Microsoft: Boiling Frogs Since 1975
Posted Apr 16, 2012 22:05 UTC (Mon) by khim
In reply to: Microsoft: Boiling Frogs Since 1975
Parent article: Paoli: Microsoft will engage with the open source and standards communities
Once again: Microsoft knows how to develop standards. It knows it very well indeed.
No it doesn't.
I don't really see how you can say that.
It knows how to produce documents that vaguely look like standards from a distance but are virtually useless to anybody but itself.
Bingo! That's the ticket! This is the whole point of the exercise!
If Microsoft really knew very well how to develop standards then, as far as we can tell from the outside, they do a very good job at concealing that ability from the general public.
Nope. They do this quite openly. I think you just expect something different from them. For Microsoft “standard” is “something accepted by some standards organization”, nothing more, nothing less¹). And as you admit they create these standards and get stamps of approval quite regularly, so why do you say they can not develop standards?
As far as I am concerned, engineering is not just about making things work any which way but also about simplicity, elegance, and beauty.
That's secondary issues. RFC 1925 may be April Fool's RFC, but it sets the priorities straight. It Has To Work is the first and most important rule. If something works then we can start talks about simplicity, elegance, and beauty. If it does not work then everything else does not matter!
If Microsoft Office had been built by good engineers to begin with, the crocks that are now codified in the OOXML standard would never have been required in the first place.
This is where you are wrong. If Microsoft Office had been built by good engineers (by your definition) then OOXML would have been similar to what we have today. Just the name of primary sponsor would have been different. Apple or may be some other firm would have presented it while Microsoft would have been extinct.
Battle was quite serious back in 1990th and most of warts we observe today in OOXML have roots in that battle. That's why there are these WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 compatibility flags, that's why there flags for bugs introduced in previous versions of MS Office. 90%+ market share of MS Office and ugliness of OOXML are flip sides of the very same coin.
¹) Actually Microsoft also tries to shift attention from “official standards” to “standards de-facto” and now developers often complain that Linux does not support “standard development tools” (i.e. Visual Studio) and “standard APIs” (i.e. DirectX). But this campaign lies in totally separate managerial universe and AFAICS is not driven by Microsoft's engineers.
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