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Microsoft File Format Gets ISO Approval

 9:30 am on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

The format Microsoft Corp.'s Office 2007 programs use to save documents was approved as an international standard Tuesday, a step the company touted as proof it is willing to make once-proprietary technology work openly with competing programs.

But the International Organization for Standardization vote didn't quiet some opponents, who argued that the Office Open XML standard still locks out competitors and gives Microsoft customers no choice but to keep buying its programs forever.

The decision was made public on the Web site of a European standards organization, Ecma International, on Tuesday. ISO is expected to formally announce the vote Wednesday.

Microsoft File Format Gets ISO Approval [ap.google.com]

[edited by: engine at 7:16 am (utc) on April 6, 2008]



 9:55 am on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

How long before M$ comes up with a non-compliant version of the new standard?

And Marino Marcich ... said ... "OOXML doesn't play well with the products of other software companies" like IBM and Sun. He claimed that Microsoft failed to fully document all the features in the format and that some of the code was proprietary, leaving other companies vulnerable to copyright lawsuits. ... Microsoft can still use a version of OOXML in Office 2007 that doesn't exactly match the one approved by ISO.

It's sad to see a once innovative company always swimming against the tide - but in this case, I guess Microsoft have bought themselves a few more years of document dominance, perhaps a little less.

[edited by: Quadrille at 10:04 am (utc) on April 2, 2008]


 10:28 am on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

interesting timing.
i think the camel's nose might be under the tent now:


 11:21 am on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

OOXML is broken

ISO is now broken

Luckily the EU is still functioning and is largely uncorrupted.


The fine for corrupting the ISO would be massive if previous fines are anything to go by.

[edited by: engine at 11:31 am (utc) on April 2, 2008]


 11:45 am on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

But that isn't the issue; the issue is that by adopting a standard which includes proprietary software, M$ have a private, patent protected 'standard' - and can charge fees to anyone who uses it - perfectly legal, because the 'standard' says so. ISO must be pretty thick, is all I can say.

Hopefully, few will be suckered, and it will serve to boost OpenDocument Format, rather than undermine it.

Meanwhile, the camel's nose gets my vote!

[edited by: Quadrille at 11:46 am (utc) on April 2, 2008]


 4:06 pm on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Poor IBM... How does it feel to be irrelevant in the 2000s?

JAB Creations

 7:21 pm on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have read that Microsoft's "standard" is so extensive it would be much too time consuming for any other company to hope to successfully follow the entire "standard", is that true?

- John


 11:15 pm on Apr 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Microsoft strong-ams a ISO decision.
One more mark against them.
And one more mark against ISO for letting them get away with it.

As for using it in their favor, nothing is lost if those writing specs assure that no formats are allowed that:

  • are not fully specified in an open patent free standard
  • do not currently have fully functional open source equivalents that can be maintained independently forever.
  • closed software handles differently or with risk of incompatibilities with the open source software


 2:23 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

If it's any consolation, Canada voted NO for OOXML [people.ffii.org].

Now can anyone explain why all this matters [webmasterworld.com]? Will ISO approval of OOXML encourage or discourage people from buying or using Microsoft products vs. alternatives? Standards are only useful pending industry adoption and acceptance, and it sounds like Microsoft is the only vendor adhering to the "standard".

The folks at noooxml.org are writhing in defeat


 3:01 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

IMHO, noooxml.org = IBM


 7:20 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

IMHO, noooxml.org = IBM

You might care to read up a little on 'Open Source' - it's the future. ;)

kamikaze Optimizer

 8:36 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I first heard the news, I truly thought that it was an April fools joke.


 10:14 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

The only reason they developed OOXML is because some Governments started requiring that documents started being saved in a standard format (ODF at the time). So they had no choice but to bribe their way through the ISO so they can secure these Government contracts.

noooxml.org is the rest of the world (ie. anyone not paid off by microsoft).

I doubt this is the end of it, we still have all of the investigations to go through yet. It will be interesting to see Microsoft explain what happened in Norway, Portugal etc. Actually resolving all of the problems in the spec will take years yet, the ISO will be tied up for a while with this 'standard'.


 4:23 pm on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

"You might care to read up a little on 'Open Source' - it's the future."

Do you mean, the future according to IBM?

It might be a good thing ISO didn't get 100% manipulated by such a distorted view [IBM's] of the future!


 7:10 pm on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

IF you ignore IBM (I have since 1993), you'll find that open source is exciting and fast moving. Don't let a grudge against IBM - or Fandom of M$ blind you to what's occurring.

Try Matt Asay's leading edge blog on Cnet: The Open Road [cnet.com].

Fascinating reading, and it virtually never mentions IBM*

*Of course now I've said that, it'll be full of IBM :)

**Note to mods - I hope the link is OK, I think it's authoritative and relevant, if not I apologize.


 7:51 pm on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

"... you'll find that open source is exciting and fast moving..."

Ultimately, everything comes down to dollars, euros, etc.

In other words, which standard makes money for the masses and which one doesn't.

The ISO decision probably reflects that.

OOXML does have what it takes to make money whereas ODF has a long path to prove itself.

In regard to the link to CNET, it's just another example of something that doesn't make money, see [ap.google.com...]

Finally, in regard to ignoring IBM, I can afford it, you can't, Linux can't, ODF can't...

Just guess where will Linux be now if it wasn't because of the billions of dollars IBM injected into its development ever since 1999?

The same with ODF, where will it be now if it wasn't because of IBM's dollars and lobbying? As with Linux, indeed a pretty nice expense and effort by IBM to use ODF in its own products. Didn't know? See [symphony.lotus.com...]


 3:31 am on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I repeat.

There's more to open source than IBM - raise your sights a little.

I'm not denying IBM - merely pointing out that there is more.

Take a look. It won't hurt, honest.


 11:06 am on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

zafile... This has nothing to do with IBM or Linux... Jump down of the soapbox, you are rambling again...

ODF was mainly funded by Sun, I am not sure why you assume it is all to do with IBM.

Your argument that OOXML wins because it makes money for the people is laughable. Microsoft is the only one making money from OOXML. People can always make money from open source because it is free and encourages people to sell it. Microsoft would sue anyone who tried to implement OOXML in their program.

ODF is much more proven in the real world than OOXML - as far as I know there is not one implementation of OOXML out there. Even the cruft that Office 2007 chugs out is not ISO certified OOXML, it is just random (invalid) XML. There are no OOXML documents in existence at all, so how can you say it is proven in anything?


 1:10 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

In regard to the link to CNET, it's just another example of something that doesn't make money, see ...

My link was a blog on cnet, not their business model. Do you only read profitable blogs? Or just pro-M$ and anti-IBM blogs?

I'm beginning to suspect you are in the wrong thread, because your comments just don't relate to this discussion at all.


 5:08 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)


Thank you mikedee and Quadrille for bringing clarity to this discussion.

According to you, "ODF was mainly funded by Sun".

May I ask, what's Sun Microsystems experience on developing office software including wordprocessing, spreadsheets and presentation packages?

Sun bought the StarOffice package in 1999. Prior to 1999, Sun didn't have any experience developing office software packages.

And StarOffice?

Pretty inexperienced considering the release of StarOffice 4.0 in 1997. [groups.google.com...]

I must say there was a StarOffice 3.00.01 released in early 1996. There were no 2.0 and 1.0 versions. Read [iht.com...]

So which standard should I trust? OOXML or ODF?

Should I trust a standard which was developed by people with a proven record on building office packages [Microsoft] or the one developed by people with pretty little experience [Star Division, Sun Microsystems, et al]?


 5:33 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think you understand what Open Source is: it is not a brand name, like M$ or Sun, but "Open source is a set of principles and practices on how to write software, the most important of which is that the source code is openly available."

The development is by many - NOT just Star Division, Sun Microsystems, et al. And the result can be far superior to a product built by just one setup (see FF, for just one example).

Open Source is exactly the opposite of the patent model operated increasingly unsuccessfully by MS.

And, back to the OP - M$ are claiming to become 'more open', as a means to protect their patents, not to improve their products. It's a contradiction in terms, and a model that cannot be sustained forever. In short, it is bad faith.

[edited by: Quadrille at 5:36 pm (utc) on April 4, 2008]


 5:44 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

"The development is by many - NOT just Star Division, Sun Microsystems, et al. And the result can be far superior to a product built by just one setup (see FF, for just one example)."

How long took the development of Firefox? I would not use FF as an example of a successful Open Source product.

Once again, the markets will decide which office standard will succeed.

Let the users decide the standard of choice, OOXML or ODF.


 6:57 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

In writing this "standard" Microsoft made sure not to use any other ISO standards as a basis for this one (Office Math ML in place of MathML, VML in place of SVG, their own hashing functions in place of standard SHA-1 etc… the list goes on). That is also unacceptable.

This seems to be the most clear write-up of events thus far: [tideway.com...]


 1:26 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

"How long took the development of Firefox? I would not use FF as an example of a successful Open Source product."

I'm sorry zaphile, I'd really like to leave this thread, but I cannot let you make such wierd assertions unchallenged, much as I'm aware ths discussion is really going nowhere fast.

Firefox is one of the success stories of the Internet, and just happens to be open source. It is leading the way, as IE gets clunkier and slower - M$ even admit that they failed to produce working tabs earlier.

And there are many, many many, examples of successful open source programs, and wherever thay compete with M$, they win. not overnight. but they win.

I'm truly sorry that you are having such difficulty getting your head around open source - I promise you it's worth the effort! But I do take my hat off to your loyalty to M$; that's a rare quality these days!


 1:39 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Apart from Windows itself, i don't use a single piece of commercial software for anything - and I have way more than 150 things installed here...

The vast majority of it is Open Source in some way.

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