03.28.08

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OOXML Roundup; BSI’s Sellout Did Not Go Unnoticed

Posted in Africa, America, Europe, GPL, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 11:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Pugh, a British member of the Parliament, has on several occasions slammed the government for its blind pro-Microsoft stance. This type of obedience (or short-sighted admiration for the abusive monopolist) drew his attention and led to some stories we covered here before, namely:

Seeing what happened in the UK as far as OOXML goes, Pugh wrote a letter to the BSI:

Dear Mr Low,

I am deeply concerned that some national bodies have considered approving DIS29500 “in their national interest”.

It is not in the interest of the UK or any other country for DIS 29500 to be published as an international standard in its present form as there are a significant number of unresolved issues, including incompatible licensing conditions, single vendor interest and control as well as those other
factors uncovered since the original comment period closed. There is also the issue that is no current form of DIS 29500, as yet another exception to the process was made regarding the presentation of the proposed changes.

Issues raised by the BSI and others during the original 30 day objections phase have also never been properly addressed, not least of which is the unsuitability of such a large and complex specification of an unproven format to the fast track process.

Such a standard, if approved, would govern the manipulation of all future documents and lock users into a single supplier environment. The OOXML specification contains significant Intellectual Property Rights and other traps which will:

- Stifle competition

- Diminish innovation overall

- Severely restrict consumer choice

- Block Government choice

- Limit the ability of UK SMEs to innovate and compete

[...]

For recently-posted information about the situation in the UK, see:

This cheeky new article from The Register (UK) says a little more about this letter, but it totally neglects to mention the main problem with the OSP which it refers to. Many other reports turn a blind eye to some of the more serious issues, including omission of all irregularities and exclusion of Microsoft’s number one competitor.

Over at Africa, FOSSFA continues to apply pressure. We saw FOSSFA’s good effect earlier this week.

FOSSFA made the call to encourage public involvement in the open standards debate at the national level throughout Africa in a statement following a conference in Dakar, Senegal, that ended last week.

Over in Venezuela, a “Yes” became a “No”, so it’s too early to predict anything.

(snip) Venezuela wishes to modify its position on DIS 29500 (snip)
(snip) from Approval with comments to Disapproval with comments.

More on Venezuela (only by mention) here:

It’s going to be a tiresome weekend.

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