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OpenDocument Foundation To Drop ODF 325

Posted by kdawson
from the microsoft-cheering-from-the-sidelines dept.
poet sends us to Computerworld for a story on the intention of the OpenDocument Foundation to drop support for Open Document Format, OASIS and ISO standards not withstanding, in favor of the Compound Documents Format being promoted by the W3C. The foundation's director of business affairs, Sam Hiser, dropped this bomb in a blog posting a couple of weeks ago. Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year.
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OpenDocument Foundation To Drop ODF

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  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @05:50PM (#21177057)
    Nothing has a chance at compatibility with OOXML except the bloated crap churned out by Word and its ilk.

    Driving to achieve closeness or compatibility with Microsoft formats, except as something kept at arms length, is essentially suicide.
  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bakuun (976228) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @05:54PM (#21177129)
    This, if something, will convince people that Microsoft's competing standard is better for them. Dropping support for the very format that they've been pushing for so hard, so recently?

    That will have agencies and large corporations running away from ODF - and any successors - right into the welcoming arms of Microsoft.

    I almost hoped that it was April, 1st - but when I checked, it was still October. Damn.

  • by SargentDU (1161355) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @05:56PM (#21177149)
    No, Sun and IBM, Wordperfect and others are still working with it. It is strange to me that the so called Open Document Foundation can do this as was pointed out in the article link, that it is a non-profit established to help with Open Document Format, that they would steer their organization to an opposite position to its namesake. I think all the officers should be kicked out and a realignment with their charter should be taken.
  • Quote from TFA: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rumith (983060) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:00PM (#21177201)

    "All Sun cares about is its application," Hiser claimed. "Sun never thought of the format as being more important than the application. Sun's position has always been that interoperability with Microsoft formats is outside the scope of ODF."
    A solid and justified position, if you ask me. Has this Hiser guy had a heat stroke recently?
  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:01PM (#21177211) Journal
    If OpenOffice.org, Sun (StarOffice), IBM (Lotus Symphony) and KDE (KOffice) all continue to support ODF, what difference does it make what the Foundation does or says?
  • by lbbros (900904) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:03PM (#21177227) Homepage
    Foundation or not, ODF is still an ISO standard, don't forget.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:06PM (#21177263)

    How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?


    This was my first thought: How much did MS pay off the OpenDoc Foundation?
  • Follow the Money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:09PM (#21177307)
    that it is a non-profit established to help with Open Document Format

    Stop right there. If that is the sole purpose for the organisation to exist, then it makes no sense at all for it to start promoting an alternate format.

    The most logical reason for this change of heart I can think of - given that nobody seriously expects "compatability with Microsoft formats" to ever be anything more than a pipedream - is a big bag of cash.
  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:11PM (#21177333) Homepage Journal
    Splendid! Who wants to contribute to a foundation to "promote" OOXML?

    The only thing that really matters is that developers of products that people use support the format. A foundation is just another entity that has its own peculiar interests to pursue. The importance of a foundation is in who decides to work with it, no more or less. It's just a mechanism for cooperation.
     
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:16PM (#21177379)
    First, it was disability support. It was shot down.

    Second, it was not supported by Microsoft Office. It was shot down too, with developed plugins already available for organisations.

    Third, it was "let's have two formats and let's live together peacefully". Yeah, right. Formats don't get accepted by ISO just because there are "very important to keeping in touch with old good ole Microsoft Office".

    And finally, we get "interoperability with Microsoft formats" argument. What a croak.

    Get this people - truely open document format will NEVER have anything to do with Microsoft Office wet dream to keep domination. NEVER.
  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaleCooper82 (860396) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:16PM (#21177387)
    None for you and me and others here... I am afraid though that it will have negative impact on decisions about the format used by corporations, countries (like SA last week?). They want to see support behind whatever format they choose... and well, marketing is (unfortunately) huge player these days... And there will be ODF version of 'Get the Facts' soon. How sad.
  • by Skiron (735617) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:21PM (#21177421) Homepage
    "Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year."

    All he is saying here, in honest truth, is that MS monopoly is allowed to continue.

    What ODF was about is OPEN format so that all can produce, create and save documents read by any other. The above statement now concedes that we go back to 'trying' to read a proprietary format designed to lock-in users in a monopoly.

    It gets from bad to worse.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:23PM (#21177447) Homepage

    Driving to achieve closeness or compatibility with Microsoft formats, except as something kept at arms length, is essentially suicide.

    On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide. Microsoft exists, and dominates the office application market, pretending it doesn't exist and that you can 'do your own thing' without taking it into account is utterly stupid.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:33PM (#21177539)

    I almost hoped that it was April, 1st - but when I checked, it was still October. Damn.
    Don't worry, the "foundation" that sold-out for Microsoft money is just a bullshit organization with an authoritative name.
  • Re:questions (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <`slashdot' `at' `castlesteelstone.us'> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:37PM (#21177583) Homepage Journal

    The ODF is OPEN for any application to implement 100%, that allows for clearer communication between applications, and as a result, real living people.
    Funny, that's the exact same logic used by proponents of Esperanto.

    ODF won't be worth anymore than the proprietary format OOo used before it, if there isn't enough added-value that it's worth it for common people to spend the resources to convert. Right now, there isn't -- not until either Microsoft signs on, or an ODF compatible software package is able to reach the level of expert-usability that Office has.

    (Tonight's list of what an ODF suite needs to do before it can dethrone MS Office? PDA/smartphone capability, and direct script control of the UI.)
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:41PM (#21177611) Homepage
    Java is platform independent for a reason. If they would have allowed platform specific code into Java it would have muddied the waters. People would no longer know when a Java App was for a platform or worked on any platform. Java has the problem of being slower because of it's just in time compiler but this is why Java is also so nice for developing in because you can rid your mind of platform dependant issues and focus on writing the application.
  • "we" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:53PM (#21177725) Homepage Journal
    here are many people in i.t., who actually decide what is going to be used in their respective companies as it people, and many big i.t. companies in the field against microsoft. i dont see any "majority" or "power" on microsoft side apart from being able to grab casual, irrelevant old-age user in a remote state by the balls, because s/he doesnt know jack about computers. these kind of majority dont dictate anything, unless it is during a tea party in a suburb.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:54PM (#21177749) Journal
    That's a possibility. It's another possibility that those companies who are chained to MS fucked up formats are going to bear ever increasing costs trying to deal with vast amounts of complexity that do not generate any return, but are obligatory for legal reasons, while their competitors who are not burdened with this defeat them in the marketplace by virtue of their not having this lead weight around their neck.

    I'm inclined to think it's the latter, personally. It just takes a while.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:02PM (#21177817)
    That's typical short term commercial thinking, which is entirely inappropriate for open source. Remember, open source is about creating the best tool for the job, not squeezing users for cash. If it takes a few years longer to get there, so be it.

    Open source can easily afford to take the long view in technical matters, because the bottleneck are the programmers and other volunteers. So if you want open source to thrive, make it interesting and simple for programmers to add a little bit here, a little bit there, and promote technical excellence, not compatibility to today's garbage.

    Your concept of market suicide makes no sense for open source. If however some people still want to chase a moving commercial target for "compatibility", they can just put up some money and pay somebody instead of expecting it for free. They'd better do it fast, though, because in two years it will all be out of date again.

  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by porl (932021) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:04PM (#21177839)
    compatibility with ooxml is an *application* problem, not a document format issue. ogg, flac and aac audio formats aren't 'compatible' with mp3s, but what is the point? they serve the same purpose but they are *different formats*. mp3 might be the most popular at the moment, but that doesn't mean every format must be as close to it in implementation as possible.

    porl
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dhasenan (758719) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:06PM (#21177855)
    Let me get this straight: you think that a document format should be compatible with MS formats? Isn't this an application-level thing? What groundbreakingly useful features can be expressed in OOXML and not ODF?
  • Some elaboration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g2devi (898503) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:07PM (#21177871)
    Actually, it's just three guys:
    http://opendocumentfoundation.us/we.htm [opendocume...ndation.us]
    Not much of a foundation.

    The *real* ODF group is:
    http://www.odfalliance.org/memberlist.php [odfalliance.org]

    I think that the only honest thing the "The OpenDocument Foundation" can do is rename
    itself "The Compound Documents Format Foundation", since to do otherwise would be as
    deceitful as Microsoft choosing to name OOXML "Office Open XML". But honestly, I doubt
    they will. Their comparison chart between CDF and ODF betrays a few lies:
                http://opendocument.foundation.googlepages.com/GOSCON_Chart.pdf [googlepages.com]
    In particular:
    * CDF is not OOXML compatible, nor has any implementation shown this to be possible. ODF at least has a not-100% compatible conversion.
    * ODF has a lot more big vendor support than CDF
    * Neither are universal formats, but ODF is supported by more vendors and software projects at the moment.

    Personally, I think that the reasons for "The OpenDocument Foundation" changing it's
    support from ODF to CDF is self-interest. When ODF was first introduced, there was
    money to be made for a small company to write MS Office/Corel Office/Mac Office plugins
    and other conversion services. But then Sun and others started offering free converters
    and conversion services. There's just too much competition too quickly

    CDF, OTOH is not as well supported universally, so there's a lot more room for
    a small company. And if the CDF growth rate is slow, the "The OpenDocument Foundation"
    has the chance to become *the CDF conversion experts* and make a lot of money.
    Also, since CDF (if you believe their claims) is more web oriented, it would be good
    for transactional converters of many types that need to be used for each message.
    With ODF, you convert your document once and don't have to worry about going back
    (by purpose....ODF is best for documents that have to be read, as is 100 years
    from now). The difference in profit between one-time business and licensed per
    transaction business could huge, even if CDF has a smaller market.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:12PM (#21177917)
    Sadly, Microsoft often doesn't have to pay shills like this. They can sell their services in "promoting compatibility" to third parties who don't know any better.

    Witness the career of Meng Weng Wong, who naively cooperated with Microsoft in accepting SenderID into his SPF standard and watched Microsoft's proprietary, patented XML lunacy effectively destroy further SPF deployment, while allowing Microsoft and SenderID to take credit for all the good SPF had already done.

    It's like dealing with Wal-mart: you may be forced into doing so in the short term by the need for expansion, but in the long term, it's usually death for you company or your project.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:18PM (#21177979) Homepage

    On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide.

    That's why OpenOffice (and many other applications) have the ability to read and write Microsoft Office files (.doc, .xls, .ppt). But trying to make those your standard document formats for your office suite would be completely retarded, since they're not open standards and you don't know the specs. And Microsoft can change the specs and not tell you.

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:20PM (#21177997)
    Excuse me, but there is no such thing as ".doc" format. There at least half a dozen, if not more, mutually distinct formats labeled ".doc". Each of them has features and capabilities not available in all the others, and transformations among them are non-reversible: translating a document from an old Word 95 format to Word 2003, to Word for Macintosh version whatever, will not reproduce your original document. It's even worse for spreadsheets, which are also part of the format.

    The denominators for it are not "common", they're nearly fractal in their complexity.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:24PM (#21178037)
    No, the name is clearly designed to create an impression of a relationship with the Open Document Format. It's a common tactic for gathering webhits and credibility, much as the "Open Source Foundation" pretended to be about open source, which it never really was.
  • Re:questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alx5000 (896642) <`ten.0005xla' `ta' `0005xla'> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:32PM (#21178113) Homepage

    Well, of course, since Esperanto is just as easily learned by people as ODF can be taught to computers...

    Universally spreading Esperanto requires an effort from a lot of governments around the world to promote it and teach it; universally implementing ODF requires some programmers, some coffee, and a couple of months, to code a filter that can be then reused in future versions or other applications.

    Don't confuse intent with possibility of realization.

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:53PM (#21178287)
    First, the idea of more compatibility with OOXML is not even remotely the issue. These are separate specifications. They are by nature incompatible. One format is not compatible with another. Second, you don't pull the rug out from underneath an existing format that has been approved by the organizations that matter, and Microsoft is not one of those that matter. As far as performance goes, what is he talking about? Milliseconds, adoption?

    This whole thing sounds like complete malarkey to me. Something is awry. If you can't buy the standard organizations I guess they can buy the ODF key players.
  • Re:questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:56PM (#21178315)
    While that bit of logic is similar, Esperanto never had any country that actually used it. ODF does, in the OpenOffice and StarOffice suites of software. Thus, it never had a base of native users to support or to eveolve it.

    Next strawman?
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by G Fab (1142219) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @08:03PM (#21178379)
    Maybe this is true eventually. Probably not, as there is no indication that anything will be easier to use than office, but who knows?

    Thing is, Office is the cheaper and faster option. It costs too much to go to microsoft free solutions, because the truly expensive stuff are employees (who generally can be expected to know Word and Excel automagically) and training time.

    I sure as hell would love for you to be right, and I think maybe Google or others will make online documents in a way that makes Word a dinosaur.

    So many companies would love to provide their employees with mere html portals locked to the document program, and with no way to print or save data (unless you are screened well). Enter data, go home. I know it sounds dreadful, but it's probably the future.
  • trademarks? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @08:50PM (#21178629)
    but "OpenDocument Foundation" has no official connection with ODF (the format)

    Then Sun, OpenOffice.org, ISO, and ECMA screwed up on trademarks. "Open Office XML" and "OpenDocument Foundation" should refer to nothing other than ODF and OpenOffice.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @08:57PM (#21178671)
    >>Thing is, Office is the cheaper and faster option. It costs too much to go to microsoft free solutions, because the truly expensive stuff are employees (who generally can be expected to know Word and Excel automagically) and training time.

    Until MSFT completely changes the file format and GUI for MSFT OFFice ala MSFT 2007. Then all new training is required because those who need training memorize locations instead of actions. Indeed the loudest complaints about the new interface is from people who don't understand the differences. while I haven't used it yet and most likely won't(I'm sorry but $1000 for an OS and office suite? I don't think so), I do think it is a step in the right direction.

    the problem is people are taught Word, and Excel. They aren't taught word processing or spreadsheets. Every time MSFT releases the OS the layout is slightly different. new training is required for those were taught to memorize the interface.
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gogo0 (877020) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @09:21PM (#21178851)
    at work i frequently get emails with no body, just a powerpoint attachment containing (in wordart) a simple message (august birthdays party at noon tomorrow!).
    people around the facility learned a while ago that i dont open powerpoints from email -save for work-related ones (which iv never come across).
    if its not important enough information to treat with a little respect ("cheryl has cancer and we're taking donations!" in wordart doesnt come across as serious as it should) then i dont think its important enough to waste my time looking at.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (avitlaocin)> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @09:54PM (#21179015) Journal
    As has been mentioned several times in the comment, the "Open Document Foundation" has no real connection to the Open Document Format, and the writeup reads like a MS-shill press release. So please fix it with an addendum so that casual readers of Slashdot don't take it at face value.
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by G Fab (1142219) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @10:03PM (#21179087)
    Yeah, totally totally true. Office 2007 makes no sense at all as a strategic move. It is totally different from what people are already able to use, even if it is somehow better (just seems overly simplified to me).

    I wonder what the hell has been going on with Vista and Office 2007. Not that MS has ever been brilliant about these things, just the monopoly.

    There is a bit of a market for openoffice to fill if they can be seen as the Office 2003 successor to Office 2003. But I still think the whole model is old and we will move to web based software for basic office tasks.
  • Re:questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysticgoat (582871) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @10:27PM (#21179255) Homepage Journal

    ODF won't be worth anymore than the proprietary format OOo used before it, if there isn't enough added-value that it's worth it for common people to spend the resources to convert.

    Well, that's pure bullshit.

    The primary value of ODF is that it reduces archival, retrieval, and distribution costs of our largest institutions. You know, the really big and long-lived ones, like nations, states, businesses that have celebrated their centennial year, and so on. We will start to see the benefits in about 10 years, in improved information services, and therefore lower taxes and cost of goods than would otherwise be the case.

    The direct costs to implement this are lower than any alternative. There are only two other strategies, and one variant of the ODF strategy, so let's do an exhaustive listing:

    1. Maintain the archives in their existing formats and keep software on hand, and hardware to run it, that can work with each format as needed. If you've never had the pleasure of working in a mixed environment of WordPerfect, WordStar, Word, Lotus, and Quattro files, then don't pretend you could imagine the costs of this approach. Talk to somebody with relevant experience. We've not all retired yet.
    2. Update every document in the archive to the latest and greatest format whenever the current market leader declares that its time for the world to upgrade to its latest product. Uh, hello??? The idea is to contain costs and improve services, not keep a company that's lost its way rolling in profits???
    3. (the ODF variant) Rather than adopt ODF (which has been in development for a few years, has a pretty good track record, and is extensible), let's all go with a format whose documentation is an order of magnitude more complicated, lacks critical detail, and will require everyone who uses the only software that will be sure to run it to pay an annual licensing fee?
    4. For completeness, here's the ODF approach one more time: Adopt ODF. Use existing FOSS to convert documents to ODF for archival purposes. If the documents don't convert properly, tell the author to rewrite them in good form, without the stupid bells and whistles. Use existing FOSS and slack time to convert old archived material to ODF for long term storage.

    The indirect costs of implementation are dependent on how effective Microsoft can be with its campaign of FUD, bribery, and astroturfing. They do not seem to be as good at this as they used to be— their notoriety now precedes them— but they are still a force to be reckoned with.

    Hey, you damn astroturfers, get your crap out of our meadow!

  • by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @10:28PM (#21179259) Journal
    Are you going to edit this article so that it clearly states that the "Open Document Foundation" has nothing to do with Open Document Format (ODF), other than that they are also in the "document" business?

    For crying out loud, this is a garbage summary that deliberately leaves out necessary context for no other apparent purpose than to mislead the reader into thinking it matters what this "foundation" thinks.

    FROM TFA:

    The OpenDocument Foundation Inc. doesn't have any control over ODF.
    Contrast with the OASIS ODF specification boilerplate:

    The names "OASIS", "OpenDocument", "Open Document Format" and "ODF" are trademarks of OASIS, the owner and developer of this specification, and should be used only to refer to the organization and its official outputs. OASIS welcomes reference to, and implementation and use of, specifications, while reserving the right to enforce its marks against misleading uses. Please see http://www.oasis-open.org/who/trademark.php [oasis-open.org] for above guidance.
    This is hogwash, not Slashdot. The only point of leaving it "as is" is to spur OASIS into trademark action, and I think there are better ways of doing that.

    --
    Toro
  • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @02:45AM (#21180449) Homepage
    I can't understand why it's important to make a document format that is compatible with OOXML. Come to think of it, I can't understand what they mean by a document format being compatible with OOXML. Did MS push a few bucketloads of money in the direction of the OD Foundation to help them change their mind?
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @03:46AM (#21180713) Homepage
    1) Because it's what they have and what they know. For example, in dealing with an IT department recently where we needed to make screenshots attachments (they were used to Notes where they pasted in, now we needed files) the solution was to have them past it into Word, save and send. Would an image editor and an image format be more appropriate? Yes. If an IT department won't do it, will regular people? No.

    2) Because Microsoft has figured out there's more money in trying to do what people want, rather than trying to tell people what to do. Using excel as a pseudo-database? Using excel to do simple lists? Ok, we'll try to accomodate you. It's the complete opposite of the Unix philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well, it's the philosophy that a user shouldn't need to use more tools than necessary and applications thus should be jack of all trades, and only if it can't be shoehorned in should the user have to use a different application.
  • Re:questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @08:51AM (#21182335)
    And why must authors waste their time rewriting documents (that can be years old) properly so that the afore-mentioned FOSS program/converter can convert them?

    because depending on the volume of documents, it's probably better to do that, than adopt one of the other alternatives listed in the GP. an alternative to rewriting the documents, is to write open, documented extensions to ODF to accommodate the "bells and whistles", and improve the FOSS to do the conversion. Although you'd have to pay someone with the expertise to do it, it may work out cheaper than rewriting thousands of VBA macros. and once it's done once, its done forever, for everyone.

    Alternatively you could just wait till some other FOSS developer does it anyway. It's never black and white and the cost of moving vs. savings due to liberation from legacy software is something specific to each situation. So your question "why should they waste their time" contains the unstated assumption that it is a waste of time for them to do it. In some cases it isn't.

  • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @11:18AM (#21184167)

    The first and biggest problem with old UI concepts was Menus. They were a fast solution to a big problem. Menus are by nature not a 'graphic' UI element, even though they are synonymous with GUIs today.

    Wait, menus are a problem because they're not Gooey enough? Who the fuck decided that being Gooey was the be-all and end-all of UI design anyway?!

    If you are using Menus, you are in effect having to memorize a list of commands, and their location. Memorizing lists of words is one of the things GUIs were supposed to remove, and failed.

    No shit, Sherlock! And if you're using "Ribbons," you are in effect having to memmorize a list of icons representing commands, and their location. Memorizing lists of pictures is one of the things GUIs were supposed to encourage, but is fucking stupid, because then you have to memorize the mapping between pictures and concepts (even harder than between words and concepts, by the way, because it's hard to describe a verb by a picture) anyway! How is that an improvement?!

  • Re:questions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orcrist (16312) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @11:52AM (#21184661)

    The reason it didn't fully catch on was laziness and English speakers' arrogance (continuing to this day) in assuming that their language is the one that the rest of the world must learn, despite its obvious technical deficiencies and difficult-to-learn nature.
    Wrong wrong wrong. The reason it didn't catch on is because it's not a native language of a group whom anyone really wants to talk to -- that's two strikes against it. Any Linguist who has a clue knows this. For a language to become a lingua
    franca it has to have a base of native speakers who have economic, political, cultural, and/or military influence. It has nothing to do with some special characteristic of English speakers.

    Furthermore, the idea that Esperanto is somehow universal in nature is just arrogant Indo-European-centric thinking itself. Tell a Hungarian, or an Eskimo (e.g. Yupik) speaker that Esperanto is 'easier' to learn and they'll laugh their asses off at you. Anyone who claims Esperanto is somehow 'neutral' or incorporates the best of all worlds has never had any meaningful exposure to a non-Indo-European language; that's 95% of the languages of the world, in case you're wondering. Just for reference: Farsi (Iranian), Russian, Spanish, English are all first-cousins linguistically speaking (I bet you think they're *really* different from each-other, right?) Esperanto is their gene-manipulated bastard child.

    To any speaker of a truly foreign language like Yupik there is no practical difference between learning any of those languages -- oh, except if she learns English she gets access to the whole world of business, science and international politics, as well as the best chance of asking for directions when traveling; if she learns Esperanto she can talk to a bunch of kooks, assuming she can find one of them.

    But I'm sure you and many other amateur Linguists on Slashdot are going to disregard this completely and stick to your preconceived notions about natural languages with completely inappropriate comparisons to designed languages which is eerily similar to ID proponents when talking to biologists. I'm not sure why I even bother to respond to these kinds of posts. *sigh*
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @05:40PM (#21189259) Homepage
    Not to mention how anyone is supposed to communicate such use to someone else.

    It's bad enough now, having to write instructions like "First select Edit -> Preferences -> Security -> Certificates -> Manage Certificates. In the resulting Certificate Manager popup, select Authorities. Now click Import..." and so on.

    Anything that forces a graphical representation also forces us to converse in terms of graphical representations. And guess what, humans don't do that very well.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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