Summary: Implicit endorsement of OOXML by Novell (paid by Microsoft for this endorsement) and to some extent by the GNOME Foundation both recalled
Australia is looking into OOXML adoption while other nations move forward with ODF. What’s special about the Australian move is that they want to support the ECMA format. It is hard to understand how the Whole-of-Government Common Operating Environment (WofG COE) Policy would strengthen procurement powers of the Australian public sector and help to overcome lock-in.
Sam Varghese, an Australian, argues that this latest “OOXML kerfuffle [is] similar to that of 2007″ and he does have a point because, as stated in ZDNet Australia (although the Linux Australia president speaks collectively for other people), there is not so much that’s new here other than a report which stresses yet again how the government is deep in Microsoft’s pocket and “[t]he OOXML standard selection has drawn the ire of many commenters on the AGIMO blog, with some accusing the government of moving towards a vendor lock-in with Microsoft.” Here is what Varghese claims:
At that time , Microsoft was trying to get Office OOXML accepted as an ISO standard in opposition to the Open Document Format (ODF) which had been championed by OpenOffice.org and its variants.
Comments, reportedly made by members of Australia’s GNU/Linux community, reflect exactly the kind of ambivalence which was expressed by the GNOME Desktop project in 2007.
At that time, once it was discovered that people from the GNOME Foundation were participating in meetings to discuss adoption of this OOXML, then-foundation media spokesman Jeff Waugh had to try and douse the flames. He was not successful.
Things became worse when the KDE Desktop Project issued a statement, saying it would not offer support for the Microsoft standard, because in part, “The standardisation process of OfficeOpenXML has turned sour, not in the least because Microsoft couldn’t resist the temptation to cheat.”