Back from Winnipeg


I was out for the past week at a family event in Winnipeg. I didn’t have any access to e-mail or internet and was pretty surprised to see the number of comments from my post last week. I have to admit I don’t think I’ll be able to read through and reply to them all, but I’ll give it my best.

Some people thought the example I gave was too simple. I’ll have to work on pulling something more complex together soon. I just grabbed them from Stephen McGibbon’s blog. I know that he has some more complex examples using a wordprocessing document, and I’ve played around with Gnumeric’s support for a few weeks. I don’t have a Mac so I can’t test out iWorks support, but we’re working on getting one set up so I can play with that.

I would point out that the level of support is pretty impressive given how new the spec is. It hasn’t even been approved for ISO yet and there are already tens of millions of people on multiple platforms who can now interoperate using Open XML. We’ve had well over 10 million downloads of the free updates to previous versions of Microsoft Office for instance which gives those folks the ability to read and write the new formats. If you compare this to ODF and where they were 9 months after standardization it’s no comparison. There have been very fundamental interoperability problems discussed for a year or so now in the few apps that claim full support for that standard. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing though as I think it’s to be expected both standards are still so young. I know it’s hard, but let’s not hold Open XML up to a drastically different bar. 🙂

Some interesting things happened earlier this week that I thought were worth calling out:

  • Ecma commits to deal with all comments – There has been some noise the past month or so on whether or not it would be ok for a country’s national body to vote “yes” if they had issues they’d like to see dealt with. There is plenty of precedence for this as Jason Matusow points out, and Ecma has now publicly committed to dealing with all comments in the ballot resolution meeting. We’ve already been dealing with the comments that have been publicly available, and will continue to do so until we get everything addressed. This is just part of the overall process for a standard; it continues to improve over time.
  • Germany votes “yes” for Open XML approval – Germany just recently announced that they will vote to support the Open XML standard for ISO adoption. They went the “yes with comments” route as they have some issues they’d like to see addressed for the ballot resolution meeting (which will probably be some time next year). Jason talked about this yesterday, and has some good quotes available as well: http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/archive/2007/08/22/germany-votes-yes-with-comments.aspx

 

OpenXMLCommunity.org Quote of the Day:

Xandros, Inc. – United States

“In today’s world where application and document interoperability is key, we believe strongly that competing office productivity applications should make it easy for customers to exchange files with one another and allow them to use the operating system and office productivity applications of their choice.  Open standards enables this exchange and promotes industry competition. Open XML, the default file format for 2007 Microsoft Office, enables customers to realize this today. We support the work Microsoft and others industry groups are doing to contribute to an open standards computing environment.

Xandros believes that there are many standards bodies that can create “open standards”, including both Ecma International and Oasis.  Because the specification for Open XML is freely available to anyone, they are using it in both their work on the translator project and in supporting Open XML in their products.

We believe the existence of interoperability between the two file formats is key, and that interoperability exists today (as evidenced by the translator) and open standards will continue to evolve in the future.”

– Jeff Kuligowski – Senior VP Sales & Marketing

-Brian

Comments (44)

  1. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Brian said "Some people thought the example I gave was too simple. I’ll have to work on pulling something more complex together soon."

    I find it appalling that you offer no excuse despite your deceptive practice.

    You did not test Gnumeric at all. What you did was repost content from elsewhere. Stephen McGibbon is not a technical person, he’s an evangelist. You know better than anyone else what evangelists are paid for. They are not paid to tell the truth, they are paid to spin it to Microsoft sole advantage.

    Hence the embarassing Gnumeric example.

    Again, you should feel further embarassed for lying to your readers and showing trivial examples as if it reflected "very rich support" (your words, not mine). There is no sound reason why Microsoft would be giving free publicity to competitors. Until you consider a bigger picture.

    Let me get this straight for you : if the "new" file formats were really better, I would be congratulating the people behind it, instead of having to comment how a masquarade it is.

    I am absolutely appalled by the complete fraud that you guys are forcing down the throat.

    It’s a big deal. If that were just a matter of file formats, nobody would care that much. But turning ECMA and now ISO into puppets is a huge insult to everyone in the standards ecosystem, and to the software community at large.

  2. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Just to offer help (so that you avoid making more lies), here is what you can find in current Gnumeric’s implementation (1.7.11) :

    // gnumeric/plugins/excel/xlsx-write.c ////////////

    /* TODO : (Just about everything)

    * Figure out why XL 12 complains about cells and cols

    * styles

    * rich text

    * shared expressions

    * external refs

    * …

    * */

    static void

    xlsx_write_fonts (XLSXWriteState *state, GsfXMLOut *xml)

    {

    }

    static void

    xlsx_write_fills (XLSXWriteState *state, GsfXMLOut *xml)

    {

    }

    static void

    xlsx_write_borders (XLSXWriteState *state, GsfXMLOut *xml)

    {

    }

  3. Stephen says:

    Stephane where’s the lie? I simply made a spreadsheet in Gnumeric and opened it in Numbers and noted that the formulas worked.

    That is a simple test – but it’s one that most ODS implementations fail.

    If you want to have a technical discussion come up with a technical argument. The *fact* that it works as shown is pretty hard to refute.

    You’re absolutely right that the work is ongoing. I have no problem with that. I don’t see anybody blogging about simple things you can do to show spreadsheet interoperability with ODS – that might be a space you could explore!

    There’s no conspiracy Stephane, someone just moved the cheese that’s all.

  4. KAMI says:

    I simply found this…

    http://blogs.sun.com/dancer/entry/correcting_false_statements_by_microsoft

    Also the Brazilian NO:

    http://avi.alkalay.net/2007/08/ooxml-brazil-says-no.html

    AFAIK Germany and Hungary passed with yes…

    Jones, what is your opinion about this article:

    http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections

  5. John says:

    Hi all,

     Does anyone know of an example of a feature in OOXML that _cannot_ in implemented in ODF?  Bearing in mind that you can add your own tags to ODF.

    John

  6. John Scholes says:

    I found Jason’s comments about Ecma dealing with all comments fairly bizarre. It is not up to MS or Ecma to decide what happens to comments put forward in the JTC1 process! The JTC1 process follows the JTC1 rules not the MS or Ecma rules.

    It is entirely possible that Ecma 376 will become an ISO/IEC standard with some but not all of the submitted comments taken into account.

    I notice also that Ecma has submitted a proposal to JTC1 SC34 that it should be the designated body for maintaining the standard. The proposal is currently on the agenda for the December 2007 meeting.

    That seems to me to be a thoroughly bad idea. I hope MS will be lobbying against that proposal. It seems to me quite contrary to all the statemens MS has been making about handing over control of Ecma 376 to others.

  7. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Stephane,

    Open XML may not be for everyone, and clearly it’s not for you. I get it. Thanks. I don’t think we need to hear any more about it. Go tell Rob Weir how cool you think he is.

    —————-

    John Scholes,

    I think the proposal Ecma has made to the ISO is quite good. It has Ecma and ISO working together on the future evolution.

    Look at the state with ODF. There is no maintenance agreement. OASIS is just plowing forward with no involvement or process established with the ISO whatsoever.

    —————

    John,

    Please read the history. It’s not like ODF was around before Open XML came into the picture. They were both designed in parallel, and have fundamentally different architectures and design goals.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/07/09/open-xml-timeline.aspx

    -Brian

  8. John Scholes says:

    Brian

    Well, much would depend on what the arrangements were in TC45. As far as I can see, when Ecma 376 was originally considered, TC45 had a brief to track MS Office specs. The amendments were simply about providing more detail of those specs.

    Do you think that would also be the appropriate approach for maintenance. The Ecma proposal (JTC1 doc 885) does not go into any detail.

    How would you ensure that all useful comments from all ISO countries could be taken into account?

    I am not really interested in ODF. The MS position is that we should have competition in standards, so presumably you want this standard to be dealt with much better than ODF.

  9. John says:

    Brian,

     I’ve heard the claim that they have fundamentally different goals etc.  So could you please give an example of where you couldn’t represent something in ODF that you can in OOXML?

    John

  10. hAl says:

    @John

    It would be a bit stretching it to include a full spreadsheet definition in an extension by adding curstom tags, or adding tables to presentations ?

    But even then there is plenty things you can’t do with ODF. For example

    ODF cannot use office tags (like revisions) in included standards.

    ODF when changing an embedded file in the package needs to change all references to that file where OOXML only needs to change the relationship file.

  11. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    What do you mean by represent? We represented all of Office’s funcationlity in HTML back in Office 2000. We even talked about using it as the default format. The only way we could get the functionlity into HTML though was to seriously extend it, and that proved to be rather problematic. The result was a pretty poor HTML format that was slow & even buggy at times. The same would have been the case with ODF. Look at their spreadsheet model for instance. It’s much closer to HTML’s table model than it is to a spreadsheet format.

    ——————–

    John Scholes,

    That will be up to both Ecma and ISO. I know Novell and Apple have things they would like to see added to the spec. From the MS point of view, we’re now working on Office 14, so we’ll have a group of things we’ll propose adding as well. In addition to that, members of SC34 are free to bring any changes (at least that’s what I understand the agreement says).

    Lastly, yes I absolutely want this to be dealt with better than ODF. We’re already seeing in this ISO process that a number of countries have admited they made a mistake by not giving ODF a thorough review, and they now wish they had spent even half the time they’re now spending in the Open XML review. So many of the comments coming in for Open XML equally apply to ODF and I hope the OASIS TC is watching and taking notes. I think the work Ecma is doing with ISO to form a good future looking development plan is very encouraging.

    -Brian

  12. John says:

    hAl,

     If I understand you correctly, you can’t add tables to presentations in ODF?  And you can’t add revision numbers to documents?

     Your last point isn’t about features.

     I’ll check the ODF and see about your first two points.

     Brian, so ODF can support everything OOXML does, but you argue that it would slightly increase the load times?

     That really doesn’t sound like the whole "fundmental difference" thing that the OOXML pushers have been saying.

  13. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    Have you looked at the formats? How technical are you? This will help me understand how to better explain it to you. Thanks.

    -Brian

  14. John says:

    Brian,

     Well, I’m able to google 😀  I would consider myself fairly technical.  I’m an open source coder etc.

     For the table-in-presentation thing, it seems that it is entirely possible.   I quote from a previous poster on this blog:

    OpenDocument allows tables in presentations encoded in the following way:

    <draw:frame>

     <draw:object xlink:href="Link to OpenDocument spreadsheet table" />

    </draw:frame>

    For convenience the next version of OpenDocument will also allow tables in presentations to be encoded as follows:

    <draw:frame>

    <table:table>

    ….

    </table:table>

    </draw:frame>

    End quote.

    I’ll have a check for the revisions thing.

  15. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    Tables in presentations should be very easy to add. I think it’s a key indicator though to the fact though that ODF was designed based on Open Office. Open Office’s presentation application doesn’t support tables. Instead you have to embed a spreadsheet. Every other presentation application out there allows for tables. The fact that it would be so easy to have changed the spec to allow for tables, but they chose not to is just one of many indicators that their main interest was in mirroring Open Office.

    This has been stated numerous times by Gary Edwards, who was one of only two people (the other guy was a Sun employee) who participated in more than 75% of the OASIS ODF meetings. I would say that makes him an expert in terms of the OASIS technical committee. He actually recently got booted off the technical committee because they didn’t like his proposals for allowing ODF to support more of the legacy Microsoft Office functionality. I talked about this a bit towards the end of my post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/07/09/open-xml-timeline.aspx

    Political motivations aside though, there are key differences, such as the mixed content model for ODF as compared to the flat run model for Open XML. The spreadsheet model is even more clearly different. Just look at files in the two formats. ODF is a single XML file for the entire workbook where each sheet is just another table similar to HTML tables. Open XML has broken out each sheet into a seperate XML file within the ZIP, and makes heavy use of the relationships as defined by the open packaging conventions. This allows for processes to easily address each sheet individually and even open them in parallel on a multi-core machine. The SpreadsheetML format is highly optimized for streamed parsing where you quickly want to load the data into a memory structure optimized for spreadsheets. (shared string table, shared formulas, etc.)

    -Brian

  16. John says:

    Brian,

     What is the problem with embedding the spreadsheet?

     Reading in multiple files would be done serially.  It is a hard disk thing.  It doesn’t matter how many CPUs you have – you will still read in each file serially from disk.

     Once the file or files are read in, you can then process them in parallel, taking advantage of parallel processing.  But you could do that whether you are reading from one file or multiple files.

  17. Ian Easson says:

    John,

    There are two kinds of problems in trying to represent things in ODF that OOXML can do:

    – technical

    – political (or egos, if you want to)

    The technical difficulties are immense, because both OOXML and ODF are patterned after the features in different office suites (MS Office and OO), and those suites do not have the same functionality.  (Although there are some OO things that MS Office does not do, for the most part the issue is that OO is a lot less capable than MS Office.)  Those differences in functionality directly translate into differences in architecture and implementation of the respective formats.  Some of these have been listed above, but there are a lot of others.

    However, even if it were as easy as pie to technically do the work, there is no way at the moment that the OASIS group who control the ODF standard would allow this.  They have explictly stated on the record that interoperability with other office suites or formats is of no interest to them.  As Brian noted above, they even kicked out Edwards and the ODF foundation after it suggested that better interoperability was desirable.  Further, Edwards, one of the two fathers of ODF format, stated that there was such an intense hostility towards Microsoft that there owuld be no way in hell that the OASIS hroup would ever accept any help from the OOXML folks.  So, all those people who have been saying that Microsoft could have just cooperated with the OASIS group don’t know what they are talking about.

  18. John says:

    Ian,

      I googled around for this Gary Edwards.  There seems to be a lot of posts by him.  Almost all of his posts appear to be complaints about Microsoft.

     I can’t find a link about why he was kicked out of OASIS.  Anyone have a report on that?

     Ian, could you please stick to actual examples.  Those I can judge.   Just saying that it’s incompatible doesn’t really show anything.

     Weren’t MS in the OASIS group?  From reading Edwards posts, I can see why there was a lot of hostility towards Microsoft.  Microsoft hindered their work at ever step – especially when it comes to cross compatibility (This is Edwards opinions from his many complaints about Microsoft)

  19. Francis says:

    John,

    Take a look at this link:

    http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/features.html

    It lists all of the features that are currently unconvertable between ODF and OOXML.

    Admittedly, some of the features could be implemented by extending ODF. Such unwanted extension, however, would likely provoke the ire of OASIS and its defenders–recall how problematic Microsoft’s (and Netscape’s) extensions to HTML were!

    In addition, extending ODF would yield documents that would be unreadable in ANY other ODF implementation. OpenOffice and co. simply do not have possess the functionality or logic to, e.g., to generate tables of contents/authorities from styles or deal with rows above 65,536 (in word processing and spreadsheet documents, respectively.)

    This are big features–they both sway users to Office instead of OpenOffice and take a lot of coding gruntwork to implement.

  20. John says:

    Francis,

     Thanks.  Some of these seem to be quite severe – I’ll check out a few with the ODF guys.  (Btw, that page is full of spelling errors)

     I think if Microsoft did extend ODF to add these features, you would see ODF defenders get annoyed.  But I think that this would be mostly because Microsoft would screw it up, not document the changes, break everything else, and so on.

     Those were the main problems with Microsoft’s HTML.  I think that they tend to be incapable of playing nice.

  21. Ian Easson says:

    John,

    There is no incentive for MS to extend ODF to match OOXML.  So, what you have suggested won’t happen (even if it were technically possible).  

    In any case, what’s the point of extending ODF to match OOXML’s capabilities anyway?  Who would gain from this?  I think the answer is "no one".

  22. John says:

    Ian,

     I agree that there is no way MS would do this.  Their history on standards is extremely poor.

     What would be the point?  Well looking over the list of missing features, there’s only a few.  And quite a few of them will be fixed in the next revision of ODF anyway.

     The point would be that we could then have a nice standard that everyone supports.  If it means that for a few versions there a dozen bugs, then that’s not so bad.  Have a look at the list of incompatibilities yourself.

     But since we are going to have two standards it seems, does anyone know when Microsoft Office will support both standards?  And no, having to download 3rd party plugins from elsewhere doesn’t count. 😉

  23. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    Technical problems aside, please realize that ODF and Open XML were developed in parrallel. Just because Sun decided to take it’s format to a standards body first doesn’t mean that’s the one everyone has to rally around.

    HTML was a much more widespread standard format, and we did build in native support for that almost a decade ago.

    -Brian

  24. John says:

    Brian,

     Look..  if Microsoft was really interested in developing an open standard, then they would have done so in an open fashion.  They would have done so on an open forum, inviting other developers, and so on.  They would have reused existing standards where possible and would have worked with the community.

     Microsoft blocks standards at every turn.  Do you even properly support PNG yet?  Or OGG?

     You mention standard HTML, but lets be honest – we both know that the HTML output from Word was..  well just awful.  It was cleaned up I think in recent versions, and I think that now it actually produces standards compliant HTML code, but it certainly didn’t used to.

     I don’t want to be the guy bashing MS here.  Why don’t you guys actually work with the community and do something nice?  I realise there are stock holders etc, but MS Office is a fantastic bit of software.  It can compete by itself just fine without underhanded tactics.

  25. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    Your point around our HTML output is exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to you about ODF. We had to basically butcher HTML in many ways in order to get all the functionality from Office into it. We wanted to make the HTML format full fidelity, and as a result the output was pretty ugly. The same sort of frankenstein format would happen if you tried to get Open XML and ODF to merge.

    We invited all developers to work with us at Ecma in standardizing the format. Competitors like Apple and Novell took us up on that and now they have built Open XML implementations themselves. I’ve been blogging for several years now and providing people updates on the development process. Ecma provided multiple public drafts and even set up a public feedback mechnism for folks who wanted to have input but didn’t want to acutally join the TC. What else do you want?

    We did reuse existing standards where it made sense. We didn’t want to force the formats into an existing standard though if it would have harmed either format. That’s why we use XSD; XML; ZIP; Dublic Core; etc. But we didn’t use things like XSL-FO; MathML; HTML because those formats wouldn’t work for our output. They serve as a fine alternative format, but they won’t work as the default format that everyone uses.

    I have no clue on PNG or OGG. Microsoft is a huge company and you can’t really view it as a single entity. I know that we have interoperability as a huge focus now across the company and we’re making huge strides in this area.

    There will be inconsistency at times, but hopefully that will slowly go away. This is just like IBM where one side of the house is writing articles showing how cool Open XML is and how you can integrate it into you database solutions; and the other side of the house is saying it cannot be implemented and should be wiped off the face of the earth.

    MS Office can absolutely compete on it’s own and that’s why we opened up the formats. We don’t view the file formats as a way of winning some competition. It’s the features and functionality we provide that make us the best. Open XML was the only way we could move our customers into an open world though. Most of them don’t give a crap about XML. Eventually they’ll see the benefit as more solutions come along that can do smart stuff with their documents outside of Office, but for now many of them don’t care. We had to create a format that would give the world access to the information, but without having any negative impact on our customers. Otherwise they would just stick with the binary formats, and all this work would be wasted.

    This has been a goal of ours for almost 10 years. Like I said… go check out the history. It’s been an evolution that’s happened over the past several releases.

    -Brian

  26. Ian Easson says:

    John, your latest comment shows you are misinformed, out of date, or both.

    First, acquaint yourself with the history of the development of OOXML before you pronounce it closed, etc.  ODF was basically developed by two guys in an OASIS committee; by contrast, OOXML was dealt with by ECMA in a very open fashion by people from a couple of dozen areas of different types (software companies, hardware companies, libraries, etc.).  There simply is no comparison between the two in terms of participation and openness.

    As for your other comments about MS blocking standards, you need to have a current reality check there! Your comment about lack of proper PNG support is an example — PNG works just fine in IE7 and Windows.  And since when is OGG an international standard?  It isn’t.  It’s just one of dozens of minor audio/video codecs out there. (I had to google it a few months ago to see what the heck it was, since apparently Wikipedia uses it.)  By the way, Windows uses WMA and WMV as their normal codecs, which are Microsoft’s implementations of the VC-1 standard codec from the IEEE.  You didn’t know that Windows’ default codecs are standards-based, did you?

  27. John says:

    Thanks both for your comments.

    Ian, Sorry that I was misinformed. Could you point me to the mailing lists please?

    I don’t think PNG works that well in even IE7.  Do these both render okay to you? http://www.jeria.net/png_test/

     I did not know that about WMA and WMV.  Can you provide a link for that too sorry?  Wikipedia says they are proprietary, and I can’t seem to find anything on google 🙁

     I don’t think you can class Ogg as "one of dozens".  It’s the only lossy music format that I know off that is open and free for people to implement.

  28. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    did you mean "non-lossy"?

  29. Andrew Sayers says:

    Brian,

    I posted some FAQ questions in the thread "A few interesting links" on Thursday (or perhaps Friday, depending on where your server’s located).  It was large with a lot of html tags, so it’s probably been tagged as spam, and new comments have been disabled there now.  Would you mind untagging it?  I still have the text of the post, so if that’s difficult, I can repost it or send it through your contact page.

    – Andrew

  30. John says:

    Brian,

     hmm?  No lossy – it’s like mp3. except it’s free etc.

  31. John says:

    Brian,

     I was looking around some more to reply to your part where you said "Your point around our HTML output is exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to you about ODF. We had to basically butcher HTML in many ways in order to get all the functionality from Office into it. "

     Have you read Bill Gates’ email:

    http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/2000/PX02991.pdf

     Where Bill Gates himself says "We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities."

     (Have a look at the email – it’s pretty damning.)

     Don’t get me wrong though – I’m not attacking you about that email.  I’m very much aware of the big company effect that you talked about.  But there are people higher up than you that really do not want any of this open standards stuff, and will try to ruin it at every step in any way.

    John

  32. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    I hear you, but actually that was from quite awhile back. I personally have been involved in decisions where we actually had to make our HTML output crappier to work around Netscape bugs. We test our output in a number of browsers and have to do a number of tweaks to get it working properly.

    There was one really annoying one that only occured in Netscape’s e-mail editor where they didn’t treat paragraph margins right. So we ended up having to write out additional information to fake them into thinking there was a zero margin (0.001 or something like that) so it would look right. Then ended having a more general negative affect downstream though as people started replying to the messages. It’s just one example where we really did strive to make our stuff work in as many browsers as possible.

    -Brian

  33. John says:

    Brian,

     Hehe 🙂

     Thanks for taking the time to talk to me – it’s appreciated.  I’ll remain a hopeful sceptic for now 🙂

    John

  34. Andrew Sayers says:

    Thanks for untagging my earlier post – I hope it’s useful in creating a proper FAQ.  To restate my query from that post, why did you go for a trie rather than a suffix tree in Office?  I’ve used both structures a little in my own work, and I’d like to know if there’s some technical property I should be aware of.

    – Andrew

  35. Bruno says:

    "What is the problem with embedding the spreadsheet [to represent tables in a presentation]?"

    For one thing, it assumes that all tables can be represented as spreadsheets.  PowerPoint and Word support "irregular" tables, one in which individual cells can be divided horizontally or vertically not in accordance wiht the "row" or "column" in which they lay (indeed, the notions of "row" and "column" become fuzzy for such tables).

    For another thing, it’s pretty sloppy to require a heavy-duty spreadsheet embedding where a light-weight table would suffice.

  36. Craig Matthews says:

    John said:

    "I don’t think you can class Ogg as "one of dozens".  It’s the only lossy music format that I know off that is open and free for people to implement."

    You alleged that Microsoft "blocks standards at every turn" and supported this statement by asking if they properly support OGG.  Ian was simply pointing out that OGG is not a standard and is therefore an inappropriate example of Microsoft "blocking standards at every turn."  

    In other words, whether Microsoft supports OGG or not has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any industry standards.

  37. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    Thanks for the conversation, I thought it was great.

    —————–

    Andrew,

    No problem, not sure why but it had flagged your comment as potential SPAM. It happens every once and awhile, and it usually takes me a few days to notice. I’ll try to pull something together, but most likely it will need to wait for a few weeks. Things are really busy right now (I’m actually in Toronto for Ecma meetings today).

    ————————–

    Bruno,

    That’s a great point. I think many people view tables and spreadsheets as the same thing, which I think is a mistake. There are tables for presentation purposes as they exist in a wordprocessingML or presenationML file, and then there is a table of data which you have in a spreadsheet.

    -Brian

  38. Craig Matthews says:

    John said:

    "I don’t think you can class Ogg as "one of dozens".  It’s the only lossy music format that I know off that is open and free for people to implement."

    You alleged that Microsoft "blocks standards at every turn" and supported this statement by asking if they properly support OGG.  Ian was simply pointing out that OGG is not a standard and is therefore an inappropriate example of Microsoft "blocking standards at every turn."  

    In other words, whether Microsoft supports OGG or not has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any industry standards.

  39. John says:

    Hi Craig,

     Fair enough.  But there is _no_ free and open standard for lossy music formats that I know of.  Ogg is the only one that has been proposed (It is an IETF RFC) and it is already the industry standard in Linux.  Many music players support the format (Except MS’s Zune of course).

     Given that the codecs for it are free, open source (and BSD licensed), and the specs are open, patent-free etc, what is the reason that Windows does not support it?  

     It is the same reason PNG support is half hearted at best – because MS do not like standards.  Standards allow outsiders to be able to interoperate – which is always a bad thing for MS.

  40. Craig Matthews says:

    I cannot speak as the reason Windows, the Zune, or Windows Media player do not natively support Ogg/Vorbis.  I’m sure it’s a valid question and there are probably reasons for it, just as there are reasons that the iPod, iTunes, and the Macintosh OS don’t natively support it either.  

    I think it is a very big stretch of an assumption to believe that the reason that OGG is not natively supported in Windows is because Microsoft does not like standards, despite a single out of context email sent almost a decade ago by someone who is leaving Microsoft.  In my opinion, it is more likely that native support for OGG was not included because Microsoft’s customers were simply asking for other things.  

    Additionally, just because it’s used on every Linux fan’s computer does not make it an "industry standard" and in fact Ogg is far from  it.  Microsoft can make the same argument here as their detractors in that it would not make sense for them to implement something which does not appear to be standardized, especially given the open source camp’s commitment to disregard backward compatibility and consistency between versions of other various "standards."  There simply is not enough demand for it among Microsoft’s customers to deal with it when they can just as easily license other standard and more accepted formats.

    And there is absolutely nothing preventing anyone from installing an Ogg codec in Windows.

    And if it were any other company than Microsoft, everyone would be calling the PNG thing what it is … a bug.  There wouldn’t be conspiracy theories about it.

  41. John says:

    Craig,

     If you feel that Bill Gates’ email is just "taken out of context" then there really isn’t much I can say.

    John

  42. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John, if you’re going to judge us based on an e-mail from Bill that is 10 years old, than there isn’t much more I can say…

    People change, companies change, strategies change, markets change, governments change, technologies change, scenarios change…

    -Brian

  43. Dating says:

    I was out for the past week at a family event in Winnipeg. I didn’t have any access to e-mail or internet and was pretty surprised to see the number of comments from my post last week . I have to admit I don’t think I’ll be able to read through and repl