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 two formats. The one response I received, from Sam Hiser, pointed to an article entitled Interoperability: Will the Real Universal File Format please Stand Up?
The article (and the other related articles in the same publication) was very interesting, well written, and raised some interesting points. Unfortunately, I do not agree that it constitutes a technical analysis of the two formats. There is a great deal of reference to features in OOXML which cannot be implemented by third parties without access to proprietary information from Microsoft, but there are few if any hard examples. The primary examples might be the inclusion of things like autoSpaceLikeWord95 and footnoteLayoutLikeWW8. I cannot see how Microsoft could avoid including items like this in order to support proper rendering of legacy documents. In fact, if Microsoft had not included backwards compatibility support in the specification, I could see them being equally criticized for it. As for implementing these features, this is only necessary if you want to render documents to look like old versions of Word.
Most of the commentary in these articles still comes down to “ODF is good because Microsoft is evil”.
In addition, there is a great deal of argument as to whether having more than one standard is a good thing or a bad thing. It is interesting to me that the open source community is extremely supportive of having alternatives, unless one of the alternatives comes from Microsoft.
So, I repeat my question (and clarify slightly): Does anyone know of an independent, unbiased analysis of these two document specifications?