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ISO’s Alex Brown on OOXML Messiness; ISO Wants Us to Bugger Off

Posted in Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crocodiles warning

Earlier today it was mentioned that ISO had essentially been captured by Microsoft and its interests, so it is no longer able to do anything but keep up appearance. This type of psychological game where ISO begs for its reputation to be saved without honest admission of failure (with OOXML) is likely to continue. Yes, all this despite the fact that Groklaw has just found Alex Brown admitting OOXML’s shortcomings.

Here’s a quotation for the ages, from an Alex Brown comment on Andrew Updegrove’s Standards Blog (scroll down) asking Brown if he’d agree that ODF was cleaner than OOXML:

“I’d go with that. I think ISO/IEC 26300 (ODF 1.0) can be compared to a neat house built on good foundations which is not finished; 29500 (OOXML) is a baroque cliffside castle replete with toppling towers, secret passages and ghosts: it is all too finished.”


I see I am not alone in viewing OOXML as a move of aggression. Microsoft must be realizing by now by the outpouring of dismay all over the world that this isn’t just a typical vendor fight, where winner takes all and everyone shakes hands and moves on. The public cares about ODF, because it realizes it will impact every one of us directly, and we see the obvious, that OOXML is a spoiler. This has nothing to do with market share.

The “keep out” sign is still hanging on ISO’s door. In fact, ISO has openly asked people to stop criticising it, which is vain in and of itself. Despite the many details picked up by Groklaw, ISO apparently sees protests as illegitimate, unjustified. But:

The move came as an ISO committee meeting in Norway attracted protesters, who gathered to call for the retraction of OOXML from the ISO standardisation process.

At the start of April, the document format won enough votes to become a fully fledged ISO standard. Many observers had been against that standardisation, pointing out that the OpenDocument Format (ODF) already existed as an ISO standard, and arguing that OOXML’s documentation contained too many unanswered technical problems to be passed.

This last bit even ISO has already admitted to be true. How long can an explanation be sought for? Why does ISO try to silence its critics? And since when is this attack personal? ISO is not a person.

“ISO should hang their heads in shame for allowing it to happen.”

Tim Bray

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  1. CoolGuy said,

    April 15, 2008 at 8:42 am



    wtf ?? they are asking us to keep quite to the injustice that a abusive and greedy corporate monopoly is doing to the ecosystem…hum…

  2. CoolGuy said,

    April 15, 2008 at 8:44 am


    ISO is just a mere puppet of microsoft now.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 15, 2008 at 9:09 am


    I believe that ISO’s problem is that it’s no longer the same ISO. Core people left (pushed out perhaps, fearful of the impact on their reputation, or Microsoft wrath as we’ve already seen in MA).

    It’s called vendor capture. The same problem exists in the industry in fact. Former Microsoft employees can regroup, so to speak, in territories of Microsoft rivals. It happens all the time.

  4. Roy Bixler said,

    April 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm


    The ISO’s call in the “ISO calls for end to OOXML ‘personal attacks’” article seems like a classic attempt to divert attention away from the legitimate questions of the standardisation process which have been brought up. I would hardly characterise the allegations of irregularities as personal attacks. How can the ISO rush to judgement like this when the allegations haven’t even been properly investigated yet?

  5. Victor Soliz said,

    April 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm


    I think saying MSYahoo would be a good thing just because of google being dangerous does not sound right to me.

    Many times MS was not the biggest player around, but once they replaced the marked leader they began their utter abuse, happened with office, .net, etc. If you don’t like the one of the current monopolies, don’t worry, MS can sure make it much worse.

  6. ZiggyFish said,

    April 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm


    This is where we need to be the most loudest on OOXML. Obviously these protest are starting to sink in to ISO.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm


    I’ve just posted some of the latest details and I still suspect that ISO was radically reformed when Microsoft-disobedient core people left (or were forced out). At this stage, Microsoft will probably try to use incentives for businesses and governments to steer away from ODF. We need to watch out for it. So should the European Commission.

  8. Victor Soliz said,

    April 16, 2008 at 7:27 am


    Sorry for my last comment I guess I swapped the post It was supposed to go.

  9. LinuxIsFun said,

    April 16, 2008 at 7:33 am


    Many times MS was not the biggest player around, but once they replaced the marked leader they began their utter abuse, happened with office, .net, etc. If you don’t like the one of the current monopolies, don’t worry, MS can sure make it much worse.

    AFAIK M$ has always been like this. They have done this from the DOS era and keep doing it – that is how they got so big by crushing out competitors using unfair tactics and having no shame for it. They have no business ethics, never competed on quality or innovation but by forcing out other players and shutting them down – like a bully. The list goes on and on…I have never seen such a abusive and pathetic company in my life except for very few like Enron, etc..

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 16, 2008 at 7:43 am


    Intel’s market is less diverse, but it appears to be similarly behaved in x86.

  11. LinuxIsFun said,

    April 16, 2008 at 7:46 am


    I have never seen google stooping down to the levels like M$. Maybe they have some privacy issues but thats expected from the internet.

    1. M$ buys out smaller innovative companies and shuts them down.

    Google has never done that. Rather they have incorporated and bought huge values to such companies (youtube, orkut, etc.)

    2. M$ adds their own proprietor extensions to standards to break them and makes everyones life worse. They never work outside M$ and are horribly buggy and unusable (Internet explorer).

    Google uses those standards and never seen them do such cheap things. Google products always works. (jabber, ajax, java, etc.)

    3. M$ uses threats to force people to pay and comply (dell, hp..etc)

    Google innovates and has never used any threat, but rather collaborate with other companies (salesforce.com, etc) on good terms.

    4. People are horrified of getting taken over by M$. Most of it ends in disaster.

    People love to work with google. They are dying to be bought out by them.

    5. M$ is run by lawyers and marketing people

    Google is run by engineers and innovative people.

    GOOGLE has a huge market trust. People love Google. Microsoft have negative market trust. People buy M$ only because of lockins or threats. People hate M$.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 16, 2008 at 1:17 pm


    GOOGLE has a huge market trust. People love Google. Microsoft have negative market trust.

    To be overly cautious here, I think people used to say the same things about Microsoft in an IBM era. The important thing is to stay alert.

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