XLS/DOC/PPT Get Open Spec Promise

Microsoft placed the Office binary document formats under Microsoft's Open Specification Promise . OPS is basically Microsoft's own pledge that they will abide by the terms to keep any of their assigned technology open per their OSP. The OPS allows you to use and develop technology using the specifications without Microsoft coming after you infringement claims. They want you to use stuff under the OSP.

Friday Microsoft added five binary document specifications; .xls - Excel 97-2007, .xlsb - Excell 2007, .doc - Word97-2007, .ppt - PowerPoint 97-2007 and Office Drawing 97-2007.

Microsoft didn't do this out of the graciousness of the kind hearts, or because of a new kinder, gentler management philosophy. It was a good will gesture in response to those who could stand in the way of ratification of Microsoft's Open XML (OOXML) technology they'd like approved as a standard for office type software and data interchange.

But are the Microsoft document specs place under OSP fully open? Initial reaction is no by those who've found records missing or incomplete, and reserved sections of the specifications.

You know that Microsoft will always get the fullest scrutiny when claiming anything is open, free to use or open source. While it was wise, and probably even necessary, of Microsoft to put the Office binary file formats under the OSP, not tidying up little details or leaving stuff out could negate much of the good will offered. I think it's best for Microsoft to be squeaky clean and follow both the rule and the spirit, otherwise suspicions will immediately arise.

Maybe Microsoft is trying to hide or pull something over on us here. I doubt it, but Microsoft needs to play an error-free game when it comes to building good will with standards bodies adopting Microsoft proposals.

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