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Rephrasing a couple phrases?

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Gustavo's picture
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One of the visitors of ObtengaLinux.org got in tough with me to correct a couple phrases:

"For most Windows® licenses, you can't keep the software when you change the hardware."

"No support for open standards"
Office does support open standards: TXT, PDF (export-only), HTML (generating invalid code tough), RTF (created by Microsoft btw) and Office Open XML (created by Microsoft too).

I think we should rephrase them.

Cheers!

a thing's picture
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not really

TXT is very primitive, and RTF is quite primitive too. HTML doesn't count if it's invalid, and Office Open XML is not an open standard. All that leaves is export-only PDF.

So rephrase it to "Little support for open standards".

Gustavo's picture
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I think Office Open XML is

I think Office Open XML is an open standard: It was standardized by Ecma International as Ecma 376 and the specification is freely available and implementable by anyone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_Open_XML

a thing's picture
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So?

That doesn't matter if it's patent encumbered.

Gustavo's picture
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But it's royalty-free:
a thing's picture
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trust

Do you honestly trust Microsoft to keep it that way if by some chance it gets wide adoption?

Anyways you can't even seen that site without IE.

Gustavo's picture
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I don't trust Microsoft at

I don't trust Microsoft at all. I just say that that format currently looks like an open one... Anyways, they might do like the mp3 patent's holders: Make it widely used and later put restrictions on it.

I use konqueror and I could see that site; try without the anchor: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA102058151033.aspx

Cheers!

a thing's picture
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charles's blog

There's a blog on Libervis Blogs all about open standards and how Office Open XML is not one.

ariadacapo's picture
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I agree with a_thing...

I agree with a_thing... "Office Open XML" is open the same amount as Apple's "FairPlay" is fair, "Trusted Computing" is based on trust, and "Digital Rights Management" has to do with rights. Marketing is all about choosing your words.

Indeed Charles' blog has interesting points... here is my favourite extract (I edited the text with indicated cuts and brackets, to make reading easier)

Charles-H.Schulz wrote:

Microsoft's Open XML file format may perhaps be one day an OSI standard [...] but it will never be an open standard.

Let me just summarize what is an open standard, without dwelling too much in the experts' discussion on this topic: An open standard is a specification or technology that has been certified as a standard by an accredited organization (OSI for instance), that is available at no charge, does not come with specific clauses limiting its usage, implementation or its distribution, is not tainted by any kind of patents' claims, that is developed by several parties, and that has at least one open source implementation while allowing its massive adoption by the industry. [...]

I can already point out by the definition above that Open XML is not an open standard. Microsoft claims that Open XML will be covered by the same old Microsoft Office 2003 Reference Schemas license . Well, of course in order to read it you should have specific software, namely Microsoft software and yet, one that comes only in special versions.
Anyway. What is very interesting is that after having managed to read [the license] and the covenant Microsoft made on these schemas, all I [found] was a lousy covenant not to sue and a standard RAND license. In fact, the license and the covenant are not even issued by the ECMA [...], but by Microsoft. [...]
Simon Phipps rightly pointed out the main problem of the covenant. Microsoft pledges not to sue anybody who will implement a conformant implementation of the Open XML spec. Here's the trick: nobody knows what is a conformant implementation of Open XML. Conformant to what? To the spec? The entire specification of 6000 pages??? and to which degree? [Both ODF and Open XML] have various degrees of requirements. [...] the whole question behind the discussion of a compliance test for ODF, [for example,] is that nobody knows how permissive or restrictive the test should be.

Microsoft [however], claims that there is a conformant implementation of Open XML. The least we can say is that nobody ever saw it. Also, this seems to imply that partial implementations (implementations that are conformant to only one part of the spec) are not covered by the covenant. What this means for instance is that if you wish to have a non-office application implementing one part of the spec, and only one part of it because of practical reasons, well you can't. You have to implement the 6000 pages, boom. [...] There are many examples of why partial implementations are useful and normal. [Even] OpenOffice.org itself does not implement the ODF standard totally.

And, oh, the last one is not the least: the license applies only for the present « conformant » implementation. If Microsoft Office 13 is released in two years, nobody can say that the license and the covenant will still work: They will have to be renewed by Microsoft, and not by the ECMA nor the OSI, to bring you the same fuzzy feeling of safety under the shade of Microsoft lawyers.

But enough with the legal aspect of the question. Open XML is a huge, incredibly huge specification of 6000 pages (ODF is only 756 pages long) that, as Bob Sutor once put it, is actually a dump, a collection of everything Microsoft ever designed in the field of office file formats. The problem for Microsoft is that their only way to live up to their claims and face the OSI is that they have to « keep the compatibility with the existing Microsoft Office users ». Microsoft writes that everywhere, even at the ECMA. There is no concern for people who would like to get out of Microsoft's range here. No concern either or no attempt by Microsoft to kill the [cash] cow and contribute to ODF. Open XML will not just be the compatibility layer between Microsoft Office users, it will also be the default container of any piece of data existing inside the Microsoft empire (sorry, the ecosystem).

It would be good for GGL to be more precise on the subject, but I couldn't find a very clear and short explanation of how Office Open XML is not open, yet.

Gustavo's picture
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Alright, I get it! Thanks

Alright, I get it!

Thanks you, a thing and Olivier!

guyjohnston's picture
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Not proper HTML

I've noticed that when I've tried exporting a file to HTML using Microsoft Office (so I can read the documents some of the staff at my university refuse to send in a non-proprietary format at home), it seems to use Microsoft's proprietary extensions, as it doesn't work properly with free software browsers. I don't know if this was what was meant by it being "invalid".

Gustavo's picture
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