Ooh’s and Aaah’s for March 19th

Ooh.. (should I say Ouch!): http://www.oreillynet.com/xml/blog/2008/03/how_many_defects_remain_answer.html. Once again Rob Weir is defeated (handily).

"One of the constant themes over the last year has been the theme of panic. QUICK: You only have one month to find contradictions. QUICK: You only have five months to find defects. You only have a few weeks to evaluate the Editor's comments. Every person has to read or review the whole standard. Every national body needs to have an explicit detailed position on every issue. And so on. Always under the assumption that the current stage is the last and only chance for change.

It every case this panic is has been unnecessary FUD-mongering, because at ISO there is always the scope for improving a standard. [The normal caveat that you want to get it as right as possible first time because you cannot bolt the stable door once the horse has bolted does not apply with the same strength as with a from-scratch standard because the horse has already bolted. In fact the horse has been off and running for the last 20 years! So "getting it right" relates to documentations and harmonization rather than the general shape.]"

Aah… http://www.irislink.com/Documents/pdf/200803181557/Microsoft-031808.pdf Iris announces a partnership with Microsoft for delivering OCR solutions for Open XML. Notable from this announcement:

"I.R.I.S. being a Microsoft Gold Partner, has always been investing a lot of time and effort to provide the best support of the Microsoft formats in all of its products, said Pierre De Muelenaere, I.R.I.S. Group President and CEO. For instance, we recently announced new capability to convert images into fully-searchable XPS files and also hyper-compressed XPS files, using our iHQC™ document compression technology. More and more customers are confronted to situation where they need to convert documents from one format to another. A typical example is the need to convert massive amount of existing Tiff Group IV documents to fully-searchable PDF, PDF-A or XPS documents, for more advanced ECM applications, or to ODF or OpenXML for document repurposing. Our solutions, allow the user to select the format that best suits its needs"

Ooh… http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/archive/2008/03/13/open-xml-sdk-roadmap.aspx The Open XML SDK is announced, making it easier for developers to work with Office file formats.

"After nine months of developer feedback on the Open XML SDK, we have some good news today: a roadmap for releasing the API. We have two versions coming: a version 1.0 that will be released in May, and then a version 2.0 that will be available as a CTP this summer, and will be released around the time of the next major release of Office (Office "14")."

Allow me to return the favor of posting Doug's photo on my blog. Here's the famous "Hug Madogh" doing one of the things he does best:


Aah… http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2008/03/18/ongoing-support-for-is-29500-open-xml.aspx And for all my new fans at Groklaw, Brian Jones has also posted on the Chris Capossela open letter, noting our intent to support DIS29500 in it's post BRM-state in our products. Hopefully the repetition will help a little bit.

Ooh.. http://idippedut.dk/post/2008/03/IBM-is-now-fighting-from-the-trenches.aspx Speaking of Groklaw, I was glad to see Jesper Lund Stocholm offer a comment on the SFLC report. I'm always a fan of folks who bring reason and logic to the table to discuss things. The folks on Groklaw were apparently pretty upset that I stopped comments on my SFLC post, so they now have increased opportunities to share their thoughts on the topic.

Comments (6)

  1. GrayKnowlton says:

    Say hello to the fine folks in Finland for me…

    I think Rick’s post does a fine job of exposing Rob for the inflammatory tactics. Not only did Rob and IBM have a chance to raise those issues during the initial ballot phase, they are also members of Ecma and were welcome to join TC-45, which they did not do, opting for the "butt and bray" strategy instead.

    Ecma haven’t sidestepped any of the technical discussions, in fact they (and I) find it quite difficult to separate the noise from the real issues. Ecma committed to answering 100% of the national body comments, and that’s exactly what they did. So, by "you guys" do you mean me on my blog? If so, you’re (almost) right, I deal with technical topics as necessary. But I would also recommend you read the blogs of Brian Jones, Eric White, Mauricio Ordonez, Doug Mahugh and Rick Jelliffe if you want to engaged more deeply in that discussion.

    You raise a great opportunity for me to comment on the quality of input that many folks have provided. That’s the largest part of the reason that the BRM was so successful.

    Some of Microsoft’s fiercest adversaries have provided some of the best feedback, and the specifciation is definitely improved for it. And in all sincerity, I (as a manager of the Office product) am grateful for it, and I’m sure I can comfortably state that Ecma is as well.

  2. GrayKnowlton says:

    Hi Rob,

    A key difference between the participation of IBM and Microsoft with regard to ‘the other’ standard is the level of objection. We didn’t land in every voting country to drop the same list of technical comments, in fact our delegates in stanadrds committees voted to approve ODF (on more than one occasion).

    Fundamentally we believe that supporting one standard does not require the other, so as far as I can tell, IBM is the one playing the "our way or the highway" game, not us.

    Correct that there are A LOT of opinions on this topic, and it is difficult to really understand what is going on. That’s why I’m here, of course 🙂

    If you have had a chance to meet Doug, he is an excellent photographer, it is a hobby that he and I share.

  3. Anonymous Coward says:

    "Once again Rob Weir is defeated (handily)"

    Actually I didn’t see a single defect listen in his posting "defeated." Please elaborate.

    In fact it seems more like that you guys avoid any technical details on purpose because you know that there you won’t stand a chance due to the quality of the OOXML spec.

  4. Rob Brown says:

    There’s so much "pot calling the kettle black" going on here that it makes my head spin! I believe Microsoft is a member of OASIS and was welcome to provide input to ODF, which they did not do, opting for the "Our way or the highway" strategy instead.

    Note that the Microsoft-in-OASIS story is often accompanied by claims that Microsoft’s requirements were rejected by OASIS, which I don’t dispute because I wasn’t there. But the IBM-in-TC45 story has similar claims of dominance by one member, and I also don’t dispute those for the same reason.

    We have Rob Weir making some claims, and Rick Jelliffe offering a contrary view. That’s all good. But I wouldn’t say that Rob was "handily defeated". Rick’s point of view is that all of the errors and shortcomings in OOXML can be dealt with in maintenance. Well, it’s absolutely equally true that ODF’s shortcomings as a container for legacy documents (as defined by Microsoft) can be dealt with in maintenance. Maybe some NBs would prefer this as the future for their documents. "All it requires" is goodwill and genuine co-operation from the players. Absent that co-operation, neither ODF nor OOXML has a chance of becoming a really ubiquitous standard.

    Whether you believe Rob or Rick, or fall somewhere in the middle, probably depends to some extent on how much credibility you ascribe to those people as well as the persuasiveness of their arguments. It sure ain’t black and white!

    BTW, just *what* is it that Doug Mahugh is so good at doing? Taking photographs, or buying food? 😉

  5. Anonymous Coward says:

    Well, I still don’t see any of Rob’s technical findings “defeated”, not here, not in any of the blogs mentioned, thus I must presume that his findings are real.

  6. Anonymous Coward says:

    Uh, oh… Rick’s quoting of Jim Melton, the ISO SQL Editor, seems to have been "shamelessly out of context" and resulted a swift reply from Jim himself. The reply includes these words:


    In short, I want to emphasize that I think a Fast-Track process for any standard of this magnitude is a monumental mistake and a serious perversion of the entire concept.


    Talk about getting yourself completely "defeated"?

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