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RE: [xml-dev] "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

Fully?  Probably not.  If nothing else churn in design will mean there is
always something undone.   Even HTML has this problem.  Even before DocBook
there was MIL-D-28001 and it was a bear.  We're still uncovering unspecified
areas of X3D and there wasn't that much controversy.  It simply is a tough
domain to standardize and still meet the participation agreements.

But good enough?  That can be done for document formats.   We'll be able to
make better predictions once the BRM completes because 1) the success or
failure of the ballot won't stop or start the market initiatives 2) we'll
have a finalized version.  Picking that apart will be much easier.

Do note Brian Jones comment on Rick Jeliffe's blog at XML.COM about the
means employed to handle the document size.  Given experts, that seemed
reasonable although he did not answer my query about how they were handling
inter-part dependencies given parallel editing tracks.   A 6000 page spec is
pretty big for one or two editors to process.

The harder problem is semantic-laden exchanges where small differences make
big differences (eg, the spreadsheet formulas).   I would have been happier
with several smaller specifications than one big one.   This is why I
believe that both ODF and OOXML are going to be market dodos in the large
even if reasonably useful in parts.   That has been the fate of every one
side fits all design I've seen.


From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:jonathan.robie@redhat.com] 
Another factor: exchanging office files with anyone was once very 
difficult, because there were quite a few competing programs, and they 
didn't do that great a job of reading and writing each other's formats. 
They were often bad even at handling their own earlier formats. Many 
environments were eager to see one file format win. RTF was one non-XML 
format that was trying to play this role.

An XML format has real advantages for this. Docbook never became that 
format. So far, ODF hasn't either. OOXML will make it easier to read 
Microsoft's data, but I'd be surprised if it becomes the universal 
document exchange format, partly because it is 6,000 pages and not fully 

Not sure if we'll ever get there ....

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