Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Microsoft has many tricks...

It is interesting to watch as Microsoft tries different strategies in dealing with the open source community, open standards and interoperability. This interesting ballot box management trick with OOXML is clever (oh, and if it is so good, repeat it, over and over again). Basically, manage the voting populace to ensure that only your voters turn out for a vote.

So, does that imply that they know that their proposal is inferior (oh, with 6,546 pages, I guess they didn't leave much undefined, compared to ODF's mere 867 pages, right)? Does it leave gaps which allow them to maintain a proprietary interface and extensions, and therefore lock out open source or 3rd party players? Does it add obscurity instead of clarity, allowing only mega-monolithic companies to play in the open document specification? I like Google's stance on this, which is well thought out. And, in watching the discourse as the Linux Foundation pulled their response together (and some comments from the open source desktop architects), the focus was not on Microsoft vs. Linux (which at some level this *is* about, although by no means the primary focus) but instead the architects clearly focused on the technical aspects of the proposals.

I'm not impressed by the style of tactic here. Microsoft should have enough technical savvy that they should play this game openly and based on the merits of any standard. While I'm sure the days of corporate jury rigging of standards for vendor advantage are nowhere near over, any standard relating to true opennes affecting so many end users should get much better treatment and input that favors we end users.

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