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Microsoft IT

Patent Threats In OOXML 109

Posted by kdawson
from the rush-to-judgement dept.
An anonymous reader notes an initiative by the New Zealand Open Source Society to weigh in on the question of standardizing Microsoft's OOXML. The organization has authored a white paper (available in several formats, HTML here) laying out the ways in which the OOXML spec falls short of what a standard should be. From the article: "'If OOXML goes through as an ISO standard, the IT industry, government and business will [be] encumbered with a 6,000-page specification peppered with potential patent liabilities' said New Zealand OSS President Don Christie. 'Alarm bells are going off in many parts of the world over OOXML. Normally ISO draft standards would be drawn up by a number of stakeholder organizations, involving an often slow process of consensus building and knowledge sharing. Since many aspects of the office document format remain proprietary, OOXML has not taken this development track.'"
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Patent Threats In OOXML

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  • by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:28AM (#20283637) Homepage
    While I'm not certain this is part of an overarching strategy by Microsoft, it's articles like these that make it hard to take them seriously when they claim to want to standardize. First it was just "embrace & extend," now it's this mess with patents.

    In my opinion, the right solution to these patent problems is eliminating software and/or business process patents.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:55AM (#20283791)
      One another option is -

      1. Cost of patenting based on the wealth of the patentee. This should help the small garage inventor + actual real good innovations. Patent trolling will be less effective.
      2. Patent to be supported by product within a period of 3 years. It is the responsibility of the patent holder to provide proof that a product that was created by his patent has been made after 3 years. This product has to be a) made by the patent holder or b) the patent holder has given license to the company which creates it. Otherwise the patent lapses. This would again take care of the patent trolls + help actual good inventions
      3. The cost of patent to be borne across the years. Every 5 years the patent has be re-issued with quite a high fee (again based on the wealth of patentee). This means that only good useful products are under patent for the complete duration of the patent. This again will support the basic idea of patenting, i.e. really good useful ideas not to be kept under wraps, and not the small ideas.

      I guess these ideas should help modify the patent system so that
      a) Patent office gets more money which means more people, which means better results
      b) Small guy inventor is supported
      c) Real good ideas can be patented for the whole duration
      d) Company still can work freely without struggling with frivolous patents, while producing real good products under patents themselves.
      • by splict (1024037) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:24AM (#20284339)
        While you have some interesting ideas, I can't see them working in practice. They generally rely on different charges for patents based on the size of the company. Unfortunately, bypassing this is trivial.

        1. Start a new company
        2. Patent something
        3. License patent to big company
        • That might be catched by making the big company pay up for the difference in wealth from the old owner, but something a little more subtle may just work fine, like acting like a proxy. If a small frontend for a big company asks for high fees to license a patent, the big company can pay up no problems as it's a transfer of funds from one branch to the other. The competition has to pay an inflated price. Or doing something similar, like the way SCO made a big favour to M$ bluffing big time about linux.
        • Perhaps a fee could be charged for actually using the patent in a product; the fee would be proportional to the wealth of the user.
        • How about Patents must be owned by a real person e.g. not a corporate "person".
      • A better iea than #3:

        ALL patents and copyrights expire after 5 to 7 years and are NOT renewable by amyone. After 5 to 7 years EVERYTHING is in the public domain. And software/business process pattents are eliminated completely. AND, if a corporation buys a patent, or a copyrighted work, that does NOT extend the patent/copyright period...it still goes public domain 5 to 7 years after the ORIGINAL release/publishing/grant date, NO MATTER WHAT. Patented inventions must be in production within 2 years of th
        • by Nullav (1053766)
          I agree with most of what you said on patents, though I feel the owner should have the full 5-7 years to produce a product.
          As for copyrights, I feel that they should last 20-40 years for long books and 10-20 years for more 'disposable' works such as 3D models, music, films, and software, with unaltered or slightly altered photographs and instructional works ineligible for copyright.
          After the copyright expires, the author should merely be required to publish the source of the last five major revisions with a
      • by DeICQLady (150809)

        1. Cost of patenting based on the wealth of the patentee.

        Almost all USPTO fees are different for SME (small-medium sized) and large entities.

        2. Patent to be supported by product within a period of 3 years.

        This would be hard for the "small garage inventor" would it not? Depending on the market for which there may be a need, an inventor could be sitting on a patent for 17 years before a A-Large-company realizes it is something they need (in certain cases this is regardless of whether the inventor promotes it or not). So this may actually end up hurting the inventor.

        3. The cost of patent to be borne across the years.

        One must pay maintaince fees 3.5, 7.5 and 12.5 years after

      • by Nullav (1053766)

        2. Patent to be supported by product within a period of 3 years. It is the responsibility of the patent holder to provide proof that a product that was created by his patent has been made after 3 years. This product has to be a) made by the patent holder or b) the patent holder has given license to the company which creates it. Otherwise the patent lapses. This would again take care of the patent trolls + help actual good inventions

        But why would I bother paying for licensing if I could just wait three years

    • by legirons (809082)
      "While I'm not certain this is part of an overarching strategy by Microsoft, it's articles like these that make it hard to take them seriously when they claim to want to standardize"

      Their lack of support for ODF didn't make that clear?
      • even without cosidering ODF as proof, the alternative to "itsatrap" is: "Microsoft wants to give the world a free open and interoperable standard that makes it trivial for MS user base to migrate to alternative implementations".

        I'd rather believe "Osama Bin Laden wants to become a nun".
        • Especially since their Office line of products is their one cash cow. Their other stuff... not so great (the Web, Windows, Xbox).
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:41AM (#20283713)
    MPEG-4 would be an excellent example. It is an open standard, but has a whole lot of patents covering it. Open standard doesn't mean no cost, and it doesn't mean patent free. It means three things:

    1) The format is open and not subject to change/closure at the whim of a company (generally controlled by a standards body).

    2) It is available under a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license. The two subsets of that are:

    a) Reasonable. The fees required are in line with whatever it is. It's not a "Oh you want a license for that video codec? Ok $1,000,000 per player, no cap." That's clearly unreasonable and designed to keep people from licensing it.

    b) Non-discriminatory. This means that you have to license to all comers. You can't decide you like what this company is doing but not this other company. Anyone who pays the moneys get the licenses.

    3) All patent holders have agreed that the format can use their parents and that the only compensation they'll get is from those fees.

    That's it. There are plenty of open standards that are indeed not free. Do not confuse open standard and open source. This is where the legal issues relating to MPEG and such with Linux come in to play. MPEG LA allows source only works for no licensing fee, but if you want to actually compile and use that, you need to pay a fee. If you don't, you are technically breaking the law. Thus for a Linux distro to include it without paying a fee could be a problem. The developers of the distro could pay if they wanted, it is about $100,000 for an unlimited license, but if they don't then it is a problem. That money is to pay the patent holders. Despite being an open standard, MPEG-4 is covered by about 28 PAGES of patents.
    • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:03AM (#20283823)
      Given that there are two competing potential standards and one has patents and the other doesn't then why should ISO choose the one with patents? Of course it also doesn't help that one standard is 600o pages long and can only be 100% implemented by MS.

      Clearly the ISO bodies are being corrupted (packed) by MS and I really don't understand why. MS has never obeyed any standard and they will not obey this one either. Why does ISO even pretend that MS has respect for standards? Why do would they ratify a standard which will immediately be extended by MS?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412)
        ISO makes money by creating standards - the more standards they create; the more money goes into ISO.

        But why there are so many there that wants to create an bad standard ?
        Dont ask me that.
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday August 19, 2007 @03:31AM (#20284147)

        Clearly the ISO bodies are being corrupted (packed) by MS and I really don't understand why. MS has never obeyed any standard and they will not obey this one either.

        Well, obviously Microsoft doesn't care about standards itself. However, others do, and Microsoft wants to abuse that fact. Understand now?

      • Perhaps the MS standard is a better standard. I'm not saying that is the case, I am not a document expert and I haven't looked at either, but perhaps it's a better standard. A case of something like that can be seen with MPEG-4 vs Theora. Theora is royalty free, yet you don't see it considered for really anything. Why? Not a very good standard. They've finally got it bitstream frozen but the encoders and decoders have a long way to go. Any stability problems aside, it just doesn't produce compression result
        • by pallmall1 (882819) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:15AM (#20284579)

          I'm not saying that is the case, I am not a document expert and I haven't looked at either...
          You could have saved an awful lot of electronic ink if you would have just stopped right there. It's readily apparent why you don't think 6000 pages is too long. :)
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)
            Ahh yes, so if you aren't an expert you shouldn't have anything to say? Well that'd be quite useful, every Slashdot story would have one or two comments at most. I'm simply trying to help the poster understand why it might be the case that ISO is considering this. However, this being Slashdot, people don't want to hear that because it doesn't reinforce their view of how the world should be, hence I get moderated "overrated".
            • However, this being Slashdot, people don't want to hear that because it doesn't reinforce their view of how the world should be, hence I get moderated "overrated".

              There's abundant evidence in TFA to show that MOOXML is clearly an encumbered and inferior format. You were probably modded overrated for not knowing much about the topic.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Sycraft-fu (314770)
                No I was moderated overrated because people disagreed with what I was saying. Overrated doesn't get meta moderated and it is highly generic so it is a great thing to use for people who wish to silence those they don't agree with. Also you'll note I wasn't trying to say that Microsoft's format is better, I was trying to explain reasons why the ISO doesn't see this as an open and shut case. The poster seemed to feel that because there were patents that made it totally inferior and thus the ISO had been corrup
                • The poster seemed to feel that because there were patents that made it totally inferior and thus the ISO had been corrupted. I'm trying to show how that might not be the case.

                  It is clearly the case.

                  Microsoft have stuffed committees in Sweden, Kenya, Belgium, Denmark and Australia. They have blocked access to members from Sun and IBM in Portugal and are trying to subvert the process in Spain, New Zealand and other voting countries.

                  If MOOXML is truly an open format, what benefit do you think Microsoft w

            • by fritsd (924429)
              If you take 15 minutes of your time, download the two standards documents for ODF [oasis-open.org] and OOXML [ecma-international.org] (OK depending on download speed a bit longer than 15 minutes for the latter) and browse through them quickly, glancing at the topics and the descriptions a bit, maybe reading a paragraph or 3 in depth, then you would have spent less time than you needed to write your long post and you wouldn't have to write "i am not a document expert" because you'd know about as much about both ODF and OOXML as the average slashdott
        • It doesn't take a document expert, or a standards expert to realize that any spec that refers to other, unpublished specs, has serious problems. ODF, whatever its flaws, is free of the constraints, both open and cleverly hidden by Microsoft, and what's more, does not hinge upon unpublished specifications.

          OOXML is a scam. Only Microsoft, or someone in a comprehensive licensing agreement, could ever adequately implement the "standard". Anyone else would still be forced to reverse engineer, just like the Op
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bigpat (158134)

        Given that there are two competing potential standards and one has patents and the other doesn't then why should ISO choose the one with patents?
        There aren't two competing potential ISO standards.

        OpenDocument format is already an ISO standard and has been since last year.

        I think OOXML has already achieved Microsoft objective of creating confusion and doubt in the marketplace. ISO should swiftly reject OOXML to help eliminate that doubt.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        > Clearly the ISO bodies are being corrupted (packed) by MS
        > and I really don't understand why.

        Actually, as a serving member of sc71l (the technical subcommittee
        tasked with providing a recommendation to our ISO representative to
        vote on behalf of the country)in South Africa, I object to this blatant
        painting of all the committee members with the same brush.

        Some of us have worked immensely hard to ensure that the OOXML
        'spec' is never a 'standard'. We spent a great deal of time preparing
        arguments, present
    • by realdodgeman (1113225) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:46AM (#20283967) Homepage

      1) The format is open and not subject to change/closure at the whim of a company (generally controlled by a standards body).
      Microsoft is going to break this one anyway, and without getting punished for it. They don't need to change the specification, just their own implementation. And then suddenly nobody that actually followed the specification is able to read documents produced in MS office.
      • by RobBebop (947356)

        This would be good... find a place where MSO '07 violates the MOOXML "Standard", then publicize the hell out of it. How long would it take ISO to rule out MOOXML as a standard if someone found an example of how MS doesn't even implement it correctly?

        Or the easier thing... find two places in the standard that contradict each other, because in 6,000 pages there is going to be some internal inconsistancy.

    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday August 19, 2007 @03:02AM (#20284043)

      It is available under a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license.

      Right, and nowadays, with the existence of Free Software, the only licenses that should qualify as "reasonable and non-discriminatory" are ones that Free Software can use!

      • Reasonable means just that: reasonable. Something doesn't have to be free to be reasonable. If you think that free is the only reasonable price, you'll probably find that people consider you to be what is unreasonable there. Non-discriminatory simply means offering the same thing to everyone. Whatever the terms are, they have to apply no matter who you are. Doesn't mean that everyone has to agree with the terms, just means they have to be equal.

        For example I can charge a $5 cover for everyone for a bar. Tha
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Draek (916851)
          yeah, but what's "reasonable" for a business may not (and in fact, will probably not) be reasonable for individuals, and I think GP's post is that in the age of the internet and open source, that ought to be a very serious consideration for standards bodies, an opinion I'd completely agree with.

          free software may not be "free as in I'm sleeping on your couch", but it certainly is "free as in you're free to use, modify and redistribute it without needing an army of lawyers and negotiating thousands of differe
        • Also, I was always told that free software was about "free as in speech" not "free as in I'm sleeping on your couch."

          In the case of copyleft, it's also "free as in I can give you all the same rights I have." In order to be able to fulfill that when a patent license is involved, the license has to be sublicensable and transferrable. The issue is not cost; the issue is that the software and all associated licenses have to be able to travel from persons A to B to C without them having to get permission from s

    • a) Reasonable. The fees required are in line with whatever it is. It's not a "Oh you want a license for that video codec? Ok $1,000,000 per player, no cap." That's clearly unreasonable and designed to keep people from licensing it.
      One has to wonder what that really does entail. Leaving Free Software aside for a second, what about ordinary people who just like to DIY, such as myself? When licensing patents for a MPEG implementation to a company like Microsoft, Sun or Apple, $1,000,000 doesn't seem at all unreasonable if it is a perpetual license (not a "per player" license). If I want to license it just for my own purposes, however, it is clearly an unreasonable amount that I couldn't afford in a lifetime. Then again, surely they don't have the right to choose a price arbitrarily depending on the licensee, right?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        That's the "unlimited" fee, meaning you pay that amount, you can have as many copies as you like. The per player fee is about $5. So if you wanted to compile and use XivD for both encoding and decoding it's be about a $10 fee (separate charges for encoding and decoding). Thus really no matter how you hash it, it's a pretty reasonable fee. I'm not saying a no-fee codec wouldn't be nicer, and there's people who agree. There's a reason Vorbis is getting used in more and more games. Tohmpson charges per title f
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I disagree with a couple of the things you've said:

          but I don't think it is unreasonable for people to want compensation for their work

          The fact that a person wants compensation for work does not make it reasonable for that person to receive it. I may want compensation for writing a novel that no one wants to read. Tough luck. I may want compensation for parenting. Again, tough luck. Having some rights to the fruits of one's labour is different from demanding fruits from that labour. I'm sure you would

    • by donaldm (919619) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:45AM (#20284857)
      If something is patented then the description of that patent should enable replication by any third party who then can legally produce and/or use that thing for a "Reasonable" and "Non-discriminatory" payment to the patent holder for the life of that patent. So basically all patents are open, however if the patent is vague or obvious then it should never have been granted in the first place.

      Getting back on topic. I think the following from the conclusion of the article says it all: "While Microsoft has granted patent use over the required portions of the specification that are described in detail the numerous undisclosed behaviours and inexplicit definitions are not covered, providing a legal as well as technical barrier to OOXML's implementation". I think we can quite easily arrive at the conclusion that to adopt OOXML is to adopt something that cannot easily be implemented by a third party, so we can assume this is a proprietary format that is dressed up to look like it is an open format.
      • If something is patented then the description of that patent should enable replication by any third party who then can legally produce and/or use that thing for a "Reasonable" and "Non-discriminatory" payment to the patent holder for the life of that patent. So basically all patents are open, however if the patent is vague or obvious then it should never have been granted in the first place.

        But who defines "reasonable" and "non-discriminatory", especially taking into account the difference between use by a hobbyist and by a professional, or among use by an individual, by a non-profit organization, and by a for-profit organization?

        Your sig is apropos:

        There ain't no such thing as proprietary standards only proprietary formats. Standards are by definition open.

        A "proprietary standard" is a standard whose implementation requires essential patents for which royalty-free licenses allowing implementation in free software are not available. The standard defining an MP3 bitstream is such a proprietary

    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Being distributed as source code is no problem...
      The distro includes the src, and part of the install process compiles it in the background. The user chooses wether they want to compile it or not, but the distro is only distributing src.
    • by WebMink (258041)

      b) Non-discriminatory. This means that you have to license to all comers. You can't decide you like what this company is doing but not this other company. Anyone who pays the moneys get the licenses.

      Focussing just on the money can easily make one miss the deeper problem with RAND terms. You'll find that some people now talk about RANDZ license terms, where the "Z" indicates "license fee is $0". But that doesn't necessarily make them any better. The license also has to allow sub-licensing without referral to the licensor. If it doesn't, open source implementations are effectively impossible since every developer and every user will need to independently obtain a license from the patent holder - an imp

    • The non-discriminatory part is not really enforceable IMHO. As I said in another comment, if the patent holder is a front for a big company (easy, in these days of multinational, electronic, anonymous money) the license can just be a little high to hurt the competition of the big company.
    • Misnomer: Open Standards are often patented ...

      http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=273615&cid= 20285361 [slashdot.org]
    • MPEG-4 would be an excellent example. It is an open standard, but has a whole lot of patents covering it.

      That's an example of a scandal, not good practice. You can only believe that it's good practice if you believe in software and business method patents. Both of those things have been discredited as a corruption of the patent process and both are stiflingly anti-competitive. RAND is an obfuscation that reasonable standards bodies reject [slashdot.org].

      OOXML would be an even bigger scandal because it does not even

    • No.
      Open Standard means multi-partisan process, specification freely available and license-free. Patents are incompatible with open standards unless available under royalty-free terms (!= free of charge).

      MPEG-4 is no open standard. And Open XML is no open standard. OpenDocument is.

      Cmp. http://www.noooxml.org/what-is-an-open-standard [noooxml.org]
  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:45AM (#20283731)
    There can only be one standard. One will survive and be commonly implemented , and the other won't become widespead and will only be used by fringe elements.

    ODF has been gaining ground in the EU and in other parts of the world, whereas OOXML has to start from a dead stop. It's only asset is the marketing power of MSFT behind it, but that may not be enough. It is already clear (from other /. stories) that the OOXML architecture seems rather shoddy and looks like something that was quickly put together. MSFT is trying to force it through iso rather thanb let OOXML succeed through its own merit... that alone draws suspicion to the quality of OOXML.
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:35AM (#20283927) Journal
      when peoples bosses email ooxml ms word and ms excel files waiting back for an answer we can find a sure winner. It will be what yoru employer uses and will most likely be microsoft based.

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)
        Of course the IT department can install a ODF plugin for Microsoft Office and set it as the default 'save as' function.

        I doubt the boss will be going out of his way to select Microsoft's ooxml format.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RobBebop (947356)

        When your boss e-mails you ODF files, what are the chances that you won't have the upgraded software needed to read it? Bosses are dumb and will use whatever format the computer uses for them by default. However, the upgrade to MSO '07 will be a large expense for an IT staff to shoulder... and it is needed by everybody and not just the PHB.

        Really, to defeat MOOXML, it is important to avoid the upgrade to MSO '07. The slow acceptable rate of Vista in businesses is a boon to this, because it takes away th

    • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @03:17AM (#20284099) Journal

      ODF has been gaining ground in the EU and in other parts of the world, whereas OOXML has to start from a dead stop. It's only asset is the marketing power of MSFT behind it, but that may not be enough.

      However, it is still MS Office that is the most widely used office program, and at least here in Croatia, where nearly all software for private use - barring pre-installed Windows[1] - is still pirated (the businesses feel a moderate fear from the BSA, but that's about it), that means that the bestest and latest version of Office will be adopted, if in no other way, then by school kids, and therefore their parents as well.

      Luckily, the fact that the BSA is a real threat means that (small) businesses will be very reluctant to migrate from Office 97 or 2000 to a new version, which costs oh, about the average month's pay. Per computer.

      All in all, in order for ODF to become more widely accepted, at least in Croatia, all we FOSSies should do is approach the people we know are pirates and, uh, present OpenOffice.org as a viable alternative to fines and prosecution. It's high time we adopted some of our opponents' methods. </evil>

      [1] If I mean a plural, should I say Windowses? ;)

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)
        There are odf plugins for Microsoft Office however.

        I don't see this being a big issue to even install since Joe user has had no problem installing quicktime, real player, divx etc. in the past.
        • by cp.tar (871488)

          Let me put this in as plain terms as possible: saving in a different format than the default one is what Joe User calls an "advanced feature", or sometimes simply "whut?" - unless a format is the default format in a certain program, hardly anyone will ever save documents in it.

          People do not think about formats until they cannot open a file, and even then, understandably, they consider it all a nuisance.

    • what do you think about the
      http://www.noooxml.org/petition [noooxml.org]
      campaign?

      Maybe OOXML standardisation is just a trick they play to prevent EU interoperability sanctions with a fake ISO standard?

      Imagine OOXML gets an ISO standard instead of an ECMA standard. What is the effect?

      1. Ecma standard --> ISO standard
      2. ???
      3. Profit

      Will ISO standardisation really weaken ODf or help to build up a strong ODF advocacy movement?
  • Netscape 3? (Score:5, Informative)

    by clarkn0va (807617) <apt.get@gAAAmail.com minus threevowels> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:14AM (#20283871) Homepage
    From the white paper:

    OOXML allows export of HTML targeted for 3 classes of browsers however these 3 options are at least ten years old (from 1997).

    and

    [t]he restricted list of values provided in the list of supportable browsers, which only includes IE3, IE4 and Netscape3 and Netscape4.
    Wow.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:27AM (#20284355)
    is that there are so many of them.

    Microsoft XML standard compliance would be just as useful as their POSIX compliance.
  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:51AM (#20285127)
    Always bet on the Three Letter Acronym. Five Letter Acronyms almost never succeed when faced with a competing Three Letter Acronym. You can ignore OOXML.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      Neither of these is an acronym. I can't imagine how you'd pronounce 'odf' or 'ooxml' as a word.
      • by owlstead (636356)
        Meriam Webster says:

        : a word (as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; also : an abbreviation (as FBI) formed from initial letters : INITIALISM

        So, why would you need to be able to pronounce the acronym as a word? The "also" seems to cover this nicely. "abbreviation" does not seem to cover it. You could call it "initialism" of course, but I think the rest of the cowboys here would not like it.
  • I agree, the term "Open Standard" is used very inappropriately by RAND, M$ ... and many others.

    Correctly stated it is simply a standard, not "OPEN".

    If you want to use a two word phrase, then the correct phrase for a few decades now has been and still is an "Industry Standard".

    An "Industry Standard" is sometimes called an ANSI, ISO ... "International Standard", but in fact when proprietary content is used in a standard (legally) it is not "OPEN" and/or freely available to anyone, and is anti-competitive and anti-capitalist by making basic (non-creative/non-original) technology requirements private property for more socialist/communist (as in anti-capitalism) corporate-welfare.

    By accepted technologist and L/FOSS convention dating back to the 1980's the usage of the term "OPEN" is conceptually reserved to products/ideas... that closely follow the "Public Property" [GPL, "Open Content", "Open Standards" ...] concept/intent.

    Just like a public park, which is always paid for by the public or philanthropic individuals/foundations, the property is provided and developed for the public welfare. Software patents and industry standards are an obvious attempt by corporatist and their governments to prevent access [easement] to public property that could/would limit the private property's owners attempts to control public property use by citizens.

    I know you see my direction of debate/argument, the word "Open" when capitalized or in all caps (like an acronym) should have as much legal standing as the term "Microsoft", "California", "Navajo" "The United States" "Organic" .... Repeated misuse of the term "Open" by industry, governments, agencies, foundations ... should not be allowed. The term "Open" when used in medicine, science, engineering, communications, literature, music, art, technology ... has a definite (though unregistered) trademark value in business and international economics that is being intentionally misused by industry to financially harm the public good, "Open Economics", and "Open Businesses" globally.

    Revisionist-spin is never reality, but can be dogma for fools and "Exploiticians" to use for legal rights to the wind, they may even stupidly try to hold the wind for themselves.
  • OOXML could one day be called a standard, but it will never actually be one. Firstly, it's not a specification for a program to be written to, it's an after the fact description of MS hodge podge code.

    At 6000+ pages, nobody will ever truly understand all of it. It's not humanly impossible, but who wants to make understanding a single 6000 page document their career? Consider, if you can read 100 pages with full comprehension per work day, it'll take over 3 months just to get through it.

    With 6000+ pages

  • I find it interesting that this article has drawn so few comments. Is this because the /. reader base has already made its' mind up about OOXML vs ODF? Or is it a sign of boredom over this issue? Or apathy? Or has the readership changed to one more concerned about Free access to movies and games, and doesn't care about a data format war that has most concern to Governments and Corporations?

    I feel uneasy about this, as It may be that as the voices of the informed fall silent, we will lose the battle to k
  • From TFA:

    Since many aspects of the office document format remain proprietary, OOXML has not taken this development track.

    How does one receive a patent and keep the technology proprietary at the same time? A part of the patent application is supposed to be a description of the object being patented in sufficient detail so that a skilled individual is able to reproduce said object. The two attributes (proprietary and patented) appear to be mutually exclusive.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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