OpenXML vs ODF: Users may suffer, but probably won’t


A rather disappointing article by Martin Banks over on The Register: On the Office format wars:

It’s all about users, we’re told; they (we) use Ms Word widely and aren’t going to want to use something different or incompatible. That’s no trouble, however, as Novell (as well as a number of companies in the future, so the prediction goes) has just released a tool to convert one open standard to the other. All of this neatly explains away the need for the article in the first place.

Neil Lewis, in the first of the comments:

Reminds us that open standards aren’t about vendor dominance and software lock-ins, but about creating material that can be widely disseminated now and still accessible in the future.

The point of this post? A reminder that some people (Banks) see issues of openness simply as a matter of a vendor’s software sales and are happy to treat the user as some sort of keyboard-drone, the office cubicle equivalent of the mechanically milked cow. Open formats shouldn’t be viewed simply as a sales vector or marketing push, quite the opposite in fact, they should be seen as a means of getting beyond these stifling considerations.

2 Responses to “OpenXML vs ODF: Users may suffer, but probably won’t”

  1. Răzvan Sandu Says:


    Until September 2nd, 2007, opponents of Microsoft OOXML format may sign a petition addresed to ISO at .

    On the base page you may find full details about why OOXML is NOT a good standard candidate.

    And, of course, if you’re already using OpenDocument (ODF) – which, by the way, IS ALREADY an ISO standard – you may register your business at


  2. Melinda Blackwell Says:

    The technical contributions appearing in ACM journals are normally original papers of lasting value that have not been published elsewhere. Conference proceedings and newsletters are a form of publication. Like the serial journals they are often widely disseminated and are available to the entire membership of ACM but unlike the journals they are often unrefereed and are not saved in library archives.Republication of a paper, possibly revised, that has been disseminated via a proceedings or newsletter is permitted if the editor of the journal to which it has been submitted judges that there is significant additional benefit to be gained from republication.The original source will be clearly identified on the first page of the republished paper. All papers accepted for a conference may be printed in full in the proceedings and journal editors will not reject such papers simply because they were widely disseminated through the conference proceedings. In case of dual submission an author must inform both editors that the manuscript is being offered simultaneously to multiple editors. The following paragraphs clarify and illustrate this policy.

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