July 26 2007
I want to thank Stephen McGibbon for finding an error in the recently published white paper on the Notes 8 productivity editors. Microsoft's Stephen McGibbon claimed on his blog that the default formats were not ODF, based on the whitepaper. The whitepaper had a table that was based on a prior version of the editor, and I'm now having it corrected. The default format for the editors in Notes 8 is ODF, but these other formats are supported, as seen in this revised table (which will obviously be published without the spelling squiggles):
So, thanks, Steve. I wanted to write this blog entry about two hours ago, but got completely lost in reading the latest politics around Microsoft's efforts to get the Open XML document format approved as an ISO standard. The spin on this is pretty unreal.
Mr. McGibbon has somehow landed himself at the center, which may be why he used his blog entry to poke at IBM and others rather than to answer the questions he's being asked..Buggered if I know why. According to Groklaw, he was Microsoft's representative at a standards committee meeting in Portugal...where the committee chair, a Microsoft employee, decided arbitrarily that Sun and IBM could not attend due to a "first come, first served, space available basis" for physcial chairs in the meeting room. When you read reports like that, does anyone wonder why my occasional comments about Microsoft on this blog are sometimes in the realm of conspiracy theory?
McGibbon's coworkers quickly jumped to his defense. The most interesting are on Jason Matusow's Blog, where an 80+ comment thread discusses participation, technical fact-finding, and spins in many different directions. Where I really get lost is this. Microsoft is starting to acknowledge that there are many technical holes in the ecma Open XML submission -- calculation errors, binary data, compatibility issues (and those are just the ones they admit...they haven't even gotten to the fact that nobody other than MS has implemented the complete spec). The question is, what happens now? If ecma agrees that these errors need to be fixed...is Microsoft going to issue a new version of Office 2007 that updates to the fixed document format? Will some versions of Office documents conform to an ecma-approved standard and others to a new version of that document format? Which is the "defacto" standard that MS claims will be foisted upon the market? I assume that even when/if ISO rejects approving Open XML as a standard, MS is still going to be using their proprietary document formats in Office 2007 and beyond. As several in the blog world have said, they should be thankful that all the peer review has been improving their document formats. But then what?