Gone for a Burton

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I've avoided commenting on the Burton Group's report “What’s Up, .DOC? ODF, OOXML, and the Revolutionary Implications of XML in Productivity Applications”, since its attacks on ODF seemed so obviously gratuitous and wrong-headed that it was not worth the time or trouble refuting it. But if you want to see the sins of omission and commission exposed in all their glory, the ODF Alliance has put together a useful rebuttal. It concludes:

There are also issues not raised that cause concerns. For instance, why is there no discussion on accessibility issues raised by the disability community with respect to office documents? These issues have raised worldwide consciousness of the impact of information technology decisions and standards on the lives of people with disabilities. We hope it is not because the authors did not wish to acknowledge either (1) the issue's importance, or (2) that ODF v1.1 has established a new high water mark for document formats, a high water mark that should not be allowed to recede with the acceptance of anything less from any other office document format.

We believe every statement in this report should be re-examined to ensure that it is fully balanced and has taken in the views of all relevant stakeholders. In this quick review, we believe we have shown that the analysis is incomplete, at times misguided, and selective. Please review this paper critically along with “Achieving Openness: A closer look at ODF and OOXML” and come to your own conclusions.