A vocal ODF skeptic mailed us yesterday to say that Patrick Durusau had quietly pulled all links to his pro-OOXML letters, so all sorts of thoughts and old speculations [1, 2, 3, 4] began to resurface. What is truly happening in this mental poker game?
Other things are happening at the moment, whose main purpose is to eradicate ODF. It ought to be a little more than transparent and clear– albeit not to everyone — that when CompTIA does something, it does this for its paymasters. That’s just how such pressure groups operate, as we last showed only a few days ago. In fact, CompTIA’s agenda in South Africa continues to be slammed [1, 2, 3], more recently by the FFII folks. South Africa has the wrath and the shadow of the Beast looming over it simply because it ‘dared’ to choose ODF for all the right reasons. Shades of (or shadow over) Massachusetts?
You don’t have to convince press speakers and hired guns. But can you imagine that Jan ‘the answer is always the same, you are well paid, shut up’ van den Belt was hired for the comptia lobby after leaving as an ecma international general secretary? What an upgrade for the person to which the ISO jtc1 rewrite was dedicated. Will standards people also let his collegue Mr. Lueders rewrite the essentials of international standardisation? Or could the Dutch nihilist provide some technical assistance? Fast-track Lueders interpretations to the ISO directives?
This whole messiness with ECMA slash Microsoft slash CompTIA has gotten a lot of people thinking about the integrity of all those involved even after the controversial announcement on April 2nd. Here is Glyn Moody’s response to Alex Brown’s baseless assault, which was directed against ODF.
What this means in practice is that Microsoft will be able to get away with blue murder, by deftly moving between all the different kinds of standards – ECMA standards, putative ISO standards, de facto standards etc. – until people charged with procuring office software will simply throw their hands up and sign on the dotted line for another ten years of Microsoft Office bondage.
Now, you might argue that the ODF side can play the same games, and I agree that some of the more, er, commercially-minded outfits might well be tempted. But there’s a big difference from the OOXML world in that ODF is today a key part of the free software world. As such, there are crates of nitpickers and argumentative technical pub bores who really care about ODF and its inner wonders, and will delight in pouncing on such inaccuracies – not least because there is no love lost between them and the commercial side of things. If Sun or IBM or anyone else misbehaves, somebody will spot it, and blog about it.
OOXML, on the other hand, is essentially a product of one company, with practically no open source community around it (Novell hardly counts).
In practice, Novell counts as an example some people do fall for because they do not realise just how much Novell was paid to pretend that it likes OOXML. Novell was cited as a supporter of OOXML in the international press.
I think it’s worse. When people do bad things,
they usually try to perfume it, even to
And when they plan to do worse things, they
spray and spray and spray to try to get
everyone to agree that it isn’t as bad as
That pretty much sums up possible approval of OOXML, even where no bribe (financial incentive) was involved and properly documented. It’s the convenience of finding truths in lies. As always,
bullying lobbying is a nice addition, as illustrated and championed by CompTIA and others. █
“We should whack them [Dell over Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”
–Paul Flessner, Senior Vice President, Microsoft