25.3.08

Document Freedom Day


This one is going to be short, I promise.

Tomorrow is going to the the "Document Freedom Day". I intend to celebrate it in Lisbon. If you want to celebrate it in Portugal you might be interested in checking about the events in Lisbon and Oporto. If you want to know about other countries, there's a list aggregating the events happening all over the world.

Document Freedom is an important matter. I've been a fan and user of LaTeX for more than 10 years. The main reason I liked it in the first place was the easyness of creating, writting an maintaining a document. I remember having a really old 386 laptop which only use was a LaTeX compiler, the vim editor and a DVI viewer. What starting as being "wow, this is a cool new way of doing stuff, without that boring formating crap and I'm really more produtive with it!", quickly started being a lot more things, as I stumbled upon more advantadges. See, LaTeX is an Open Format. Besides being available in any Operating System I stumbled upon, the fact that it is distributed under the terms of the LPPL, thus being free software, made it suitable for a lot of uses. Heck, I earned some real money doing translators and interpreters of, or using, LaTeX. The beauty of it was that, since it was open, anybody could read, alter, interpret or otherwise manipulate a TeX document. I was happy, but the format never was really adopted but in some specific cases or scenarios, and in the academic world (specially Mathmatics, since LaTeX has the most powerful - in my oppinion at least - way of representing math formulas). On one hand, LaTeX is only suitable to produce word processing documents, formulas or presentations. Office suites give you that, and also spreadsheets and charts. On the other hand, even if fully documented, LaTeX (and TeX) aren't standards.

I heard for the first time about ODF in 2002. Of course I knew that there were concurrent formats to those of Microsoft Office, but as soon as I heard about ODF I became more happy. No, I wasn't intending to be a ODF user. I still do my documents in LaTeX, even today. But this was - finaly - a document format, open as (La)TeX, but an "office suite format", meaning that it would also cover spreadsheets and charts. The cherry on the top of the cake, those making ODF happen wanted it to be an Open Standard. Great! I was not the only one - of course - understanding the power and importance of an Open Standard for documents. Documents in an open format - specially if regulated by a standards body, warrants you long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers. In 2004 the European Union understood its importance, and demanded from the existing vendors the existence of a document standard. The ODF work was already being done, and in 2005 ODF became an OASIS standard, a step into 2006 where it became an ISO standard. In that same year I attended to XTech '06, where I met Donna that spoke about ODF, Our Document Future. It was a great presentation in many ways: The talked about the importance of digital preservation, how can we do it, and why ODF was the best choice. She then talked about the massive adoption that ODF was already having in Australia, with the Digital Preservation front efforts. That was just the beggining: Italy adopted ODF in 2007, the same year that saw ODF 1.1 as an ISO standard (1.2 should be ready in summer 2009), and nowadays ODF is being considered and already adopted, in some cames more massively than in others, in countries like Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, France, Norway, Japan, Germany and Malaysia.

But Donna also told in her 2006's presentation that the future would bring us dark clouds in our sunshining scenario: Microsoft and OOXML. She was right. See, Microsoft has no commercial interest of adopting ODF (or any standard, for the matter). Yet, with all political pressure, it is mandatory that they support a standard... So they decided to create their own, which was aprooved as an ECMA standard in December 2006 and is now in the process of trying its aprooval as an ISO standard. Microsoft doesn't really support ODF (despite their trolls saying "but we pay for the development of converters!"): if they wanted to support the ODF standard, even if not their format of choice, ODF would be integrated in a stock instalation of their Office Suite. Also, if you considered that they were never interested in contributing into making ODF a better standard (which would be the natural action of a party interested in the field) that would serve for their technical purposes, you can't really think nor expect people to believe that Microsoft was really interested in a standard. But OOXML is worse than that: it isn't open (thus, even if it turns into a standard it will never be an open standard), is encumbered with software patents, while supposedly being a XML format (like ODF) has in its specs examples that show invalid XML, and has an incomplete specification.

I could go on and on about all the process and steps that Microsoft made this last couple of years to make OOXML a standard, refering to the way they admitedly bought votes and comitees, how issues were handled and so far, but I don't think that's useful. Last October I was invited to be the chair to a debate about ODF and OOXML. Not even one of the dozens of entities that supposedly support OOXML in Portugal were available to attend. The excuse of Microsoft, for instance, was that "during the aproval process there were made personal acusations to Microsoft workers in newspapers and blogs, so we don't have conditions in participating". This same Microsoft employee writes frequently in several blogs whenever the issue arises. But what really made me stop writting much about the issue was the fact that... it's a war I can't win, and that pisses me off. Everytime someone talks about the issue, dozens of Microsoft-payed people (they admited it) go to the blogs and flood them with lies, circular references, and anti-IBM or anti-SUN messages. They have the means and the money to do that, I don't. But I still have the truth with me, and tomorrow I'll show it. Because the world doesn't need to be controled by some corporation. The world needs Document Freedom.

35 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:12 AM

    "Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." - Albert Einstein

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Marcos,

    I’m that same “Microsoft employee writes frequently in several blogs whenever the issue arises.”.

    And here I’m doing that same thing! Unfortunately your long post only shows one side, but I’m not going to address it. Everyone has their own opinion and I respect that. I just want to comment on some specific things that you say that can have a different way of looking at it.

    “Everytime someone talks about the issue, dozens of Microsoft-payed people (they admited it)”.
    This is not correct! What this process showed is that there are a lot of people that are tired of extremists arguments and that now they feel comfortable of sharing their opinions. “Nothing will be the same after the Open XML process”, I totally agreed!

    “They have the means and the money to do that, I don't. But I still have the truth with me, and tomorrow I'll show it. Because the world doesn't need to be controled by some corporation. The world needs Document Freedom.”
    The whole process showed that this has nothing to do with money or corporation control. What was impressive was the number of countries contributing for the format. It was also impressive the number of people that are looking at the format and contributing to the improvement. It is and was a truly worldwide contribution. No one questions ODF’s qualities, but he never had this type of contribution.

    Since we are talking about ODF, I think it’s important to read ODF Editor opinion about Open XML:
    http://www.durusau.net/publications/wholoses.pdf
    - ODF will lose if Open XML looses

    This is a person that has a medium/long vision of the subject…

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:56 AM

    I don't know how Microsoft employees have the courage to show their faces in public with such FUD sh*t.

    In Portugal they lost all right to have a say when they refused access to 2 of the biggest defenders of ODF (Sun and IBM) to the forum because of lack of seating?

    The only good thing Microsoft does is make noise, so kindly crawl back under the rock you slithered from.

    http://www.groklaw.net/ for the shameful Microsoft campaign

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Marcos,


    “Everytime someone talks about the issue, dozens of Microsoft-payed people (they admited it)”.
    This is not correct! What this process showed is that there are a lot of people that are tired of extremists arguments and that now they feel comfortable of sharing their opinions. “Nothing will be the same after the Open XML process”, I totally agreed!


    Microsoft has used several times the "we have a bigger number of people" tactic. It's not a question of whose side is "right": it's about the quality of this online discussions - for me it lowered down into a frustrating level, where is hard - if not impossible at all - to have a "sane discussion" about the matter. That said, I'm glad that people are feeling comfortable of sharing their opinions, as soon as they aren't unfundamented arguments. It's not a question of how extreme it is, but a question of what's the motivation behind it. I think it is great that people discuss the need of document freedom, and the efforts to bring us that document freedom. I don't like seeing efforts of discussing those matters ruined by other types of interests - not from Microsoft nor from any other party.

    Since we are talking about ODF, I think it’s important to read ODF Editor opinion about Open XML:
    http://www.durusau.net/publications/wholoses.pdf
    - ODF will lose if Open XML looses


    Yeah, I read it yesterday. I find it flawled in many issues, but Sander already wrote a rebutal that I generally agree with: check his response to Patrick.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's not the case of having more people. From what i have experienced and mainly in my blog is that a lot of anonymous people share their opinion freely and openly without any special motivation.

    I agreed with you, with the fact that sometimes the discussion has extreme and that "sane discussion" in this matter is very hard.

    What i also think is that the need for document freedom that you talk about won't be compromised by the fact that Open XML could be an ISO standard.

    Regarding to the answer to Durusau, come on you can't be serious! I mean everyone can have opinions but do you want to compare the opinion and experience on this matter of Durusau with the one that you shared.

    The only thing that i can say it's that time will speak for himself and there are people that look at short vision and others are worried more about the medium/long term vision.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pedro Silva4:51 AM

    "The whole process showed that this has nothing to do with money or corporation control"


    !!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????


    SLAP YOURSELF IN THE FACE!!! WAKE UP!!!! WE'RE NOT STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!






    Dear Microsoft bosses

    Please lay off this absurdly ridiculous puppet of yours. He does a terrible job. He simply doesn't deserve what you pay him! He is since long ago a completely discredited person in the blogsphere (but don't bother tell him that cause he wouldn't believe you).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Pedro Silva5:18 AM

    Off-topic: you've probably found it by now, but here's what i couldn't remember well at the restaurant table:
    http://directory.fsf.org/project/gnomoradio

    ReplyDelete
  8. Let me get this straight. Patrick wrote his oppinion. Sander thinks Patrick is wrong, and gives his arguments. Patrick's response is "My CV is bigger than yourse, so I don't feel the need to comment".

    At the same time, you point me to Patrick's link. I think Patrick is wrong, and point to Sander's reply, saying that I agree with him. Your response is "you can't be serious!", "everyone can have opinions but do you want to compare the opinion and experience on this matter of Durusau with the one that you shared" - or, in other words, you use Patricks way of not arguing, but pointing to the fact that Patrick's CV is bigger than Sanders'.

    Now, I couldn't care less for the length of the CV, I care about points of view and arguments. It could be a 5-years-old instead of Sanders: I couldn't care less. What is important for me is that his oppinion is not only valid, but shared by me. If you think he's wrong, then prove him wrong using arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Carlos Oliveira10:55 AM

    "He simply doesn't deserve what you pay him!"

    Pedro, you are wrong.
    He is doing exactly what Microsoft pays him to:
    Make noise.
    Doesn't matter what crap he spurts out, just as long as he vomits it out.

    If you can't beat them, make so much noise that valid ideas will be lost.

    Does ooxml have issues?
    http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/03/how-many-defects-remain-in-ooxml.html

    What a surprise!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Carlos Oliveira said:

    "Does ooxml have issues?
    http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/03/how-many-defects-remain-in-ooxml.html

    What a surprise!"

    No Carlos, we clearly should be satisfied with a standard so perfect like... ODF

    http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2008/03/25/can-i-mention-that-it-s-also-in-odf.aspx

    The interesting is that the arguments don’t matter anymore, everybody is discussing and thinking, not with their own ideas but someone else’s, for me is just a waste of time, it's easier go directly to the source, and by now we all know well where they are.

    ReplyDelete
  11. anonymous:

    The question of "should OOXML be aproved as an ISO standard?" isn't about ODF, is about OOXML. Yes, ODF has lots of bad things, but it's the standard we have, and can be enhanced (as it is being, with consecutive versions; as I said ODF 1.2 is expected to be ready for ISO aproval at Summer 2009).

    Of course you can try to add noise to the question with paralel issues and questions as much as you want. But - at least here - don't try to turn one question into another. The question of if OOXML should be an ISO standard is about OOXML, not about ODF.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It’s not the question of the CV of Durusau. Duruseau is in a position/role that Sender is not. And I’m not arguing that the letter or response is wrong or right! My personal opinion is that some things that he says I agreed (“OpenDocument does not have a robust mapping to the current Microsoft format. That requires an OpenXML that has completed the standards process.”, for example) and others I don’t (“The world does not need DIS 29500.”, for example). I think Durusau didn’t answer because it seems that he was really offended!

    There are two different approaches or way of reading the letter: one is technical and the other is strategic. Looking at the future...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Carlos Oliveira4:25 PM

    Once again, lots of noise... little substance

    "No Carlos, we clearly should be satisfied with a standard so perfect like... ODF"

    You are actually comparing the few issues presented to the many detected by one guy going through the specs randomly?

    What a joke!


    The big difference, one will get the issues ironed out.

    The other... will get monkeys to make noise on how mean everyone is bashing the honest and good-willed people and products of Microsoft.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Marcos Santos: Microsoft is paying astroturfers to pollute the internet with misleading or outright false information.

    The only solution for astroturfing is zero tolerance.

    BTW, thanks for the Press Release Marcos Santos, it was really a laugh, I almost fell down the sofa laughing as I read it. Really, you should put out more like those. PLEASE! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. "I think Durusau didn’t answer because it seems that he was really offended!"

    And why don't you answer? I mean, you think that Durusau is right, that the contra-arguments are wrong, but you don't explain why. How do you expect people to take your oppinion seriously if you don't explain it?

    "There are two different approaches or way of reading the letter: one is technical and the other is strategic. Looking at the future..."

    It's not a matter of thinking about it as techical or strategic: any way you look at it, it still have flaws like the ones pointed out by Sander. If you really think that those flaws don't exist or are irrelevant, then explain why. Otherwise, you're giving me a reason to dismiss Durusau's article. Telling that he is right doesn't make him right, and telling that Sander is wrong doesn't make him wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Marcos,

    As i said in my previous comment (“And I’m not arguing that the letter or response is wrong or right!”), I never said I agreed or disagreed with the letter or that I’m defending Durusau opinion in this specific post that I’ve shared. No, no! You picked on Durusau article, but what I was trying to say is even people that support and that are deeply involved in the ODF process have other points of view and in my opinion Durusau is being very clever and looking at the future.

    As you said in your previous comment, the approval of Open XML nothing has to do with ODF. I completely agreed!

    Open XML is a great standard, open (great improvement from the past) and can be used by everyone. That’s what I believe and my opinion!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Carlos Oliveira10:53 AM

    "You picked on Durusau article"

    It was you that quoted this persons flawed opinions, which were then refuted.
    Don't complain that Microsoft's new bum-chum is being attacked.


    "Durusau is being very clever and looking at the future."

    Of course he is. Change of opinion at this stage can only mean one thing. Lots of m$-dollars.

    [...]

    "Open XML is a great standard, open (great improvement from the past) and can be used by everyone."

    Great in number of open, unresolved flaws, as other comments have pointed out.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As i said in my previous comment (“And I’m not arguing that the letter or response is wrong or right!”), I never said I agreed or disagreed with the letter or that I’m defending Durusau opinion in this specific post that I’ve shared. No, no! You picked on Durusau article, but what I was trying to say is even people that support and that are deeply involved in the ODF process have other points of view and in my opinion Durusau is being very clever and looking at the future.

    Lets see if I understand what you're saying. When you first talked about Durusau's article, you said you thought it was important that I read his article. Now, you are saying that there are opinions different than mine, valid or not. As I see this, you think it is important to understand that there are different positions (which I understand and know), but I don't think that those opinions that say that OOXML is a good thing for Document Freedom are right, I said why and you're not interested in discussing that. Is that it? It's important to know that there are different oppinions, even if they are invalid?

    "Open XML is a great standard, open (great improvement from the past) and can be used by everyone."

    That's not true:
    1) Open XML isn't a ISO standard (at least yet);
    2) Open XML isn't open, nor is going to be an open standard even if aproved by ISO;
    3) Open XML can't be used by everyone. The specification isn't complete (for instance, it doesn't give you the specification on how to implement things like autoSpaceLikeWord95 or useWord97LineBreakRules .

    ReplyDelete
  19. Now I’m really confused… because I think we are always changing subject.

    The discussion around Document Freedom has nothing to do with Durusau or Sander comments, right? In my view they are different discussions!

    “OOXML is a good thing for Document Freedom are right, I said why and you're not interested in discussing that.”
    Where do you say why? I’m glad to discuss, read your own opinions and thoughts and share different views on this.

    Open XML is an ECMA standard.

    Open XML is open because everyone can look at the specification and develop an application that uses the format. Huge difference from the past!

    Open XML can be used by everyone and we have discussed this on the past. If you are not using a document made in older Microsoft Office versions you can ignore those tags.

    It’s two different ways of looking at a glass of water: You see it half empty, I see it half full!

    But I respect you opinion. For you, Open XML is not ready and needs improvements. For me it’s ready and I think that’s very positive that we are discussing if a format that is used in Microsoft products is open or not! We won’t be having this discussion 5 years ago!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Marcos Santos: you're a laugh. OpenXML does not exist. What's an ECMA specification is an OOXML version that's not respected even by Microsoft Office.

    And how can you say it is ready when it received so many changes, some of them so dramatic, in the mean time?

    A fast track proposed standard is one which already has a lot of consensus because it was openly discussed and improved.

    Countries are voting on an unseen document with thousands of pages of differences.

    This is not ready, it is a sham.

    As to Microsoft's participation on Document Freedom Day... well... I leave it to your own judgement, you guys certainly do love to do Porn-style redirection...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Carlos Oliveira7:35 PM

    I don't know why we are bothering to answer Marcos Santos.

    He works for a company that is corrupt.
    Just look at what they have been blatantly doing with this issue.

    And the sad thing is that they will be successful.

    They have a monopoly.
    They have money.
    The will do anything it takes, legal, illegal, moral or immoral, to futher their agenda.

    Our laws have no weight because the money gets to the politicians, to the lawmakers, the the press and TV.

    Of course you can take some joy in offending a immoral, mostly clueless worm like Marcos Santos, but even he will be the last to laugh. He is being paid to do what he is doing, and most certainly his bank account helps him look this children in the face without shame.

    That's life.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "The discussion around Document Freedom has nothing to do with Durusau or Sander comments, right? In my view they are different discussions!"

    So why did you talk about Durusau's article as a comment to my DFD article?

    "Where do you say why? I’m glad to discuss, read your own opinions and thoughts and share different views on this."

    Please stop saying "I'm glad to discuss" stuff instead of discussing it. There are lot's of unanswered questions in this comments, you can start with those.

    "Open XML is an ECMA standard."

    Is that a reply for my "Open XML is not an ISO standard"?

    Open XML is open because everyone can look at the specification and develop an application that uses the format. Huge difference from the past!

    Looking to the specification, I won't be able to implement an OOXML reader that properly reads a valid OOXML document that uses, for instance, autoSpaceLikeWord95.

    Open XML can be used by everyone and we have discussed this on the past. If you are not using a document made in older Microsoft Office versions you can ignore those tags.

    We've discussed this in the past, but you were allways fail to prove me wrong. My problem with it is that you don't really even try, you just divert the conversation from one thing to another trying to add enough noise into the conversation to make the signal disapear. If I write an OOXML reader using the specification, the reader should be able to read every valid OOXML document. If you send me a valid OOXML document that has parts "made in older Microsoft Office versions", I won't be able to read it properly, since the specification doesn't tell me how to deal with that case. The specification is incomplete.

    "For you, Open XML is not ready and needs improvements. For me it’s ready and I think that’s very positive that we are discussing if a format that is used in Microsoft products is open or not! We won’t be having this discussion 5 years ago!"

    For me Open XML is flawled. You can't stop yelling "it isn't!" but you miserably fail to argue why. We're not really having a discussion about a format that is used in Microsoft products: not only the OOXML that is purposed to be an ISO standard doesn't have a full implementation in any Microsoft product released until now, but we're not really having a discussion about it.

    As I told, whenever you're ready to have a discussion about this, let's have it. But having a discussion means talking about things, instead of avoiding the need of contra-argumentation.

    ReplyDelete
  23. We are talking in circles…

    “So why did you talk about Durusau's article as a comment to my DFD article?”

    Because your article spoke about ODF, that was your preferred format, right? So I wanted to share an opinion of the most important person that is working in ODF. Only that!

    “There are lots of unanswered questions in this comments, you can start with those.”

    I’m really sorry but in your comments I don’t see unanswered questions. But I’ll start by those below.

    “Is that a reply for my "Open XML is not an ISO standard"?”
    Yes!

    “Looking to the specification, I won't be able to implement an OOXML reader that properly reads a valid OOXML document that uses, for instance, autoSpaceLikeWord95. “

    I think you’re “making a storm in a glass of water”. As you know autoSpaceLikeWord95 is included because of compatibility issues. As you probably know this was a bug and it would be “not normal” to include a description of a bug in the specification. It doesn’t make sense! However, it would have been irresponsible to erase it because there might be someone in this planet that have documents that included this.

    On the other hand, I only see people that don’t want Open XML to go forward, to have a problem with this. All the developers, that are implementing Open XML in their applications are fine with this. They just ignore this tag.

    “For me Open XML is flawled. You can't stop yelling "it isn't!" but you miserably fail to argue why. We're not really having a discussion about a format that is used in Microsoft products: not only the OOXML that is purposed to be an ISO standard doesn't have a full implementation in any Microsoft product released until now, but we're not really having a discussion about it.”

    You mean flawed, right?
    Open XML is on a process and is getting better and the ISO proposed version is different from the original. That’s the normal standardization process. Let’s wait for the final version!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Because your article spoke about ODF, that was your preferred format, right? So I wanted to share an opinion of the most important person that is working in ODF. Only that!"

    In my article I talk about ODF since it is the only ISO standard for documents, and because it was the first effort in the field. Besides, who says Durusau is "the most important person working on ODF"? Check again.

    “Is that a reply for my "Open XML is not an ISO standard"?”
    Yes!


    Then, I see no relation. I say "it isn't an ISO standard", and you say "but it is an ECMA standard". You can't be serious if you're saying that both are equivalent: if they were Microsoft wouldn't be pushing OOXML to be an ISO standard, right? If you're interested in knowing why are these completely different, check this.

    As you know autoSpaceLikeWord95 is included because of compatibility issues. As you probably know this was a bug and it would be “not normal” to include a description of a bug in the specification. It doesn’t make sense! However, it would have been irresponsible to erase it because there might be someone in this planet that have documents that included this.

    Are you serious in using this as your argument? If autoSpaceLikeWord95 is a bug in the specification, then the spec is buggy and you should get rid of the bug. If "it would have been irresponsible to erase it because there might be someone in this planet that have documents that included this", than the support for that tag is not a bug, is something that is and should be specified in the standard. But, if it is there and should be there, then it should be there in a way that people can use it. Being there and not being usable but for some people, makes this a standard only for some and not for all (which is not an open standard).

    All the developers, that are implementing Open XML in their applications are fine with this. They just ignore this tag.

    You're joking? OF COURSE THEY IGNORE IT, THEY CAN'T DO OTHERWISE! If I had to implement OOXML, I would be forced to do the same. The problem here is that IF an OOXML reader doesn't read ALL of the OOXML documents, then it won't be able to present it as it was supposed to be presented. This sends to hell the whole purpose of having a standard! There are two ways of fixing this:
    1) document these tags and put them into the specification;
    2) take out this tags from the specification.
    "Ignore it" isn't a sollution, it is, instead, the proof of existence of a problem (in the format).

    Open XML is on a process and is getting better and the ISO proposed version is different from the original. That’s the normal standardization process. Let’s wait for the final version!!

    Yeah, OOXML is getting better, but not thanks to Microsoft. If you had what you wanted to, OOXML wouldn't had to pass through the BRM and wouldn't have the changes you're now talking about. The problem is, the "final version" (the one voted until today) is still flawed. In my oppinion, OOXML should be rejected: if you take into account the ammount of ink that was spent about OOXML, it's easy to understand that the format isn't suitable for a fast-track procedure, but instead the six stages standard procedure.

    Finaly, it's important that I stress this for readers of this thread: "wait for the final version" is synonymous of "waiting until it is aproved", which is similar as "waiting until it is to late", since the whole purpose is to check if it should be aproved or not.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Dear blogger,

    This troll is just pure noise. I really think you should consider ignoring him!! It's trash in your comments section. There is no point in discussing OOXML since the whole idea is wrong from the very beginning.

    We already have ODF and duplicate standards add incredibly costs to the industry and governments and are against world trade organization recommendations and against ISO mission and values. PERIOD!

    Hey, M$, just add real support to ODF and shut up and stop this crazy lobbying!

    Note: normal people would be embarrassed; read for example groklaw.net and the notes on the portuguese CT173 available on the web. This guy doesn't feel embarrassed... Poor guy. I hope M$ keeps at least a small office in Portugal otherwise this guy will be unemployed soon.

    ReplyDelete
  26. “In my article I talk about ODF since it is the only ISO standard for documents, and because it was the first effort in the field. Besides, who says Durusau is "the most important person working on ODF"? Check again.”

    He is the ODF Editor…

    “You can't be serious if you're saying that both are equivalent:…”

    Please don’t put words on my mouth. They are not equivalent, but it’s an ECMA standard. Period.

    “Are you serious in using this as your argument? If autoSpaceLikeWord95 is a bug in the specification, then the spec is buggy and you should get rid of the bug. If "it would have been irresponsible to erase it because there might be someone in this planet that have documents that included this", than the support for that tag is not a bug, is something that is and should be specified in the standard. But, if it is there and should be there, then it should be there in a way that people can use it. Being there and not being usable but for some people, makes this a standard only for some and not for all (which is not an open standard).”

    That’s where we have different views. I think that it doesn’t make sense to specify a bug. But it’s important to think care about people that have used this.

    You can write the perfect standard and nobody will use it because they know they will lose information/data.

    “You're joking? OF COURSE THEY IGNORE IT, THEY CAN'T DO OTHERWISE! If I had to implement OOXML, I would be forced to do the same. The problem here is that IF an OOXML reader doesn't read ALL of the OOXML documents, then it won't be able to present it as it was supposed to be presented. This sends to hell the whole purpose of having a standard! There are two ways of fixing this:
    1) document these tags and put them into the specification;
    2) take out this tags from the specification.
    "Ignore it" isn't a sollution, it is, instead, the proof of existence of a problem (in the format).

    When I say that developers don’t seem to have a problem with this, is not because they don’t have an alternative, is because they don’t care and they are not complaining about this.
    But Marcos it seems like you studied this subject! Can you guarantee that there is an application that really and fully implements ODF ISO spec?

    “Yeah, OOXML is getting better, but not thanks to Microsoft. If you had what you wanted to, OOXML wouldn't had to pass through the BRM and wouldn't have the changes you're now talking about. The problem is, the "final version" (the one voted until today) is still flawed. In my oppinion, OOXML should be rejected: if you take into account the ammount of ink that was spent about OOXML, it's easy to understand that the format isn't suitable for a fast-track procedure, but instead the six stages standard procedure.”

    As you also know the amount of ink has nothing to do with the technical details of the format. This process was transformed into a crusade which led to both parts to extreme their positions, which was not positive to the normal process of the standard.

    “Finaly, it's important that I stress this for readers of this thread: "wait for the final version" is synonymous of "waiting until it is aproved", which is similar as "waiting until it is to late", since the whole purpose is to check if it should be aproved or not.”

    What I say is different! What I say is that since September a lot of things are happening who led to changes from the original version. Let’s wait for the final version, if the format is approved. Even if the format is not approved I’m sure that all the work done will be used.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Durusau works (payed by SUN) as an editor to the ODF committee. If you call that "the most important person working on ODF", you surely have a completely different view than mine about how standards should be worked on.

    “You can't be serious if you're saying that both are equivalent:…”

    Please don’t put words on my mouth. They are not equivalent, but it’s an ECMA standard. Period.


    You replied my "not ISO standard" argument with that "it is an ECMA standard". If you acknoledge that they are equivalent, then saying "hey, it's an ECMA standard!" is completely useless to this discussion and only adds noise.

    I think that it doesn’t make sense to specify a bug. But it’s important to think care about people that have used this. You can write the perfect standard and nobody will use it because they know they will lose information/data.

    Huh? Man, there's a tag in the specification. I don't care what do you call it (bug, retro-compatibility, zbr, it's all the same). The tag is there and there are two choices: or you specify what it is, or you take it off. If you don't any of those two, the specification is incomplete. Nobody here is talking about losing data. If you have documents in an old format, with bugs or no bugs, you will ever be able to migrate it to a new format, if it is an open standard. Of course, up to this moment, if you have those documents, you'll have to use Microsoft's implementation of OOXML, since others were forced not to implement that tag. But thanks: you just admited that if OOXML becomes a standard "nobody will use [anothing but a Microsoft implementation of it] because they know [that otherwise] they will lose information/data".

    When I say that developers don’t seem to have a problem with this, is not because they don’t have an alternative, is because they don’t care and they are not complaining about this.

    Those who don't care about if it is an open standard or not, will implement OOXML anyway. Your argument is just plain invalid.

    But Marcos it seems like you studied this subject! Can you guarantee that there is an application that really and fully implements ODF ISO spec?

    Yes I can. You would be surprised about what organizations are doing with ODF for documental preservation, for instance. You'll have to believe me on this, tho, since I'm not interested in pointing them to Microsoft, so you can go there and use your lobbying tatics to destroy the great work they're doing there. Microsoft has being doing that whenever you can, but I'm not going to help you on that. But it is only a question of reasoning. If you think that an open standard is meant to be implemented only on pieces, with unimplementable pieces, than - sorry - we have different definitions of open standards. And let me get this straight: this is not a case of having "different oppinions". No. I'm right on this one.

    "As you also know the amount of ink has nothing to do with the technical details of the format. This process was transformed into a crusade which led to both parts to extreme their positions, which was not positive to the normal process of the standard."

    Of course not. When Microsoft decided that OOXML should be approved no matter what, the whole standardization process was fucked up. I don't have to remind you how shameful it was. As a matter of fact, the only positive input I saw was technical, and all that technical input was done by those who opposed the approval.

    What I say is different! What I say is that since September a lot of things are happening who led to changes from the original version. Let’s wait for the final version, if the format is approved.

    The whole point of this discussion is whether it should be approved or not, not what happens next.

    Even if the format is not approved I’m sure that all the work done will be used.

    Yes, I have no doubt of it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great, now I think we are having a structured and healthy discussion.

    Regarding Durusau, don’t you think he has great responsibilities. Don’t you think that he and maybe also who is supporting ODF (for example SUN as you mentioned) are thinking about the next 6 months or year…

    “Huh? Man, there's a tag in the specification. I don't care what do you call it (bug, retro-compatibility, zbr, it's all the same). The tag is there and there are two choices: or you specify what it is, or you take it off. If you don't any of those two, the specification is incomplete. Nobody here is talking about losing data. If you have documents in an old format, with bugs or no bugs, you will ever be able to migrate it to a new format, if it is an open standard. Of course, up to this moment, if you have those documents, you'll have to use Microsoft's implementation of OOXML, since others were forced not to implement that tag. But thanks: you just admited that if OOXML becomes a standard "nobody will use [anothing but a Microsoft implementation of it] because they know [that otherwise] they will lose information/data".

    Marcos, this is bug and depends on the application. This is something common. This is called “Application defined”. Do you know how many “application defined” tags ODF has? I’m always giving examples of ODF but I could use any other standard.
    Should this be the “thing” to stop Open XML from being an ISO standard? No.
    Because of this behavior should this not be considered an Open Standard? I don’t think so!

    “Those who don't care about if it is an open standard or not, will implement OOXML anyway. Your argument is just plain invalid.”

    So what you are saying is that everyone can implement Open XML.

    “Yes I can. You would be surprised about what organizations are doing with ODF for documental preservation, for instance. You'll have to believe me on this, tho, since I'm not interested in pointing them to Microsoft, so you can go there and use your lobbying tatics to destroy the great work they're doing there. Microsoft has being doing that whenever you can, but I'm not going to help you on that. But it is only a question of reasoning. If you think that an open standard is meant to be implemented only on pieces, with unimplementable pieces, than - sorry - we have different definitions of open standards. And let me get this straight: this is not a case of having "different oppinions". No. I'm right on this one.”

    What can I say! Companies are made of people! Please don’t give me lectures about lobbying or reasoning. You don’t know me at all!

    What I was asking was not examples of custom applications or customers development. Let me be more straight. Does OpenOffice, for example, fully implements the ODF ISO spec?

    “Of course not. When Microsoft decided that OOXML should be approved no matter what, the whole standardization process was fucked up. I don't have to remind you how shameful it was. As a matter of fact, the only positive input I saw was technical, and all that technical input was done by those who opposed the approval.”

    First, the whole purpose of the standardization process is purely and 100% technical. Improve the spec . That goal was achieved. Saying that the technical input was done by the ones who opposed is a non-sense. But you are raising a very good point. This work was a true collaboration between people with different views and opinions. With the contributions of all the parts and not the only ones really interested, I think that final work will be very good!

    “The whole point of this discussion is whether it should be approved or not, not what happens next.”

    That’s true! Let’s see how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Regarding Durusau, don¿t you think he has great responsibilities. Don¿t you think that he and maybe also who is supporting ODF (for example SUN as you mentioned) are thinking about the next 6 months or year¿

    Durusau is an editor. It isn't he who defines the evolution of ODF (nor anyone, for that matter, an open standard isn't rulled by one person or entity). He certainly isn't "the most important person working on ODF".

    Marcos, this is bug and depends on the application. This is something common. This is called ¿Application defined¿. Do you know how many ¿application defined¿ tags ODF has? I¿m always giving examples of ODF but I could use any other standard.

    OK, we're getting nowhere. Please explain to me like if I don't know nothing about OOXML, document formats, documents or office applications, why "this is a bug", why does "this depends on the application", why, being a bug, is it in the specification, what do you mean by "depends on the application", and how can you ensure that every OOXML document using that tag is presented in the same way.

    Should this be the ¿thing¿ to stop Open XML from being an ISO standard? No.

    This is one of the things that makes OOXML not suitable to be a standard: it specification is incomplete.

    Because of this behavior should this not be considered an Open Standard? I don¿t think so!

    Behavior? What behavior? You mean the forced lack of behaviour facing a tag, because it isn't specified in the spec?

    So what you are saying is that everyone can implement Open XML.

    I'm saying no one but Microsoft has the tools to do a complete implementation of OOXML, which is against the definition of open standard.

    What can I say! Companies are made of people! Please don't give me lectures about lobbying or reasoning. You don't know me at all!

    I'm not lecturing anyone. I'm just saying that it is sick to think that there's anything good coming from the acts that Microsoft had to push OOXML as an ISO standard.

    What I was asking was not examples of custom applications or customers development. Let me be more straight. Does OpenOffice, for example, fully implements the ODF ISO spec?

    Standards are not about applications, they are about formats. The question isn't about OpenOffice or any other application. The question is "If I give you a document, do you have the tools to read it properly?". If the document is in ODF format, I have the tools (the specification) to read it properly. If the document is in OOXML format, I can't promise I have the tools to read it, because it might use one of those undocumented tags. See the difference?

    First, the whole purpose of the standardization process is purely and 100% technical. Improve the spec. That goal was achieved.

    What a joke. I know it is the 1st of April, but don't push it. Microsoft's purpose of the standardization is political, not technical. If Microsoft wanted to improve the spec, it wouldn't be submited as a fast-track process.

    ReplyDelete
  30. “Durusau is an editor. It isn't he who defines the evolution of ODF (nor anyone, for that matter, an open standard isn't rulled by one person or entity). He certainly isn't "the most important person working on ODF".”

    Ok, I agreed, it’s not the most important person, but I stay with my initial comment. He is thinking about the future.

    “OK, we're getting nowhere. Please explain to me like if I don't know nothing about OOXML, document formats, documents or office applications, why "this is a bug", why does "this depends on the application", why, being a bug, is it in the specification, what do you mean by "depends on the application", and how can you ensure that every OOXML document using that tag is presented in the same way.”

    Let me see if I can explain: You have Word 95 and you create a document. That version of Word 95 has a bug that was corrected after, but certain documents (in binary formats) include that “bug”. Unless there is someone using Office 95 in this planet we won’t have now one worried about creating new documents with this bug. So the issue is with old documents. To ensure that you can convert those documents to Open XML you need this. No one needs to implement these tag!

    "This is one of the things that makes OOXML not suitable to be a standard: it specification is incomplete."

    Picking your own words (“specification is incomplete”), is ODF suitable to be standard?

    “I'm saying no one but Microsoft has the tools to do a complete implementation of OOXML, which is against the definition of open standard.”

    You are being completely “intransegente” (I don’t know to say in English), regarding to Open XML. Do you have the same behavior/criteria for ODF, for example?

    “Standards are not about applications, they are about formats. The question isn't about OpenOffice or any other application. The question is "If I give you a document, do you have the tools to read it properly?". If the document is in ODF format, I have the tools (the specification) to read it properly. If the document is in OOXML format, I can't promise I have the tools to read it, because it might use one of those undocumented tags. See the difference?”

    I know perfectly the difference. I have already blogged about it recently.

    “If the document is in ODF format, I have the tools (the specification) to read it properly.”

    Ok, let’s assume that this is true. I’m just asking, I’m learning. You receive an ODF document with the following namespace inside, for example “CurrentDatabaseCommand”. Can you read it?

    “What a joke. I know it is the 1st of April, but don't push it. Microsoft's purpose of the standardization is political, not technical. If Microsoft wanted to improve the spec, it wouldn't be submited as a fast-track process.”

    The process was technical but someone transformed it to political.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ok, I agreed, it’s not the most important person, but I stay with my initial comment. He is thinking about the future.

    We all are: discussing our document future.

    Let me see if I can explain: You have Word 95 and you create a document. That version of Word 95 has a bug that was corrected after, but certain documents (in binary formats) include that “bug”. Unless there is someone using Office 95 in this planet we won’t have now one worried about creating new documents with this bug. So the issue is with old documents. To ensure that you can convert those documents to Open XML you need this. No one needs to implement these tag!

    If the issue is in the translation of Office 95 documents into OOXML, why does the OOXML spec talk about it? Why is it needed? Isn't there a way to represent the same content and the same presentation in OOXML without using that tag?

    Picking your own words (“specification is incomplete”), is ODF suitable to be standard?
    [...]
    You are being completely “intransegente” (I don’t know to say in English), regarding to Open XML. Do you have the same behavior/criteria for ODF, for example?


    With ODF, you were choosing between having a document standard or not. With OOXML you're choosing between having another standard or not. I surely think that now we have to be more strict into accepting new versions of both those standards.

    I know perfectly the difference. I have already blogged about it recently.

    Link, please?

    Ok, let’s assume that this is true. I’m just asking, I’m learning. You receive an ODF document with the following namespace inside, for example “CurrentDatabaseCommand”. Can you read it?

    Where do you see CurrentDatabaseCommand in the ODF specification? AFAIK, CurrentDatabaseCommand is an "application defined" tag, or, in other words, an "extension to the standard".

    The process was technical but someone transformed it to political.

    Technical? When? Where? Take the Portuguese example, where the issue was expected to be voted without discussion right on the first TC meeting...

    ReplyDelete
  32. "If the issue is in the translation of Office 95 documents into OOXML, why does the OOXML spec talk about it? Why is it needed? Isn't there a way to represent the same content and the same presentation in OOXML without using that tag?"

    Marcos, I think that the request from you and others were heard and that the final version of the format will have all the documentation that you are asking.

    “b) Compatibility settings
    Many National Bodies requested more complete documentation for some legacy application compatibility settings in DIS 29500, such as “AutoSpaceLikeWord95”, “truncateFontHeightsLikeWP6 “and others. Ecma agrees with this comment, and will provide the full information necessary to implement all compatibility settings within DIS 29500. This will enable implementers to achieve more full-fidelity compatibility with existing documents, and ensure DIS 29500 can be fully implemented without dependency on legacy products. In addition, we will remove all legacy application compatibility settings from their current locations in the specification, moving them into the new annex for deprecated functionality. The new conformance clause provides for new documents to be created without using the compatibility settings. This is also a significant change for DIS 29500. ”
    From ECMA: http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/Proposed%20dispositions%20for%20National%20Body%20comments%20on%20DIS%2029500%20complete.htm

    "With ODF, you were choosing between having a document standard or not. With OOXML you're choosing between having another standard or not. I surely think that now we have to be more strict into accepting new versions of both those standards."

    That’s your personal view. But I think that we should have the same criteria for both. But you didn’t answer my question.
    “Picking your own words (“specification is incomplete”), is ODF suitable to be standard?”

    Link, please?
    http://blogs.technet.com/openchoice/archive/2008/02/21/open-xml-e-interoperabilidade-a-diferen-a-entre-aplica-o-e-formato.aspx

    “Where do you see CurrentDatabaseCommand in the ODF specification? AFAIK, CurrentDatabaseCommand is an "application defined" tag, or, in other words, an "extension to the standard".”

    And is it documented? Let’s see what it happens to “AutoSpaceLikeWord95”!

    “Technical? When? Where? Take the Portuguese example, where the issue was expected to be voted without discussion right on the first TC meeting...”

    You are a person that seems to talk about things that you know! This sentence shows that you don’t know all the information about this...

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  33. Marcos, I think that the request from you and others were heard and that the final version of the format will have all the documentation that you are asking.

    Great! Less one thing on OOXML to worry about. That's great news.

    But I think that we should have the same criteria for both. But you didn’t answer my question.
    “Picking your own words (“specification is incomplete”), is ODF suitable to be standard?”


    I have the same criteria for both: everytime a format is purposed to be a standard, it should be seriously evaluated. When ODF was submited to be a standard, there were lot's of beneficts in having it as a standard thanks to the fact of if being the first. This isn't a question of acting differently to ODF or OOXML, this is a question of who was the first, since the scenario was different. Regarding ODF, I don't think the spec is incomplete, but I consider it as having several flaws. I hope they are fixed in ODF 1.2, and I'll make what I can towards that goal. If ODF 1.2 isn't better than 1.1, then I'll obviously be against it.

    http://blogs.technet.com/openchoice/archive/2008/02/21/open-xml-e-interoperabilidade-a-diferen-a-entre-aplica-o-e-formato.aspx

    I'll check it out, and comment there.

    “Technical? When? Where? Take the Portuguese example, where the issue was expected to be voted without discussion right on the first TC meeting...”

    You are a person that seems to talk about things that you know! This sentence shows that you don’t know all the information about this...


    Oh, I know. But if you think I don't, please tell me...

    ReplyDelete
  34. > > > > Standards are not about applications, they are about formats. The
    > > > > question isn't about OpenOffice or any other application. The question
    > > > > is "If I give you a document, do you have the tools to read it
    > > > > properly?". If the document is in ODF format, I have the tools (the
    > > > > specification) to read it properly. If the document is in OOXML format,
    > > > > I can't promise I have the tools to read it, because it might use one
    > > > > of those undocumented tags. See the difference?
    > > >
    > > > I know perfectly the difference. I have already blogged about it
    > > > recently.
    > >
    > > Link, please?
    >
    > http://blogs.technet.com/openchoice/archive/2008/02/21/open-xml-e-interoperabilidade-a-diferen-a-entre-aplica-o-e-formato.aspx

    OK, I read it. Yes, you tell about the difference between a format and an
    application implementing it. But it doesn't reply to my affirmation that the
    issue is only appliable if we're talking about an open format. Anyway, my
    argument in this whole thread that OOXML is not an open standard was based on
    the fact that it had several undocumented tags. According to your link, that is
    no longer true, so this item is not valid anymore.

    I still think that OOXML can't be considered an open standard. I don't have
    time now to write about it, but I'll do it soon.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ok, let's wait to hear your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete