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GNOME Foundation Helping OOXML? 471

Posted by kdawson
from the on-your-own-time-please dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "According to long-time OpenDocument Fellowship member Russell Ossendryver, it appears that GNOME founder Miguel de Icaza's widely-publicized praise for OOXML as a 'superb standard' is being followed up with on-going support by the GNOME Foundation in 'resolving' the thousands of criticisms leveled against Microsoft's proposed standard. In an open letter in his blog, Ossendryver urges the GNOME Foundation to halt its apparent support for OOXML as a standard and to put its efforts behind enhancing adoption of the genuinely open standard, ODF, which was approved by the world standards bodies as ISO/IEC standard 26300 on 2 May 2006."
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GNOME Foundation Helping OOXML?

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  • by Azuma Hazuki (955769) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:26PM (#21149491)
    Miguel de fucking Icaza has been kissing Microsoft's ass for years now. Can we please get rid of him already?!
    • Doesn't Miguel work for Novell ? We all know how they relate to Microsoft!
      • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:23PM (#21149933) Homepage
        He has been doing it long before that. This behaviour bares no relation to Novell.

        I think somebody needs to tell explain him some basics of of human relationships.

        If somebody blows you off the way Microsoft blew him off on a job interview the best way to deal with them is to reject them. They will come back sooner or later. In fact if you reject them a couple of time they will keep coming back with a better offer than you really deserve.

        The worst thing to do in cases like that is to try sticking your nose up their rectum the way he is constantly trying to do. In life that achieves the opposite. The person who rejected you in the first place will treat you exactly as you should be treated when you are in a naso-rectal interface position. Like shit.

        All I can say - what a daft jerk...
        • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:16PM (#21150939) Journal

          For all I know, they offered him a better job outside Microsoft for a nice thirty pieces of silver collectible at some future date. Every time I read his name, it's in connection with something I see as damaging to Linux and the Free Software movement. And surely nobody can describe OOXML in these terms without some sort of bias?

          Gnome is GPL, isn't it? Doesn't that make it inherently possible for people to sideline this person no matter his current position, before we risk serious damage? In terms of patents, introduction of copyrighted code, or perhaps other issues, presumably someone in his position acting deliberately, could cause some nasty legal wrangles. And actions so far give reason for distrust, do they not?
          • by Bloater (12932) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @05:20PM (#21151447) Homepage Journal
            He always gets sidelined. He mostly starts something or writes it badly but with some key interesting kernel. The "badly" is usually trying to mimic some underdesigned overengineered buzzword from MS - he seems to be enamoured by their financial success and thinks it is the intrinsic value of their technology that did it. Of course, it isn't - their success is due to acute business acumen and marketing ability.

            GNOME (the GNU Network Object Model Environment) was designed around a COM approach (it actually used that well-known failure and DCOM copycat, Corba). Microsoft is abandoning COM, and using it (usually because the financial director told them that it will save money and is better anyway) costs developers a vast amount of time, money, and reputation as the interface conventions are appallingly unstructured. Suffice it to say, GNOME is moving away from corba and has been for some time.

            Generally, it is a good idea to watch for what problem Miguel de Icaza wants to solve and then start solving the problem differently before he can damage Linux' reputation for several years until his plans are ripped out and replaced as they usually are.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by plague3106 (71849)
            Every time I read his name, it's in connection with something I see as damaging to Linux and the Free Software movement. And surely nobody can describe OOXML in these terms without some sort of bias?

            Ya, because actually addressing the comments brought up by the ISO and resolving them is Evil!!! It may actually get approved! And who needs more than ONE standard?

            Gnome is GPL, isn't it? Doesn't that make it inherently possible for people to sideline this person no matter his current position, before we risk
    • by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <thinkinginbinary AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:35PM (#21149555) Homepage

      Miguel de fucking Icaza has been kissing Microsoft's ass for years now. Can we please get rid of him already?!

      I was just about to say something closely approximating that.

      What annoyed me most before this (which is simply unthinkable) was his extremely strong support of Mono. Personally, I feel that Mono, like Wine, should be treated as a compatibility layer to run software intended for other operating systems, not a viable target for open-source application developers. If everyone likes C# so much, then we should take matters into our own hands and implement a language with the features we like that is under our control! (My concern with Mono following Microsoft's language is that in the event that Microsoft changes a significant feature, like Java did when it added assert, Mono would almost certainly make the same change, leaving a bunch of open-source developers to deal with the whims of Microsoft.)

      At some point, until Microsoft starts releasing truly open-source code and letting everyone hack on Windows, we have to keep at least some distance from Microsoft. There's nothing wrong with attempting to run their software, but we shouldn't be writing Windows software just because it's more convenient and we now have a way to run it on Linux.

      • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:44PM (#21151155) Homepage Journal

        If everyone likes C# so much, then we should take matters into our own hands and implement a language with the features we like that is under our control!

        It's called "Python" (and also goes by the alias "Java"). Hence the complete lack of need for Mono - we already have that functionality in mature, well-tested languages.

        • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Monday October 29, 2007 @05:00AM (#21155219)
          That's ridiculous, Python and Java don't make C# obsolete. That's like saying that there's a complete lack of need for Python because Perl and Ruby already exist. The only reason why people dislike C# is because it's created by MS.
      • by Vexorian (959249) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @08:10PM (#21152671)

        I feel that Mono, like Wine, should be treated as a compatibility layer to run software intended for other operating systems

        What surprises me the most is that this actually has to be said. It is ridiculous that mono is so actively used to actually make programs for official gnome, we got python, we got Java, we got Ruby, we certainly did not need MONO here.

        I can foresee somebody telling me it is about picking the best tool for the job. But then HOW IN EARTH would MONO be the best tool for this job? The intention is to make open source free software, and adding any unnecessary dependance on MS technology is ridiculous, and it is really making gnome look bad, I actually hope KDE4 lives to the expectations so I can move. Really.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Follow the money. Miguel interviewed for a job at MS. He's the kind of guy they like -- not a US citizen and willing to work cheap. But he wasn't qualified for H1B status, so they couldn't hire him to work at MS. However, they could finance him to subvert linux. Ximian was financed by Paul Allen through Vulcan (at the time he was still a MS board member and Vulcan was used to finance projects without being tied to MS). Vulcan invested a chunk of money into Novell before they purchased Ximian.

      This i

      • Very informative AC post.
        • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

          by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:47PM (#21150167) Homepage
          I have mod moints, and I will not mod him up. Here's why:
          1. Miguel interviewed for a job at MS
            I've heard that, but without, oh I dunno... a reference, it isn't that informative.
          2. However, they could finance him to subvert linux
            Just one piece of evidence? Possibly an insightful statement... but conspiracy theories without evidence are little more than that.
          3. This is all documented information
            WHERE???
          4. He's the kind of guy they like -- not a US citizen and willing to work cheap
            That sounds like unfounded xenophobia to me. You have to have a reference for a statement like that. How much did he want? Was it less than an American doing his job would earn?
          The assertions are plausible, but without just one reference, one piece of evidence, it doesn't really advance the conversation any more than "LOL M$ suxors!!!111!"

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by tomhudson (43916)

            >> Miguel interviewed for a job at MS
            > I've heard that, but without, oh I dunno... a reference, it isn't that informative.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_Icaza [wikipedia.org]

            In summer of 1997, he was interviewed by Microsoft for a job in the Internet Explorer Unix team (to work on a SPARC port), but lacked the university degree required to obtain a work H-1B visa.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 12357bd (686909)

            Wow, curiously you missed to comment on the important part (tip, the Allen-Vulcan-Ximian-Novell conexion)! :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LKM (227954)
        There definitely are financial ties between Miguel and Microsoft. Back when I was studying, he held a Microsoft-sponsored speech about Mono, where Microsoft raffled off Xboxes to the people who attended. I didn't win one :-(
  • by ultor (216766) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:31PM (#21149521) Homepage
    Miguel's stated that, as a standard, OOXML is alright, but also shuddered at dealing with the way Microsoft abused binary segments in the format. The reason Novell et the GNOME foundation are so involved is for simple compatibility reasons. What better way to lure Windows users away than to provide support for the formats their existing documents are probably already in?
    • by Dionysus (12737) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:44PM (#21149617) Homepage

      What better way to lure Windows users away than to provide support for the formats their existing documents are probably already in?
      That's an argument for getting MS-doc support, not necessary MS-OOXML since it hasn't become a defacto standard yet. Supporting MS-OOXML is pretty much giving MS the power to make the standard.
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        Actually they already have that power.

        But supporting and promoting that "superb" technology gives them even more power. The fact that Miguel does endorse it should ring alarms everywhere.

        I think it's time we fight back. We should say _no_ to MS-OOXML while we may tolerate .doc and promote and improve ODF where appropriate.

        Mono should have two priorities: 1) to help make Gnome software easier to develop and 2) to make it easier to make Windows software that runs unmodified on free platforms. It more or less
      • Wow, excellent point! Mod parent up +10 "Gets it"!!!
    • by loony (37622) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:46PM (#21149631)
      >What better way to lure Windows users away than to provide support for the formats their existing documents are probably already in?

      Which is fine - if you had any chance of competing. But as you said - large sections are binary. With that in place, you're not much better of than parsing a .doc

      Peter.
    • by irtza (893217) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:51PM (#21149679) Homepage
      The vast majority of Windows users do not have any documents in the OOXML format. The handful of people I know who use newer versions of office are pissed off everytime they forget to "save as" into an older format and that is because of where I work. All work computers are setup with an older version of office (can't remember the version number off the top of my head). These people usually end up switching to an older version of office and I have been able to con some of them into using openoffice.org. A handful have been happy with oo.org, but most just wanted the same version of office as they have at work.

      I agree that binary compatibility should be strived for, but it is not ooxml that needs compatability. its the older binary office formats that need to be standardized against. What needs to be done about ooxml is a concerted effort to prevent adoption. This means pushing organizations to switch away from newer versions of office. This also means helping oo.org or your fav alternate office suite getting competitive (assuming u have any means to help).

      at my work, people use powerpoint and recently access (my fault - i needed something that was there and people could use). oo presentation is good enough (import and export from powerpoint), but database capabilities are severely lacking.
    • by Erris (531066) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:02PM (#21149773) Homepage Journal

      The reason Novell et the GNOME foundation are so involved is for simple compatibility reasons. What better way to lure Windows users away than to provide support for the formats their existing documents are probably already in?

      That sounds nice but it falls down when M$ sends in a clown car full of patent lawyers. That's one of the big reasons OOXML needs to be shot down by ISO. The others are a lack of completeness and 998 other technical problems. OOXML is not doing well in the marketplace and probably never will. If ever there was a case of wasted effort, OOXML is it. Resources are better spent making better ODF applications.

      As for a better way to lure Windows users, have you seen Vista?

    • by otomo_1001 (22925)

      The reason Novell et the GNOME
      Native French speaker I take it? Or did too many years of Latin infest your brain? :D
    • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:47PM (#21150733) Homepage

      Miguel's stated that, as a standard, OOXML is alright, but also shuddered at dealing with the way Microsoft abused binary segments in the format. The reason Novell et the GNOME foundation are so involved is for simple compatibility reasons. What better way to lure Windows users away than to provide support for the formats their existing documents are probably already in?

      Looking at some of [slashdot.org] de Icaza's recent posts on slashdot [slashdot.org], I find them hard to reconcile with that innocent interpretation. His public statements about OOXML are wildly disingenuous; I can't see how anybody who understands the nature of the criticisms of OOXML could fail to see them as pure FUD.

      IMO, it would indicate a problem with GNOME if GNOME couldn't tolerate dissent on this issue, but it would also indicate a problem with the community if the community couldn't see through de Icaza's reality distortion field, and understand that he's saying ridiculous things because he has commercial ties to MS.

      In the OSS world, it's all about whuffie. De Icaza earned a lot of whuffie by founding GNOME and writing a lot of code. In my eyes, he's lost it all by failing to be forthright.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:33PM (#21149531)
    "Miguel de Icaza's widely-publicized praise for OOXML as a 'superb standard'"

    There is really only a few possibilities:
    1) The community is wrong and OOXML is really an open/good standard (heh)
    2) One of the heads of GNOME is so inept as not to be able to see that OOXML is far from being an open standard
    3) Icaza was bought off

    Or is it something else:
    4) ???
  • What the FUCK? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:47PM (#21149647) Homepage Journal
    The article author is either stupid beyond belief or deliberately trying to cause spite and malice. Neither GNOME the project, nor The GNOME Foundation is in any way or form backing OOXML! Miguel de Icaza is, but most other foundation members are staunchly against it. Not that it matters, there is a big fucking difference between individuals opinions and the stance of an organization. If the author has some beef with de Icaza, then he should say so, but don't try to paint the GNOME Foundation with the same brush. Fucking moron troll.
    • Re:What the FUCK? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rossendryv (740305) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:10PM (#21149837) Homepage
      As you can see for your self, GNOME is participating directly in the Standards process: http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC45-M.htm [ecma-international.org]
    • by 12357bd (686909)

      Neither GNOME the project, nor The GNOME Foundation is in any way or form backing OOXML!

      From TFA : It appears that the Gnome Foundation is participating in ECMA TC 451 regarding resolving comments and contradictions for DIS 29500.

      Being the DIS 29500 about the OOXML specification, what's true? is the Gnome trying to 'resolve contradictions' on the OOXML spec or not?. Please clarify Gnome position, are those facts (Gnome participation at the TC 451) incorrect?.

      I really wish Gnome is not being used by MS,

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bigpicture (939772)
      Don't you know about the concept of guilt by association, if you stand too close you get spattered. Teflon suits are only for the movies.

      If you don't want to be associated, then distance yourself, verbally, I have not seen any protests from inside the Gnome organization. So would that maybe look like "consent by silence" which I think it is, because of the direction of your defense/attack. If you want to defend yourself then call out Icaza, and make the distancing clear to all.
  • I think KDE is pulling away from gnome anywhere. Personally, I use IceWM. If you don't have hardware resources to burn, you may be happier with lighter DE.
    • by macshit (157376)
      I think miguel's MS worship is embarassing too (and mono just plain sucks -- just put the damn thing out of our misery already!), but gnome's a pretty nice environment all things considered; it's certainly not slower than KDE (just the opposite in my experience).

      And no, KDE's not "pulling away" from gnome. Indeed, from what I've seen, gnome is more popular.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Brandybuck (704397)
        And no, KDE's not "pulling away" from gnome. Indeed, from what I've seen, gnome is more popular.

        I used to think it was only Redhat/Fedora that deliberately crippled KDE in their distros. Every time I run across someone in real life (not Slashdot) who thinks KDE is slow and crippled compared to GNOME, I ask what distro they use. Invariably it's Redhat or Fedora.

        I'm a FreeBSD user myself, but will use Slackware if I need proprietary drivers for a laptop. But I recently put Kubuntu on my work laptop. After las
    • by m2943 (1140797)
      I think KDE is pulling away from gnome anywhere.

      You mean, both are jumping over a cliff and KDE is falling a bit faster?

      With Gnome and Microsoft, the relationship is that Miguel has a bit too much appreciation for Microsoft's crap. With KDE and Troll Tech, parts of KDE are owned by Troll Tech. Thanks, even in terms of software freedom, I'll stick with Gnome until something better comes along.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by shywolf9982 (887636)
        Trolltech releases their code under GPL. Last time I checked, Microsoft didn't. Trolltech is by far one of the most open-source friendly corporations. Hence, your point is invalid, as both the Gnome and KDE codebase are equally free.

        We might discuss on technical terms now, but that would be offtopic.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ShieldW0lf (601553)
          Trolltech engages in dual-licensing shenanigans and co-opts ownership of other peoples code to place in closed source devices in the same letter-not-the-law tradition as MySQL and ProjectMayo.

          They can go to hell.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @05:28PM (#21151525) Homepage
            Want to make a GPL-only fork of Qt? Go right ahead, Trolltech won't do a thing to stop you. In fact, up until the latest 4.3.2 release there was first a big project to port Qt3 to Windows, then a small one to add the compiler support to Qt4 that was missing compared to the commercial version and Trolltech never complained. But if you want Trolltech do to something for you, like adopt your source into their tree and maintain it, they're asking for something in return - that they can sell it for closed source software as well. I don't get your sense of entitlement, do you demand Linus accept your code as well? Or are they perfectly free to ask for something in return, or just to tell you to fuck off? Yes, they are.

            Trolltech delivers a kick-ass platform for open-source development. They do it for free under the GPL, using their own paid developers to do it. How do they get paid? Well, they've found a way to make closed-source companies pay them for the use of their code. Who are you crying for? Those poor companies? That you can't ruin their business model by forcing them to take code they can't sell that way? That you have to run your own fork/patch set? Oh cry me a river... no, YOU go to hell. I bet Trolltech has done 1000x times as much for open source as you ever have.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by init100 (915886)

        the relationship is that Miguel has a bit too much appreciation for Microsoft's crap.

        In other words, Miguel is a Microsoft fanboy.

  • Does anyone still doubt that Miguel de Icaza is a microsoft shill? I think it's time for him to join microsoft and work on their "open source" strategy. Hey, it worked out for Bill Hilf...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Miguel De Icaza has already lost all his credibility since the mono days, where he pushed the transition of Linux developers to a Microsoft technology for no reason.
    Now he works for Novell, a company with links and agreements with Microsoft, and instead of teaching his fellow developers how to write a damn working file chooser, he spends more time pushing for more Microsoft stuff.
    He is a Microsoft developer now; What should people expect to get/hear from him other than more Microsoft bull?
  • what. the. fuck. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:57PM (#21149733)
    I don't know about you, but my first reaction was..

    what. the. fuck.

    OOXML is a awful standard, filled with numerous little features that seem purposely designed to make it difficult for anybody but MS to implement. Icaza is NOT an idiot, so he must know that this response will be flamed to a crisp across the community - so why is he doing it?

    What does he stand to gain from backing this? What have I missed?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drgonzo59 (747139)
      What have I missed?


      The profit part. You are focused on 1) and 2) but what's important is 3) "Profit!"
      1) Support OOXML
      2) ?
      3) Profit! (i.e. get $$$ from M$)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rbanffy (584143)
      "What does he stand to gain from backing this? What have I missed?"

      A nice paying job at Microsoft or one of its puppets?
    • by init100 (915886)

      Icaza is NOT an idiot ... - so why is he doing it?

      Because he is a raging Microsoft fanboy. His greatest wish is to actually work at Microsoft and destroy F/OSS. Since he didn't get an H1B visa, he couldn't physically work there, so instead he is trying to subvert the community from within, by pushing for Microsoft's proprietary technologies. When everybody has migrated to .NET, OOXML, etc, Microsoft can just extend the protocols, APIs, etc, and say "Hey, if you want your applications to work as intended, use genuine Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office

  • No proof (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:59PM (#21149743) Homepage
    But I wouldn't be surprised. Mr. Miguel de Icaza has been very clear about his love for Microsoft and "their" technologies. I never actually hear him choosing community technologies to boast, but maybe that is just due to bias reporting. Either way, it will be interesting to see his reaction if think ever really go bad. I'd also be interested in hearing his opinion on the recent law suit against RedHat.
  • by asm2750 (1124425) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:28PM (#21149985)
    " ... This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease ... Please, just tell people to use KDE." -- Linus Torvalds
  • I slightly recall an episode of Star Trek NG or deep space nine, where some doctor had performed bad things to get to a
    cure of some deadly disease. The one cured by it was opposed because of all those that had been tortured and killed by
    this doctor. The doctor had been brought to life in the holodeck where the cure was figured out. Afterward there was
    the ethical concern as to what to do with the doctors holodeck program and the found cure.

    The cure had come from bad things done by this doctor.

    I don't recall
    • by cnettel (836611)
      It is a Voyager episode, the doctor is cardassian and it's B'Elanna being treated. Not all Voyager episodes were bad...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by X0563511 (793323)
      Morons. Should have kept the cure... why would you toss out the only good to come of it?
  • by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:45PM (#21150151)
    Miguel has stated why he likes OOXML: it's easy to take an existing Microsoft Word reader/writer and turn it into an OOXML reader/writer, because the file structures are so similar. That makes transitioning existing Microsoft-compatible software to OOXML much easier than transitioning to ODF.

    That's a reasonable position. I still think it's wrong.

    The purpose of an XML document format is to enable other people to do interesting things with the format, not to make life easy for the few people porting existing Microsoft Word compatible software. Furthermore, open source projects need to support ODF anyway because ODF is here and it's here to stay.
  • by jdub! (24149) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:45PM (#21150155) Homepage
    G'day,

    The background is really simple: While Jody Goldberg (Gnumeric maintainer extraordinaire) was at Novell, he had been doing rocking work on the ECMA committee to make sure OOXML didn't just slip through, under-specified and uninvestigated. Jody put them through the wringer!

    So, when Jody left Novell, the GNOME Foundation supported his participation on the ECMA working group, so he could continue to "keep the bastards honest". :-)

    The GNOME Foundation does not support ISO standardisation of OOXML. But whether or not that happens, we're still going to have to support Microsoft document formats, just like everyone else. Should we let Microsoft shove OOXML through ECMA without challenge? Hell no. That's why we have one of our best hackers in there, holding their feet to the fire.

    Thanks,

    - Jeff Waugh, GNOME Foundation Board

    (Given how often it comes up, I suppose it's also important to note that Miguel does not speak for the GNOME Foundation or the GNOME project in general.)
    • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @05:21PM (#21151461)

      The GNOME Foundation does not support ISO standardisation of OOXML. But whether or not that happens, we're still going to have to support Microsoft document formats, just like everyone else. Should we let Microsoft shove OOXML through ECMA without challenge? Hell no. That's why we have one of our best hackers in there, holding their feet to the fire.
      I'm afraid that's not the way it's coming off:

      http://blogs.gnome.org/jody/2007/09/10/odf-vs-oox-asking-the-wrong-questions/ [gnome.org]

      Basically, he's telling us that OOXML is easier to support than ODF because they're just mapping the old binary format on to the new format. It comes off as an advertisement, which Stephane Rodriguez fortunately pours some cold water on. Microsoft is also using this to claim, extremely incorrectly, that Gnumeric has rich support for OOXML ( http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/08/07/iwork-08-supports-the-open-xml-formats.aspx [msdn.com] ), and is using Gnumeric as a poster for OOXML support:

      http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/08/15/why-there-s-no-microsoft-in-open-xml.aspx [msdn.com]

      But whether or not that happens, we're still going to have to support Microsoft document formats, just like everyone else.
      Yes, we have to support an existing and widely used binary format, because that's the format most documents are in...............it doesn't mean we have to support yet another format that is basically the same as the old one, except different, which very few people actually use. Let's concentrate on getting people off the old binary format and into ODF.

      Just because Microsoft uses something, it doesn't mean that anyone else has to support it. The paradox is that if they do start supporting it then they really will end up having to support a new Microsoft format, again, because it's just boosting it's popularity and installed base. Microsoft then starts using this as evidence that OOXML is an open standard that others can fully implement. We need to get out of this ridiculous cycle.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mibus (26291)

        very few people actually use


        Unfortunately, that's already starting to shift. Probably half of the office docs I get emailed now are OOXML.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jdub! (24149)
        Jody has an extremely balanced view of ODF and OOXML, which comes directly from his experience creating FLOSS office software and file formats. It's such a balanced view that it tends to take some folks by surprise... I am not at all shocked to see that you are offended by his stance, given the overwhelming strength of his credibility, and your utter lack of relevance or experience in the matter.

        Neither he nor the GNOME Foundation are answerable to such dedicated, multi-forum, anti-GNOME trolls as yourself,
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 12357bd (686909)

          I am afraid you ruined your previously well balanced post. :(

          If Jody thinks OOXML should be an ECMA standard (there's an explicit Jody post in the discussion) that's fine, but is only a one person opinion, and it is in frontral contradiction with your previous post about the Gnome foundation being not against OOXML ECMA approval.

          Overall, it seems you/(Gnome?) are forgetting about the primary goal: OOXML should not even exist, is a trap plain and simple, it's a deliberate MS effort to keep promoting incomp

  • On that "further reading" link [ecma-international.org], amongst the other members of ECMA TC45 are:

    The following organizations have participated in the work of Ecma TC45 and their contributions are gratefully acknowledged: Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, The Gnome Foundation, Intel, The Library of Congress, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba.

    I can't imagine why the British Library and the Library of Congress support such a crappy standard, while there already is one which they could imp

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LizardKing (5245)

      Participation doesn't imply support, however it does indicate that they're interested parties. For instance, the British Library and Library Of Congress wouldn't want to sit idly by while a new format that's likely to be as much used as OOXML is approved, only to find it's a dead end format that's a nightmare to index or cross reference. Remember that both institutions no longer archive most material in the form of paper books, but as electronic copy instead.

  • by Jody Goldberg (61349) <jody&gnome,org> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @07:25PM (#21152381) Homepage
    While working for Novell I was able to join both OASIS for ODF and ECMA for OOX. After leaving the OO.o development team at Novell to return to other work I lost both memberships and had to scramble to rejoin. Maintaing Gnumeric is a hobby, and my current employer is not involved in the standardization process. Paying out the membership costs of either OASIS or ECMA was not going to happen at the personal or corporate level. Thankfully there was a non-profit tier available, and the GNOME Foundation generously sponsored me to re-join ECMA and TC45 to continue to participate in the the specification process. After spending the last 8 years playing proctologist to every spreadsheet format around, and complaining loudly at the poor quality of documentation for XLS it seems ridiculous to pass up the opportunity to engage MS, and ensure that the spec of their new format was more detailed than previous efforts.

    My personal opinion (not speaking for the GNOME foundation or past or present employers) is that both specs should be standards
          http://www.gnome.org/~jody/files/2007-ON-Linux-Beyond-ISO-Dome.pdf [gnome.org]

    The FLOSS community is going to need to implement importers for both formats to help our users, and I'll be happiest when both OOX and ODF are significantly clearer. 5700 pages of OOX is too _short_, Likewise the 700 + 300 (Open formula) in ODF is far too short. Lets double the size of OOX (although with better formatting the number of pages would likely be unchanged), and lets quadruple the level of detail in ODF to get it into a useful state. I only wish that ODF had undergone a fraction of the review that OOX has seen.

    This is not about GNOME endorsing OOX, it's about GNOME doing the work necessary for users. There should be reps from Sun's OO.o team on the ECMA TC, and MS reps in the ODF meetings. The goal of this process is to produce useful documentation, and it takes an implementor to know where the really important details are. It hardly seems in the best interest of the FLOSS community to leave the standardization efforts up to corporate interests at Microsoft, Sun, or IBM.
    • Personally, I think that Less is More [wikipedia.org]. We don't need more standards. We don't need more complex standards either. We don't need more pages. We need less [wikiquote.org].

      The point of standards is that they should encourage the maximum number of implementations, and the best way to do it is by not being a burden on the implementation. If the implementation has to implement two different standards, it will be double the burden, and to what benefit?

      I agree that the specification should be clear and in some cases that would m

    • by jhol13 (1087781) on Monday October 29, 2007 @01:45AM (#21154493)
      Why?

      Why should there be two standards for essentially one thing?

      If more the merrier, why not 200? This would of course mean not a single one gets adopted.
      If less is better what does OOXML bring that is useful to the users and other developers (non Gnumeric)? So useful that developers have to implement support for both, so good a support that user's are not inconvenienced?

      You are in the position to say how big task it is to support both instead of one and if it is really worthwhile effort, not me. I am just asking.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Monday October 29, 2007 @11:41AM (#21158217) Homepage
    The patent license from Sun for ODF only covers version 1.0, plus any subsequent versions that Sun participates in the development of. That means that if Sun doesn't like the direction ODF goes, they can stop it by stepping back. Sun has stated that ODF is meant to support exactly those features needed by StarOffice, no more. Until Sun makes ODF an actual open standard, that can be evolved outside of Sun's control, so that it can evolve to handle both Office and StarOffice documents, it is simply not an option.

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