Bonum Certa Men Certa

ISO Sweeps Abuses Under the Rug While Microsoft Extends Anti-GPL Scope

MicrISOft



A few days ago we shared the very brief take from Bob Sutor on that now-infamous Reuters article. It was about denial. Joining the critics now is Tim Bray who wrote:

Especially when ISO’s head honcho Alan Bryden goes on the record to say (quoting from Reuters) that “criticisms that a fast-track process was abused to rush through the Microsoft standard were unfounded” (note Reuters doesn’t use quotation marks, so presumably they’re summarizing Bryden).

Um, excuse me, doesn’t it seem wildly inappropriate for the chief executive of an allegedly-neutral international agency to comment dismissively on an in-progress appeal? If I were on ISO’s Board of Directors or equivalent, I’d be hauling Mr. Bryden in right now for a short unpleasant interview.

Whatever; the damage is done. I really hope my personal impression, based on the OOXML experience, that ISO alternates between bumbling and whorishness, is wrong. The world needs a reasonably competent and transparent standards organization whose integrity is not a standing joke.


To summarise, it's "business as usual" at ISO, which prefers to ignore some of its own people who confessed that the process had been abused. Microsoft is the same: "Business as usual" after the abuses of the process, the vicious attacks on ODF, and even against people.

Microsoft proceeds as if nothing has happened.

Microsoft on Monday unveiled projects to improve data portability between Office 2007 and other document file formats as part of an interoperability promise


The company also appears to be extending the RAND+OSP folly to other areas where the GPL gets excluded. Watch this bit from its accompanying press release which preceded the announcement.

This documentation is available to anyone on a royalty-free basis under Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise (OSP).


Expect more of the same scheme. "OSP" means "we don't play with GPL."

To summarise: Microsoft messed about with ISO, then saw it denying the abuses, and now it proceeds to locking out Free software using pseudo 'standards'. Some things never change, such is as the attitude of Microsoft towards its greatest competitors.

"Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process."

--Richard Stallman, June 2008

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