Re: Regarding OOXML and Microsoft patents
- From: Miguel de Icaza <miguel ximian com>
- To: rms gnu org
- Cc: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Regarding OOXML and Microsoft patents
- Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:52:11 -0400
> Meanwhile, if it is hard for Microsoft to fully implement a 600 page
> spec, that just reinforces the point that it is hard for us to
> implement a 6000 page spec.
There are a few issues here:
* Microsoft not implementing support for ODF in their products
is probably a strategic choice on their part, more than a
technical limitation; That being said:
* Full support for ODF can not be implemented based on the
600 pages published. The only way Microsoft can implement
ODF support is by looking at the OpenOffice source code, and
from what we know about Microsoft policies (right or wrong)
their employees are barred from looking at code under
certain licenses (GPL being one of them, not sure if the other
licenses that OOo is released under is OK for them).
OOXML is for the most part a much simpler version to process than the
old file formats. Although the XML has been significantly cleaned up,
it remains for the most part a representation of the data that we
already have support for (in the form of XLS, DOC and PPT support).
> This is no reason we shouldn't _try_ to implement OOXML. As long as
> we are not forcibly stopped, we may as well try to implement
> everything that users want. But we must also campaign against OOXML's
> adoption, because it may be impossible to implement adequately,
> and we might be forcibly stopped.
I would agree with your position if the two issues you mention were
real, but I have my reservations:
* The validity of the statement that we can be stopped from
implementing OOXML: Has a lawyer weighted into whether the
patent grants in the Microsoft OSP are not sufficient? All I
have seen so far are opinions from advocates, with no legal
Our own lawyers consider that the Microsoft OSP sufficient.
* In my opinion ---and the opinion of our own team working on
adding support for OOXML to OOo--- the spec is implementable.
It might not be perfect up to the last bit, but it will be
within the "very acceptable" range (Same can be said about
pretty much every single one of the implementations that we
have: from TCP/IP to NFS, to HTML, to USB support, to anything
> Thus we remain with the conclusion that it is very important to
> campaign for ODF and reject OOXML as a "standard".
It seems to me that the we are trying to participate in the game of
"club your opponent with the standard club". I do not know if it is a
good tactic or not, but much of the campaign against OOXML has been
based on the very same tactics that people accuse Microsoft of using:
planting fear and doubt. Maybe the ends justify the means, but I do
not feel comfortable with it.
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