ooxml, the April fools’ standard

I was reading /. to find out those juicy April Fools’ news and I read this article [0] that says that ooxml was approved by ISO. I wasn’t 100% sure it was just /. trying to be funny, but I didn’t believe it at first. Then I read another article in KDE Dot News [1] saying that KDE had voted “yes” on ooxml after receiving an anonimous donation. That allowed me to breath again: the ooxml article in /. __had__ to be a joke!

Well, I woke up this morning to face the sad reality: ooxml had, indeed, been approved by ISO.

I read the official ISO press release [2], I read the report article that appeared in nooxml [3] which called ooxml the banana standard and had nice logos that say ‘MISOSOFT’ and ‘ISO, A division of Microsoft’ (I would put the images here, but I try to adhere as much as I can to the semi-official, semi-serious ascii ribbon campaign against gratuitous graphics on the web [4]).

I even read the comment by Idiot de Icaza on his personal weblog [5] where he acclaimed ooxml (not surprising, after he called it a “superb format” [6]).

Some people would say that ooxml turning into a standard doesn’t change anything for free software, but it does. ISO and all its standards have been discredited: if we complain about this new standard then we lose, because then all of our standards mean nothing (ODF); if we don’t complain, then we lose, because ooxml has no opposition.

I wish I could use ODF at all times, but I still have to exchange documents with people that don’t even know what ODF is and since M$ Office doesn’t work with ODF, I’m forced to save as .doc (which I hate doing, not only because I hate .doc, but also because I don’t like OO.o a whole lot; I’m a KDE guy, I’m all about KOffice).

So, yeah, ooxml is a standard now, even after all the corruption involved in its voting. The Free Software lovers should start a bigger campaign to promote OO.o, along with Sun, then people may not even use ooxml, regardless of its standarization.

[0] http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/01/2229207
[1] http://dot.kde.org/1207000153/
[2] http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1123
[3] http://www.noooxml.org/
[4] http://www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~ghelman/ascii.html
[5] http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/Apr-02.html
[6] http://groups.google.com/group/tiraniaorg-blog-comments/browse_thread/thread/2a07b8b50038d8c8/d582162af2d63d57



  1. “which I hate doing, not only because I hate .doc, but also because I don’t like OO.o a whole lot; I’m a KDE guy, I’m all about KOffice”

    What’s not to like about OpenOffice ? I started using back in 1996 when it was a closed-source product, StarOffice 3.1 from little German company Stardivision Gmbh. It ran (back then) on 16-bit Windows 3.1, 32-bit IBM OS/2, 32-bit Linux and even Macintosh (back then no-OSX, but oldskool Motorola-based MacOS).

    Then Sun bought it, released it as freeware first (v5.0, 5.1, 5.2) and then shocked the world when they open sourced it. It’s been evolving and being optimized ever since. (Not an easy task, as Stardivision had to create their own object-oriented framework).

    It was back in 1999 when Stardivision started working on a XML based file format specification for StarOffice’s files. NINE years ago.

    In fact, I hated it when they ditched the “integrated desktop” approach and “separated” all apps just to “mimic M$ Office”.

    KOffice is a toy. I think of it as Microsoft Works, or, more appropiately,

    Desktop environments shouldn’t try to re-invent the wheel and lose time, effort and sweath, thousands of man hours of programming time trying to do what others do best, namely OpenOffice.org which has all the mind share and market share (in the Linux market).

    Why not work to better integrate OpenOffice.org with KDE instead?. Sheesh!. (I tell the same to the creators of Gnumerics). http://live.gnome.org/GnomeOffice

    PS: The only thing I agree with you with is the naming of Idiot de Icaza, I will try to adopt it on my blog, going forward. Anyone who praises Microsoft .Net must be one.

  2. leorockway said

    @Fernando Cassia: I should have chosen my words more carefully. First of all, I’m not saying OO.o is a bad product. I used StarOffice 5.2 with the integrated desktop you mention and I found it pretty impressive.

    I think OO.o is, in fact, an awesome piece of software, but since I’m running Qt libraries I would like to use KOffice and not OO.o. What’s not to like about OO.o? Just that it isn’t Qt.

    One of the things I like the most about GNU/Linux is the possibility to choose. There are many browsers out there (Firefox, Konqueror, Dilloh, Kazahakase, etc), many WMs or DEs (KDE, Gnome, XFCE, open/black/fluxbox, Enlightment, FVWM, Ratpoison, etc) I also like the freedom of choosing my own Office software.

    I am a translator and I do my work in OO.o because, as it is, I think it’s way better than KOffice. I only wished KOffice got better so I could ditch OO.o without thinking twice, to keep my system all Qt instead of wasting resources in extra libraries.

    So, like I said, I didn’t choose the best words. I was definitely not ranting against OO.o. If you read at the end of my post, I even say that OO.o needs more marketing so more people start using it (and I didn’t say the same about KOffice).

    But all in all, I love having the option of using KSpread, Gnumeric or oocalc.

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