Why China's UOF is good
by Rick Jelliffe
Some people are startled to find that, amidst all the talk here of OASIS (now ISO) ODF versus ECMA Office Open XML, China has developed its own independent office document format, Uniform Office Format (UOF). I am not startled, but delighted, and here's why.
> It seem mainly to come out of the needs of RedOffice,
> which is a fork of Open Office
> I was doubly happy to read that
> there is a desire to "harmonise" UOF and ODF,
> which seems to mean letting UOF
> be a source for improvements to ODF.
Am I correct in saying then that UOF was a fork of ODF
(due to the RedOffice lineage) and now there are
intentions to merge the improvements into ODF?
When will this occur?
People are very loose about what they mean by ODF: some people include any old native format that Open Office produced. ISO ODF has been revised to include features beyond just one product. So you might say that ISO ODF and UOF are both forks of the older ODF/StarOffice formats.
On my understanding, the UOF people have no plans to adopt ODF. However, they are happy for ODF to adopt their enhancements into ODF.
ODF is probably a more dynamic format than OOXML: I can well imagine it morphing over the years and adopting some UOF-isms and even some OOXML-isms. OOXML is kind of stuck following the Office feature set, while there is more scope in ODF to adopt good ideas from anywhere.
When/if OOXML comes out as an ISO standard, there will be lots of media claims that it has won the format wars, just because of the enormous volume of documents that will almost immediately be available as OOXML. However, if ODF does indeed have technical merits over OOXML, then the political/anti-trust/competitive undercurrent will keep ODF strong and resurgent in sectors that need it. At least, that's the way it looks at the moment to me.