08.30.07

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OOXML Suffers Setbacks, Too

Posted in Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 7:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s a lot of discouraging news coming in the next post, which still requires organising (citations get collected first, then expanded and grouped). Here are some of the more optimistic new stories, which you may or may not wish to have a quick look at.

France has just said “No” (with comments) to OOXML. The story behind this decision, however, is the most noteworthy. It says a lot about what was attempted in France (it backfired). Rather than departures from the meetings in protest (a la Sweden), serious confrontations began.

Apparently, the French discussion on OOXML broke into something resembling a bar-fight.

[...]

Matters soon got out of hand: the shouting seems to have climaxed with the Microsoft representative insulting the management of AFNOR, members of the Defense Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and two members from the Industrial Ministry exclaiming that they were servants of a banana republic!

Well done, France. The nation’s parliament is moving to GNU/Linux and some of the members have already received Linux laptops. It appears as though Italy, whose parliament is also moving to Linux (wrong distribution though), didn’t have its vote bought by Microsoft, either. It was only last month that a report from Italy suggested so.

Over in Russia, ODF seems to be gaining traction.

The Russian Government has taken a step towards endorsing ODF through an e-government program that would mandate use of software that conforms to “widely used standards” in all government contracts.

According to the Russian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications “within the project to form an e-government concept in the Russian Federation, support of ISO/IEC 26300: 2006 is planned.”

The move has been welcomed by the Open Document Format Alliance, which said in a statement that Russia is “sending a message worldwide that software should be affordable, innovative and accessible, now and for the foreseeable future.”

Laura takes a close look at some recent developments and decides that there is trouble ahead for Microsoft.

Meantime, the managing director for the ODF Alliance notes that Microsoft’s work may backfire. As he told Computerworld:

Some of the comments that have been received from the countries… shine a light on OOXML defects. Governments will think long and hard after viewing some of these comments before using the format.

Even Stephen Walli, who used to work for Microsoft, opines that Microsoft will inevitably need to support ODF.

The sad part is that even if the ISO vote actually goes in Microsoft’s favour, it still won’t matter. It buys them a few years of market ignorance at best. This entire two year event is one for the standards text books on how not to respond to a business threatening standard. In the end, Microsoft will need to implement ODF natively. They don’t know it yet, nor do they understand why, but it is just a matter of time.

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