Microsoft Hires Programmer to edit Wikipedia Entry For OOXML

Posted by dcparris on Jan 23, 2007 10:06 AM EDT
LXer - Linux News; By D.C. Parris (Charlotte, USA)
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Microsoft is paying Rick Jelliffe to "correct errors" in Wikipedia's entry for OOXML

Rick Jelliffe announced on his blog that he has been offered the opportunity to edit the Wikipedia entry for OOXML, namely to correct errors in statements that reflect negatively on OOXML. Even among those who seem to respect his transparency, there is nevertheless concern that corporate-sponsored entries in Wikipedia corrupt the process. His blog post sparked something of a debate over the nature of his project and the differences in the two standards.

Some commentators noted that Jelliffe's transparency in disclosing his Microsoft sponsorship means he can be trusted. As others have pointed out, his Microsoft sponsorship means he can be trusted to represent Microsoft's interests, rather than act as an un-interested party in editing the Wikipedia entry. While Jelliffe criticized the OpenDocument format's ability in terms of archiving old MS Office documents, he never explains why Microsoft never took the opportunity to contribute to ODF to resolve such issues. So, while claiming to counteract FUD, he engages in it in his announcement.

ODF proponents are quickly responding to Jelliffe's criticism of what he sees as ODF FUD by posting links to information to support their claims. The GrokDoc site, which is geared toward usability issues, has a page dedicated to OOXML objections. Jean Hollis Weber posted in her blog that "The office documents standards war (between Microsoft and just about everyone else) is well into a new phase". She also pointed to Groklaw's page raising concerns about OOXML. Pamela Jones, whose postings on legal issues have been highly accurate, has addressed some of the technical and practical issues involving OOXML in depth.

Thus, the document standards war is being fought, not only in the blogs and in the editorial sections of news sites, it is being fought in the reference sites as well. The issue is certainly food for thought. Aside from questions about the impact of this war of words on a reference website, it raises questions about Microsoft's need to pay for editing in a volunteer-dominated website. It also demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to fight OpenDocument, rather than collaborate to make it an even better standard than it already is.

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