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Guilty Parties in OOXML Fiasco in France Gets Exposed (Updated)

Posted in ECMA, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 1:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good riddance to bad rubbish

GNOME trashWe have just laid out Norway's scandal, but it doesn’t quite end there.

We have recently been ‘squirting’ portions of the story about ISO [1, 2]. We will, by all means, continue to do this. There is plenty more ugly stuff where that came from. People who are both independent from stakeholders and the European Commission investigators seek to fulfill their curiosity and equipped with the wealth of information available on the Web, everything soon comes together.You can glue and piece together isolated stories, then seek feedback for verification and additional information. It’s all just a matter of time.

Now comes France’s turn again. The story has been translated to English and told by Groklaw. You will find it right here and below are the just the opening paragraphs of what seems rather nasty, yet familiar.

Le Monde Informatique and LeMagIT are reporting on a leaked email from Marc Meyer of the French government agency, DGME, which urges that OOXML be quickly added to the official list of formats that can be used by government entities, a document titled RGI, and then the finalized v1.0 of RGI be quickly published, in effect locking in OOXML, before the appeals process is completed. The email and the media reports indicate that the RGI was put on a back burner last October, when ODF was already on the list, and now, immediately after OOXML is approved, albeit controversially, by ISO but before the appeals process is complete, not to mention the format, Meyer urges it quickly be added to the list of acceptable formats, hence making it hard to remove OOXML from the list later, as a fait accompli.

Worse, the email indicates that work on the document was brought to a crawl to wait for ISO approval of OOXML. ODF was already on the list when work on RGI was brought to a standstill last October. There were suspicions that the slowdown was deliberate, and the email is giving legs to those suspicions.

It seems that politics has reared its ugly head, and just as happened in Masschusetts, questions are now being asked about behind-the-scenes Microsoft pressure.

If you do not know the story of Massachusetts, start with this rough overview and follow the external links as you see fit.

“Stay away from OOXML at all costs; advise family, friends and colleagues to do likewise.”Microsoft is really pushing it. At this current pace, it could soon see the embargo plan approved or at least considered (revisited) more frequently.

As a gentle advice (or reminder) to readers, don’t support or use OOXML. Stay away from OOXML at all costs; advise family, friends and colleagues to do likewise. ISO doesn’t know what’s about to it hit, but I personally have a rough idea. People think that ISO has gone through a storm that has quieted down, but might it be just the calm before the storm? We have information that suggests the latter is more likely.

OOXML is likely to lead to unprecedented riots and we have until June to intercept that abominable pile of useless paper. Truth seekers should be patient and optimistic because more nasty stories are bound to be accumulated and also used (not just put up for display).

To say more about France, we have already discussed the role of the French president in this decision. Unsurprisingly, as always, he served his friends at Microsoft. H-P did the very same thing in France. It’s all about money, nepotism, favours, exchange of influence and power or whatever you wish to make of it. It’s nothing technical at all. Until ISO regains (as in earns) some respect, it deserves to be seen for the dysfunctional brothel (pardon my French) that it has become. Being Microsoft’s gardener (custodian proxy) for OOXML is nothing to take pride in. Shame on you, ISO, shame on you.

Recent articles (external):

From September 2007 (keyword: “barbrawl”):

ISO sells stamps

Update: More details about OOXML in France you will find in this new long interview. Teaser:

Frédéric Couchet: ISO standards were traditionally the result of compromise between competing players. With OOXML, Microsoft obtained a standard which none of its competitors had adopted. The first ISO standard in this area, Open Document Architecture (ODA, ISO 8613) was never applied. The second standard, OpenDocument Format (ODF, ISO/IEC 26300), was applied but never accepted by Microsoft. The third standard, OOXML (ISO/IEC 29500), can help Microsoft commercially with governments but brings nothing to the market in terms of convergence between competing software products, and thus has no added value as a standard.

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