OD FCan Handle Anything MSOffice Throws At It

Story: Microsoft Hires Programmer to edit Wikipedia Entry For OOXMLTotal Replies: 2
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Jan 26, 2007
6:27 PM EDT
There is an interesting discussion triggered by Tim Bray's "ongoing · Life Is Complicated" blog piece: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2007/01/24/Mixup#c116...

Our good friend Mike Champion has some interesting comments defending ISO/IEC approval of MS Ecma 376 based on many arguments. But this one seems to be the bottom line;

"there is not an official standard for one that (in the opinion of the people who actually dug deeply into the question, and I have not) represents all the features supported in the MS Office binary formats and can be efficiently loaded and processed without major redesign of MS Office.

..... So, if you want a clean XML format that represents mainstream office document use cases, use ODF. If you want a usable XML format that handles existing Word documents with full fidelity and optimal performance in MS Office, use OOXML. If you think this fidelity/performance argument is all FUD, try it with your documents in Open Office / ODF and MS Office 2007 / OOXML and tell the world what you learn."

Mike's not alone in this. This seems to be the company line for Microsoft's justification that ISO/IEC should have two conflicting file formats each promising to do the same thing, because only one of those formats can handle the biliions of binary documents conversion to XML with an acceptable fidelity.

This is not true, and we can prove it. And if we're right that you can convert the billions of binaries to ODF without loss of fidelity, then there was no "technology" argument for Microsoft not implementing ODF natively and becoming active in the OASIS ODF TC process to improve application interoperability.

Quote from my Response: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2007/01/24/Mixup#c116... ---------------------------- ODF can handle everything and anything Microsoft Office can throw at it. Including the legacy billions of binary documents, years of MSOffice bound business processes, and even tricky low level reaching add-ons represented by assistive technologies....

...we recently made available a demonstration of the powerful but lightweight Da Vinci conversion engine. You can find and download this proof of concept demo at:


The ACME 376 Compatibility Kit is the Da Vinci plugin producing ACME 376; an XML encoding of RTF. Da Vinci can also produce MS Binary ODF 1.0 and ODF 1.2. conversion processes. If we wanted to, Da Vinci could be configured to produce MS Binary Chinese UOF conversion processes. It's a very flexible conversion and mapping engine.

ACME 376 was provided tp prove a number of points listed on the download page. Primary among these proofs is that ODF can indeed handle anything and everything thrown at it.

More Quotes from the ongoing "Life Is Complicated" discussion:

* Fortunately for Microsoft, the DaVinci plugin is coming, which will enable Microsoft office applications to comply with ISO 26300. We all understand the financial issues that prompted the push to make OOXML a standard (see Tim's comment above and http://lnxwalt.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/whose-finances-are-o... for more on this) and ensure continued vendor lock-in. However, OOXML is not the answer. * ODF can handle everything and anything Microsoft Office can throw at it. Including the legacy billions of binary documents, years of MSOffice bound business processes, and even tricky low level reaching add-ons represented by assistive technologies.

Microsoft refused to participate in the OASIS ODF development process, even though they have been an official member of the OASIS group since it's inception. As an "observer" MS has had full access to all discussions, meeting minutes, proposals, documents and white papers. It was their decision not to participate.

Now they claim that ODF is unable to handle the advanced feature set of MSOffice and the full conversion fidelity of those billions of binary documents to XML. This claim stands as the justification for their not participating in the ODF development process. And, more importantly, as the justification for ISO/IEC to adopt a second XML file format that does exactly what ISO 26300 (ODF) is designed to do.

That's extortion. Microsoft alone knows the secrets of the billions of binary documents and how to convert them to XML. They won't share that secret, forcing everyone else into cumbersome, workflow disruptive (lossy) and expensive reverse engineering. And then, after refusing to participate in the ODF process, they use that as an excuse to demand ISO/IEC consider as an international standard an XML encoding of their own proprietary binary file format.

Extortion with a complimentary kick in the teeth.

Download ACME 376, and see for yourselves what the Da Vinci conversion engine can do. More information at http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/ and http://openstack.blogspot.com/


Jan 26, 2007
7:10 PM EDT
Gary, why don't you submit this as an article? Maybe with just a few slight mods...

I'll make sure it gets published.

Jan 27, 2007
1:36 AM EDT

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