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Update on OOXML and Norway: How a Technical Panel of 7 Grew to 30!

Posted in Europe, Formats, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Standard at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Before Paul and I started the company, we had been involved in some large-scale software projects that were real disasters. They just kept pouring people in, and nobody knew how they were going to stabilize the project. We swore to ourselves that we would do better.”

Bill Gates, Programmers at Work by
Susan Lammers (1986) ISBN 0914845713

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

As you may be aware by now, Norway has been ahead of many when it comes to ODF adoption. Just months ago we spotted this report. Translated to English it stated:

Norway: ODF Must Be Used on Government Websites’ Forms

Everyone should have equal access to public information: Open standards become compulsory within the government

The government has decided that all information on governmental websites should be available in the open formats HTML, PDF or ODF. With this decision the times when public documents where only available in Microsoft’s Word-format is coming to an end.

We have already covered this here. To repeat some more citations from last year:

Norway and OOXML

There is now a report from Norway on how Microsoft rallied its partners to try to get a favorable vote on MSOOXML.

Despite these irregularities, Norway ended up voting “No” back in September.

Norway Decides: No with Comments on OOXML and a Hint from Hungary

Also in:

norway says no to ooxm

Standard Norge actually gives a conditioned yes to OOXML, but that’s a big NO with comments.

As we explained or at least mentioned on several occasions recently [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], Norway’s latest vote was a big fiasco. Some people are finally gathering evidence and putting it up for display. The list is very large. Here is just a small arbitrary portion.

[This is a draft written by Tobias Brox and may not reflect EFNs official point of view. Also edited by Geir Isene, same disclaimer]

List of “irregularities”, possible irregularities and “dishonesty” in the Norwegian OOXML “war”. Disclaimer: We’re not implying that anyone has broken any laws – but a technical standard should be evolved and approved on it’s technical merits, not by political or commercial pressure, nor from personal opinions from administrative staff in SN.

  • 2007: committee stuffing: the NS/K 185 committee grew from 6-7 persons to 30 persons due to the OOXML case…

So, the committee grew almost 5 times larger. Can anyone call this “normal”? Is this “regular” or “irregular”? Given the accusations from September 2007, should anyone be surprised at all?

Remember that OOXML is not a done deal yet, but Microsoft will spare no moment and waste this jubilation opportunity. It will most likely continue to celebrate while it lasts and give the impression that Microsoft Office is now a standard. Toby says a little more about it in this new video.

Update on 14/04/2008: the video above is now available as Ogg Theora.

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  1. Victor Soliz said,

    April 7, 2008 at 9:40 pm


    I am still finding myself unable to get over Miguel Icaza’s blog post The more you get to read it the worst it gets, it also looks like his comments section is heavily “moderated” since the only reply it got was something reporting how happy Durasau is about this (after all it is mostly like these guys are soulmates)

    Microsoft moving away from their proprietary file formats to open, and XML-based (easier to manipulate, produce and consume) file formats.

    Except OOXML is not really open, and it is not XML either.

    1. The specifications for the old binary file formats were published under the OSP (February of 2008).

    4. Microsoft agreed that future versions of OOXML will be covered by the OSP a concern that some people had about future versions of the document.

    Major community wins, MS’ own OSP powered by anti GPL.

    6. working group was created to look into harmonization of OOXML and ODF, something that many developers involved in office suites have been advocating for a long time.

    Great, so we had an ISO standard that was open and multi vendor, but now we have to merge it with some 6000 pages monster that’s tied to MS like heck.

    7. Microsoft pledged to support features to support other file formats as native file formats in their office suite:

    Followed by a MS quote in which the word “Translator” is all over the place. This said, wtf does this have to do with OOXML standardization?

    9. And finally, now that OOXML is an ISO standard, as Patrick Durusau implied there are many winners.

    Anyways, I wanted to keep this short and uplifting, this seems like a win for everyone all around.

    Preemptive-reply-to-the-above-paragraph: I will not reply/approve any flames, FUD or half-truths.

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is the sort of people behind MONO and Novell.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 7, 2008 at 9:55 pm


    I was about 2 years ago that I spoke to PJ about her adding links to Port25 where Miguel was chatting. I asked her why she linked to that hostile blog (and yes, it’s hostile towards GNU/Linux, especially once you get past that grin and find out what Hilf /really/ thinks about the GPL and Linux).

    Anyway, she told me: I want to show my readers who he really is. A few years later, watch how the Slashdot crowd feels about him now that he hides nothing. I personally believe that money and fame from Microsoft messed him up completely.

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