Feeds

Microsoft roasted for Office 2010 standards FAIL

Transitional OOXML is 'bad faith'

Boost IT visibility and business value

It will be at least another three years before Office conforms to an international standard for sharing documents with Open Office, a standard that Microsoft pushed hard and that riled Open-Document-Format fans.

Microsoft said on Tuesday it will support the "strict" implementation of the Office Open XML spec - officially called 29500 and ratified by the International Organization for Standardization in April 2008 - "no later than" the next major release of Office, codenamed Office 15.

Microsoft releases big new versions of Office every three years, so it will be five years and two versions of Office after Microsoft convinced standards representatives to accept the spec that it pushed as an alternative to ODF, which humanity - well, the open-source industry and its supporters - had lined up behind.

Ahead of that, Microsoft's Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will provide partial adherence to the strict version of the spec: It will let Office 2007 users read Office 2010 documents created using the OOXML file formats, but Office 2007 users won't be able to create documents for Office 2010 users.

Microsoft explained the delay to implementing the strict version of 29500 by saying it needed time for customers and partners to transition.

"We have decided to prioritize compatibility and interoperability with existing implementations," lead standards professional in the Office interoperability team Doug Mahugh blogged Tuesday. He promised that when the full spec is fully implemented, anyone will be able to create documents in applications like Word or Excel using the OOXML file formats - not just read or view them.

Mahugh was responding after Microsoft was lambasted for failing the standards test on OOXML in Office 2010, due next month, by the normally anonymous and controversy shy ISO that approved the spec.

Alex Brown, who presided over the ISO vote in April 2008 that ratified the spec as ISO convener of the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting, accused Microsoft of acting in bad faith for implementing a "transitional" variant of the OOXML spec and not the strict version in Office 2010.

The transitional version is based on a copy of the spec rejected during a vote of ISO members in 2007. The spec was re-drafted before it was accepted in 2008.

"If Microsoft ships Office 2010 to handle only the Transitional variant of ISO/IEC 29500 they should expect to be roundly condemned for breaking faith with the International Standards community. This is not the format 'approved by ISO/IEC', it is the format that was rejected," Brown wrote.

He said OOXML is at a crossroads, and that without a change by Microsoft, it's doomed to failure.

Brown threw back at Microsoft the words of Microsoft's then Office senior vice president Chris Caposella who said in 2008: "We've listened to the global community and learned a lot, and we are committed to supporting the Open XML specification that is approved by ISO/IEC in our products."

Mahugh claimed that Microsoft's plans for Office 2010 had already been locked down by the time of the April 2008 vote, but it had worked to support the transitional version in the software.

He said that Microsoft started working to move toward strict support as soon as the final text was finished and that Microsoft's work is taking Office closer to the strict version. This included investing resources in migrating from Vector Markup Language - and old technology co-developed by Microsoft - to the XML-based Drawing ML for "many" features. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.