ISO Rejects Microsoft’s OOXML as Standard
The title is somewhat misleading – OOXML was not rejected as a standard, but the attempt to fast track its approval failed. This is a good thing. While a setback for Microsoft, it now will allow some of the comments raised against the specification to be addressed before a new vote occurs.
Unfortunately, it means we get to listen to much more of the ODF vs OOXML, “Microsoft is evil” babel.
Such is life.
I read Eight compelling reasons why you should not even think of using Office 2007, and I think I would like to respond to these “eight compelling reasons”.
- New default file formats? Microsoft offers the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack so that users of Office XP and Office 2003 can work with the new file formats. I am not really worried about OpenOffice, since I do not know anyone who uses it. If you really need to, save as .DOC or PDF from within Office 2007.
- OOXML is Evil? FUD from the open source, anti-Microsoft crowd. While I do not support fast-tracking OOXML (or anything else) through ISO, the rest of the rhetoric is just noise propagated (largely) by Microsoft’s competitors (remember, they are in this to make money, too).
- The learning curve? The learning curve on the UI is minimal, unless you are a potato.
- Need too much hardware? I am running quite nicely on a 2 year old Tablet PC with a 1.5 GHz Centrino, and 1 gb of RAM. Hardly a high end machine.
- You will get viruses? More FUD. The DOCX format is safer than the .DOC format.
- Open Source is Good for the World? This is a philosophical opinion. If that is the way your philosophy points you, then by all means, stick with OpenOffice.
- You have to pay for it? No argument there – if you cannot afford to buy it, don’t buy it.
- It is proprietary? More FUD. Apple is worse the MS in terms of being proprietary, but no one cares, right?
Just my thoughts. Cheers
This article has some good thoughts about the weaknesses of OOXML. I am not sure I agree with all of the author’s conclusions, but it is definitely worth reading if you are interested in the OOXML standardization debate.
I found this post by Mark Shuttleworth interesting and well written (I found it after reading a ZDNet article referencing it – I will not link to it, since the ZDNet blogs do not seem to handle trackbacks) Emerging consensus in favour of a unified document format standard?
I agree with a number of things in this post.
Is Microsoft investing heavily in getting OOXML accepted? I would be pretty sure they are – I would be.
I agree there are technical issues with the current OOXML spec, based upon what I have read elsewhere. I do not believe that these issues are a reason to abandon the spec, only that “fast-tracking” the spec without fixing them is wrong. The OOXML spec should go through as much review as is necessary to satisfy the standards bodies that it is ready.
I agree that ODF supporters (and other OOXML opponents) should make their opinions known in a technically meaning full way to their representatives on the standards bodies.
I also believe that supporters of OOXML should do the same.
I still disagree with the belief that there must be one “standard”. It still seems strangely ironic to me that the open source community is very much in favour of having alternatives, as long as the alternatives do not come from Microsoft.
Well? No, I am not talking about politics, war, or religion (though I guess I could be). I am talking about the software/technology business. There are days the whole business just annoys the crap out of me. Let me step back a bit…
I was just on Google Reader, reviewing my various RSS feeds – specifically my Digg feed. I know I should stay away from that feed, but I just cannot seem to – it is like watching Fox News, or listening to clips from Howard Stern, even though I know something in there is going annoy me, bug me, disgust me or otherwise create negative feelings, I just cannot resist looking.
What typically ticks me off on Digg is a post (usually more than one) on the following ongoing us-versus-them arguments:
- Linux versus Windows
- Mac OSX versus Windows
- Open Source versus Microsoft
- Open Source versus any commercial software
- ODF versus Open XML
- Java vs C++ vs .NET versus any other language
- Dynamic languages versus any other languages
- Web Applications versus Desktop Applications
- And many many more
At any given time on Digg, on blogs, and in the “regular” press, you can find lots and lots of people blathering on about these subjects. Sometimes, you can even find me blathering on about them. Most of these posts are characterized by the following:
- They are poorly written, grammatically incorrect, etc.
- They are very emotional, and often hate-filled (and occasionally filled with colourful metaphors)
- They are low on factual information
- They imply (or more often, openly state) that anyone who disagrees with the post is so completely stupid that they do not deserve to live
Here are a few examples: So you think that Microsoft’s Open Office XML is ‘Teh Shiznitz’?, Virtualize Windows on Linux? Microsoft Says No Way!, Surprise: Microsoft not so ‘open’ after all?, Is the era of Microsoft Ending?, and a lot of the VistaSucks blog.
There are days that I feel if I hear/read/see one more of these stories, I am going to trash my computer, tie my belongings in a kerchief on the end of a stick and become a hobo. In a more productive vein, I would like to suggest the following guidelines:
- Use whatever OS you like. If you like Linux, use Linux. If you like Windows, use that. Same for OSX. Heck use CPM if you want.
- If you are a programmer, use whatever language you want, or which makes sense for a given project. If your employer will not let you use the language you like, stop whining and get a new job.
- If you like MS Office, use it. Same for OpenOffice or StarOffice.
- If Web Applications make sense for you, use them. If you like desktop apps, use them.
- Whatever you use for whatever you do, please shut up about it, and stop trying to convert everyone in the world to your point of view!
This post Apple Beats Microsoft at its Own Open XML Game and PC World article to which it refers are both mostly just more Microsoft-bashing fluff.
It is very interesting to me, however, that Apple has implemented programs which are able to read Open XML format documents. Given that one of the major complaints from the ODF camp is that the Open XML specification is too large and complicated, and contains references to Microsoft proprietary material, making it impossible or impractical for anyone except Microsoft to implement.
How do they answer Apple’s apparent ability to import and display Open XML documents?
Also, a question for anyone actually using the Apple programs – how is the format fidelity when importing these documents?