Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It is Official, Microsoft wins, Again

In a triumph of marketing and (alright, alleged) ballot stuffing, Microsoft's OOXML has garnered enough votes to be approved as an ISO standard.

Bringing with it all the benefits therein. Mainly, conforming to the various government agencies around the world who have enacted the sensible regulations requiring their documents to be in a format that is vendor neutral and have meaningful archival lifetimes.

Now the fun really begins. Watching Microsoft try to implement the augmented standard in Office. While simultaneously implementing it in Open Source Software, Koffice, OpenOffice. I've argued in the past that Microsoft has a format they call OOXML right now shipping in Office 2007, and the new standard with the changes made to get it past ISO are going to cause us and Microsoft difficulties. I hope I am wrong on this.

OpenOffice has already begun that work, with limited success in the upcoming version 3 now in alpha scheduled for September.

KOffice, has been pretty critical of OOXML in the past and there has been no announcement from them as of yet.

If OfficeOpen XML becomes an ISO standard, we will, in all likely hood, still not spend time on supporting it. The standard is enormous, very complex and to a large extent so badly specified that a full implementation is probably even harder than implementing the old Microsoft binary file formats. Add to that patent encumbrances and problems with copyrighted elements -- and our conclusion is that we prefer to concentrate on making KOffice a great set of applications that are satisfying to use and satisfying to develop. 11/2007

I wonder whether IBM Symphony will reverse their decision to not support OOXML in light of the ISO decision. Given Bob Sutor's latest post, I'm guessing not.

On a purely personal level, I'm sticking with ODF. I can only hope that OOXML will continue to be as marginal as it currently is.


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