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   RE: [xml-dev] Common Word Processing Format

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>From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <len.bullard@intergraph.com>
>We are caught on the horns of just-in-time bundling that server side
>content is supposed to solve.  It doesn't seem to me we really need
>ODF or Office for much longer and that anyone buying the argument
>that openness of either of these creates a market may just be buying
>a file cabinet startup.

Well, "openness" is clearly a necessary condition for success going forward 
-- that has to be the reason the MS Office people have moved from making XML 
an optional format, to making it the default format, and now announcing the 
intention of turning control of that format over to a standards body.  I 
agree it's not a sufficient condition, and certainly wouldn't invest in a 
company whose business model was predicated on splitting a hair to argue 
that Open Office XML is more truly open than Office Open XML. <duck>

I agree with what I think is the thrust of Len's point in this thread:  If 
you are writing an RFP or a government regulation and need to specify a 
document format that is really and truly open, undeniably a standard, and 
good enough for the vast majority of real-world static "office" documents, 
specify (X)HTML.  Beyond that ...   If you need more richness, there are a 
lot of options:  MS Office XML formats have a lot of momentum and have a lot 
of advantages when the document contains live data; ODF is a cleaner XML 
format and more easily edited with generic XML tools and processed by people 
who understand the subtleties of things like mixed content; DocBook is going 
to work well for huge technical documents, and custom  or vertical-industry 
schemas are likely to be important in some niches.

I can't imagine why anyone thinks they know enough now to write a policy 
that accurately predicts which of these will get the most real-world 
traction and de-facto standardization, which will work best for which 
scenarios, which of those scenarios will be important to a particular 
organization, and which will have adequate third party tool support.  We can 
just throw them all into the meme pool and let Father Darwin sort it out in 
the messy way that He does so well :-)

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