Some of you may know… ODF the XML office file format of the open office suite became an ISO standard some month ago. Now Microsoft is trying to get an ISO standard for its OOXML too.
But why are they doing this? Because they want to split us again. In people who can spend money on MS Office and ones who can’t or are not willing to. Also governmental organization are likely to adopt OOXML, because money and a “fake” ISO standard more worth than a real ISO standard.
But what are technical reasons against OOXML:
- There is already an ISO standard named ODF (Open Document Format): a dual standard adds cost to industry, government and citizens.
- The OOXML specification is protected by multiple patents, where as the patent holder Microsoft corporation does not guarantee not to sue or confer any other rights for competitors. The basic implementation of such standard by the competition can face patent infringement cases around the world. This means a real threat for competitive applications even before the development begins.
- The idea of one standard should be clear, easy to implement by any party, with smallest specification possible, it should grant privileges for using such standard in any application, provide for compatibility or better said, interoperability between different applications using the same standard, free of patent infringement. The OOXML specification is 6,000 pages, which makes it a real hard to implement for the competition. An OOXML vendor does not guarantee anything to its competition and can sue or threaten them with patents. The OOXML encapsulates other binary data, not clear what they are, which the compatibility and interoperability features between different competitors cloaks in shadow, as a result of which the competitors will be unable to provide for a 100% compatibility with the binary data.
- The OOXML contains binary data for their “backwards compatibility” of their previous office standards, “backwards compatibility” with older Microsoft office documents; however, they do not publish the specification for other parties, which makes them Microsoft the only entity that can fully implement such specification with “backward compatibility”.
- From the beginning, office suite applications by Microsoft were benefiting from their proprietary standards, where other parties were unable to implement such standard and make their products compatible. Microsoft decided to ignore the existing open standards, and as we have seen in the past, they are trying to bring upon a new “open” proprietary standard that can be fully integrated only by Microsoft itself. There have been Open Standards for document exchange out there for a longer time, Microsoft had pledged only one step for its implementation, but in the end it turns out to be a third party plug-in which was made by another developer (Sun Microsystems).
- To date, the standard has not been implemented by its vendor or the competition. It is clear that the Microsoft product will switch to their “open” standard in a certain time; does this mean competition in the field of standards?
- No standard can be backwards compatible; this is an application feature, which can support different versions of one standard.
- The OOXML is dependant on the Windows technology platform. Its specification is written to be fully implementable only on the Windows platform, which means other existing platforms cannot implement or use the standard and the customers will be literally stuck on the Windows technology from the first day they start to use OOXML in their Office.
- Specification of OOXML is clearly not implementable in its full version for the competitors.