Bonum Certa Men Certa

Final Decision on OOXML (at ISO Level) Still Two Months Away

"Hey, put that champagne back in the ice bucket!"

We warned about this just a couple of days ago. Despite the fact that there are antitrust investigations [1, 2, 3] and loads of scrutiny at the highest of levels, Microsoft and ECMA bombarded the press with premature celebrations, leading to the false conclusion that all is said and done. Not so fast though!

We saw such massive journalistic fiasco back in September last year when Microsoft declared a win despite its definite loss. Many journalists bought this and therefore poisoned other people's minds with disinformation (the 'broken telephone' effect). Let us calm down, look beyond the hype, and consider again some facts.

As the following article clearly states, two months remain for an appeal. That's plenty of time for investigation.

Any of the ISO and IEC national bodies can lodge a formal appeal over the next two months, before the Office Open XML standard is published.

[...]

Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and standards for IBM and one of the harshest critics of the Open XML format, conceded that enough countries had changed their votes from the September ballot to allow the specification to move forward into the publication preparation phase.

"So is that it? Of course not. The process of international standards-making has been laid bare for all to examine. People now have some sense that not all standards are created by a community of independent stakeholders, as some people may have previously assumed," Sutor said in a blog post.

Furthermore, "The lack of transparency, the ability to see who voted and why, leads to less understanding and accountability," Sutor wrote.

Publication of the standard is still two months away, and any of the ISO/IEC national bodies can lodge a formal appeal during this time.


The bits about transparency are extremely important. In case you needed to know why ECMA and Microsoft kept everything (including that horrid BRM [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) in the dark, this is why. It hinders the investigation into abuse of the process, reducing scrutiny through obfuscation. Remember how Microsoft lied to everyone about the BRM? Remember how many Microsoft employees kind of secretly intruded the BRM?

It's important that people come forward and make public everything they know before it escapes one's memory scope. As the following InternetNews article stresses again (further validating the above), up to 2 months remain for complaints to be filed with the European Commission.

Meanwhile, the normal ISO process means that OOXML will not become an official standard until at least the two-month waiting period runs out.

The standards process, so far, has been a hard fight for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and its supporters -- primarily European standards body Ecma International, which sponsored OOXML's submission to the ISO last year.


That latter sentence is quoted for it is quite funny. If ECMA is a primary supporter of Microsoft/OOXML, then one should take another hard look at van den Beld [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Many OOXML 'supporters', all just jumping for dollars.

"Get me into that and goddam, we'll make so much money!"

--Bill Gates, Microsoft (source)

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