Bonum Certa Men Certa

More on France and Microsoft's OOXML; ODF Still a Leader

"[Nicolas] Sarkozy and his family have been vacationing at a lakefront estate in Wolfeboro owned by former Microsoft Corp. executive Michael Appe."

--MSNBC, 2007



French flag



Summary: More analysis of Microsoft's OOXML shenanigans in France and some updates on the uptake of ODF

AFTER what Microsoft had done in France (with Sarkozy's help), it was perhaps inevitable that France allowed OOXML [1, 2]. As somebody from France now puts it in English:

Politicians, lobbyists and scapegoats: When choosing not to choose should make you vote the next time



[...]

This is how we come to the present RGI. The document by itself has been totally rewritten, choosing to leave aside the policy aspect in favor of an exhaustive referencing and classifying of existing technology and standards. This document itself integrates well with the upper echelons of European interoperability framework and does not attempt to dictate what the public sector stakeholders should do. On the crucial question of the office file formats, it is obvious that the authors spent some time carefully choosing their words. While the use of xml-based file format is clearly recommended, ODF is being put under observation (the reason for this is unclear) and so is OOXML, but at least we know the reason for this: OOXML has no known implementation (and won’t have any until a long time, they might have added) and therefore cannot be used.


Guess who's going to France very soon? To quote: "#odf TC scratching its head what actions we have with regard to maintenance and the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 WG6 meeting in Paris 12/4."

"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, Former Convenor of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 [OOXML] WG1



The above blog also refers to the role of Alex Brown (Martin Bryan's successor), as recently exposed by someone who was close to the incidents.

* If that weren’t enough, Jomar Silva from the ODF Alliance Brazil has posted its latest revelations about the infamous Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) on OOXML in Geneva and how Alex Brown, its dubious convener, did everything to stop some delegations asking some interesting questions. It is amazing to see how international processes can be bent towards one and the same goal.


Microsoft's corruption of the process has fortunately enough been documented. It reminds people that Microsoft never changed.

In better news, people's support of ODF is evident thanks to new tweets, such as: "Please change it to OpenDocument Format. #ODF #deathtoDOCX"

With more ODF coverage and releases of products that support ODF (KOffice 2.1 in this case), it is clear that Microsoft failed to destroy ODF. That's what it tried to do. In fact, increasingly we find products that support ODF but do not support OOXML. To give one new example ("Black Friday Special for Tables"):

Tables can import and export spreadsheets in Excel, OpenDocument and CSV format as well as export a spreadsheet or single sheets as PDF.


Here is another new example, the 1.0 release of OpenYABS.

It writes PDF or ODF (OpenOffice format) documents, and is a multiuser system. It is the successor of MP Invoicing. It can use any JDBC compliant database as a backend, and works in heterogenous networks, allowing fine grained security settings. It can also be extended with modules.


ODF and PDF only.

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