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Microsoft Software

Roadmap To the OOXML Process 48

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "With all the pieces floating around on OOXML, it's been hard to get a good sense of where it is in the standardization process. Fortunately, IBM's Rob Weir has a provided us a road map. Today Microsoft is due to submit its set of proposals for resolving the 3,522 comments to JTC1, which controls OOXML. Tomorrow or soon after, we can expect a media blitz heralding these 'changes,' as numerous reporters are, reportedly, being flown to Redmond. But all those recommendations are non-binding, because only JTC1 can change the standard and that happens during the Ballot Resolution Meeting. And even if all of the recommendations are adopted, no one has to change their vote. The BRM, where all the real work will happen, isn't until February 25-29. Within the 30 days after that, everyone will be able to reconsider their vote. That's when we can expect the real fireworks."
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Roadmap To the OOXML Process

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  • 3,522 comments: maybe too thin?
    Bloviated pettifoggery!
    Let the trimming begin.
    Emancipation from thuggery
    Starts with JTC1's chin.
    Burma Shave
  • Bureaucracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:12AM (#22049060) Journal
    The sad part is that most of the great advancements in computing, be it software or hardware, were not the result of a bureaucratic process such as this.

    Dan East
    • When all is said and done, it's just another format to support. If it's not very good... Nothing to see here, please move along.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by badfish99 ( 826052 )
        So, if it's "just another format", how come Microsoft are paying for reporters to fly to Redmond? How come Microsoft have bribed whole countries to take part in previous votes? If we take your attitude, Microsoft will take over the world while we're not looking.
        • The spec for OOXML is something like 8000 pages. MS controls it, at least defacto. MS wants to prevent interoperability at all costs because it knows that most people don't need office but are forced to use it for company interoperability reasons.

          Just more vendor lockin from MS.
    • Re:Bureaucracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:38AM (#22049270) Homepage Journal

      The sad part is that most of the great advancements in computing, be it software or hardware, were not the result of a bureaucratic process such as this.

      This isn't a great advancement in computing. It's a convicted monopolist's attempt to lock the world's documents up in a format which it can change arbitrarily at will to stifle competition.

      • It's a convicted monopolist's attempt to fool the people in high places who recognize the urgent need for open formats into believing that Office has finally started using an open format.

        If they fail, good. Justice is served.

        If they succeed, a new generation of Office products will be given the go-ahead in places they don't belong... ...but do they really think they'll get away with it in the long term? Surely it'll be a case of "once bitten, twice shy" and the next round will see them losing badly, with pe
    • by BrentH ( 1154987 )
      Interaction between large groups of humans (and fileformats) == Bureaucracy There is _no_ way around this, unless you make it less democratic ofcourse. It's not a coincidence that the most succesfull governments (in achieving their goals) are not very democratic and the reverse (UN anyone ?). Large groups means that things have to be formalized and to make sure the end result is satisfactory to most if not all affected. Formalizing is bureaucracy. The reason I make this point is that bureaucracy generally
    • I don't disagree- advancement do seem to come from petri dishes unfettered by compliance restraints. However once certain stable plateaus of functionality are reached, it seems that shifting to a fairly static model would benefit everyone. For example, 120 VAC 60 Hz is a fairly workable standard for the delivery of a commodity in the US. I'm sure in the beginning there was a window of experimentation. Now though, there's no need to be looking to innovate that & in fact doing so would come at an enormous
  • []

    Sorry, I couldn't resist it.
    • Genesis 1:32 And God typed :wq!

      Aaargh! vi vi vi - The sign of the Beast. Sorry Offtopic.

    • I don't get it. They're an office supply house.

      Sorry, we have no products that match your search roadmap. Did you mean road?

      Hmm...reflective vests that make me safer if I want to walk a road at night. I must be benighted.

      Perhaps you're confused by the use of the word "roadmap", which is a powerpointism that means something like, "plan to make magic happen, and create order out of chaos". Remember, a roadmap is really a type of map, a graphic depiction of a certain territory, showing items of interest.

  • Comparison (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:19AM (#22049130) Homepage Journal
    OOXML is to ODF as the Zune is to the iPod: relatively incomplete, too hastily implimented, too late, and ugly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This fails to deal with the main problem.

      Most criticisms of OOXML deal with the fact that it is a hastily implemented pile of incomprehensible rubbish that no-one in the world will ever implement correctly and that Microsoft is allowed to change at will without consultation. However, this actually utterly misses the point of the problem of OOXML, and the reason why MS is so opposed to ODF.

      The issue is that ODF forbids you from embracing and extending while OOXML allows you to. This means that if you've got
  • grim. (Score:3, Informative)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:43AM (#22049296)
    Its certainly a triumph of commercial interests and bureaucracy over design and common sense. I suspect we all know the eventual outcome from this farce.
  • Turns over and goes back to sleep.
  • by zmotula ( 663798 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @10:04AM (#22049468) Homepage
    ...see the post [] by the guy who evaluated the OOXML specification for the Czech Normalization Institute. This means that Czech Republic is most probably going to vote for OOXML when the time comes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by adpsimpson ( 956630 )

      Interestingly the absolute worst elements, such as 'footnoteLayoutLikeWW8', 'lineWrapLikeWord6' and 'useWord97LineBreakRules' (the parent's article lists objections to about a dozen of these) seem to have been resolved.

      This does raise the prospect that a truly open implementation of the format could be created, which was my biggest worry about a format which calls itself 'open'. What we were faced with before was a supposed standard format which had unexplained and undocumented hooks to long defunct, prop

      • This does raise the prospect that a truly open implementation of the format could be created, which was my biggest worry about a format which calls itself 'open'.

        It's not the only problem.

        MSOOXML is an order of magnitude harder to write a parser for than ODF. Choosing it as a default format sets the barrier to entry for smaller players much higher.

        • "MSOOXML is an order of magnitude harder to write a parser for than ODF."

          The Gnumeric devs disagree with your assessment, as they've said it was easier to implement OOXML into Gnumeric than ODF. (Maybe you're making the point that ODF is "easier" because it's so incomplete. After all, ODF doesn't even support spreadsheet formulas, so that's one thing you don't need to implement in an ODF parser, but that's hardly a *good* thing.)
          • After all, ODF doesn't even support spreadsheet formulas

            Ah yes, right on cue. You Microsoft boosters have been parroting the guff from Bill Hilf's lab for quite some time now.

            ODF supports, but does not define spreadsheet formulas. By contrast, OOXML's spreadsheet formulas are worse than missing. It has incorrect formulae that, if implemented according to the standard, would result in a spreadsheet that calculates incorrect results.

            The ODF team are working on a set of formulas, but unlike Microsoft, th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey ( 83763 )
      The CZ report says (essentially) that it makes no sense to have two office standards then
      makes that comment green - meaning no objection. Why? Their conclusion doesn't match their
      data. Perhaps they just think there is no way Microsoft can be stopped.
      • They're commenting on the changes to OOXML that are to be implemented. No change to OOXML would fix that problem: that it doesn't make sense when we already have ODF. Their text was introductory only, not a real "thing to fix" in OOXML, since there is nothing they could do to OOXML to fix that.

        Here's to hoping that they'll still consider it an issue when voting again.
  • Is Microsoft trying to hide this announcement by releasing it on Steve Jobs' dog and pony show day? Or are they trying to steal some publicity?
  • Sadly, when OOXML is approved, all credibility for the standards process will be lost. Standards are boring, tedious, and often over worked, but they are important. The only good thing they had going for them was a modicum of fairness. And so it goes.
    • I would say you're not cynical enough. My opinion is that the illusion of fairness will be broken.
  • The BRM is practically irrelevant since the only changes to the document will be editorial in nature. None of the objectionable technical content will be changed because Microsoft has already released its products.

    So, the only relevant issue now is how many new bullshit third-world countries will include themselves in the process (assuming they still can) and tip the vote.

  • To reduce the (probably intended) market confusion over the pedigree of the format names, it would be nice if people used "MS-OOXML" to differentiate it from ODF and OpenOffice.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"