Open XML versus ODF


I have been reading several articles and blog posts the last while on the approvel process for Open XML in various countries. These include Open XML – US V1 Committee Vote and IBM MotivationsMicrosoft guns Open XML onto ISO fast track, and Open XML Suffers a Setback on the Road to ISO Ratification . Setting aside the name-calling, accusations, insinuations and other vitriol which seems to pervade all discussion involving Microsoft and the open source world, I would like to better understand what the technical justification of ODF over Open XML might be (or vice versa). While I would not claim to be a technical expert in either format (though I know Open XML much better than ODF), the main arguments I have seen in favour of ODF are:

  1. It got here first
  2. It is not from Microsoft

I do not see either of these as useful arguments. Can anyone out there point me to real, meaningful, technical reasons why one is better than the other?

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About

I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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3 comments on “Open XML versus ODF
  1. […] XML versus ODF, Part II Last Thursday, I posted a question about Open XML versus ODF, hoping someone could point me a a real, technical analysis of the strengths and weakness of the […]

  2. Fred says:

    Thanks for the pointers – I look forward to reading them over the weekend!

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Please keep in mind that any opinions, points-of-view, comments, or other content which I post to this site are mine and mine alone. They in no way reflect the views of my employer, my country, my dog, my cat, or anyone else you can think of. To paraphrase Monty Python, "That is the theory that I have and which is mine, and what it is, too."

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