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[News] [Rival] Head of ODF TC Denounces Microsoft for Poor ODF Support

  • Subject: [News] [Rival] Head of ODF TC Denounces Microsoft for Poor ODF Support
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 14:32 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

Protocols, Formats and the Limits of Disclosure

,----[ Quote ]
| However, no amount of disclosure from 
| Microsoft on how they interpret the ODF 
| standard will help. We see that today, 
| with Office 2007 SP2, where it strips out 
| ODF spreadsheet formulas. Having official 
| documentation of this fact from Microsoft, 
| in the form of "Implementation Notes" is 
| useless. Why? Because when I create an ODF 
| document, I do not know who the reader 
| will be. It may be a Microsoft Office 
| user. But maybe it won't. It very well 
| could be read by many users, using many 
| different programs. I cannot adapt my 
| document to the quirks of various ODF 
| implementations.
| When you deal with formats, 
| interoperability is achieved by converging 
| on a common interpretation of the format. 
| Having well-documented, but divergent 
| interpretations does not improve 
| interoperability. Disclosure or quirks is 
| insufficient. Interoperability only comes 
| when all implementors converge in their 
| interpretation of the format.


CONSEGI 2009 - VÃdeos



Why Microsoft Hates - No, *Really* Hates - ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| What this means is that Microsoft is only making big money on its Office
| suite, for whose luxurious margins it must therefore fight tooth and nail.
| Which, judging by its behaviour at the ISO, and some more recent stories, is
| exactly what it is doing in the face of growing pressure from open ODF-based
| alternatives like OpenOffice.org.


Rob Weir Exposes an Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign

,----[ Quote ]
| Alex Brown, the convenor of the OOXML BRM, has been editing Wikipedia's
| article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been
| editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate. It
| puzzles me why Wikipedia allows it, frankly.
| If you read the talk page on ODF, you'll see that there are others there
| trying mightily to spin the article on ODF more negatively than is factual.
| And such rudeness! Plenty of smears against Groklaw too, I couldn't help but
| notice. It does seem to me that there is a marked increase in what I view as
| a concerted submarine marketing effort. Some of it is subtle. Most of it is
| not. A fair measure of it is mean-spirited. Some of it is lies, pure and
| simple.
| In the good old days, dead people supported Microsoft, if you remember that
| funny headline about a pro-Microsoft astroturfing campaign, but at least it
| wasn't a smear campaign, just pro-Microsoft. Nowadays, I think I would have
| to rewrite the headline to read, "Mean People Support Microsoft." Or worse.
| You see, Groklaw has been visited recently by several OOXML types, including
| Alex Brown, Doug Mahue of Microsoft, and Rick Jelliffe, all singing pretty
| much the same songs, posting on our ODF articles, so I got to watch it close
| up. I puzzled over it, because they seemed so deliberately rude.


ODF Lies and Whispers

,----[ Quote ]
| So what is one to do? You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this
| area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the
| day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to "improve" the ODF and
| OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies,
| seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign. My
| advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the
| relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees,
| etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is
| the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public
| exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.


Microsoft Office tries to break ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| Just a quick update to our OpenDocument campaign, with news that Microsoft
| Office has added support for ODF, but in a state that leaves it incompatible
| with every other ODF capable application out there, including OpenOffice.org
| and KOffice.


Sun ODF Plugin 3.1 for Microsoft Office

,----[ Quote ]
| A new version of the ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office is available.
| As I wrote in the last ODF Plugin announcement, the Plugin nowadays uses the
| same version number like the underlying OpenOffice.org version, so this
| version is now based on OpenOffice.org 3.1.


6 Projects We Hope Apple Is Building

,----[ Quote ]
| 2. OpenDocument Format (ODF) support in iWorks
| ODF is an ISO standard for office document formats, with many government
| agencies in the world adopt the standard as compulsory interchange format.
| More organizations would be willing to adopt iWorks if ODF is a supported
| format. For consumers, it means their files can be saved in a format that is
| independent of iWorks software version changes.


ODF adoption continues - has it âcrossed the chasmâ?

,----[ Quote ]
| What prompted me to realize this just today? I receive the ODF Alliance
| Newsletter regularly in my inbox. Today, I noticed the following:
| (note that while the URL is in Spanish, the translation can be seen here
| thanks to Google)


Microsoft And ODF: Bad For Everyone

,----[ Quote ]
| In shocking news, Microsoftâs support of ODF in Microsoft Office is basically
| unusable in many respects, according to the OpenDocument Format Alliance.
| This is a real problem for ODFâs adoption, since Office users who try using
| it, either for opening a document or for sending a document to someone else,
| will likely blame their issues on ODF, and, thus, avoid it.
| What Microsoft has done with ODF support seems likely to harm ODFâs
| acceptance, rather than help it. Itâs hard to tell if this move was
| incompetent or malicious or something entirely different?


Microsoft's ODF support is broken, says alliance


ODF is not the same as ODF?

,----[ Quote ]
| ODF implemented by one company is not the same as implemented by the other
| seven products.
| There's rumble in the web during the last days. And the reason is something
| to celebrate, but regrettably only for the first look. Microsoft published
| Service Pack 2 for their Microsoft Office 2007 product and for the first time
| in history they decided to officially support saving and opening in Open
| Document Standard (ODF). Really, that's the right step towards a higher level
| of interoperability! Congratulations!


Microsoftâs ODF support is broken, says alliance

,----[ Quote ]
| ODF Alliance managing director Marino Marcich said in a press statement this
| week that âsupport for ODF represents an important and ongoing test of
| Microsoftâs commitment to real-world interoperability. Unfortunately, serious
| shortcomings have been identified in Microsoftâs support for ODF. Putting
| potentially millions of ODF files into circulation that are non-interoperable
| and incompatible with the ODF support provided by other vendors is a recipe
| for fragmentation.â


Links for the 20th of May 2009

,----[ Quote ]
| # I could point to other blogs, but this one comes from Jeremy Allison,
| author of Samba, now working for the great Satan Google. Itâs actually quite
| interesting because what Jeremy is saying is that all this dispute seems to
| be based on the impression that Microsoft did the minimum to have ODF work
| inside MS Office. My take on this is we should first stop getting ballistic
| at each other, especially inside the ODF TC. What is needed in the interest
| of ODF and the users, is to have a careful examination not on the ODF
| conformance in MS Office, but on why, based on experience, the
| interoperability is severely hampered when using ODF with MS Office. Based on
| this analysis we should be able to go forward. But donât let this fool you:
| this has, Iâm afraid, nothing to do with the development of ODF 1.2.
| # As an interesting reminder, hereâs what the European Commission was saying
| about Microsoftâs announcement on the support of ODF inside MS Office last
| year.


Is OOXML the better standard?

,----[ Quote ]
| No, it is not in my opinion. But I think that is what Microsoft now tries to
| make us public authorities think. I know about the facts behind the scenes. I
| know that this company declines real support for ODF by doing something
| strange, not aiming at real interoperability, but at a Microsoft
| implementation of ODF, not compatible with others. So they, as worldwide
| market leader, can proof the insufficiency of ODF. And they have the solution
| for us. Use OOXML instead. It implements every function Microsoft Office
| does. And the next step is, that other interested implementations should
| improve their products to implement everything OOXML does. Really simple,
| isnât it?


Overunderdoing: patterns in Microsoft's interoperability stance

,----[ Quote ]
| Well, if we're talking about interoperability it has been done. Or tried. We
| could call it overunderdoing. Here's the algorithm:
|        1. pick one interoperability concern
|        2. solve it up to 85% (percentage may vary)
|        3. wisely choose the 15% to leave out so interoperability can be said
|        to work but with constant annoyances
|        4. make a loud announcement to the press
|        5. profit: everyone will read the announcement but only a small
|        fraction of such readers will notice the missing bits; despite the
|        claimable advances over the previous situation it still won't be
|        practical to make any use of the announced interoperability


Microsoft's latest aggression on ODF, codenamed "cast lead"

,----[ Quote ]
| Once again they did it. Microsoft is telling the world that they are
| improving interoperability across existing office formats and applications
| thanks to their native support for the ODF file format, a leading office file
| format based on existing ISO standards. But it could not be further from the
| truth.
| Microsoft are actually killing ODF, like the digital nazis that they are.
| Kissinger is proud of their spiritual sons.
| What kind of white phosphorus are they using ?
| First they don't write to ODF but to a canada dry version that we shall call
| MS-ODF, a variant filled with countless exploding mines, thrown from the air
| like any coward would do. Namely they are implanting the proprietary Excel
| formula syntax right inside files expecting the ODF formula syntax as exposed
| by all the ODF compatible applications out there. Since formulas are used in
| many elements such as charts, conditional formattings and so on, it wrecks
| any serious spreadsheet.


ODF Alliance Tests Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 ODF Support - Finds Serious

,----[ Quote ]
| The ODF Alliance has prepared a Fact Sheet [PDF; also available as text on
| their website, if you scroll down] for governments and others interested in
| how Microsoft's SP2 for Office 2007 handles ODF. The ODF Allliance says their
| testing revealed "serious shortcomings that, left unaddressed, would break
| the open standards based interoperability that the marketplace, especially
| governments, is demanding". The Fact Sheet itemizes the major problems
| testing revealed. Marino Marcich, managing director of ODF Alliance, points
| to one huge shortcoming:
|     âFor example, even the most basic spreadsheet functions, such as adding
|     the numbers contained in two cells, were simply stripped in an ODF file
|     when opened and re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007. A document created in
|     one ODF-supporting application, when re-saved in Microsoft Office 2007,
|     rendered differently â missing bullets, page numbers, charts and other
|     objects, changed fonts â making collaboration on an ODF file with Office
|     2007 very difficult. Indeed, some of the so-called 'plug-insâ were
|     revealed to provide better support for ODF than the recently released
|     Microsoft Office 2007 SP2. This is no way to achieve the interoperability
|     around ODF that the marketplace is demanding.â


Microsoftâs ODF Support Falls Short

,----[ Quote ]
| The OpenDocument Format (ODF) Alliance today cautioned that serious
| deficiencies in Microsoftâs support for ODF needed to be addressed to ensure
| greater interoperability with other ODF-supporting software.


Microsoft & Interoperability: I think that now I really understood :)

,----[ Quote ]
| As most of you already know, I spent the month of October in a marathon of
| speeches about ODF. During the marathon, I had the opportunity to attend some
| presentations about Microsoft Interoperability and would like to share with
| you here some information about that cool experience (the post is long but
| worth a read).
| The first opportunity to see our friends from Redmond featuring the theme was
| at the rally held by them at the end of Latinoware 2008. I do not call that a
| presentation, because they did not allow questions from the audience, as a
| rally. Luckily the audience was not that big and I was on that room just be
| able to âwrite the factsâ about the speech.


ODF Alliance Warns Governments About Office 2007 ODF Support

,----[ Quote ]
| The ODF Alliance has prepared a Fact Sheet for governments and others
| interested in how Microsoft's SP2 for Office 2007 handles ODF. The report
| revealed 'serious shortcomings that, left unaddressed, would break the open
| standards based interoperability that the marketplace, especially
| governments, is demanding.


ODF Alliance: Microsoft Support for ODF is Lacking

,----[ Quote ]
| The Open Document Format (ODF) Alliance has analyzed whether Microsoftâs
| Service Pack 2 for Office 2007 fulfills the promise for compatibility with
| the free document standard. Their findings give little reason to hope.


Working to Rule

,----[ Quote ]
| Yet Microsoft Office SP2 claims to have a fully compliant version of ODF, and
| that's probably true, as defined by the specification. It's just completely
| useless at interoperating with other vendors products. This is not
| interoperability, it's an attack on the very concept.


MS forking ODF? They would love to.

,----[ Quote ]
| By the looks of it, I cannot but feel that MS has found a way to fork the ODF
| 1.1 to suite their world view of having their product as the only one out
| there. I have to agree with IBM's Rob Weir in this post.


ODF interoperability event - Royal Library, The Hague - June 15/16 2009




,----[ Quote ]
| I received from the ODF Alliance the following response to my email:
|     Thatâs the plan for next week. A harder-hitting press release with Fact
|     Sheet. Stay tuned!


A follow-up on Excel 2007 SP2's ODF support

,----[ Quote ]
| In other words, all of those Interoperability Directors and Interoperability
| Architects at Microsoft seem to have (hopefully temporarily) switched into
| Minimal Conformance Directors and Minimal Conformance Architects, and are
| gazing at their navels. I hope they did not suffer a reduction in salary
| commensurate with the reduction in their claimed responsibilities.
| [...]
| In any case, this comes down to why do you implement a standard. What are
| your goals? If your goal is be interoperable, then you perform
| interoperability testing and make those adjustments to your product necessary
| to make it be both conformant and interoperable. But if your goal is to
| simply fulfill a checkbox requirement without actually providing any tangible
| customer benefit, then you will do as little as needed. However, if your goal
| is to destroy a standard, then you will create a non-conformant,
| non-interoperable implementation, automatically download it to millions of
| users and sow confusion in the marketplace by flooding it with millions of
| incompatible documents. It all depends on your goals. Voluntary standards do
| not force, or prevent, one approach or another.
| To wrap this up, I stand on the table of interoperability results in the
| previous post. SP2 has reduced the level of interoperability among ODF
| spreadsheets, by failing to produce conforming ODF documents, and failing to
| take note of the spreadsheet formula conventions that had been adopted by all
| of the other vendors and which are working their way through OASIS as a
| standard.


Microsoft now attempts to sabotage ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| - Ask the ODF Alliance to publish a press release recommending not using
| the "Save as ODF" facility included MS Office SP2, due to the bad quality of
| the produced ODF files.
| [...]
| - Start a petition asking Microsoft to make MS Office SP2 unavailable until
| the design flaws in the product have been corrected.
| We must make it clear to Microsoft that their attitude is not acceptable, and
| force them to behave in a better way.


Engage, embrace, extinguish

,----[ Quote ]
| Today we have OpenOffice.org 3.1 gets released. In the meantime, the
| proprietary product from Redmond claims to be able to wirte ODF format, but
| fails. Pity. Money corrupts, but MS Tax Dollars corrupts absolutely.


Microsoft now attempt to fragment ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| One of the first articles published about SP2 and for which I call the
| attention of everyone is from Rob Weir, chair of the OASIS ODF TC (group that
| develops the ODF, to which I belong). It is simply scary to see what Office
| 2007 does with existing ODF spreadsheets.
| The technical details are all on Robâs blog, but in summary, when opening an
| ODF spreadsheet (.ods file) using Office 2007, it simply removes all existing
| formulas without telling anything to the user, leaving only the values in
| cells (results of formulas evaluation, previously stored in the document). If
| a user wants to test the ODF support in Office, and without giving due
| attention, save an existing spreadsheet, will overwrite the document removing
| all the formulas (as if you were writing a table). I saw absurdities in life,
| but nothing compared to this.


OpenDocument Format: The Standard for Office Documents


A Few Facts As Antidote Against Microsoft's anti-ODF FUD Campaign

,----[ Quote ]
| The best antidote against FUD is facts. FUD only works when people don't know
| any better. So, given some recent anti-ODF FUD in the air, I thought it would
| be useful to provide some facts.
| First, I'd like to show you who voted Yes to approve OpenDocument v1.1 as an
| OASIS Standard in January of 2007. ODF v1.2 is already being adopted by some
| now, of course, as development has continued, but Microsoft chose to stick
| with v1.1, so let's do the same. I think you'll find the list dispositive as
| to who is sincere in this picture. Next time you read some criticism of ODF,
| then, you can just take a look at the list and ask yourself what it tells
| you. And if you are a technical person, here's ODF v1.1, so you can compare
| any claims of deficiencies. Here's Groklaw's chronicle of the OOXML/ODF saga,
| where you can find many resources, including a chronology of events from 2005
| to the present.


Microsoft vs. ODF: arrogance on display

,----[ Quote ]
| Note to Microsoft: This is not how standards work. Frankly, if you donât
| intend to support ODF properly, you may as well not support it at all. What
| your product writes isnât ODF. When your product reads ODF, it silently
| discards important parts of the data. (Yes, the formulas in spreadsheets are
| important. Thatâs the whole purpose of a spreadsheet program! Otherwise we
| may as well be using pencil, paper, and calculators.)


Should we waterboard Rob Weir? And other crucial questionsâ

,----[ Quote ]
| These are very interesting times for ODF and Open Standards. Microsoftâs
| latest outrage by Gray Knowlton does at least show that if thereâs a company
| who practices the  Do as I say, not as I do Â, itâs Microsoft. Gray Knowlton
| is now calling for Rob Weir, chair of the ODF Technical Committee at the
| OASIS Consortium to resign. I understand Gray. Gray is the Product Manager of
| Microsoft Office at Microsoft. Which means he is ultimately to blame for the
| lousy job Microsoft engineers have done in implementing ODF inside Microsoft
| Office. Gray is in the front line, and you can bet heâs having to answer some
| tough calls from customers right now. Gray does not have to ride the smooth Â
| try Seven after Vista  wave; he has to go through the clutter that
| Microsoftâs big heads have created by thinking: What if we had ODF wrecked
| inside Office and get the world to believe that itâs not our fault? Thatâs
| Grayâs problem. And this is how we come to the waterboarding of Rob. But I
| digress.
| [...]
| Bad, bad, evil Rob. Not only he didnât go to your grand astroturfing party,
| but he apparently forgot to mention SP2 at the coffee machine ten times in a
| rowthe day you released it. That must be depressing. Anyway; talking about
| missing the chance to provide your input before things happen: How come
| Microsoft left the OASIS ODF TC in 2003?

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