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More ODF for Macs, Trouble for the Already-Embattled ISO

Posted in Apple, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, SUN at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It should be no secret that Apple is somewhat of a Microsoft buddy when it comes to office suites. Just watch this old video and recall what software is preinstalled with Macs nowadays. Remember what formats are supported and why. It is therefore good news that StarOffice 9 is coming to Mac OS X, along with OpenDocument format (ODF) support.

StarOffice is based on the same underpinnings as the open source office suite OpenOffice.org. It provides an alternative to Microsoft Office using applications that support the XML file format. Individual components of StarOffice include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, drawing tool, database tool and formula generator.

UNIX-basedIt’s worth emphasising that Microsoft Office for Windows is not compatible with Microsoft Office for the Mac.

The only conclusion one can reach is that OOXML is too messy for anyone to handle, including Microsoft which is unable and disinterested in getting the job done. So, why is it being rushed through? Andy Updegrove has something to say on that matter and he responds to questions from the very same Redmond press that admitted Microsoft’s foul play in the past and even took pride in it (“Return of the Champ”).

Updegrove seems very polite and restrained here because the target audience includes Microsoft employees. He puts the very severe issues very gently.

Obviously you feel these appeals have some merit. What arguments in those appeals have traction?

Updegrove: A couple items come to mind. One, were the judgments made by ISO/IEC valid under the rules? For example, allowing O-Members to vote. The CEOs say that this was in their discretion, and that there’s therefore no basis for an appeal. But why shouldn’t the limits of that discretion be eligible for appeal?

Two, have the reputations of ISO and IEC been damaged by the way in which the process was conducted? The CEOs didn’t even bother to address this one, even though it’s mentioned explicitly in the appeals, and even though the directives explicitly call out “matters of principle” and effects on “reputation” as being valid reasons for appeal.


Do you think we’ll see structural changes to the ISO fast-track approval process based on the OOXML experience? Or does ISO seem focused on moving on?
I think that ISO would like to just move on, but that a meaningful number of vendors aren’t going to allow that to happen. But how would anyone know? One of the things that I fault ISO on is for being so secretive. We haven’t heard a word out of them about reform other than public statements that “we’re always looking to improve.”

In fact, I know that there have been private conversations going on behind closed doors about reforms ever since the BRM, if not before. The latest I’ve heard, however, is that these talks have been put on hold until the appeals are resolved.

Here is Microsoft and the BSI [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] getting a little cozy in a new press release. It’s pretty much the same with ISO.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

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