December 13, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Office standards battle grinds on

Standards body Ecma International has created a committee to standardize Microsoft Office document formats, handing the software giant a victory in an intensifying struggle over desktop software.

At a general assembly meeting of Ecma in Nice, France, on Friday, the Geneva-based organization established a technical committee to make formal standards from Microsoft's XML-based Office file formats.

The committee will have responsibility for enhancing the standard "while maintaining backward compatibility" and to handle maintenance of the specification. A first edition is slated for completion by the end of 2006, according to Ecma.

News.context

What's new:
Standards body Ecma International has created a technical committee to standardize Microsoft Office file formats.

Bottom line:
The Microsoft-led committee is a key defense against a multivendor power play to use document standards to loosen Microsoft's control over desktop software.

More stories on this topic

The move, already anticipated, is the latest volley in a match being fought in standards bodies, state governments and blogs. At stake is whether Microsoft can retain its current level of dominance in productivity applications, a source of billions of profit dollars for the company.

Microsoft's desktop application hegemony is being challenged by a standard, called OpenDocument. Products that used OpenDocument are only now coming onto the market and are used far less than Office. But many Microsoft rivals, including IBM, Sun Microsystems and Google, are leveraging their collective weight behind OpenDocument.

"Companies have been unsuccessful at competing (against) Microsoft Office for at least 10 years with other products," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. "Now they are trying to use the file format as a wedge issue to try to unlock Microsoft's hold."

The rival OpenDocument format rose in prominence earlier this year when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a policy--now being reviewed--that mandated the use of OpenDocument for storing documents generated in executive-branch state agencies.

The debate over the state's productivity application standards will continue Wednesday at a state senate hearing at the State House in Boston. The forum will be hosted by the Senate committee on economic development and emerging technologies and the state's science and technology caucus.

Although its millions of desktop computers make the state of Massachusetts a sizable customer for any provider, the fate of its OpenDocument policy has taken on greater significance. It has become something of landmark issue, attracting a flurry of open letters from lobbying groups and industry executives with a vested interest.

Sun CEO Scott McNealy wrote to Massachusetts officials earlier this year: "We feel that requiring the use of an office document format, OpenDocument 1.0, which is standardized by a public process, completely free of legal encumbrances, already implemented in multiple products, not controlled by any one vendor, and on its way to being an ISO standard is enlightened and will pay long-term benefits to the citizens of Massachusetts."

Another indication of the importance of the case is the planned attendance of Alan Yates, the general manager of Microsoft's Information Worker division, who has led its standardization efforts. Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards, and Sun's Bob Sproull, a Sun fellow and vice president of Sun Labs in Massachusetts, are also on the agenda.

Legal framework

Microsoft executives said it decided to standardize its Office file formats to allow customers, notably national governments with long-term archival needs, to access the contents of documents for years without being dependent on Microsoft.

"Ecma International's creation of the Technical Committee to produce a formal standard--which is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats--means customers and the industry are one step closer to preserved interoperability," Yates said in a statement.

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Finally, some common sense
"The benefit of backward compatibility that this effort will provide is evident from the broad spectrum of sponsors that will work together under the formal Ecma standardization process," Ecma secretary general Jan van den Beld, said in a statement. A standard format will allow billions of existing Office documents to be converted with no loss of data or formatting, Ecma said."

About time someone stated the obvious.
Posted by robertcampbell2 (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Naked lie.
"A standard format will allow billions of existing Office documents to be converted with no loss of data or formatting, Ecma said."

Most blatant lie I ever heard.
M$ intentionally was breaking backward compatibility for many years. Hearing such lie now sounds more or less like rude joke. When such /joke/ comes from ECMA, it forces you think what the people are after.
Posted by Philips (400 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Converted
Converted :P They didn't say it would be compatible with formats now, which would be a lie because that is impossible; they said it would convert without any loss of data or formatting, which is fully possible. Conversions right now have a high percentage of failure and very rarely get over all data and formatting. Microsoft knows its own formats :P And will of course be able to allow 'billions of existing Office documents to be converted with no loss of data or formatting'.

Which is what they said. So how it can be a blatant lie... I do not know.

And the idea Microsoft intentionally break backward compatiblity is silly :P Of course, they have, but intentionally? The idea they sit down and decide; ok, let's break compatibility is pretty much stupid :P What they have been doing for years is not caring about backward compatibility because customers have not been caring. Now; apparently they do. So, Microsoft, being a fantastic company, is giving us backward compatibility not only right now forward, but backwards using a conversion tool.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
Three questions that come to mind....
1. That >>>"Ecma International's creation of the Technical Committee to produce a formal standard--which is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats--means customers and the industry are one step closer to preserved interoperability," Yates (Microsoft) said in a statement<<<. If the creation of the Technical Committee by the Ecma International is to make any real sense then shouldn't Solomonist Wisdom tell us that this committee should be reviewing both the OpenDocument Format Standards (OASIS) and the proposed Microsoft's XML-based Office file formats simultaneously to determine interoperability between OEM products; also, is "interoperability" between Microsoft's products and those of other OEMs one of the stated business objectives of the Microsoft Corporation.

2. If OpenOffice and Linux are being offered for free... which Government, company or individual in their right minds will be purchasing products from Microsoft? Will MS Office and Windows be offered for free also?

3. How is it intended that the approval of the Microsoft's XML-based Office file formats by the Ecma International influence the international marketplace conditions?
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open Source is NOT Free
...to businesses. Linux and Open Office are not free unless you do not want any type of support for the product. That is where MS exceeds Open Source. Support. Either way, you are still spending hefty amounts of money. Especially if you are a government or large enterprise. Beleive me, the costs are about the same using Open Source or M$. Sure, the OSS is cheaper, but it can be a nightmare (in deployment, interop, and training) for large enterprises. Look at Munich. Perfect example.
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
Simple Answer to #2
"2. If OpenOffice and Linux are being offered for free... which Government, company or individual in their right minds will be purchasing products from Microsoft?"

MOST OF THEM.........
Don't flatter yourself into believing the entire world thinks open source is the solution to all problems large and small.
It's not.
It's just a different set of problems.
Posted by googlesaurus (10 comments )
Link Flag
Three Answers that come to mind...
1. No self loving person wants the GPL. Interoperability between the OpenDocument Format under the Nazi GPL System and Microsoft Formats would actually by the virus properties that plague software have to be under the GPL. Nobody but the as previously commented Nazis who believe in the GPL would want this, because then everything touching that needs to be GPL. That and IBM voted against that idea apparently, did they not? Eitherway; OpenDocument doesn't want that as much as Microsoft doesn't. Any Microsoft Format features would smash OpenDocument features in a reasoned debate over which to keep in this superformat you are talking about, and ultimately they would come up with the same thing they'll come up with using just the Microsoft Format.

2. OpenOffice and Linux are not free for anybody and we both know that, they both cost in training, support, administration and conversion. In numbers that make the cost of Office look like pre-school maths.

3. The intension of course is that Microsoft offer to customers, especially the huge ones, what the OpenDocument is, along with everything it has always offered that OpenDocument don't, and the advantage of no changing costs. Ultimately what everybody will get is all the features everybody who normally wouldn't care has been moaning about; and it will be back to all the Hippies moaning again about how Microsoft killed their Grandmother and initiates racial hatred, how Open-Source represents peace and love, and how we should all go out, smoke some weed, and bare ridiculously high numbers of illegitamate children for us to sacrifce to our Lord Tux when the cleansing of souls comes and we find out if we are worthy of his blessing to get a Linux Distribution that will last more than six months without the group who made it deciding they don't like that and starting a whole new one and hence ending support for the old one.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
Macros
Forget about formatting(thats the easy part), what about the millions of complicated Macros out there?
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Macros and farming
I rewrite Macro's all the time. It's just not that big a deal.
======================
Redoing Macros is like rebuilding in way...

If someone dropped a bunch of bombs and blew up everything we would rebuild our farms and infrastructure.

However, as long as the bombs blew up a cruel and evil dictator (IRAQ) then I think anyone that was suffering over there would probably be okay with the cost of rebuilding.
Posted by UntoldDreams (91 comments )
Link Flag
What do your macros do?
Most of my Word macros produce documents. If the format were open and documented then I'd just write programs that produced the needed documents that the Word "print engine" would print rather than write macros that automate Word into creating the document for me.

That is, if my PERL program running on Linux could output a Word document, why would I need some funky macro language to automate my document production? I'd just write programs on any platform that produce the needed document file.
Posted by CheapGuy (4 comments )
Link Flag
How can something modifiable by _one_ company be a "standard???"
Hello? The Ecma statement allows _no one_ but Microsoft to
decide what is and is not a standard.

How can something controlled by one company be a "standard?"

This is nonsensical. Why doesn't the reporter see that?
Posted by farbuckle (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Royalty-Free Access
Open Document allows very few people to decide upon what is and is not standard :P The W3C's proposals are no better. The ECMA is a standards body through which groups create standards. In all basicness, the difference is non-existant. A group, apparently 'Microsoft enlisted other companies to sponsor the Ecma proposal, including Apple Computer, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel, NextPage, Statoil and Toshiba' those people will discuss the standard.

What the point is about is not who is fiddling with it, but the backwards compatibility and the ability to anybody to write an application to use it. That is what everybody has been wanting from the .doc Format since OpenDocument. 'I want to use whatever Program I want', 'I want to know my file will work in a thousand years', 'don't tread on me' and so forth. This is what the proposal does.

You cannot edit the OpenDocument Format; you cannot now edit this format. The differences for you or anybody is nill; other than that OpenDocument would involve a long drawn out war with Office that would take years in order to gain the same level of backwards compatibility and 'freedom' Microsoft is giving us right now.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
As in any game... or, Is this another "bag" of Microsoft's...
... tricks? Consider for a moment the opening statement of this article; the "Standards body Ecma International has created a committee to standardize Microsoft Office document formats, handing the software giant a victory in an intensifying struggle over desktop software". Let us try to be rational here, in any game of sports where the game is to be played fairly there are rules by which such game (Open Office document formats) has to be played; and, the funny thing here is that here we have the "rich" player (Microsoft) approaching the one of the "referees" (Ecma International) with its own rules of the game without the contribution or the representation or the agreement (IBM...) as to how the game should be played -- and; yes, the same European countries that have not so recently fined this "very rich and famous" player hundreds of millions of dollars for un-competitive practices and is now considering to present to the rest of the world a set of standards just as the standards that were set for the operations of the "Concorde", one of which now sits on a barge on New York's Hudson River. This is indeed some kind of a game to "standardize Microsoft Office document formats" and some kind of a referee that is apparently not interested in what rules or contributions some others players (IBM...) in the game have to offer!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM voted against it
for the OpenDocument people, not for the Microsoft people. 'OpenDocument backers have resisted several aspects of the Ecma effort. For example, IBM voted against the creation of the Office Open XML committee on Thursday, and Hewlett-Packard abstained, according to an IBM representative'

Microsoft has not approached the ECMA with its own rules; it has put its format on the table for standardisation. It is not saying 'change some things for me so I can continue what I am doing and win' it is saying 'ok, maybe we should standarise this format, it is what people seem to want'. These are not new rules, this is Microsoft using its powerful set of 'players' with style and intelligence. Why IBM seems to be so in the front of your mind I do not know; but IBM seems to have been the only industry representative who said don't let them do this. Against a huge number of them who have rallied to help this uncommonly open effort from Microsoft. Are you saying that the standards for the Concorde were not right in some way? The only reason the Concorde no longer makes flights in times no other plane filled with passengars has yet to do is because of money and safety, not its standards.

I can't admit to understanding what you continue to talk about in the way of rules? How is openning up Microsoft formats changing the rules? Or do you consider the rules to be that Microsoft have a Closed Format and OpenDocument have an Open Format? :P If you are after being fair, surely both teams should be allowed to do the same things to their formats or it would not be at all fair.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
Analogy...
Microsoft is Hugo, the 200 pound 6th grader that dominates the playground, routinely bloodying the noses of any smaller kids that dare play there.

But you can't take away Hugo's club, because that would be unfair.

If you did, Hugo would find it harder to dominate the playground. Instead, just let Hugo design a new "standard" club.

Gartner's comment made me laugh...translated to my analogy, it becomes...

'The other children have been unsuccessful at having any fun on that playground for at least 10 years.'

LOL :-)
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yea!
Actually the original story must be a joke.

Anyway, even though every novice is told to learn Word or they
won't be able to play, I have actually found it easier to use LaTeX
and appear to be the alpha dog when it comes to making
presentable mathematics.
Posted by rbannon (96 comments )
Link Flag
Take away Microsoft's Club?
That would be unfair; Microsoft got the club, that all Open-Source rantings aside Sun, IBM, Red Hat, Novell, every other software company ever would love to have through years and years of work and effort. You cannot take away Microsoft's club not because that would make it harder for them to dominate Office Software but because not only did he get it rhrought years of work but you would just be giving it then to another group who would dominate the playground and do exactly the same thing as 'Hugo' will do with his new standard Club; rather than not letting people play at all, he would let them play but only under his rules.

So which is better? The solution that involves years of drawn out war with 'Hugo' to dominate the playground in a way that 'Hugo' could do right now without any War and far more fantastic perks.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
Hugo without the club...
... is a possible notion. However, Hugo might just trade in is club for a bat instead of another. Why you say? Its simple. Hugo took a look around the playground and saw that the kids love the play baseball and softball. With a bat in hand he can get close to them and some may look at him and say "I would like to play baseball with him. He looks like he might hit homeruns for the team." It still remains to be seen how well OpenXML will workout, but the prospect is pleasing to those who want an open solution and have Office in their environment. Plus for those who may think of switching to Office have more of an incentive. If all else falls Hugo is not closer to all the kids. Its just a matter if they see the bat and think he should play on their team or see that bat and have flashbacks of his days with the club.
Posted by VI Joker (231 comments )
Link Flag
Standard?
Let me get this right...

Microsoft 'kindly' sets a 'standard' for Office documents that...Microsoft will adhere to and everybody else should (try to) have compatibility with.

I have 3 comments to that:

1. The threat of Open Documents must really scare the pants off Microsoft to go to such lengths. Otherwise, why do this now? Why didn't Microsoft 'kindly' start this before? So it is a victory for Open Documents.

2. What users are interested in is the final document result (print-out, page-view, etc.). However, Ms Office adds stuff (insecure), which are invisible to the naked eye, but bloat a document. If you think making Office save files in XML format is the solution, it is not. Firstly because that is NOT compatible with the existing format which may very well continue (as default for document save) next to XML, and even be 'bettered' unstandardized. Lastly, because Microsoft 'standards' are bloated anyway; just look at the junk you need to change or delete after you've designed a page with Frontpage.

2. Asking Microsoft to define a document standard is like asking Microsoft to define networking standards (IP anyone?). Thank God we have other standards otherwise we'd still be with Netbios and PPTP.

3. WHY DOESN'T MICROSOFT WANT TO HELP WITH THE OPEN DOCUMENT STANDARD? WHY CREATE ANOTHER ONE? If they are so kind and open and think of users' well being, they could work with with the Open Document commitee. If they are not, and are spending time and dollars in meetings, can it be because their intentions are not so customer focused? How long will their good will (of not taking people to court for using their technology) last (until 'the market conditions warrant...)?
Posted by (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One "simple" response to your "3 comments"...
... is that most of the solutions to the questions concerning the OpenDocument Format Standards border on an historical review of "OpenDoc in Warp 4.0":

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm</a>

and the mission of the OpenOffice.org whose goal "is to 'create the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format" which will be standardized by OASIS, the 'Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards'.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://wiki.ffii.org/OpenDocIda04" target="_newWindow">http://wiki.ffii.org/OpenDocIda04</a>

As to "WHY DOESN'T MICROSOFT WANT TO HELP WITH THE OPEN DOCUMENT STANDARD? WHY CREATE ANOTHER ONE?... can only best be answered the learned representatives from the Campus at Redmond.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
re
You are correct, this is not a standard. Just a weak attempt to keep a hold of its monopoly.

Standards and Open Source does have MS running scared. Investments in SCO, "shared" source, IE7 and this farce are proof of that.

Why anyone would lock themselves into MS "standards is beyond me. It makes things more complex, more buggy, less compatible and more expensive. For developers and end-users alike.

Why write a app that only runs on windows when you can create a cross platform app that is cheaper, at least as fast, and just as easy to maintain and you aren't held to the whims of any company. No, you do not need java do accomplish this. C and C++ can be used to even more powerful effect.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Standard
1. I don't think OpenDocument people will agree with that; the only victory for them is Microsoft dying. Which is not going to happen any time soon. They are in the sad for them, pleasant for me position of being in a make or break position. If this coverage doesn't continue, nobody will care about OpenDocument except the Linux-Folk anarchists who cared about it before anyway.

2. We are making the presumption the stuff Microsoft adds to give us a format that today is more powerful than anything else in existance is insecure then? :P There is such a thing as MetaData, it is very handy for advanced searching and so forth, you cannot see this, does this bloat the document? Style functions, you cannot see these but they make the page what it is do they bloat the document? All the functions in Office Documents than make the file bigger have good uses, just not everybody uses them. That of course is the advantage of the XML Standard plans; they will have to start from scratch to do this; a good way to clean everything up especially now they're working with the ECMA. There is not actually that much you need to change in a Frontpage Document if you actually used the Designing Tool. If you used the designing tool; you do not care about the extra kilobyte you might save by getting rid of the excess crap in there. If you use the Code Tool; you can only blame yourself for the code.

3. (I presume you meant 3?) Netbios and PPTP are very old. You cannot say thank god those don't exist now, we have a way better thing here now from right now. Had those two been advanced rather than IP who knows what they would be now? It is impossible to know, but you would have to base the NetBios and PPTP from then on the IP from then, not from now.

4. (4?) The same question could be asked of the OpenDocument Standard? Microsoft's format was incharge first, the OpenDocument has never had any marketshare useage ever. It hardly has any now. Why doesn't the OpenDocument want to help with the new Office XML Standards - why try to defibrillate an already dead one. You are presuming that OpenDocument is for users' well being. Have you seen standards done by the W3C? XHTML 1.1 was done in 2001, XHTML 1.0 in 1999... XHTML 2.0 isn't out yet? Microsoft Document Formats are constantly updated, an OpenDocument type setup would give us a W3C of the Office; a huge uselessly slow publically based group of old people who try to tell us how to design websites while making there own look like something I threw together in notepad in thirty seconds and uploaded in ten. Office Formats are far more customer focused than OpenDocument Formats for one simple reason. If Microsoft moved to OpenDocument, OpenDocument wouldn't be after customers and hence, like the W3C would not care what they think. Microsoft has to always care what the customer thinks.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
Link Flag
The True Reason
People have to slip out of their 2 minute A.D.D. memories and think about what is at stake here. Documents need to be stored electronically and accessible for 10, 20, 50, 100 years. Will a .DOC format be readable in 50 years? Maybe, maybe not. More likely is that Microsoft products will be completely different and not compatible with anything.

So we introduce Open formats. Formats that are not dictated by any one company but are agreed upon between all companies and nations for the sake of future readability. The format needs to be feature rich to be usable today. It needs to be expandable to adopt to future standards. It needs to maintain compatibility over many years.

For comparison, standards on the web such as HTML, CCS and Javascript can afford complete metamorphisis over the longer term because they address whatever current needs there are. Keep in mind too that many of those standards are for the most part, in their infancy.

Document standards on the other hand are important to civilization as we know it. If you don't think so, think about how much of our past is available today and how much we lose in documented facts. Pictures are lost. Books are lost. What is left becomes priceless and eventually disappear.

This is actually a step in human evolution. We gain the ability to create a worldwide, non-partisan standard that we can stick in a time capsule and read in the distant future. We can propel our voyagers into space with records for other civilizations to access and interpret. A distant notion perhaps, but the seed begins here.

Any one company should not be the veiled dictator of something so important.

-Alex Taylor
Posted by amxtaylor (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Are you not also in the same "basket"...
... when you said "People have to slip out of their 2 minute A.D.D. memories and think about what is at stake here. Documents need to be stored electronically and accessible for 10, 20, 50, 100 years"; and, failed to give examples such as the "ENRON's" (document preservation) and other cases which must be still fresh in some people's minds.

A "disruptive" action in the case mentioned was the destruction of this company's as well as other documents (as well as the disruption of thousands of people's lives) that would have allowed for accessibility to the company's operations and any corrective measures taken where possible. Fortunately, we now have the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which "was created to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. The act covers issues such as establishing a public company accounting oversight board, auditor independence, corporate responsibility and enhanced financial disclosure"; see link:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes-Oxley_Act" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes-Oxley_Act</a>

True to reason and fact, the introduction of OpenDocument Format Standards upon which individuals, organizations, companies as well as nations all over the world stake their future must not be entrusted to the dictates of a single company.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
Non-Digital Documents Will Always Be Better
I remember the hasty words of a few executives a few years back who insisted that the paperless office was at hand...we would all enter everything into computers and that would be the end of paper documents. Lot's of laughs! Our business is using more paper today than it was back then. And I watched carefully as idiots with common access deleted files that shouldn't have been deleted...evaporated into the electronic ether...almost forever lost, except, I kept paper backups just in case...saving myself untold hours of restoring manually the information from my memory or from scattered sources.

My point is...50 or 100 years from now, who knows what will happen to the digital world we know today? You have all seen how rapidly the world and the work environment has changed just in the last 20 years and the speed and rapidity of changes that have caused sparkling new technologies to become obsolesced overnight.

We can dig up clay tablets written in cuniform buried in the sands of Iraq for 5,000 years and still read them. We can visit the temples of Egypt to read and see, how they lived their daily lives. Even fingerprints on a cave wall in France says something about the lives of people in prehistoric times. A Gutenberg Bible is priceless. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address were penned or scribbled on paper. And every writer from Shakespere to Robert Frost to Robert Ludlam, puts their words on paper.

All these forms of communication, from handprints on cave walls to today...will outlast the digital media that most of our nonsense world today jibberishes on digital media. The CD's we store data on today won't even be readable in who knows how long??? When they stop making CD readers, I suppose. There will be a scramble, to copy things from one media to the next, but the fact is...whatever is copied over and over is inevitably corrupted and lost.
The only way to do this to paper, is to burn it or chew it up in a grinder.

There is no dobut, that computers save forests, but they also polute our waste dumps and have torn our entire civilization apart. They have not made life better, they have made it much more complicated and divisive. These tools we created to make our work easier, have instead been used to enslave us even more...we are not freed by them, we are enslaved to them by our masters. There was once freedom in the written word, but instead we find our lives controlled and our written words, controlled by corporate dictate. And like the princes and kings of old, who had history written for their glory, we now have, the dictates of sterile corporate life, impugning the freedom of our thoughts.

The only way to preserve our humanity is to never EVER, let our history become soley digital.
We must never trust computers entirely, or business or government, but continue to document life on paper or on other media, that cannot be so easily controlled, so easily erased, so permanently dismissed. What would Abraham Lincoln have said at Gettysburg if there was a corporate CEO telling him, he couldn't speak those words because they did not fall within the confines of their sterile and rigid corporate policy? Think about it.

It is too dangerous to leave the truth about humanity in the hands of any one corporation, any one government, any one ideology...and only on one form of media. Computers have their place. That is all. They do A job. They do not do THE job. They should never be relied upon to do THE job.

That is why Open Document is absolutely necessary. For computer based documents, it should never be left up to any single corporation (Microsoft or any other) to dictate what information will be placed on what and how or by what means. When and if this happens, we have surrendered our civil and constitutional liberties up to the dicates of corporations.

Long after the last corporation gasps its last breath on the earth...if we do not have history on other media than computer media...all that will be left of it, will be the deteriorated and rotted disks, full of corrupted history.

Open Document is necessary, to preserve the independence of information free of the restraints of profit. The issue is here and the point I am making, is simply...human rights, civil rights and civil liberties...those fundamental aspects of our civilization we all take for granted which have allowed us thus far to get where we are...Open Document is just one aspect of preserving that independent freedom. The ultimate solution, is to make sure, no single form of media excludes the others.
Posted by jimc52 (178 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS Office? What's that?
Why bother using it if you can do *nearly*... or everything you need using OpenOffice? Do you like to pay money for a black box?

My company has had no trouble converting to OpenOffice - even telling users to install openoffice to read *standard* document types that M$Office cant read. And for the truly, truly hardware MS loyalists, OpenOffice just exports to that closed format.
Posted by kensystem (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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