decoration decoration

When you want to know more...
For layout only
Site Map
About Groklaw
Legal Research
ApplevSamsung p.2
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Gordon v MS
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
MS Litigations
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
OOXML Appeals
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v Novell
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Unix Books


Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

You won't find me on Facebook


Donate Paypal

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.

What's New

No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:10 AM EDT

If you were thinking that Microsoft's newly announced ODF plugin means you could just stay with Microsoft and still easily save documents as ODF, which is I'm sure what they hope you are thinking, you need to see this. I started to put it in News Picks, but it's too important. Andy Updegrove sent me a link to a blog called An Antic Disposition, by somebody named Rob Weir. I've been trying to contact him, but what he's doing requires no introduction or imprimatur to have value. Just look for yourself at the screenshots he's putting up on his blog [July 13 entry, "Traduttore, Traditore"].

He's working with ODF documents (using in this case and Microsoft's ODF plugin and taking them for a spin, with screenshots to show you the results.

To test conversion fidelity, first he created an ODF document in Here's his PDF of the results. So that's how it's supposed to look. The original as ODF is there on his blog too. Next, he opens this ODF document in Word 2007 using their plugin. Take a look at the results. Look what happened to his poor ODF document in Word 2007 [PDF]. It's an absolute mess. Why? What is Microsoft's excuse for such shoddy output, when they have, right now, all the documentation and even the source code to work with -- their own and everything from the ODF side too? The French company, Clever Age, has been working on it a while. They had a working prototype back in October of 2005.

Then for comparison he exported that ODF file as a Word document using and here's the result of that conversion, as a PDF. It's still not perfect but it's so much better. If Microsoft would ever provide complete documentation so as to let competitors interoperate, I'm sure it would be just about perfect fidelity. But the point is, it's already better, with programmers working without proper documentation from Microsoft. Why? Of course the results should be even better once Microsoft moves to XML, no matter what they do about documentation.

It's incredibly revelatory. If anyone was thinking that Microsoft's plugin meant that Windows users could really open and save documents as ODF smoothly, it's time for a reality check. Thanks to Weir, I now can, and this is what I learned. You can't just Save As ODF, first of all. It's not on the menu. Lots of other file formats are, including PDF, which is also a downloadable plugin, but ODF is not there. ODF documents can't be round-tripped. You can't use your usual keyboard shortcuts for opening and saving ODF files. ODF documents suffer a performance penalty because they are not natively supported. You can't make ODF your default format. Ever. Not unless you have l33t programmer skills.

Think what that last item means for you if you are a Massachusetts executive government employee and you have to save many documents as ODF. You have to go through quite a process to save each document as ODF, each and every time. And the results will be puzzlingly awful and not faithful to the original. That is if you rely on Microsoft. If you use software that natively supports ODF, it is not such a struggle.

Why, a girl might even get the impression Microsoft doesn't want us to like ODF.

Here's what Weir shows us regarding just how hard it will be to try to work with ODF documents in Word 2007. I've had to make the graphics much smaller, so do visit Weir's blog to see them in all their eye-opening clarity:


Brian Jones in his blog entry of 11 July 2006, comments on their recently announced ODF Translator:
It's directly exposed in the UI. We're even going to make it really easy to initially discover the download. We already need to do this for XPS and PDF, so we'll also do it for ODF. There will be a menu item directly on the file menu that takes to you a site where you can download different interoperability formats (like PDF, XPS, and now ODF).

Heck, if you wanted to be even more hardcore, the Office object model allows you to capture the save event. So if you wanted to you could make it so that anytime you hit save you always used the ODF format, just by capturing the save event and overriding it. I'm not expecting folks to do that, but it does show just how extensible Office really is.

One might ask, is it a “hardcore” view to want ODF to be the default format for documents saved in Office? Isn’t this exactly what Massachusetts ITD requested in their RFI?

What Jones does not say is that Word 2007 puts the ODF format at a disadvantage, making it harder than necessary to work with. Although end users are given a simple and direct UI for changing the default file format in Word 2007 to other file formats such as RTF, DOC or even ASCII text, ODF is not allowed as a default. Why should ODF users be forced to use “hardcore” programming to capture the “save event” to accomplish this same task?

Let’s take a look at the UI we’re given. Screen shots are based on Word 2007 Beta 2, and the ODF Add-In for Word 2007.

Launch Word, create a document and try to save it, using the File Save menu, or the age-old familiar short cut, Control-S. What do you get? See the following screen shot for the familiar File Save dialog. Although Microsoft formats like DOCX, DOC and XPS are available, as well as export formats like PDF, HTML and Plain Text, you will not find ODF listed.

One new twist is the “Tools” button added to the Save As dialog. Pressing that reveals new options including something called “Save Options” which looks like this:

Here we see how Microsoft treats the file formats it favors with first-class support. Word 2007 allows you to choose which file format will be the default format when you save a document. You can keep the default format (Draft Office Open XML) or choose the legacy binary DOC format, HTML, or older formats like RTF or even Plain Text. But you will not find the ISO OpenDocument Format on this list.

So the question to ask is why Microsoft integrates ODF in a way which treats it as a 2nd class citizen, treated less favorably than even Plain Text?


Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat | 450 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: FrankH on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:20 AM EDT
So PJ can find 'em

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: FrankH on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:21 AM EDT
Clickable links would be nice.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:27 AM EDT
Well, I think it may be prematurate to draw some early conclusion as, IIRC, the

ODF plug-in is still quite in its infancy and is therefore not necessarily ready

for prime-time.

Let's just give it more time to see where this is all going and let's not be
unduly harsh for the time being...

But these are just my 2 eurocents...


[ Reply to This | # ]

Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:48 AM EDT
I must raise an objection to this as a fair analysis of the performance of
Microsoft's ODF plugin. The true way to tell is to compare the saved files
generated by Microsoft and Open Office to the specification document.

Granted, I am of the opinion that Microsoft is trying their hardest to squash
ODF, but I'm more interested in conclusive scientific proof that we can state
Microsoft is non-standards compliant until they fix it.

Also, a fair analysis would try to generate files in both Microsoft and Open
Office and then open them in both as well. Far more interesting conclusions rise
from the results obtained this way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
Authored by: SwashbucklingCB on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:52 AM EDT
I understand the distrust of Microsoft, but I don't think it's fair to be out
criticizing an alpha piece of code because it doesn't have certain features.
Give them some time to get the code working and they critique the code then:
either it'll improve and be worthy of critique or it won't improve and we'll
know this effort is just for show.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standard MS practice
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:19 AM EDT
You are right to be concerned. MS will undermine competitors anyway they can.
Including, as has been proven in court, illegally.

They did the same to Netscape Navigator, deliberately making it a "jarring
user experience" so that it wouldn't be used.

Why should they change methods now? After all, they got away with it last

[ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:21 AM EDT
    Rob Weir should have used merged fonts with his PDF examples. Font substitution,
    especially on my FC5 box, makes the differences between the outputs appear even
    worse than they are.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: kurtwall on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:25 AM EDT

    Splat, indeed. I'm just not surprised. Microsoft ® has no incentive to do ODF right or properly. Indeed, they have every incentive not to do ODF at all.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Style information missing
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:34 AM EDT
    ... that's why it looks odd. Guess they're working on it. And it's a bit early
    to fume about not having it integrated into File->Open/Save. The reason is
    probably very simple and very practical - it's much easier to work on a
    standalone piece of code than on one which is a part of an integrated system.
    You don't have to take it through all the quality assurance required for a
    module in Office, etc.

    -- Dennis

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    As bad as when Office opens Office documents
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:35 AM EDT
    My experience has been that Microsoft Office, if opening a document created on a
    different version of Microsoft Office (or even with a different default
    printer), will arbitrarily change fonts, styles, table layout, and figure
    locations. Thus I keep several versions of Office (all legal and paid for)
    running on virtual machines so I can try and figure out what doc files that I
    receive and then polish for submission for review and publication (with
    typesetting thank goodness) were supposed to look like. It will be interesting
    to see if adoption of odf format drives folks away from doc formats (and
    therefore microsoft products) in a way that doc internal incompatibility could

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: SwashbucklingCB on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:37 AM EDT
    But it's important to note that it is not currently ready for prime time, by my standards

    Nor by their own, they say the software is alpha.

    and from a software point of view, I can't see why, when they have all the source. It's bizarre, to me.

    Several points:

    1. We don't know how much effort is being put into this project. The SourceForge page says there are 17 developers, but we don't know if their efforts are full time on this or not. And some are undoubtedly working on things other than than the word processing converter.
    2. Microsoft has all the Office code. That doesn't mean the subcontractors have access to it. Now, if MS isn't giving them access to the code that could be indication that they aren't as serious about this effort as we would like. But right now, we (or at least I) don't know.
    3. You don't just whip out a converter in a day or two. Writing code takes TIME...

    Go ahead and explain how that has anything to do with alpha or time or anything you mention.

    Did you consider the possibility that the Jones' blog might be wrong?

    It's a choice, and it looks like a choice designed to make ODF look bad.

    It could be. It could also be that Office is already late, so MS decided to contract out the work. In addition, they decided to write a converter that would work with all recent versions of Office.

    I'm willing to wait a few months to access the effort based on what it produces, you apparently are not. To each his (or her) own.

    That is what I believe, and that's why I wrote what I wrote, and I stand by it.

    I'm sure you do, but that doesn't mean your beliefs are entirely based on facts.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:39 AM EDT
    I guess there is is no ODF compliance testing process of any way? Anybody can
    put together a program and say it supports ODF?

    Even when there was a stringent specification of input/output, MS managed to
    sabotage - with their Java Runtime implementation

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Let's Compare Plugins
    Authored by: sbicknel on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:50 AM EDT

    I'd like to see the plugin from the OpenDocument Foundation tested side-by-side with Microsoft's. Their's is supposed to "allow Office users to open, render, and save to ODF files, while also allowing translation of documents between Microsoft's binary (.doc, .xls, .ppt) or XML formats and ODF" according to Linux Watch.

    It's one thing to just insinuate that Microsoft is deliberately providing shoddy support for ODF. It would be another thing entirely to prove it by showing that open source developers can do a better job without the benefit of Microsoft's own code to work from.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Is there a similar test for the Foundation's plugin?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:58 AM EDT

    Has anyone tried the same tests with the plugin that was supplied by the OpenDocument Foundation? The one that PJ reported back in May?

    I have had very good results with OO.Org opening and converting documents from Word on my Mac, but I haven't tried to go back the other way.

    Frankly, we've been pretty happy with, and we haven't bothered with Word at home. We have enough of that at work.

    OpenOffice rescued some twelve year old WordPerfect documents that we had on an archive disc, and we thought that was simply miraculous.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 11:04 AM EDT
    I have used Microsoft OS at work for many years, from DOS through Win 2000. I
    have used Word 2.0, Word 95 and Word 97 to generate documents in DOC and RTF
    formats over the years. I also have used Linux at home for two years, and
    currently use SuSE 10.1. Microsoft has always had problems converting files
    generated with different versions, or converting between RTF and DOC formats and
    preserving style. It is much worse with HTML conversions. To expect an early
    version of ODF to work right is not being realistic.

    In software developed for Microsoft OS, no one buys the 1.0 version. And to be
    fair, the various Linux editors which claim to be able to convert Microsoft
    documents might do a reasonable job now, but for many years they claimed to do
    much better job than they did. When I convert Word documents to Linux, I expect
    to do a serious manual reformat the document. In some cases, I have seen the
    Linux software quietly throw away all of the text after the first page when it
    converted a DOC file.

    Now I understand that Microsoft has a published standard to work from, while
    Linux editors have to reverse engineer file formats. But to some degree, this is
    about what people CLAIM their software does. When we accept Linux software
    claims, and limp along until the software is fixed, and then severely criticize
    Microsoft's first efforts, we are using a dual standard.

    On the other hand, Microsoft does not have any incentive to make a GOOD ODF
    plugin. They do not want open standards, since that breaks their control of the
    documents. They will make a product which technically does the job, but makes it
    inconvenient to use. That way they can claim to support ODF while quietly
    encouraging the use of their proprietary formats.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft Trolls
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 11:21 AM EDT
    What's with the Microsoft Trolls today?

    You people simply amaze me. You are presented with verifiable evidence and yet
    you refuse to accept it or test it yourself.

    Let's understand a few things:

    1. Microsoft has had ample time to develop an ODF plug in. Understand the key is
    not that the ODF plugin works with Office 2007 but rather that it works with
    EXISTING versions of Office, Word specifically. Why would any organization that
    has Office 2003 go out and buy Office 2007 simply to export to an ODF format!
    They wouldn't. They would get the plug-in that works with their existing Office
    version and decides if they wish to continue to use their existing MS Office
    suite or move to an alternative.

    2. Microsoft is not required to open source this project nor use Source Forge as
    a staging ground to attract out programmers. Microsoft has the money and the man
    power to develop an ODF plug-in in-house, excuses to the contrary or wrong.

    3. Microsoft's track record with compatibility between Word Processors, for
    example between WordPerfect and Word, and compatibility between previous
    versions of Word are horrible.

    4. Microsoft is not required to make an ODF plug-in. There is already a 3rd
    party developer making an ODF plug-in for Office. In fact one would surmize by
    Microsoft's actions, that Microsoft is trying to derail the 3rd party plug-in.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    not just the girl...
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:32 PM EDT
    "Why, a girl might even get the impression Microsoft doesn't want us to
    like ODF."

    Heh, well, why am i not surprised?
    I said this 2 weeks ago, hehe.
    And (since this 'tool' is open sourced) you might think M$ expects US to fix its

    On the other hand, you cannot expect them to take open sourced stuff and make
    them internal part of MSOffice. Most of those sources are gpl or lgpl, no?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Let's be reasonable
    Authored by: webster on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:42 PM EDT
    1. You have to be pretty ruthless to win a monopoly position. You have to
    continue with the same to maintain it. The monopoly does what it has to do,
    legal or illegal, all over the world to maintain its strength. Various
    goverment agencies all over the world decide what is legal and illegal in their
    spots. The same practices are both legal and illegal depending on political
    geography. It appears that one place, Europe, may do something significant
    about their anti-competitive practices. So if paying Europe $3 million a day
    still lets them maintain a net profit of $27 million a day, then fine, bring it
    on, [the fine]. So long as they don't have to change and be interoperable, then
    the fine is just a tax. So long as they can lock their users in and others out,
    they maintain their monopoly strength. Fines can be recouped from their world
    captive community.

    2. ODF is a threat to the Monopoly. It must be destroyed. If people start to
    use it, they will find cheaper ways to produce it without the Monopoly. It must
    be stopped. If not stopped, retarded. If you have need for ODF, and you
    produce it with Monopoly products for $500 a seat, and your competitor produces
    it on OO.o for $100 or less per seat, you are at a competitive disadvantage.
    Their tactic is to make ODF frustrating as this article indicates. The Monopoly
    ODF will be deliberately retarded. This is a policy decision as the lucid
    comment above explains.

    3. The Monopoly will say the right things but do less. This ODF is the must
    current prominent example. In general they give lip service to standards but
    subvert them in implementation. There are numerous suits and instances
    explained on this site, OGL, Java, WP, DR-DOS.... It amounts to lies and
    subversion. Trust that they will say and do anything to perserve or prolong
    their monopoly. Get the Facts and the FUD and digest it at your peril.

    4. The Monopoly touts their great innovation. Let's give them their due. They
    have spent all this great innovative energy in designing
    "contra-interoperability." This constantly-updated incompatibility
    takes a lot of hardware, software and technical labor. At monopoly pricing they
    can afford it. Every other program and company is at their mercy. The tweak of
    a code can lock them out. If they wanted they could lock them all out but then
    politicians will notice the uproar. The ONLY viable competitor now is open
    source software. The monopoly is obsessed with open source. Linux and IBM were
    not knocked out so now they have to piddle with ODF.

    5. The Monopoly has no clothes. They are expensive and insecure. Everyone
    struggles with with the Monopoly OS. I sat in a computer shop at the beach, all
    monopoly stuff. People were calling, bringing in machines, their own network
    was buggy. Suffering is routine with the monopoly OS. The proprietor agreed it
    was all insecure but that is what people want. She conducts classes for
    Monopoly stuff. Yet the news will only say "Internet virus" or
    malware instead of saying the "Monopoly virus" or malware. The shop
    thrives on monopoly insecurity. Hardware vendors thrive on it. Anyone beholden
    to Monopoly advertising money will pull their punches, especially if it is
    strongly suggested to them. So though the Monopoly has no clothes, the people
    just look on and smile.

    5. Thus endeth the rant of the day.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Yes we do ODF
    Authored by: arthurpaliden on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:49 PM EDT
    Yes we do supoort Open Document Format but right now it is still alpha and a bit
    buggy, you know how these things are. Yes we are confident that it should be
    fully QA'ed and ready by the time we deliver the new versions to you. Just sign
    here....and here....

    Thanks, it's a pleasure doing business with you.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:53 PM EDT
    this is a direct copy of the original fear, uncertainty and doubt incedent.
    they're deliberately breaking things so as to make people think openoffice and
    odf are broken

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 01:28 PM EDT
    Re: So the question[s] to ask [are] why Microsoft integrates ODF in a way which treats it as a 2nd class citizen, treated less favorably than even Plain Text?
    1. ODF support clearly isn't finished yet - even to beta standard - so giving it pride of place on Word's menus would be premature.
    2. Plain Text is the most important export format from Word for many people, including myself, who want the words but not the formatting.
    - giafly

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    kword doesn't render the document the same as either
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 01:55 PM EDT
    Hey kword 1.5.2 doesn't render the document the same as either.

    The picture is no longer centred, the numbering on the
    picture's caption disappears.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Who actually buys MSOffice anyway?
    Authored by: Nick_UK on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 02:24 PM EDT
    I am a Network/Sysadmin. I commonly get people asking me if they can 'borrow' a MSOffice CD, as the new computer they bought doesn't have 'MSWord'.

    When I explain MSOffice isn't free, and it costs around £300 a licence, they always explain they thought it was 'free'. In fact, one user though 'MSWord' was a 'Internet standard'...

    I do not know anybody that is a home user that has actually bought MSOffice for home use - all get a copy from brother/friend/bloke up the pub.

    Ages ago I done a poll in quakesrc forums:

    MSOffice poll - who actually bought it?

    One reason MS has such a monoploy of 'office' software is due to virtually *nobody* paying for a kosher version for use at home - yet everybody seems to have? I suggest will grass them all up, forcing MS to pull the plug ;-)


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: CPD on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 02:28 PM EDT
    Not that you probably care, but the difference was probably the default printer
    windows on each machine. Having different printers can cause repagination and
    other, subtler, renderring differences.

    Just when I thought it couldn't get any wierder, SCO proved me wrong again.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: skyisland on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 03:32 PM EDT
    Interesting but probably irrelevant


    crashes my version of Adobe Reader 5.0.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Open Office fixes file that MS Office can't
    Authored by: ankylosaurus on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 05:36 PM EDT
    I had a draft document that I was editing in MS Word. My laptop crashed -
    horribly; the motherboard was dead - but when I transplanted the disk drive into
    a replacement unit, everything seemed more or less OK. Except MS Word wouldn't
    open the draft document I'd been working on.

    Time to try OpenOffice on it. OO was able to open it, and edit it, and save it
    in a Word format for me. The only minor niggle was that I had a background text
    on it (it said 'draft - do not copy' in capitals), and OO translated that into
    an image rather than what MS Word thought was a background. However, by
    deleting the image in OO, all was back to rights.

    Thank you, OpenOffice, for saving the day.

    [PS: I have to work other people who have not seen the light; that's why I can't
    use OO all the time.]

    The Dinosaur with a Club at the End of its Tail

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft do not "support" ODF
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 06:19 PM EDT

    I've read several comments above about Microsoft's "support" for ODF via the plugin. Like "free" the word "support" is somewhat ambiguous. Microsoft fund the ODF plugin, they do not support the ODF plugin.

    For a demonstration of the difference, let's imagine you are IT Director of a 10,000 seat installation (a university or larger). Let's deploy the ODF plugin. Let's imagine there is a bug in Word, let's say it crashes when you select the File menu. You contact Microsoft for support, they refuse: "it's because of this unsupported ODF plugin, we don't support that, you're on your own". Now it's closed source so you've got to take the vendor at their word for the cause of the bug. It might really be the cause, or it might be a convenient way for a support engineer to close your case with no work. Either way, you've got a career-stopping problem and have been left in the cold.

    That's the IT Director's nightmare scenario. That's why "support" for the ODF plugin matters. And that's why you should not write that Microsoft "support" an ODF plugin, but that Microsoft have "funded" an ODF plugin. The difference matters to the people most likely to consider using the plugin.

    And yes, Microsoft is being devious here. They could have easily done the work in-house as a supported plugin. The result would presumably be better -- I imagine the ASCII text and other Save options are also plugins of a sort, using some sort of internal undocumented API. But funding an external company gives Microsoft the PR benefit without the risk of a major corporate deployment of the plugin.

    -- gdt

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Will it matter when no uses MS Office anymore?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 11:04 PM EDT
    You wonder if in the end it will even matter if Microsoft becomes the victime to
    ODF. There are even greater motives for ODF and software packages that support
    it then Firefox which has still managed to gain a reasonable amount to the

    1. Microsoft now actually wants to get paid for every copy of MS office that is
    2. MS Office is expensive.
    3. MS Office is buggy.
    4. MS Office may only support Microsoft stunted idea of a standard.

    Open Office supports ODF by comparision and is:

    1. Free to use and share.
    2. As good as MS Office
    3. Supports multiple platforms.
    4. Supports open standards.
    5. Has less Vulnerabilities
    6. Properly saves in other document formats.
    7. Can natively save documents as PDF files.

    Governments around the world are starting see the benefits and I don't think
    Bills Billions will buy Microsoft many allies.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The Pleasures of Real ODF
    Authored by: iceworm on Friday, July 21 2006 @ 05:02 AM EDT

    The following, I believe, is on topic by virtue of its contrast with the topic, which seems to be how MS is making compliance with the ODF seem difficult

    I have been using spread sheet software ever since I bought my first Osborn I in December of 1981. The file format has always been a mystery to me, but until just recently, I had no interest in sharing spread sheet information with other applications.

    Since January 2002, I began using only Debian/GNU/Linux for payroll (two to four employees). I worked up a spread sheet to do the calculations and a form for printing checks. About two years ago I switched from Gnumeric to OOCalc because of some issues I don't recall now. I learned to save a page in the spread sheet as a comma delimited (actually I use a ! == bang) and process it with a perl script to obtain a report. Now, I am experimenting with the native XML (*.ods) file format.

    Saving the page as a bang file sounds easy compared to how MS has set up their plug-in. It is still a pain for me. So far, I have found the file is zipped, so I just unzipped one to see what was there. I will have to learn how perl deals with XML, but once I get the hang of it I will be able to do so much more just starting with the ODF.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 21 2006 @ 05:17 AM EDT
    So. If we start from the proposition that 'the purpose of the technology is to support the person', we pretty soon get to the idea that 'pencil and paper' is better than 'Microsoft Word'.

    Word is very pretty; but it saves its documents in a dialect of Martian which nothing but another copy of Word can understand. And in a few years, when the dialect of Martian changes, even another copy of Word can't understand it. That doesn't support the person very well.

    Microsoft's 'monopoly' is actually quite restricted; 'commercial operating systems for personal computers', and 'commercial secretarial software for personal computers'. What with me being an engineer and not being a secretary, it really has nothing to attract me. I am perfectly happy with the 'free operating systems for personal computers' and 'free secretarial software for personal computers' that everyone in the world except Microsoft makes. I still remember how to use pencil and paper, and my old 'dumb terminal' to the IBM mainframe, and certainly those are not subject to BSA audit. Or worms and viruses.

    The problem with a 'monopoly' position is that it tempts you to use 'monopoly' profits to subsidise other loss-making businesses forever. So when the 'monopoly' business dies, all you have left is loss-making businesses.

    At this stage, Microsoft's 'monopoly' is looking rather like a monopoly position in the business of manufacturing typewriter ribbons.

    Pretty soon after people stopped making typewriters, the ribbon manufacture business died.

    At one time, typewriters were all the rage, and you'd want a new typewriter every year or two. But things moved on.

    Now, you'd like a 'long-life' personal computer for serious work ... saves on landfill costs. A games console for home entertainment. A mobile phone, to keep doing your business when you are on the move. A domestic 'infrstructure server', to keep your videos and photos on, for display on your games console.

    That combination could easily damp down the sales of 'new' personal computers, never to recover to levels seen in recent years, just like typewriter sales got damped down.

    Businesses and people move on in their needs. Intelligent suppliers build profitable businesses supplying the new growth areas.

    Building loss-making businesses supplying the new growth areas is not clever. The old businesses will die, eventually, and being left holding only loss-making businesses is probably not where Microsoft want to be.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Let's stop inventing nonsense here.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 21 2006 @ 02:33 PM EDT

    The Forbes article says 2003, not 1993.

    It would appear to be right after the case was filed.

    It would also appear to involve a directive to delete information, backed up by testimony in developer depositions, not just random deleting by the normal course of development.

    I hope they have no leg to stand on. I buy the argument that anything on under source control couldn't be that important, but let's not invent nonsense here as though it were the only defense.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Better for now if no ODF in MS-Word.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 21 2006 @ 03:27 PM EDT
    It's probably better for now if there is no ODF support in MS-Word. Whether or not Microsoft is ready for ODF, ODF is not ready for Microsoft. ODF is still quite new and there are a number of "holes" still in the specification (particularly for spreadsheets). Even KWord's and Open Office's implementations are not identical to each other yet.

    If Microsoft were to implement ODF in an easy to use and seamless manner, their implementation would become the defacto "standard" regardless of what the "official" specification said. Open Office, KOffice, etc. would find themselves having to reverse engineer Microsoft's implementation just as they have been doing with the ".doc" format. If most of the ODF documents are generated by MS-Word in the early days of the format, then Microsoft would effectively "own" the ODF format because that is what everyone would be expected to be able to work "correctly" with.

    Once there is a large existing body of ODF documents in customer's hands which any word processor must be compatible with, and a complete and unambiguous set of official test documents, only then will ODF would be ready for Microsoft.

    The best scenario would probably be for Microsoft to stay with their proprietary format and to resist supporting ODF for at least a couple of years until it has no choice but to support a well established format with a large existing document base.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OOXML - Trademark Violation?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 21 2006 @ 03:50 PM EDT
    Microsoft calls their new document format "Office Open XML". When I read this phrase, I have to read it quite carefully to realise that this is not the same thing as "Open Office XML" (ODF) format. I find it very confusing and I know about the difference. Is Microsoft infringing upon OpenOffice.Org's trademark?

    If Microsoft can force "Lindows" to change their name, is not reasonable that Microsoft should have to change the "Office Open" name to something else? If not, there is a strong risk of consumers being confused by the very close similarity of the names, and suffering real harm by assuming they are one in the same.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: dtfinch on Saturday, July 22 2006 @ 03:32 PM EDT
    They even reduced the sunflower image to 256 colors and recompressed it in
    another format. That took effort on Microsoft's part, to write code for the sole
    purpose of reducing image quality.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: TerryH on Monday, July 24 2006 @ 12:55 AM EDT

    I wonder how this jibes with Microsoft's brand spanking new, 12-point system of morals which it's attempting to convince us it has installed?

    • #1: innovation -- N/A
    • #2: open access -- N/A
    • #3: defaults -- FAIL
    • #4: promotion -- N/A (I think)
    • #5: no retaliation -- FAIL
    • #6: APIs -- N/A
    • #7: internet services -- N/A
    • #8: open internet -- N/A
    • #9: no exclusivity -- N/A
    • #10: open protocols -- N/A
    • #11: patents avail. -- N/A
    • #12: industry standards -- FAIL

    Okay, so there you are: it fails every one that applies.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Taking Microsoft's ODF Plugin for a Spin... Splat
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:36 PM EDT
    The Microsoft way is (at least) two-fold: (1) Claim territory for yourself by
    adamantly stating you "have" the product, when in reality all you
    actually "have" is a newly germinating idea, having seen someone
    else's work, or having talked to a person who is a true innovator; (2) Attempt
    to use your "clout" in the industry (based on wide usership of your
    products) to ignore standards that promote interoperability (and therefore
    promote competition)and come up with your own way of doing things . . . in this
    case, ignore ODF or make its use with a MS product so hard as to be hateful,
    thereby promoting the MS "standard" found in the ".doc"
    I find all of this a tacit admission of incompetence and unwillingness to
    operate in a competitive world on the part of MS. The first stone in the
    mausoleum, eh?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
    Comments are owned by the individual posters.

    PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )