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08.09.07

Has OOXML ‘Funny Business’ Already Reached Australia and India?

Posted in Asia, Australia, Deception, ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 11:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we mentioned an ugly story that came from Switzerland. To avoid being repetitive here, please have a quick glance by following the link. Also consider this partial list of countries where abuse of the system has been observed

  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

This is partial, mind you. We have posted at least one blog item on each country and these posts show that Microsoft does not play by the rules. It is far being a gentleman.

Let us turn our attention to Australia where there is already some suspicion (and consequent rebellion). It sounds like the same old story and the same old tactics.

Opposition to the endorsement of the program comes on top of the suspected stacking by Microsoft of a variety of standards bodies in order to get OOXML approved as the ISO standard. “This was not part of OSIA’s submission and is not anything OSIA has direct knowledge of”, said Scott. “However, there are a number of people who assert that Microsoft is doing as you suggest”, he said.

Groklaw has more details and there is generally a great deal of pessimism. It is no secret that the Australian government is close to Microsoft. It even has America-style laws on software patents and DRM circumvention, which is rare.

I’d say things look grim in Australia, but it’s not too late to express yourself to Australia Standards. The public is encouraged to continue to send comments until August 21.

India now appears to be seeding the same type of plot. Consider, for examples, the following new fragment:

A meeting has been called by the government in which members of both parties will meet. Microsoft India’s national technology offer Vijay Kapur counters Sun. He said OOXML was a completely open standard and its specifications were fully documented. He said there was no royalty charged and it works on a covenant of not to sue. He also said it did not recource to any proprietary information held by Microsoft.

It surely makes one wonder. How much brainwash does one require to lie and manipulate? Remember the South Africa press release from last week? Kool-Aid, anybody? It’s truly frustrating at times. Just don’t let it make you angry, but it seems like the usual dance around the truth Microsoft is afraid of accepting.

The consequence of bad standards can be severe. Yesterday, the following article was published and it contains some eye-opening information that ought to remind you of Rob Weir’s observations (the infamous “Formula for Failure”). OOXML can cost lives.

In extrapolating the dangers posed by the continued use of Microsoft’s formats the expert cited issues that rescue workers faced in accessing records maintained by local government entities when aiding in the relief of victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, in which an estimated 300,000 people were killed.

If every Tom, Dick and Harry was educated enough to realise the correlation between formats and access, none of this would have happened in the first place. Making formats contradictory is often means of extracting upgrade and migration money. Good for shareholders, bad for the customer. Remind yourself of this older article:

Alexander Rose, the executive director of the futurist Long Now Foundation, worries about the impermanence of digital information. “If you save that computer for 100 years, will the electrical plugs look the same?” he asks. “The Mac or the PC–will they be around? If they are, what about the software? ” So far there’s no business case for digital preservation–in fact, for software makers like Microsoft, planned obsolescence is the plan.

“The reality is that it’s in companies’ interest that software should become obsolete and that you should have to buy every upgrade,” Rose says. We could be on the cusp of a turning point, though, in the way businesses and their customers think about digital preservation. “Things will start to change when people start losing all of their personal photos,” Rose said.

This conveys the problem at hand, does it not?

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