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IBM Slams Microsoft, Calls OOXML "Inferior" 238

cristarol sends word that Microsoft's accusation, that IBM has sabotaged Redmond's attempts to have the Office OpenXML format approved by the ISO, has drawn a heated response from IBM. Ars Technica has the story. "'IBM believes that there is a revolution occurring in the IT industry, and that smart people around the world are demanding truly open standards developed in a collaborative, democratic way for the betterment of all,' IBM VP of standards and OSS Bob Sutor told Ars. 'If "business as usual" means trying to foist a rushed, technically inferior and product-specific piece of work like OOXML on the IT industry, we're proud to stand with the tens of countries and thousands of individuals who are willing to fight against such bad behavior.'"
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IBM Slams Microsoft, Calls OOXML "Inferior"

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  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:24AM (#22305584) Homepage
    Actually, It was the likes of Compaq who were responsible for the opening of the PC compatible hardware market. Microsoft are responsible for fighting tooth and nail to keep the software closed, while trying to benefit from the open hardware.
  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:37AM (#22305662) Journal
    'If "business as usual" means trying to foist a rushed, technically inferior and product-specific piece of work like DOS on the IT industry, we're proud to stand with the tens of countries and thousands of individuals who are willing to fight against such bad behavior.'"

    "Oh wait, maybe we're not. Not yet. Give us a couple of decades or so..."

    IBM has gotten its act together, or at least its rhetoric. When will Microsoft join the rest of us in the 21st century and stop foisting rushed, technically inferior and product-specific work? What will it take, Microsoft's version of the Microchannel?

  • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:46AM (#22305720)

    IBM used to make overpriced hardware sold at tremendous profit
    True, but so did everyone else in the space at the time. Go look at your history and look at the number of players in the game. It was far more than '1'.

    ... until that little upstart microsoft came along and elegantly used their own weight against them in a classic game of corporate judo.
    Actually, MS was merely along for the ride on the original IBM PC boat. What killed IBM is manifold, from their lack of vision of where PCs would go to the massive infighting among divisions (the above mentioned high profit businesses especially) choking the life out of the PC divisions. Even the open nature of the PC hardware spec wasn't that big an issue. But I really don't want to bring up the entire "what-if" set of threads again.

    It may just be that IBM still smarts from that or it may be that they've really 'seen the light'. This is good news, personally I'd like to see the transparency of these committees and their members go up a notch or two, too much potential for procedural trickery still exists.
    I guarantee you the only the light IBM has seen is the green one from profit in services. Open Specs means everyone can play. More implementations means more bugs to work around. More bugs means gee - we can build you this layer.... which is merely the layer they built 900 customers ago and are reselling yet again for 90000% profit. Those are numbers that make even MS drool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:50AM (#22305776)
    I once agreed to some extent, I'm not so sure any more. I used primarily for quite a while (before I got a real job and had to conform...) and I'll admit it occasionally gave me this sense that it was on a par with an Office a couple of versions more senior. However having had to start using Office 2007, I can happily say that's a good thing, they've broken so much stuff. There are graphics bugs everywhere, things keep breaking and the behaviour of some of the automatic formatting is entirely unpredictable (well it was always bad, but now it's atrocious).

    Of course if I had my way I'd never have to use anything other than LaTEX for any serious document writing (especially with the rather handy LyX frontend) and be happy in the knowledge that I would never again have to give over hours of my life in order to write what should be a fairly simple document.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:52AM (#22305796) Journal

    When a company that used to be a monopolist is now one of the staunchest defenders of openness, I really do hope there is no hidden agenda here.
    "One of the Staunchest defenders of openness?" Oh, come now. Can you really use such a superlative for a commercial company? I'm sure the raving Richard Stallman would take that title in a heart beat. I submit to you a recent hardship I have endured involving the Rational suite of tools that IBM now owns and produces.

    Our management forced us from subversion to clearcase. I am not impressed. Most painful was the loss of the goal stat-scm in subversion that allowed me to (with a few keystrokes) weekly publish the results and standings of all the classes, members and files in the projects. We're talking heat maps, personal performance, unit test case coverage and just about anything--ANYTHING--you could ask for in metrics. And the amount of work I did to achieve that functionality was negligible. On clearcase, I can't even get a lines of code count. Nothing.

    So off I went looking for ways to interface with the clearcase VOB to poll this data from the server. Wouldn't you know it, I came up empty handed. I called up my toolsmith and he told me I was trying to "make ClearCase something it's not." It was clear then, I was working for the tool, the tool wasn't working for me. If you are the 'staunchest defender of openness' don't you think you'd publish specs on how to communicate and gather meaningful data from the ClearCase server & VOB for your users? If they do, I haven't found it. Don't even get me started about ClearCase having a dying embrace on my piece of crap Windows work box's kernel land. Why that needs to be modify kernel files (for some reason it shows up in my control panel) to be installed, I'll never know.

    Don't get me wrong, you're right in that they've come a long way. Hell, look at how they defined UML 1.0 and opened that up. But there are some types of files in Rational Rose that I still can't figure out how to write or produce in a reporting manner.

    So until they open their file formats and communications protocols (I really hope it's just a matter of not having it adequately documented), please don't go around titling them among the 'staunchest defenders of openness.' They may have that title commercially but I could list a number of individuals in the open source world that would easily win that title.

    I support the software as a service model and believe that all our tools should be shared and open source. IBM promotes that in certain areas as best I can tell but there is definitely room for improvement.
  • by Tim99 ( 984437 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:20AM (#22306066)

    IBM used to make overpriced hardware sold at tremendous profit
    True, but so did everyone else in the space at the time. Go look at your history and look at the number of players in the game. It was far more than '1'.

    Some truth in this, but in the 1970s the computer business was described as "IBM and the seven dwarfs". The other truth was "No one ever got fired for buying IBM"
  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:10PM (#22307522) Homepage Journal

    Except for the fact that is free.

    And the scary thing (for MS) is that it being free changes, well, everything. At my company, we used to have a few people who needed a word processor, so they got Office. When OOo got good enough, we start giving it out to everyone on our standard deployment. Have a PC? You're getting OpenOffice. Now we find ourselves in the position where OOo is our standard suite, and only a couple of people get MS Office (mainly because of legacy documents, like complicated spreadsheets etc.).

    In more recent news, my little Eee PC ships with OpenOffice. A few million units later, a lot of people will have OOo who never knew such a thing existed before. Free-of-charge isn't a huge selling point for large corporations where maintenance costs are more important than initial purchase costs, but it's extremely influential everywhere else. The thin end of the wedge is already in, and now it's starting to split the market wide open.

  • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:58PM (#22308244) Journal

    2007 users who don't know better, send these formats to 2000 and 2003 user who can't open them, thereby creating an artificial need to "upgrade."

    Now, everyone repeat after me: Please re-send the file in a readable format, such as PDF, ODF or even Word 97/2000. Thank you.

    Whenever you receive a .docx file, just reply with the above line.

  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @03:12PM (#22310392) Homepage
    Are you trolling, a shill or stupid? Because there's nothing in ODF that is specific, but OOXML has many instances of "WrapLikeWord95" [] or similar intentional bugs [] (PDF link) peppered throughout their 6000 pages of tripe. Have you not been paying attention?
  • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:16PM (#22313514)

    And no, "Space this like Word 95" does not require an extension.

    Why should anybody even try to name them when you're just going to cherry pick which features are features and which aren't? Calling BS on that.

    If you're going to call BS on my statements I'd like to direct your attention to this page, in particular to the autoSpaceLikeWord95 element (which can be found on pages 1378-1379 of the Draft 4 for OOXML if you really like reading 6,000 page document format specs). []

    Then you reveal that you actually don't know of features that ODF doesn't support that Microsoft "requires" but you have "friends" who you trust who tell you what to think. It's always easier to argue your case when you actually do your own primary research and don't rely on hearsay. The rumour mill is active enough without people posting allegations without facts. Oh damn - I've just realised I'm posting this on Slashdot...

    Toby Haynes

    P.S. WAG - Wild Assed Guess, most likely. Just a WAG you know ...!

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