Dave Winer doesn't like OpenDocument

12 10 2005

Dave Winer: “After years of maintaining absolute control over user’s data in Microsoft Office, the new version promises to give total control to the user, and creates a path for developers to siphon users from Microsoft to new or specialized products. One would think that this would spawn an explosion of new products designed to please Office users but that’s not what’s happening. A group of large technology companies is proposing a competing set of formats, and has formed an alliance to confuse the market, and at least double the work of any developer who might want to support their products (with almost no installed base) alongside Microsoft’s (with a monopolistic dominant installed base). “

Yeah, right. Since Microsoft has a dominant installed base (illegally acquired or not), let’s just give up any hope of defining a format that is really open and unencumbered by ambiguous licensing terms and patents. Doing so would just be “confusing the market”. Bah!

According to Wikipedia, however:

All of this is in contrast with the competing “Microsoft Office Open XML” developed by Microsoft. Microsoft has released their format royalty-free, but with additional conditions not imposed by OpenDocument. Independent analysts have stated that Microsoft’s licensing requirements will prevent many competitors from ever implementing Microsoft’s format. The extent of this incompatibility is the source of significant controversy between Microsoft and other parties. The text below attempts to capture these differences, since they are often one of the reasons people consider using OpenDocument.

One is left wondering whether Dave’s opinion isn’t at least a little influenced by his dislike of Tim Bray, who is very supportive of OpenDocument. And of Atom.

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