[LINK] Friday Musing: Docx - Open Office versus Microsoft Office

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Fri Nov 11 14:35:16 AEDT 2011

Tom Koltai wrote:

> I find it curious that Open Office can open all versions of Microsoft
> Word Documents (including .docx extensions) whereas for example Word
> 2003 is unable to do so.

Yes, a very handy feature. Same with .xlsx - the OOXML format. I don't
think that format was even defined back in 2003. Recall the OOXML war
a few years back, where many thought the Mickeysoft should not be imposing
its incomplete and vaguely specified (read full of proprietary holes)
format on OOXML. MS won :(

Open Office cannot saved spreadsheets in the .xlsx format, which is
very annoying. I don't know if the same can be said about .docx files.

> No-one has yet taken on Microsoft for the millions of hours of lost
> productivity that this (and many other "free" features") have cost the
> global economy.

I've often railed against Microsoft's embrace and capture approach to
the marketplace, with only an inferior product on offer. Too many have
fallen into its unrelenting grip by the shear ubiquity of a crap
product. Many do not even know there are alternatives.

Isn't this the nature of the free market, though? Products and services
of inferior value are eventually eschewed for better offerings. This
does seem to be happening with the MS Office bloatware.

That said, I find it quite incredible in the year 2011 that it is quite
difficult, nay impossible, to find a common formated text document
format, either text or word processed, that my team who are dispersed
across the three major operating systems can use and share.

We have had to settle on Google Docs as the lesser of the very many
evils that are on offer. Strangely, the market leader (MS Office Suite)
falls far short of the requirements "adequate" and "fit for purpose" when
we attempted to use the .doc/.docx format on all three platforms.

"Platfail" might be the best description.

To recap, Tom, I really don't think you can expect Office 2003 to be
forward compatible with future document formats like OOXML, first
edition standard published 2006.

reference: <http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-376.htm>

Like so much FUD from MS, their OOXML is NOT open. A squizz through the
Link archives will uncover the reason why.


Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services

We like to think of ourselves as the Microsoft of the energy world.
      -- Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron

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