Standardizing the Microsoft Office Open XML formats


Today we are making a really important announcement about our XML formats. We are going to bring the Microsoft Office Open XML formats to a standards body with the intention of eventually making the formats an ISO standard. This should really help everyone feel certain that these formats will always be available and fully accessible. We are going to work with Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel Corporation, NextPage Inc., Statoil ASA and Toshiba to form a technical committee at ECMA International that will fully document all of our schemas so that anyone can understand how to develop on top of them. This is obviously a huge step forward and it really helps to increase the value of these document formats because of the improved transparency and interoperability. This will help to create a large ecosystem built around these formats that will support them in a large number of different scenarios for customers.

In addition to this move towards standardization, we are also going to make some changes to our licensing approach. I’ve definitely heard the concern from folks over the past few months around the licenses. We want to make this issue much simpler as well as address the core concern, which was that some folks thought we might somehow sue people for using the formats. Obviously we don’t want anyone to have that concern, so in order to clear up any other uncertainties related to how and where you can use our formats, we are moving away from our royalty free license, and instead we are going to provide a very simple and general statement that we make an irrevocable commitment not to sue. I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this “covenant not to sue” looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks.


As I’ve been saying for the past 6 months, our goal with these formats was to open them up so that anyone could build solutions on top of them. We see this as a huge opportunity for Office to play a more vital role in business applications. It’s something that we benefit from and so do our customers and partners. I posted about this a couple months ago, and if you’re interested you should go back and read that post (http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/09/29/475340.aspx). Here are two points I really want to stress:



  1. It has always been our goal to make customer data in documents more valuable to them. By working with customers and partners at ECMA, we can continue these efforts to build out the Office ecosystem and help our customers reuse their XML data across systems and applications. This effort also opens up a lot of opportunities for us as well as commercial opportunities for other companies.

  2. Some customers, particularly in the public sector, have been telling us that they would like us to take this step. They are focused on the long-term management and archiving of digital records and want to use our document formats. They have told us that they would like to see us pursue this step as a measure of goodwill toward them and their interests and we are now following through on their request.

At the XML conference last week, there were a number of folks I talked to who had already done a lot of work with the 2003 XML formats. With the work we’ll do in ECMA, we are guaranteed to have a first class specification that fully describes every detail of our formats. In addition, we’ll provide plenty of tutorials, best practices, and all kinds of tools to help folks work with the formats. We released the Beta 1 for Office ’12’ last week and we’re already starting to receive a ton of great feedback.


I’ll talk a lot more about both the license change as well as the standardization effort over the coming months. It’s something I’ll obviously stay heavily involved with and I’m really excited about it. I hope you are too.


-Brian

Comments (99)

  1. ToddM says:

    Can you say anything about opening up the non-XML legacy Office formats, or point us at someone who can?

  2. Chris says:

    Bravo. Nice move.

  3. Goebbels says:

    "I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this "covenant not to sue" looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks."

    It seems to do nothing of the sort to me. OS developers like to do things the legal, right way. Promising that you won’t sue does not make them free to distribute code that "may" be a potential issue.

  4. Me says:

    The advertising clause (must display this URL) in the license conflicts with the GPL, just like the old 4 clause BSD license.

    Wether that’s a problem with the GPL or Microsofts license is up to the reader of course.

  5. darm mcbride says:

    "…instead we are going to provide a very simple and general statement that we make an irrevocable commitment not to sue. I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this "covenant not to sue" looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks"

    Is it something in the water which makes its impossible for a Redmond employee understand the difference between an open standard and an ISO standard?

    Microsoft employess remind me of that old Foster’s commercial where patrons ask the Ozzie barkeep for coffee and he says "Beer?".

    I’d also like to thank the Redmond crew for being responsible for a great supper tonight. I had bet a coworker that Microsoft was going to try an end run just like they did.

    Excellent wings.

  6. orcmid says:

    I’ve been waiting for something like this. I was resigned to not looking too closely at these materials while they were licensed as "review for planning and feedback to Microsoft only," studying up on other publicly-availalbe initiatives first.

    This is certainly the way to go, and I look forward to openings for public discussion and comment, along with my favorite, the Open Packaging Conventions. Are those going to ECMA too?

  7. orcmid says:

    For darm McBride: ECMA is a different avenue to ISO, and it is in many ways a friendlier avenue than OASIS. You might notice that C# and the CLI are ECMA standards and they have moved on to ISO.

    Big plus for ECMA: Their specifications are free and downloadable as PDFs. ISO, unfortunately, sells its standards, which is probably why they don’t get read much.

  8. Bob Reynolds says:

    Why does Microsoft ALWAYS have to re-invent the wheel? What’s wrong with simpy using ODF (http://www.oasis-open.org/)? The format is already widely supported by companies like IBM and Sun and many other office suites already support it.

  9. Scot says:

    Brian,

    Two questions/points

    1. Will this set of formats at some point be administered by an independent organization outside of Microsoft ?

    2. EMCA=European Computer Manufacturers Association. Will international standardization be pursued at some point (ISO, IEEE etc.. )?

  10. BrianJones says:

    A lot of great comments so far, thanks.

    I’m going to post the actual wording of the "covenant not to sue" later today or tomorrow morning so you folks can read it. This is a replacement for the licenses we had been using. It means there is no longer a license necessary, you can just go ahead and use the formats and documentation.

    Bob, here’s a link where I talk about why we aren’t supporting OpenDocument as our default format: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/06/13/428655.aspx

    We aren’t reinventing the wheel. We’ve been working on our XML formats for just as long as the OpenOffice folks. OpenOffice 2.0 already has support to read and write the Microsoft Word XML format from Office 2003. We have over 300,000 developers out there leveraging the XML functionality in Office 2003. It’s much more widely supported than you may realize.

    Scot, Yes and Yes! The formats are going to ecma which is an independent standards organization. We plan to pursue ISO standardization after we finish the work in ecma.

    -Brian

  11. krp says:

    You state "we are moving away from our royalty free license."

    You further state "we make an irrevocable commitment not to sue."

    And lastly "our goal with these formats was to open them up so that anyone could build solutions on top of them."

    My questions therefore are:

    1. Does the corporation intend to charge royalties?

    2. Does the corporation intend to retain and possibly use other legal harrassments such as cease and desist letters or orders?

    3. If this new format(s) are truly going to be "open" as an *open standard*, is the corporation going to release the source code under the GNU General Public License (GPL)?

    krp

  12. Should be an interesting read – I’ll wait until you post them before making any additional comments except one:

    Make sure it’s in plain english – legalize often doesn’t mean what a layman would think.

  13. BrianJones says:

    Hi krp,

    This is all provided royalty free

    The "covenant not to sue" essentially says that as long as you don’t sue claiming that you have IP on the formats you are protected

    Not sure what you mean about releasing the source under GPL. We aren’t making Office open source. We are making the file formats open. So if by source you mean the schemas and documentation, then yes we are releasing them, but we aren’t using any license. We are providing the "covenant not to sue" which means you don’t need a license.

    Urban, I’ll try to get it up ASAP. It will have legalese though as it’s a legal document, sorry. It’s only a couple paragraphs though so it should be pretty clear 🙂

    -Brian

  14. Charles Esson says:

    So why the patents? Taken on face value Microsoft have spent a lot of money for nothing.

    If one assumes Microsoft don’t spend money for nothing, one has to go with the ODF standard, let other get caught.

  15. n4cer says:

    "So why the patents? Taken on face value Microsoft have spent a lot of money for nothing."

    The patents are still very useful for defensive purposes. There have already been several cases of companies suing MS and others in the industry, trying to make money just from patents and not creating/selling any technology (Eolas comes to mind as a recent example).

  16. Ed says:

    A license indicates that one is allowed to do something; if one does it, one is not guilty of breaking any law. A promise not to sue does not indicate that one is allowed to do something.

    I am not a lawyer, but I strongly suspect that a promise not to sue has substantially less legal weight behind it; if the CEO of the company changes, it probably doesn’t mean anything any longer. As a programmer, I certainly wouldn’t develop code based upon it.

    As far as the patents being useful for defensive purposes – Eolas doesn’t make any products of which I’m aware. Telling them they can’t use your patents doesn’t do much to them.

    Brian, I wish you wouldn’t do this to yourself. I realize that you feel you’re doing the best thing, but if you think about all that Microsoft has done – the companies they’ve crushed, the people they’ve sued for illegitimate reasons – working for them in any capacity must be considered immoral.

  17. n4cer says:

    "As far as the patents being useful for defensive purposes – Eolas doesn’t make any products of which I’m aware. Telling them they can’t use your patents doesn’t do much to them."

    You’re missing my point. My point is that companies like Eolas acquire patents and sit on them until large companies like MS or even the entire industry use technologies covered under the (usually broad) patents. They sue MS for violating the patent as a means of making money.

    Even if the technology in question was in use before the patent was applied for (as several entities independent of MS have asserted in the Eolas case), it can still be costly to prove it and win a suit (Eolas got a $500 million judgment and MS is appealing). If MS has patents on whatever they develop, it prevents one of these other companies from coming along later, acquiring a patent and suing them over it. Similar scenarios have already occured several times now.

  18. Tom Johnson says:

    For a real world example of what patent ambiguity does to a community look at the Mono project. Despite claims for a few years that Mono would not be shutdown by Microsoft, development (and is s still ) significantly affected.

    http://www.mono-project.com/FAQ:_General#Do_you_fear_that_Microsoft_will_change_the_spec_and_render_Mono_useless.3F

    TJ

  19. scot says:

    n4cer,

    It might be practical for a corporation to protect itself, but in the end two wrongs don’t make a right or encourage a large entity that has choice to except something that is partially wrong as a standard (if they have choices).

  20. n4cer says:

    How is development of Mono affected? As long as they stick to the CLI standard, they won’t have a problem. They can, and have created applications that can run on both runtimes. Where they may (they haven’t yet) run into problems is implementing proprietary MS technology not covered under the standard such as Windows Forms, ASP.NET, etc.

    Just because MS provided a standardized platform doesn’t mean you can freely implement everything MS develops to run on the platform. Just as even though C++ is a standard, you can’t expect to freely clone DirectX just because it’s built using C++. IP rights granted under the standard do not extend to these proprietary libraries (and shouldn’t).

    On the flipside, Mono includes libraries that are specific to *n*x functionality and have little/no use on Windows. These aren’t part or the ECMA or ISO CLI standards either, yet, again, don’t prevent cross-platform development by sticking to the standard and using cross-platform non-standard libraries for write once portability or choosing to port to the equivalant libraries on either platform to best take advantage of native platform features.

  21. n4cer says:

    "It might be practical for a corporation to protect itself, but in the end two wrongs don’t make a right or encourage a large entity that has choice to except something that is partially wrong as a standard (if they have choices)."

    That’s just it. They have no choice other than to do what they’re doing or be vulnerable. Shareholders nor customers would like them being vulnerable. They’re pushing for change to the patent system but until that happens, they use the system for protection from malicious entities.

    I personally don’t consider it two wrongs. The only wrong is committed by those just seeking patents for profit through lawsuits and not actually investing in developing the technology they’re patenting.

  22. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    The MS presspass (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2005/nov05/11-21Ecma.mspx) says "The Office Open XML file formats will provide 100 percent of the functionality of the binary formats, as well as total backward compatibility through all past versions of Office."

    Hmm, I don’t think that’s correct.

    1) All past versions? I don’t think you would release an implementation of this anytime soon then, because it means you will need to begin supporting Word 95, Word 97, Excel 95, Excel 97, Powerpoint 95 and Powerpoint 97, in addition to even older versions.

    2) Backwards compatible? The only way for an older version to open a new version of the file format whose storage is different, is two folds : 2.1) the converter plugin is able to convert the storage with full-fidelity, and 2.2) any new feature is migrated into its old equivalent.

    We all know that, taking Excel 2006 for instance, it is simply put not the truth already. David Gainer has put extensive posts out there showing new features such as pushing the grid limits far beyond.

    So all in all Brian, you’ve set yourself for yet another month of FUD/antiFUD posts. I’d rather have you post about the goodness of Xml composition effects, performance, and things like that.

  23. scot says:

    n4cer,

    "they use the system for protection from malicious entities"

    Lets say company A has only good intentions and never does anything bad…. (right … ) Company B only has ‘IP assets’ and is looking to monotize . Company B gets some money from company A which the wholesome shareholders take and eventually because of lack of an actual product company B no longer exists. 5 years later company A’s products are no longer very popular, the only thing company A has left to make money from is IP in some standards it set. Now company A believes the only avenue for income is to monotize its ‘IP’ even though it promised not too, under certain specified situation. Now company A is suing business C and group of people D.

    Which brings me back around to what i believe is the central issue, why should company C or body of people D care what company A and B need especially from a standard. (if they have a choice)

  24. JD says:

    What steps have MS taken with regard to the Office XML file formats in

    relation to accessibility? I’m not referring to the Office Apps.

    themselves, I’m only too familiar with how a11y works in MS apps.

    and the constant race of screenreader makers to keep up. Rather,

    I’m interested to know if an accessibility project, similar to the one

    created for ODF, will be created to address a11y requirements in the schema

    definitions themselves.

  25. mark says:

    "I’ve definitely heard the concern from folks over the past few months around the licenses. We want to make this issue much simpler as well as address the core concern, which was that some folks thought we might somehow sue people for using the formats."

    What is this about "using" the formats?

    The concern that was expressed was that people were concerned about ***implementing*** the formats in a competing product.

    Does Microsoft hereby warrant that they will disclose every single bit of information about the formats so that competitiors (even open source competitors) can make a competing Office product – without Microsoft suing them?

    Does Microsoft warrant that they are allowing – no, more than that – promoting the ability for competing Office products to be able to fully interoperate with Microsoft’s format?

    Why do you say "using" the format when the actual issue is to be able to "implement" the format?

  26. Wesley Parish says:

    Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly …

    Have you had a look at

    http://opendocumentfellowship.org/Articles/TechnicalComparison

    on the OpenDocument Fellowship site?

    It’s quite intriguing. I can pick up most of the OpenDocument XML they quote as soon as look at it – the MS Office 2003 XML looks quite opaque, as does the MS Office 12 XML.

    That being so, why would someone wish to confuse themselves with an opaque version of what is supposed to be a standard, when there is a much clearer version already available? Clarity of expression = clarity of thought.

    And MS Office 2003’s XML isn’t the XML of MS Office 12 – MS Office 12’s XML, like SX? and ODF, doesn’t throw all the bits and pieces in together like MS Office 2003’s XML does, so you can’t rightly claim MS Office 2003’s XML is ancestral to MS Office 12’s XML.

    I’m afraid ODF precedes MS Office 12’s XML, because OpenOffice.org 1.0 (c.2001) saved in sxw, sxi, etc, by default.

    Sorry: I think Microsoft is going to lose this one.

  27. Lashiec says:

    Why isn’t Microsoft playing fair? Heck, now you are trying to convert OfficeXML into a standard format, pressuring the ISO organization for that. Being a member of the OASIS, why can’t you talk with Sun Microsystems to make an agreement over the OpenDocument format? I mean, the two companies are big friends now, aren’t them? Why don’t you collaborate to make a XML format instead of fighting all the time? The sad fact is that neither Microsoft nor Sun Microsystems will make the move, so this discussion will keep on going forever, til’ one format will prevail over another. I don’t know what’s going on these days, but all discussions about EVERYTHING gets polarized all the time.

  28. Have you considered speaking to the OSI and other prominent Open Source related organizations to make sure *in advance* that your proposed pseudo-license doesn’t cause problems for Open Source implementations?

    How about posting the text on the debian-legal mailing list? If *they* can’t find problems, nobody can.

  29. Neil Lewis says:

    That’s a rather unfortunate use of language, prompting the question how independent are the ‘customers and partners’ selected for the ECMA committee.

    What are their current business arrangements with Microsoft, why are they involved, who selected them?

    Will they be inevitably pressured into accepting Microsoft’s views as captive customers rather than true partners?

    Didn’t the British Library announce recently another deal with Microsoft? Rather too cosy.

    Was that decision or this one, apparently affecting the future standards used by the public archives of the british nation, open to public consultation?

    How open and accountable is this process exactly?

  30. Steve Zakulec says:

    If your license allows redistribution, then it will be compatible with a lot of open source licenses.

    If you are going to claim compatibility with the GPL, you must drop the advertising clause.

  31. Tom Johnson says:

    >> How is development of Mono affected? As long as they stick to the CLI standard, they won’t have a problem….

    Many good points. I should have been more specific in that I believe the Windows Forms & ASP.NET parts of the Mono project has been affected. Surely developers have looked at the legal situation and decided, "I’m not going to contribute to a dead-end project."

    TJ

  32. Wayne O says:

    Despite thoughts of hidden agendas, I think that this bodes well for competition in general. If true standardization ensues, I would assume that any software developer would be able to provide 100% Microsoft compatibility in their products with Microsoft formats without having to reverse engineer anything. This gives the consumer greater choice and pushes all providers, Microsoft included, towards higher quality products.

  33. n4cer says:

    "Which brings me back around to what i believe is the central issue, why should company C or body of people D care what company A and B need especially from a standard. (if they have a choice)"

    If company C or D deviates from the standard or tries to create technology not covered under the standard that infringes on the IP of Company A, then company A has a right to protect such IP as it has not granted rights to said IP in that case.

    Adobe makes similar claims on PDF, and I believe Sun on ODF. IP rights are only granted for the purposes of implementing the standard. If you try to subvert the standard or implement technology that has nothing to do with the standard but is still covered in whole or part by IP that just happens to also be granted under the standard, then Company A has a right to protect their IP in that case.

    From an Adobe IPR (the same language exists in their licenses):

    http://www.ietf.org/ietf/IPR/adobe-ipr-draft-zilles-pdf.txt

    ————————begin Adobe text—-

    Accordingly, the following patents are licensed on a royalty-free,

    non-exclusive basis for the term of each patent and for the sole

    purpose of developing software that produces, consumes, and

    interprets PDF files that are compliant with the Specification:

    U.S. Patent Numbers:

    * 5,634,064

    * 5,737,599

    * 5,781,785

    * 5,819,301

    * 6,028,583

    * 6,289,364

    * 6,421,460

    In addition, the following patent is licensed on a royalty-free,

    non-exclusive basis for its term and for the sole purpose of

    developing software that produces PDF files that are compliant with

    the Specification (specifically excluding, however, software that

    consumes and/or interprets PDF files):

    U.S. Patent Numbers:

    * 5,860,074

    ————————end Adobe text—

    If you implement a technology covered under these patents but that is not the PDF standard, Adobe can take legal action against you to protect their IP and the integrity of the standard. Why does everyone want to hold MS to a different standard? Most people already use other technologies covered under MS IP (in either standard or non-standard technologies) everyday w/o even knowing or thinking about it.

  34. n4cer says:

    "Many good points. I should have been more specific in that I believe the Windows Forms & ASP.NET parts of the Mono project has been affected. Surely developers have looked at the legal situation and decided, "I’m not going to contribute to a dead-end project." "

    They don’t have a realistic view of what Mono offers if they thing it’s dead-end based on not supporting proprietary MS technologies. The problem with people taking that view is that they don’t recognize the value of the standard platform and the ability to build new and innovative technologies on that platform rather than just copying proprietary MS bits.

    Most recently, I’ve seen people talking about cloning WCF (Indigo) on Mono. This should not be the way forward for Mono nor does this perpetual cloning make any sense, especially in the WCF case. WCF uses open standard protocols for web services. There’s no reason to clone it. Just create your own object model for those standards.

    Mono offers the same common runtime platform for multiple platforms that .NET does for Windows. Using just the standards as a common base and building either cross-platform technologies (if that’s your goal) and/or *n*x optimized technologies atop the standards is the path Mono devs should be pursuing.

    Again, it’s like C/C++ or any other such standard. Just because there’s a common base doesn’t mean everyone has to do the same thing. Find a way to differentiate, and where it makes sense, create technologies that work on multiple platforms (again, without cloning proprietary technologies). Mono’s standard base along with technologies like GTK# offer a road to cross-platform development. For those that prefer to take advantage of native platform services (such as optimizing for MacOSX’s UI or Windows’ printing services) then you only need to change a fraction of code out of the common base. At any time, you can go for least common denominator like Java or optimize for each platform like native code, and get the performance benifit of it actually being native code at runtime and being flexible enough to interact with platform-specific APIs if you choose.

  35. Sergio says:

    From Andy Updegrove’s blog:

    "Microsoft will make specific licensing commitments to remove "virtually all barriers" that would prevent developers from working with the file formats."

    Can you comment on what "virtually all barriers" means here. Or will that become clear when the terms are published?

  36. Wally Bass says:

    "I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this ‘covenant not to sue’ looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks."

    I don’t think "covenant not to sue" comes close

    to solving the problem. Licenses from MS

    typically prevent anyone from "passing the

    license on," and the license must be obtained

    from MS. That makes the typical open source

    methodology a violation of the license – not

    every user is going to go to MS to get a

    license.

    Does saying "I’m not going to arrest you if

    you steal that candy" solve the problem, given

    that stealing the candy is illegal. I don’t

    think so. MS is still leaving a "deterent"

    in the way of free propagation of the license,

    and it will have an effect. Since it is totally

    unnecessary if MS was REALLY in the spirit

    of free propagation of open standards, there

    is still plenty of reason to be distrustful

    here.

    And, that isn’t even going in the question

    of the one year delay before anything real

    happens. As pretty much the inventors of

    "vaporware" to kill competition, it appears

    to me that MS has only moved your vaporware

    "technology" to a new domain.

  37. BrianJones says:

    Since most of the questions have been focused on the CNS, I figured I’m create a new post to focus specifically on that: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/11/22/495876.aspx

    There I talk about the new approach we are taking, where there is no longer a license. We are saying that everyone can go ahead and use our formats.

    I don’t understand this whole "vaporware" talk. We’ve been working on these XML formats for over 6 years now. The first version of the Excel format was in Office XP. The first version of WordprocessingML was in Office 2003. Now we have improvemed them to the point that they are ready to be the new default formats for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Look into it a bit folks. Read some of my entries from this summer. I clearly explain how the formats work, I even pointed to free online labs that let you work with Office 2003. It’s not "vaporware", it’s not "reinventing the wheel", it’s an obvious progression of work we’ve been doing since back in Office 2000 when we used XML in our HTML formats.

    -Brian

  38. n4cer, some responses:

    "If company C or D deviates from the standard or tries to create technology not covered under the standard that infringes on the IP of Company A, then company A has a right to protect such IP as it has not granted rights to said IP in that case."

    You’d think Microsoft would have learnt how restrictive that is after it bit them with the Java "standard". I’m not defending Microsoft’s actions in that case as they clearly were intended to subvert Java rather than for any legitimate reason, but there *are* legitimate reasons why you might want to create, say, something that implements only *part* of the Doc standard, or that enhances it.

    Furthermore, from a purely practical perspective, saying that you only have a license to the spec if you conform to it completely essentially forbids releasing your code until it’s done and bug-free, which makes the Open Source "bazaar" development process impossible. The idea that your use of the spec suddenly becomes illegal if a spec-conformance bug is discovered is bizarre and a license that tries to make that claim doesn’t seem very "open".

    "Most recently, I’ve seen people talking about cloning WCF (Indigo) on Mono. This should not be the way forward for Mono nor does this perpetual cloning make any sense, especially in the WCF case. WCF uses open standard protocols for web services. There’s no reason to clone it. Just create your own object model for those standards."

    And how exactly does that help someone trying to run a program that was developed against the WCF object model?

    Basically, your responses seem to me to miss the point of what "open" really means, which is discouraging when coming in response to what may be a really big positive step from Microsoft, if they do it right. (Others have posted some legitimate concerns with how it is actually being done, but I’m waiting for further details before judging). But "open as long as your code doesn’t do anything we don’t like or come too close to competing with our value proposition" isn’t open.

  39. Rod Boothby says:

    Brian,

    Does the Excel XML schemea include anything related to read/write access for each cell?

    Also, what is the relationship between the new open schemea and Excel’s events? Could I build something into an Excel xml file saying that a particular web serivce would like be informed when that cell is updated?

    Many thanks,

    Rod Boothby

  40. John Smith says:

    You don’t have to make OpenDocument default if you don’t want to, but you’ve never explained why you aren’t supporting it at all.

  41. John Smith says:

    You don’t have to make OpenDocument default if you don’t want to, but you’ve never explained why you aren’t supporting it at all.

  42. n4cer says:

    I disagree:

    What MS did with Java was nothing more than including their own namespace that allowed developers to access Windows native services. There was demand for this at the time. It was not necessary to use it if you had no need for it, and it did nothing to hurt development of cross-platform apps. Today, there are many Java libraries distributed by platform vendors or app server vendors that destroy WORA if you choose to use platform-specific functionality. Sun, themselves, include native code access facilities in Java allowing you to call out to unmanaged, platform-specific code. The ultimate win Sun had was trademark infringement which MS could’ve gone back and argued but chose not to. When it comes to Java, Sun has been highly hypocritical and chose to go after MS while ignoring other vendors.

    The whole bazzar aspect would similarly be ruined by Adobe’s patents on PDF and Sun’s patents on ODF. There is no difference in their enforcement of patents. Adobe, Sun, and MS’ claims (as do practically all claims of this type) state that they are only granted for the purposes of implementing a comforming implementation. In reality, they’d likely only enforce this on conforming implementations if such implementations are marketed as final and no effort is made to remedy any bugs in the implementation.

    RE; WCF

    This is no different than any other development. If your goal is cross-platform development without optimizing for each platform, don’t use WCF. In the same way that you wouldn’t code your app in Win32 and expect cross-platform execution. These are common sense issues for developers.

  43. Neil Lewis says:

    "What MS did with Java was nothing more than including their own namespace that allowed developers to access Windows native services."

    Sorry, it wasn’t a namespace at all, java has always had adequate namespace features.

    It was a non-standard language extension designed to encourage bowdlerised exclusively platform dependent java development to the detrement of other platforms.

    The usual embrace-extend-extinguish tactics from Microsoft, once again illegally leveraging their platform monopoly.

    If you’re so willing to rewrite history on that one, why should we trust that you won’t do the same again?

  44. miscblogger says:

    kudos to microsoft for opening up its formats!

  45. n4cer says:

    Much of the MS-specific functionality was provided via the com.ms.* namespaces. There was also VM support but none of this functionality affected one’s ability to produce WORA apps if you wanted to. You just didn’t use that functionality.

    There were people at the time, however, that didn’t care about WORA (they made internal apps that ran in an all Windows environment for example) and wanted the benefits of native platform services and language features while using Java as their preferred language. Where the need existed for portability, they’d code straight Java.

    The trust issue should be directed towards MS. I’m not an employee.

  46. Today we are announcing the details behind the upcoming 2007 Microsoft Office system products. We had…

  47. Two weeks ago we had the second face to face meeting for Ecma TC-45. For those of you unfamiliar with…

  48. Microsoft is giving itself a hearty pat on the back for announcing its intention to open up its Office formats. It will, says product manager Brian Jones, "fully document all of our schemas so that anyone can understand how to develop on top of them."

  49. toast says:

    OMFG, I can’t believe the fear I’m seeing in people’s posts about the formats. All I am seeing is that people are spreading their own FUD and getting themselves into a big worry session, so much that they can’t understand the simplest of statements.

    I’ve read people asking the SAME QUESTIONS and expressing the SAME FEARS over and over, again.

    The funny thing is that they have been answered very simply, in plain english. How many times does n4cer have to say it?

    There ARE NO LICENCES NECCESSARY FOR ANYONE TO USE THE FORMATS, HOWEVER WAY THEY WISH.

    AND, Microsoft will NOT SUE YOU *UNLESS* you try to claim the formats as your own creation.

    Anyone not understand english? Looks pretty damn clear to me.

    You can all rest assured that the legal implimentation will stand up to scrutiny from all over the world, so stop HARPING ON, FFS.

    Jesus Christ!

  50. No doubt you’ve seen that in version 0.8 of the XML Paper Specification, we pulled support for annotations…

  51. <i>11/21/05</i>.  Microsoft’s decision to standardize on the Open XML Formats for the next release of Office was based on a variety of criteria from Office developers and users.  Brian Jones explains some of the thinking behind the decision

  52. RuleZ023 says:

    I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but such is life. I don’t care. So it goes. More or less nothing seems worth thinking about. I’ve just been hanging out waiting for something to happen, but that’s how it is.

  53. RuleZ023 says:

    Not much on my mind lately. My life’s been completely boring these days. I’ve just been hanging out not getting anything done. So it goes.

  54. RuleZ023 says:

    I haven’t been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can’t be bothered with anything these days.

  55. If you haven’t made your way to Brian Jones’ blog, do so immediately. He’s announced some very exciting…

  56. RuleZ023 says:

    Not much on my mind right now, but it’s not important. I’ve just been letting everything happen without me. I just don’t have anything to say right now.

  57. RuleZ023 says:

    I just don’t have much to say recently. Such is life. I’ve basically been doing nothing. Basically nothing seems worth bothering with. Oh well.

  58. RuleZ023 says:

    I’ve just been staying at home not getting anything done. I guess it doesn’t bother me. Shrug. I haven’t been up to anything. I haven’t gotten much done today.

  59. RuleZ023 says:

    I’ve more or less been doing nothing worth mentioning, but eh. My life’s been really bland today. I don’t care. I’ve just been letting everything happen without me these days. That’s how it is.

  60. RuleZ023 says:

    I just don’t have anything to say right now. I haven’t been up to anything recently, but it’s not important. I’ve just been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but shrug.

  61. RuleZ023 says:

    I just don’t have anything to say right now. I haven’t been up to anything recently, but it’s not important. I’ve just been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but shrug.

  62. RuleZ023 says:

    I’ve just been staying at home waiting for something to happen, but I don’t care. Basically nothing seems worth thinking about. I can’t be bothered with anything recently.

  63. Como se sabe XML en un formato independiente de la plataforma y del lenguaje, y la adopción que vienen surgiendo desde…

  64. Como se sabe XML en un formato independiente de la plataforma y del lenguaje, y la adopción que vienen surgiendo desde…

  65. TramadolDog says:

    I’ve just been hanging out not getting anything done. What can I say? I’ve basically been doing nothing worth mentioning, but pfft. Not that it matters. Pretty much nothing exciting happening to speak of. I haven’t been up to much these days.

  66. TramadolDog says:

    I haven’t been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can’t be bothered with anything these days.

  67. TramadolDog says:

    I haven’t gotten anything done today. I feel like a fog, but what can I say? I’ve just been letting everything wash over me lately, not that it matters. Shrug.

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