Friday, November 11, 2005


Let's see if I can re-explain it (without shouting) for those that still
think that I'm anti-MS: it's the marketing aspect that I like to poke
fun at, not the tech.

Example: the ongoing OpenDocument bickering.
The marketing department would like you to think that Massachusetts is
going to require Linux and OpenOffice. I doubt anyone who reads this
blog is confused but just in case, THEY'RE NOT THE SAME!!

OpenDocument is a document format, not a program. MS Office
could save files in OpenDocument format with no more difficulty than
saving in .RTF or .TXT formats. If MS doesn't adopt the format, we'll probably see it as a third party plug-in.

So what's the controversy? Why the
smoke and mirrors from Redmund? How about the "free
flow of data in and out
"? With the OpenDocument format, MS no
longer owns any part of your documents, rather than the current
proprietary format where they own the font, the metadata format, and the file storage format.

MS's risk in adopting the OpenDocument format?
Loss of user "lock in" (many companies initially adopt MS Office because
it's considered the "industry standard"), loss of font "lock in" (many
fonts are proprietary to MS Office), loss of feature "lock in" (a common
format is just that: common, and people will come to prefer
interoperability over proprietary features)(will anyone miss fighting
Words auto-formatter?).

I've had to explain this issue multiple times
this week. Hopefully those in the State Government can recognize the
difference. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible that one or more of
those people can be hired to influence the rest.

Update: Here's yet another view and reason for "the stink".