Friday, August 17, 2007

OOXML is bad for India

My previous post was about ODF versus OOXML. This one is too. In the previous one I might have put in too much information. This is an attempt to clear the matter.
  1. OOXML and ODF are document formats, like JPG and PNG are image formats. Open formats mean that anyone can write a program to read the file. Closed formats mean you cannot write a program to read the file. PNG is an open format, like HTML is an open format. Document formats are best when they are open.
  2. OOXML is Office Open XML, Microsoft's attempt to pass another standard. It is a competitor to ODF.
  3. ODF is already an ISO standard, and is already open, and already implemented and used by a variety of software.
  4. OOXML is NOT Open. There are many many technical reasons why it is almost impossible to implement it fully.
  5. India is forced to vote on the issue, and India's vote is important.
  6. Everyone who is in the business of writing Office Suites: IBM (which owns Lotus), Sun (which owns Star Office), Google (which owns Google Docs), and the Open Office team agrees that ODF is the superior format. ODF is already supported by many programs, some of which cost no money.
  7. China's IT experts are completely against OOXML.
  8. IIT Delhi is already on the ODF committee, and is strongly against OOXML. We don't know what IIT Bombay's view is, but my guess is that they are against OOXML as well. CDAC is against OOXML. IISc, and IIM-A are against OOXML.
  9. There is no "document war". ODF is already an open, ISO standard, and Microsoft refuses to follow along, and make its office software read and write ODF files. This is plain simple, bullying by a monopoly.
  10. Two standards for the identical thing are a very bad thing for consumers. Realizing this, US and South Africa have already stated that they will vote against OOXML. China is against OOXML as well.

Please take the time to write to the Indian delegation at Please be polite, and respectfully tell them that you are against OOXML. If any other Indian bloggers pick this up, I'd be grateful.

For technical reasons why OOXML is harmful to you, please see the previous post. For a quick slideshow about why OOXML is bad, please see Anand Vaidya's delightful slideshow.