10.01.08

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OOXML Neglected by National Archives, Microsoft’s ISO Capturers Still Fight ODF

Posted in Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Yesterday we posted a couple of updates on the OOXML and ODF situation. OOXML’s inertia seems to be coming mainly from abuse and manipulation, whereas ODF is naturally adopted at the highest of levels and scopes, including entire countries.

A response has arrived from the British government suggesting that many substantiated suspicions about National Archives may have been in vain. Glyn Moody commented on it.

PDF is an international standard (ISO 32000-1: 2008) and is supported by all major browsers, either natively or via freely available plug-ins. The National Archives does not currently plan to convert any records to Microsoft Office Open XML format.

Alex Brown, the man who lobbied for Microsoft’s OOXML in the British public sector [1, 2], is once again interfering with ODF and trying to have its reputation mucked.

Pamela Jones, seeing what he wrote over the weekend, wrote: “Well. Now they admit it. What a mess. And how this entry reveals the scheme. They want us, I gather, to mark on a curve when judging OOXML. If ODF can be painted as not properly maintained, then OOXML doesn’t look so bad. If one can subtly hint that ODF should just fade away, people may opt for this “standard” no one can use. No wonder they were trying to get ODF placed in their hands. The better to make it fade away, I trust. How hilarious that they have only a few weeks to fix it all. There is a God! The punishment fits the crime. May they enjoy their work to the full. They earned it.”

Later she followed up with this short article.

If you saw Alex Brown’s offensive suggestion that some think ODF should just “fade away” in News Picks, it no doubt made your blood boil. Here’s where you can put some of that energy, if you are so inclined: Rob Weir has announced the new technical committee, ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC, and he’s asking for individuals and projects to please sign up to help out.

Further to yesterday’s strong criticism of ISO, Charles had this to say:

In short, national standards bodies voted on a text they never read, and the result was an astounding yes prompted by pressures of various kinds. The rest is history: The appeals that never got answered properly, the dubious voting procedure, the letter of protest sent by four countries to the ISO… Once again, this chapter is full of darkness, lack of transparence and maneuvers in dark alleys. Once again, the ISO has not hesitated once to dive in the mess and proudly follows what it believes is the reasonable way; so reasonable, in fact, that if told to define the Law of Gravity the ISO would now claim that any physical body falls on the ground if released from above not because of Gravity, but because it is reasonable.

Microsoft cannot ever be trusted on the issue of standards. Its entire business model builds upon stubborn lock-in and even the World Wide Web is negatively affected by it. We wrote about Microsoft and SVG a few weeks back (even the founder of the Web complained about it) and here comes an article from Bruce Byfield, who echoes the very same concern:

No matter which vector graphics program you use, you should note that saving graphics to .SVG format can cause problems when you go to use them. For one thing, Internet Explorer does not support the format, which prevents it from being used extensively in Web graphics, though it is ideally suited for them.

To Microsoft, this was most likely a business decision. No technical barrier stood in its way all these days.

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“

Microsoft on OOXML

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A Single Comment

  1. AlexH said,

    October 1, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Gravatar

    It will be interesting to see what really happens … personally I think ODF is more likely to emerge as a kind of “default choice” than OOXML (not perhaps, that most users care).

    Stinging criticism indeed.

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