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Alex Brown, the British Library and OOXML

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Standard at 11:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dots connected to draw a broader picture

Remember the British Library’s Adam Farquhar, whom we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]? For some context, you can read some of these older items where we argued that the British Library had been essentially corrupted by Microsoft, just like the BBC, among other British national bodies, possibly even the BSI.

Imagine how unsurprised we were to find it all coming together with ECMA/Microsoft at the centre and even the convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 BRM. Have a look at this detailed new page:

A small network of people of ECMA International dominated the whole ISO process around OOXML while technical experts of national ISO members were impeded by committee stuffing, rules bending and political intervention and the general restrictions of the revamped ISO/IEC fast-track process.


On the right you find a picture of Jan van den Beld, back then general secretary of ECMA international who received the 2000 pages from Microsoft represented by its employee Jean Paoli (center). Jean Paoli is probably best known for taking the Microsoft credit for the standardization of XML. The other person with the beard is Adam Farquhar from the British Library, chair of ECMA TC 45. You also find the picture on the right in Adam Farquhar’s May 07 presentation which advocates for OOXML.


ECMA’s former general secretary Jan van den Beld was in a building on the opposite side of the Geneva conference center where the BRM had a hard time, now retired from Ecma and employed as a CompTIA lobbyist for Microsoft. And the company Griffin Brown, of which the BRM convenor Alex Brown is the director, sent out a press release 13 March 08 celebrating the 10th anniversary of XML:

“Recent moves by Microsoft to standardise its Office products around XML file formats merely confirms that most valuable business data in the future will be stored in XML. … Alex Brown is convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Ballot Resolution Process, and has recently been elected to the panel to advise the British Library on how to handle digital submission of journal articles.”

Groklaw then adds:

A bit of background on the British Library here, but the short version is that it uses Microsoft, was a co-sponsor of having Ecma put what is now OOXML on the fast track, and says today it is “pleased”.

This hopefully serves as further illustration of the misconduct and the ‘politics’ that were involved here. People are associated with numerous different establishments that only appear independent while working quite tightly together. Some people wear multiple hats, too.

“It’s rather sad that the deeper you look, the more you are forced to see it boiling down to ‘politics’ and corruption.”As highlighted recently, consulting contracts and the likes of them can be used as means of “soft bribery.” Those investigating this sordid mess really must take a careful look at the moneyflow because many payments can and will be channeled through what seems like employment contracts and funding of institutions such as CompTIA.

It’s rather sad that the deeper you look, the more you are forced to see it boiling down to ‘politics’ and corruption. What this interview with Lawrence Lessig. Novell’s story may not have been all that different.

It increasingly becomes more evident that ISO, much like ECMA, state CIO office and various committees, was probably hijacked.

ISO standard

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