OK, I’m trying not to be as religious about Free Software and the whole philosophy, but sometimes MS makes it really hard to be neutral.
Well, there is something called OASIS the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards which according to their About page has “more than 4,000 participants representing over 600 organizations and individual members in 100 countries”. In their board of directors sit people from Fujitsu, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, IBM and … uh … Microsoft. On the 23rd Mai the approved something called the OpenDocument Format as a standard. OpenDocument is an XML representation for Office documents and will be used by the next version of OpenOffice as the default file format. It is also quite close to the existing OpenOffice file format. Insofar, everything looks quite perfect… a standard Office format is a good idea.
Enter Microsoft. 😦
According to this article Microsoft is going to have an new Office format called “Microsoft Office Open XML”. Well, what an idea. They are well aware that there is a standard but “this is a case of reality versus standards – this is reality. We can’t do (support) everything. Where does it stop?”. Buggers… tell me which standard you support? HTML is a standard… which really really works well in reality besides a stupid company in Redmon ignoring things like CSS standards. TCP/IP is a standard… well you support that, don’t you? Even your fu***n old SMB has been adopted as a standard as CIFS. What about C#, which you standardised yourself. So, Microsoft, when you don’t do your own standards or badly implement existing ones, where is the point in not using this one? I know, it’s all about vendor lock in, keeping the power over the peoples and business own files and formats, which is plain wrong, but MS is going to do it anyway. BTW, the whole marketing blablabla which comes with the new file format is quite interesting. As with IE7, which has this nifty brand new feature tabs, MS claims that their new file format with “integrated ZIP compression reduces the file size by up to 50 percent and files are broken down even further into a modular file structure that will make data recovery more successful and enhance security”. Ever run “unzip” on an OpenOffice file… sounds kinda familiar. Hope there will be a small tool which can convert all Microsoft Office Open XML documents to OASIS OpenDocument, would be a nice tool to integrate on a mail gateway :-).
Support standards, buggers!