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Black sheep

Interesting what happens during one’s vacation / work abroad. Miguel de Icaza, founder of GNOME and Mono, writes that “OOXML is a superb standard”, even implying that it’s better than OpenDocument. With all due respect to his work on GNOME (and Mono, though the conditions for such a project is another discussion), I perceive a sort of dark religious tone over this.

In support of OOXML as a second standard, he goes on to say that “it is always better to have two implementations and then standardize than trying to standardize a single implementation”. I’ll try to interpret this; it seems to me he’s actually suggesting e.g. OpenDocument to be just a description of how Open Office works, and OOXML of Office (but no other products). I must say that this is not the best way to demonstrate an understanding of the standardization process.

On the other hand, I’d agree that Microsoft is in fact trying to design a format based on (only) their own product (they even made some extra effort to include Microsoft Office bugs in OOXML). However, something about Miguel implying that this backwards approach would be valid in the 21st century, doesn’t quite feel right.

Basically, I think his first post in the thread can be summarized subjectively as follows:

  • People who think OOXML has fundamental problems are crazy, there is absolutely no merit to their criticism. I won’t bother to tell you why, though, because they’re crazy. Oh, and it’s the best proposal there is, believe me!
  • I know there is OpenDocument, but one more standard can’t hurt. Maybe everyone should have their own standard? (Hm, you say this removes the whole point of standards? No way, chill out!)
  • Patents [regarding Moonlight] is not a problem, just get all your software from Novell! (To be fair, though, this part of the response could also be seen as not meaning anything at all.)

Frankly, I’m getting somewhat bored due to the low quality of (most?) pro-OOXML arguments. Please, Miguel, try something better.

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