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Jean Paoli and Brian Jones: More on Office Open File Formats

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Jean Paoli, XML Architect, and Brian Jones, Office PM, talk to Scoble about the new Office Open file formats.

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Running Time: 23:56
Download Size: 76 MB

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    The Discussion

    • gdesroches
      I'm curious. Jean mentioned the license allows open source, but that license must be compatible. What license(s) is this not compatible with and can someone explain why this is? Are GPL, LGPL, BSD compatible?

      These formats are a big step in the right direction. Good stuff. Smiley
    • orcmid
      I've been looking at exactly those cases.  The Microsoft Office XML Reference Schemas license (the one proposed for the new formats too) does not permit derivative works.  Also, the royalty-free patent license works only for the portions of programs that read and write files that conform precisely to those schemas.

      That's not the end of the world, but it is probably why the wording of the FAQ/Q&A response is a little uh, indirect. 

      Basically, you can not envelop these schemas in an Open-Source Definition compatible license because that would violate the Microsoft license.  You can (and must) segregate the Microsoft material in a way where there is no license confusion, sort of like treating them as redistributables that can only be redistributed under their own licenses but are employed in works that have broader (that is, OSD-compliant) licenses for the added-value parts.

      That's not a unique situation. I go into this more elaborately in my analysis of the Copyright part of these licenses on my blog.

      Thinking about it a little more, this should be done even when same-license materials having different authors (that is, copyright holders) are comingled.  You need to know who the several copyright holders are in case there is a question or desire to negotiate a special license.
    • orcmid
      I replied and then I watched the Channel 9 video.

      After the discussion on the video, I realized that it is a bit more complicated.  The pieces of open-sourced code that accomplish the reading and writing in conformance with the schema (isolated in an object of some kind, let us hope), must provide attribution to the royalty-free license.  I think I would segregate that code too, because anyone who modifies it must either preserve the license-required conditions or remove the license statement and not use the code to access the Microsoft format. 

      I would use that arrangement because I would not want anyone who used an open-source offering of mine to get into difficulty and find themselves in infringement because the license conditions were not preserved in their derivative work.  (I have a summary of the conditions in a follow-up on my blog.  Notice that exactly the same thing must be done in using the OASIS OpenDocument formats and schemas.  Although Sun Microsystems does not require an acknowledgment of the license, I would make sure to put something in about that to protect downstream developers in the same way.)

      With luck, we're talking about pieces that someone would either use intact (apart from fixes) or would replace completely in making a derivative work of the open-source portions.
    • orcmid
      I am delighted to see this Channel 9 presentation.  I share Jean Paoli's vision for the accessibility of cultural, social, and historical artifacts in open formats.  That's the real big deal here. 

      It is great to be given an opportunity to be acquainted with him in this way, along with Brian and his enthusiasm for all of the heavy lifting that it takes to deal with the real complexity of a few billion legacy documents.
    • rhm
      "How does it feel to change the world?"

      Purrrrlease!
    • Minh
      rhm wrote:
      "How does it feel to change the world?"

      Purrrrlease!
      He meant being co-creator of XML.
    • rhm
      Still, even Nelson Mandella didn't change the world, just one country in the world.  How does XML rank in the ladder of human achievement?

      I mean, I'm as happy as anyone about the new Office file formats, but there's no need to turn Channel9 into Sycophancy-Central.
    • orcmid
      I have taken a more-careful stroll through the open-source combination case, and added a further blog entry about it

      Sometimes I think I am making the situation murkier rather than adding any clarification.  We'll see how that sits after I've been away from it and maybe get some feedback.  Meanwhile, it has been an useful way to play hookie from my studies while convalescing a little.
    • z2bass

      When is Beta 1 suposed to be of Office 12.

      (BTW... THIS IS GREAT!)

    • Arran
      rhm wrote:
      Still, even Nelson Mandella didn't change the world, just one country in the world.  How does XML rank in the ladder of human achievement?

      I mean, I'm as happy as anyone about the new Office file formats, but there's no need to turn Channel9 into Sycophancy-Central.


      You can change the world in a small way.
      Nelson Mandella did change the world.  Just a lot of what happened and he did changed the world in indirect ways.

      "a butterfly flaps its wings in China, and it rains in New York."
    • scobleizer
      rhm: sorry, there are very few people in technology who have changed as much as XML has. I stick by my comment.
    • Goebbels
      rhm: sorry, there are very few people in technology who have changed as much as XML has. I stick by my comment.

      XML is a person, and he's changed a lot? That's a weird comment to stick to.

      I don't see how that has anything to do with Jean Paoli or him changing the world though.

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