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   Re: [xml-dev] What is XML's appropriate place in an office suite?

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AndrewWatt2000@aol.com scripsit:

> <for_discussion>
> Re-examining some of the recent discussion it seems to me that some of the 
> pleas for fully open XML in office suites is simply thinly veiled special 
> pleading for the XML geek lobby. Making a fully open XML in an office suite 
> empowers not the user but the XML geek. So, in effect, the plea for fully 
> open XML is, in some respects at least, a selfish request. One might even 
> suggest that it would increase the power and revenue earning potential of XML 
> geeks (at the expense of the office suite vendors). Moving power or data 
> ownership from proprietary vendors to our own XML geekdom may be less 
> altruistic than it at first appears.
> </for_discussion>

Empowering the geek *does* empower the user.  Why do ordinary (i.e.
non-software) businesses encourage aftermarkets?  Why don't car manufacturers
weld the hood shut, and when the car doesn't work right, tell you to
wait for next year's model?

> For those who doubt the above point, I suggest they go and canvas views of 
> users of office products in local businesses. How many actually want XML? How 
> many would know what to do with it if they are given XML on a plate?

Few if any.  But if you tell them, "Look, if you use Office 11 Pro, then
you can buy, beg, or borrow products W, X, Y, and Z which will allow
nifty things alpha, beta, and gamma to be done with your legacy data,"
then the proposition becomes a lot more compelling.

Open data is like open source.  The business proposition (from the user's
standpoint) for open source is not that they get to tinker with the code
themselves.  It's that they are free to hire third parties, who have no
axe to grind, to make such improvements.  Similarly, if your data is
trapped in Word, you can only do with it what Microsoft currently lets
you do, and if you want more, you have no choice except to plead wiht
Microsoft to do it (or to pay prices way over the market for a custom-built
solution, *if* they are even willing to do that -- I don't know).  I'm
not singling out MS here in particular.

> So where does XML belong in an office suite?
> As a first attempt at an answer, I would suggest "Well hidden from the 
> ordinary user".

Sure.  But not well-hidden from the user's well-paid consultants.
Otherwise they are not consultants but voodoo priests.  (No offense.)

"May the hair on your toes never fall out!"     John Cowan
        --Thorin Oakenshield (to Bilbo)         jcowan@reutershealth.com


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