I’ve been writing a piece on Linux/Windows interoperability, and broached the tricky matter of file formats.
It struck me forcibly how much the situation has changed for the worse, for the average user who could not care one jot about XML or ISO for that matter.
Prior to Office 2007, at least a Microsoft Office user could email documents to a Linux Open Office user and they would most likely open OK. Now that’s no longer the case.
I guess Open Office users have always had to make allowance for Microsoft users by doing Save As or setting their defaults to compatible formats, when emailing documents the other way or sharing them on a network. That’s no better today. Open Office defaults to ODF which a default install of Microsoft Office will not open.
Both sides would probably say that this is the problem they are trying to solve. Nevertheless, from the user’s perspective we have gone backwards.
What a shame that Microsoft, IBM, Sun and so on were not willing to engage with each other to adopt a common standard acceptable to all parties, instead of treating document formats as a competitive weapon, never mind how much users suffer.