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06.18.08

OOXML Cover-up, ODF Adoption is Up

Posted in Africa, Apple, Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO standards for saleDeception and spinning from Microsoft whilst abuses resurface, ODF embraced

The more Microsoft pleads, the worse it sounds. At the moment, Microsoft sings the same tune that Alex Brown sang just a few days ago in order to sell OOXML and intercept opposition to it.

The pattern which you find below has already been found in other Microsoft-friendly press (probably discussed in IRC), but was not referenced here, so it seems like somewhat of an ‘internal strategy’ (“only four… ‘only’ four”).

The spin of the week:

With only four national bodies submitting appeals out of a total of 87 that voted, we think the large majority of participants in this process believe it accomplished what it was supposed to do.

Says Paulo Ferreira, Platform Strategist of Microsoft South Africa. Of course these are only the nations where Microsoft did not fully obstruct the committee work, in Belgium for instance the Committee was unable to deliberate whether to launch an appeal.

Recall what happened in Brazil where Microsoft manipulation was attempted as means of squashing a crucial appeal. As the above summary explains rather clearly, this is a very exceptional step. It’s considered radical and quite unprecedented, so realistically, the courageous step was not taken (and opposition implicitly brought forward) by ‘just’ some 4 nations. The world’s second- and third-largest populations appealed, whereas small ‘puppet nations’ fled quietly.

There are some more interesting details in this post which concludes as follows.

Conclusion: It is a longterm negotiation process to move Microsoft towards respect for genuine open standards. It is important to stage the pressure to make the domino effect happen. This is what we are working on behind the scenes now. Of course the company still finances a forceful and broad lobby movement to obstruct the open standards legislation of foreign governments.

Microsoft’s gruesome path for OOXML in Portugal has been sighted and documented here. Despite all that was seen, Portugal seems to be taking the right direction right now. It distributes OpenOffice.org in schools.

I was just made aware of this Portuguese blog entry. CDs including OpenOffice.org will be distributed to Portuguese schools again. Great news!

Adding more to this good news (perhaps) is support for ODF from the rather obscure Ashampoo TextMaker.

Ashampoo TextMaker 2008 enjoys a decent number of formatting options, and useful tools such as a synonym button, as well as the usual suspects: tabs and spellcheck included. Import from and export to Microsoft Word and OpenDocument files is pain free.

OOXML happens not to be mentioned by name here. It might not be supported at all.

At the beginning of this post we mentioned Microsoft-friendly (or misguided) press, some of which even references BoycottNovell critically. Here is an example of an article that improperly lays out a deceiving picture.

Apple, Novell, backs the Microsoft Open Office XML. In India it is backed by Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and Nasscom.

On the other hand the Open Document Format (ODF) is supported by the Indian government, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Google etc.

As you can hopefully see, only Microsoft’s partners in India seem to support OOXML (we covered this before on numerous occasions), whereas the Indian government supports ODF. Novell was paid handsomely to have no choice but to support OOXML and Microsoft is still a hugely influential force in Apple. It’s all corporate politics.

As an abused professor from India recently said, the government and other academic authorities merely battle Microsoft’s imperialistic partners overseas. Microsoft India’s chief is believed have left the company not only around the time of this fiasco but also because of it.

To end this bitter account with some good news for ODF, here is another feather in the cap of OASIS, which is somewhat of a force behind ODF.

The OASIS international standards consortium today introduced a new XML.org online community web site dedicated to supporting the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). The site (http://saml.xml.org) will serve as the official information resource for the SAML OASIS Standard, which provides an XML-based framework for online partners to exchange user authentication, entitlement, and attribute information.

[...]

SAML XML.org is the newest addition to the XML.org family of web sites devoted to supporting communities around open standards; other sites are devoted to BPEL, DITA, ebXML, IDtrust, OpenDocument, and UDDI.

Down in South Africa, one of the more iconic and reputable figures speaks about XML.

As the representative for Norway in the recent OOXML ratification process, Steve Pepper has become an outspoken critic of the IEC/ISO process. Pepper is also a passionate advocate of XML, open standards and Topic Maps. Here Pepper, who is in South Africa for the XML in Government workshop, speaks to Tectonic about what happened in Norway, Topic Maps and why open standards are important for governments.

Mr. Pepper is shown below. He urged those who could to protest against the decision on OOXML and this battle is not over yet. It’s important to defend the truth in the face of history whitewashing (it carries on at the moment [1, 2, 3]).

Protest against OOXML

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