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03.25.08

OOXML is Just the Beginning, Part of a Broader Assimilation Strategy

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OSI, Standard at 12:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Making Microsoft the international open standard

About a month ago when PJ, of Groklaw, said that Microsoft wants its platform approved as a standard, she was not kidding. OOXML is the start of something broader. We mentioned this before on numerous occasions, e.g. here. Tim Bray insinuated that OOXML-esque manipulation was bound to happen again and again until ISO rids itself from ECMA’s pressure.

Rob Weir reminds his readers of invalid reasons for approval of OOXML and he happens to have added the sign of things to come.

Forget the fact that Microsoft has other formats lined up for ISO approval in the near future, like XPS or HD Photo.

This happens to be a case where Windows-isation of GNU/Linux comes into consideration as well. This mustn’t become a reality. And as the following posts suggests, there is no apparent benefit, unless you are Microsoft.

Why should we adopt OOXML as a ISO standard? Reasons unknown as of now. We should demand for them loudly enough so that if they ignore it, many proOOXML voters would be turned down.

You may be heartened to read about FOSSFA pushing governments in Africa to adopt open standards [via Andy Updegrove].

FOSSFA encourages African governments to facilitate the debate on Open Standards, and involve national experts in decisions regarding technology standards. The organization also urged African governments to seek a collective African voice prior to taking positions on Open Standards issues. Recalling that the last Ballot Re-count Meeting had very little representation from Africa, and that African countries voted in the affirmative without thorough and more inclusive discussions on the issues, FOSSFA strongly calls for more active public engagement of the issues in the future.

Further, FOSSFA believes that governments should pay particular attention to procurement practices, especially software agreements between it and software companies. In this regard, FOSSFA noted that the practice of binding a sovereign country to agreements based on non-disclosable memorandums of understanding is not open, contravenes the principles and values of transparency in public procurement, and must be stopped.

Remind yourself again why Microsoft wants the ISO rubber stamp. It’s a case of confusion through assimilation, obfuscation of differentiation. The goals and strategy are similar to that of the invasion into the “Open Source” world. Later today, Microsoft will open -- so to speak -- the Open Source Business Conference. OSBC and the OSI are being rather foolish. They choose this path at their own peril.

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