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The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 07:21 AM EDT

On the same day that I read that the South Africa standards body has filed an official appeal against the approval of OOXML with ISO/IEC, I find Patrick Durusau has written the following outrageous words [PDF] regarding Microsoft's announcement it will support ODF, and trust me when I tell you the opening is just a taste:
The so-called document format standards war between OpenDocument and Open XML has ended "not with a bang, but with a whimper." Or more plainly stated, Microsoft has robbed opponents of Open XML of any colorable claim that any war was taking place....

Signs the document standards war was entirely fictitious have been around for quite some time. Where was Microsoft opposition to OpenDocument in standards bodies such as OASIS and ISO?

Fictitious?! Perhaps Mr. Durusau is not aware of what happened in Massachusetts. Microsoft started fighting against ODF back in 2005 there, and Groklaw covered every major incident as it happened. You can begin in 2005 and work your way up. I believe Peter Quinn could fill him in on what happened there when Microsoft woke up to ODF's potential and decided to start to fight. And fight they did.

When Massachusetts announced it would accept ODF and Microsoft's Open XML was not on the acceptable list, here's the letter Microsoft's Alan Yates wrote [PDF] to then Secretary Eric Kriss, protesting the exclusion of Open XML, despite it not being a standard at the time or even trying to be, and asking that the definition of acceptable "open formats" be rewritten to include "openly licensed and widely deployed" de facto standards like Open XML. But that was just the beginning. (David A. Wheeler answered that letter on Groklaw.) To pretend Microsoft never fought against ODF because it did it in a different way than what Durusau lists, inside OASIS or ISO, is at best naive. At best. Besides, Microsoft doesn't care if ODF is an also ran, because Microsoft has the monopoly advantage. Here's a good jumping off point, the transcripts of some of the public meetings in Massachusetts. It's an ugly tale, and methinks Mr. Durusau needs to spend a little more time studying it, unless the problem isn't a lack of information.

He also says, as "evidence" of an "anti-Microsoft campaign" that "the same comments were filed in ISO by different national bodies, along with no suggested repairs to fix those errors." If you go to our ODF/OOXML page, you'll find all the countries' comments, and you'll see that it isn't true. There were many, many suggestions for fixes, a good many of which were entirely ignored. You'll see, for example, that numerous bodies said OOXML wasn't suited to the Fast Track process. Considering the final draft still isn't published, despite the rule requiring it to be distributed a month after the vote, and considering not even Microsoft pretends to support it currently, I'd say that the comment turned out to be correct. If there were many comments that were similar, it's likely because more than one national body noticed the same egregious flaws. Why didn't Durusau? Instead of noticing or caring a whit about the problems in OOXML that in the view of so many disqualify it as a standard at this time, he instead suggests [PDF] we welcome Microsoft in OASIS, and says Microsoft should put up web sites about how to use ODF with Microsoft products. Well. He notices one problem in OOXML, that it doesn't match Excel, and he suggests OASIS fix that for Microsoft:

For example, Microsoft is joining the ODF TC at OASIS. An easy first step would be to begin working on the formulas work in the TC. ODF 1.2 will include formula definitions, but those in Open XML don't match those used in Excel 2007 and the collective user community doesn't need another set of incompatible definitions. Members of the ODF TC should work very hard to make Microsoft members feel welcome and to get the formula work aligned with a set of common definitions.

You may recall Wheeler drew attention to the problem recently, and Rob Weir explained it in detail. Here Durusau acknowledges that it's a problem, all right, but he suggests OASIS get busy fixing it. Some issues I see with that:

  • Why can't Microsoft fix it itself?
  • If ODF folks have to fix Microsoft's problems for them, how does he think Microsoft is equipped to help ODF? Who's helping whom?
  • Besides, Microsoft announced support for ODF 1.1, not 1.2.
  • And how does Microsoft dare to offer a standard that doesn't match its own product and then ask the community to fix the mismatch? If OOXML isn't ready for prime time as a standard, why in the world is Durusau pretending it qualifies while simultaneously asking for help to make it work?
  • How is it OASIS's job to match a Microsoft product to a Microsoft standard?
  • Finally, since OOXML allows proprietary extensions, what assurance is there that Microsoft itself will support the work done for it, without branching off into proprietary extensions where all the OASIS worker bees can't follow? Did Microsoft join OASIS to get free labor?

One more warning sign. Alex Brown announces in a comment on his blog the following:

Anybody can debate the JTC 1 Directives, but making changes to them is the preserve of the National Body participants in JTC 1. It is maintained just like any other JTC 1 standard. Typically the NB delegations participating at this level contain the most senior and wisest ICT standards people the NBs can muster.

Currently there is some ongoing activity to revise the JTC 1 Directives (a Special Working Group).

Uh oh. Say. How about letting us know who is on that "special" working group? We'd like to judge their wisdom for ourselves, thanks. He says this is the way to influence ISO:

The way to influence anything in International Standardisation is through a National Body (in the UK, BSI, for example). Typically there are various routes in that are less demanding tha[n] committee membership (in the UK one can join a represented user group like UKUUG or XML UK and to be able to channel views into the relevant technical committee for example).

Here's the JTC 1/SC34 page, where you can find the list of participating and observing countries. If you click on the country link, you'll find contact information. Perhaps your country would be willing to send a letter of support, even if it doesn't wish to officially appeal itself.

I believe Sun pays Durusau to work on ODF as the OpenDocument Editor, OASIS TC. Sun? What's up with that? Seriously. What's going on here? If this is who is steering ODF in OASIS, I'm extremely worried. And if there is a secret working group rewriting the directives, while Microsoft and Alex Brown both say they want ODF transferred to ISO for ongoing maintenance, I'd say the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF has officially begun.

Update: Oh, by the way. Remember how the Czech Republic supported OOXML with all its might and main, changing from Disapprove in September to Approve after the BRM? Who can forget their hilarious words:

During processing the standard proposal ISO/IEC DIS 29500 CNI was observing the maximum openness and transparency of the whole process and created conditions allowing every interested person to join the expert discussion. All received suggestions were carefully discussed and their enlistment into the standard proposal considerably contributed to the improvement of its technical expertise.

Guess what just happened according to Dow Jones?

The Czech government and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) signed a cooperation accord Thursday on licensing and supply....

Deputy Interior Minister Zdenek Zajicek said the arrangement would save the government about EUR28 million.


Do you remember this old joke?

Q: How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. They just change the standard to "Dark".

It's not so funny now, is it, now that it seems to be coming true.


The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated | 215 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here, Please
Authored by: lnuss on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 07:37 AM EDT
Please include an indication of the problem in your title.


Larry N.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Here, Please
Authored by: lnuss on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 07:39 AM EDT
Please include links, where appropriate.


Larry N.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Discussion Here, Please
Authored by: lnuss on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 07:41 AM EDT
Please include which pick you're discussing in your title.


Larry N.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:10 AM EDT
Something is up with Microsoft... as with MS Office with 50% of the company revenue, and ODF available thru many competitor's products, I think that we can watch the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish dance with ODF to Begin.

The question is: How could they succeed at this point in killing ODF... can they do it from the inside of OASIS?

- Idea, what if they try to sell OASIS on a merger of MSOOXML and ODF (to the benefit of MS Marketing efforts) and with a few twists and turns, does some funny dance with the ODF standard that makes their version of it different and not backward compatible with the REAL ODF?

For a History of their moves in the past where the made an existing competing standard "theirs":


Microsoft Dirty Tricks History


Microsof t's Standards History

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:27 AM EDT
It may be embraceable and extendable, but I don't think it's extinguishable.

Anyone who is feeling badly exploited by the Monopoly can go get Google Apps, or
IBM Lotus Symphony, or IBM Lotus Notes, or the source code for .
Or ask Mark Shuttleworth to mail them a copy of Ubuntu Linux, complete with
source code. There are choices in the market now, and well-funded and
well-motivated suppliers.

The 'Personal Productivity Solution' market is also moving on. If you add up the
rate at which cellphones and games consoles leap off the shelves in retail
outlets, it probably easily outpaces the rate at which 'Personal Computer with
Microsoft Windows' gets into consumers' hands.

Microsoft, too, is thinking that Yahoo! might be the business to be in; looking
enviously at the profits that Google bring home.

Is Microsoft Office going to go the way of the IBM Selectric Typewriter ?
Eventually, of course it will. But this year ?

Interesting times.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Durasau has lost his mind
Authored by: pallmall on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:32 AM EDT
Read his new letter Does Microsoft Have Brown Eyes. He makes some bizarre comparison between Microsoft critics and racists. I have no idea what is going on in his head to cause him to relate the assassination of Martin Luther King to Microsoft's sudden new embrace of standards.

Then again, maybe it is to throw the reader off balance when he tries to slip in the final line:

If we want a standards based Microsoft, we should consider Elliott's exercise and try changing ourselves.

When I read that line, all I could think of was the old joke about how many microsoft employees it takes to change a light bulb.

Groklaw! -- If I had better things to do, I'd still be doing this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dangerous Ground ! see: Extinguish of ODF Begins? -
Authored by: Rollyk on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:51 AM EDT
We here have joined the battle that is going to be very bloody.
ODF & FOSS vs Microsoft.
Rob Weir indicated the ground rules, if there are any,on March 11th, 2008, here
Make no mistake, Steve Ballmer said he would sue (everybody)
that gets in his way. This is the first direct battle.
How much is Microsoft paying? For example the Czech Government said it would
"save" $28 million, chump change for MS.

pay now, or pay later, there's no free lunch.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF Under Siege
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:52 AM EDT
Hey, everybody!

I seem to recall M$ joined up with the ODF board, and didn't the head of the ODF
project throw his support behind ISO approval of UhOhXML? (I thought I read he
had at least sent a letter of approval.)

I mention this because, IIRC, the next version of ODF is being readied, and will
need ratification. Now, they can't uncertify the current versions, but can they
sandbag the future versions? And if my above recollections are true, is this
how M$ intends to do it? (ODF is GPL'ed, right, so M$ can sneak patent stuff in
there and rot it from the inside?)

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

[ Reply to This | # ]

save the government about EUR28 million.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 08:59 AM EDT
Of course had they dumped MS entirely and gone with FLOSS,
they could have saved much much more than EUR28 million.

Microsoft will get what is coming to them by and by.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just because you can't come up with a fix
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 10:59 AM EDT
A problem is identified with OOXML, someone notices it, but doesn't know how to
fix it. According to Mr. Durusau that means a problem didn't exist in the first

I recall getting a call from my Grandmother a number of years ago. She said
that smoke was coming out from under the hood of her car. She asked my to come
get her. I went picked her up and looked under the hood to see if I could
determine the problem. The valve cover gasket had started leaking. According
to Durusau's logic after determining she couldn't come up with a fix she should
have kept driving with no concern for herself or anyone else on the road.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 11:08 AM EDT
The fact that Durusau post his opinions in a pseudo-blog without possibility for
replies ( PDF files ), talks a lot about his personallity:

he thinks that his the only one who has the truth about this debate, and will no
accept any contraty opinion.

I would say that he has totally lost the focus in this technical debate ( OOXML
fast-tracking standardization ) and has moved it to a kind-of biblical
argumentation ... really weird

[ Reply to This | # ]

Proof that Microsoft is infiltrating governments
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 12:00 PM EDT

Hungary and the Czech Republic are proof that Microsoft
is infiltrating governments. More evidence for Neelie Kroes,
I hope.

When the Green Party member in Germany proposed
the 5-year ban on Microsoft, it seemed nice but not really
a possibility. That may be changing. Microsoft continues
to create evidence against itself. Keep up the good work,

Only 8 months remain before Jan. 20, when a new U.S.
president takes office. It's going to be an intense 8 months.

And I keep wondering how many Microsoft agents have
infiltrated Neelie Kroes' department.

Never trust Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsoft outsourcing its code writing?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 12:16 PM EDT

"Why Can't Microsoft fix it itself?"

Because OOXML and Vista have proved that Microsoft
is incompetent to write software. Microsoft now has to
outsource its code writing.

Do you really want to trust your business to these people?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • heh - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 05:17 AM EDT
The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 12:36 PM EDT
If Microsoft had fully supported ODF, back in the Massachusetts days, how much
more money would they have made? How many customers did they loose as they went
elsewhere to get ODF? How many who moved to Open Office or other packages would
have stayed with the devil they new? How many customers decided that they may as
well go the whole hog and move to Linux? How many have followed the antics of
Microsoft and decided to distance themselves from the lock in and corruption?

Couple this with the Vista fiasco then lump on top Yahoo. Microsoft has shot
itself in the foot. At what point do the shareholders start to query how much
has been lost and start to wonder if the only way Microsoft can make sales is by
corruption. The mantra of "money at any price" may be wearing thin. I
wonder how secure Ballmer's position is?


[ Reply to This | # ] suggested repairs to fix those errors...
Authored by: artp on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 12:52 PM EDT suggested repairs to fix those errors...

This is akin to dumping a truckload of iron ore on the ground with a couple of
oak trees and claiming that it is a wagon wheel.

Incomplete, error-ridden, and obsolete before you even start on the process.

6000+ pages of inconsistent tripe, and Durusau complains because people didn't
fix this mess in the comments? Perhaps it was more work to fix it in the
comments than it would have been to do it close to right the first time?

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Get the latest "reality service pack" from MiniTrue
Authored by: bmcmahon on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 01:20 PM EDT

Microsoft is allied with Oceania ODF. Microsoft has always been allied with ODF. Please ensure that your records are up to date and accurate.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: David Gerard on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 02:41 PM EDT
Yes. That Durusau piece struck me as frankly insane. What on earth is going through his head?

[ Reply to This | # ]

On Durseau and Brown
Authored by: TtfnJohn on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 02:50 PM EDT
I admit that I have problems figuring out where either of them are coming from
after so many self-contradictory remarks.

As has been noted Durseau's PDFs seem to have the impression of a Greek God
sending his/her rulings down from Olympus. That and indicating that he fears,
for whatever reason, any kind of debate. Still, he's just as entitled as anyone
else to be wrong.

Where he is right is that we refute everything we stand for in terms of openness
and freedom, software and otherwise. Other than that, well, I'll let the
uncharitable thought dangle.

Alex Brown seems to flip between recognizing that the process that brought OOXML
into ISO, regardless of the circus around it, is irretrievably broken and then
having the need to defend the system he admits is broken.

What I suspect we have here is a brilliant bureaucrat for whom process and order
is to be valued and honoured no matter how broken or ineffective. In Dr Brown's
case it doesn't matter that he knows it's so badly broken as to be worse than
useless; it's the process and must be followed.

In many ways I don't see Dr Durseau any differently. Except that Brown is
willing to open himself up to debate by posting on actual blogging software
where Dr Durseau is happier issuing PDFs to his unruly lecture students like the
professor I understand he has been. Debate has no place in Dr Durseau's world.

Sadly neither man appears to have what is necessary to deal with this situation
or even understand what is potentially at stake here. It's so far outside their
professional terms of engagement and world view as it has to be ignored or

Fortunately it is not up to either whether or not ODF is passed to JCT1, it's up
to the voting members of OASIS who are more attuned to the political world that
an open document format finds itself in with no small thanks to Microsoft.



[ Reply to This | # ]

..the merits of Microsoft Office OOXML'ed ODF in this foul credit market....
Authored by: arnt on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 03:06 PM EDT
> Microsoft has $50 billion to toss around as if it was
> spare change? If so why were they prepared in a foul
> credit market to go into debt to finance their
> aquisition of Yahoo?

..that way, Microsoft gets to keep first their
$50 billions, then with Their Embraced Extended
Extinguished Updated ODF[Tm], they get to Update
Their Creditors Documents. ;o)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Special working Group
Authored by: esni on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 06:24 PM EDT
'Currently there is some ongoing activity to revise the JTC 1 Directives (a
Special Working Group).'

Working Groups in ISO, IEC and ISO/IEC JTC1 would normally have some technical
subject or other.

A group to do maintenance on their procedures has a task different from the
other groups - so a Special working Group.

Participants would be nominated by NBs with an interest in these matters - some
will have a dubious reputation, some will have high personal integrity and then
some may have a hidden agenda.


[ Reply to This | # ]

From a standards body point of view
Authored by: gtall on Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 06:50 PM EDT
I am curious just how much of the knot ISO knickers are in results from needing
to be relevant in a fast changing technoworld and how M$'s cash and support feed
into that.
Suppose one is part of ISO's Politbureau (or whatever the top echelon is
called). You must care about other standards bodies stealing your thunder. You
might also consider M$ a standards body all unto itself. So when ODF comes
along, you might support it just keep the office app piece of the standards pie.
But if M$ were to approach you and tell you either support M$XML or else M$ will
see to it that they will create their own standard and buy enough countries to
enforce it, you might be inclined to support M$XML.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 02:58 AM EDT

No one should be surprised by Microsaurus Rex's ferocity: it's a genetic trait
of the entire Corporate species.

The question is, should it be met with ferocity in return?
... or if not, what's Plan B?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here's a new one for Microsoft
Authored by: Peter Baker on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 05:28 AM EDT
Transparency, transparency, transparency.
Transparency, transparency, transparency!
(etc. I'm sure you figured it out by now :-).

I find it fantastic that one is asked to ignore a over 2 decades long track
record of questionable business ethics and am to assume a new dawn of behaviour
has arrived because a press release says so. Even with new players at the top
it will take several years of well-beyond-good behaviour for anyone with half a
brain to trust the organisation to have learned that collaboration is not based
on poisoning the opposition.

As an aside, the results of those years of shenanigans are slowly starting to
bite: the trust in the brand has been all but destroyed. The chickens are
coming come etc.. Here's an example.

On Monday I will have several further meetings to decide future IT strategy for
now in total 3 companies (it keeps expanding :-). It's interesting to see how
attitudes have changed.

A couple of years ago there would have been anything from discomfort to active
opposition to suggestions to avoid Microsoft products, now I get active help
with arguments ranging from "more intelligent investment" to
"basic risk management" (virus sensitivity) to "better cross
platform compatibility".

Now I have dev teams where a substantial part has spent time coding on multiple
platforms and especially in the micro-electronics teams there are guys that have
actually never used a Windows product in their life from college to finding
employment (we have a mixture, some are doing their thesis with us), and even
investors are asking the question.

There are, however, a few flies in the ointment. The people that ARE using
Windows do so because of Visio, and that cannot be rooted out yet (not unless I
want to slow down the relevant company, which is a bad thing to do to in a
startup). We also have some Outlook users because, frankly, there still isn't a
decent Open Source solution (I have used Evolution, thanks - let's be honest
here and say that there is in many ways still a lot of work to do).

The general trend that I see is not promising for MS. I have identified that
trend quite early, but I work in highly technical environments which tend to be
ahead of the curve. To see this now being reflected in more
"traditional" businesses is interesting..


= P =

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Toon Moene on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 10:50 AM EDT
As of no coincidentality, Wikipedia today lists:

1521 The Diet of Worms declared Protestant Reformer Martin Luther an outlaw and a heretic, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest.

Microsoft doesn't have to buy the Roman Catholic Church ... It already is it.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

Toon Moene (A GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ's List of Issues
Authored by: jhereg69 on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 11:07 AM EDT
If ODF folks have to fix Microsoft's problems for them, how does he think Microsoft is equipped to help ODF? Who's helping whom?
I don't understand this. While the ODF TC charter says that the TC should "'borrow' from similar, existing standards wherever possible and permitted," the charter's Standing Rules say that "[u]nder no circumstances shall the TC accept, during any phase, contributions that are not granted to all under perpetual, royalty free, non-discriminatory terms." This says to me that the ODF TC *can't* fix Microsoft's problems, as the various patent issues already identified in OOXML fall under RAND, which is different than royalty free. I assume that the TC Chairs, one of which is Rob Weir, are aware of said issues and the implications of their own charter; as much as Durasau might want to, I don't think the ODF TC can work on OOXML issues or any harmonization effort.
And how does Microsoft dare to offer a standard that doesn't match its own product and then ask the community to fix the mismatch? If OOXML isn't ready for prime time as a standard, why in the world is Durusau pretending it qualifies while simultaneously asking for help to make it work?
How is it OASIS's job to match a Microsoft product to a Microsoft standard?
It's not at all; OASIS's job is to provide the tools for Microsoft and other disparate members to come together and create a standard. Unless Microsoft is inclined to go royalty free in its IPR terms, I don't see where the ODF TC would have anything to do with such an effort; Microsoft would have to start its own OOXML TC (presumably under the RAND IPR policy, but it would still have to recruit people to join the TC and work on OOXML).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can't Trust Patrick Durusau
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 12:44 PM EDT
Patrick Durusau has been posting some pretty strange stuff for some time now,
and I find it impossible to trust anything he says. His comments are
disconnected from twenty-five years of history, and the current state of actual
OOXML and ODF support in Microsoft's products.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 01:01 PM EDT
Dear Durasau:

Your assumption that the announcement that MSOffice <i>might </i>
support ODF <i>within</i> a couple of <i>years</i>
somehow proves MS was never opposed to it, are utter BS. Please shut up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Embrace, Extend, Extinguish of ODF Begins? - Updated
Authored by: Tezzer on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 03:27 PM EDT
There is a difference from Microsoft's earlier attacks on standards.

There are now many millions of people watching, thanks to the internet.

It will be interesting to see how much difference that makes.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Automatic Document Validation
Authored by: BitOBear on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 03:32 PM EDT
I figure at this point I think every existing ODF implementation should add a
validation feature function to the default document loader process.

That is, the software should be able to automagically add "validation
markup" to a invalid sections of documents, or otherwise produce a
validation report in a popup window whenever one or more invalid or
"questionable" document stanzas are encountered.


The Embrace Extend Extinguish paradigm requires two basic things. First, the
extension has to be consistently implemented such that it "looks
right" on the MS product and "looks wrong" everywhere else.
Second, there has to be effectively zero visibility as to which party is

One caveat to the first point is that its okay for something to "look
wrong" on the Microsoft platform if it can plausibly be blamed on the other

The goal of EEE is to make the majority block tell the minority block to stop
using (whatever) and get on board with the MS product, or at a minimum, make the
users of (whatever) feel like they are missing out on something.

Transparency is, of course, the solution to this technique, if that transparency
is kind of "in your face" about it.

So imagine if, when MS begins to "Extend" the document formats,
OpenOffice and KWriter etc were to explode the invalid constructs into the text
as text, so that no data was lost, but so that the document now had insets with
things like "[[Invalid Formatting Encountered
<MsMBold>originaltexthere</MsMBold>]]" so that the original
text is still available but the document could be "sent back
defective" to the originator etc.

This would, at the _least_ let the standards aware people blow the whistle the
instant some MS service pack (or initially invalid release) began the
"Extend" phase.

In short we should begin armoring ourselves against the shenanigans in an
unmissable way so that there is no chance for the under-the-radar techniques to
get by unnoticed.

Not that I am paranoid...

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Process As Gandhi Might Have Seen it
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 07:48 PM EDT
First they ignore you
Then they ridicule you
Then they stomp on you
Then they 'FUD' you
Then they poison you
Then they envelope you
Then you win

I'd say we are currently between poisoning and envelopment. Still, as all you
(para) legal types would know, there's a process to be gone through.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why can't MS fix it themselves?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 27 2008 @ 12:33 PM EDT
Maybe, just maybe, what was being suggested was that the OOXML / Excel fix would
be in the best interest of all if it were fixed together so that OOXML and ODF
had one, common formula approach. Naysayers would scream patent infiltration
while customers / users would say "it is about time". I don't know
what Durasau was suggesting but I feel like the original post and all the
replies assumed a certain meaning and ignored all other possibilities.

Whether you think MS should need help to fix it or not, it seems clear that a
more open and interoperable fix would result from collaboration, not isolation.

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