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KOffice and OOXML

DISCLAIMER: this is a blog entry, this means this is the personnal opinion of the author.

There is a lot of buzz currently around on how KDE and KOffice are blindly rejecting OOXML, and Gnome and Abiword/Gnumeric are blindly embracing it. I think this is a complete misunderstanding, and that the position of both projects isn’t that different, but due to some amplification effects, both position are seen as “extreme” in one or the other direction.

KOffice position is that ODF is and should be supported to be the standard for interoperability between office suite. So, the effort is concentrated on improving the specification, the implementation and ensuring that documents created by KOffice is correctly opened by other Office Suite (and vice-versa). KOffice position concerning OOXML is that, in its current version, it shouldn’t be made an international standard. The main reason is that OOXML isn’t build on pre-existing standard (like ODF for instance, or SVG or even dates…), which result in a huge specification.

But the need of our users is important, it’s very likely that, at some point, we will offer a way to import OOXML, most likely using one of the OOXML to ODF converter. But there is no urgency about this, as currently OOXML is an unfinished specification used by nearly nobody.

  1. Thomas
    12 December, 2007 at 14:35

    As a core KOffice developer I’d like to make clear that the above position is NOT a KOffice endorsed statement.On top of it, as the main KWord maintainer, I disagree with the sentiment in this blog regarding OOXML.

  2. Cyrille Berger
    12 December, 2007 at 14:45

    So as the main KWord developer and a *core* KOffice developer you do think that we shouldn’t help *your* users to do their work. Interesting statement.But you are right this is not a KOffice statement it’s a blog entry.

  3. Harm
    12 December, 2007 at 15:35

    “But there is no urgency about this, as currently OOXML is an unfinished specification used by nearly nobody.”I agree that it’s an unfinished specification. ECMA is still working of perfecting it and when that’s done ISO will vote again, to see whether it can be made an ISO standard. However, OOXML is the basis for the file formats in Microsoft’s Office 2007, which is already in use today and will get more users over time. Saying that it’s used by nearly nobody is – at least in the way I see it – blatantly far from the truth.

  4. Chani
    12 December, 2007 at 17:56

    calling OOXML “an unfinished specification” is a gross understatement. it’s not open, it’s not really a standard, and I know some people who don’t even consider it proper XML!there’s an abundance of technical issues, legal issues, lock-in issues… it’s got almost every kind of issue you could imagine.there’s a nice collection of information on < HREF="http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Hierarchical_TOC#OOXML_.5BMicrosoft_OOXML.3B_ECMA_376.3B_Office_Open_XML.5D" REL="nofollow">grokdoc<> for those who are interested.

  5. Diederik
    12 December, 2007 at 20:14

    A practical reason NOT to support OOXML right now is the fact there isn’t any application which really supports it. Even Office 2007 doesn’t output valid OOXML.Microsoft’s success depends on people jumping on the OOXML bandwagon, so they can claim OOXML is the next standard. Therefore I applaud the KOffice developers who’ve made such clear statement against it.That’s is a sheer contrast from the past where things became a de-facto standard because people jumped in, implementing tools based on incomplete documentation. With enough mindshare competition could be crushed. Examples include the SMB and MSN protocols, and previous binary office formats. OOXML is no different animal in that regard. Please don’t fall for the hype that OOXML must be supported. It’s clouding the clear message. Being vague here is hurting you, like it did for GNOME.

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