04.02.08

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Microsoft’s Abuse of ISO Made a Lot of Sworn Enemies

Posted in Antitrust, Formats, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The world awakens to hear the true story

Over the past few weeks, as stories about abuse of the system came up in different parts of the world, some people became vocal and stated that Microsoft had made itself some new foes. They were referring to themselves. Questions about antitrust aside, there are some noteworthy reactions from around the Web and below is a list containing more prominent ones.

FSFE Responds

Here you will find the expression of dissatisfaction from the Free Software Foundation Europe.

Today the International Standards Organisation (ISO) approved
Microsoft’s Office OpenXML format as ISO/IEC standard 29500 despite
severe technical and legal concerns with the specification that have
been raised by various parties.

“FSFE published its ‘Six questions to national standardisation bodies’
before the September 2nd vote last year. [1] Considering the statements
about progress made on MS-OOXML, one would have hoped that at least one
of these questions enjoyed a satisfactory response,” states FSFE’s
German Deputy country coordinator Matthias Kirschner.

FFII Responds

Benjamin Henrion has issued the following press release which is summarised thusly:

ISO members failed to disapprove the Open XML format. Microsoft has compromised the International Standards Organisation (ISO) during the rush to get a stamp for their Office OpenXML (OOXML), using unfair practices such as committee stuffing in several countries and political interventions of ministers in the standardization process.

ODF Alliance Responds

The ODF Alliance talks about this ludicrous situation where one company fights the entire industry to have its proprietary formats unjustifiably privileged. It also explains the role of ODF in this announcement.

The ISO vote on OOXML has raised awareness at the highest levels of government of the importance of preserving access to public information and records. For too long, this information has been locked into the closed, proprietary format controlled by a single vendor. This is increasingly unacceptable. For this reason, governments around the world have been adopting the already-ISO approved OpenDocument Format (ODF).

Andy Updegrove Responds

Andy Updegrove criticises the fragility of the process and accuses various factors which enabled Microsoft to have it hijacked.

In order for the credibility of the traditional system to be restored, a thorough review of the just completed DIS 29500 Fast Track process should be immediately commissioned. That review should include recommendations for reform that would include, but not be limited to, suggesting revisions to the rules relating to Fast Track and PAS submissions, new National Body and ISO/IEC JTC1 rules relating to transparency and conflicts of interest, and providing for circuit breakers and corrective actions that could be invoked the next time such a process has clearly run off the rails.

Statement and Responses from IBM

Here is the formal IBM statement on OOXML’s latest ‘win’:

The need for truly open standards and processes is demonstrably more important than ever. IBM will continue to be an active supporter of ODF. We look forward to being part of the community that works to harmonize ODF and OOXML for the sake of consumers, companies and governments, when OOXML control and maintenance is fully transferred to JTC1 (ISO/IEC).

Rob Weir and Bob Sutor have been eerily quiet in the past few days, essentially refraining from making comments on the subject. Rob Weir now explains how OOXML could poison the Web.

The world should be pleased to note, that with the approval of ISO/IEC 29500, Microsoft’s Vector Markup Language (VML), after failing to be approved by the W3C in 1998 and after being neglected for the better part of a decade, is now also ISO-approved. Thus VML becomes the first and only standard that Microsoft Internet Explorer fully supports.

[...]

Open HTML, anyone?

We alluded to this issue the other day (mind the citation at the bottom). Bob Sutor chooses an approach that’s similar to that of Andy Updegrove. If you want to see some more angry and blunt response, check out blogs of less formal figures who needn’t keep their cool and behave like gentlemen, even in the face of sheer abuse. Remember that the story is not over, despite the fact that Microsoft craves for everyone to believe it is.

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly.”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

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A Single Comment

  1. NO TO OOXML said,

    April 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Gravatar

    FOREVER NO TO OOXML. AND THIS TIME, IT IS A 100% NO TO MICROSOFT. FUCK YOU TO ALL WHO VOTED YES, ESPECIALLY THOSE INVOLVED TO THE CHANGING OF PHILIPPINES VOTE TO YES, INCLUDING THE MEDIA AND JOURNALISTS.

    YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT, YOU SHOULD HAVE SHUT YOUR BIG MOUTHS

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