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ISO Feels OK With Corruption, Officially Approves OOXML (Updated)

Posted in Asia, Europe, GPL, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I sold out

So, as we already expected and knew yesterday, ISO has just declared Microsoft’s OOXML an international chaos standard, despite the fact that stories about misconduct around the world continue to flow in and numerous antitrust concerns have been raised. Let’s take another quick look.

Philippines Again

Here is a coverage about the Philippines.

The Manila Bulletin Online tells us how the Philippines changed its No vote on OOXML to Yes. Once again there is an indication that when no consensus was reached, the chairman decided to make it Yes. That blatantly happened in Norway, and I can’t help but want more details about the Philippines.

Remember the Philippines? We offered quite an extensive set of links about the Philippines last night. There are too many stories from there which suggest irregularities.


For background on OOXML dirty tricks in Croatia, consider the following posts:

Some of the above were highly disturbing for they illustrated just how easily Microsoft had hijacked the entire process. On the bright side of things, Croatian has just accepted ODF as a national standard, perhaps in order to appease the outrage. It all remains to be seen because ISO for OOXML is just a first step in a much larger battle.

Today, after a four hour meeting, Croatian CSI accepted ODF as a national standard.


Back to Poland now. We covered the situation there on several occasions recently [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is an article about this story, which ought to reach wider circulation.

The events leading up to the ISO’s decision on OOXML can best be described as strange.

Take the case of KT 182, the Polish technical committee responsible for the OOXML standardization process, as described on Groklaw: Chairperson Elzbieta Andrukiewicz was instructed that KT 182 should abstain from voting if a consensus was not achieved. Well, it wasn’t, and she said the members who were absent could vote by e-mail E-Mail Marketing Software – Free Trial. Click Here. — but if they didn’t vote, she’d take their non-response as a yes.

Later, when presenting the results of the ballot resolution, she showed a slide that claimed 98 percent of the OOXML issues had been resolved during the KT 182 meeting.

When reminded this wasn’t true, and told that the author of the PowerPoint file was Paul Pesch, platform strategy manager at Microsoft Netherlands, she threatened to sue anyone who repeated the assertion that Pesch was the author.

That slide had been shown at another meeting, and one of the Brazilian delegates had complained about it.

The list of nations listed here is of course very incomplete and partial. We have seen literally dozens of nations where various levels of abuse were well documented. This includes large and seemingly credible nations such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and France.

OOXML Not for GNU/Linux Users

The incompatibility with respect to the GNU GPL remains, despite the many repeated lies from Microsoft, which sought to deny this by escaping the question at hand. Even the Microsoft press bothered to mention this problem, albeit ‘second hand’.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, says Microsoft simply fails to go far enough to indemnify developers who hope to write software based on Microsoft’s opened intellectual property (IP). He complains that protections often exist only for what Microsoft terms “non-commercial developers.”

“Unless it addresses the entire supply chain, it doesn’t make a lot of difference,” Zemlin says, arguing that ill-defined boundaries of legal protection under the Microsoft scheme may expose open source developers to threat of litigation.

“Think of it like ant poison. People who are non-commercial developers think, ‘I’m safe.’ They then integrate a patented protocol into the upstream code they’re working on. Then that code somehow gets into the downstream,” Zemlin explains. “Well, that’s like taking poison back into the [nest]. What happens is, inadvertently, an open source developer brings insecticide with a patent license requirement into an open source project.”

And that’s just how one gets a whole platform approved as an international standard. It’s sad to see ISO entering this vortex of global corruption, which makes it part of the problem rather than the solution it strives to deliver (uniformity, competition).

“Since when has the world of computer software design been about what people want? This is a simple question of evolution. The day is quickly coming when every knee will bow down to a silicon fist, and you will all beg your binary gods for mercy.”

Bill Gates

Update adds more information about the Philippines. Gist below:

The general pattern, like Malaysia, is the same: Government agencies and Academia reject OOXML as an ISO standard. These represent the vast majority of its citizens’ interests. Just what percentage of the population do the “pro-OOXML” Associations represent?

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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Scott Mace said,

    April 2, 2008 at 11:20 am


    Just this morning, by coincidence, I came across this March 2005 quote by Jason Matusow, speaking about the word “open”:

    “I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

  2. Shane Coyle said,

    April 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm


    Washington Post reports that the EC antitrust folks are keenly interested in how Microsoft has conducted themselves during this process

    When the Commission, Europe’s top antitrust authority, opened a probe into Microsoft’s business practices in January, it said part of the investigation would examine whether OOXML, as the format is known, is “sufficiently interoperable with competitors’ products.”
    A month later the Commission sent a confidential request for information to all the national divisions of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) in Europe, asking for information about the ongoing process of assessing OOXML.
    “In your opinion, have there been any irregularities or attempts to influence the debate or vote on the ECMA 376 proposal as regards your organization? If so please provide details and any relevant facts,” the Commission wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by IDG News Service. ECMA 376 is the title under which Microsoft submitted OOXML for consideration by the ISO.
    The request for information, known as an Article 18 letter, is a formal procedure carried out by the Commission’s antitrust officials, designed to gather evidence of antitrust abuse.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 2, 2008 at 6:13 pm


    Even if Microsoft gets fined, it’s not as bad as have the ISO retracted. They can still gain from what they have done.

  4. Victor Soliz said,

    April 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm


    According to groklaw OOXML is not an official standard until the next two months end, provided no appeals are made. If it is appealed it won’t be an standard until the appeals end, unless of course, the appeals actually work…


  5. CoolGuy said,

    April 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm


    M$ bought out entire ISO, I hardly see how a appeal will ever work. They have loads of money to throw away at anything that stands in their way…

    This is M$ has built their entire business. By bullying, buying out innovative companies and shutting them down, patent threats, corrupting standards…

  6. Annonymous said,

    April 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm


    About the Philippines, do not expect any news. We are all disappointed and tired, what’s done is done, this is how Filipinos think. Today, we are solidifying our efforts to promote FOSS, forget about ISO because it is now the “International Shitheads Organization.”

  7. Victor Soliz said,

    April 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm


    I like “Irrelevant Suicidal Organization” better.

    If you want an open document format, pick ODF, don’t care about ISO, ECMA whatever, OOXML getting the open standard status does not make it any less problematic stuff.

  8. Annonymous said,

    April 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm


    ISO is now officially a joke. Any companies who boasts of their newly certified ISO shit are now laughable stock. ISO is a complete joke. Do we still need them? NOT ANYMORE SINCE 2000.

    The people know which is the REAL STANDARD, ODF. Any new ISO declared on and after April 1, 2008 are SHIT Standards. No ONE will care anymore.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Adobe joins the anti-ISO/OOXML camp, the destruction of ISO’s reputation will affect all pre-OOXML standards like PDF.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm


    As I wrote a few minutes ago, Microsoft intends to have another ‘duplicate standard’, ramming XPS (PDF competitor) down ISO’s throat. Single-handedly, a company is rendering standards meaningless, and it’s working to its own benefit.

    Warnings about XPS at ECMA began to emerge almost a year ago.

  10. Victor Soliz said,

    April 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm


    What MS thinks about this http://rcpmag.com/blogs/weblog.aspx?blog=2075

    Dear MS: You can get your format approved by ISO a thousand of times, You are still not my boss, and will never be.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm


    There is a good article in the Financial Times about the market failing to regulate itself and it applies to the corruption we’ve witnessed here. I’ll post a link to it later.

    I sometimes think that Free software is indeed, as Stallman insists, about morality to a large extent.

  12. Victor Soliz said,

    April 4, 2008 at 11:53 pm


    And… Miguel loves that ISO approved OOXML, unsurprisingly:


  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 5, 2008 at 12:01 am


    Yes, Microsoft employees were thrilled to hear about a renewed lock-in on the market and the stagnation of standards. Miguel was no exception and now is a good time for his to apply for a job there or pick a $500/hour consulting contract.

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