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OpenDocument Foundation To Drop ODF 325

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

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  • questions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) *
    The first place I saw this was LinuxToday which linked to this cnet article on the matter [news.com] and I've done some digging since and I've got a few questions. Maybe someone here will know.

    Is there a difference between Compound Document Formats and the Compound Document Framework. Are the formats implementations of the framework and if so are they supporting a chosen format or the entire framework?

    Do any existing office suites support this framework/format?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:07PM (#21177275)
      Forgive me if my memory is bad, but aren't they that unimportant bunch of nobodies who formed their own organization and decided that Microsoft compatibility was their #1 goal?

      As I recall, in spite of the grand-sounding name, the people in that organization don't have anything to do with anything. They're busy recommending this and that, but they don't actually do anything.

      Ahh, here we go, here's my source on this [robweir.com]:

      The mythology of Silicon Valley is filled with stories of two guys and a garage founding great enterprises. And here we have two guys, and through blogs, interviews, and constant attendance at conferences, they have become some of the most-heard voices on ODF. Maybe it is partly due to the power of the name? The "OpenDocument Foundation" sounds so official. Although it has no official role in the ODF standard, this name opens doors. The ODF Alliance , the ODF Fellowship, the OASIS ODF TC, ODF Adoption TC (and many other groups without "ODF" in their name) have done far more to promote and improve ODF, yet the OpenDocument Foundation, Inc. seems to score the panel invites. Not bad for two guys without a garage.
      • by oldosadmin (759103) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:44PM (#21177645) Homepage
        As one of the founding members of the OpenDocument Fellowship http://opendocumentfellowship.com/ (although I no longer consider myself a member due to time constraints), I can say that in every effort made to get a real community going with ODF/OO.org there was always a pushback from Sun, and it's really sad to see. I don't think Sam is right that CDF is the answer, but I do think that his comments about Sun not caring about ODF are probably very true.

        OpenDocument is an already vetted ISO format. Why should we return to the back of the line now? We have our format, it's approved, and has support in many applications. No need to start bickering between ourselves when we're already fighting a lot of the corporate proprietary software makers.
        • by risk one (1013529) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @09:16PM (#21178823)

          As the founding member of both the OpenDocument Federation, and the OpenDocument Alliance (both very recently founded), I can now officially state that we support a move back to unformatted text files. We are also in favor of increased funding to OpenDocument organizations, people paying attention to us, and we are in talks with Microsoft about our recent "Porsches for founding members" program.

          If these initiatives are successful, we intend to combine our operations with the OpenDocument Union, the OpendDocument Pan-Atlantic Pact, the OpenDocument Coven, the OpenDocument Reading Group and the OpenDocument David Hasselhoff fanclub in hopes of getting many more people to pay attention to us.

        • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @02:45AM (#21180449) Homepage
          I can't understand why it's important to make a document format that is compatible with OOXML. Come to think of it, I can't understand what they mean by a document format being compatible with OOXML. Did MS push a few bucketloads of money in the direction of the OD Foundation to help them change their mind?
      • Wow. Someone who is paid to promote ODF doesn't like people who have problems with ODF. Is there going to be film at 11?
        • Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:11PM (#21177909)
          Yes, it's true that Rob Weir is an IBM employee. How does that impact the accuracy of his story? Can you point to any fact in that story which is wrong or misleading? It matters not who he likes or hates if his arguments are sound.

          Now then, it's also true that this "Foundation" has no official role in ODF whatsoever. It was started by a couple of random people who do little more than blog, attend meetings, and feed quotes to the press. And right now, the "OpenDocument Foundation" is abandoning ODF for CDF. Let the "Closed Document Format" jokes begin.

          So, really, why again should we care about their opinions? They're certainly entitled to them, but like so many Slashdot posts, do they actually matter? Or is this fuss unseemly given that the "support" the OpenDocument Foundation offers amounts to little more than words? It's not like they're actually coding anything, developing the standard, or any actual, useful work.

          It's tantamount to trumpeting "Anonymous Coward drops support for Windows!" when I can't really imagine that my opinion of Microsoft's code is worthy of front page news. Though I'll certainly settle for a (+5, Insightful) or two :-)
      • From their web site, it looks like they tried to have a pet feature added to the format and threw their toys out of the pram when it was rejected.

         
    • Re:questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by cHiphead (17854) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:12PM (#21177343)
      Its blatantly obvious that Sam Hiser, proponent of the blog post that sparked this frenzy [typepad.com], doesn't know jack shit about the real specs of ODF, read the comments on the blog I linked, they more than make the point (aside from the initial long-winded comment attempting to discredit anyone with enough common sense to disagree with Hiser, its a nice try but anyone with a hint of mental forethought and reasoning ability, can see right through the propaganda). Twenty minutes of actual research would've saved Hiser and the ODFoundation a lot of grief.

      Additionally, if this isn't some backroom Microsoft inspired posturing, I'd be VERY surprised. The very essence of "CDF" in the way Hiser frames his argument is compatibility with MS OOXML. Who gives a rat's ass about specific compatibility within the framework of a particular document directly with another type of document, thats not the point of the whole exercise the odf format is attempting. The ODF is OPEN for any application to implement 100%, that allows for clearer communication between applications, and as a result, real living people.

      Cheers.
  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    Driving to achieve closeness or compatibility with Microsoft formats, except as something kept at arms length, is essentially suicide.
    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:23PM (#21177447) Homepage

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

      On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide. Microsoft exists, and dominates the office application market, pretending it doesn't exist and that you can 'do your own thing' without taking it into account is utterly stupid.
      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

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

        I'm inclined to think it's the latter, personally. It just takes a while.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by G Fab (1142219)
          Maybe this is true eventually. Probably not, as there is no indication that anything will be easier to use than office, but who knows?

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

          I sure as hell would love for you to be right, and I think maybe Google or others will make online documents in a way that makes Word a
          • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

              by G Fab (1142219)
              Yeah, totally totally true. Office 2007 makes no sense at all as a strategic move. It is totally different from what people are already able to use, even if it is somehow better (just seems overly simplified to me).

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

              There is a bit of a market for openoffice to fill if they can be seen as the Office 2003 successor to Office 2003. But I still think the whole model i
              • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

                by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @03:54AM (#21180745)
                Yeah, totally totally true. Office 2007 makes no sense at all as a strategic move. It is totally different from what people are already able to use, even if it is somehow better (just seems overly simplified to me).

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


                Microsoft is in the process of pulling off a in your face, quiet revolution.

                A key element of both Vista and Office 2007 is the paradigm of moving the GUI away from sins of the past.

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

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

                (Look at the Help Search in Leopard, it is specifically designed to search for Menu Items in applications because even Apple understands Menus are still not the ideal GUI solution.)

                Vista and Office 2007 (more noticeable on Office 2007) virtually removed all menus, with the exception of single list contextual menus, and they will be replaced at some point as well.

                Microsoft is 'slowly' using their UI research to bring new GUI concepts that are long overdue to the Graphic environment.

                What the non-Microsoft world seems to overlook is how far they will take this, and how MS could leapfrog both Apple and the current OSS world if people stop paying attention or discount what Microsoft is doing. This is how it is a 'quiet' revolution, as most people don't get the 'bigger picture' of what Microsoft is slowly moving towards.

                If you take Office 2007, Vista, and especially the framework constructs of WPF/Silverlight, notice where they are heading, as the WPF aspects are designed specifically for implementing new UI concepts in new ways. Microsoft plans on bringing the results of their GUI research this to their customers now that they have the frameworks/platform to do it.

                So the next time you read an article by a 'tech' person giving Office 2007 or Vista bad marks for something like 'removing' UI Menus, realize the 'tech' person doesn't get it and MS is pulling one over on them even.
                • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

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

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    Not to mention how anyone is supposed to communicate such use to someone else.

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

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

            • I'm sorry but $1000 for an OS and office suite?

              This would be list for the most expensive retail boxes of both.

              I have at least three options as a home user for a legit, discounted, price on Office 2007. The cheapest is through my employer: about $35 for the media with shipping and handling.

              Local adult education programs in Office start at a subdized $5 per course.

              No age restrictions. No income restrictions.

              Your ticket out of welfare, your chance for a job past retirement, if you have need of one.

      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

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

        porl
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dhasenan (758719)
        Let me get this straight: you think that a document format should be compatible with MS formats? Isn't this an application-level thing? What groundbreakingly useful features can be expressed in OOXML and not ODF?
      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hooya (518216) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:42PM (#21178197) Homepage
        > On the other hand, completely ignoring Microsoft formats isn't essentially suicide, it is suicide. Microsoft exists, and dominates the office application market, pretending it doesn't exist and that you can 'do your own thing' without taking it into account is utterly stupid.

        Quick, somebody tell Linus and RMS that MS dominates the OS market as well and they really shouldn't try to roll their own.

        That aside, I do understand where you're coming from. We do *lots* of document generation. I mean 100,000+ in a given week. We use XML/XSLT to target PDF, ODF, OOXML and what have you. OOXML is a *major* pain compared to ODF. While we did implement the necessary software to support OOXML due to market situation, I do hope that ODF displaces OOXML. If ODF attains more 'compatibility' with OOXML, what's the point? We have OOXML now. We don't need ODF to become OOXML. We need it to replace it. If ODF becomes the defacto standard by *becoming* OOXML, that'll be a sad day for us.
      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

        by suckmysav (763172) <(suckmysav) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @08:18PM (#21178461) Journal
        My GF sent me an email the other day with an attached word document with the tag that it was "amazing".

        I tried to open it in OO on linux and got a blank screen.

          So I boot to Windows and open it in Word

        Seems that it is simply a Flash animation embedded in a Word document, which gives rise to two questions;

        1) Why the hell would somebody embed a flash animation in a fricking word document?

        2) Why in the name of all that is holy is Word even capable of rendering Flash?

        It is no fricking wonder that the MS Windows+Office platform is such a successful malware attractant when all their apps are capable of doing completely inapproriate things with inappropiate data.

        It beggars belief.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gogo0 (877020)
          at work i frequently get emails with no body, just a powerpoint attachment containing (in wordart) a simple message (august birthdays party at noon tomorrow!).
          people around the facility learned a while ago that i dont open powerpoints from email -save for work-related ones (which iv never come across).
          if its not important enough information to treat with a little respect ("cheryl has cancer and we're taking donations!" in wordart doesnt come across as serious as it should) then i dont think its important
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

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

          2) Because Microsoft has figured out there's more money in trying to do what people want, rather than
  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

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

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

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

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

      by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:38PM (#21177587) Homepage
      OpenDocument Foundation is not any sort of official or central proponent for ODF. Looks to me like Microsoft bought this two-man operation off and are attempting to throw in a little more chaos in with the threat to OOXML.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)
      Hiser acknowledged that ODF supporters are angry with the foundation because of its change of heart.

      Indeed, Andrew Updegrove, a partner at Boston-based law firm Gesmer Updegrove LLP and a vocal supporter of ODF, criticized the OpenDocument Foundation in an e-mail on Monday.

      "It's a shame," he wrote, "that a group that was expressly formed for the purpose of supporting ODF is now actively working against the standard -- especially given the fact that its tax exemption is based upon supporting that same
  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @05:55PM (#21177133) Homepage Journal
    is it April 1st?
    Is this posted on theonion?
    is taco drunk in charge of a keyboard?
    has darl got a new job?

    How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eggplant62 (120514)

      How much has ballmer paid to give such a turnaround?


      This was my first thought: How much did MS pay off the OpenDoc Foundation?
  • by eer (526805)
    Looking forward to reading her reaction on Groklaw...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:00PM (#21177197)
    This is why having "boards" and "foundations" and "working groups" equals death for free software. They get bogged down, undermined and subverted by politics and beaurocracy.
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:15PM (#21177367)
      From what I'm reading in other comments, this "foundation" was never meant to promote ODF at all. Basically, it's a couple of shills, probably paid off by MS, who set up this cleverly-named "foundation" to make it appear as if they are some official body in charge of ODF (they're not), just so they could tarnish ODF by speaking out against it and in favor of Microsoft formats. Basically, they're a form of astroturfing.

      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:12PM (#21177917)
        Sadly, Microsoft often doesn't have to pay shills like this. They can sell their services in "promoting compatibility" to third parties who don't know any better.

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

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

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

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

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:01PM (#21177211) Journal
    If OpenOffice.org, Sun (StarOffice), IBM (Lotus Symphony) and KDE (KOffice) all continue to support ODF, what difference does it make what the Foundation does or says?
    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DaleCooper82 (860396) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:16PM (#21177387)
      None for you and me and others here... I am afraid though that it will have negative impact on decisions about the format used by corporations, countries (like SA last week?). They want to see support behind whatever format they choose... and well, marketing is (unfortunately) huge player these days... And there will be ODF version of 'Get the Facts' soon. How sad.
      • by Pecisk (688001)
        Yes, but ODF un OOX is already enough. If even some document format looks good on paper and concept, it doesn't mean that they missed the train. Actually, I think OOX even did, because no way Office Vista will be universally acepted as old Office releases and lot of people already fine with OO.o/NeoOffice.

        So it is just someone's wet dream to add another format in this brouhaha. I even thing it is done intentionally to add confusion. Yes, you can say that it is nuts, but Microsoft have done ANYTHING and then
    • by imemyself (757318)
      It gives other people less incentive to implement ODF in their own products. If there is an non-biased organization backing it, the makers of other office suites would be more likely to consider implementing it themselves.
    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Informative)

      by hritcu (871613) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:31PM (#21177509) Homepage
      What foundation? Never heard about it until now.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:03PM (#21177229) Homepage Journal

    compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML
    what the f**k does that mean ? we are trying to make ODF THE format, we dont care about what ms is pushing or its compatibility. ms should try to make whatever they have compatible with it. they have forced enough stuff to the i.t. world already, its time they adapt their ways to what majority wants.
    • Hate to break this to you, but MS is the majority. To the victor go the spoils. Microsoft will have no real reason to implement a standard developed by some arbitrary group of its competitors unless/until many large governments and corporations force them to. Personally, I don't think it will happen. Most people don't really give a shit one way or the other.
      • by Torvaun (1040898)
        This is why I use RTF for everything. Everyone reads it. It was originally developed for interoperability. Of course, now Microsoft will have to change it...
    • by Macthorpe (960048)

      they have forced enough stuff to the i.t. world already, its time they adapt their ways to what majority wants.
      Does the majority want ODF support though? It doesn't seem that way.
    • The problem for "you" is that Microsoft is the one who has 400 million or so installs of the dominant de facto office suite in the planet. "You" can either try to get them to play nice with you by applying pressure intelligently, or you can organize an exciting jihad to stick it to them. In a make-believe world where companies choose technology based on, well, technical merits and openness, the second approach will usually work. In the real world though, the former option would have been a better idea. But
      • "we" (Score:3, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058)
        here are many people in i.t., who actually decide what is going to be used in their respective companies as it people, and many big i.t. companies in the field against microsoft. i dont see any "majority" or "power" on microsoft side apart from being able to grab casual, irrelevant old-age user in a remote state by the balls, because s/he doesnt know jack about computers. these kind of majority dont dictate anything, unless it is during a tea party in a suburb.
        • by dedazo (737510)
          No offense, but you've clearly never had a real job at a real company. Your views are commendable, but flawed.
  • Yeah, another stupid, flaming, fanboyish, conspirancy loving comment.

    But...I really don't see any other reasoning here. Compatibility with OOXML?! Last year?! Wtf!

    ODF went ISO in 2005. In last year it achieved some kind of visibility because of OOXML ISO fight. What is his arguments?
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:05PM (#21177261) Journal
    My department has been migrating TO windows .doc format (over my objections) for internal documentation - apparently due to inertia among the managers.

    I'm not just annoyed by getting tied to a proprietary format: I'm particularly worried about all the windows tools running, since IMHO our company is a prime target for Spear Phising. (And I know there's been some harvesting going on by ordinary malware because, just today, I got some spam coming in from outside forged to claim it's FROM an internal mailing list.)

    I've been pushing for standardizing on an open format - specifically ODF - for some time now. (This has been hard, because the last time I edited a .doc format document with Open Office it broke the hyperlinks, and the last spreadsheet I touched ditto lost a bunch of graph annotation.)

    Now the rug gets pulled out from under my credibility (yet again) by the open community itself.

    I'm throwing in the towel on this. I'll just sit back and use the Microsoft tools and let IT handle the malware. Open documents can wait until somebody in upper management drives it when it becomes the latest management fad (which probably means when the winter olympics is held in hell). If the company's crown jewels get stolen by a spear-phisher I'm on record for an "I told you so!" and I have enough squirreled away to retire.
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:17PM (#21177393)

      I've been pushing for standardizing on an open format - specifically ODF - for some time now. (This has been hard, because the last time I edited a .doc format document with Open Office it broke the hyperlinks, and the last spreadsheet I touched ditto lost a bunch of graph annotation.)

      Now the rug gets pulled out from under my credibility (yet again) by the open community itself.


      This isn't the "open community", this is a group of shills paid by Microsoft who have cleverly selected a name for their "foundation" to make it appear as if they have some power over the ODF standard. Blame MS for pulling the rug.
  • This is just another way of Microsoft getting everything they want with no real influence by others, which is pretty much what has happened for some time now at W3C with many important standards. Look to W3C to relax their requirements further. No one with any sense wants the de-facto MS document standard to become a recommendation. We already have that. It will be telling to see what kind of patent declarations come out of it.
  • They are *nobody* (Score:5, Informative)

    by paugq (443696) <pgquiles@nOSPaM.elpauer.org> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:12PM (#21177339) Homepage
    "The OpenDocument Foundation", in spite of its name, is nothing. They are not the "official" foundation backing ODF. They are just two guys, with a good name and without a garage, which used to develop a OOXML ODF converter. Read this for more information: Cracks in the Foundation [robweir.com].
    • by seanellis (302682)
      Oh, mod parent up, up, up, please.

      Is this just a big storm over nothing?
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      Wow, that's an eye opener.
    • Some elaboration (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

      CDF, OTOH is not as well supported universally, so there's a lot more room for
      a small company. And if the CDF growth rate is slow, the "The OpenDocument Foundation"
      has the chance to become *the CDF conversion experts* and make a lot of money.
      Also, since CDF (if you believe their claims) is more web oriented, it would be good
      for transactional converters of many types that need to be used for each message.
      With ODF, you convert your document once and don't have to worry about going back
      (by purpose....ODF is best for documents that have to be read, as is 100 years
      from now). The difference in profit between one-time business and licensed per
      transaction business could huge, even if CDF has a smaller market.
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:15PM (#21177375) Homepage

    Among ODF's weaknesses is its provenance from a specific application and the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar. Merchants of irony will note this is the identical problem that paralyzes the incumbent gorilla's format.


    Some will find this confusing until you see the Open Document Foundation's Slogan: Achieving Universal Interoperatability through Open Formats. I think it's dumb that they are trying to create a format that will magically work with all systems instead of pushing all of the systems to work with one format.
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:16PM (#21177379)
    First, it was disability support. It was shot down.

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

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

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

    Get this people - truely open document format will NEVER have anything to do with Microsoft Office wet dream to keep domination. NEVER.
  • by Skiron (735617) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:21PM (#21177421) Homepage
    "Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year."

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

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

    It gets from bad to worse.
  • by fejes (799784) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:22PM (#21177437)

    The Opendocument Foundation isn't officially related to the OpenDocument standard. They're just a bunch of guys who took the same name so that they could ride on the coattails of the ODF movement, and doing MS's bidding, derail the process... and look, they're trying hard.

    Before taking this article too seriously, you might want to read this posting too:
    Cracks in the Foundation [robweir.com]
  • How complete [or incomplete] is CDF? the last time I checked, ODF still lacked a number of pertinent capabilities.
  • I thought the name "OpenDocument Foundation" would imply their goal is to create a document standard that is open, and can easily enough be implemented in a document editor without having to understand how the universe works just to see what line of code leads to some other line? If thats the case, why the hell are they concerned with being compatible with something that isn't open?

    Compatibility is a great bullet to have on your feature list, but I think that instead of trying to play catch-up and only be i
    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:24PM (#21178037)
      No, the name is clearly designed to create an impression of a relationship with the Open Document Format. It's a common tactic for gathering webhits and credibility, much as the "Open Source Foundation" pretended to be about open source, which it never really was.
      • by Torodung (31985)
        This is a textbook violation of trademark. If they don't sue at this point, they will lose control of the name "Open Document Format" itself. "Office Open XML" was pushing it, this is just plain pure trademark violation so some smart-ass Microsoft executive can claim that "the Open Document Foundation has abandoned the Open Document format."

        It's also probably defamation, and if there is a money trail between the Foundation and Microsoft, there are damages to be had.

        It's time to serve some papers. If anyone
  • unacceptable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @06:40PM (#21177601)
    ODF an ISO and ECMA standard, and a lot of people have fought hard for both the standard and its adoption. For anybody in the ODF camp to abandon it at this point is unacceptable; any political or technical problems with ODF should have been resolved before

    People complain about "the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar". Excuse me, it's an ISO and ECMA standard. There should be "nothing to release", this standard should be cast in stone for at least half a decade. If extensions are needed, there should be an extension mechanism (which, I believe, XML namespaces provide).

    And what is supposed to replace it? A non-existent W3C standard? Heck, the W3C hasn't even been able to replace HTML with XHTML; the notion that they can replace ODF/OOXML with CDF any time soon is laughable.

    Of course, something like CDF is going to happen eventually; but the proper way of introducing it would have been to emphasize ODF as the near term solution and use it as a bargaining chip to get Microsoft to settle on CDF in the long term. What is going to happen now is that Microsoft is just going to declare OOXML the winner and point at ODF/CDF as another example of how open source and open standards are unstable and can't be trusted.

    The ODF is handing Microsoft's OOXML victory on a silver platter. How much did Microsoft buy you all off for?
    • Re:unacceptable (Score:4, Informative)

      by macshit (157376) <milesNO@SPAMgnu.org> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:01PM (#21177811) Homepage
      You've probably read this in other comments already, but "OpenDocument Foundation" has no official connection with ODF (the format) -- they're just a couple of losers with a grand-sounding name, who apparently got some MS shill money recently.
      • trademarks? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by m2943 (1140797)
        but "OpenDocument Foundation" has no official connection with ODF (the format)

        Then Sun, OpenOffice.org, ISO, and ECMA screwed up on trademarks. "Open Office XML" and "OpenDocument Foundation" should refer to nothing other than ODF and OpenOffice.
  • From the blog :

    Among ODF's weaknesses is its provenance from a specific application and the unwillingness of its originators to release it into the Bazaar.

    - Sam Hiser

    From the article :

    "All Sun cares about is its application," Hiser claimed. "Sun never thought of the format as being more important than the application.

    - Sam Hiser

    ... and from the same article

    In a blog posting, Jason Matusow, director of corporate standards at Microsoft, said the new controversy over ODF proves that what really matte

  • by iabervon (1971) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @07:29PM (#21178077) Homepage Journal
    The key point is that, with ODF v1.2, which is in progress as a further ISO specification, ISO wants the format to be able to handle conversion of all of the world's existing legacy documents. Some of these documents only make sense based on errors in the legacy applications that were used to generate them, and getting actually correct calculation would destroy the comprehensibility of the documents. For example, if a spreadsheet has a calculation error, and this error leads to the final results being different, and the spreadsheet is part of a document justifying taking a particular action based on the result, understanding the document depends on being able to see the calculation that the author saw, and not the correct calculation, which would be incoherent. Current ODF is fine for making correct decisions going forward, but it is inadaquate to understanding past mistakes. And it means that, if you use a broken old program like Excel 2007 to prepare your taxes, and you convert it to ODF and send it in, the ODF document will contain no clues as to why you're trying to pay a different amount from the total given at the end, because the information that the math is broken in the source in a particular way is not representable in ODF.

    Furthermore, the OASIS committee responsible for developing ODF has broken down entirely, at least in Sam Hiser's view, over the issue of how this should be handled, with Sun ignoring the need entirely, while the OpenDocument Foundation, trying to go forward in ISO, insists on having something get done.

    As far as I can tell, CDF is actually totally irrelevant to this whole thing, except that it's from the W3C, which is simply not the OASIS ODF TC, and hasn't broken down. CDF is essentially the concept "do the obvious XML thing for putting compound documents together". It doesn't specify the format of any component office documents, except for SVG for figures (it specifies a bunch of other formats for particular purposes, but nothing interesting or different). The main benefit of CDF seems to be that the group doesn't have the level of bad blood that there is over at OASIS, so there's a chance of producing some specification for the next version.

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

    This whole thing sounds like complete malarkey to me. Something is awry. If you can't buy the standard organizations I guess they can buy the ODF key players.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmail . c om> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @09:54PM (#21179015) Journal
    As has been mentioned several times in the comment, the "Open Document Foundation" has no real connection to the Open Document Format, and the writeup reads like a MS-shill press release. So please fix it with an addendum so that casual readers of Slashdot don't take it at face value.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @10:28PM (#21179259) Journal
    Are you going to edit this article so that it clearly states that the "Open Document Foundation" has nothing to do with Open Document Format (ODF), other than that they are also in the "document" business?

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

    FROM TFA:

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

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

    --
    Toro
  • by Craig Maloney (1104) * on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @11:42PM (#21179683) Homepage
    In other news, McDonalds has decided to stop selling the Whopper, opting instead for the Big Boy Classic.

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