Why OpenOffice.org uses OpenDocument

Comment on why OpenOffice.org uses OpenDocument:

Microsoft’s XML is rather like a developed typewriter; when you want a new paragraph you say ‘carriage-return, carriage-return, tab’. ISO ODF XML is rather like a developed dictaphone; when you want a new paragraph you say ‘new paragraph’. This difference in what is important between the 2 formats goes to the heart of the matter. With ISO ODF XML, you express what you mean; and the meaning is preserved when you go to a different application, or to a future development of the same application. But the exact layout on the page may differ, and you may not have the controls to make it look particularly pretty on the page. With Microsoft XML, you express how it should look on the page. Often, you accidentally use more elaborate controls than you meant to; and it is this ‘use of more elaborate controls’ that gives compatibility problems with other applications and other versions of the same application. The meaning in your document ends up ‘locked up’, unable to be extracted for use in anything else. But you can dicker around with the document to make it look very pretty on the page. For me, being an engineer, the meaning is the important thing; ‘dictaphone’ was an advance over ‘typewriter’.