Bonum Certa Men Certa

OOXML Watch: Funny Business Comes to Switzerland, ECMA Speaks, Apple Falters

We have seen it in Italy, we have seen it in Portugal, we have seen it in Spain, we have seen it in Denmark, we have seen it in Colombia, and we have seen it in the United States. Microsoft has no shame about abusing any system that is open to abuse or where abuse will go unnoticed. Microsoft even admitted this. The latest report comes from Switzerland (although its source and credibility cannot yet be verified).

The present spin doctors of Microsoft and ECMA managed to convince Mr. Thomann to reject every serious technical and general concern we had regarding OOMXL by pointing to compatibility reasons. At the end we had a majority _against_ Microsoft but which (giving the unfair rules) results in a Swiss vote _for_ Microsoft. Mr. Thomann was fretting and fuming at the end of the meeting how it can be that successful international companies (we had representatives from IBM, Google, ...) vote against the best interest of their customers and theirself!

Yes, this is how the democratic system at SNV / ISO works. After the meeting I could not eat as much as I wanted to puke...


This is beginning to sound like the very typical storyline. How many more nations will have their authorities and their decisions subverted in this way? Is China next?

Microsoft and Novell Don't Wait for Standards



Microsoft typically invades LinuxWorld and this year was no exception. Watch how Novell and Microsoft defend their decision to partly neglect ODF (or let it rot) by taking a proprietary format -- an expensive and incomplete 'shortcut' -- to achieve so-called interoperability. It does more harm than good. In practice, this lets real standards lag behind.

Microsoft defends vendor standards lead

[...]

Microsoft has defended vendor-led standards and interoperability work rather than waiting for industry bodies to reach an open consensus.


Shame on Novell for accepting a route which ensures documents can only be rendered properly in Microsoft Office/Windows. In the next post we'll discuss other Linux-discriminatory routes that Novell has encouraged.

ECMA Under Berlind's Fire



Watch this part of an interview with the Secretarie General of ECMA.

Interview with Ecma’s Secretarie General

The following is an interview of Jan van den Beld, the Secretarie General of Ecma International.

[ramble on multiple and proprietary 'standards']

David Berlind: But don’t you think that encourages patent wars?

Jan van den Beld: I have never thought so deeply about it (how the pemission of multiple standards encourages patent wars). In a way yes, of course, there are hardly any subjects in hi-tech where no patents are involved. That is one of the big worries about bodies being concerned with patents So, we stay out of it. If you have a patent, you get an unconditional right and what you do with your patent is your business. You can ask "is that good?" Well that’s an interesting question.


There are more disturbing bits in this interview. ECMA has become (or has always been) more of a factory, not a reviewing body. Also see [1] and [2], which are forward-referenced and thus harder to find.

Help the World Receive OpenDocument Format Support from Apple



If you have a moment to spare, please sign this petition.

The ISO 26300 is the international standard XML format for office documents, also known as the Open Document Format or ODF. The newly released iWork '08 supports the Open Office XML (OOXML) document format, which is still not an ISO-approved standard. It would be beneficial to all if the iWork suite of applications, namely Pages, Keynote and Numbers, support Open Document Format.

We appeal that you release an update to the latest version of iWork suite to support ISO 26300. In addition, we hope that you support the ISO 26300 standard in future Apple products that involves office documents.


Real Standards Advocates



Bob has posted a summary of posts which explain why OOXML is a bad idea. In a nutshell, OOXML is a proprietary format that only Microsoft can implement.

Andy Updegrove has been added to the attorneys team of the Linux Foundation.

Updegrove is a partner and founder of Gesmer Updegrove in Boston, and is best known for blogging about open source and open standards on his Standards Blog on the Consortiuminfo.org Web site he created and manages. Updegrove has received particular notoriety for his criticism of Microsoft in its quest to make its XML-based document format, Open XML, an international standard.


Congrats. Andy!

Closing Thoughts



Yesterday I contributed my thoughts on the use of Linux deals and the OSI in order to exclude competitors and empower vendor lock-in. I shared this with Digg.com and one reply that I received is worth quoting even if it's rather strong and blunt.

The real shame is that the entire world doesn't yet understand how detrimental Microsoft is to the tech industry, innovation, and freedom.

Microsoft destroys innovative products by pushing it's own knockoffs through its OS monopoly. Microsoft stifles competition by leveraging its OS monopoly, and through backroom government deals. Microsoft is unable to compete on an even playing field, it spreads fear and terror to create distrust of alternatives. Microsoft is unable to compete on an even playing field, it perpetuates its monopoly through OEM preloads to the gullible consumer. Microsoft poisons open standards and protocols. They have been convicted of this in US federal court! Microsoft software tends to suck.

If people don't see the harm in all that, then you might as well all go shoot yourselves now, because over the next few decades such monopolists will enthrone themselves as your masters, and then you will be slaves. There will be no open market, no capitalism, it will be a global Oligarchy, a fascist empire of robber barons that control information, culture, and commerce.

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