Putting the horse behind the cart

Story: European IT authorities want better OOXML in Libre/OpenOfficeTotal Replies: 16
Author Content

Dec 15, 2011
4:25 AM EDT
I'm not saying these organizations shouldn't do what they are planning to do. Opening OOXML with higher fidelity is a good thing in a continually MS dominated world.

However, if governments, businesses and organizations would grow a pair and told MS to take a hike and declared ODF the only acceptable standard, we wouldn't have to chase MS' game of smoke and mirrors. It's the higher echelons of society keeping MS in place, even if it's clearly not in their best interest.

Oh well, this is all water under the bridge. We've been beating this particular horse for so long now, that even the bones have crumbled to dust and only the memory of that horse still takes abuse.

Dec 15, 2011
6:01 AM EDT
OOXML, as produce by Microsoft Office applications, is NOT the same as the ISO standard.

The article is wrong. This statement "OOXML is the ISO standard for office documents that is predominantly supported by Microsoft" is FALSE.


"Office Open XML (also informally known as OOXML or OpenXML) is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft[2] for representing spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. The Office Open XML specification was initially standardised by Ecma (as ECMA-376) and later by ISO and IEC (as ISO/IEC 29500).

Starting with Microsoft Office 2007, the Office Open XML file formats have become the default target file format of Microsoft Office,[4][5] although the Strict variant of the standard is not yet fully supported. Microsoft Office 2010 provides read support for ECMA-376, read/write support for ISO/IEC 29500 Transitional, and read support for ISO/IEC 29500 Strict.[7] Microsoft has stated that the next release of Microsoft Office (version 15) will support both read and write of ISO/IEC 29500 Strict."

The current version of Microsoft Office does NOT produce documents in accordance with the ISO standard.

Dec 15, 2011
6:55 AM EDT
Quoting:The current version of Microsoft Office does NOT produce documents in accordance with the ISO standard.

For "mark_oz"........."Accidentally on purpose" would you say ? Just curious, but given the pretty negative things that Microsoft is alleged to have done with WordPerfect on Windows, nothing would surprise me.

Dec 15, 2011
9:59 AM EDT
I didn't mention it, but I consider OOXML any document that is compressed and XML-ish, in whatever form the Office version du jour spits it out. ISO and ECMA may think they standardised something, but in the end OOXML is what MS says it is.

I would even go sofar as saying that the ECMA and ISO standards on OOXML are not OOXML compliant.

Dec 15, 2011
10:55 AM EDT
Whatever the real standard is, .docx is a nightmare in Libre Office.

Dec 15, 2011
12:45 PM EDT
@Steven: in your comment, the words "in Libre Office" are superfluous.

Dec 15, 2011
1:02 PM EDT
Even so, Microsoft, in tying their colours to the OOXML "standard", may have painted themselves into a corner (sorry for the mixed metaphors there).

Rather than the secret moving target that was MS Office's file format, there is now a fixed and in-the-open target. Given enough resources and willpower, reliable interoperability could kill people's reliance on MS Office for good.

We use LibreOffice at home, but they use MS Office at school. Working on documents at home is a real problem for the kids and causes us all sorts of headaches. I would like them to use LibreOffice at school and save them some money at the same time, but it is not going to happen in the short term. Thankfully, the school is very good about the whole thing and are very supportive of the problems that many people have that do not have a copy of MS Office.

Of course, Microsoft could "break" their own implementation to make interoperability difficult. Then you're chasing compatibility with bugs in Office. But I can't think of any down side to this initiative.

Dec 15, 2011
5:33 PM EDT
There is nothing new in what Microsoft has done with OOXML, any one remember RTF.

Dec 15, 2011
6:26 PM EDT
Ok, since this is a day for noting redundancies. . .

TA - The period (.) belongs after the word 'done'.

Dec 16, 2011
5:23 AM EDT
Rather than the secret moving target that was MS Office's file format, there is now a fixed and in-the-open target.

Seems like MS won their little gambit. Why do people still think that ISO OOXML is the same beast that lurks in MS Office? It is not. As long as MS can get away with it, OOXML in MS Office will be, in subtle but devastating ways, different from what ISO says it should be.

As long as developers waste time on "implementing" ISO OOXML, we can rest assured that the stuff made with MS Office will not work with it. The only way to get some semblance of interoperability, is to keep reverse engineering what MS actually puts out with MS Office. Knowing how the internal structure of the document is built, is not the same as knowing what MS Office actually does with that structure. The problem never was the content of a document, that carries over with near 100% fidelity. It mostly is a problem of keeping the formatting the same in an MS Office document between differing applications.

Give MS an inch of wiggle room and they will wiggle till they got the space as wide and long as the Grand Canyon.

Dec 16, 2011
6:36 AM EDT
Have they filled in the blanks yet? Or is it still a "standard" that doesn't actually tell implementers what they need to know -- when it isn't outright contradicting itself?

Dec 16, 2011
7:41 AM EDT
There was one significant way this gambit backfired: ISO lost nearly all its credibility. Rather than ISO turning a M$ standard into gold, M$ turned the anointing body into pig-slop.

Dec 16, 2011
9:00 AM EDT
Rather than ISO turning a M$ standard into gold, M$ turned the anointing body into pig-slop.

So we could say that MS is a sort of reverse king Midas. Everything they touch turns to < insert favorite worthless substance here >.

In my younger years I was silently hoping to see MS collapse as a company. Right now I dread that notion. The pain and carnage caused by MS going down, and damaging everything nearby in its death throws, will be akin to a digital apocalypse.

The truly horrifying thing about such a collapse is that it would, most likely, result in a patent troll of formidable size. Kind of like a supernova tuning into a black hole.

Dec 16, 2011
12:11 PM EDT
Instead of the "Midas Touch", they have the "Bandini Touch".

For those that don't know, Bandini makes fertilizer. They had a television commercial a while ago that featured a person skiing down a mountain of steer poo.

Dec 16, 2011
3:32 PM EDT
@r_a_trip: "Why do people still think that ISO OOXML is the same beast that lurks in MS Office?"

I'm sorry if I implied this, it was not my intention.

The "standard" of OOXML is a target for Microsoft also, but a target nonetheless. It may be that Microsoft intentionally never achieve it which would mean that they keep their lack of interoperability intact. That would be a dirty trick, but not beyond what they have done before.

Dec 16, 2011
6:38 PM EDT
Well, Microsoft has already said that they have no intention of adhering to the OOXML standard, should they find it inconvenient to do so.

I'm also not clear on who this Open Source Business Alliance actually is, though I notice that some of the players have been in the news before. for rather pro-MS biased approaches to open vs proprietary issues.

It would seem that at least some participants come from the perspective that it is somehow FOSS OpenOffice and LibreOffice that is deficient in handling MS-OOXML documents, rather than acknowledging that it is Microsoft's MS-OOXML format specification, itself, that is deficient.

- - - - -

Consider also that in MS Office, Microsoft has created the one implementation of ODF that just won't interoperate acceptably well with any of the others (OpenOffice, LibreOffice, AbiWord, KOffice, Lotus Symphony, among others.) even though those alternative ODF implementations will generally interoperate with each other pretty well. And even though MS had in the heat of the EU investigations commissioned a third-party ODF-plug-in that in its time was pretty decent. So why is Microsoft not held accountable for this deficiency? As the saying goes; sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

One would suppose this one fact (just one particularly illustrative among many) would be the kind of clue that would lead even the most clueless, techno-ignorant bureaucrat to notice the sharp whiff of something unmistakably off-kilter.


Apr 05, 2012
3:20 PM EDT
I even wrote an email to Kroes that time : http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f...

But now in the UK is 'something going on' : http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f...


Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!