(disclaimer: I speak for myself and represent nobody else, period ; this is only my personal opinion and I give it because it's all about editors after all)

I read with great interest Stuart Turton's article about what future Mozilla should give itself. In particular, the strong suggestion for a "Mozilla Office" caught my eye.

I could not disagree more with Turton here, I find his article just pure nonsense. And I write that with my editor's implementor hat on, that's why I'm commenting here now.

The problem is not the software, it's not the UI, it's not the platform, it's not the openness. It's the format(s)... Unfortunately, *.doc, *.ppt and friends are over-dominant on the market and the whole world rely on them. Read me well: the whole world rely on them. Yeah, yeah, some apple lovers use *.key :-) If you really think OpenOffice formats are taking over, I recommend a training period in an ashram far away to open your third eye... It's certainly not going change only because a good - even an innovative - HTML-based tool appears on the market. So everything is a question of pivot format: the pivot formats of office software are not web-based and Mozilla has no extra value about it, cannot have any extra value, until HTML+CSS are much more powerful than they are now and really really really interoperable across browsers, or unless Mozilla reaches a monopolistic position on the market... Well...:-) I don't even mention the fact CSS is not made for that unless you use only a profile of CSS, in other terms a restricted set of features, in terms of selectors.

On another hand, Mozilla can bring a lot to the mobile world. The mobile browser world is the most static one: no extensions, almost only core changes but rarely UI changes, minimalistic UI and set of features. Bleh ! Mozilla can shake that, for the greatest benefit of all.

Last but not least, last time I checked, the Mozilla Manifesto was about an open Internet. Not about text editors.

So yes, the world needs a good alternative to MS Office. Yes, the world definitely needs an alternative to *.doc and other Office formats. No, Mozilla is not, in my strictly personal opinion, a good candidate for that Holy Quest.

Nota bene: this has an interesting corollary... If the web becomes something really fully interoperable, ie if markup and CSS become so well interoperably implemented that for instance a web page rendered/printed by a browser is pixel-precisely similar to the same page rendered/printed by any other browser, then YES an open and standards web-based alternative to Microsoft Office becomes possible. Conclusion: to save Microsoft Office, one of Redmond's money-spinners, the web must not be fully interoperable. Oh 95% is ok, as soon as the 5 last percents remain a pain in the ass for people trying to switch from proprietary formats to open web-based formats. I just opened a little bit the curtains, do you see well the landscape behind them?