OOXML (And Microsoft): In Memoriam

I haven’t written much about the OOXML scandal for a while now for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’ve had more important things to do.
  2. I honestly believe that it is going to be a totally insignificant and inconsequential standard that will probably be dead (isn’t it already?) before it’s first birthday.

However, having just read the flame-war over on Alex Brown’s blog I couldn’t resist and simply had to make a comment. Which I did 😉 If it isn’t approved for some reason, that comment (verbatim) is here:

Words, Words, Words…

Will all of you get a life; please?

We all know that OOXML will be approved, but who gives a toss anyway?

It will be of little or no importance to anyone. It’s a dead duck before the shell is even broken.

Nobody believes it was an “honest” process. No body believes that Microshaft didn’t screw the process. No body believes that Doug ‘Mawho’ is Vice President of IASA Malaysia. Nobody believes that Azerbaijan, Côte-d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and others weren’t bought and paid for. And EVERY one believes Martin Bryant when he said so publicly:

“The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”.”

Who are you trying to kid Alex? What do you gain? A few nice juicy contracts and some speaking engagements at M$’s ‘special rates’?

Move along. Nothing to see here.

So swiftly moving on, I really don’t think OOXML is worth wasting much time over any more. Even M$ it seems doesn’t really want IS29500. The rest of us really care little about it, especially now there are so many other avenues for preservation of our data and the world is finally starting to “grok” what Open really means.

So runs my dream, but what am I?
An infant crying in the night
An infant crying for the light
And with no language but a cry.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

OOXML: 2006-2008

Formal Appeal against OOXML filed by South Africa

Things are really hotting up again… Just when I thought we could get on with our day jobs we have Microsoft doing the biggest U-turn since – well – since the last massive U-Turn, and now we have SABS, the South African Bureau of Standards (The NB to you and me) lodging a formal appeal regarding the proceedings.

I don’t have much time today but here’s a link to the article I picked up from Google Alerts and it contains a scanned PDF of the original letter.

This will, irrespective of the outcome of the appeal process, create a quite lengthy delay to any formal publication of the standard according to the rules I’ve read before. Of course the rules have been broken, and just ignored throughout this whole fiasco so we have to wait and see.

But “Hat’s off to South Africa”.

OOXML gets dumped… By Microsoft!

If true, this is a quite startling turn of events in the OOXML/Office 2007 saga (emphasis mine).

Today, Microsoft announced that it was making new commitments to document interoperability within its Office product line for Windows. Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will add native support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.1, PDF 1.5, PDF/A and XML Paper Specification, an XML-based fixed-document format created by Microsoft.

Just read that again… Office 2007 will add native support for ODF (IS26300) the format used by OpenOffice.org, IBM’s Lotus Symphony, Koffice and others…

And more importantly Doug (the ssssnake) goes on to say:

Mahugh stated that Microsoft would not implement the final ISO version of OOXML until Office 14 ships at an unstated date in the future.

So what the **** has gone on here? Anyone got any suggestions?

[Update: 23:00] Having just read Microsoft’s press release, it appears to be true. Blow me down with a small and lightweight feather. One quote that immediately caught my attention is this (again emphasis mine):

“We are committed to providing Office users with greater choice among document formats and enhanced interoperability between those formats and the applications that implement them,” said Chris Capossela, senior vice president for the Microsoft Business Division. “By increasing the openness of our products and participating actively in the development and maintenance of document format standards, we believe we can help create opportunities for developers and competitors, including members of the open source communities, to innovate and deliver new value for customers.”

Blimey. This language is unusually opaque for M$. Since when have they ever wanted to “help create opportunities for competitors”??? I can only guess at what has been going on here but I bet it has something to do with the EU 😉

WOW. We do really live in interesting times.

OOXML: Canada SAYS what everyone else thinks


Damming, direct and demeaning…

ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track
Canadian Final Position Statement

Canada has carefully reviewed the results of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track Ballot
Resolution Meeting and determined after detailed analysis that Canada will maintain its
Disapprove vote.

Canada notes that major enhancements had been made to ISO/IEC 29500 during the Ballot
Resolution Meeting, but the general quality of the standard was not yet what was expected of
an ISO/IEC Standard, and that there were still too many unknowns.

Canada states that the inappropriate use of the fast track process for this DIS has rendered it
impossible to ascertain whether in fact 29500 meets the standard of quality and correctness
required in an International Standard.

Canada further recommends that the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Fast Track procedures and processes be
reviewed and enhanced to ensure that this situation does not arise again in the future, and
bring disrepute to the whole ISO and IEC International Standards process.

Finally, Canada recommends that the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track documents and
materials, plus the enhancements made at the Ballot Resolution Meeting be submitted to
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 as a New Work Item for processing via the normal standards
development processes.

OOXML (DIS29500) Result: Approved

It’s been leaked…

Voting Status for DIS29500

ISO is furthermore an irrelevance in technology standardisation.

Here’s the full file with the votes for DIS29500

Update: Hello Slashdot, and thanks Bytemark for helping us cope with the traffic!

This isn’t an April fools,  there is a PGP signed confirmation here. If you are desperate to see an April Fools article we did one of them too.We just didn’t expect to follow it so quickly with the real thing.

OOXML Fails ISO Approval!

After several late nights in Geneva consuming too much melted cheese and garlic infused bread, the ISO have decided that their bank account balances are just not that important to risk their organisations’ total ruin.

Listening to the hails of protest from around the globe about the skulduggery and corruption that is Microsoft, they decided, after the barrel of grappa was finally emptied, that DIS29500 should be consigned to the cesspit of excrement that already contains Microsoft and their cronies.

Only kidding! April Fool

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