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04.06.10

IBM on Withdrawing Microsoft’s OOXML

Posted in Europe, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents, Ubuntu at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Automatic teller machine

Summary: The battle over office suites heats up after the OOXML BRM Convenor openly criticises Microsoft, which he once ushered and helped beyond his authority

BROWN’S remarks from last week had OOXML’s status seriously hurt [1, 2, 3]. It truly blew over and Microsoft has not responded yet, which is rather telling. “Why, good golly, Miss Molly,” wrote Pamela Jones in response to Brown’s post, “Who’d ever imagine such a thing could happen? I mean nobody in the whole world foresaw it and warned JTC 1 or anything, did they? So we surely can’t blame them.” She is being sarcastic of course.

It’s worth watching the comments in Brown’s blog. It gets interesting where Rob Weir (IBM) implicitly suggests withdrawing OOXML:

Rick [Jellife, the Microsoft shill whom it offered to pay to edit Wikipedia], you say “not stuffed full of Microsoft employees, as far as I am aware”. But the problem is you are not aware. Have you even attended an SC34 Plenary since Microsoft ended their contract with you? Australia’s participation in SC34 has disappeared altogether. If SC34 is so relevant, then why is your own NB not even an O-member?

But don’t take my word for. Sneak into an SC34 Plenary sometime and ask others. At the last two I’ve been approached by delegates from various NBs dismayed by how many Microsoft employees were there.

To your other point, if you suggest that SC34 is all about picking losers, then touché, Rick. My point merely was that SC34 doesn’t have what it takes to make market-relevant standards. It fails predominately because it lacks the confidence and participation of major vendors, without which it can only eek out a meager existence on the fringes of the markup world. Even with a large number of Microsoft employees present and voting, SC34 is not exactly their preferred venue for standardization. They tolerate it. And honestly, if they decided they had enough with the nonsense in SC34, and withdraw OOXML, I’d need to consider recommending the same for ODF.

ISO Should also withdraw OOXML after Microsoft and Alex Brown lied about patents. Ryan Paul covers it as follows:

Although Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) document format became an ISO standard two years ago, the company still hasn’t built any software that truly complies with the standard. Microsoft Office 2010, which is expected to be released later this year, implements the deprecated “transitional” version of the format and is not compatible with the version that was crafted by the standards body.

Some days ago (around the same time of the incidents above), Canonical’s new COO Matt Asay called Jason Matusow, who is Microsoft’s OOXML felon [1, 2, 3], “A good friend of mine”. He has already said that they were friends before, but this time he says this as a Canonical executive, which is slightly unnerving. We have already warned that Asay has several amicable connections with Microsoft, where he was going to work several years back (eventually he didn’t). Asay has also mocked OpenOffice.org on numerous occasions over the years (he used and maybe still uses Microsoft Office). To antagonise Microsoft is not being a “zealot”, no more than running away from a snake makes one a “zealot” or a “snakes hater”. As mentioned the other day, Tim Berners-Lee is among those who refuse to receive Microsoft Office files and The Source therefore publishes “Just Another Zealot” — a sarcastic appeal-to-authority reference to Berners-Lee.

Golly-wolly these zealots sure do make me mad.

Why couldn’t Sir Tim just be pragmatic and use the perfectly functional Microsoft Closed and Proprietary offering?

Stop wasting time trying to change things! If it’s “good enough” for most people, then that means it’s good enough!

Things are changing for the better for ODF. Very high adoption of OpenOffice.org is seen in Italy and it is now legal to exclude Microsoft software based on the fact that it is proprietary, not just its hostility towards international standards.

An Italian court has upheld the legality of a law passed by Piedmont Regional Council which expressed a preference to acquire free software when choosing programs for the authority. The Associazione per il Software Libero reports that the law, introduced just over a year ago, had been challenged by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

This is not looking particularly good for Microsoft, which apparently breaks procurement laws in Italy.

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