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Gnome is fighting a useless battle

Posted by: Thomas Zander on November 24, 2007 02:46 PM

Bottom line for me is that all the arguments Gnome (etc) made in favor of working with Ecma sound hollow or simply uninformed. Publishing a semi-informed position statement makes me understand they are making a consious and informed decision. So, yes, this statement makes me think more people should consider to distance themselves from the gnome foundation.

To avoid being a troll, here is my take on the matter.

Ecma has as its basic charter to make a companies standard an official standard with minimal alterations. And we saw that to be the case when Ecma approved OOXML a year ago. It had near zero alterations, compare that to the thousands of comments ISO is now facing. You don't have to be paranoid to understand that one open source person does not stand a whole lot of chance of significantly improving the 6000+ pages spec.

MS wants their fileformat to be an ISO standard because ODF is an ISO standard. Until that day comes governments are obligated by law to prefer ODF over OOXML. After governments upgrade to office2007 (assuming OOXML becomes an ISO standard) the incentive to keep on using the open standard without extentions or whatever falls away and gnumeric again can't support MS Office files.

If OOXML does not become an ISO standard the only possible outcome is that ODF will eventually be supported by MS Office (purely due to market requirement) and OOXML will be an old and silly standard

Last point I'll make today; even if Gnome makes OOXML significantly better (a big assumption) it will still be near impossible for gnumeric to support it in such a way that it can fluently communicate with excel. The standard is all but transparent and modifyable! And it will take years of open source developer time to fully support it.


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