Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft IT

ISO Says No To Microsoft's OOXML Standard 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-again-later dept.
qcomp writes "The votes are in and Microsoft has lost for now, reports the FFII's campaign website OOXML. The 2/3 majority needed to proceed with the fast-track standardization has not been achieved. Now the standard will head to the ballot resolution meeting to address the hundreds of technical comments submitted along with the votes." Here is yesterday's speculation as to how the vote would turn out.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ISO Says No To Microsoft's OOXML Standard

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:14AM (#20464457)
    It ain't over 'till the fat man throws a chair...
    • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:03PM (#20465183) Journal
      It ain't over 'till the fat man throws a chair...

      Interesting you should say that:
      http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/articl e.php?story=20070718060228231 [consortiuminfo.org]

      OOXML is not to everyone's liking, with Sun Microsystems being denied a seat, and Microsoft holding the chair (President) ...
  • by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash.eighty+sla ... om minus math_go> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:16AM (#20464475)
    Faux standard was not certified.
    [A]bort, [R]etry, [F]ail?
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:16AM (#20464495)
    This move is a non-story because regardless of what the ISO approves or disapproves, Microsoft will continue to go the way they want to go and the 90% of the Office customer base will follow them, just as will the pre-install bundled customers. Other office suites are advised to ignore the upcoming de facto standard at their own peril.
  • by petercruickshank (1132185) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:17AM (#20464497) Homepage
    I'll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!
  • Good for... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Joseph1337 (1146047)
    The banks will be happy with the fresh large money transfers
  • Hurrah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crush (19364) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:18AM (#20464525)
    A small victory, but an important one. Maybe Massachusetts [fsf.org] can now be persuaded to move to an actual open, easy-to-implement and reliable standard to preserve government records. It can join [odfalliance.org] Russia and Norway in using ODF.
  • Film at 11.

    Of course, Microsoft will address the changes and probably buy a few more votes. Their timetable is probably still not in jeopardy.

    Like Jason at Halloween, they will just keep coming.
    • by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:25AM (#20464629) Homepage
      So can IBM and Sun. Votes at standard bodies are not that expensive. On top of that as the IEEE 802.11 work proves pulling a filibuster at a standard's setting meeting is absolutely trivial. By the time all comments are handled and by the time it is approved most of us will be retired anyway. Nothing to see here, move along.
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:34AM (#20464765) Journal

      Of course, Microsoft will address the changes and probably buy a few more votes. Their timetable is probably still not in jeopardy.


      If Microsoft addressed all the concerns, then they would likely have an open standard. Microsoft won't do that, because within a few months of them having an open standard, OpenOffice and KOffice will have OOXML support.
      • Microsoft won't do that, because within a few months of them having an open standard, OpenOffice and KOffice will have OOXML support.
        it's more amusing than that... OpenOffice and KOffice would have OOXML support before Microsoft... Microsoft are having enough problems themselves supporting their own format... they don't even have a compliant application available yet...
  • I wonder? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:19AM (#20464545) Journal
    Can they re-try the fast track again, or is this forever tabled? If forever tabled, than ISO will be useless to MS. They would need to explain ALL of their work and they do not even know it, let alone explain it to others. Basically, iso for MS would be dead.
    • Re:I wonder? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:10PM (#20465289)
      This was their one chance to fast track. That's meant for excellent standards that have no dissenting views, and no discernible problems. Now they have to address the problems.

      I rather suspect that OOXML is in fact dead, even if they eventually manage to get an ISO certification. Its too late now. After all ODF is already an ISO, easier to implement then OOXML, patent free, with no issues of any type whatsoever. People will choose it simply because its the better format. OOXML will be what people use if they must interact with Microsoft office.
      • Re:I wonder? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 808140 (808140) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:24PM (#20467433)

        OOXML will be what people use if they must interact with Microsoft office.

        In other words, OOXML will be what everyone uses?

        Great.

  • How bad is this? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:22AM (#20464593) Homepage
    If Microsoft did force their "standard" on people, how much would it cripple the marketplace? Already at work we are dealing with Microsoft's proprietory components causing a severe case of "haves vs have-nots" in file sharing. And what is most fustrating, is how people do not grasp what they are doing, in that using the proprietory components, they are locking out their co-workers, reducing work output as we have to get them to export their documents into a more generally accepted form. And they turn around and blame the majority of the office. Too sad.
    • Re:How bad is this? (Score:4, Informative)

      by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:32AM (#20464727) Homepage
      If Microsoft did force their "standard" on people, how much would it cripple the marketplace?

      It wouldn't cripple a market but their monopoly status continues to destroy wealth, eliminate efficiency through interoperability, and chill innovation. Your story clearly highlights the lack of interoperability and inefficiency achieved through forcing upgrades.

      This issue is critical and I don't count Microsoft out for the count. It will not surprise me when they play more parliamentary tricks. It remains to be seen how much money it takes to buy an ISO standard.
    • Re:How bad is this? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Wylfing (144940) <`brian' `at' `wylfing.net'> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:01PM (#20466037) Homepage Journal

      Anecdote time.

      About a year ago, a client of mine gave me a PDF and some source files and said "We can't edit this. Please fix the problem." The document itself was in Word 2.0. The graphics were WMFs. This thing had been originally created in Windows 3.1 and updated (with the WMFs) in Windows 95. The client couldn't open up any of it.

      The Word file was basically a non-starter. I just ignored it and stripped the text out of the PDF instead. The graphics, though...The PDF refused to be opened properly in Illustrator, so I couldn't recover them that way. I also could not open the WMFs directly -- it was something about how they were tied to the original platform. What I ended up doing was digging up an ancient copy of Windows and and ancient copy of Illustrator, building a custom machine just for this operation, and recovering the files that way. The client paid about $3,000 for the privilege of being able to update one of their own files. Just one file, mind, and it had yet to be actually updated -- this was simply establishing the ability to update. All because they were couldn't see what a bad idea it was to invest their data in lock-in formats.

      When I explained to the client how they had gotten into this mess, and how they could avoid it in the future, they stared blankly back. We use up-to-date versions of Word now, they said.

      Oh, well, I thought, here comes another few grand in my pocket. But then again, in another few years, maybe nobody has these old copies of Windows and old copies of Illustrator anymore, and then they are SOL.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Clovert Agent (87154)
        I had to recover data from Word 2.0 files once upon a time. Of course Office XP couldn't open them, but OpenOffice can. Give that a try.

        That experience of mine, IMHO, demonstrates exactly why properly open formats are essential. Microsoft's own poor support for its proprietary format would have caused me to lose data.
  • Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Toreo asesino (951231) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:24AM (#20464609) Journal
    Because, as a Microsoft dev myself I like to think the technology field I base myself in is popular based on technical merits rather than stupid market hacking. Tactics like the OOXML fiasco only distract people from the actual benefits of MS technology.

    Remember folks, for a company of several hundred thousand, unfortunately not all are going to be good guys - theres plenty more that are however.

    Flame away.
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      Could that imply that there are possibly also bad open-source programmers?

      *shiver*
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        Could that imply that there are possibly also bad open-source programmers?

        *shiver*

        You've seen EMACS, right?

        (I'm kidding you bastards!)

        /P

    • by Macthorpe (960048)
      I salute your bravery!

      Countdown to twitter/Erris in 3... 2... 1...
    • by crush (19364)
      Hear hear! If it's good enough for Kazakhstan, Kenya and Saudi Arabia then it ought to be good enough for the world. It's technical merits are obvious. I salute your bravery Sir in speaking the thoughts which the Stalinist, politically correct oppressors will no doubt now jump upon and demolish. We need more forthright people like yourself, unfraid to speak their minds in the midst of conformity ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Remember folks, for a company of several hundred thousand, unfortunately not all are going to be good guys - theres plenty more that are however.


      So the official line from you shills is still going to be "It was rogue employees" eh?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aim2future (773846)

      France, and I think some more, has suggested to split OOXML in two parts, one which is ODF compatible, one which deals with the old Office formats.

      What is your view as being a MS developer, do you think Microsoft are able to do this?

      (I don't mean technically, merely politically) For my own I think that is a great idea.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:21PM (#20465463) Homepage

      As a disgruntled Microsoft customer, I'd like to ask "WTF?!"

      Seriously, I don't believe the devs working within the company are bad, but you guys need to stage an uprising or something. The people running your company seem to be total dicks.

      • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:06PM (#20466123)

        As a disgruntled Microsoft customer, I'd like to ask "WTF?!"

        Seriously, I don't believe the devs working within the company are bad, but you guys need to stage an uprising or something.
        YOU are the customer! You are paying Microsoft to continue with their existing tactics. YOU are the cause!

        FFS! Take some responsibility for your actions people.

         
        • by 808140 (808140) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:43PM (#20466739)

          This "vote with your feet" bs needs to stop, seriously. It takes an overly simplistic look at the way a market actually functions in the real world -- which is not the same as the way it functions in this libertarian day dream. The fundamental problem with libertarianism is that it treats all markets as if they were perfectly competitive markets with low barriers to entry, when in reality, the vast majority of them are not.

          If you seriously believe that substituting away from Windows, or from Word, is something that the vast majority of people here can actually do, then you're absolutely wrong. Listen, I don't own a Windows system -- I use Debian GNU/Linux exclusively. But Word and Windows are the defacto standard and living outside of that standard is impossible. Let's look at the facts:

          1. Windows comes pre-installed on most any computer you buy. Microsoft does not give this away for free, the OEM pays for it, and so everytime you purchase a computer, regardless of what OS you install, you give MS income. This may be changing, but it hasn't yet. Laptops in particular are still basically impossible to buy without paying the Microsoft tax.
          2. Windows is by far and away the most common corporate desktop, and for 99% of us, we have no choice whatsoever in what gets installed on our computers at work. Since this is also where MS makes the bulk of its money, how do you propose that we vote with our feet, exactly?
          3. Even for those of us that are in the position to make corporate desktop installation decisions, there are many secondary factors that we need to consider when we decide what sort of machine to purchase. Like, does it run the software that we need to use? If it's not Windows, probably not. There's more than just Office you know. What about all the Windows-only corporate internal stuff produced by braindead MSCEs over the last ten years that the entire company now depends on? Do you think replacing it, doing it all over, is easy or cost-effective? How do you justify a switch to Linux or Mac to the bean counters when all that stuff needs to be dealt with?

          Whether you want to admit it or not, there is massive inertia in the industry. Everyone runs Windows, and that keeps everyone else running Windows. "Just don't buy MS" is the most ridiculous statement in the world. Sure, if everyone stopped, then that would hurt their bottom-line. But even if every Slashdotter ever stopped buying Windows, MS would still be making billions. Every time a court slaps a fine of a hundred million dollars on MS, everyone on Slashdot whines about how it's a slap on the wrist and nothing more, because the company makes so much money it's sick. The exact same logic applies here.

          What you're suggesting would only work if a large percentage of MS's clients all defected. It's like saying, "Big Oil acting badly? Just don't buy oil! That'll teach 'em!"

          Come on, this isn't a perfectly competitive market. It's a monopoly. There's a reason economists think that those are bad.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cato (8296)
            Yes, there's inertia, but if you don't like Microsoft it's quite possible to buy alternatives - like a Mac for the less techie, or the various pre-installed Linux options for the more techie. Or you can just use OpenOffice at home, as a very easy step that saves money and promotes open document formats.
          • by AJWM (19027) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @04:39PM (#20469369) Homepage
            Non sequitor. So what if Windows comes preinstalled on most PCs?

            We're talking office document formats, and Open Office (among others) works just fine on Windows. A lock-in to Windows != a lock-in to MS Office.

            This is insightful?
    • I have only ideas of the Microsoft corporate culture.

      At some point, I heard that a lot of developers would rather use actual open standards than Microsoft pseudo-standards but have no choice if they want to keep their jobs. Perhaps you and a lot of the other developers can get some momentum behind that idea in upper management?

      Wait. Who am I kidding?

      I like to hope, and have faith in humanity, but my cynicism over Microsoft's bad behaviors is too entrenched. Microsoft will have to be dragged kicking and scre
    • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:31PM (#20465615) Journal
      as a Microsoft dev myself I like to think the technology field I base myself in is popular based on technical merits rather than stupid market hacking. Tactics like the OOXML fiasco only distract people from the actual benefits of MS technology.

      There's a saying where I live that goes... "You just need to sample a single grain of rice to judge an entire pot..." Microsoft's dubious and nefarious tactics wrt OOXML have shown them to be ruthless cowards; and enemies of technical merit; as software developers like you must know.

      Other than rewriting the same code every 3 years when MS decides to rebrand an technology and stop supporting old versions... what are these 'benefits' you see in MS technology? Spreading disinformation amongst the developer community is a very grave sin, in my book... much worse than 'Get the Facts' aimed at consumers.
    • However,

      Among the decision makers, the ratio of good to bad guys is pretty poor. Only people who are aggressive scammers are promoted by the management who are aggressive scammers.

      However, all of this effort is about locking in businesses and governments. The real world cost of Windows for most of us is less than $50. Most of us working for the government or a large business can legally get office for under $50 as well.

      Microsoft does a lot of good software which works very well for small businesses and h
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:20PM (#20466385) Homepage Journal
      OOXML is clearly designed to look like a standard, if you take the "executive view" and don't really look at it, while it's really just another locked-in format.

      So let's put it this way, Is Microsoft AFRAID of a level playing field?

      If they were serious about the whole standards thing, they could just add real ODF support. Then they could simply put out MS Office that worked with ODF, and most people and businesses would STILL buy it, even with alternatives available. Beyond that, since they do have appear to have a head start in usability and function with MS Office, they could simply have the have the BEST office suite that happens to work with ODF file formats. Beyond that, if ODF is not sufficiently robust, MS could "play well with others" and work to add what is needed. Aren't they confident that they could still have the BEST implementation, along with "history effect"?

      Does Microsoft really believe that they can't compete in an open market, without customer lock-in, or without cheating?
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fritsd (924429) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:18PM (#20468237) Journal
      If you're a Microsoft dev, you might know: have they already sacked your colleague, the (i'm making this up)

      "single disgruntled employee who singlehandedly and without authorization from his/her manager bribed the national bureaux of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte-d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba (Cuba? they're not even allowed to buy Microsoft products!), Cyprus, Egypt, Fiji, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan,

      (take deep breath)

      Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany (shame on you, DIN), Ghana, Greece, Kenya, Malta, Poland (only half of the committee(s)), Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela (wait 'till someone tells Chávez [vit.com.ve] this),

      (remember to breathe)

      and thwarted into abstinence the votes of a.o. Malaysia, the Netherlands and Sweden",

      yet? (verb at beginning of sentence)

      Let's all thank the 1 country above quotum that voted no, otherwise this would have destroyed the credibility of ISO, IMHO.

      Thank you VERY much, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom. I don't have money but you have my respect.

  • by btarval (874919) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:25AM (#20464623)
    All the people involved in shutting down this attempt at extending a monopoly by hacking the voting system through bribery deserve a hearty congratulations in stopping this for now.

    I submit though, that the job isn't over, but incomplete. The ISO seriously needs to look at fixing how Microsoft attempted to hijack the process to suit their own gain, and ignore the real purpose of International Standards.

    Until this fixed, we'll see more of the same, on a greater scale. And not just by Microsoft. The end result would be the weakening of the usefulness of real standards, if the current system is left as it is.

    Good luck to the ISO.

    • From what I can tell, they've only stopped the fast-tracking. Microsoft still can (and likely will) resubmit OOXML.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:25AM (#20464631) Journal
    In a recent development MSFT spokesman said that, one standard specifying body meets all is not a viable workable solution for the whole world. Mr Tong'n Cheek said that Microsoft will promote an alternative standard specifying body Open ISO. He said that Microsoft wants its customers to have a choice in international bodies creating standards, choice in standards themselves too. This way users can have various choices like, OpenISO certified OOXML saving MSFT product, or ISO certified OOXML saving MSFT product or, uncertified OOXML saving MSFT product or unsupported ODF saving MSFT product or...
    • by jkrise (535370)
      I think Microsoft should immediately found the MSO or Microsoft Standards Organisation. That way they will not need to pay hefty bribes to get their so-called 'standards' declared so.
  • Some details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by frakir (760204) <ockhamrazor@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:34AM (#20464767)
    breakdown by country votes: http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2007/09/03/ecma-37 6-dis-29500-ooxml-the-voting-so-far/ [theopensourcerer.com]

    Note 7 countries ( marked *** ) just recently updated their status within ISO from 'O' (observer) to 'P' so they could vote. Those are mostly small countries and likely to be Microsoft puppets within ISO body. Which means MS can now actively block *any* new proposed standard and promote their own more easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by clickety6 (141178)
      It's interesting that Trinidad and Tobago are marked down as a possible paid-off Microsoft puppet and yet they still voted to Abstain rather than a Yes
      • by dominux (731134)
        my guess is that they were suckered in to upgrading, then actually read some of the spec and commentary.
  • Fair enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:36AM (#20464785)
    Fair enough. I'm no fan of ODF, and I think OOXML has gotten a lot of crap for bogus reasons. But OOXML is a buggy, broken standard. Hopefully Microsoft will clean up some of the issues and we'll see a better standard as a result.

    In the mean time, I'm going to continue sending PDFs around. Neither OOXML nor ODF provide the level of consistency in layout that PDF provides.
    • Let MSFT show that it wants others to implement OOXML seriously. Let is open source all the old defunct no longer supported/developed products source code to implement, "autospace like in Word 5" or "do page break in (what msft believes to be) word perfect 6 style". These were all deprecated anyway and its only function is to bring old legacy format documents upto the interoperable arena. But wait, that is the mother lode and the crown jewels. They are the fundamental vendor lock in procedures. Give them aw
    • Re:Fair enough (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Atzanteol (99067) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:09PM (#20465267) Homepage

      I think OOXML has gotten a lot of crap for bogus reasons. But OOXML is a buggy, broken standard.

      Isn't being buggy and broken enough for it to take a lot of crap? Seriously, "spaceLikeWord98?" WTF?

    • To be honest, I really don't, just *don't* understand why people can't agree on satisfactory format. I refuse to use MS Word because it changes so much from version to version, you don't know how it's going to render in a different version, and it's closed anyway. Personally I use ODF and don't have many problems, but I believe you that there are inconsistencies. PDF does successfully give you consistent layouts, but it's only good as a final product. You can't really send someone a PDF and expect them

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:41AM (#20464863) Homepage Journal
    I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

    I can take 20 year old TeX documents and render them just fine. But you give me even a 10 year old WYSIWYG file and there is a good chance I won't be able to do anything with the file.

    What is it going to be like 50 years from now when you try to pull up an old manuscript? You know how Popular Science likes to pull up magazine issues from 40+ years ago, I wonder how they are going to manage that 40 years from now when the proprietary and open file formats are unsupported and "obsolete".

    Really the only safe choice is to make a hard copy and hope the OCR of the future is better than it is now.
    • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:52AM (#20465055)

      I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

      Indeed. You'll also find that hammers are poor at undoing screws and cars aren't so good at taking you overseas.

      What is it going to be like 50 years from now when you try to pull up an old manuscript? You know how Popular Science likes to pull up magazine issues from 40+ years ago, I wonder how they are going to manage that 40 years from now when the proprietary and open file formats are unsupported and "obsolete".

      They'll use a format that actually meant for that sort of thing like, say, PDF.

      The point of "WYSIWYG" is not - despite what a lot of people (including those that should know better) think - that a document looks the same on computer B as it does on computer A. It's that the document that comes out of the printer looks the same as it does on the screen.

      Word processing != desktop publishing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by OrangeTide (124937)
        Fair point, but then what place does word processing have? Why bother even standardizing it, because I fail to see what purpose it serves.
        • by thephotoman (791574) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:42PM (#20467719) Journal
          It's because the vast majority of documents aren't really meant for publication. For example, research notes may wind up in a publication (where TeX and PDF would be appropriate), but the bulk of such notes will eventually be edited out of the end publication. Instead, they need to be in an easily editable format so that changes can be made when they occur in the lab. 50 years from now, those research notes may still be needed for one reason or another.

          This is where word processing comes in to fill the gap between text editors (which don't have support for rich text or images) and desktop publication (which put out formats that aren't intended to be edited).
    • by gomiam (587421)
      I'll bite.

      I fail to see the fuss, both formats suck and really have no place as a desktop publishing format. They are crappy WYSIWYG data dumps that are heavily tied to rendering algorithms of their respective editor and really are not archival safe.

      Please provide references to ODF ties to OpenOffice rendering. I guess having it supported in other suites like MS Office (through third-party products) and KOffice means they are tied to OpenOffice as well. And please define "archival safe". As far

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JimDaGeek (983925)
      ODF is open so anyone 50 years from now can read the specs and write a converter. OOXML is not an open spec. Minor parts are open, but there are still a lot of proprietary, binary blobs (.bin) in a OOXML file. The OOXML spec makes no mention on how to interpret these proprietary binary blobs. So 50 years from now with "open" Office XML, you will be screwed if you try to convert anything more than a simple text-only MS Word document.

      I would rather have my documents in a a format that I can get the spe
  • ...of fair business practices and open standards I don't see why there is all this backlash against OOXML. I mean, it's gonna be a de facto standard anyway. Why fight it? Imagine if the same kind of stance were taken with operating systems. Some boneheads out there decide that they're going to take on Microsoft which owns the de facto OS platform and they put together their own OS. How far would that get them? Especially if they tried to get people to actually use it! I'd say that it would probably t
  • ISO press release (Score:5, Informative)

    by eknagy (1056622) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:44AM (#20464903)
  • This vote only reinforces my belief that Microsoft went about this completely the wrong way. The way I would have approached it would have been to support ODF (with extensions would be even better from a lock-in point of view) or to really create an open documentation standard.

    I don't understand why they were so paranoid about competing on features. I'm not sure they would have lost any significant market share if they had competed fairly, because the truth is that MS Office is still the best office suite
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zelos (1050172)
      I think MS were stuck, really. The new format had to be sufficiently similar to the old binary format to allow relatively simple conversion of files.
      • by stony3k (709718)
        See, I'm not sure of that because O2k7 came out with a new default format in any case. They could have easily made this format an open one or supported ODF (yeah, in my dreams)
  • more info (Score:5, Informative)

    by qcomp (694740) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:46AM (#20464927)

    Microsoft puts its own spin on the result in this press release [cnn.com].

    More information on the upcoming proceedings at ISO are explained in this discussion [noooxml.org] on the currently slashdotted noOOXML site. (my apologies for poor HTML in the original post that made <no>OOXML come out as OOXML.

    Groklaw also has some commentary and more links [groklaw.net].

    It's clear that this is far from over. Microsoft will convince more countries to become O or P members in the respective committees and Further effort (exposing fraud, convincing your national bodies) is required to prevent OOXML from being accepted as a standard. But it is encouraging to see that resistance is not futile ;-)
  • I wonder if Microsoft's scandalous misbehavior in regard to this vote will follow them permanently? It seems as if people with deep roots in any field, be it literature or science, have longer memories than the population at large. Hopefully we have been reminded (again) that Microsoft's business model is currently dependent on leveraging its monopoly on the desktop, and that it will do *anything* to preserve that monopoly. Microsoft has shown only average or sub-par performance in driving revenue in sectors where its monopoly does not serve it as well, such as the Zune or the X-box or search or SaaS (Software as a Service). Microsoft's genius is not really engineering, where it is merely an average company, readily eclipsed by Apple or Google, for example. Microsoft's genius is really in marketing strategy, and until now, that strategy has been asserting a value proposition that has proven difficult to refuse by the various supply-side and demand-side players in the desktop space.

    Now that a little polish has been taken off its faux standards, perhaps we will see a bit more free market competition enter into a previously broken market. I wonder how well Microsoft would compete in the Office productivity market if it were unable to charge exorbitant prices for its commodity office productivity solutions? I am betting that a large segment of the market is going say that OpenOffice.org is "good enough" for them, and abandon Microsoft.

    At any rate, Microsoft's most recent round of bullying will serve as a visible reminder to the world why it is dangerous to allow Microsoft to continue to hold its monopoly: because it will abuse its power.
  • Venezuela voted along with the USA in supporting this....

    In Washington there were sounds of heads imploding at the idea that they'd found something they agreed on. Meanwhile further evidence of the UK's distancing themselves from the US came with the UK voting a strong "no", but Australia with George Bush visiting today decided to go for the less politically charged "abstain".

    Will Balmer declare a new Axis of Evil? News at 11.

    Seriously though, its hard to argue even if you support OOXML that this isn't a
  • by cheros (223479) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:43PM (#20465751)
    I think the approach is flawed. You should not be working on the ISO committee - you should be working on industry and government. A numerically small membership can be bought and/or coerced and is thus de facto vulnerable to process abuse and vote rigging.

    Let's turn this one on its head. I'm perfectly happy with MS ratifying a 6000+ page spec, because the moment they have the ISO standard status they will to abide by it to be compliant.

    I don't think it would be wildly unfair to ask MS to then ensure AND PROVE BEYOND DOUBT that the product they supply is FULLY compliant with their ISO standard.

    To me, that would mean:

    (1) A full test suite needs to be constructed of which independent scrutiny is paid for by MS. MS Office needs to be fully compliant with statements as made in the specifications. No ifs, no buts, no maybe. Only full compliance means an acceptable product, but that's only 50% of the requirement - there's more, mainly addressing the reason the whole ISO standard compliance is required:

    (2) The identification and demonstration of a mature, competing product that can read, edit and write the documents produced by the above compliant suite to a standard that makes it clear there is 100% interoperability.

    The latter proves to the evaluating entity that:

    (1) the standard is complied with, and is not just a marketing gimmick.
    (2) the interoperability needs are addressed
    (3) there is an alternative product which prevents vendor lock in (this is why I used the word 'MATURE' - you don't want some last-minute coded piece of junk from an MS friendly vendor pretending it's a product). A product has an established user base.

    If the product on offer cannot meet those two requirements the story is over. Simple. If no 3rd party can create a competing product or, at a minimum, achieve unencumbered interoperability (i.e. not depending on a license) then the product is unsafe from a disaster recovery point of view.

    So, if Microsoft's 6000+ page spec is a bit too much for either themselves or someone else to implement, the answer is easy - make one that works. That's all the world has been asking, simple unencumbered interoperability. I'm fully aware that that doesn't agree with their current business model, but they ought to read "who moved my cheese" - the supply is dwindling.

    IMHO they had their opportunity with ODF. They blew it.

  • Why any Yes Votes? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:34PM (#20467589)
    I can't figure out why there are any Yes votes. It is obvious that their specification is full of proprietary crap that will harm the open standards overall. They don't meet the minimum requirements so why did any of them vote yes? They knew the specif was not in compliance with the votes and even a yes with comments is still a yes vote. There should have been all no votes (some with and some without comments).

    At least it worked out for now. Pretty sad though that Microsoft tried to stack the deck. If some serious revisions in their policy toward joining and voting isn't changed we'll see more abuse by Microsoft until they finally get it passed.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

Working...