Bonum Certa Men Certa

Embargo, Ignore Microsoft-Controlled ISO

Killed again by Microsoft's well-documented corruption

There is not much to add to the news. Andy Updegrove has already offered this fairly detailed analysis.

ISO TMB Recommends Rejection of OOXML Appeals


A final source of frustration is that despite the fact that one basis for appeal under the Directives is a negative impact to the reputation of ISO/IEC, the document makes almost no response at all to the comments made in this regard. Whether one concludes that ISO and IEC have justifiably or unjustifiably suffered such an impact, I think that it would be hard to conclude that a substantial hit has not been taken.

In my view, ISO/IEC would be wise to acknowledge that fact, and take more intelligent actions to address it. Acting in the open (i.e., publicly releasing documents like this) and acknowledging that those that must live with the results of what ISO/IEC decides are entitled to better answers than they have received to date would be a great place to start.


At the end of the day, even winning an appeal is cold comfort after the time has been wasted by countless peole around the world, the marketplace has been confused, and the reputation has been tarnished.

Groklaw has posted information as well.

In short, it's all been a farce, in keeping with the rest of the OOXML processing. ISO thinks there not a thing wrong with the job they did on OOXML, they do not countenance criticism, and if we don't like it, we can lump it. Or, ISO has decided to go down with the ship. Anyway, stay tuned. It ain't over 'til it's over.

"ISO should hang their heads in shame for allowing it to happen."

--Tim Bray

Earlier on I received the following interesting response from Rex Ballard. ISO has been irrelevant for quite some time in fact -- only a hero in its own mind and the perception it bought itself.

Message-ID: <> From: Rex Ballard <> Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy Subject: Re: Leaked ISO Document Reveals Crooked ISO Amid MS OOXML Corruptions Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 00:19:06 -0700 (PDT)


This wouldn't be the first time that the ISO was bought and sold like a $3 hooker. Dig into the OSI specifications, especially the versions circulating in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and you can easily see the work of shills working for IBM, DEC, HP (Apollo), AT&T, IT&T, Xerox, and several X.25 switch vendors.

The result was a specification that spanned about 65,000 pages, cost about $150,000 per reader, and was impossible to implement. Furthermore, the extensions, subsets, supersets, and options pretty much assured that there would be no interoperability.

As a result, the ARPA/NSF RFC standards, which were freely published, and were required to be so clear and complete that each RFC could be implemented by an undergraduate college student, resulted in a set of standards that became what we now know as the Internet. It was based on the ARPA Internet, but included the directory services, LDAP, security, encryption, and other key standards required to handle a huge network that eventually grew to over 2 billion users.

The IETF did adopt some good ideas from OSI, including LDAP, tunneling, and Mime types, as well as improvements in e-mail routing, but even then, the specifications were so clear and concise, that they could be implemented by undergraduates, eliminating the threat of patents that would "lock up" the internet, allowing one party to work against the best interests of the whole community.

One of the key factors in the success of the Internet, was the availability of Open Source implementations of the protocols and drivers. BSD Sockets, Lynx, Viola, Mosaic, Mozilla, and Firefox, for example, made it possible to implement working solutions we now know as "The Web" and deploy it to millions of Windows 3.1 machines, as well as Linux workstations, back when Bill Gates and Microsoft were saying that the Internet would never be a viable network. For almost 2 years, Gates and Windows were under direct threat, because Linux, Java, and low priced Unix Workstation options, as well as Warp had already implemented robust internet support, much of which didn't make it into Windows until Windows XP (and much of which is still missing in Windows).

Even when the Internet did become established, Microsoft attempted to pervert and corrupt these standards. They tried to corrupt HTML by introducing VBScript and ActiveX controls. The result was a plethora of viruses, worms, and malware that often adversely affected corporate networks for weeks, even months, because the Windows PCs spread them so quickly using these corrupted standards.

Today, Microsoft is trying to do the same thing with OpenXML, embedding "oleObjectx.bin" objects into zipped documents, making it a trivial matter for hackers to embed malware in OpenXML documents and spread them to carefully qualified targets. These documents, when read, or even previewed, to create, open, read, write, execute, and/or delete any file on the hard drive, to modify the registry, and to send or receive content from almost anywhere on the internet that can be accessed by the user, including VPNs, protected networks, and secured corporate networks.

The user must trust that proprietary code, known only by a hand-full of people at Microsoft, hasn't opened up other back-doors that are also unknown. Even the so-called "trusted" applications and OLE objects can't really be trusted, but they will get circulated to Banks, insurance companies, politicians, corporate executives, and other key leaders, giving Microsoft executives direct access to information that even the FBI, NSA, and DHS can't get, with the ability to publish what it finds, and trigger scandals, investigations, and even corporate collapse of any who oppose the interests of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Open Document format, which is much more robustly documented, and much more secure, has been gaining the support of major players including numerous government agencies, companies like IBM, and key players all over the world.

Ironically, the opinion has come full circle. In 1994, people assumed that only high-priced software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint could be trusted, and that Open Source software couldn't be trusted. Today, most network administrators are for more concerned about the consequences of proprietary shareware, proprietary 3rd party software, and even Microsoft software, because they have discovered that these are the vehicles used for spreading all sorts of Malware,

Meanwhile Open Source, with it's public peer review process, has gained endorsements from the NSA, the FBI, MI5, and numerous other police, military, and intelligence organizations, many of which have even expressed that OSS and Linux is "too secure", making court ordered wire-tapping into PCs more difficult, sometimes even impossible.

It sums it all up really.

I sold out


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