O texto é relativamente longo, mas a leitura vale a pena. Destaco os
seguintes trechos (em uma tradução livre com minhas anotações entre
Sobre diferenças entre os padrões: " (. . .) as diferenças
qualitativas entre o OOXML e ODF são difíceis de articular. Não há
nada fundamentalmente melhor ou pior nesses padrões
[ comparativamente ] (. . .)"
Sobre o tamanho do documento da especificação: "Uma objeção comum ao
[ formato ] OOXML é que sua especificação é "muito grande", que 6000
páginas é um demais para uma especificação e que isso impediria
terceiros de implementarem o suporte ao padrão. Considerando que por
anos nós, a comunidade open source, estamos tentando extrair tanta
informação sobre protocolos e formatos de arquivo da Microsoft, isso
é uma coisa boa [ o tamanho da especificação ]."
Sobre as críticas ao OOXML: "Algumas objeções ao OOXML se baseiam no
fato que ele [ o formato ] não utiliza padrões ISO já existentes
( . . . ). Eles [ um wiki que acompanha o OOXML ] listam 7 padrões
ISO que OOXML não usa ( . . .) Para efeitos de comparação, ODF apenas
referencia 3 padrões ISO ( . . .)"
Sobre a "insuficiência" da especificação ODF: " ( . . . )
considerando que é impossível implementar um programa de planilha
eletrônica baseado no ODF [ pela falta de informação relevante na
especificação ] , estou convencido que a análise realizada por
aqueles se opondo ao OOXML é incrivelmente superficial, a
responsabilidade está com eles em provar que o ODF é 'suficiente'
para implementar do zero aplicações alternativas."
Sobre os pedidos de adiamento da aprovação do OOXML como padrão ISO:
"Considerando que o ODF ficou 1 ano sob escrutínio público e [ sua
especificação ] tem buracos do tamanho do Golfo do México, parece que
o pedido de adiamento de sua adoção [ do OOXML ] é baseada em razões
políticas, não em técnicas."
Finalizando: "Se todos reclamando do OOXML estivessem realmente
'hackeando' para aperfeiçoar o OpenOffice, tornando-o um produto
superior em todos os sentidos, nós não teríamos de recorrer, como uma
comunidade, a um argumento político sobre bases fracas."
Ele disse q está aceitando correções às informações em seu blog. Quem
achar q pode colaborar, siga o link no início da msg.
====== Segue cópia do texto no blog ========
The EU Prosecutors are Wrong.
from Miguel de Icaza by Miguel de Icaza ([EMAIL PROTECTED])
The file format wars between Open Document Format (ODF) file format
against the Office Open XML (OOXML) are getting heated.
There are multiple discussions taking place and I have been ignoring
it for the most part.
This morning I read on News.com an interview with Thomas Vinje.
Thomas is part of the legal team representing some companies in the
EU against Microsoft.
The bit in the interview that caught my attention was the following
We filed our complaint with the Commission last February, over
Microsoft's refusal to disclose their Office file formats
(.doc, .xls, and .ppt), so it could be fully compatible and
interoperable with others' software, like Linux. We also had concerns
with their collaboration software with XP, e-mail software, and OS
server software and some media server software with their existing
products. They use their vast resources to delay things as long as
possible and to wear people down so they'll give up.
And in July, we updated our complaint to reflect our concerns with
Microsoft's "open XML." (Microsoft's Office Open XML is a default
document format for its Office 2007 suite.) And last month, we
supplemented that information with concerns we had for .Net 3.0
(software designed to allow Vista applications to run on XP and older-
generation operating systems).
And I think that the group is not only shooting themselves in the
foot, they are shooting all of our collective open source feet.
Open Source and Open Standards
For a few years, those of us advocating open source software have
found an interesting niche to push open source: the government niche.
The argument goes along these lines: Open Office is just as good as
Microsoft Office; Open Office is open source, so it comes for free;
You can actually nurture your economy if you push for a local open
source software industry.
The argument makes perfect sense, most people with agree to it, but
every once in a while our advocacy has faced some problems: Microsoft
Office might have some features that we do not have, the cost of
migration is not zero, existing licensing deals sweeten the spot, and
there are compatibility corner cases that slow down the adoption.
A new powerful argument was identified a few years back, when
Congressman Edgar Villanueva in 2002 replied to a letter from
Microsoft's Peru General Manager.
One of the key components at the time was that the government would
provide free access to government information and the permanence of
public data. The letter those two points said:
To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is
indispensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single
provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of
this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible
To guarantee the permanence of public data, it is necessary that the
usability and maintenance of the software does not depend on the
goodwill of the suppliers, or on the monopoly conditions imposed by
them. For this reason the State needs systems the development of
which can be guaranteed due to the availability of the source code.
The letter is a great document, but the bit that am interested in is
the bit about open standards.
Using Open Standards to Promote Open Source
Open standards and the need for public access to information was a
strong message. This became a key component of promoting open office,
and open source software. This posed two problems:
First, those promoting open standards did not stress the importance
of having a fully open source implementation of an office suite.
Second, it assumed that Microsoft would stand still and would not
react to this new change in the market.
And that is where the strategy to promote the open source office
suite is running into problems. Microsoft did not stand still. It
reacted to this new requirement by creating a file format of its own,
Technical Merits of OOXML and ODF
Unlike the XML Schema vs Relax NG discussion where the advantages of
one system over the other are very clear, the quality differences
between the OOXML and ODF markup are hard to articulate.
The high-level comparisons so far have focused on tiny details
(encoding, model used for the XML). There is nothing fundamentally
better or worse in those standards like there is between XML Schema
and Relax NG.
ODF grew out of OpenOffice and is influenced by OpenOffice's internal
design. OOXML grew out of Microsoft Office and it is influenced by
its internal design. No real surprises there.
The Size of OOXML
A common objection to OOXML is that the specification is "too big",
that 6,000 pages is a bit too much for a specification and that this
would prevent third parties from implementing support for the standard.
Considering that for years we, the open source community, have been
trying to extract as much information about protocols and file
formats from Microsoft, this is actually a good thing.
For example, many years ago, when I was working on Gnumeric, one of
the issues that we ran into was that the actual descriptions for
functions and formulas in Excel was not entirely accurate from the
public books you could buy.
OOXML devotes 324 pages of the standard to document the formulas and
The original submission to the ECMA TC45 working group did not have
any of this information. Jody Goldberg and Michael Meeks that
represented Novell at the TC45 requested the information and it
eventually made it into the standards. I consider this a win, and I
consider those 324 extra pages a win for everyone (almost half the
size of the ODF standard).
Depending on how you count, ODF has 4 to 10 pages devoted to it.
There is no way you could build a spreadsheet software based on this
To build a spreadsheet program based on ODF you would have to resort
to an existing implementation source code (OpenOffice, Gnumeric) or
you would have to resort to Microsoft's public documentation or
ironically to the OOXML specification.
The ODF Alliance in their OOXML Fact Sheet conveniently ignores this
I guess the fairest thing that can be said about a spec that is 6,000
pages long is that printing it out kills too many trees.
There is a compilation being tracked in here, but some of the
objections there show that the people writing those objections do not
understand the issues involved.
Do as I say, not as I do
Some folks have been using a Wiki to keep track of the issues with
OOXML. The motivation for tracking these issues seems to be
politically inclined, but it manages to pack some important technical
The site is worth exploring and some of the bits there are solid, but
there are also some flaky cases.
Some of the objections over OOXML are based around the fact that it
does not use existing ISO standards for some of the bits in it. They
list 7 ISO standards that OOXML does not use: 8601 dates and times;
639 names and languages; 8632 computer graphics and metafiles;
10118-3 cryptography as well as a handful of W3C standards.
By comparison, ODF only references three ISO standards: Relax NG
(OOXML also references this one), 639 (language codes) and 3166
Not only it is demanded that OOXML abide by more standards than ISO's
own ODF does, but also that the format used for metafiles from 1999
be used. It seems like it would prevent some nice features developed
in the last 8 years for no other reason than "there was a standard
ODF uses SMIL and SVG, but if you save a drawing done in a
spreadsheet it is not saved as SVG, it is saved using its own format
(Chapter 9) and sprinkles a handful of SVG attributes to store some
information (x, y, width, height).
There is an important-sounding "Ecma 376 relies on undisclosed
information" section, but it is a weak case: The case is that Windows
Metafiles are not specified.
It is weak because the complain is that Windows Metafiles are not
specified. It is certainly not in the standard, but the information
is publicly available and is hardly "undisclosed information". I
would vote to add the information to the standard.
More on the Size of the Spec
A rough breakdown of OOXML:
~100 page "Fundamentals" document;
~200 page "Packaging Conventions" document;
~450 page "Primer" document (a tutorial);
~1850 page Word Processing reference document;
~1090 page Spreadsheet Processing reference document;
~270 page Presentation Processing reference document;
~1140 page Drawing Processing reference document;
~900 pages for other references (VML, SharedML,
~42 future extensibility document.
I have obviously not read the entire specification, and am biased
towards what I have seen in the spreadsheet angle. But considering
that it is impossible to implement a spreadsheet program based on
ODF, am convinced that the analysis done by those opposing OOXML is
incredibly shallow, the burden is on them to prove that ODF is
"enough" to implement from scratch alternative applications.
If Microsoft had produced 760 pages (the size of ODF) as the
documentation for the ".doc", ".xls" and ".ppt" that lacked for
example the formula specification, wouldn't people justly demand that
the specification was incomplete and was useless?
I would have to agree at that point with the EU that not enough
information was available to interoperate with Microsoft Office.
If anything, if I was trying to interoperate with Microsoft products,
I would request more, not less.
ODF is today an ISO standard. It spent some time in the public before
it was given its stamp of approval.
There is a good case to be made for OOXML to be further fine-tuned
before it becomes an ISO standard. But considering that Office 2007
has shipped, I doubt that any significant changes to the file format
would be implemented in the short or medium term.
The best possible outcome in delaying the stamp of approval for OOXML
would be to get further clarifications on the standard. Delaying it
on the grounds of technical limitations is not going to help much.
Considering that ODF spent a year receiving public scrutiny and it
has holes the size of Gulf of Mexico, it seems that the call for
delaying its adoption is politically based and not technically based.
XAML and .NET 3.0
From another press release from the group:
"Vista is the first step in Microsoft‘s strategy to extend its market
dominance to the Internet," Awde stressed. For example, Microsoft's
"XAML" markup language, positioned to replace HTML (the current
industry standard for publishing language on the Internet), is
designed from the ground up to be dependent on Windows, and thus is
not cross-platform by nature.
"With XAML and OOXML Microsoft seeks to impose its own Windows-
dependent standards and displace existing open cross-platform
standards which have wide industry acceptance, permit open
competition and promote competition-driven innovation. The end result
will be the continued absence of any real consumer choice, years of
waiting for Microsoft to improve - or even debug - its monopoly
products, and of course high prices," said Thomas Vinje, counsel to
ECIS and spokesman on the issue.
He is correct that XAML/WPF will likely be adopted by many developers
and probably some developers will pick it over HTML development.
I would support and applaud his efforts to require the licensing of
the XAML/WPF specification under the Microsoft Open Specification
But he is wrong about XAML/WPF being inherently tied to Windows. XAML/
WPF are large bodies of code, but they expose fewer dependencies on
the underlying operating system than .NET 2.0's Windows.Forms API
does. It is within our reach to bring to Linux and MacOS.
We should be able to compete on technical grounds with Microsoft's
offerings. Developers interested in brining XAML/WPF can join the
Mono project, we have some bits and pieces implemented as part of our
Olive sub project.
I do not know how fast the adoption of XAML/WPF will be, considering
that unlike previous iterations of .NET, gradual adoption of WPF is
not possible. Unlike .NET 2.0 which was an incremental upgrade for
developers, XAML/WPF requires software to be rewritten to take
advantage of it.
The Real Problem
The real challenge today that open source faces in the office space
is that some administrations might choose to move from the binary
office formats to the OOXML formats and that "open standards" will
not play a role in promoting OpenOffice.Org nor open source.
What is worse is that even if people manage to stop OOXML from
becoming an ISO standard it will be an ephemeral victory.
We need to recognize that this is the problem. Instead of trying to
bury OOXML, which amounts to covering the sun with your finger.
We need to make sure that OpenOffice can thrive on its technical
This is not a complete study of the problems that OOXML has, as I
said, it has its share of issues. But it has its share of issues just
like the current ODF standard has.
To make ODF successful, we need to make OpenOffice a better product,
and we need to keep improving it. It is very easy to nitpick a
standard, specially one that is as big as OOXML. But it is a lot
harder to actually improve OpenOffice.
If everyone complaining about OOXML was actually hacking on improving
OpenOffice to make it a technically superior product in every sense
we would not have to resort, as a community, to play a political case
on weak grounds.
I also plan on updating this blog entry as people correct me (unlike
ODF, my blog entries actually contain mistakes ;-)
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