Double-talk from Microsoft's Mike Champion · FileFormat.Info

Double-talk from Microsoft's Mike Champion

Previous: Making PDF files accessible Next: Lockheed Martin chosen for the Electronic Records Archives contract


A blog post from Mike Champion on the Microsoft XML Team really exemplifies the double-talk coming from Microsoft after the Massachusetts OpenDocument decision.

He says:

XML itself provides most of what Massachusetts is looking for in the way of openness and standardization, liberating information from the applications that created it, and making that information accessible far into the future.

The fact is that the new XML file formats were specifically designed to be 100% backwards-compatible with the MSWord binary formats. Every single wackiness that MSWord has ever supported is in there. Every feature. Every bug. If it was ever supported in the binary format, it is somewhere in the XML format. Straight from the horse's mouth.

Is XML magic pixie dust that magically makes things open?

Of course not! XML has many advantages over binary formats, but that doesn't mean that it cannot be closed and proprietary.

The MSOffice XML formats in no way whatsoever liberate information from the applications that create it. Unless it is MSOffice, no application will work correctly with every file. The files may be easier to use and integrate and whatnot, but you are just as tied to MSOffice as before.

Side note: is there an equivalent to Turing-complete for data? That is, if a data structure can hold any possible data structure? Maybe something from graph theory?

Tags: microsoft standard

File Formats: MSOfficeXML