Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Things Work at ECMA 'Production Line'

According to the following bit of information, ECMA does not exactly operate like a standards body should. Have a look (emphasis mine):

Global Graphics’ chief technology officer Martin Bailey has been appointed by standards development body Ecma International to chair a new technical committee that will work on producing a formal industry standard for the XML Paper Specification (XPS), the new print and document format introduced by Microsoft with Windows Vista....

Global Graphics has played a prominent role in the development and launch of the XPS specification from the very start. A recognized expert in interpreting, rendering and converting PDLs, Global Graphics’ leading edge expertise and engineering capability were factors in the Company being chosen by Microsoft in 2003 to provide consultation services on the XPS specification as well as develop a prototype and a print reference XPS RIP for Microsoft.


Now, can you see how approval is won at ECMA? There is not much of a chance of a proposal being rejected, is there? As we said yesterday, ISO seems to have lost its way as well. It is becoming a little assimilated to ECMA, which can be referred to as a Coin-in-the-Slot Standards Organization. Once again, Microsoft's allies are in the committee, so there is little room for independent judgment. ECMA truly looks like a production line that passes on proposal s-- however poor they may be -- to the ISO, then boasting some 'pseudo acceptance' by an industry-for-industry consortium.

Andy Updegrove and Bob Sutor are among those who try to explain to high officials why poor Microsoft-centric standards must be rejected. You can assist resistance to OOXML adoption in MA.

Preparing such comments is time consuming, but it is also important. I took several hours to do so yesterday, and have just sent them to the ITD just now. You can to, and I hope that you will. The ITD's comment address is standards@state.ma.us, and the deadline is next Friday. If you're a believer in open standards, please don't let that deadline pass without making your thoughts known.


More information can be found here. According to Newton (of Alfresco), Microsoft has just taken its battles to the United Kingdom as well. It continues its lobbying campaign with an XML du jour and a twisted definition of "open".

With OOXML and XPS, Microsoft has chosen to not work with existing standards, but to create new ones, as they have in their recent announcement on Web3S instead of working with the rest of the industry on the Atom Publishing Protocol. In the case of OOXML, this is a logical move on Microsoft’s part, since it is an evolution of Microsoft’s XML strategy started with the Microsoft Office 2003 version and ODF will be a technology diversion from that strategy. With Microsoft controlling 90% of the office productivity tools market and OOXML being the default file format for Microsoft Office 2007, OOXML is likely to be widely-used.


The article suggests that the BBC article on digital preservation may have been nothing but a publicity stunt. There are some prior incidents where Microsoft did questionable things in the United Kingdom. It 'faked' support for OOXML and got slammed by the Open Source Consortium, with which I'm sort of affiliated.

The petition is an attempt to make it appear that Open XML has "pseudo-grassroots" support, argues Mark Taylor, the founder of the Open Source Consortium.


This action followed a very suspicious petition, set up by nobody but Microsoft. Keep your eyes open and see how these things develop. There's little honesty in process.

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