[odf-discuss] Response from a GNOME Foundation board director
ian.lynch at zmsl.com
Sat Nov 3 07:41:47 EDT 2007
On Sat, 2007-11-03 at 00:04 -0400, Jody Goldberg wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 02, 2007 at 03:59:38AM -0700, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> > Jody wrote:
> > > The ODF TC was fraught with politics, and produced significantly
> > > fewer benefits.
> > Marco wrote:
> > > If so, this is a serious issue that should be addresses (in the proper
> > > seats, not sure this is the one). But I still feel that giving up ODF
> > > now only makes OOXML win.
> > I agree with Marco on this one. ODF has problems, yes. I've never
> > seen a perfect formant, or any community that was free of
> > politics. But ODF is a step forward, and a very good chance to
> > break the existing Microsoft monopoly. Consider that without ODF
> > there would be no OOXML. It is thanks to ODF that Microsoft felt
> > compelled to finally document their secret formats and to do so in
> > a public process under ECMA.
> Agreed on both counts.
> ODF may one day become all that people claim it already is.
> However, even if it doesn't it's a better format than the old binary
> approach, and if one believes that OOX was produced as a result of
> ODF (which I do) then that alone is more than sufficient to praise
> ODF for achieving a major step towards breaking the unholy
> dual-monopoly from Redmond.
Which is why we set up the Fellowship in the first place. Its about
strategy not immediate technical problems. Helicopter above the
technical details and look at the big picture. At this point in time ODF
has shortcomings but most are resolveable. What will not be solveable is
a mess with two competing ISO standards confusing government take up.
The WTO trade agreements mandate ISO standards where they exist so at
some point governments will be compelled to adopt the ISO standard.
While there is uncertainty about whether or not the MS standard will or
won't be an ISO standard they can procrastinate. Once its clear there
will be only one ISO standard governments will have to back it so
companies will invest more in it and there will be as much resource as
necessary for the technical development of that standard. It won't
matter how many .doc or OOXML users there are out there if that happens,
MS will have to conform either by designing excellent filters for Office
2007 or making Office 2010 or whatever structurally compatible with ODF.
Why do you think MS is treating this issue so seriously? If ODF is the
only ISO standard it will literally cost them billions and those
billions will effectively be transferred to savings for consumers in the
community. *Anything* that makes OOXML more likely to be ratified as an
ISO standard has a chance of costing us all very dearly so individual
actions need to be taken with great caution. Technical stuff is of minor
importance at this point in time. We have managed for years with .doc
and .XLS filters, 6 more months isn't at all critical.
This also applies to the OD Foundation. If they are right, they can
demonstrate how ODF 2 or 3 or whatever can be improved, they are going
to make their own case more difficult if there are two ISO standards to
deal with. Its about timing and we all - every single community member -
needs to give maximum energy to stopping OOXML becoming an ISO standard
even if its not in their short term interest to do so. Let's not fall
into the "Divide and rule" trap and play into Microsoft's hands. Stop
OOXML being ISO'd with the same vigour as MS is pursuing it and we all
benefit in the long term.
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