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Gray Matter

Gray Knowlton's blog on Microsoft Office

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  • Blog Post: Microsoft on Interoperability: “Significant, Strategic Change”

    Today is a very important day in the history of Microsoft; it's a moment with which I am very happy to be associated. If you didn't see the big news , you can read about it here . But if you just want to skip to the "What does this mean for Office and File Formats?" part, read on. To recap what was...
  • Blog Post: Open XML SDK 2.0 Released

    On February 21, 2008, I posted on Microsoft Interoperability Principles , which are designed to make our products more open and more available to the broader software community. Since that day, Microsoft has made several strides in this area, too many to recount here and now, but largely explained by...
  • Blog Post: Open XML approved as an American National standard

    I suppose many will have a comment on this activity. But after working with Open XML for over 4 years I can't help but share my enthusiasm for the results that emerged from INCITS yesterday. Open XML is now an approved as an American National Standard, without any "No" votes, and with surprising "Yes...
  • Blog Post: ODF Editor Endorses Open XML

    "I recommend approval of DIS29500 as an ISO standard."- Patrick Durusau Mr. Patrick Durusau has again commented on Open XML . It is great to see at least part of the ODF camp coming around to consensus on a point which I've been saying for a while (a lot of people have been saying). Ratifying Open...
  • Blog Post: Office 2007 Service Pack 2 Kiosk

    UPDATE: The links for the downloads for SP2 are in the process of replicating across mirrors for our WW download center. The download links are expected to be live at around 11:00AM PDT. Update: The download links for SP2 are now live . The Office development team has been pretty busy with the...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft adds “Save as ODF” to Office 2007 Service Pack 2

    Updated. April 28, 2009. Office 2007 SP2 is available for download. For more information: http://blogs.technet.com/gray_knowlton/archive/2009/04/27/office-2007-service-pack-2-kiosk.aspx For those of you who have been following the file format issue for a while, you'll recognize today's action by Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Redmond ODF workshop feels pretty good

    You'll see some blog traffic on this, so I thought I'd throw my own log onto the fire. I attended the ODF workshop yesterday, mainly to sit in the back and watch how things unfolded, but also to learn a little bit myself. I must say that after the conclusion of the event, I was quite happy about how...
  • Blog Post: Within Minutes

    I can keep this post nice and short. Patrick Durusau has responded to some pretty harsh accusations from Rob Weir . (I guess I got the answer to my question about the disconnect within the ODF TC .) I guess Nick Tsilas should feel vindicated , at least a little bit. Ouch: "If you need further proof...
  • Blog Post: Document Encryption in Office 2007 with Open XML

    I was asked recently to comment on "security" of Office 2007. Conversations like this tend to unfold in a certain way… which is to play a fun game of Technology-Tennis, where we volley questions back and forth until we get at the root of the thing… although I've never understood why the grunting is necessary...
  • Blog Post: What does 2008 look like?

    I don't have the type of job where I distill global economic indicators into sound bites and loose predictions, but I do spend cycles trying to understand what people are going to be thinking about in the future. For any software product manager, keeping an eye on ".next" is as important as any other...
  • Blog Post: Got FUD? Here’s a guide for the perplexed

    I saw Bob Sutor's post last week titled " There is humor in the OOXML morass ." This is where he calls out comments from Nick Tsilas as worthy of "a good laugh." I interpreted Bob's post as an attempt by IBM to deny that they are leading the charge against Open XML. I like a good laugh too, so I had...
  • Blog Post: File size reduction for Open XML

    I spend a lot of time working on the adoption of the Open XML Formats, For IT organizations, it can be a daunting task to migrate document formats in Office, and it the benefits are not always immediately obvious. Microsoft spent a fair bit of time on tools / guidance to make the introduction of Open...
  • Blog Post: “I am rubber, you are glue…”

    Rob Weir is apparently offended that someone would suggest that ODF is controlled by a single vendor, going so far as to accuse Burton Group of some influence over the Open XML ISO voting process. He says: "Waiting until after February, after the DIS 29500 process concludes, to make corrections is...
  • Blog Post: NOOOXML says: “Down with XML”

    I was recently pointed to a presentation about Open XML that raised my curiosity. It found its way to me because it included my picture, but the content is what's on my mind. I take the Open XML discussion pretty seriously; I've had very interesting and stimulating discussions about Open XML with a lot...
  • Blog Post: Speaking of odd contradictions…

    Today is just one of those days where you see a lof of strangeness , I guess. Not trying to pick a fight here, but I can't help but point out the apparent contrast between this: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=1145 "That means that other products and software, in practice, will NOT be able...
  • Blog Post: “Notes” from the Open XML Battlefront: IBM vs. IBM, part 2

    Stephen McGibbon pointed me toward an interesting development for the IBM products announced at Lotusphere: "But IBM will support Open XML, which is the current document format in Office 2007, in its Lotus collaboration and portal products. IBM already supports older versions of Office." So claims...
  • Blog Post: More on the Open XML to DAISY Translator

    Some things are just good no matter how you look at them. Managing macro-size products can be strange sometimes, because you lose perspective on individuals. Product managers spend a lot of time (at least the good ones do) trying to connect with people to get a tactile "feel" for what their product does...
  • Blog Post: Open XML Scorecard for St. Patrick's Day 2008

    I used to live in Dublin (on Mount Street, just above Grafton Street)... I spent many, many days in the Oval pub just off O'Connell street, and I remember every one of those days fondly. Spending two St. Patrick's day holidays in front of the St. Patrick's day Parade in Dublin changed my perspective...
  • Blog Post: Open XML in the world

    This week Mike Walker announced a new "OBA Component Library " for Financial Services (OBA == Office Business Applications). If you're not familiar with OBAs , they are applications that are designed to help you use Office to get more out of the data center. We see countless situations where our customers...
  • Blog Post: Office and SharePoint 2010 Highlights from SharePoint Conference

    SharePoint Conference was a very busy time for us. We were finally able to pull back the curtain on many of the capability areas of 2010, and for a lot of folks, this was the first opportunity to see what all the excitement is about. There is a lot of buzz about Office and SharePoint 2010, but there...
  • Blog Post: Compatibility pack for Open XML: 20 Million downloads and counting

    The first compatibility pack for Open XML was released in November of 2006. This add-in for Office XP and 2003 (which also works with Office 2000 in some cases) enables users to open, edit and save Open XML files using prior releases of Office. The compatibility pack is designed to ease the pain of introducing...
  • Blog Post: ODF Alliance: The widening gap between fact and fiction

    I was pointed at a document created by the ODF alliance (with a creation date of Feb 6 th ) that discusses the recent dust-up on supported file types in Office 2003 Service Pack 3. While this was not one of our shining moments as a product, I was disappointed to see the amount of gross factual error...
  • Blog Post: DAISY Translator Released!

    The Open XML to DAISY Translator is available in release form now. You can download the tool and install it for yourself . It really is great to see this come to fruition. We are grateful for our partnership with DAISY, they have been very helpful in educating us on the best ways to support users with...
  • Blog Post: Balancing the opinions on ODF TC Members

    Given my remarks about the current chair of the OASIS ODF TC , I thought I'd round out my ODF related discussion with something a bit more positive. In fact, I don't even have to add any commentary of my own, I'd just like the work to speak for itself. Patrick Durusau, editor of the ISO26300 and OASIS...
  • Blog Post: Ooh’s and Aaah’s for March 19th

    Ooh.. (should I say Ouch!): http://www.oreillynet.com/xml/blog/2008/03/how_many_defects_remain_answer.html . Once again Rob Weir is defeated (handily). "One of the constant themes over the last year has been the theme of panic. QUICK: You only have one month to find contradictions. QUICK: You only...