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[News] OOXML Goes Nowhere, Despite Microsoft Corruptions

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IBM VP: Office OpenXML a dead end, Microsoft will back ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| During the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, I met with Bob Sutor, IBM's vice 
| president of open source and standards. We discussed document standards and 
| the implications of ISO's controversial decision to grant fast-track approval 
| to Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) format.   
| Allegations of procedural irregularities in the OOXML approval process have 
| raised serious questions about the integrity of ISO. Some national standards 
| bodies complained that their views were disregarded or ignored during the 
| OOXML ballot resolution meeting because of unreasonable time constraints. 
| Some critics fear that the problems that arose during the ISO evaluation of 
| OOXML will contribute to disillusionment and apathy towards open standards.     
| [...]
| I asked him if he thinks that ISO approval of OOXML will drive implementors 
| and adopters away from ODF. He has seen no evidence of such a trend and 
| argued that uptake of OOXML has been slow. He claimed that the complexity of 
| the standard has deterred acceptance and said that Microsoft's 
| next-generation office suite hasn't significantly accelerated usage of OOXML 
| in the wild. The vast majority of existing documents are already in the old 
| binary formats and he contends that many users of Office 2007 still save new 
| documents in the binary formats to accommodate compatibility with the older 
| version. He thinks that implementors want to tap into that massive legacy 
| document base and don't see much value yet in supporting OOXML in their 
| software.          


IBM VP Sutor: "OOXML dead end", and the latest Domino

,----[ Quote ]
| Government officials often point out how cheap licenses have become. Better 
| competition drives the margins down. Good for Yoon Kit and his Schadenfreude 
| humour. Good for Yoon Kit as a tax payer. Good or bad for business? That 
| depends on your interests. From a procurement perspective you need to avoid 
| all vendor dependencies, reduce procurement costs and put the vendor in 
| chains if you can. A behaviour as moral or immoral as when you are on the 
| sales side and attempt the opposite. Microsoft early understood the need to 
| regard interoperability control as crucial for its business. The awareness 
| among procurement agencies is on the rise to pay similar attention to the 
| strategic importance of procurement policies and interoperability promotion. 
| But also on the sales side of the medal it is a fight between one and many.          



SC34 meeting next week: yet another stuffed committee?

,----[ Quote ]
| Next week on Monday and Tuesday there will be an SC34 meeting, where the
| maintenance of the inexistant DIS29500 specification will be discussed.
| Surprise, half of the seats will be occupied by Microsoft and ECMA:
|     Adam Farquhar (Ecma)
|     Alex Brown (UK)
|     Benjamin Henrion (BE)
|     Brett Roberts (NZ)
|     Dave Welsh (US)
|     Doug Mahugh (Ecma)
|     Francis Cave (GB)
|     Isabelle Valet-Harper (Ecma)
|     Istvan Sebestyen (Ecma)
|     Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen (DK)
|     Jean Paoli (Ecma)
|     Jean Stride (GB)
|     Jesper Lund Stocholm (DK)
|     Jirka Kosek (CZ)
|     Keld Simonsen (NO)
|     Ken Holman (CA)
|     Kimmo Bergius (FI)
|     Manu Setälä (FI)
|     Michiel Leenaars (NL)
|     Murata Makoto (JP)
|     Patrick Durusau (US)
|     Pia Elleby Lange (DK)
|     Rex Jaeschke (Ecma)
|     Shahzad Rana (NO)
|     Wemba Opota (CI)


OpenXML: Finally the hidden agenda is emerging

,----[ Quote ]
| Not so long ago, the major evidence for me was the number of countries that
| changed their votes in the last days OpenXML voting, signaling a major
| political agreement for the approval of standard, but now, a few months later
| more strange thing is happening.
| The last of them is that we in Brazil, and all other NBs,  will have to cast
| until July 29, our vote regarding a proposal for a “new work item” at  SC34,
| which deals with the translation between ODF and OpenXML documents. If this
| proposal is approved, it will be generated by SC34,  trough an “accelerated
| process”, a technical report on the subject.
| I think this discussion is really natural, but we need to observe a simple
| detail: “The approval of OpenXML as an international standard is under
| appeal !!!”.


Toy Soldiers

,----[ Quote ]
| One example is the proposals in SC34 to create a new project to create a
| Technical Report on translating between ODF 1.0 and OOXML 1.0. This might
| have made sense at some point in the past. But this proposal seems out of
| place now.
| Consider:
|    1. No one supports ODF 1.0 today. All of the major vendors have moved on
|    to ODF 1.1, and will be moving on to ODF 1.2 soon.
|    2. No one supports OOXML 1.0 today, not even Microsoft.
|    3. No one supports interoperability via translation, not Sun in their
|    Plugin, not Novell in their OOXML support, and not Microsoft in their
|    announced ODF support in Office 2007 SP2.
| [...]
| Given the leisure to do the job right, my bet is on Microsoft. Everyone knows
| it for what it is now. There is no longer need for elaborate attempts to
| disguise the fact that OOXML is and will remain a Microsoft-only standard.


The ISO Document: Brazil's Appeal and ISO/IEC's Attachments 1 & 2 - as text

,----[ Quote ]
| Brazil is a P member of SC 34, so according to my reading of the clause, it
| has the right to appeal if any of the three above issues apply, and arguably
| they all do. According to South Africa, if the issue is ISO's reputation, or
| if there is a matter of principle involved, Brazil can appeal. Even point
| three could apply, in that Brazil raises matters such as incorrect tabulation
| of votes, which, if true, one would hope ISO wasn't aware of.
| [...]
| Why did they bother to go, one might ask? Why vote, if votes disappear from
| the record? By my reading, Brazil paints a picture of an orchestrated event,
| tilted away from criticism or a negative result and a refusal to give
| substantive consideration to issues delegates wanted to discuss, due to time
| constraints Brazil calls arbitrary, and worse.


New doubts about ISO's fast-track standardisation of Microsoft OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| An internal document of the International Standards Organization (ISO) that
| found its way late last week on to the Wikileaks whistle-blower platform
| raises further questions about the choice of a fast-track certification for
| Microsoft's OOXML document format. The paper, by Joint Technical Committee
| No. 1 (JTC 1) of the Geneva standards organization, which dates back to July
| 2007, says the fast track procedure chosen for certifying Microsoft's
| document format is only intended for the acceptance of unaltered standards
| and that a standard not accepted in its original form, while not to be
| regarded as "2nd class" or illegitimate, should be put through the normal
| five-stage standardisation process, should necessary corrections be
| identified in advance. The fast-track process, it says, is intended for
| making changes to an original draft.


Puppet countries leaves P membership

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Puppet countries are leaving the P membership. Lebanon, Turkey,
| Cyprus, and Trinidad & Tobago have already dropped out. All those countries
| voted Yes without comments to OOXML.



Martin Bryan: we are getting “standardization by corporation”

,----[ Quote ]
| A November informative report of Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34
| WG1 highlights the fallout of the ECMA-376 fast-track process for ISO. He
| says he is 'glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible'
| [...]
| In what is an astonishingly outspoken report, Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC
| JTC1/SC34 WG1 has given us insight into the total mess that Microsoft/ECMA
| have caused during their scandalous, underhand and unremitting attempts to
| get - what is a very poorly written specification {i.e. DIS 29500 aka OOXML,
| AR} - approved as an ISO standard. …


Microsoft accused of stacking ISO committee

,----[ Quote
| In a memo sent following his last meeting as head of the working group on
| WG1, which is handling Microsoft’s application to make the Word format an ISO
| standard as ECMA 376, outgoing Governor Martin Bryan (above), an expert on
| SGML and XML, accused the company of stacking his group.


EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push

,----[ Quote ]
| I hope they think to investigate the smear campaigns that seem to always
| happen to anyone on the other side from Microsoft. What happened to Peter
| Quinn was by no means unique.


Software wars

,----[ Quote ]
| Allegations of committee-stuffing, the outcome of votes overridden by
| political appointees, a final decision that many involved consider tainted:
| this may sound like a discredited election in some third world country. But
| it is actually a description of an ugly fight over international technical
| standards that wrapped up this week. Microsoft came out on top, but at the
| cost of tarnishing its reputation and the credibility of an important
| back-room process that oils the wheels of many global industries.


Microsoft admits Swedish employee promised incentives for Open XML support

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Corp. admitted Wednesday that an employee at its Swedish subsidiary
| offered monetary compensation to partners for voting in favor of the Office
| Open XML document format's approval as an ISO standard.


Microsoft Looks for the Big Guns in OOXML In-Fighting

,----[ Quote ]
| Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense
| and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards
| Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote "yes" on
| ISO standardizing Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in
| competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.
| Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by
| one vote to support Microsoft.


Microsoft influencing partner NGOs to support OOXML in India

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft is encouraging its business partners to promote its Office Open XML
| specification (OOXML) to the Indian Bureau of Standards (BIS) and Ministry of
| IT. This move has incensed supporters of the rival OpenDocument Format (ODF)
| who fear that the "soft" Indian state may not be able to stand up to
| Microsoft pressure tactics.


Microsoft India using NGOs to fake support for OOXML


Becoming a better company: Microsoft helps NGOs in India

,----[ Quote ]
| Of course, there has to be some trade-offs, because there should never be
| free lunch, even for the ones who starve: Microsoft, according to this
| article, has conditioned its help to Indian NGOs to their support of OOXML.
| What the NGOs had to do was to send letters of support on OOXML to the
| federal government of India.


Microsoft "persuades" NGOs to support OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| Our friends at Linux Delhi have put up a copy of the form letters that
| Microsoft has been sending NGOs on the OOXML issue. Apparently, these NGOs
| have been sending copies of these letters to the Ministry of IT and Bureau of
| Indian standards.


Developers around the world, unite!

,----[ Quote ]
| Monopoly and proprietary software have an advantage in influencing state and
| governmental institutions because of their large market base and ready
| capital. Unscrupulous ways of influencing state governments have persisted in
| India, for example, where executives of proprietary software cajole
| government heads to promote their brands in lieu of some form of charity
| given. FLOSS activists must overcome this huge challenge in order to get
| their philosophy accepted and model implemented for the good of people who
| are still on the barren side of the digital divide.


Using NGOs to Push Agendas

,----[ Quote ]
| The extent to which Microsoft can go in its efforts to get OOXML is
| interesting. Microsoft has "persuaded" several non-profit organizations to
| bombard the Indian IT Secretary and the Additional Director General of the
| Bureau of Indian Standards with letters supporting its OOXML proposal. A copy
| of the form letter they have been circulating to NGOs is given below.
| Somebody should interview these NGOs to see how much they really know about
| OOXML and open standards.
| The sequence of events leading up to the spamming of GoI? is:
| Letter from an NGO thanking Microsoft (name changed to protect their
| identity)


,----[ Quote ]
| Pieter Hintjens, president of the Foundation for a Free Information
| Infrastructure, a non-profit organisation that is campaigning against the
| Microsoft proposal, said: "We've recorded fairly systematic manipulation of
| the voting process. We've seen what amounts to vote-buying in Italy,
| Portugal, Colombia, Spain. In Sweden and Denmark, much the same happened –
| Microsoft paying their business partners to join the vote."


Corrupt countries were more likely to support the OOXML document format

,----[ Quote ]
| Is this just a random coincidence? The median of the CPI index of the above
| mentioned 70 countries is 3.95. Of the most corrupted half (CPI index less
| than 3.95) 23 or 77% voted for approval (approval or approval with comments)
| and 7 or 23% for disapproval; 5 abstained. Of the least corrupted half (CPI
| index more than 3.95) 13 or 54% voted for approval and 11 or 46% voted for
| disapproval; 11 abstained - see the table below.


Microsoft accused of more OOXML standards fiddling

,----[ Quote ]
| However the 11 new countries are refusing to say how they will vote. These
| include Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan,
| Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela. Most people seem to think
| that these have been put there by Vole to make sure the standard gets pushed
| through.

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