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MS to answer questions about OOXML on 4Linux's podcast Aug. 2
Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 11:46 AM EDT

Here's an event you might like to know about. 4Linux in Brazil has a live podcast show and the next theme is "Microsoft, Open source e Interoperabilidade com OpenXML". I bet you can figure it out even if, like me, you don't know Portuguese. Yes, a show about Microsoft, Open Source and "interoperability" with OpenXML. A Microsoft representative will be there. You can presend the show questions to ask Microsoft's representative. Some of the questions will be read and answered in English. And after the live feed, there will be an English translation available for download here.

The show is August 2, at 14:00 GMT. It's in response to the last show, where ODF was the topic. Microsoft is being given equal time. A snip from the press release:

In this program, Microsoft will present the advantages of adopting its OOXML standard.

The internet users can participate sending questions by e-mail , that will be live delivered to Microsoft's representative. Some English questions were already done by people as Eben Moglen - professor of Columbia Law School, Evan Leibovith - former president of Linux Professional Institute (LPI) - and Jon "Maddog" Hall - Linux International president.

I am guessing you have a few questions you'd like to ask, and probably you'd enjoy listening to the podcast to hear the answers.

I have a question. In the notes from a member of the technical committee in Portugal on OpenXML, Rui Seabra, a proponent of Microsoft's technology, Stephen McGibbon, was quoted as having said this: "OASIS rejected Microsoft's proposals and expelled/excluded the Microsoft representative because the proposed changes would add backward compatibility to legacy documents." I would like to know the name of that representative, since I have researched the point and can find no such event. And if that is misinformation, has the technical committee been so informed?


MS to answer questions about OOXML on 4Linux's podcast Aug. 2 | 310 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 11:55 AM EDT
If any...


[ Reply to This | # ]

OT, Off topic thread
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 11:58 AM EDT
There's always plenty.


[ Reply to This | # ]

MS to answer questions about OOXML on 4Linux's podcast Aug. 2
Authored by: xvjau on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 12:34 PM EDT
If needed, I can volunteer to do any Portuguese/English translations.

Para o bom programador, meio WORD basta...

[ Reply to This | # ]

My question...
Authored by: MacsEntropy on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 01:27 PM EDT
Given that up until... oh, about now... every interoperability promise made by Microsoft has been broken, every claim of interoperability has been exposed as false, and the European Union still waits for a satisfactory fulfillment of its order to open protocols necessary for interoperability, what - aside from a gullibility that would intrigue all but the most jaded of psychological clinical pathologists - would be a reason to believe anything that Microsoft will say about interoperability now?

Did they buy the rights to the word, or trademark it while we weren't looking?

You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means... - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS to answer: That is new
Authored by: Winter on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 01:38 PM EDT

I cannot believe for a moment that MS will answer ANY tough question. But how about this one taken from OpenMalaysia's Billions of documents

So if Macros are not included in Ecma 376[/OOXML], will developers who develop it independently get sued?


Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

English to English translations
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 02:02 PM EDT

If Microsoft is doing the translations.


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Q: Can or cannot MS Office do arbitrary, user-specified XML schemas?
Authored by: Superbowl H5N1 on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 03:04 PM EDT
My question is this, "can or cannot MS Office make full use of arbitrary,
user-specified XML schema". That claim has been made in the marketing of the
product and if not patently false ought to lay the foundation for full ODF

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stephen McGibbon says Rui Seabra got it wrong
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 03:44 PM EDT

PJ, I actually thought you would had noticed this article via ping back. It was
not very flattery on you, calling groklaw croklaw. But essentially he denied
saying that and say he get misquoted.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Corporate Policy on Interoperability
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 04:10 PM EDT

Let's be clear about this. Microsoft has had a clear policy on interoperability since about 1991: block it. Make it impossible or extremely difficult.

In about 1990/1991, one of the design goals for Windows 3.1 was "The job's not done until Lotus won't run" (the leading spreadsheet at the time was Lotus 123, not Microsoft Excel).

Interoperability is in the interests of every user of computing products, not just FOSS and Open Source supporters. Consequently, there has been widespread support for technologies and standards which promote interoperability. Microsoft, however, has attempted to thwart or undermine almost every one of them. Examples are OpenGL (a standard programming interface to graphics hardware), Java (introduced by Sun, but with the intent of supporting Windows as well as Sun's OS), and Web standards developed by the W3C.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Office XML vs Open XML
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 06:49 PM EDT
Microsoft deliberately called their non-standard Office Open XML to confuse
everyone. Unfortunately even Groklaw has fallen into their way of thinking, as
we're all now referring to it as "Open XML".

I'd like to suggest that we use the proper shortened form, "Office
XML", which correctly describes the content.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why backwards compatibility in the file format?
Authored by: yscydion on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT

What is the point of including a few features from old file formats in a new file format?

  • It does not mean that programs that read the new format can read the old ones - you do not save the cost of transcribing your document archive into the new format.
  • It does not mean that old programs can read the new format - you have to 'upgrade' if you need to read documents in the new format.

Having a program that can handle both old and new formats is a good idea, especially if it can do a complete old to new format conversion - this does not require that the new format have features of the old format, it requires that the new format be sufficiently expressive to capture everything that matters that was in the old document.

Microsoft seems to be arguing that the new standard format for office documents must be burdened with useless bloat. This is an exceptionally bad idea for a standard that should last for the lifetime of documents that are to be preserved for posterity. If OASIS rejected the corruption of ODF with useless bloat then I say that is excellent and shows that OASIS understands the real issue.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Leibovith -> Leibovitch
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 11:22 PM EDT
An example of the spelling of his name is in this page of Linux Professional Institute web site.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Advantages of OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 31 2007 @ 11:27 PM EDT
> In this program, Microsoft will present the advantages of adopting its
OOXML standard.

No need, we already know. Higher profits for Microsoft!

BTW, why would anyone in their right mind want to implement a spec 10 times the
size of ODF with so many technical problems in their own software? You'd have to
be mad to do it and Microsoft know this, which keeps them safely the only vendor
out there of this "office memory dump in XML" format.

OOXML becoming a standard is all about Microsoft sales people being able to sell
that excuse to anyone that ever wanted to go with ODF. No more, no less.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Legal help in ODF v OFF (aka OOXML)?
Authored by: tce on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 01:57 AM EDT
Legal help for ODF v OFF (Office File Format) aka OOXML?

If this were a court case we could see things like great lawyering and formal
answers to each MS foolishness and challenge to MS "experts", etc.

It is not.

If "we" had legal representation (US, and elsewhere) what would we do
with that power?
For example:
US and all OSI voting countries

What? (examples, please embellish, add)

1] Inform US over site court for MS, the Convicted Predatory Monopoly, of their
actions in a useful, formal way. Could this be a credible threat of a lawsuit?

2] Inform INCITS, in a legally strong way of vote packing at V1. Could this be
a credible threat of a lawsuit?

3] Inform ANSI, in a legally strong way of vote packing at V1. Could this be a
credible threat of a lawsuit?

4] Inform the government-body-supervising-ANSI (who?), in a legally strong way
of vote packing at V1. Could this be a credible threat of a lawsuit?

5] Inform the local-standards bodies of each voting country, in a legally strong
way of vote packing in their tech committees and within fellow nations. Could
this be a credible threat of a lawsuit?

6] Inform the government-bodies-supervising the local-standards bodies, in a
legally strong way of vote packing in their tech committees and within fellow
nations. Could this be a credible threat of a lawsuit?

7] ISO (who?), in a legally strong way of vote packing at each of national
standards bodies. Could this be a credible threat of a lawsuit from multiple

8] Inform Massachusetts CIO, in a legally strong way of the negative impact of
their destroying the ODF compatible collaboration tools market they just
created...all for the gain of one company. Could this be a credible threat of a

9] Draft legal-risk letters for anyone to use....

Other options?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Pledge of funds for legal work for ODF v OFF (AKA OOXML)
Authored by: tce on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 02:04 AM EDT
I pledge an initial $100USD to start a fund for the engagement of one or more
law firms in the US and other ISO voting countries to take what ever legal
action is collectively found by groklaw to be worthwhile in addressing illegal
or legally risky behavior by any member of any standards body with respect to
the ISO standard votes on OOXML (and Massachusetts too)

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODV vs OOXML Full Page news paper ads?
Authored by: tce on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 02:08 AM EDT
Speaking of collectively spending money, what are your thoughts on taking out
full or half page ads in NY Times, Financial Times, etc, in key (all?) voting
countries explainig in passionate terms what this vote means and how to take
local action?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw page: ODF/MS XML --- add a current events/latests links section?
Authored by: tce on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 02:18 AM EDT
Hi PJ, MathFox,

Please consider adding a section at the top of ODF/MS XML PAGE which would have
the most recent articles and news picks about ODF v OOXML.

This way a new arrival can see the Italy / Spain / Portugal / USA foolishness

NOTE: This still leaves hidden comments that were added to what ever happend to
be the top non ooxml article.... Thoughts on solving that one?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Introducing the Open Meter
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 07:20 AM EDT
We at MonopolyRulers inc would like to announce the new open 'Meter' format
which has been fast-tracked by ECMA for ISO approval. We felt the existing ISO
'metre' was inadequate for preserving all the measurements made in legacy
distance formats, so have proposed Open Meter as the solution.

The Open Meter interoperates smoothly with feet, yards, furlongs, hands, and
over a hundred critical older distance measurements, while providing a more
feature packed alternative to the existing ISO metre. No longer do you need a
calculator to convert from feet into metres for example: the new Open Meter is
exactly equal to 1 foot in the context of feet, and exactly equal to 1 yard in
the context of yards. The standard is only 6,000 pages long, and we expect
widespread industry takeup, particularly from our ruler suppliers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The advatgaes over what? Some predictions.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 09:38 AM EDT
"In this program, Microsoft will present the advantages of adopting its
OOXML standard."

Alright, Microsoft gets an oppurtunity why the world should prefer OOXML over
ODF. Fair enough, nothing wrong with arguing why OOXML is supposedly better than

However, I have the gut feeling that the arguments that are going to be
presented will fall into three categories:

1) Advantages of OOXML over old DOC format. (Logical Fallacy)
2) Advantages that ODF offers as well. (Logical Fallacy)
3) Disantvantages of ODF, real or perceived, that due to the fact that MS was on
the OASIS board and prefered to say nothing are thus of its own making.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS to answer questions about OOXML on 4Linux's podcast Aug. 2
Authored by: hamstring on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 09:42 AM EDT
Word back then was also free, and packaged with most computers. Everyone who
did testing knew that both Word and Excel were worse than Lotus 123 and
Wordperfect. Excel seemed faster than Lotus, until you had to deal with very
large spreadsheets. Then Excel would choke and die. Word would periodically
just die for no reason, and recovery never worked.

The answer to why they gained dominance so fast is twofold. First, advertising
and marketing. Microsoft paid (and still pays) big bucks for positive reviews
in all mediums. If you want their advertising dollars then you best not have a
bad review of a M$ product. (geez, this sounds familiar right? *caugh*
netscape *caugh*).

The second answer is that businesses saved money running the free versions of M$
products. People learned to save data every 1/2 hour back then, and reduced
spreadsheets to simple forms. You no longer had a year of accounting data in a
file, you had weekly files that were calculated and results hand typed into
monthlies, which were calculated and hand typed into yearly.

I think one hard lesson many businesses learned though, is that after M$ removed
competition they more than doubled the cost of the software. Wordperfect used
to sell for 65.00/us. After Word freebies (as well as other factors [namely
interopability not existing]) caused them to pretty much fold, Word started
selling for 190.00/us.

Happened with Visio, Excel, and numerous products.. but business have a hard
time with the old proverb "Never look a gift horse in the mouth".

# echo "Mjdsptpgu Svdlt" | tr [b-z] [a-y]
# IANAL and do not like Monopoly

[ Reply to This | # ]

I don't like it, it's too quiet...
Authored by: gbl on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 01:15 PM EDT
The SCO Group is very quiet at the moment. No press releases, no announcements,
no Darl quotes.

Anybody checked lately that there is still people other than lawyers in the

If you love some code, set it free.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS to answer questions about OOXML on 4Linux's podcast Aug. 2
Authored by: iraskygazer on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 11:45 PM EDT
One question I have to pose to Microsoft:

Why is Microsoft avoiding ODF like it's a plague?

I have proof that they aren't persuing OOXML for strict backward compatibility.
At this moment I have a .xls file created by Excel95 that Open Office can open
and read but my MS Office 2003 Professional can't.

I submitted this detail and file to MS tech support and never received a reply.
This is proof enough for me that the company is not interested in
inter-operability with anything to include even their old document formats. The
company is purely profit driven and turns away from their customers when it
suites the bottom line. MS simply uses PR and asks some small startup to develop
a convertor to bring the old documents into their new proprietary format so that
they can do the same thing 10 to 15 years later when everybody has forgotten the

ODF was created to enable use of your documents, and I emphasize YOUR documents,
in the future without having to be concerned that there is some embedded binary
content that prevents the retrieval of the usable information.

If the techies of today miss the boat today and don't do everything in their
power, today, nothing will be available in the near future to turn around the
negative trend in software innovation caused by MS's veiled threats. Now is the
time to prevent MS from gaining a foothold over the open source world. Remember
that the goal of any corporation is to defeat the competition, or at least
disarm it, so that profits can be maximized. And if the customer needs to be
controlled through underhanded means so be it. And this will always be the MS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ogg Vorbis
Authored by: Superbowl H5N1 on Saturday, August 04 2007 @ 04:32 PM EDT
I do hope that the Groklaw podcast will be in Ogg Vorbis or at least MP3 or AAC,
without DRM, and that WMA / WMV will not be used in any way shape or form. That
would show that MS claims of commitment to interoperability are more than

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Ogg Vorbis - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 06 2007 @ 10:33 AM EDT
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