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Gray Matter

Gray Knowlton's blog on Microsoft Office

Shamelessly out of context

Shamelessly out of context

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I've seen a few comments this week quoting my comments in PC World, and claiming that I have somehow recommended a "no" vote on Open XML.

"If individual governments mandate the use of ODF instead of Open XML, Microsoft would adapt. The company would then implement the missing functionality that ODF doesn't support."

So, consider this my (first) response:

Regarding my comments here: (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,141424-pg,1/article.html), It is unfortunate to see folks who elect to omit parts of the statements that do not support their case. The full comment is quoted here, to avoid any misunderstanding in the future.

"Also, if individual governments mandate the use of ODF instead of Open XML, Microsoft would adapt, Knowlton said. The company would then implement the missing functionality that ODF doesn't support. However, those extensions would be custom-designed and outside of the standard, which is counter to the idea of an open document standard, Knowlton said. "Disastrous? No. But definitely not preferable," he said"

I've added some additional context here:
http://blogs.technet.com/gray_knowlton/archive/2008/02/20/harmonization-vs-unification.aspx

"I do not believe it is feasible just to add features of one format to another. These formats are not subsets and supersets of each other, there are fundamental differences in text, table, graphic and style models, spreadsheets have a very different representation, and on and on and on. "Unification" points toward an argument about how product code bases will have to be re-written, and there are no winners in that discussion.

Suggesting that one can just copy / paste between these formats because they appear to be "90% similar" is an insincere / inadequate / uninformed attempt at understanding the issues that are involved.

To ensure my position is unambiguous: Anything that Microsoft does with respect to ODF has no effect on our position on Open XML. The two formats are designed for different purposes, and would not benefit by being "unified" or "merged." Should you encounter lobbying within your national body or government agency on my behalf, feel free to reach out to me directly for comment on the issue. I'll be glad to share the whole picture with you, not just the half that suits my needs.

If you are preparing comments for your national body which represent the situation as anything other than my endorsement of a "Yes" vote of Open XML, you are misrepresenting fact.