OOXML – or how to have an old fashioned lynching in software land.

by davidnielsen

Peter Hinjents a perticular annoying Free Software advocate whines about the standardization of OOMXL, nothing new.. but notice how all these attacks are not based on the technical merit of the standard, instead we have statements like the following:

Look again at one of the key aspects of OOXML’s patent licensing: it excludes GPL developers. Those of us who choose to write free software are being targeted by legacy monopolists, because our software is too good.

When unable to critize OOXML on technical points, assume in all cases that your solution is superior and refuse to listen to critizism then throw the p-bomb around. Then cook up the argument that Microsoft liberating their standard and handing it over to ISO is a vicious attack on Free Software… wait Microsoft closes their standards, keep their specs to themselves requiring us to invest in reverse engineering support and we attack them.. they open them, fix problems and clarify their standards then hand over control of the standards future to a 3d party.. and we attack them. Either way.. we bring the torches and pitchforks, does this sound illogical to anyone but me?

Microsoft opens their standard, gets certain of their licenses approved as OSI Open Source licenses changing them to conform, they give the specs for their legacy formats to the community and they are now working with several Linux vendors. Microsoft is changing, it will not happen overnight that they cease evil but they have made big steps away from their traditional business model already. Our way works and they know it, give them a pat on the back everytime they do something right and gently sheppard them in the direction that is best for everyone.

I’ll be clear, I think there should only be one Open Document standard, I don’t think either OOMXL or OpenDoc are suitable as they are right now, they both need work but can serve as good drafts and prototype implementations. I don’t however think that whining serves to do anything but make us look bad and it will certainly do nothing to bring about the best standard. I am also appalled when I see the problems in ISO that borders on corruption, but this is not an OOXML problem. It’s much wider and it is a fight we should take with those standard bodies not with Microsoft. I am personally much more worried about the latter issue, standard bodies control more than document standards, I would be more worried if a standard could be forced through with improper safety review when it comes to something like construction standards.

When it comes to OpenDoc, I am left with images of the firstborn whining to get it’s parents attention when the new baby arrives: “…but I was here first.. love me, lavish me with attention… the baby is a grand conspiracy to steal away focus from my obvious superiority”