Microsoft's OOXML: The No vote

The first of a two-part series examining the arguments for and against the standardisation of Microsoft’s Office Open XML format.

The Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales recently hosted a symposium to discuss issues surrounding the proposed Microsoft OOXML document format standard.

In attendance at a technical session were representatives from Microsoft, IBM, Google, the Open Source Industry Australia, Standards Australia, the National Archives of Australia, and the International Organisation for Standardisation.

In this first part of a two-series story, Computerworld presents a summary of the key discussion points made by industry players who do not support the bid to standardize Microsoft's OOXML format.

The 6000-page specification for standardisation of Microsoft's OOXML format in its current form has attracted criticism on a range of issues from a variety of industry players, both commercial and non-profit alike.

The major themes discussed at the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre's OOXML technical session centred around issues within OOXML relating to interoperability, harmonization, accessibility, portability, legacy and fidelity.

Google

During a facilitated discussion session, Lars Rasmussen, a software developer for Google Australia and one of the inventors of Google Maps, voiced Google's concerns that interoperability between document formats would be hampered by the addition of Microsoft's OOXML format alongside the current ISO document standard, Open Document Format.

"We find that to make interoperability possible what you want is a single agreed upon standard that you can use, and the question of OOXML's relationship to ODF is to us the most important of all the many comments that were raised by the national bodies," he said.

Rasmussen acknowledged that there were cases where more than one standard was required, but only when there are solid technical reasons for doing so.

"ECMA and Microsoft agree with this principle. In fact, in their introduction to OOXML they argue why there should be a new standard for office documents. We believe, as do our open source friends from New Zealand, that Microsoft has failed to provide enough technical reasons for this," he said.

"If I want to become a vendor of office productivity tools, if I have to - in order to be interoperable with other tools - implement two different standards or five or ten different standards, then the cost becomes overwhelming."

Rasmussen said what Google would like to see is further development of ODF in lieu of standardising a new format, particularly to enable the ability to convert old files to the latest format in full fidelity.

"I don't believe its true that ODF could not, with a reasonable amount of effort, be developed to a state where that could be done.

"What I'm arguing is, absent a very strong technical reason that there should be more than one standard in this area, we should not approve this standard," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Hendry

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?