Another issue raised by IBM and by standards and OSS lawyer Andy Upgrove is that the OOXML specifications would require the implementers to also implement propriety formats and methods of Microsoft that are not licensed under the OOXML licensing.
Andy mentions in his blog post "The Contradictory Nature of OOXML" several issues from the OOXML spec like 188.8.131.52 "Embedded Object Alternate Image Requests Types" refrencing WMF files and 184.108.40.206 "Clipboard Format Types". Further down he mentions for instance OLE embedding and macro/scripts. It is of course correctly seen that the OOXML spec mentions these thing in the specifications. But does it mean that implementing these feature is required if you implement OOXML ?
No of course not.
Firstly, as I have already mentioned in an earlier post, when implementing OOXML you are not required to implement any parts other than stated in the conformance paragraph. You can leave out anything you want.
Secondly, even if you create a FULL implementation of OOXML then still you do not need to implement these features as these references are all references to external formats that are therfore not a part of OOXML. They are references to fully optional formats that you can embed just like you can embed image formats or other media formats.
Thirdly, implementing external formats is is something that is application specific and is not limited to MS formats. You can in fact embed any propriety or open format into OOXML files. OOXML only uses some of the mentioned references to distinguish between format types so you can differentiate between an embedded image file and an embedded windows meta file or a clipboard file. A method to distinguish between foreign file types however is not the same as adding the external format to the spec. If it would, than if a simple line in the spec states "filetype:picture" it requires support for all picture formats in existence ???
Fourthly, you can embed the same formats that are mentioned in OpenDocument also. ODF has about 6 methods of embedding external foreign file formats in ODF files. You can embed the same Windows Meta Files or clipboard file formats just as easy in ODF as you can in OOXML. You can use macro/scripts in ODF and, yes, even even use OLE linking/embedding of external file formats in ODF. Mayby Andy should have complained about ODF supporting all of those formats as well during ISO standardisation of ODF. Especially the fact that Sun, next to regular external object embedding has managed to add specific embedded java objects to ODF (§9.3.4) seems quite weird.
Basically the opponents of OOXML claim that embedding foreign files is fine for ODF but it isn't fine when files are embedded in OOXML because then Microsoft should have licensed those formats even though it might be about exactly the same files.
Is that either highly hypocritical criticism or just ignorance ?
I think I know the answer to that...