim to fame, they fit the bill.

Headlines like the Computerworld one are priceless in the media world and producing the reaction of fear and a sense of defeat in the minds of your opponents is the prize.

W3C is already owned by Microsoft at this time. (1)

expro (597113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177273)

This is just another way of Microsoft getting everything they want with no real influence by others, which is pretty much what has happened for some time now at W3C with many important standards. Look to W3C to relax their requirements further. No one with any sense wants the de-facto MS document standard to become a recommendation. We already have that. It will be telling to see what kind of patent declarations come out of it.

W3C strikes again (1)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177285)

Leave it to the W3C to shit all over an existing standard and introduce/promote a new one for no apparent reason. Why do people even listen to these assclowns?

For me, that makes the decision easy (0)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177291)

That means sticking with Microsoft's solution in the workplace. At least it will have someone guaranteeing support 5 years from now (even if it's crappy support).

I can't believe they bailed on ODF that quickly. Just makes my decision a no-brainer concerning other document standards they push in the future.

Re:For me, that makes the decision easy (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177425)

I can't believe they bailed on ODF that quickly. Just makes my decision a no-brainer concerning other document standards they push in the future.

Who's "they"? This OpenDocument Foundation has nothing to do with ODF the format. They're just some shills paid off by MS who picked a clever name for their "foundation" to convince people like you that they're in a position of authority over ODF, which they're not. They just run around trashing ODF, and get paid under the table by MS to do it.

Re:For me, that makes the decision easy (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177523)

Um, did you not read any of the other comments?

This 'ODF' group is a couple of nobodies with a name that would make trademark lawyers salivate in the proprietary world.

Their decision to to support or not support ODF means about as much to whether or not ODF will be used in five years time as my vote matters on whether or not Mike Smith will be the next president.

Though if people are really dumb enough to fall for a ruse like that perhaps it's time we take a page from the corporate world and force these people to change their name.

They are *nobody* (4, Informative)

paugq (443696) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177339)

"The OpenDocument Foundation", in spite of its name, is nothing. They are not the "official" foundation backing ODF. They are just two guys, with a good name and without a garage, which used to develop a OOXML ODF converter. Read this for more information: Cracks in the Foundation [robweir.com] .

Re:They are *nobody* (1)

seanellis (302682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177441)

Oh, mod parent up, up, up, please.

Is this just a big storm over nothing?

Re:They are *nobody* (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177505)

Wow, that's an eye opener.

Re:They are *nobody* (1)

vogon jeltz (257131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177717)

Right, I'll comment. Not mod.
Parent has it correctly, they're scums.
For further, "official" information see: http://www.odfalliance.org/ [odfalliance.org]

Yet another slow day on /. ?

Some elaboration (5, Insightful)

g2devi (898503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177871)

Actually, it's just three guys:
http://opendocumentfoundation.us/we.htm [opendocume...ndation.us]
Not much of a foundation.

The *real* ODF group is:
http://www.odfalliance.org/memberlist.php [odfalliance.org]

I think that the only honest thing the "The OpenDocument Foundation" can do is rename
itself "The Compound Documents Format Foundation", since to do otherwise would be as
deceitful as Microsoft choosing to name OOXML "Office Open XML". But honestly, I doubt
they will. Their comparison chart between CDF and ODF betrays a few lies:
            http://opendocument.foundation.googlepages.com/GOSCON_Chart.pdf [googlepages.com]
In particular:
* CDF is not OOXML compatible, nor has any implementation shown this to be possible. ODF at least has a not-100% compatible conversion.
* ODF has a lot more big vendor support than CDF
* Neither are universal formats, but ODF is supported by more vendors and software projects at the moment.

Personally, I think that the reasons for "The OpenDocument Foundation" changing it's
support from ODF to CDF is self-interest. When ODF was first introduced, there was
money to be made for a small company to write MS Office/Corel Office/Mac Office plugins
and other conversion services. But then Sun and others started offering free converters
and conversion services. There's just too much competition too quickly

CDF, OTOH is not as well supported universally, so there's a lot more room for
a small company. And if the CDF growth rate is slow, the "The OpenDocument Foundation"
has the chance to become *the CDF conversion experts* and make a lot of money.
Also, since CDF (if you believe their claims) is more web oriented, it would be good
for transactional converters of many types that need to be used for each message.
With ODF, you convert your document once and don't have to worry about going back
(by purpose....ODF is best for documents that have to be read, as is 100 years
from now). The difference in profit between one-time business and licensed per
transaction business could huge, even if CDF has a smaller market.

Crawling in the womb (1)

VeteranNoob (1160115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177349)

I can understand them wanting to give up ODF if only for solid technical reasons.

What gets me is that they feel compelled to create a standard that is compatible with OOXML. I understand why it might be a bonus, but to consider it mandatory is backtracking on the progress that FOSS has taken lately. I no longer see GNU/Linux as following in Microsoft's footsteps; In many respects it has surpassed what Redmond and others have to offer. We've shown that we can innovate.

While I don't completely agree with the mantra of "Linux MUST be usable by the average Joe," I do see this as our chance to make things happen. So why play follow-the-leader again?

Why would vendors take Linux seriously and start supporting it when they see it as a second-rate O/S that has to feed from leftovers?

On another note: Does this give any credence to Microsoft's claims that OOXML is superior to ODF?

Some will find this confusing until... (2, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177375)

Among ODF's weaknesses is its provenance from a specific application and the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar. Merchants of irony will note this is the identical problem that paralyzes the incumbent gorilla's format.


Some will find this confusing until you see the Open Document Foundation's Slogan: Achieving Universal Interoperatability through Open Formats. I think it's dumb that they are trying to create a format that will magically work with all systems instead of pushing all of the systems to work with one format.

You must love Microsoft tactics (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177379)

First, it was disability support. It was shot down.

Second, it was not supported by Microsoft Office. It was shot down too, with developed plugins already available for organisations.

Third, it was "let's have two formats and let's live together peacefully". Yeah, right. Formats don't get accepted by ISO just because there are "very important to keeping in touch with old good ole Microsoft Office".

And finally, we get "interoperability with Microsoft formats" argument. What a croak.

Get this people - truely open document format will NEVER have anything to do with Microsoft Office wet dream to keep domination. NEVER.

Major Faux Pas (0, Redundant)

klui (457783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177385)

Flip-flopping like this won't help ODF/CDF's cause. Better compatibility with OOXML? Why not say ODF will give up and sell itself to OOXML? Someone at ODF got a big chunk of change or something? If CDF is compelling, why not fold CDF into ODF instead? Sorry for all these questions.

Is it possible... (acronyms) (1)

mr_josh (1001605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177419)

Is it possible, or perhaps even likely that the open source community is suffering from an over use and increasing ambiguity of acronyms? I mean, ODF drops ODF for CDF? Hmm.

Re:Is it possible... (acronyms) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177681)

Is it possible, or perhaps even likely that the open source community is suffering from an over use and increasing ambiguity of acronyms? I mean, ODF drops ODF for CDF? Hmm.

None of this has anything whatsoever to do with the open source community.

Reading his words... (3, Insightful)

Skiron (735617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177421)

"Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year."

All he is saying here, in honest truth, is that MS monopoly is allowed to continue.

What ODF was about is OPEN format so that all can produce, create and save documents read by any other. The above statement now concedes that we go back to 'trying' to read a proprietary format designed to lock-in users in a monopoly.

It gets from bad to worse.

This is Sun's Fault (0, Flamebait)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177427)

Blame Sun for this. With a few small additions, ODF could have supported Office formats as well, but Sun would not allow this. Their policy is that ODF will support what is needed for StarOffice, and nothing more. They control the ODF technical committee, and their patent license allows them to stop the ODF TC if the ODF TC goes in a direction Sun does not like.

They did the same thing with Java. If they had let people implement Java as an ordinary language, with platform-specific features, so that I could have used Java instead of C on Windows or Mac for writing Windows or Mac apps, when I want to take advantage of the specific platform, and still have used Java for portable apps when I didn't need platform-specific stuff, Java would have become one of the main languages for application programming for desktop systems. But Sun decided that it must remain pure, and only be usable for the kind of things they wanted it used for (writing portable code), and so we all had to write our non-portable apps in C, and it was usually easier to just write our portable apps in C, too, and use #ifdefs to deal with different platforms, and Java became insignificant on the desktop.

Part of being "open" means letting people do things that you might not like, such as interoperate with Word, or write Mac programs that use Mac features in Java. Sun needs to realize this, and let us use their interesting technology without telling us HOW we have to use it.

Re:This is Sun's Fault (3, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177611)

Java is platform independent for a reason. If they would have allowed platform specific code into Java it would have muddied the waters. People would no longer know when a Java App was for a platform or worked on any platform. Java has the problem of being slower because of it's just in time compiler but this is why Java is also so nice for developing in because you can rid your mind of platform dependant issues and focus on writing the application.

Re:This is Sun's Fault (5, Interesting)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177683)

Blame Sun for this. With a few small additions, ODF could have supported Office formats as well, but Sun would not allow this. Their policy is that ODF will support what is needed for StarOffice, and nothing more. They control the ODF technical committee, and their patent license allows them to stop the ODF TC if the ODF TC goes in a direction Sun does not like.

Citations, please. If you're going to lob grenades like this, you owe it to your readers to offer proof of these accusations. I'm not saying you're wrong — I can see some factions within Sun taking this approach — but it'd be nice if you offered some proof.

Opendocument Foundation isn't related to ODF (5, Informative)

fejes (799784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177437)


The Opendocument Foundation isn't officially related to the OpenDocument standard. They're just a bunch of guys who took the same name so that they could ride on the coattails of the ODF movement, and doing MS's bidding, derail the process... and look, they're trying hard.

Before taking this article too seriously, you might want to read this posting too:
Cracks in the Foundation [robweir.com]

is it complete? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177453)

How complete [or incomplete] is CDF? the last time I checked, ODF still lacked a number of pertinent capabilities.

Isn't the point to be "Open" - not compatible? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177457)

I thought the name "OpenDocument Foundation" would imply their goal is to create a document standard that is open, and can easily enough be implemented in a document editor without having to understand how the universe works just to see what line of code leads to some other line? If thats the case, why the hell are they concerned with being compatible with something that isn't open?

Compatibility is a great bullet to have on your feature list, but I think that instead of trying to play catch-up and only be in second place, they should stick with ODF - or even if they do switch to some other format, that which-ever they go with they market by its own merits (being a truly open standard, for example) instead of trying to become a horrid beast created by a committe that wants to always chase MS (or somebody elses) tail...

Well... (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177537)

At least the chairs are safe?

unacceptable (3, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177601)

ODF an ISO and ECMA standard, and a lot of people have fought hard for both the standard and its adoption. For anybody in the ODF camp to abandon it at this point is unacceptable; any political or technical problems with ODF should have been resolved before

People complain about "the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar". Excuse me, it's an ISO and ECMA standard. There should be "nothing to release", this standard should be cast in stone for at least half a decade. If extensions are needed, there should be an extension mechanism (which, I believe, XML namespaces provide).

And what is supposed to replace it? A non-existent W3C standard? Heck, the W3C hasn't even been able to replace HTML with XHTML; the notion that they can replace ODF/OOXML with CDF any time soon is laughable.

Of course, something like CDF is going to happen eventually; but the proper way of introducing it would have been to emphasize ODF as the near term solution and use it as a bargaining chip to get Microsoft to settle on CDF in the long term. What is going to happen now is that Microsoft is just going to declare OOXML the winner and point at ODF/CDF as another example of how open source and open standards are unstable and can't be trusted.

The ODF is handing Microsoft's OOXML victory on a silver platter. How much did Microsoft buy you all off for?

Re:unacceptable (3, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177811)

You've probably read this in other comments already, but "OpenDocument Foundation" has no official connection with ODF (the format) -- they're just a couple of losers with a grand-sounding name, who apparently got some MS shill money recently.

With XHTML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21177759)

I'm ok an XHTML based standard.

But I would not expect open office or any other app to save to XHTML/CDF for several years.

No-one would abandon one standard before a replacement is available.

 

Ok, I'm confused .. (1)

zrq (794138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21177873)

From the blog :

Among ODF's weaknesses is its provenance from a specific application and the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar.
- Sam Hiser

From the article :

"All Sun cares about is its application," Hiser claimed. "Sun never thought of the format as being more important than the application.
- Sam Hiser

... and from the same article

In a blog posting, Jason Matusow, director of corporate standards at Microsoft, said the new controversy over ODF proves that what really matters are the desktop applications, not the file formats.
- Jason Matusow

... and from the other blog

All of this seems to make the point stronger than ever that when you are speaking about document formats, you are really speaking about an adjunct technology to the applications which are the real "solutions" in this discussion.
- Jason Matusow
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