Bonum Certa Men Certa

OOXML: Messy, GPL-hostile and Incomplete Even at 7,228 Pages

Here it is almost 2 months late, and for good reasons. Readers might recall that Microsoft, ECMA, and those in-between did not obey the rules. OOXML, as buggy as it is, was not made visible to anyone. Until now.

7228 pages of ISO ooxml



Opendocument Format saves our trees. ISO Open XML has been getting more and more fat.


It comes as a bundle with Windows-specific bits, bugs, undocumented secrets, and a licence/promise combo that was designed to exclude Microsoft's number-one rival. Nobody will ever implement it, not even Microsoft.

The many problems with OOXML are separate from its considerable length, which may seem a superficial thing to scrutinise. When different versions of Microsoft Office are part of a so-called 'standard', then it's only expected to be badly formed and spurious.

From a legal and less technical point of view, Microsoft continues to fight -- albeit usually by proxy -- to ensure things like OOXML universally come with software patents. They immediately punish Free software, which Microsoft hates so much. Look what the BSA is doing in Europe at the moment.

Leave it to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to distort the definition of "open standard" in order to serve the interests of Microsoft and its other members. The BSA doesn't like the European Commission's increasing interest in open source and open standards to deliver software interoperability.


Behind its pressure groups, Microsoft pulled a lot of dirty tricks in Europe last week. It's definitely something to watch out for.

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