We’re getting closer to ISO approval of Open XML!


Well, we’re almost done with the latest stage in the ISO standardization of Open XML. On Monday, all the national bodies voting on Open XML (I think there are a bit over 100 total!) will submit their current opinion on the Open XML standard. I think that even at this stage we’ll probably see that the majority of countries (maybe 60% or so?) will vote “yes”. That would be great news, as it gives a lot of momentum going into the final stage which is the ballot resolution meeting. It would also mean we’re close to the required number of votes needed to finalize the ISO approval of Open XML. I’m not sure when we’ll find out what the actual results are, but I think it will probably be some time later in the week. (Does anyone have a more solid understanding of when exactly we’ll see the final results?)

I bet if you compare this to other ISO standards in the past, the level of participation and review for Open XML is huge. We had a really large active working group in Ecma creating the original submission, and that momentum has continued to grow.

Once we move onto the next stage, the work will shift over to actual changes to the formats. Everyone will work together to help improve the spec according to the comments logged. I haven’t seen any comments so far that should prove too challenging, but I haven’t seen the final list yet. With the number of countries participating I wouldn’t be surprised if we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 comments total. Many of these will be duplicates, but either way there will be a lot of comments to work though. I think that once we hit the ballot resolution meeting in February we’ll see a significantly improved spec thanks to all the eyeballs reviewing it.

Jan Van Den Beld recently did an interview talking about his expectations during the remainder of this process. He used to run Ecma, and has a lot of experience in the standards world: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/08/28/Retired-Ecma-chief-expects-Open-XML-approval_1.html

BTW, for another example of people implementing Open XML, check this out: http://staffdotnet.com/products/default.aspx Very cool! A great example of how you can leverage Open XML to automatically generate rich documents.

-Brian

OpenXMLCommunity.org Quote of the Day:

Logic Studio – Ecuador

“Many of our customers, especially in government agencies, require a way to store documents in a safe, open, standardized, and interoperable way. The OpenXML proposal goes a long way towards this end, so we look forward to having it established as an ISO standard.”

– Edgar Sanchez – President

Comments (74)

  1. Albert says:

    in french we are calling the title of your blog "Methode Coue" This method consist to repeat all the time something and so the something will happen (therically).

    I hope your wrong but who knows? Perhaps in other country than sweden the e-mail has not been found by an opponent! Microsoft OpenXML can not be an ISO format. It’s doesn’t respect the philosphy of an ISO format (it doesn’t use the other ISO format for the date, for SVG etc.). This format is only there to maintain, artificially, Microsoft monopole.

  2. Francis says:

    It’s good to hear that you haven’t "seen any comments so far that should prove too challenging!"

    I’ve read through through most of the criticisms raised and concur with this assessment–with one exception: VML.

    Even though the standard "strongly encourage[s new applications] to use preferentially DrawingML," VML is still obligatory in many cases. The standard does not furnish suitable replacements for much VML functionality.

    Extending DrawingML (or other features, such as text frames) to encompass shapes, OLE, ink, text boxes, comments, and controls in the various applications would solve this problem and make for a better experience for both users and developers.

    But I frankly cannot see how such a change could be wrought without significant expansion of the standard and extensive refactoring of Word and Excel.

    Unless Ecma has something up its sleeve, I cannot fathom how this is not "challenging."

  3. Ian Easson says:

    Hi Brian,

    Two things.

    First, that interview with the former ECMA head was like a breath of fresh air.  It’s really a nice change to hear something from someone who has many years of experience with the standards process.  You might think to quote him on your blog (I know you’ve made many of the same points yourself, but coming from a neutral person, they have more authority.)

    Second, has or will the ECMA issued a statement / promise about how the comments will be handled, and how they will keep everyone appraised of their progress?  I know you have said a few things on this blog, but it needs to come from the body, not just from one member of the committee.

    Hang in there, Ian

  4. Kevin Daly says:

    Albert: You’re misrepresenting the situation in Sweden – that was the action of one employee that was reported by Microsoft themselves when they found out about it.

    And to claim that admitting Open XML as an ISO standard perpetuates a Microsoft monopoly is simply to subscribe to the Sun/IBM propaganda that attempts to do via regulation and legislation what they were unable to do on their merits: make people use their products (by removing Microsoft’s from the table).

    Lastly, referring only to other ISO standards is a principle that for some reason ODF was not held to, since it refers to numerous non-ISO standards. But these principles only apply to Microsoft, don’t they?

  5. Robert Lilly says:

    I think what MS has created is a major digital devide which will only hurt MS in the long term. The calculation to go with ooXML and not help develop ODF is turning out to be a major mistake already.  This devide will keep getting larger. With 80% of Asia going ODF, a big % of South America, MS has lost this one big and at the same time embarassed themselves and ruined the credibilty of ISO. Time so start preparing for ODF to be native in Office. You dont know it now, but it will be native sooner than you think.

    OpenXML vs ODF reminds me of Bush vs Gore. Gore wins the popular vote, and Bush (MS) steals the win.

  6. Christian says:

    Does someone know of a framework that runs on Linux and can extract fulltext of these new file formats for indexing?

  7. franco merletti says:

    "I think that even at this stage we’ll probably see that the majority of countries (maybe 60% or so?) will vote ‘yes’  "

    yes, i agree with you, at this stage probably the majority of MS Gold part…  ejem..sorry , the majority of countries will support DIS 29500

    party on !! i love this ISO thing!

  8. Albert says:

    Kevin: Lastly, referring only to other ISO standards is a principle that for some reason ODF was not held to, since it refers to numerous non-ISO standards. But these principles only apply to Microsoft, don’t they?

    Which one please? Perhaps I should have added ISO or w3c standard to be precise.

    For the sweden thing do you sincerely believe that a simple employed will send such a mail? At least it’s someone with responsability. Another remark Microsoft admit the problem Wednesday because everybody knew it Tuesday from another blog! I think it’s a nice try to use a "fuse" but nobody a little bit serious can believe it.

  9. Ian Easson says:

    Albert,

    You probably don’t know this, but W3C is not a standards orgaization.

  10. nksingh says:

    @Christian:

    I just took a look over on the sourceforge site of OpenXML4J, which is a Java library for doing what you want.  They’re in alpha, but they will probably pretty easily support reading data.  The other option may be to use Microsoft’s .NET OOXML library in Mono.  Another good place to ask is on Doug Mahugh’s blog, since he’s the OOXML evangelist.

  11. Chris Clark says:

    Brian,

    Referring to your point about Sun/IBM propaganda, ISO IEC 26300 is a standard used by a vast open community of millions – please visit http://www.odf-eag.eu/odf-metrics, then correct that statement.

    Chris

  12. Albert says:

    Ian :

    Are you sure:

    http://www.w3.org/

    "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. "

    Naturally some compagny like Microsoft tried to change the html norm for example but it’s a norm with specification define by w3c!

  13. John says:

    Albert,

     How can you not believe the party line that the email sent was just by one employee who made a mistake?

     Sure there’s no evidence at all that MS really did try to correct the mistake, other than the word of a single blogger, but you are forgetting something:   this ‘single employee’ was high enough up that he could authorise discounts, benefits etc.

     And don’t be fooled by the fact that 20 Microsoft Gold Partners all joined on the last day, we have this same blogger’s word that he only sent the email to 2 of them.

     Also about w3c – of course they don’t make standards.  Microsoft make standards.  Admitidly when it comes to HTML etc, they might look a bit like the w3c documents, but be assured that it’s got the microsoft touch.  The problem is that the other web browsers don’t follow the Microsoft standard.

    John

  14. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    John,

    authorising discounts or some type of incentive wouldn’t require very high up authorization. Any sales guy would have to have some level of that ability otherwise it would make their job nearly impossible. They’d have to check back with their boss for just about anything. I know it’s hard to trust us at times, but this one shouldn’t be too difficult to believe.

    ———————–

    Ian,

    Here is a public statement Ecma made a couple weeks ago about how it planned to deal with comments. We’ve already met a few times to discuss the ones that we already know about. Ecma is still trying to work with ISO to figure out how public updates will work so that we can show progress over the next several months.

    Here’s what Ecma had to say on this officially (http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC45-M.htm):

    "TC45 plans to conduct thorough discussions of all comments submitted together with the ballots, using the wide technical expertise of its members to help develop the best possible proposals to answer National Body comments, including by confirming their proposed resolutions or proposing alternate solutions."

    -Brian

  15. Craig Matthews says:

    @nksingh

    "I just took a look over on the sourceforge site of OpenXML4J, which is a Java library for doing what you want."

    But, but but .. it’s supposed to be impossible to implement OOXML unless you’re Microsoft 😀

    This Java library can’t possibly exist.

    LOL

  16. n4cer says:

    "But, but but .. it’s supposed to be impossible to implement OOXML unless you’re Microsoft 😀

    This Java library can’t possibly exist."

    🙂 IBM even published an article about how easy it was to repurpose OOXML using PHP. After they found that an objective article like that didn’t fit their anti-OOXML stance, they removed it, then eventually replaced it with a revised version more inline with their "ODF r0x0rz" propaganda. Must not deviate from the party line ya know :D.

    http://notes2self.net/archive/2007/06/12/now-you-see-it-now-you-don-t.aspx

  17. deep says:

    was that employee paying from his pocke?

    you must alert the tax authorities. i smell something fishy with his accounts. may be terror funds from unknown sources?

  18. John says:

    Craig,

     I’m going to go out on a limb here, and guess that the OpenXML4J isn’t completed yet.

     I don’t think anyone has denied that someone could _try_ to make a library.  Anyone can try 🙂

  19. There’s no need to go far out on a limb.  The OpenXML4J project is in pre-alpha, mostly because it does virtually nothing at this point.  It isn’t even designed to do much, but it has very nice graphics and a bunch of high level scenarios.  That doesn’t stop the fact that all it really does right now is let you extract an XML part and pretty much change it by hand.  Since you can do that fairly easily with Java without the library (both OpenXML and ODF just use a zipped JAR format anyway), this is not exactly progress.  There has likewise been almost no activity on the project since early July.  I won’t quite call the project dead, but its vital signs aren’t strong either.

  20. John says:

    Speaking of VML, I was just thinking that this whole OOXML vs ODF thing is almost exactly like VML.

    A couple of companies got together and made PGML, but Microsoft wanted their own VML, and submitted VML to be a standard.

    But VML was rejected because there was already PGML.  PGML and VML to some extent merged and begat SVG, which became standardised.

     However since SVG was now an official standard, built by a group of companies and so on, Microsoft decided to implement their VML in IE only, and not support SVG.

     Sounds familiar, no?

    John

  21. Robert Lilly says:

    Denmark NO, Russia NO, Japan NO, China NO, South Africa NO, Canada NO, Brazil NO, India NO and lots more NOs to come….

    Something must be wrong. If Microsoft succeeds they will have ruined the good name of ISO by corrupting its people and processes. Because if OOXML, with all its huge flaws, really does pass, no one who has been conscious while this was going on is going to believe the process it passed through wasn’t a charade bought and paid for by Microsoft marketing.

    Its not only Sweden with MS fingers in the pot, the back and forth position of the US really stinks, Portugal, Spain, Germany and others really stink to.

  22. John says:

    Interestingly, one of the companies (Sourcetech ab) that joined the debate in Sweeden at the last moment and voted for Microsoft, has just been made a Microsoft Gold Partner.

  23. hAl says:

    @John

    Very suggestive as Sourcetech already was a MS partner before and would be a 99% likely approval voter of OOXML anyways.

  24. hAl says:

    [quote]Denmark NO, Russia NO, Japan NO, China NO, South Africa NO, Canada NO, Brazil NO, India NO and lots more NOs to come….[/quote]

    I can see only about 2-4 more disapproval with comments votes coming including probably the UK.

    With 10 or more abstaining though it is a significant number to have 10-12 disapproval votes. It would require Ecma to sway at least 5 P-countries votes in the ballot resolution phase.

  25. Paw says:

    @John-

    "Speaking of VML, I was just thinking that this whole OOXML vs ODF thing is almost exactly like VML."

    Yes, it shows that standardization is a complex beast and holds inherent flaws.

    "A couple of companies got together and made PGML, but Microsoft wanted their own VML, and submitted VML to be a standard."

    PGML and VML were submitted to W3C almost at the same time. PGML was a mostly unimplemented Postscript descendant (Adobe). VML is a RTF descendant, had reference implementations in MS Office and IE (Microsoft).

    "But VML was rejected because there was already PGML.  PGML and VML to some extent merged and begat SVG, which became standardised."

    I don’t think so. Like the OOXML vs. ODF thing, passive voice is misleading in standardization processes.

    I’d say Adobe opposed VML, partly they considered the MS Office strategy at that time as a treat to their business.

    Nevertheless, you’re correct; SVG is a descendant of PGML and VML. The specification was lead by Adobe, they created a reference implementation subsequently.

    "However since SVG was now an official standard, built by a group of companies and so on, Microsoft decided to implement their VML in IE only, and not support SVG."

    The Microsoft VML implementation in Office and IE had already shipped to the customers when SVG became a recommendation.

    Today, the VML implementation in Office should be irrelevant. It is a shame that it made it into the OOXML specification.

    IE still maintains backward compatibility concerning VML. That’s a necessity if a company cares about its customers.

    Sounds familiar, no?

    Well, at least the PGML vs. VML case should trigger some questions.

    Who are the customers of a specification/standardization process? Who pays? Who are the real customers?

    Who makes sure a standard is relevant? Who implements the stuff? Is it legitimate to push a standardization process in order to block a competing specification?

    In the case of SVG, "the community" applauds the w3c recommendation. Is "the community" able to give SVG any relevance? Is this the way innovation works?

    Microsoft made VML irrelevant when they figured that a sgml file format cannot make up a decent office application default format.

    Adobe made SVG irrelevant when they eventually figured that pdf made it. In order to compete against flash, the design by committee svg approach was at disadvantage as well.

    What would have happened if VML passed W3c as a recommendation? Would have Macromedia embraced VML? Would the public consume VML 7.0beta instead of flash (and silverlight in future)? Probably we all have to be thankful that the PGML/VML conflict saved the internet. Finally, no xml vector markup language could not mess up the beloved internet so far ;-))

    By the way, how much of the existing open standard SVG can you find in ODF?

    You’ll see it’s all a show- keep em laughing as you go…

  26. hAl says:

    [quote] However since SVG was now an official standard, built by a group of companies and so on, Microsoft decided to implement their VML in IE only, and not support SVG.[/quote]

    Strange as I seem to remember VML already being supported in IE before SVG became a standard. IE5 in first half of 1999 already contained VML when SVG was merely an early working draft and SVG became a W3C recommendation 1,5 years later when VML was already launched in MS Office 2000 a year before.

    So your suggestion that MS did not implement an official standard but VML in stead is completly wrong. By the time Ms released VML in it’s browser an official standard was still 1,5 years away and of course development of IE5 was already started long before that trelease probably even before any such thing as SVG even existed. Please don’t try to falsefy history by suggesting that VML was used over an exiting standard when that standard was not even in existance yet at the time of IE5 development.

  27. hAl says:

    [quote]By the way, how much of the existing open standard SVG can you find in ODF?[/quote]

    Funy example of SVG ODF implementation:

    If you copy and paste an SVG imager iinto MS Office it converts it to VML and it becomes a native vector graphis part of the office document.

    If you copy and paste a SVG image into an OpenOffice.org document is become an externally embedded file. Apparently OpenOffice.org cannot convert normal SVG to ODF SVG whilst MS Office can convert SVG to VML. If ODF had true SVG support it would suffice slaping some tags around it to add it to and ODF document but this is however not the case. ODF SVG is SVG just for supporting certain Office realted shape elements and not the same as SVG for images. They are incompatible. Also ODF adds certain 3D elemnt which are not SVG at all but are simular to OOXML’s DrawingML 3D capabilities.

    Using ODF SVG support as an argument for ODF is a joke. If MS built in SVG like that in OOXML it would now feature promenantly on Rob Weirs site as how MS was destroying SVG and on every commentslist by the ISO national bodies.

    That is doesn’t show exactly the extent of the debate. It is about market competition and politics and OSS idealism and not really about quality because when ODF was on the table nobody looked at these kind of things !!!

  28. John says:

    hAl and Paw,

     And the reason MS /still/ doesn’t support SVG in IE is?

    John

  29. John says:

    hAl,

     Lol, what a hypocrite.  You are just pointing out some bug in openoffice the application, and yet you hate it when everyone else points out bugs in OOXML.

    John

  30. Darkalias says:

    Earlier on your blog, where comments are closed, I’ve said: "If Open Office XML, sorry, I’m always confusing this: Office Open XML delivers on its promises as truly open, broadly implementable, and technically sound format, I have no problems welcoming that on the other hand."

    After all I read in the past few days, I have to add, and clarify: RIght now, OOXML does not seem to deliver a truly open, broadly implementable, and technically sound format, so instead, I do have problems welcoming this format next to ODF.

    And, how do i know that the voting process towards ISO for OOXML has been handled fair and sound?

  31. hAl says:

    @John

    It is not a bug in OpenOffice. It is a because they cannot support full SVG images in native ODF.

  32. Jeffrey says:

    Denmark votes no with comments.

    I just read the first few of the Danish comments and now I wonder: "Who wrote the Danish comments ?"

    The first real comment is that the ZIP description in OOXML does not describe the ZIP version.

    However the allowed versioning of ZIP is fully listed in table C-3 and C4 of part II of the spec.

    I have seen this comment in several NB comments suggesting that is was a comment precooked by a 3rd party and not actually verified by those national bodies. Strange the Danish NB did never list a comment on ODF completly lacking any ZIP file info included in the spec.

    The second comment in the Danish comments is that OOXML should add absolute positioning of images in a frame.

    Why ? Because it is in ODF !!! How much of a joke is that. The specs are suppossed to be different aren’t they ???

    Are they going to submit comments as well that all features that OOXML support but ODF doesn’t are removed ???

    Who makes up these comments ? Is the Danish committe serious ?

    Did they really suggest this or did they just add some comments that were send in to them ??

    The 3rd real comment is similar. OOXML should add cell protection because ODF has cell protection. Even stating that the lack of this would hurt interoperability. Danish people, the lack of formula’s in ODF is what making interoperability of spreadsheet a problem. Something you have seemed to miss completly in ODF standardization ???!!! Mayby you should suggest that OOXML removes the formula’s as well to make it more compatible with ODF ? (I guess I will read that comment later)

    A few comments later the Danish committe suggests the use of SVG in stead of VML.

    Hello Danish committee. SVG is not the ISO standard for vector graphics !!! Next time remember to suggest an ISO standard like you did with ODF (oh wait I remember, you didn’t !!!)

    I will try to read some more but I have a hard time believing these are serious comments by an ISO national body committee !!!

  33. "There’s no need to go far out on a limb.  The OpenXML4J project is in pre-alpha, mostly because it does virtually nothing at this point.  It isn’t even designed to do much, but it has very nice graphics and a bunch of high level scenarios.  That doesn’t stop the fact that all it really does right now is let you extract an XML part and pretty much change it by hand.  Since you can do that fairly easily with Java without the library (both OpenXML and ODF just use a zipped JAR format anyway), this is not exactly progress.  There has likewise been almost no activity on the project since early July.  I won’t quite call the project dead, but its vital signs aren’t strong either."

    OpenXML4J currently handle only the packaging convention (you know something that ODF don’t have) and we’re working on the digital signature part (you know something that ODF don’t care).

    If you think that working with OPC is just a matter of XML and Zip, I think you don’t work enougth with it to know that OpenXML4J does nothing at all.

    Like you might have read on the eye candy website (thanks to the open source community for the graphics), OpenXML4J is a 3 steps project and we’re still in the first step. So like you said, we don’t provide yet an object model to handle a OXML document. It’s something we will begin asap when some people will join the project.

    You’re right that there is no activity since early in July : IBM gives us a lots of work for the ISO vote (with more than 600 comments, and a lot were craps) and in France this was the ‘French summer’ : time to take some holidays ! Now let’s back to work !

  34. Andrew Sayers says:

    hAl,

    You make an interesting argument, and I hope that we can discuss it without adding to the little flamewar going on around us.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re arguing that the (only?) point of reusing parts of one standard in another is to get direct compatibility – as you put it, to make it possible to paste a chunk of one document directly into another.  I agree that this is the optimal outcome, but my understanding was that cross-pollination has a much more subtle value: using precedent rather than logic.

    In writing a new standard, if you model your work on something that went before, then you can use all the practical experience that exists about the previous work in designing your standard.  One example is that ODF’s partial re-use of SVG means that it gets many of the (known, documented) advantages and disadvantages of SVG, rather than taking a risk on something new that mightn’t work in the real world.  Another example is that Office Open XML should behave very similarly to the binary formats that the world’s been using for the last ten years, so we can be fairly certain that it won’t massively confuse users when it’s rolled out.

    – Andrew

  35. hAl says:

    @Andrew

    That is a good point. ODF is not SVG but resuing parts of SVG. That can be usefull in some cases where you could reuse parts of SVG codebases for instance.

    However ODF also contains quite a lot of other 3d element that are not SVG.

    I think Micrsoft was busy replacing VML for a much more Office oriented graphics implementation in DrawingML. The whole standardization effort is just coming in the period that this is being developed but for instance not is fully implemented in MS Office yet that still relies on VML heavily.

    However it could wel be seem as a fdifferent but not nescesairly bad strategy to make Office graphics support more dedicated than just reusing some existing format. Office document have special requirements for graphics mainly to do with graphic presentation which can be extended on much more easy in a format that is used primarily in an Office environment whereas ODF relies on SVG development or further extending the unnamend propriety graphics extensions in ODF.

    That is a choice and it seems very strange to pick one above the other based on the emotional arguments or even plain lies that are flying around now.

  36. Dave S. says:

    "If you copy and paste an SVG imager (sic) iinto (sic) MS Office it converts it to VML and it becomes a native vector graphis (sic) part of the office document.

    If you copy and paste a SVG image into an OpenOffice.org document is (sic) become (sic) an externally embedded file."

    The former is one of the behaviors in Office I dislike. Converting and embedding makes it impossible to retrieve the graphics and operate on them with the original tools. This might not be necessary, but the image manipulation tools that have shipped (maybe they are better in O2007) with Office, both vector and bitmap, are maddeningly finicky.

    Via linking this is not a problem. In fact I examined an Excel sheet embedded in a PowerPoint presentation (not a -table- ) and found there was an error in the formula underlying one of the values. Had it been converted to a bit-map or by creating a table within PowerPoint, I would never have been able to see how the value came to be.

  37. Andrew Sayers says:

    hAl,

    I hadn’t considered the issue of control of the (sub-)format.  Although reusing parts of SVG gives ODF time-tested features for free, in practice the ODF TC will have to pay great attention and repsect to the people maintaining SVG.  Given Microsoft’s relative newness to the standards arena, I can see how giving up that much control of their format would seem very unappealing.

    Dave S.,

    That’s a really good point, although it’s more of an example of application lock-in than file format lock-in.  It’ll be interesting to see how little things like that shake out in this next generation of office software.

    – Andrew

  38. Dave S. says:

    hAL –

    "It is about market competition and politics and OSS idealism and not really about quality because when ODF was on the table nobody looked at these kind of things !!!"

    When a Florida legislator tacked a recommendation onto a bill that would have funded an -investigation- into open source softeware, Microsoft got three lobbyists there in less than 24 hours.

    http://www.iosn.net/open-standards/news-items/microsoft-s-men-in-black-kill-florida-open-standards-legislation

    MS certainly has the money and people with the skills to do some interesting things. Helping potential competition has not been one of them.

    Have I mentioned how interesting it would be if Fyord (fictional company with familar sounding name) owned all the gas stations in the US and would only put gas into Fyord automobiles? It couldn’t be a monopoly because one could walk or ride a bicycle or a horse, right? I guess someone could try to open their own gas station, but Fyord could talk to the local commission about how unsafe that would be. It’s hard to imagine. How could they get a monopoly on gasoline? Perhaps the could make exclusive contracts with refiners. Walmart does it with its suppliers. Some other big companies have done this too.

  39. John says:

    hAl,

     SVG is a w3c standard.  Are you saying that Microsoft doesn’t follow it because it’s "only" a w3c standard, and not an ISO standard?

    John

  40. John says:

    Jeffrey,

     Formulas for ODF will be in the next version.

  41. Paw says:

    The posted statements above are very confusing.

    When did MS Office learn to convert svg graphics to vml?

    Yes, MS Visio supports svg for years now. But nobody cared much about that feature. It was not available in the other MS office apps. Maybe, that has changed recently?

    The svg might be a first-rate sample for a format specification that didn’t work in the real world. Too unspecific, too bloated, too demanding/hard to digest for a regular client implementation, and finally outdated.

    The 3d graphics engine is one of the best new features in Office 12. If Openoffice cares about its customers, it needs capable native 3d graphics as well. 3d svg botched, linked, embedded, riveted, or screwed.

    But if people start to lament about "application lock-in" the debate becomes absurd. Commercial organizations do only exist because they have customers. Thus, they can only continue if they can add value to the customer. Maybe iso should remit a "stop value-adding to the customer" standard. Obviously the current standard comprises already everything a customer needs. Well, more or less, if the customers shut up.

  42. Francis says:

    SVG is a bit off-topic for this thread. It is also not a good example for the benefits of ODF, open-source software, or standards.

    SVG became a standard in 2001. Yet despite the passage of SIX YEARS, how many applications support it, and what is the level of that support? To the best of my knowledge, no application has implemented SVG fully. It is, simply put, a failed standard. (And not, one might add, as a result of interference from Microsoft, but rather due to neglect from many of the companies that are now championing ODF.)

    )

  43. Jeffrey says:

    More fun in the danish comments

    The Danes also want Ecma to remove OLE embedding from Office Open XML because it is windows platform based technology. Strange because they did not object to Opendocument having OLE embedding supported when that was ISO standardized.

  44. Andrew Sayers says:

    Paw,

    I can’t comment on the other issues you raise, but I’ll try to explain what I meant by "application lock-in".

    Lock-in is a situation where the pain of changing the way you do something far outweighs any possible benefit.  For example, many mobile phone operators give cheaper rates for calls to phones on their network.  This encourages you to use the same operator as your friends, which in turn means that if you changed provider, you’d have to pay twice as much for your calls – in other words, you’re locked in to using a single provider, forever.

    A product can be good value even though it has a lock-in effect, but lock-in makes it harder for users to do what they want, and tends to make products less competitive in the long-term.

    In the case we were discussing above, MS Office converts SVG images to VML images, but won’t convert VML images back to SVG.  This has the effect of locking the user in to the VML format, and therefore into the Microsoft tools that can edit VML.  Dave S. noted that the VML editing tools in Office are of lower quality than equivalent SVG editing tools, which makes sense to me because Microsoft previously had no competitors in VML editing, so they had no real incentive to improve their tools.

    This lock-in effect is due to the behaviour of Microsoft Office, and so long as VML is sufficiently documented in the Office Open XML specification (which it may or may not be, I don’t know), there’s no reason why this lock-in effect should be a requirement of the format.  I referred to it as "application lock-in" as opposed to "file format lock-in" as a short-hand way of making the above distinction.

    Your comment about companies existing to provide value for their customers is very true, and it’s the reason I’m so interested to see how this issue changes in the future.  Maybe a company will come along with a VML-to-SVG converter, maybe companies that make vector graphics programs will add VML as a supported format, and so on.

    – Andrew

  45. Andrew Sayers says:

    If that’s as good as it looks at first glance, we’re a halfway-competent Windows programmer away from "right click -> send to -> SVG extractor".  I love the Internet 🙂

    – Andrew

  46. Paw says:

    Andrew-

    application lock-in offence would make up beautiful concept. Unfortunately it has negative implications as well.

    -each application should be entitled to support editing in its native file format.

    -an ISO file format standardization prevents file lock-in.

    -OLE is evil if OOXML supports it, not so evil if ODF supports it. Better no support for foreign files at all. Don’t care about customer demands. However, do not import foreign files into the native file format; this very likely creates application lock-in. Remember, don’t care about customer demands.

    -application lock-in also happens if an application cannot restrict its capabilities for details in question to the lowest common denominator of related file formats. Don’t care about features or customers.

    -the most sophisticated application lock-in strategy is probably to employ official file formats with discriminating implementations. The file renders dissimilar in different applications. Like svg, xhtml, odf, aso.

  47. Bruno says:

    HAHA

    Paw rocks!  🙂

    Anyway, Jeffery, it sounds like a lot of the Danish complaints are indeed bull (the OLE thing is absurd, not only because OO.o supports OLE, but so does Mac Office, so it’s not Windows-only), probably fed to them by IBM, but they voted "no with comments" rather than just "no", so if demonstrated that their comments are indeed bull, they might change to "yes".

    The thing is that ODF was able to get away with a much lower level of scrutiny (basically, no scrutiny at all), because nobody really cared.  None of these national bodies spent any significant time going through the ODF spec; most of them probably don’t even know what ODF is.  Well, ODF 1.0 has so many holes, that the national bodies don’t want to make the same mistake again, so OOXML gets a rougher treatment, being raked over the coals for "problems" that were overlooked in ODF.  I think ODF 1.1 (you know, the version of ODF with  which one can actually implement a basic spreadsheet!!) might go through higher scrutiny as well (still not as high as OOXML, due to the anti-MS paranoia and the fact that it’ll still be the case that many won’t care about ODF 1.1 anymore than they did ODF 1.0).

  48. > For the sweden thing do you sincerely believe

    > that a simple employed will send such a mail? At

    > least it’s someone with responsability.

    I’ll tell you a little story:

    From 1998-2000 I worked in my study-years for Microsoft in Denmark as a student aid. I did mostly presentation work but also worked with legal matters, e.g. guiding enterprise Microsoft customers with their license questions etc.

    One day I accidently sent a letter on official Microsoft paper (with Microsoft logo etc) to a customer. Without going into specifics about what I wrote, I managed to write something that – in case the content was released to the public – would basically ruin the licensing model and the interpretation of it for Microsoft Terminal Services on Windows 2000 Server. I don’t think I’ll need to clarify the amount of millions of dollars it would have cost Microsoft in lost revenue.

    Firstly, the problem was that now, somewhere someone was sitting with a piece of official Microsoft paper with official Microsoft logo and print, signed by a Microsoft employee with a statement in black and white saying that they could have a lot of functionality for free.

    (we, or my boss after a serious beating of me, eventually managed to withdraw the letter and control the damage)

    Secondly, this tells you that sometimes people do stupid things – and sometimes these people are student aids – even if the company is Microsoft.

    Btw: I have seen the claim quite a few places that it was a student aid, that sent the email … do you have any confirmation – from e.g. Microsoft – on this?

  49. Darkalias says:

    Jesper, your story:

    Could have been a student? Is it any proof that you’ve seen the claim on quite a few places? And if, couldn’t it have been your student was just part of the tactic, so after the smoke’s gone, you can hide easily behind him?

    I tell you antother story:

    Hide and seek behind the emperors non-existing clothes. More to follow.

  50. Darkalias,

    > Could have been a student? Is it any proof that

    > you’ve seen the claim on quite a few places? And

    > if, couldn’t it have been your student was just

    > part of the tactic, so after the smoke’s gone,

    > you can hide easily behind him?

    Dude, I’m not suggesting anything – I’m simply asking about the source of the claim that it was a student worker. I’m not trying to spin anything, not trying to cover anything and not trying to hide anything.

    Also, please note that I am not affiliated with Microsoft in any way, not employed by them and not associated with them any more.

  51. Darkalias says:

    That’s cool then, Jesper, I should have been more exact:

    I profoundly hope that Microsoft, on a broad scale, and in every other country, really did play fair, not only in public, but also behind the curtains. And I hope the Swedish guy in sin was only a naïve student, without somebody using him just as that. I just can’t really believe it.

    But that’s just me, more and more in doubt.

  52. hAl says:

    At least Micrsoft alows discusion about OOXML on it’s blogs even by people who are against the format unlike opponents of OOXML that just moderate people supporting ooxml away.

  53. Dave S. says:

    About embedding, I was referring to the general case against converting. It is better to maintain the original content and run the converter as required. There would be no need for an outbound converter – plain old ‘Copy’ would place the original material on the clipboard. Likewise ‘Save As’ would export in it’s original format, unless conversion was the goal.

  54. John says:

    Paw,

     I get the humour in your post, but I have to ask – do you genuinely not see any way for Microsoft to avoid vendor lock in without annoying its customers?  

     Do you feel that Microsoft tries its hardest to please everyone, but still can’t win?

    John

  55. Julien – Thanks for the clarifications.  Yes, I do understand the packaging conventions (at least I think I do), but it is still the case that what OpenXML4J is doing right now is hardly the level of manipulation that people are talking about.  I am glad to hear that more work is planned, as I strongly feel that what both ODF and Open XML need is a good deal more in the way of API’s that others can use, but don’t your comments completely confirm what I was saying that OpenXML4J is nowhere near ready for active use in modifying and manipulating the content of office documents, as opposed to the package which contains them?

  56. Nicolas Mailhot says:

    SVG is slowly getting there. You have expanding support in Mozilla/Firefox. You have support in the popular vector app inkscape (getting to the point it can also parse Visio-produced SVGs ie actual interoperability). The SUN StarOffice/OpenOffice team had to acknowledge a few months ago what their users wanted was not import of SVG to ODF but native SVG support in OpenOffice/StarOffice (and they were trying very hard not to hear like MS today).

    Regardless of what happens to OOXML I predict deprecation of the ODF elements redundant with SVG in the next years and more direct SVG re-use.

    So, shame on MS for ignoring SVG. The ODF camp at least started standardising years ago, when one could label SVG a "failed standard".

    SVG is not failed and is pretty much alive today thank you very much

  57. WNight says:

    Hey Brian Jones!

    Why are you lying in your blog?

    You clearly said back in February that OOXML didn’t have *any* "application defined" sections.

    How can that be true if anything is defined as "Do what Word X does"? Especially if your company’s EULA still purports to make reverse engineering illegal. Or do you guys ignore your EULAs too?

    How can you live with yourself for telling deliberate untruths in an effort to saddle the world with OOXML, which it clearly does not want?

    Why is your job so important that for six years you can sit there working for Bill Gates who said "allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other people’s browsers is one of the most destructive things…" See: http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/2000/PX02991.pdf

    Don’t you have even the tiniest bit of shame? How do you get out of bed in the morning when your whole project for most of a decade has been ruining the computing experience for the majority of the planet?

    Try, for once, not working for a company bribing and stacking standards organizations.

    You’re far from innocent, you’re just as willing to hurt everyone to make your stock rise a bit as Bill is. Jerk.

  58. ISO Will Announce on Tuesday that OOXML Approval has Failed

    http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=2007090315253367

    i don’t care if i don’t get published, this is 4 ya and all your MFS cia’s friends…..

    Dear Brian……

    Battle after battle we are defeating micro$oft, sooner or later I will enter to your blog and will see the following post ……….

    After the pressures got from the anti monopoly commission (abo= after Bush one) and the new fines imposed by the European community to micro$oft….. We have determined that the new service pack of window$ vi$ta (and all the versions to which we give support) will include a new characteristic that will do that any office computer package of micro$oft installed in the system to saves it’s files by DEFAULT IN " THE STANDARD FORMAT ODF, ISO/IEC 26300, full name: OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications "

    SO?……. HEHEH NO OFFICE FOR GNU LINUX?!!

    WE DID IT, GOD SAVE GNU LINUX & ODF + ANY OPEN CREATURE ON THE EARTH…

    NEXT TASK IS TO PROTECT PDF AGAINST M$….. IS OuR DUTY, OF COURSE, AGAIN… WE WILL PREVAIL.

    I CAN SMELL FRESH FISH LIKE PROGRAMS …. I CAN SMELL LITTLE PENGUINS.

    As once said a boy (author of " the bazaar and the cathedral ") that was sharing the elevator together with an employee of m$….  

    WE ARE YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE.

    GOD SAVE RICHARD STALLMAN AND LINUS TORVALDS.

    OF COURSE……………..             GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!!!

  59. Auz says:

    "If you copy and paste an SVG imager iinto MS Office it converts it to VML and it becomes a native vector graphis part of the office document."

    No it doesn’t. I just tried – opened the SVG in IE with the Adobe plugin, pasted into word and I got the XML pasted as if it was text.

  60. alex says:

    Why does this forum is if Microsoft has lost the voting of the iso institution?

    This post of the penguin says it clearly and also I read it in this link

    http://www.noooxml.org/forum/t-18553/iso-records-a-no-vote-on-ooxml

    Really have we lost? This makes me very sad please that someone says to me that is not like that.

    :(.

  61. Sigh!  The hardest part about holding a technical opinion is when you abhor the people you agree with as much, or more as the people you "agree" with.  I hope that the ISO process has forced a real revisiting of the Open XML standards, but it sounds already like both sides are just waiting to spin this in political terms rather than get on with the process.  I want to disassociate myself from HUGE FALKLAND’S PENGUIN!!! above at the same time as objecting to Microsoft’s puff PR piece today claiming victory when you were clearly stopped from stacking the vote and getting an absolute win.  Now, with any luck, ISO can focus on the BRM and make a better standard, rather than simply put band aids on a few issues and stack a few more committees.

    I have said it for about a year now – please do yourselves (at Microsoft) a favor and focus on fixing the issues with Open XML, and not simply focusing on "winning" at all costs.  A better standard will make your own lives easier in the long run, and it will certainly help those of us developers who want to implement tools to work with Open XML, which I would think you would want as well.

  62. RichL says:

    So, now that fast track has failed, maybe just maybe Microsoft will abandon the "win at all costs" mentality and do the right thing.  You now have an opportunity to address the 1000’s of comments and show good faith by making substantial changes to the spec.  Will this break from Office 2007?  Probably.  But standards, in my mind, aren’t about specific products.  I’d also challenge Microsoft to open up the comment resolution process between now and January.  What are the comments and the proposed resolution to each?  My pessimistic guess is a boilerplate response of "Will not be resolved" or something like it to many of them.

  63. STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!! says:

    STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!!

  64. STRONG GLOBAL PAYMENT DO YOU MEAN LOL!! says:

    Microsoft accused of more OOXML standards fiddling

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=42106

  65. YEAH WANNA C THE REACTION TO THIS

    "Microsoft loses ISO vote on OOXML "

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=42133

  66. bart says:

    ooxml will be rejected in 2008.

  67. Moral Majority says:

    I am sick and tired of the penguinistas imposing their political games on those of us who simply want to make some money from their software.

    I think it is disgusting that ISO have not ratified OOXML. The best remedy is just to impose it and let the world deal with it. Thankfully in our capitalist society we can still do that.

    The communists may have won this round but they can never compete on quality or on security or on ideology for long. We will defeat them and make them Pay.

  68. HUGE FALKLAND'S PENGUIN!!!! says:

    do you think that novell ibm sun ncr peugeot citröen cisco systems etc etc etc this cia’s friends are comunists for using GNU LINUX? heheh you have loss focus like m$ loss ooxml iso procedure.

    There is a new generation of ultra right and is not necessarily a friend of m$

    ooxml will be rejected in 2008 for sure.

  69. nksingh says:

    Oh my!  Perhaps Joel Spolsky was right on the value (or lack thereof) of blog comments.  Some of the stuff you let through makes me cringe in its inanity.  Once again, an application of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Theory.

  70. rataplan says:

    ooxml will be rejected in 2008 for sure.