For the past four weeks I have been attending to my work helping Microsoft rethink its approach to software standards. A great deal of that work involves addressing internal issues as to how we think about interoperability and the role that standards plays in the many ways you can achieve that goal. In other words - I haven't been blogging. I seem to have left all of the colorful rhetoric to a few folks.
Before I launch into Open XML and ODF, it is worth noting that the file format discussion is simply one of a myriad of standards that we deal with on a daily basis. Microsoft has more than 400 standards engagements a year and supports thousands of standards in its products. Our customers care more about data integration, cross-platform systems management, application integration, mobility, identify management, network connectivity, and a wide range of other things. The discussion of any one standard as a proxy for all standards work would be to succumb to myopia of the worst order. In fact, there is something incredibly ironic in the vitriolic postings on doc format standards when you think about the close work that the companies that employ my critics do with Microsoft on other standards.
I wonder if it is the nature of human discourse to automatically degenerate into pejorative terminology when one disagrees with someone else's perspective. I think that is lame - so to that end, I will keep my comments on Open XML and ODF focused on facts and interpretations rather than being personal in nature. I will be posting a series of blog entries this week on interop, standards, and formats. I'll also take issue with a number of other bloggers points. It's going to be an interesting week to be sure.