Aquarium Blog

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In support of Adam Barr's idea for opening current Microsoft Office formats

His post is here: An Open Letter to Jeff Raikes


No doubt you're aware of the recent fuss over Massachusetts' decision to require open formats for its official documents. Microsoft's predictable response was to plead confusion, hurt, and sorrow for the innocent users forced to abide by such a policy. I have another idea. Instead of responding like a sad puppy, Microsoft should embrace what Massachusetts is proposing.


No, I'm saying that Microsoft should go back to the fundamental reasoning behind the Massachusetts decision, and embrace that. Massachusetts is not adopting OpenDocument for its own sake; it is adopting it because it meets a set of criteria the state has established--criteria which Microsoft could also meet if it chose to.


I like the idea and this post is in support of it. Times change quickly, and what still fitted in Microsoft's Business Model a couple of years ago, is turning against it now.

At first I thought that licensing the formats only for reading and not for writing sounded too restrictive. But then I realized that he is talking about the current formats, that are already becoming obsolete. The new formats are already being developed as open standars.

UPDATE: I have just added this to Adam's post comments:

I am not sure there is such a thing as delusional blogger self-importance disease. When I do test software, if I have a bug to report, I report it. I don't loose my time thinking that a tester smarter than me already found it and reported it. Nor do I think a developer smarter than me coded the feature and I must be crazy to think it is broken.

Classical Office formats are about to become obsolete, and there is no real business reason to keep them in obscurity (I can imagine possible security reasons, but I am not sure they exist). There is a real business case in opening them, though.

Actually, I have similar feelings about Microsoft not including MFC and ATL in Visual C++ Express, but then, I don’t work for the company...


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