I’ve been wondering how to react to this Microsoft ODF Announcement. Andy Updegrove points out that the news isn’t that new, but still I see this as significant. From a glass-half-empty point of view, I could object, as Bob Sutor does, to the misdirection and outright lies in the Microsoft spin. Or I could echo Mark Pilgrim in pointing out that this is currently largely vaporware (more details here). But I think that on balance the big story is that Redmond has moved from a “There’s no demand for ODF” stance to admitting that, in fact, there is. Currently, it’s largely a public-sector thing; and reading between the mellifluous lines of Chris Capossela’s A Foundation for the New World of Documents, I sense a tone of barely-suppressed fear: “We encourage public sector organizations to move to XML file formats but not to mandate a particular format or implementation.” We can all agree on implementation—that’s the point, after all—but to refuse to bless a format seems to me to ignore the lesson of the Web, written in letters of fire 500 feet high: agree on the smallest-possible number of data formats, and compete on what you do with them.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
July 06, 2006
· Technology (81 fragments)
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