Durusau: "OpenDocument, among others, will lose if OpenXML loses."
Patrick Durusau has posted another thoughtful contribution to the document formats standardisation debate:-
Who Loses If OpenXML Loses?
As national bodies meet to cast their final votes on OpenXML, a checklist of who loses if OpenXML does might be helpful. This is just my list and isn't meant to be exhaustive:
- National bodies lose an open and international forum for further work on DIS 29500.
- Microsoft based third-party vendors may be excluded from contracts because Microsoft has no ISO approved format.
- ODF has no ISO-based formula definitions to insure compatibility between OpenDocument and OpenXML.
- ODF has no ISO-based definition of MS legacy features for an ODF extension.
- ODF has no ISO-based definition of the current MS format for mapping purposes.
As the editor of OpenDocument, I want to promote OpenDocument, extol its features, urge the widest use of it as possible, none of which is accomplished by the anti-OpenXML position in ISO.
Passage of OpenXML in ISO is going to benefit OpenDocument as much as anyone else. Here are some specifics:
- OpenDocument currently lacks formula definitions for spreadsheets. (To appear in OpenDocument 1.2.) Many core financial functions in spreadsheets are undefined except for actual Excel output. That output varies by version and service pack of MS Office. What happens if OpenDocument and OpenXML reach different definitions of those functions?
- OpenDocument does not presently support legacy features of Microsoft formats. That will be easier with a formal definition of those features. Without OpenXML, OpenDocument has no authoritative definition of those legacy features. That delays OpenDocument supporting them in some future release.
- OpenDocument does not have a robust mapping to the current Microsoft format. That requires an OpenXML that has completed the standards process. If OpenXML is unclear, it must be fixed in order to create a robust mapping between the two.
The bottom line is that OpenDocument, among others, will lose if OpenXML loses.
Covington, 24 March 2008
I said as much recently in an interview in Norway.