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Monday, 11 May 2009


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Wu MingShi

"For those of us who have been following the Great Document Format Wars, Gray is being disingenous. To a large extent, ODF has come as far as it has because of Rob’s (and other ODF TC members) fantastic work on it." The higher the rank of the people you demoralize, the better.

That's Knowlton's way to kill ODF: Decapitation. Make sure those that works on the standard are demoralized, or discouraged from continuing their work.

However, I think as a chairman, Rob do need to tone down his attack on the opposition, i.e., write his blog postings in a more neutral rather than us vs them way.


"From an engineering perspective, attempting to replicate OpenOffice’s behaviour would have been the correct approach."

I disagree. The correct approach, is to create two modes: One that follows the standard to the letter, and another to emulate the formula behaviour that is most likely to become part of the standard later, i.e. OpenOffice.org's.

It's easy. Just use callback.

The bonus of this approach?

(0) Your users win. Most will want emulation, but they can switch it off if necessary.

(1)hopefully what you emulated becomes the standard, then you win your bet.

(2)if you lose, then you are in a position to replace your emulated stuff with the actual stuff.

(3) **technically most important**
Your designs looks ahead and planned for changes that you know will happen. When the new formula language is available, you don't have to go back and crawl through all the source code in order to implement the new formula behaviour. If you follow the standard "to the letter", then going back to the source code and implement the new formula behaiviour _is_ inevitable.

The office programming team is not stupid, they definitely will use the approach I outlined here (or something close to it). It is the business people that decided to score points by not emulating OpenOffice.org's formula behaviour.

They (business people) might had stop the work on emulating OpenOffice.org's behaviour by stopping it from receiving the proper support. However, I am sure the infrastructure for adding formula behaviour is there. That's why we need to keep the pressure on!


It is a pity that Microsoft's struggle to (dis-)implement ODF does not raise above the morals of a children's book.

However, I think we can easily characterize MS' behavior according to the words of Albus Dumbledore teaching Harry Potter that:

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Indeed, MS had a real choice to implement ODF to interoperate with other applications or not. Whatever their "excuses, excuses" about the incompleteness of ODF 1.1, they had a choice. And what they chose to do does characterize them in all respects.



I'm not sure I agree here. The reason why MS couldn't justify not interoperating with ODF is because ODF is a de jure standard. It has been produced as part of a long, communal development process to represent the interests of all stakeholders.

The OpenOffice formula spec, by contrast, is a de facto standard. Microsoft's approach to formulae is also a de facto standard. Why should one be privileged over the other? Until a de jure standard is published, we have no moral high ground.

This is not the correct point in time to start screaming at MS. First wait til they conspicuously fail to implement OpenFormula. *Then* start screaming.


Need to take into account that *no* format anywhere, prior to ODF, had any kind of formula specification. ODF is first in that, too.


I wonder what is the global effect of i4i lawsuit for copyright infringement against Microsoft for its XML implementation.

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