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MS Announces Open XML Formats Developer Group 84

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the monkey-see-microsoft-do dept.
Andy Updegrove writes to tell us that Microsoft has responded to the recently formed ODF Alliance with a group of their own, the Open XML Formats Developer Group. From the article: "At launch, the new forum has either 39 or 40 members (the site is internally inconsistent on this point), the most prominent of which are Apple, Intel and Toshiba. [...] Despite the long list of founding members, it appears that the forum is purely informational in nature. A review of the site indicates that no specific initiatives are planned to be undertaken by the forum. Instead, it will provide information and provide a place for developers to pose questions, post content, and engage in discussion."
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MS Announces Open XML Formats Developer Group

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  • fence-straddlers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rkhalloran (136467) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @03:55PM (#14967033) Homepage
    How many of these 'founding members' are just hedging their bets by being in both this and the ODF Alliance group? And how do file formats matter to a company like Intel; they shouldn't care what office suite someone's using, as long as it running on their CPUs, yes?

    • Most importantly, will I be able to open 10 Open XML documents at the same time if I have an AMD CPU?
    • And how do file formats matter to a company like Intel; they shouldn't care what office suite someone's using, as long as it running on their CPUs, yes?

      Maybe a group's having members that have no apparent vested interest (i.e. no financial stake or political agenda) adds credibility to the group.
    • One question I have is whether or not Microsoft included code in their Office suite that would run faster on Intel processors...

      That would definitely matter to those types of companies.
    • And how do file formats matter to a company like Intel; they shouldn't care what office suite someone's using, as long as it running on their CPUs, yes?
       
      what they care more about - than someone running on their chips, is making money. and if there is a financial incentive for them to care about software, they will be involved.
    • by hackus (159037)
      Err, No.

      Intel has a lot to gain by a particular file format.

      Any company with plans to enforce "trusted computing" hardware has a great deal of interest in file formats, and how to keep them as closed as possible.

      XML documents can be parsed using a so called "open" (i.e. Open to Trusted Computing Members if you pay a HUGE fee.) so that documents can become encrypted XML objects that can only run on a particular machine.

      If a file format is known, a BIOS modification can be made to intercept calls that the OS
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @03:58PM (#14967053)
    The forum actually has 40 members, but one of them was ducking a flying chair at the time you must have been looking.
  • Bad link? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdeisenberg (37914) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @04:02PM (#14967096) Homepage
    The link for the name Andy Updegrove should link to
    http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog [consortiuminfo.org].
  • Now, that the OSS world has critized it, there will be all sorts of discussions about nothing. IOW, it will still be informational, but with a lot of spin.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @04:08PM (#14967127) Homepage Journal
    Gates noted that the new group, to be known as the Open XML Formats Developer Group, brings together three of his favorite words--"open," "XML," and "developer." "No organization is good unless you put 'open' " in there, Gates said.

    So when exactly can we expect MicroOpenSoft to release OpenWindows?
    • I think his exact quote was, "if any developer here uses non-Microsoft XML, Ballmer can throw him out an open window."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The name was intended to be "Open XML Formats Misappropriation Group," but when someone at the Microsoft meeting pointed out that "misappropriation" is equivalent to "development," and, after all, developers, developers, developers!, it was reluctantly modified.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @04:09PM (#14967137) Homepage Journal
    You have to adminer Microsoft's determination to redefine "open" as meaning "closed".

    I bet people in Redmond spend a lot of time walking into doors these days

    • You have to adminer Microsoft's determination to redefine "open" as meaning "closed".

      I bet people in Redmond spend a lot of time walking into doors these days


          Which statement begs the question: Are these doors open or closed?
    • I remember reading someplace about those weird questions MS asks prosective employees. One of them was something like "how would you move mount fuji". I remember thinking the answer at Microsoft should be.

      Spend 500 million in advertising telling people that you have moved mount fuji and they will believe it.

      This is the most important fight for MS right now. Take away proprietary file formats and you have taken out two of the legs of the office monopoly stool. If they lose this fight their office monopoply w
  • "Microsoft" and "open"... damn, I must be having a stroke.
  • Real purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobdehnhardt (18286) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @04:11PM (#14967160)
    A review of the site indicates that no specific initiatives are planned to be undertaken by the forum. Instead, it will provide information and provide a place for developers to pose questions, post content, and engage in discussion.
    In other words, the purpose of the Open XML Formats Developer Group is to provide FUD to undermine the ODF Alliance's real work and progress, delaying adoption of ODF until such time as Microsoft can release a competing, purportedly open XML format, which they will then poison with proprietary "extensions" that guarantee their continued stranglehold on office applications. Anyone not see this coming? Anyone?
    • Re:Real purpose (Score:2, Informative)

      by ClamIAm (926466)
      They don't even need "extensions" anymore, now that we have software patents. All they need is to have part of the schema patented, and they can strangle the format for 20 years.
    • Re:Real purpose (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You could be right, which is why ODF needs to be pushed as much as possible right now. Every OSS word processor should be working to add it to their next release, and it should also be added to as many closed-source apps as possible. If you get everyone but MS on board, they'll be under some amount of pressure to do so as well.

      Maybe even develop a certification that a program complies with ODF standards and put the seal on the splash screen.
      • and it should also be added to as many closed-source apps as possible.

        Hey, Corel! This means you! No, really. Get it to it!
        • That's a good candidate. Then along with Lotus (IBM). They have a word processor right? If these guys, and everyone else, ever want to really be able to compete with MSOffice, then they should all standardize on one format. That way they can compete on actual features and ease of use, rather than who can lock the users in the best.
      • KOffice has it already. Abiword doesn't, because the spec is too ambiguous - something the koffice devs complained about. Not sure about Hancom Office. But it looks like the spec needs work at least as much as the word processors do.
    • On the subject of extensions to a standard, tell me again what the X in XML stands for?
      • To most people it means "eXtensible". To some it mean "Patentable eXtensions", where the P can be kept invisible for as long as possible.
      • I guess you also believe that because it's called a "luxury accomodation", it's actually luxurious, or because it's called "a fuel efficient SUV" it's actually fuel efficient.

        What XML is called doesn't matter; what matters is what the effect of Microsoft adding proprietary extensions to Office XML would be, and the effect wouldn't be good.
    • provide a place for developers to ... post content

      And if said content is a schema for some undocumented bit of a MS file format, hello DMCA!
    • ...until such time as Microsoft can release a competing, purportedly open XML format, which they will then poison with proprietary "extensions" that guarantee their continued stranglehold on office applications.

      Just having the possibility of a competing "Open XML" format backed by the largest software vendor in the world will delay adoption of any competing ODF.

      Not only will the Open version of XML be laden with proprietary extensions, but it will have gaping holes in its interface, its description, the k

  • Then Linus should form the Federation! he is the good guy after all! (mod: -1, offtopic).
  • A review of the site indicates that no specific initiatives are planned to be undertaken by the forum. Instead, it will provide information and provide a place for developers to pose questions, post content, and engage in discussion.

    So, essentially, they're going to sit around and chat, but not actually do anything.
    Now you know why Microsoft products are the way they are.

    And as long as I'm here, I might as well tell a joke. So Gates comes back from his honeymoon, and his wife says, "Now I know why yo
  • Post in bin mode only, please. Posts that contain any raw XML will confuse the XML DOM interpreter that runs the forum. All use of interpolated greater than or less than signs is strictly prohibited.
  • First a new alliance around ODF pops up. Then Microsoft creates a counter announcement to make it look like they're encouraging "collaboration." You can tell they did this as a knee-jerk reaction based on how little this new consotrium offers.

    There are no technical articles that have been published

    no specific initiatives are planned to be undertaken by the forum

    we're making it up as we go

    So in other words, a bunch of groups were hoping the worlds' documents don't go proprietary and decided to join so they'd
  • Open like a child safety cap on a prescription bottle or open like as in open to all? I hesitate to think about this too much fearing that my head may explode and make quite a mess of my monitor.
  • From the web site (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thetoastman (747937)

    The Open XML Formats are currently going through the Ecma standards process, and the complete schemas are not yet available. There are no technical articles that have been published yet (other than blog posts, some of which are great), and there are no books out on Open XML Formats development yet.

    So, we have no complete schemas (even draft), no technical articles, and no stated direction. We do have blog posts that are great (from a Microsoft technical evangelist).

    And yet, we have the following.

  • FTA "... and there are no books out on Open XML Formats development yet". then from the ad at the bottom of the page:"(and remember to Buy Your Books at Biff's)"

    Kinda sums up the article.
  • Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpcooke3 (306161) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @05:25PM (#14967766) Homepage
    Why has Apple signed up to this - to ensure microsoft continues MS Office for mac support?

    I can't say i'm too worried about Intel and Toshiba supporting the format.

    That is unless intel or toshiba make "Open-DRM" hardware chips to stop "secure" MS Office files from being read by non-trusted programs like OpenOffice.

    Sorry, but this thread is still short on anti-microsoft conspiracy stories!
    • Why has Apple signed up to this - to ensure microsoft continues MS Office for mac support?

      No, Microsoft already has an agreement to produce new versions of Microsoft Office for Mac until at least 2011. Apple is involved because of applications like Pages and Keynote that use an XML-based format and provide interoperability with many other 3rd party formats, including Microsoft Word.
      • Apple is involved because of applications like Pages and Keynote that use an XML-based format and provide interoperability with many other 3rd party formats, including Microsoft Word.

        There are organizations, like OOo, that provide interoperability with MS Offices formats, without kissing MS asses in "Open" group.
  • XML advocacy site + third party organization to validate well-formedness = the obvious [w3.org]
  • ODF isn't even an open format, it actually contains several proprietary parts that are patented by Sun.
  • ...a door slammed in someone's face. Seriously: "...it will provide information and provide a place for developers to pose questions, post content, and engage in discussion."? I think I speak for most when I say, whatever.
  • A review of the site indicates that no specific initiatives are planned to be undertaken by the forum.
    Sound like a bureaucratic micromanagement session...a group of too many people involved with little or no objectives.
  • by penguin-collective (932038) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @08:12PM (#14968765)
    Both Sun and Microsoft have been busy trying to compete with open source by attempting to redefine the meanings of terms like "open" and "free". The Microsoft Office XML formats are not open, because in order to use them, you need a license from Microsoft. The same is true for crucial pieces of the Sun Java language and libraries.

    It's important not to let these companies get away with such sleazy tactics and to make sure that both customers and users understand that if they agree to terms of companies like Sun and Microsoft, they accept similar risks to when they buy proprietary, closed source software.
    • Actually, I think it's your ilk that is trying to redefine the longstanding industry term "Open".

      For example, it was common to say "UNIX is an Open System" -- even though it cost millions of dollars to license UNIX and the license fell miles short of any sort of free software-ish standards. Microsoft's and Sun's use of the term are very much in line with the historical usage, and the "Open Source" peoples' are not.

      Plus, it seems that the latest conclusion is that Microsoft's "OpenXML" licence really is "ope
  • Instead, it will provide information and provide a place for developers to pose questions, post content, and engage in discussion.

    MS have put up a wiki?

The first version always gets thrown away.

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