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Microsoft Deprecating Some OOXML Functionality

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the dotting-the-is-crossing-the-ts dept.

Microsoft 138

christian.einfeldt writes "According to open standards advocate Russell Ossendryver, Microsoft will be deprecating certain functionality in its Microsoft Office Open XML specification. Ossendryver says the move is an attempt to quiet critics of the specification in the run up to the crucial February ISO vote. The Microsoft-led industry standards group formally offering OOXML confirms in a 21 December 2007 announcement that issues related to the 'leap year bug', VML, compatibility settings such as 'AutoSpaceLikeWord95' and others will be 'extracted from the main specification and relocated to an independent annex in DIS 29500 for deprecated functionality.'"

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SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845664)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
play mygoatsecity.com here [goatse.ch]

*BSD's Final Christmas (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845702)

Outside this frigid tumble-down shack, dry leaves before the wild winter hurricane fly. Here within, at the corner by the cold hearth rests an empty stool. A crutch without a master stands perched against the wall. These forlorn and lonely objects serve as mute reminders of their deceased owner, *BSD.

This crutch and vacant stool have become orphans, not unlike the now dead *BSD. No longer will *BSD hobble about on its cripple's crutch. Like the empty hearth, and the vacant stool, *BSD lies cold and still. *BSD's corpse, lifeless beneath frozen earth and December snows, will see no more Christmas cheer. No, there will be no Christmas ever again for *BSD, for *BSD is dead.

Goodbye, *BSD. The pain of life forever stilled, sleep for all eternity in that long winter's nap. Fade gently into Earth's frozen bosom where in dreams even cripples walk and blind men see.

Re:*BSD's Final Christmas (0, Offtopic)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846234)

Netcraft confirms it.

Now the waiting game... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845710)

Let's see if anybody changes their mind now that most of the criticisms of OOXML are being addressed. I'm interested to see how many people were opposing it for technical reasons and how many were opposing because it's Microsoft.

The article, for those you don't read it, is definitely in the latter camp.

Re:Now the waiting game... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845760)

Oops, looks like I offended a zealot. 8 minutes from posting to '-1' mod isn't too shabby.

Is it too much to ask people to actually discuss the point instead of modding down people they don't agree with?

Re:Now the waiting game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845854)

You're being modded down for being an obvious troll.

Re:Now the waiting game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845976)

MOD PARENT +5 INFORMATIVE

Re:Now the waiting game... (0, Offtopic)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846154)

Sure, because nobody cares about subtle trolling.

Seriously, the Slashdot moderation feature is there so that a "vocal" minority can hide or boost a comment because they dislike or agree with it respectively. It's a great service for those who prefer other people to do their thinking for them.

Re:Now the waiting game... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21847804)

Please point out my obvious troll! I made a serious point. A lot of people on Slashdot only hate the idea of OOXML because Microsoft wrote it.

Now, are you going to discuss it or hide behind the moderation system?

Re:Now the waiting game... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845978)

The criticism that OOXML is basically unnecessary for anyone other than microsoft still hasn't been adequately addressed. This is like microsoft proposing MicroMiles should be an international standard because they don't control the implementation of kilometers. They could have just contributed to ODF if they were remotely interested in useful standardisation, they were given ample opportunity.

The criticism that the standard may be patent-monopoly-encumbered hasn't been adequately addressed (but that is unfortunately pretty typical of "old" standards bodies like ISO and ECMA and ITU). Really, that's not OOXML-specific, far too many "standards" are unimplementable freely (free licensing should be a basic legal requirement for any national-government-recognised standards but isn't... yet. The baby boomers are trying to get as much corruption in as possible before they become decrepit and we take over and have to clean up their mess).

boomers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846192)

boomers have their faults, but consider some of this

got rid of the draft
got racial and gender equality laws on the books
got us an EPA with some teeth and at least made an attempt to clean up the environment
got us much better product safety laws and awareness
got the alternative energy ball rolling (in fierce opposition from the "greatest generation" oil fatcats (and are still the biggest adopters of same, not x or y generation, who just talk about it)
built the net as you enjoy it today
built all the best early personal computers and did a lot of the best open source programming
the best evar kick ass rock and roll
skateboards
mountain bikes
frisbees .......miniskirts, hmmmm????.......
and, through sheer force of demonstrating numbers, just relentless political action, we got not one but *two* asshole "jerks in chief" to just quit.....

and so on. Gen X gave us ...videogames and the dot bomb economy crash..that was..interesting enough I guess..for drools.....

gen Y got us...tattoos as standard, piercings and youtube....OK,OK, you got one, all the young babes posting their tits on the web is cool enough, score one for gen Y there...we boomers had to make do with seeing it live at concerts and out camping and down on the commune and stuff....man, I tell ya it was rough having to deal with all those horny gypsy princess hippie girls..rough I tell ya ;)

boomers still have some faults,plenty, I am a boomer and acknowledge it (boomers did that ridiculous economy killing outsourcing business movement-we had/have sellout yuppies-we called them preppies or continentals- back then too, MBAs unfortunately infest every generation..we are truly sorry for that...), but until we see some true "planet altering for the good" actions from x or y, your post is at best stones and glass houses

Re:boomers (1)

rkcth (262028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846492)

Don't forget the 9 trillion dollar US federal deficit and the wonderful entitlement programs we'll be paying for, for them. They sure set us up for failure.

Re:boomers (0, Offtopic)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846646)

Just being pedantic, but it's a 9 trillion dollar debt not deficit, a deficit is government spending less government revenue for a given year.

Re:boomers (0, Offtopic)

andy_t_roo (912592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846694)

actually, the deficit is only a few hundred billion per year, about 9 trillion [brillig.com] is indeed the debt.

Re:boomers (0, Offtopic)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847062)

Well as long at it stays in dollars as they are instead of follow the inflation problems that the boomers also made...

By my calculations 9 trillion will be the minimum hourly wage in 2020...

deprecated but widely used by MS software? (5, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845720)

If MS deprecates it but makes support for the deprecated features the default option in their software, they'll still be contributing to people spewing incompatible files that don't render correctly in software following the standards. It'd be better to just rip out the parts that shouldn't be there and resubmit the standard. Having to recognize and either support or report lack of support for a maze of twisty little semi-standard features for sake of backwards compatibility is not going to help the situation much,

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845750)

I disagree. If you add up all of the letters in the words "de facto" and then multiply that by the number of times the phrase "de facto standard" is written, you can see that getting certified as true standard will save massive amounts of disk space, paper, and toner.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846120)

maze of twisty little semi-standard features
Ironic choice of words, since the OOXML "standard" gives me the feeling I'm about to be eaten by a grue.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (4, Funny)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846616)

You are in a Microsoft Office. To the North, is a door, you hear what sounds like chairs being thrown. To the South, you see an open door, but a very dark room.

What do you do?

InnerWeb

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (0)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846930)

I don't know about you, but I'll take my chance with the grue.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847370)

Has miguel proclaimed this new "standard" even more excellent or perfect or whatever yet?

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (0)

MooUK (905450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848162)

Do I have a weapon of mass destruction with me that I can detonate?

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21848398)

go north

You are fighting :

Old man, Flying chair

Pick Target (?=list, [Enter]=First Monster) :

You hit the Old man for 1 damage!
Flying chair hits You for Heavy damage!

You are DEAD!

You have 9 resurrections left today.
You fall to the ground...deadly injured...!
Your adventure ended in pain and misery!
You close your eyes...
Darkness...

Writing scores...

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (-1, Flamebait)

Bafoon (1191427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847468)

until OO gets it act together i really don't care about crying babies whyning about MS. because guess what.almost none of you here will ever write one of these documents by hand.EVER. yet you will bitch about it and scream how much microsoft stinks and how it's doing something evil that actually affects YOUR life. How come must windows users and programmers have no problem with this or OO? For one anything microsoft throws out is well documented and for some reason microsoft actually produces products that work.Especially for developers. Do you actually believe windows developers actually want to touch OO? No. Microsoft is a giant it may have business practices that you don't like.But in the end it makes development easier. Another reason why you linux dwarfs are years behind the competition. Too busy in fighting some imaginary crusade on standards and doing absolutely nothing in implementing it or actually prodicing development tools that would increase the number of developers your platform has. This is why this certification WILL happen.It's just a matter of time when. Microsoft takes care of developers.Developers are the ones who make this who software word turn around.And no matter what some of the anti-microsoft trolls have to say if developers choose 1 standard...that one will stick. Not even Hillary Clinton can change that.You simply can't froce someone to use a standard just because you think it's more fair. It's about documentation, support and tools.And face it...that is a field where microsoft has no competition. Googling up for solutions and looking them up in forums(do i hear linux users trying to say smth?) is not acceptable.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (2, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847710)

It looks like you've used the <LineSpacing_For_IncoherentRanting_like_SteveBallmer_97> tag. That only works in Internet Explorer version 5.51g on a full moon if you squint and hold your mouth just right.

Try using <p> next time. It's standard HTML.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (5, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848022)

Do you actually believe windows developers actually want to touch OO?
Being a Windows developer (I also develop on other platforms, but this is irrelevant) I can tell you that I don't want to touch OOo or Microsoft Office. If I want to generate a document, I want the ability to do it myself if need be and so on. So far, OOXML is not really the solution I've been lucking for. The documentation is appalling, what is considered a very simple document and 'correct' in the specification does not work with Microsoft Office. It's annoying.

But in the end it makes development easier.
Honestly, generating odt, ods documents is easier.

Microsoft takes care of developers.
I don't agree. The MSDN is one huge example. It's great that it has such a vast knowledge base. Unfortunately a third of the documentation contains the wrong behavior and possibly the worst workarounds I have ever seen for a problem with lots of empty promises to fix issues in the future that haven't been fixed. That is how well Microsoft takes care of the developers.

Developers are the ones who make this who software word turn around.
I disagree. Microsoft has been buying out software companies that are a threat, launching extremely anti-competitive campaigns against 3rd party software developers that rival their own products and so on. Microsoft are the ones making the software world go round because they are manipulating everything, not the developers or the consumers.

It's about documentation, support and tools.And face it...that is a field where microsoft has no competition.
Have you even seen Microsoft's support? Staying on the telephone for hours on corporate support to report a serious bug, only to get a idiot who doesn't seem to even grasp Microsoft's own products (and this has been on every occasion I have tried to do anything with the enterprise support). Microsoft does not even provide direct support options to consumers, never mind small-time developers.

Let's see what the Linux side does.

Do they have corporate support? Yes.
Does Microsoft? Yes.
Do they have 24/7 corporate call centers and fast pick up rates? Yes.
Microsoft does not have 24/7 corporate call centers.
Do they have people who know what the hell they're talking about on the otherside? Yes -- I have even got a kernel developer at one point when it came to a serious issue.
Does Microsoft? Well, in my experience - never managed to talk to anyone who seemed to actually know.
Does the regular consumer get support? Yes - obviously paid support is better but there are a lot of free alternatives that appear to be just as good (despite the people who perceive Linux support is 'rtfm').
Does Microsoft? There is a community that provides support on issues, but there is no paid support options offered at all.

Googling up for solutions and looking them up in forums(do i hear linux users trying to say smth?) is not acceptable.
Try researching the subject a little before opening your mouth next time.

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849440)

despite the people who perceive Linux support is 'rtfm


Well, to be fair, Linux man pages is actually useful support, as compared to: "Did you remember to turn on your printer? Did this help? If not, contact your system manager..."

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (3, Informative)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21850712)

Microsoft takes care of developers.
I don't agree. The MSDN is one huge example. It's great that it has such a vast knowledge base. Unfortunately a third of the documentation contains the wrong behavior and possibly the worst workarounds I have ever seen for a problem with lots of empty promises to fix issues in the future that haven't been fixed. That is how well Microsoft takes care of the developers.

+100.

Unfortunate reality is that M$ provides nearly complete (== always incomplete) solutions. Up side is that you can base your business on it. Down side - you are locked into M$ solutions. But you heard that hundred times already. But what everybody's missing is development side: developers working solely on M$ platforms turn slowly into agoraphobic drones who would claim that "M$ is best" just because they do not know anything better.

Many of my versity friends turned into such drones - even most reasonable ones. M$ keeps feeding them with new (presumably better) APIs and they just keep their minds piped directly into their beloved MSDN subscriptions. 5 (or 6?) data base APIs? And M$ still keep printing them. 6 IPC APIs? - OLE, OLE2, ActiveX, COM, DCOM, COM+ - but M$ doesn't stop the printing press.

"Windows is better because it has API [XXX] and [Linux/Mac OS X/etc] doesn't." Explaining people that API does solve Windows specific problem which doesn't exist on Linux nor Mac OS X just doesn't work - because they never touched them. And they will never touch them because they do not have the M$Windows' hundreds APIs. (Recent best example was ASIO [wikipedia.org] - and fact that only Windows does support it.)

Re:deprecated but widely used by MS software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21850518)

Steve,

lay off the crack and put down that chair.

Love,

Bill.

Microsoft deprecates selectivly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21847520)

I assume you mean disparage when you say deprecate. Microsoft indeed often deprecates other vendors' products, but I can't think of any of their own products they've strongly criticized.

Smoke and Mirrors (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845738)

The result of Microsoft's manipulation should be ISO banning MSOOXML from participating in the standards process.

It's abundantly clear now that the format is critically flawed and cannot be implemented by anyone, not even the Office team themselves.

ECMA 376 is a bomb disguised as a standard. It redefines functions and components just to retain ties to the undocumented legacy formats. Therefore a number of things that should be fixed by now, thanks to better engineering, and existing ISO standards, are left not only unfixed, but even perpetuated by ECMA376.
The fact that Microsoft continues to push this fake "standard" shows how little they care about their customers and how much their business is predicated on lockin.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845810)

>The fact that Microsoft continues to push this fake "standard" shows how little they care about their customers and how much their business is predicated on lockin.
As opposed to those wonderfully written standards implemented by products that nobody uses that are being pushed "out of concern for the customer"? Their compassion for humanity is enough to move anybody to tears.

Can't compete? Complain loudly about those who can! LOL

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845990)

As opposed to those wonderfully written standards implemented by products that nobody uses that
I'm not sure if I'd call the 36,000 employees of Sun Microsystems, the employees of Novell, Inc., Ernie Ball Guitars, the 6,000 employees of Health First, Inc., the City of Largo, FL, the State of Nevada, the State University of New York, IBM, and the University of South Denmark, among others [openoffice.org] , nobody. A little company called SCO once mistook IBM for being nobody, and after they sent their Nazgul after them, they ended up filing for bankruptcy.

FYI: (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846040)

Some friends of mine currently work at IBM or did within the last year or two. They all used (Microsoft) Office.

I assume some departments of IBM eat their own dog food, but they definitely don't all do it.

Addenda: (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846050)

To be more clear, they used Office at work. It was the software that their IT department provided/installed for them.

About That... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847154)

Some friends of mine currently work at IBM or did within the last year or two. They all used (Microsoft) Office.

I assume some departments of IBM eat their own dog food, but they definitely don't all do it.

There was, and probably still is, a powerful pro-Microsoft faction at IBM. That said, the office version your friends used, given the timing, was almost certainly not saving documents using MSOOXML.

This is about formats, not software packages. It doesn't matter if people use MS-Office. It matters that the default document format is properly standardised, and not under the control of a single vendor.

Neither is the issue about companies: IBM can use MS-Office all they like; it doesn't have the slightest bearing on this discussion.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (0, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845966)

The fact that Microsoft continues to push this fake "standard" shows how little they care about their customers and how much their business is predicated on lockin.
It is no more a "fake" standard than any other standard. It's a bad standard, but still a standard.

And a little reminder, no one is obligated to use any "standard". They choose to use it, or choose not to use it. And there are a million "standards out there, many of which work the same areas.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846028)

And a little reminder, no one is obligated to use any "standard"
Citation needed. Governments can mandate the use of specific data formats and protocols when communicating with government agencies.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846210)

Don't be a jackass. No one is holding a gun to your head to use any standard. And no government has "mandated" OOXML. This is all just a bunch of anti-M$ fan boys frothing at the mouth. So typical, and the primary reason no one takes you dirty hippies seriously.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846654)

No, not OOXML, but there are plenty of examples around the world of governments requiring you to use a document format to do business with them.

InnerWen

Tax data standards (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848924)

No one is holding a gun to your head to use any standard.
If you don't use the government's pet standard to file tax documents, then the local counterpart of the Internal Revenue Service will hold a gun to your head.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846316)

It is no more a "fake" standard than any other standard.

You may not see a pattern here. I suspect may others will.

  • Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open. Or maybe we could patent something related to this. - William Henry Gates III on ACPI, 1999
  • Screw Sun, cross-platform will never work. Let's move on and steal the Java language. - Prashant Sridharan, MS Visual J++ Product Manager, 1997
  • The first obligation that the ICPs undertook was to distribute Internet Explorer and no "Other Browser" in connection with any custom Web browsing software or CD-ROM content that they might offer - US District Court of Columbia on proprietary HTML extensions, 1999
  • OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new ones, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market. - Vinod Vallopillil, ex-MS Engineer, 1999
  • The first type of conduct found to constitute an abuse consisted in Microsoft's refusal to supply its competitors with interoperability information and to authorize them to use that information to develop and distribute products competing with its own products - EC First Instance Court, 2007
  • We [Microsoft] are OASIS members but since we didn't have an interest in ODF we didn't participate in its development. - Brian Jones , MS Office Program Manager, 2007
This isn't a battle between OOXML and ISO. It is a battle between having document standards and not having them.

Microsoft is trying to wreck the concept of standards and interoperability to a point where those concepts are useless.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846534)

No source = mod down

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (2, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847882)

No source = mod down
I googled the quotations, they exist. Mod grand parent up.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

icknay (96963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848786)

Mod parent up!
In particular, standards are about competition, since it allows you to pluck out one vendor and put in another ... making the vendors to competing on price, features, etc. Microsoft seems to have forgotten how to compete by making technically superior products, and instead tries to just make the competition not happen.

I think the slashdot tribe, in its heart, loves open, bruising competition, with the best technology coming out on top. That's why microsoft has such a terrible rep on slashdot ... they have just gotten accustomed to winning a market by cheating instead of competing, and that deeply irks at the slashdot/geek ethos. I realize it's foolish to try to summarize the slashdot tribe with one word, but I think "competition" is the closest.

About right. (3, Interesting)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845752)

Sounds consistent with the way Microsoft works. Promise the moon and deliver a crater. It was their intention all along. Propose something that smacks everyones senses with a bat, then back off with something that sound more reasonable, even though it is not.

Is it just me ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845820)

Am I the only one that read the story title as "Microsoft Defecating Some OOXML Functionality"?

Certainly seems more appropriate ...

Microsoft excreting standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846054)

Pretty much S.O.P.

Deprecated means forever (5, Insightful)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845834)

In another move to spread more FUD, now they're trying to hide the UGLY part of the specification. But, what use is hiding it? They claim the deprecated features will be used only for the migration of old binary formats, and that they should not be used by new documents... But considering that the whole point of this document format standardization effort is to be able to open any document in 20 or 30 years time, and if the old binary format documents will be converted using deprecated features, that just means that any software implementing the standard will have to support the deprecated features anyway...

Although they keep manipulating, manipulating, and manipulating more, I still think their format stinks, they're only using it to spread FUD over other formats, and I really hope they can't pull this stunt.

Re:Deprecated means forever (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845914)

And VML is used in Office 2007... see this openmalaysia blog post [openmalaysiablog.com] . Marking things as deprecated just means that it's discouraged, and it doesn't mean that there's a modern replacement (like how in HTML FONT was deprecated and it's replacement was CSS functionality). VML is still a necessary part of OOXML, so marking it as deprecated doesn't actually help developers. What would help them is if DrawingML could be used in all the places that VML can be. Infact, as the CNS (Microsoft's covenant not to sue) specifically excludes patent coverage over non-required features this means that we may now be lacking patent coverage over VML. Can anyone from Microsoft comment on this? (the Microsoft OSP might grant coverage if that "Necessary Claims" means normative, as they claim)

Re:Deprecated means forever (fixing broken link) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846908)

The correct link is here: http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2007/06/is-vml-in-or-ou.html [openmalaysiablog.com]

I see you have it as .htm instead of .htmnl; which results in a 404.

404 (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847288)

That URL isn't working.

Re:Deprecated means forever (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846036)

But considering that the whole point of this document format standardization effort is to be able to open any document in 20 or 30 years time, and if the old binary format documents will be converted using deprecated features, that just means that any software implementing the standard will have to support the deprecated features anyway...
... though Office is currently the only major implementation of OOXML, so the only reason Microsoft is deprecating the features instead of removing them is to save the developers time and the end-users the "hassle" of downloading and installing an update.

Re:Deprecated means forever (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846682)

They claim the deprecated features will be used only for the migration of old binary formats, and that they should not be used by new documents...

Someone help me out here, for real. I think I'm missing something. What is the point of those ridiculous "backward compatibility" tags? Word's never been good enough for pixel-perfect rendering. For example, printing the same document on different printers hasn't ever been likely to give the same output. So, what on earth is the justification for maintaining a "renderLikeWord95" tag when that was never well-defined to begin with?

If the <foo> attribute originally meant "centered, bold, double-spaced", then just make the importer translate it to something like "<textblock align="center" weight="bold" height="200%"> text goes here </textblock>". Forget bug compatibility. That's a dying horse and needs killed now before we end up with something like the loose HTML parsing nightmare that browser designed are stuck with. Who cares how the document originally displayed on the original machine? MS never did before today.

Don't hide those tags - delete them. There is no rational explanation other than lock-in for having them, and as long as they're around, the IT world will know this is a joke.

Re:Deprecated means forever (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847280)

Actually, I've looked into the way that Microsoft Windows does printing. It's a bit more complicated than this, but basically you open a DC (device context), paint onto the DC and then submit to the printer driver. After this it's up to the printer driver to print correctly, not for the app to try to get around driver deficiencies.

Thus, if there is a specific way that rendering works in Word '95 that is different to Word 2007, correct it while painting it to the DC. If the printer driver doesn't work, then it's likely that nothing prints properly on the printer anyway. In that case, tell the printer manufacturers to fix the driver. Of course, you have next to no chance of getting that to happen...

However, I do agree that a transform would almost always be better than specific tags to get around bugs like the ones you describe. However, what if it's a quirk that isn't so easy to work around? Say for instance the 1900 leap year bug. How would you get around that? I don't think it would be very easy. It would be best to do what MS are doing: use the tag to denote the issue. The program that interprets the file can then choose what to do with the bug - most sensible apps would by default ignore the bug, and let the user say whether to cater for the issue.

Re:Deprecated means forever (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849932)

Say for instance the 1900 leap year bug. How would you get around that?

Don't transform given dates, use those given (as opposed to those calculated). If there's any computation that crosses that bug, such as day-of-the-week before 1900 or number of days between dates on opposite sides of 1900, recompute it with the correct result. Add a comment that the original document included such and such calculation with the incorrect result.

Just because there's a mistake in the original implementation doesn't mean you should codify that mistake.
Just because there's a mistake in the original document doesn't mean you should ignore that mistake.

Re:Deprecated means forever (1)

replicant108 (690832) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847760)

Why include 'deprecated features' in a new standard anyway? Why not just remove them altogether?

A superb standard (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845860)

I'd just like to remind everyone that OOXML is a superb standard.

-- Miguel

Re:A superb standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845890)

OOXML is an oxymoronic standard. It is propagated and defended by (oxy)morons.

Re:A superb standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846936)

Which has become a deprecated comment on a deprecated standard.

Re:A superb standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21847912)

I totally agree. OOXML is and will be the best standard for the current millenium. Only these /. Linux-freaks want to destroy all that is Officely.

Can't hear you, blasphemers.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845878)

According to Merriam-Webster, "deprecate" doesn't seem to equate with "remove." Maybe I'm missing something.

Function:
        transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
        deprecated; deprecating
Etymology:
        Latin deprecatus, past participle of deprecari to avert by prayer, from de- + precari to pray -- more at pray
Date:
        1628

1 aarchaic : to pray against (as an evil) b: to seek to avert
2: to express disapproval of
3 a: play down : make little of b: belittle disparage

Re:Nope (1)

Sterling Christensen (694675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846212)

In software, deprecate means to officially warn that they're planning to remove the feature in question later - after everyone else (like other software that might assume said feature is present) has had a fair chance to prepare for its removal.

In a standard, deprecated can mean something like it does for software, or it can refer to stuff that's optional or old and that usually has an alternative you're encouraged to use instead.

What about... (2, Funny)

larpon (974081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845880)

the AutoSpaceMonaLisasGapBetweenHerTeethButOnlyWhenShesSmilingLikeWord95BBQ compability?

AutoSpaceLikeWord95 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21845886)

> settings such as 'AutoSpaceLikeWord95' and others will be extracted

Lets just hope they keep the 'WaveYourArmsInTheAirLikeYouJustDontCare' setting.

Re:AutoSpaceLikeWord95 (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21850482)

I'm more interested in the PartyLikeIt's1999 setting... they seem hell bent on keeping that one around as long as possible.

How is OOXML good anyone but Microsoft? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845900)

I've done quite a bit of reading, and listening on the topic of OOXML, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no good (at least of the technical kind) in OOXML. Yet, people seem convinced that Microsoft is a "good" company. And a good company wouldn't actively push something that was obviously without any good for the industry... so I must be missing something. I generally just think that it is for the purpose of profit and control, but every now and then I like to give opposing views a chance - since I may be the one wrong.

Re:How is OOXML good anyone but Microsoft? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846568)

Just like people who buy their phone and internet from the biggest company they know.
As far as they are concerned, they are getting the best deal and there arent any compeditors.

They simply dont know any better.

Re:How is OOXML good anyone but Microsoft? (1)

pojo_rising (1050134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846794)

Yet, people seem convinced that Microsoft is a "good" company.

I, for one, am completely convinced.

"What's good for msft, is good for America" (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848134)

Catch 22, remember? Milo, msft, what's the difference?

Re:How is OOXML good anyone but Microsoft? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849366)

I think what you mean is that you've done a lot of reading and listening to those that have a political or financial stake in the outcome of the OOXML standardization.

Has it ever occured to you that listening to people like Rob Weir or Andy Updegrove might only give you part of the story?

Re:How is OOXML good anyone but Microsoft? (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21850638)

The office suite with 90% marketshare is moving to a documented, text-based format. And you can see NO technical good in it at all?

Perfect example about how the zealotry surrounding this issue has blinded people into utter stupidity.

This is an unsurprising move (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845936)

Just like with Vista, they just drop features until it's "releasable."

Here's the obvious problem:

They will claim a feature is deprecated, or not part of the spec, but their software will continue using it. Meanwhile, other programs that try to read and write OOXML format following the "official" spec, will result in the documents created or edited by other programs not being fully compatible with MS Word. This will be seen by the user community as a deficiency in the alternative software and no as a problem with Microsoft's software.

We have seen this before and we continue to see it. People think that because a web site works with MSIE and doesn't work with Firefox that there's a problem with Firefox... Microsoft continues to damage the competition in this way and will persist in the same. I hope that the voters in the ISO decisions are aware of this potential problem.

Re:This is an unsurprising move (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849330)

If microsoft if really serious about getting this in a standard, we need legal documents saying their software will remove the features, then the features removed from the standard, not getting them removed from the standard.

I can almost guarantee this... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845952)

'AutoSpaceLikeWord95' and others will be 'extracted from the main specification and relocated to an independent annex in DIS 29500 for deprecated functionality.'

...that, that so called deprecated functionality will be "re-introduced" in an update to enhance the user experience and security at some later date. When this happens, part of hell will break lose and we'll be back here at Slashdot debating this and that.

Re:I can almost guarantee this... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21849358)

You call this giant circle jerk around an anti-MS story a debate? It's about 2000 linux geeks all agreeing with eachother, all posting the same thing, just like the past 10 years, along with a few dozen trolls egging them on for fun. Real debate requires opposing view points, and occasionally new thoughts and ideas. Slashdot posting stories like this reads like Fox News pandering to their base with scary stories about mexicans coming to take 'der joooooooooobs.

How about a better description? (0)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21845982)

I'll take the grammar Nazi hit..."deprecating"? One usually deprecates oneself in every use I've ever read. While the use might be technically correct it certainly isn't current usage. I'd think "minimizes" or "plays to lowest common denominator" might be a whole lot more understandable.

From m-w.com

"Entry Word:
        deprecate
Function:
        verb

Text: 1 to express scornfully one's low opinion of -- see decry 1 2 to hold an unfavorable opinion of -- see disapprove"

bah...humbug...

Re:How about a better description? (1)

nebosuke (1012041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846136)

'Deprecate' has a precise, relevant meaning when talking about specifications. It basically is a polite way to put all people who depend on a specification (or implementation thereof) that a certain feature is slated to be removed at an arbitrary time in the future. This is done so that developers, integrators, etc., can migrate away from the deprecated features before they are removed, allowing a smooth transition.

Re:How about a better description? (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846140)

"Deprecate" is also technology jargon that means "to mark as obsolete." How you could be a Slashdot reader and not be familiar with that usage, I cannot understand.

Re:How about a better description? (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846396)

"Deprecate" is also technology jargon that means "to mark as obsolete."

I'm not the first one to observe this, but ... how can you obsolete an element of a standard when it has never been part of the standard?

Re:How about a better description? (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847690)

how can you obsolete an element of a standard when it has never been part of the standard?

MS Office [11] is the standard. OOXML is just the cliffnotes.

Re:How about a better description? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21847664)

Or, as in this case, "deprecated" simply means "proprietary".

Re:How about a better description? (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849490)

""Deprecate" is also technology jargon that means "to mark as obsolete." How you could be a Slashdot reader and not be familiar with that usage, I cannot understand."

In twenty plus years of IT I have never, ever heard deprecate used in relation to IT. Of course, I'm an admin/server guy so I'm pretty focused on care and feeding of the servers and users. As far as standards go I only nibble on the periphery. I guess maybe I could pull my head out the literary works where I'm used to seeing the word and expand into some more technical works... Apologies to the folks who follow standards issues and use deprecate in a way that is somewhat esoteric. As a side note, I couldn't find any definitions for the IT usage in any of the major dictionary sites, just wikipedia and tech sites.

Re:How about a better description? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21850398)

Much like the abuse of "legacy" when the real meaning is "obsolete" has deprecated that originally quite appraising word ;-)

Will these be removed from MICROSOFT OFFICE? (3, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846068)

It is highly doubtful that the "deprecated functionality" will be removed from Microsoft Office. Therefore if they get the revised OOXML passed as a standard, anyone who uses Microsoft Office based on its claim to be OOXML will have been the victim of a bait-and-switch tactic.

But I suspect that was the goal all along. Orgs that just wanted to use Microsoft Office in the first place would be able to say "see, this is open" and keep doing what they were doing.

Well, at least it's somewhat documented, making it somewhat easier than .doc/ppt/xls for the free world to reverse engineer.

Sneaky? (5, Insightful)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846104)

This seems sneaky to me. Remove controvesial stuff from the standard, but put it in an Annex, that MS will implement and people will rely upon left and right, so it will become a de-facto microsoft embrace-and-extend standard.

I really try to fight the kneejerk anti-microsoft sentiment around here, but lordy, all of their moves seem so calculated and evil. It's not just single actions, it's a pattern of actions. Humans are great at recognizing patterns. And even with good moves and bad moves, one can generally see a positive attitude behind Google, for example (some may disagree, but I think the general consensus is that they're not dastardly.) But with MS, every move seems like a piece of a puzzle showing a nasty, calculated, aggressive, anti-competitive entity. Everything seems consistent with that. The way the US rolled over on everything for political reasons is shameful. Hopefully the EU will right some of those wrongs, at least in part of the world.

I guess to try and find the bright side, one could say "at least it's documented" (without an exorbitant fee and crazy restrictions, like SMB et al.)

Re:Sneaky? (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846916)

Humans are great at recognizing patterns.

Whether or not the pattern so recognized actually exists.

Re:Sneaky? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847654)

Which is why you need scientific experiments to verify that you're not imagining things.

In the case of Microsoft there have been several courts engaged in the legal equivalent, establishing that those patterns do exist.

Microsoft Deprecates ... Functionality (1)

j_w_d (114171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846542)

But, of course! What else could they deprecate?

Re:Microsoft Deprecates ... Functionality (1)

Teisei (1172661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847264)

True, but they'll run out of that soon.

ep... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21846628)

by simple 7ucking disgust, or been iirecoverable hand...don't windows, SUN or election to the

The big problem with this (4, Informative)

jafoc (1151405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21846868)

IMO there's nothing wrong with the decision to deprecate some of the most revulsive misfeatures of OOXML, but there's the very real problem that this could lead some people (in particular in the national standardization bodies that will have the opportunity in March to change their vote about OOXML) to think that these relatively minor changes somehow make OOXML suitable for acceptance as a "standard".

If you agree that this is a real risk, and you're willing to help with doing something about it, please join us at OpenISO.org [openiso.org] and help put together a "problem report" document about OOXML that explains the main issues clearly.

Re:The big problem with this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21848810)

I won't join your site, but I have a problem with the Introduction and its restatement later in the Goals section. Feel free to quote, copy, take credit for, or in any other way use, disuse, or fail to use, the following as it is now in the public domain.

Introduction
The goal is to enable the implementation of the Office Open XML formats by the widest set of tools and
platforms, fostering interoperability across office productivity applications and line-of-business systems, as well
as to support and strengthen document archival and preservation, all in a way that is fully compatible with the
large existing investments in Microsoft Office documents.


The stated goal is to create a standard compatible with a single vendor's single product. I'd say that alone disqualifies it as a standard. Even if they change the wording, they would have to explain why they included this verbiage in the first place. Note the rewording under the Goal:

2.1 Goal
The goal of this clause is to define conformance, and to provide interoperability guidelines in a way that fosters
broad and innovative use of the Office Open XML file format, while maximizing interoperability and preserving
investment in existing files and applications (4). By meeting this goal, this Standard benefits the following
audiences:
  • Developers that design, implement, or maintain Office Open XML applications.
  • Developers that interact programmatically with Office Open XML applications.
  • Governmental or commercial entities that procure Office Open XML applications.
  • Testing organizations that verify conformance of specific Office Open XML applications to this
    Standard. (Note that this Standard does not include a test suite.)
  • Educators and authors who teach about Office Open XML applications.


Two things. The goal mentioned in the introduction is reworded from "existing investments in Microsoft Office documents" to "existing files and applications", which sounds more interoperable but it really isn't. Also, by meeting this goal, this standard benefits.... drumroll... people who are forced to use Open XML. This goal could be achieved simply by using the standard proposal as documentation of the file format, and forgo the whole OOXML standard because its stated goal has already been achieved.

To summarize: unless there are other unstated (hidden) goals, which most likely would benefit Microsoft, there is no outside benefit to having this be a standard. If there are other, more beneficial goals, they should be discovered and listed.

If the goal truly is to "support and strengthen document archival and preservation", it would make more sense not to just deprecate AutoSpaceLikeWord95 or the other black box definitions, but to actually create definitions which specify the exact behavior, as has been noted elsewhere. Otherwise the standard does not meet its own stated goal. And an added benefit would be to wrap this spacing definition in some sort of grouping to show that these measurements and behaviors are all one entity - in other words, if you remove or ignore this spacing information, you should do it as a group, not just ignoring one part of it because your application does not implement that section. There is simply no way to "support and strengthen document archival and preservation" by leaving such definitions undefined. That is exactly the opposite of its stated goal.

One other part that bothers me is "in a way that fosters broad and innovative use of the Office Open XML file format". Not for convenience or clarity, but to make more people use the Microsoft format. In other words lock-in, or the transition between embrace and extend.

The only reason that ODF cannot be a direct replacement for OOXML, and why ODF cannot serve to achieve the stated goals for OOXML, is that ODF does not support some of the features of Office documents. This could easily be rectified of course, more easily than having two standards, one of which is a single-vendor, single-product compatibility layer.
http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/features.html [sourceforge.net]

I will sign this as "b4dc0d3r" if you prefer to make attribution but that is extremely unspecific, intentionally so.

The debate is maturing (2, Interesting)

digipres (877201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847016)

Nice to see that the comments thread on OOXML is shrinking as the debate matures. Of course that means that the usual trolls are either bored or on holidays but I think that we may collectively be starting to better understand what's going on.

I attended the UNSW Cyberlaw centre forum on OOXML http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/2007/ooxml/ [cyberlawcentre.org] as an interested observer and I liked what I saw. Smart people engaged in a positive discussion. Yes, the viewpoints were polar, but the words were civil and a real exchange of ideas took place.

Pia Waugh was an organiser of the event and had this to say about it: http://tinyurl.com/32zfsr [tinyurl.com]

Roll on the BRM in Geneva and may reasoned debate rule over Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

--

digipres, a No voter

Re:The debate is maturing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21847806)

Danger, myminicity link.

Re:The debate is maturing (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848142)

Danger, myminicity link.
No, GP doesn't have a myminicity link in it.

Nice try at stopping people reading them though - I assume you couldn't come up with anything real to say.

Clear evidence OOXML is crap (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21847298)

The format is, in effect, still in development and there is already an independent annex dedicated to deprecated functionality. How exactly is it possible for a decent format to have deprecated features even before it exists?

While we're at it... (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21848822)

Well, While we're at it, why not deprecate the whole shit and get the problem solved for good?

Just wait (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21849924)

In a moment now he will start worrying about precious fluids.
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