[odf-discuss] Miguel on OXML
daniel.carrera at zmsl.com
Wed Jan 31 07:03:09 EST 2007
On Wed, 2007-31-01 at 06:14 -0500, Lars D. Noodén wrote:
> That's an understatement.
> MS seems to trot him out when using an 'appeal to authority' fallacy
> and Enderle, Thurrott or Didiot won't do. i.e. "I use OpenSource(tm)
> and endorse ..."
I doubt that MS asked him to write an article. As for appeal to
authority, that is a very common fallacy. It happens here too ("I have
more lobbying experience than you and I say we should do xyz"). Appeal
to authority is particularly difficult because it is not _always_ a
fallacy. Worse, it is almost never completely fallacious, or completely
non-fallacious (e.g. being a techie who knows XML makes me more able to
comment on OXML than someone who isn't, but that doesn't make me an
authority on the subject).
> The gist of his objections, if I understand correctly, are attacking the
> ODF formula spec
Rather, I think he's coming at it from a different perspective than you
and I. I think his perspective is:
"We need to talk to MS Office reliably. We've been trying to figure out
the .doc/.xls formats for ages and finally we have documentation. And
for this, a very detailed spec is good."
This is a valid point, but it doesn't at all mean that OXML should be an
ISO standard. Michael Meeks has been able to use OXML to figure out
stuff about the _binary_ formats. This is a positive outcome of OXML
(those binary files will be around for a long time). For that reason,
I'm glad that OXML exists. I, however, dispute that it should be an ISO
I think Bob Sutor (or was it Rob Weir?) said that OXML is not a
specification, but a DNA sequence. This is true. And a DNA sequence
should never be an ISO standard. Not in a million years. But a DNA
sequence of MS Office has a valuable use. Just don't make it ISO.
Well... that's my take on this.
> and accusing any opposition as being politically motivated.
He didn't say any opposition was politically motivated. He said that the
GrokDoc page was politically motivated. And the motivation of the
GrocDoc page is to prevent ISO approval of OXML (because that would be a
very bad thing). Honest people might disagree on whether that counts as
political motivation or not.
> He, perhaps deliberately, seems to be missing the point that part of the
> problem with the size of Ecma 372
> One of the main marketing points, the alleged support for older MS
> formats, appears to be not documented in the spec. An item which he
He definitely missed that. He also said a few half-truths. For example,
he said that "ODF only references 3 ISO standards". Technically true,
* ODF references several W3C standards. Those are the relevant ones for
the things that ODF does.
* The issue is mis-represented as "how many standards can you
reference?" but rather "how many standards do you *conflict* with?".
* I did not propose in the GrocDoc article that OXML just copy and paste
SVG. Miguel's point over the size of SVG is valid, and truth be told,
ODF does not copy and paste it either. But for the things that ODF does
that _can_ be done in SVG, ODF uses SVG-compatible attributes. This is
what I recommended for OXML. This is perfectly reasonable, and it's the
way it should be.
> He also seems to imply that OOo and ODF are somehow the same, the format
> is not an application nor, unlike Ecma 372, not bound to any individual
Yeah, he did say that ODF was based on the internal model of OOo. I find
that surprising in that ODF is really quite generic. I don't see it
being modelled after the internal structures of _any_ application. Note
though that I am not familiar with the OOo source code.
> So basically, the whole article appears to be a troll, but does bring up
> which points the MS movement is pushing in their current lobbying effort.
A more positive way to say this: This article brings our weakest points,
and it's good to know what they are.
> He seems to be part of the FUD team MS is running full time these days.
> I do wish he would simply go away and take Enderle, Thurrot and Didiot
Be careful to not take all criticism (even that which infuriates you) as
evidence that the opponent is an MS shill. This is bad strategy and is
more likely to make you lose in the end.
For example, his point about the image format was bang on. If the
GrokDoc article was still editable I would modify that section to refer
to "any image format, preferably a standard like PNG or JPEG". In
hindsight, that seems more appropriate.
-- Canadian French is essentially bad English as spoken by a Belgian
with an inferiority complex.
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