UPDATE: Here's the audio, thanks to Dan Bricklin, who has pictures of the participants, including a picture of Andy Updegrove doing his real time reporting. Dan tells me that you can find Microsoft's Alan Yates' statement at around 54:00, if you wish to hear him talk about how open their license is, "you won't ever be sued..." and then say "MS has never argued against the Open Document Format..." (they just want to be included, too). At 2:06:45 Andy Updegrove asks questions about the MS Q&A posted yesterday. If anyone could transcribe the Microsoft portions, that would be very helpful indeed. If you can, please email me. The whole audio is over 2 hours, so transcribing the entire thing isn't practical, but the Microsoft parts are doable. Dan also writes about his personal conversation with Yates afterward.
Andy Updegrove is providing real time reports from the Massachusetts hearing about ODF/MS XML on his blog. It will be available as audio later too, but some of you may not want to wait for that.
While you are at it, you'll find Steven Vaughan-Nichols' collection of reactions to Microsoft's covenant not to sue very interesting.
People are not as positive as you might have expected. The article is called, "Not All Welcome Open XML Standard" and here's a taste:
Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Rita Knox have more practical concerns. Even if the Office 12 standard is "open," they point out that the technology needed to make it useful isn't open.
"While it will be possible for OpenOffice.org and others to more faithfully replicate Microsoft's file format in their applications, Microsoft's rendering engine will not be an open specification. Thus, users of third-party products won't likely be able to display Microsoft's files with 100 percent visual fidelity or to execute macros (which will be saved in a different format) without problems," said the analysts.
There are also concerns expressed about Ecma, the standards body Microsoft chose to submit its schema to and then other express some doubts about Microsoft's true motive:
So if open standards and interoperability are red herrings, what is Microsoft's real goal?
According to Gartner analysts, it seems to be to combat the growing acceptance of the ODF (OpenDocument Format), which has been approved by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), and companies and governments, like the Massachusetts state government, which are supporting open-standards.
But that would be anticompetitive, no? Can monopolies do that? Just asking.