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Microsoft Still Has Too Much Control Over the ISO Process

Posted in FUD, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several large nations have already cast a shadow on the ISO process, which was "brutal and corrupt" based on a conservative assessment from an involved participant. Not everyone was sufficiently vocal, but the evidence gathered over the past months ought to be convincing.

MicrISOftMore than once throughout the process, ISO, which is far from Microsoft-independent, attempted to dodge responsibility and even cover its own track using anything from denial to bizarre secrecy. "You speak, we sue." Way to go, ISO.

Under the fire line of formal complaints, guess who is in charge of ‘Scrutiny Department’? It is once again a case of a fox watching the hen house [1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It’s the same when it comes to software patents [1, 2, 3], the Web, and even Novell (Microsoft has influence inside). But here is the current situation in ISO, as summarised over at Groklaw.

…very same folks who brought you OOXML will decide if they did a good job.

OOXML, the apparently unusable standard that not only we, the public, are not allowed to see, but National Bodies have yet to see, despite a set deadline in the rules for them to have it in hand. How odd that it would not be published prior to the deadline for appeals to be filed. Does that mean the deadline isn’t really the deadline, since other so-called deadlines have proven so squishy? I don’t know, but it makes logical sense that it’s unreasonable to expect appeals to be filed regarding a format whose final draft folks haven’t seen.

Hence, a reminder of the stated principles in ISO’s Code of Ethics about due process and transparency, as well as a reminder that the whole world is watching.

About a week ago, Groklaw stated that Patrick Durusau in the vicinity -- let alone control of -- ODF would not be a safe bet. Perhaps you can head over to Open Malaysia where this slightly broader issue is dissected and tackled.

I really must commend Patrick Durusau’s innate capability of writing the most inflammatory and outrageous publications, publications that are so divorced from reality that one cannot help but think that the dude must be hoarding some seriously good weed to be able to live so completely within his own defined existence. His latest publication, “Not With a Bang, but With a Whimper”, has been receiving flak from the collective open standards community for exactly that reason and rightly so.


Microsoft has been running an anti-ODF campaign in favour of OOXML for a long long time now. In Malaysia, their campaign started with opposition to Malaysia’s proposed adoption of ODF ISO26300:2006 as a voluntary standard by invoking Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt on the ODF standard. The campaign continued on by personally attacking members of the technical committee who were in favour of ODF, by casting undue aspersions on their characters, in particular, insinuating that we were subversive agents of IBM intent on the destruction of Microsoft (apparently, anybody who supports truly open standards is a biased IBM agent).

Always remember this: it is very important for Microsoft to make ODF analogous with IBM, which it certainly is not. It’s merely a method of putting large corporate entities and their cash footprints on an open standard, which in turns harms the standard’s reputation. As for the smear campaigns, we keep our eye on them and they were discussed earlier today in the #boycottnovell (FreeNode) IRC channel. Microsoft is extremely hypocritical and blind to its bad behaviour. That, however, has always been the case.

“One smaller motivation which, in part, stems from altruism is Microsoft-bashing.”

Vinod Valloppillil, Microsoft

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