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Ecma Receives 3,522 Comments on Open XML Standards 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-has-an-opinion dept.
Bergkamp10 writes "Microsoft's Office Open XML document format attracted 3,522 comments from the national standards bodies that participated last summer in balloting that has so far derailed the effort to certify the format as an ISO standard. Brian Jones, an Office program manager at Microsoft and the sole Microsoft employee on the Ecma Technical Committee, revealed the total number of comments that had been received in a blog posting this week. Ecma International is a Swiss standards body that already ratified Open XML and is guiding the format through the ISO. According to Jones many of the 3,500-plus comments, consisting mainly of objections and suggested changes to Ecma's standards proposal, overlap with one another. "When you group them into similar buckets, it narrows down pretty quickly into a more manageable list," he said. Still, he apparently acknowledged that the number of comments was "still pretty impressive." Open XML just missed out on a fast-track to approval as an ISO standard in the initial balloting that concluded in early September. Ecma's proposal won a majority of the votes that were cast but not enough to meet the requirements for approval. Ecma has until January 14 to provide responses and rebuttals to the comments submitted by the national standards bodies. The issues raised will then be debated at a so-called ballot resolution meeting that ISO will hold starting February 25, after which the various national standards bodies will have a chance to amend their vote — the last chance for Open XML to be approved."
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Ecma Receives 3,522 Comments on Open XML Standards

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  • by icepick72 (834363) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @12:40AM (#21443835)
    And the ECMA modded most of the 3522 comments between +1 and +3 interesting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, 3522 comments ought to be enough for anybody ...
      • by pallmall1 (882819) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @02:36AM (#21444305)

        Well, 3522 comments ought to be enough for anybody ...
        Maybe that's why Microsoft stopped counting at 3522, instead of the actual number of ten thousand [groklaw.net]. And the Computerworld article says the 3500+ list hasn't been trimmed of "overlapping" comments yet.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          ISO != ECMA

          The groklaw article is referring to the comments from the ISO committee members, the ECMA is a different standards body covering Europe.

          I'm not supporting Microsoft (I'm a dyed-in-the-wool *nixer), but you're confusing the two bodies.

          • Who is confused? FTFA (1st paragraph):

            But that's nothing compared to the 3,522 comments that Microsoft's Office Open XML document format attracted from the national standards bodies that participated last summer in balloting that at least temporarily derailed the effort to certify the format as an ISO standard.

            So perhaps the total was 10,000 recieved, but only 3,522 via ECMA? MFTFA: "...Ecma International, a Geneva-based standards body that already ratified Open XML and is shepherding the format through I

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by marcosdumay (620877)

            The article is talking about documents sent to ECMA by ISO.

            But, maybe ISO did condense them a bit.

      • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @02:36AM (#21444309)
        According to this Groklaw article there were 10,000+ comments.

        http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070910110639612

        Where does that leave the 6,500 missing comments?
        • by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @03:23AM (#21444493)
          They were browsing at +2
        • by nadaou (535365) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @08:37AM (#21445381) Homepage

          Where does that leave the 6,500 missing comments?

          Florida

        • by Thrip (994947)

          Where does that leave the 6,500 missing comments?
          It is rather hard to decipher, but it seems the 3500 comments given to ECMA are a subset of the 10,000 submitted to ISO? Perhaps only 3500 had substantive issues for ECMA to respond to? On the other hand, this article says ISO doesn't allow anyone to view comments, whereas groklaw includes them in a zip file, so maybe they aren't even the same comments?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Zeinfeld (263942)
            It is rather hard to decipher, but it seems the 3500 comments given to ECMA are a subset of the 10,000 submitted to ISO? Perhaps only 3500 had substantive issues for ECMA to respond to? On the other hand, this article says ISO doesn't allow anyone to view comments, whereas groklaw includes them in a zip file, so maybe they aren't even the same comments?

            The IETF was recently the target of a clueless lobbying 'campaign' by the FSF. Post after post appeared on the IETF mailing list saying 'no standards base

            • by Thrip (994947)
              Well, you seem to be lumping the FSF's campaign in with astroturfing, but I think the former is a response to the latter. If people didn't see companies like Microsoft warping standards processes, they probably wouldn't feel compelled to write in. No one who's been in this business any length of time blindly trusts any standards body to put the quality of the standard ahead of corporate influence. It's pretty reasonable to write in and say "I'm watching. If you shill, the world will know, and your reputatio
            • The comments referenced are thus comments the various countries filed with their votes. Unless the FSF gets to vote, their comments aren't counted. When you vote, you attach comments as to what are necessary corrections in order to vote "yes" rather than "no" next time. These are not "open" or "public" comments, in that only MBs get to vote and only then do they get to file comments.
        • Microsoft lobbied with all means to hinder all the National Committees to submit comments despite obvious and real flaws in the specification submitted by ECMA International. It is ridiculous spin that they now praise the number of comments received. After all fast-track is not a standard development process but for rubber-stamping ready specifications.

          You find a collection of comments [noooxml.org] here compiled. The comments submitted are a tip of an iceberg. Some National bodies submitted bullshit for instance the Tur
  • by Anonymous Coward
    3521 were malformed, and the other one was empty.
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @12:57AM (#21443943) Homepage Journal

    Not that my opinion matters, but I think a lot of really talented people are wasting their time getting pulled between OOXML and ODF. Right from Jody Goldberg and a lot of others are spending a lot of time supporting both (and debating why).

    And looks like I'm not the only one who thinks that - quoted from Jdub's email to gnome-lists [gnome.org].

    > [9] What is your positioning with respect to the issue of OOXML?

    An exasperating waste of time -- on both sides of the debate -- that will
    ultimately harm international technology standards more than it will ever
    help Microsoft's bottom line or harm the absolutely inevitable success of
    Software Freedom.

    I've already shouted down MooXML [dotgnu.info], but I think I'm done talking about this, if I'm not going to do anything in particular (say, does the Koffice ODF guys need some help?).

    • by innerweb (721995) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:09AM (#21444001)

      My only question is how much will it cost Microsoft to fix this for themselves? Yeah, mod me down fanboys. But, the reality is this is something Microsoft has done all too often. So have many other companies. This seems to be a huge issue to Microsoft. Maybe they will let it slide for now and spend time building up their bastardized version of open format (truly a closed format) while doing what they can to destroy a truly open format (like they did with so many other standards before), or will they decide to go for the quick kill and buy the standard?

      I used to really like Microsoft products. I used to look forward to when they came out with new products. I also used to like Monsanto for their *engineering*. Reality is they both have too much in common. I believe Open Format is far more important than anything else in computing at the moment. The implications for the future and the present are huge. Open Format is truly what is needed to create competition. As long as the documents are interoperable across applications, then the applications will have to compete on best of breed, not best of lock in. And, as a bonus if the formats are open, then the worry of data loss due to format loss or is much lower. How many times I have had to pull something from an archive in the Microsoft world only to find none of the current tools can open a document that old (happens in law and finance). That is one of the reasons everyone I have worked with keeps digital images of their documents. They are still human readable, though it does defeat several of the strengths of digitally stored documents.

      What do you all think? Will Microsoft go for the long term takeover or try to force the issue now (and why do you think so)?

      InnerWeb

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, mod me down fanboys.

        Taunting Microsoft fanboys on Slashdot, huh?
        Next up, taunting neo-cons at a Barbara Streisand concert?
        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob.hotmail@com> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @07:49AM (#21445249) Journal
          Not any more.

          In today's Slashdot, you're far more likely to be modded down for negative comments on Microsoft.

          Personally, I suspect their marketing team (or a proxy) is gaming user-moderated tech sites.

          • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @12:31PM (#21446643)

            My theory is that we have an influx of wet-behind-the-ears IT "professionals", fresh out of a 3-month course at some diploma mill and now proud holders of a MSCE diploma or some such, and therefore knowing-- with absolute certainty -- that Microsoft is the be-all and end-all of all things IT and their ticket to success. And now here on Slashdot out to "show us" old farts.

            Which reminds me of a guy I know who never used a computer for anything, tried starting various businesses ranging from candy dispenser machines to hot-dog stands, and eventually got one of those MSCEs or A+ or what not (in 3 months) following which he started an IT business whereby he "fixes" people's computers. The business is wildly successful in appearance, with big ads all over town and the clientele mostly consisting of people even less computer literate then him (of which there is a lot) ... although there appears to be not much repeat business. Fear not, ads are big and flashy and one is born every ... you get the idea. His selling point? "No computer gurus here!". I kid you not. It is of course impossible to talk to him now, since he "knows" the IT industry better then everyone, according to him and his wallet. Still hasn't seen a rack-mount server though. "Who uses those anyhow? (snicker)".

            Needless to say he worships greed and sees Bill Gates as the living incarnation of some sort of God of Profit. But which does not stop him from selling copies of MS Office on CD-Rs to old ladies ...

            I would not be surprised to see him spouting some nonsense here.

      • by rucs_hack (784150) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:47AM (#21445105)
        Microsoft can't really change OOXML at all. This is a primary reason for their wanting it fast tracked to ISO acceptance.

        Why can't they fix it? They've already shipped Ofice 2007, and that is built to suport OOXML as is.

        As a result, their ISO efforts are likely screwed, or if not, any document format they do get through will be kept around for its status, but left all but unused. Probably support for it will appear in an office service pack that they will say is aimed at the civil service or some other crap.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Doesn't Microsoft Office check for updates? Surely, in this day and age, it would. Almost every other program I have seems to.
          • Updates? At the risk of recursion, the groklaw "10,000" [groklaw.net] link had comments, where a slasdot comment was quoted [groklaw.net]:

            MicroSoft's Patent: Consent-or-Die
            Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 11 2007 @ 01:00 PM EDT
            theodp writes on Slashdot:
            "Maybe you shouldn't get too attached to those new Windows Live services. On Tuesday, the USPTO granted Microsoft a patent for privacy policy change notification, which describes how to threaten users with the loss of their accounts and access to web sites and services s

        • Technically they'll have the "be compatible with open standards" feature so that they slip by people's procurement requirements, but they'll make it difficult enough to switch from the default "be compatible with other Microsoft products only" feature that nothing will really change.
      • by mcrbids (148650)
        I used to really like Microsoft products. I used to look forward to when they came out with new products. I also used to like Monsanto for their *engineering*. Reality is they both have too much in common.

        Reality is that $EVIL_CORPORATION==$CORPORATION. Corps have their ups and downs. If it wasn't for corps, (or some other similar social mechanism) you couldn't possibly have your $20 Nike shoes or your safe, reliable car.

        Corps are a logical extension of biology, where a group of people come together and fun
        • In the legal sense an original document has evidentiary weight. If you filter that through software that could destroy original formating it could also change meaning. A photograph is not the original document, but it is closer than PDF would be. There *is* a difference between physical objects and the information they contain/convey.
    • by kamochan (883582) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @03:51AM (#21444609)

      Not that my opinion matters, but I think a lot of really talented people are wasting their time getting pulled between OOXML and ODF.

      I have been involved in some standardization efforts, and from what I can tell -- that's exactly the point.

      In many standardization efforts there are participants whose sole purpose is to delay, confuse, or break the standard, or at least wear the active proponents down. Typically in these cases these disruptive participants are trying to protect their own product or implementation -- sometimes they are just playing for time to catch up to competitors in their R&D department, sometimes they are trying to water the standard down so that their proprietary solution would be more successful.

      It's not very hard to see which would be the case in this instance.

    • by ozbird (127571)
      Not that my opinion matters, but I think a lot of really talented people are wasting their time getting pulled between OOXML and ODF.

      That's a feature, not a bug. If OOXML can't be made an ISO standard like ODF, bog down the talented people who would otherwise be recommending adoption of ODF to their national IT bodies, or *gasp* contributing to open source software.

      The squeals of a dying company are really quite unpleasant; won't somebody (the EU?) please put it out of its misery?
  • common criticisms (Score:5, Informative)

    by cynicsreport (1125235) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @12:58AM (#21443947) Homepage
    Many of the common criticisms of Open XML involve internal inconsistencies and breaks from traditional/standard formats (wikipedia [wikipedia.org]). These include currency formats, language issues, etc. Not all of the problems have simple fixes, and for such a complex standard, it may take a lot of work to iron out the issues.
    • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:09AM (#21444003) Homepage

      Precisely. And why fix the problems? We already have a standard: ODF. Microsoft has yet to put forward a halfway persuasive argument as to why we need another. In some cases different standards meet different needs, but generally speaking having more than one standard is inefficient. Even if the problems are fixed, in the absence of a good reason for having multiple standards, the answer to Microsoft's proposal should be that they're too late.

      • Actually, I'd say there's at least one really good reason for a second standard, and that is that Microsoft (in theory) would actually be using it. unfortunately, OOXML seems to be completely useless in that respect, since it's not going to be much easier to implement than the word 2000 format (and maybe even harder given how much is already done in that respect).

        This of course, is on top of the many other aspects of the format that make it useless as an international standard, like it's inability to do Ar
        • by belmolis (702863)

          If Microsoft is going to use OOXML, having a specification would indeed be useful for interoperability. But why a standard?

          • by NeoTron (6020) <kevin@scaryglideLIONrs.net minus cat> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @02:53AM (#21444375) Homepage
            Look at it from Microsoft's point of view (Yes, I know, it makes me feel creepy doing that too)...

            Read out this statement : "OpenDocument Format is a world-recognised ISO standard. MOOXML is not a world-recognised ISO standard".

            Now, if you were in charge of a monster-sized company which is also a monopoly, wouldn't you balk at that sentence?

            In Microsoft's "mind", one of the ways in which they can counter the threat (to them) of ODF becoming a widely-used format, is to make its own format - MOOXLML - become an ISO standard - that way they can market their own format as such, and of course this format is also one their "lock-in" formats which they'll use to swat out the competition - yet again. This is why you see all these sudden new sign-ups to the ISO who suddenly saw the light and voted for MOOXML.

            And that's precisely WHY they want MOOXML to be made an ISO standard.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by belmolis (702863)

              Sure, I understand why Microsoft wants OOXML to be a standard. My point is, I don't think that there is a reason for anyone else to make it a standard, even if it isn't broken.

              • >"...don't think that there is a reason for anyone else to make it a standard"

                Well, there's all those existing documents which would suddenly become "standardized". That would save a lot of upheaval.

                The real goal of switching to an open, implementable (which rules out OOXML...) standard is to open up the market for software which can edit/display it.

                The current Microsoft lock-in is unpalatable for anybody with long term vision. I doubt if many of today's documents will be usable in 50 years except via sp
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by pallmall1 (882819)

                  Who has a working Edison phonograph in their house? Anybody...?
                  Bill Gates?
                • by KiloByte (825081)

                  The real goal of switching to an open, implementable (which rules out OOXML...) standard is to open up the market for software which can edit/display it.

                  Open market = allowing office software other than Microsoft's. And, taking a look at where they take most of their profits from [microsoft.com], I say it will be a frigid day in hell when Microsoft stops using every underhanded tactic possible in this fight.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by chthon (580889)

                  The real goal of switching to an open, implementable (which rules out OOXML...) standard is to open up the market for software which can edit/display it.

                  And generate it too. This is something that is possibly not understood by ordinary users of word processing software, but it is a tremendous advantage to have the possibility to generate real documents from (a) database(s) and other data sources.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ozmanjusri (601766)
                    it is a tremendous advantage to have the possibility to generate real documents from (a) database(s) and other data sources.

                    Exactly.

                    Microsoft isn't scared of a few competitors to it's full Office Suite - they can do a lot of marketing to make up for the product's shortfalls.

                    What they're scared of is an entire ecosystem of specialised document producers and consumers. A standard and open document format has the potential to revolutionise the way we create and manage information. It could be as big a fo

                • Who has a working Edison phonograph in their house? Anybody...?

                  No, but I do have a 1929 wind-up gramophone, that I occasionally crank up to listen to Winston Churchill's speeches on 78rpm acetates...

                  And if I were given a phonograph cylinder, I reckon I'd be able to rig up a suitable phonograph fairly easily, since the patent is now open source.

                  Stuff like 'dolinebreakslikeWord95' isn't ever going to be open, no matter how much Microsoft claim in their OOXML proposal.

            • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:38AM (#21444915)
              Lately, governments tend to notice the problem of "lock-in" formats and demand open standards for government use (remember the Massachussets affair?). Once that attitude becomes mandatory policy, Microsoft has to do one of the following:

              -support ODF or another standard not controlled by them
              -drop out of government business
              -or have their own format promoted to a standard

              Guess what they are trying now? ;-)
      • Precisely. And why fix the problems? We already have a standard: ODF

        It would be far easier to address 3500 issues, especially with expression syntax, currency formatting, etc than it would be to take ODF to the level of functionality of OpenXML. Even if the time was put into ODF, by the time it was as mature in features as OpenXML it would also have a list of 3500 issues that would then need to be addressed.

        It is easier to slim down and standardize than create from scratch missing functionality.
      • by scruffy (29773)
        An OOXML standard, suitably fixed, would be a big help for interoperability from .doc and .docx to other formats. Given that there are a zillion .doc and .docx documents, that would to me be enough of an argument for a standard.
    • For us geekier than finance types, dumping mathML for Office Math Markup Language OMML, and SVG for DrawingML is what hurts!
  • How much more will it cost them this time?
  • by burgundysizzle (1192593) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:04AM (#21443975)
    Perhaps someone can submit it to the Guiness World Records folks? There can't have been too many other standards with as many (or more) comments. It may not end up being a standard, but with a bit of help it can be a really good joke.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ngarrang (1023425)

      Perhaps someone can submit it to the Guiness World Records folks? There can't have been too many other standards with as many (or more) comments. It may not end up being a standard, but with a bit of help it can be a really good joke.
      Well, they had to submit at least one comment per page of the Open XML standard.
    • Re:World record (Score:5, Interesting)

      by louarnkoz (805588) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:54AM (#21444175)
      Actually, that would not be a record, and yes, other standards beat that. For example, the draft 802.11n standard received over 5,000 comments during the ratification process by the IEEE 802.11 working group. Yet there was basic consensus on the specification in the industry, and there are already interoperable implementations certified by the WI-Fi alliance. (I am in fact using 802.11n right now, with a D-Link router and an HP/Centrino laptop...)
      -- Louarnkoz
  • by jmv (93421) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:08AM (#21443995) Homepage
    Who wants to bet that MS will resubmit the exact same thing without changing a comma, while pretending it addressed all the comments?
  • cha, as if (Score:4, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:12AM (#21444007)
    "Open XML" is that kind of like "Open VMS"? [wikipedia.org] (The funniest oxymoron there ever was...)
    • But it always depends what you mean by 'open.' I don't know how it is now, but in days of yore VMS generally came with a swatload of API documentation and the entire source—on microfiche. That's opener than is being proposed for OOXML, if I understand aright, even if it isn't as open as Linux—because it is enough information to interoperate (which, frankly, I think ought to be the minimum legal requirement for any product whatsoever, let alone standards).
      • VMS Doc Set (Score:3, Interesting)

        22ft of Shelf space. All the API's were fully documented and it included proper examples (not like 'man' pages...)
        The source was also on Microfiche as the poster said. There was even a part number in the price book where you could (for lots of $$$$) buy the sources on MagTape.

        However,
        The 'Open' in Open VMS Came from the inclusion of a full POSIX Interface & API into VMS.

        Those were the days...

        I used to work for them and wrote the TSU05 Magtape driver. (well, modded the TS11 driver and added code
  • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:47AM (#21444143)
    What happened to that story about how MS had signed up so many voting members to ISO that no quorum could be reached?

    I suppose they will crawl out of the woodwork for this vote but one would think there would have to be other votes in the lead up.
  • by burnin1965 (535071) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @01:53AM (#21444173) Homepage
    And how many of that "majority" were only there to vote in support of the open XML proprietary format but in reality have no interest what so ever in standards? Some honesty here would be refreshing considering the suspicion of corruption.

    http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number5.17/iso-procedures [edri.org]
    "a leaked memo showed that Microsoft asked partners to influence the vote but had also offered to pay them to do so"

    http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/05/133219&from=rss [slashdot.org]
    "It turns out there's an interesting correlation between Transparency International's 'corruption perceptions index' and voting behavior in ISO's OOXML decision. Countries with a lower score (more corruption) on the 2006 CPI were more likely to vote in favor of OOXML"

    http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=7E36CE19-D223-45C2-9704-A2F4B116AA26 [cbronline.com]
    "the publication of the voting results brings to a close a hard-fought and often bitter battle to win the approval of national voting bodies that has been tarnished by allegations of corruption, bribery vote stuffing"

    *sigh* pathetic
    • "a leaked memo showed that Microsoft asked partners to influence the vote but had also offered to pay them to do so"

      Is EDRI an amateur organization? Using "but" as a conjunction is supposed to join contrasting ideas. They should have used "and", otherwise that line makes no sense.
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @02:30AM (#21444285) Homepage Journal
    "Ecma receives 3,522 Comments on Open XML Satan darts".

    There, fixed it for ya. :)
  • How hard would it be to create a xml-schema type system where your document editor of choice could just download the latest "definitions" or "filters" to load from or save to the format of the day? We're connected (to get the updates) from now until we go extinct so an active system could keep moving with the times instead of needing to be redefined every ten years!
    • No schema will work if your XML has lots of binary blobs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      There have been a couple of PhD projects in my department trying to do this kind of thing with 3D modelling languages, trying to infer semantics from the structure and build a scene graph for an unknown format. It is possible (basic information theory) to translate any file format into any other format which is at least as expressive as the first. For example, you can translate between RTF and HTML quite easily (ignoring the fact that everyone implements RTF differently, for a minute) since they are rough
    • Not so easy, since MsOOXML is neither documented, complete, nor XML.

  • Really? Ignoring what I see here as irony... Was there any need to add formating to the comments? Why couldn't a plain .txt work?
    • According to Groklaw they were originally in HTML, but converted to .doc before publishing:

      The comments have been officially published, although as .doc files, sigh. Here's the zip file to download [jtc1sc34.org]. But I thought I'd make them available to you as HTML also, which is how the members got them to make sure everyone has access and because of my idea. I gather someone had to process all the comments to put them into doc format, so one help would be to make sure nothing was overlooked. Other tasks might be to see

  • Not the last chance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pofy (471469) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @03:36AM (#21444541)
    From the end of the article:
    >...the last chance for Open XML to be approved."

    Shouldn't this be "...the last chance for Open XML to be approved through the fast track method.". It can then still take the normal, but quite longer and time consuming way .
    • by Pecisk (688001)
      Let's be honest - Microsoft knows that if not Fast Track, then nothing will save OOXML for loosing any chance to "approved" by ISO. ODF is already to it's way to have 1.2 version to have very improved accessibility and formula issues, so pratically it can't stop support for ODF growing. Their only way was to have ISO label to their own format, but as it is failed, they have to go back to usual "lock-in" schemes, which are too obvious even for CEOs now.
  • "Most of the comments were accompanied by a proposed resolution, and most of them are great suggestions, so our response back is often that we'll do exactly what they are asking for"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:56AM (#21445119)
    Stating that "Open XML JUST missed out on a fast-track to approval" is wildly misleading.

    More accurate would be "After extensive rigging of the fast track voting process, Open XML STILL failed to gain enough votes to progress into fast track voting".

    What Microsoft did to the ISO voting process has damaged this standards setting institute in both credibility and functionality (and has quite nicely identified those participants who can not be trusted to remain with technical merits only, like what happened in Switzerland). The side effects of their ISO vote rigging are still felt because there are now issues with other, non-Microsoft related standards that grind to a halt as the wannabee voters (i.e. the MS paid crowd) are simply not interested or involved in the day-to-day running.

    Personally, I think those late members ought to be banned for life from ever going near the process again, but so should be anything introduced by Microsoft if you want to do it right.

    It seems anything MS touches turns to lead nowadays, and HP has finally started to reveal the truth about those 'great, "on track" sales of Vista': Yet Another Myth.

    Surely Redmond must be able to see the light at some point? It's all good and well running after the innovation train and pick things up later, but it gets difficult when that train accelerates and you're not on board..
  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) * on Thursday November 22, 2007 @08:18AM (#21445333) Homepage Journal
    Please use the correct name for the standard!

    Open XML just missed out on a fast-track to approval as an ISO standard
    The correct name is Office Open XML or OOXML.

    The standard format "Extensible Markup Language" otherwise known as XML, is already "open" and has absolutely nothing to do with XML itself (other than using that particular format for wrapping up its data/contet).

    Why is that important? Because Microsoft has a (successful) strategy of sucking up general terms like "XML" and turning them into their own. If the world starts calling their new document format "Open XML" it won't be long before all non-IT people think that XML is either something out of Redmond, or that Microsoft made it "open". This has happened before, and Microsoft are really good at it. My boss and perhaps 80% of our customers insist that an "SQL Server" is a Microsoft product, and they falsely connect "SQL" with something from Microsoft. And I often meet young students (age 16-19) who think Microsoft invented the TCP/IP network protocol, only because Windows calls the protocol "Microsoft TCP/IP" in the Windows operating system.

    I am not a Microsoft-flamer. In fact, I work with development of Microsoft-based IT systems. But I still object to the degradation/transformation of general terms or standards, which falsely make them sound like they are from Microsoft.

    In short: The new document standard from Microsoft, used by Microsoft Office, is named "Office Open XML", and there is no such thing as "Open XML". The Extensible Markup Language, XML, is published by W3C [w3c.org] and is already "open".

    - Jesper
    • I think the suggestion linked about "MooXML" is very apt and short.
    • by calebt3 (1098475)
      I personally prefer "Office XML". "Office Open XML" is cumbersome to say and easily gets confused with OpenOffice. I usually read it as "OpenOffice XML"
  • Microsoft and the ECMA might be posting responses to these questions, but I would like to know is is the standard or the format going to be changed and overhauled as a result of these comments? The responses I've seen on Microsoft's blogs and elsewhere in response to some of the well known objections and problems leads me to believe the answer to that will be 'NO'. The responses also degenerate into general 'This isn't a problem' or 'This is all just an IBM conspiracy in order to attack what we're doing' ar
    • by Osrin (599427) *
      Here is a blog entry from Jason Matusow where he responds to some of Bob Sutor's recent comments and in the process explains that the purpose of the upcoming Ballot Resolution Meeting is the change the specification.

      http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/archive/2007/11/20/open-xml-brm-a-response-to-bob-sutor-s-assertions.aspx [msdn.com]

      I think there is general acceptance from all involved that there are still changes to come.
      • by segedunum (883035)
        This is absolutely meaningless. It doesn't address what will be changed, or that things will change at all. It's another rant at IBM when what we want Microsoft to be doing is talking about their own standard and format. He then goes on to talk about how ODF is not perfect, which is basically a back-of-the-hand excuse for when very few changes are made to OOXML - if any at all. Yes ODF is being added to, but the issue with OOXML is if it can be implemented as it is right now. ODF was and is. I've seen this
  • Microsoft will not change thier format to conform to EMCA or ISO standards... even if they try, they will fail and will certainly not do it in time. Microsoft does things "their way" (and the way of the companies they bought) and they expect everyone to adopt and use THEIR standards. There are likely to be some exceptions, but not many and not as large as this.

    I'm actually rather tickled that the IT market place is maturing the way it is lately and that the ECMA and ISO standards bodies are sticking to th
  • I have a serious question. So Microsoft has released Office 2007 already. Our school is already using the application and creating all sorts of OOXML documents.

    How can you make 662 responses to an existing file format without burning early adopters? And Microsoft isn't even finished yet!
  • i thought it was just called XML... and it pretty much allowed anything. It allows binary data to coexist with textual data to coexist with structured data, etc etc.

    Now if you're talking about an open document format, that's a whole different beast, but I believe there is already a standard for that as well... ODF right? and it should focus on the things that are needed for documents, which seems to me should only include at most a way to reference binary data and structured data and should mostly be just a
  • I imported all the comments from all the word documents in the big zip file and put them into a wordpress blog template at http://dis29500.org/ [dis29500.org] By my count there are 3489, I guess there could be some late comments I didn't see or perhaps ECMA split some of the narative comments into their individual comments. Either way it is a lot of comments. I am trying to tag and sort them into categories, I need some help. Can anyone reading slashdot spot dupes? :-)

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