Bonum Certa Men Certa

Threats Are Cheap

I want you for money



The usual crony/ies appear to be resorting to intimidation now that OOMXL texts are out there for all to view (and no, it's not just in Boycott Novell as other Web sites got hold of the files around the same time it circulated, and published them too). The files could also reach Wikileaks, so what's the difference? There's none.



Let's set the record straight: The OOXML saga has been corrupt from start to finish. Will anyone try to challenge the strong and extensive evidence? Good luck with all that. As a matter of fact, even the man on top of the process has already admitted that it had gone awry. To quote:

"This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be."

--Martin Bryan, ISO 'Escapee'
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1



Throughout this appalling process, some people lost their jobs. Many others were smeared by anonymous characters and even directly, i.e. by Microsoft employees. It is all well documented.

The text in question (OOXML) is appalling in terms of quality and yet it was kept secret and hidden away from the very same people whom it affects. This is transparency?

There are two issues of transparency here:

  1. Transparency of technical documentation. How can a standard ever be called "open" if not even the terms of Open Access (OA) are being met?
  2. Transparency of the process. ISO, caring for its broken reputation, will insist that the process was fine, yet to fails to provide any proof of it. As the BRM in Geneva taught everyone, it's all just a back-door arrangement involving stuffed panels congregating behind closed doors to decide 'on behalf' of 'the world'.


The ISO process was horrendous. Tim Bray, a world authority in the field of XML, called the process "brutal and corrupt". It was so bad that it ended up going under a formal investigation by the European Commission.

These investigators must be so overwhelmed by evidence that they do not even know where to start and what to choose. And yet, despite all of this, Alex Brown, who essentially markets Microsoft OOXML (talk about conflict of an interests) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], had decided to threaten me with vague allegation of lawsuits.

And (I did hint we might come down from being high-minded) talking of copyright violation I notice some of the dafter quarters of the web have published the ISO/IEC 29500:2008 (OOXML) text. Now, while not many people know for sure what ITTF do to a text when they prepare it for publication, one thing they do do for sure is to put a copyright statement on every page. So what we have witnessed is a brazen act of copyright violation. The boobies have even been so good as to boast about the bandwidth requirements their crimes have occasioned (no further questions, m'lud).

Even now, I can hear those Geneva lawyers licking their lips over this one ... "


Given how ugly the process has been thus far, it hardly surprises that it continues to be ugly. People who were appalled by the corruption have already spilled some beans before (against the 'precious' yet ridiculous rules).

Threats are cheap and we've witnessed them before, Alex. They make ISO look even worse.

Watch the photo here. It's hilarious.

So let's call it tit-for-tat, Alex. ;-)

"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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