“Anyone, then, from this day forward who is naive enough to believe a single word from Microsoft needs to see a doctor right away. That is the single most important positive result from this OOXML process, as far as I’m concerned. Now we know.”
From “And now the appeals and reactions while OOXML sits on hold”
Posted on April 2
For anyone who hasn’t been keeping up on the OOXML mess for the last few years, here is [somewhat] quick overview (though the grammar leaves something to be desired).
The essentials, gentle readers, is as follows (and you are free to correct any details which may be incorrect/vague/poorly stated): OOXML is a standard devised, top to bottom, by Microsoft, for the purpose of making their Office file formats (word processor, spreadsheet, etc) portable between applications. The previous standard was known as ODF, or Open Document Format. In theory, this would create a universal office productivity document standard, so all office suites could create documents that would function correctly in other office suites.
All standards go through the ISO, the supposed end-all be-all for standards. There is a lengthy review and approval process, during which representatives from many countries cast their eventual yays, nays, or abstentions for the final standard proposal.
Not only was OOXML pushed through a “Fast Track” loophole, but over 80% of the comments other countries had regarding the standard weren’t even addressed before its vote. The OOXML proposal was 6000 pages long, as compared to ODF which was around 700. This asinine length, combined with hardly a month for countries to review the proposal and come up with comments/questions/corrections, mixed up with some very questionable exchanges of money between Microsoft and country representatives as well as outright representation of various countries by Microsoft employees, all congealed into a shaky overall recent approval of OOXML as a standard.
By labeling a Microsoft format the de facto “standard,” this gives MS Office an incredible edge over its competition, particularly Google, its most insidious and ubiquitous opponent. The very means through which Microsoft obtained the rights to this standard clearly illustrates its intentions.
Open means being open to improvements. Microsoft is closed; it is driven by profit. Standard implies a methodology used by many for the sake of simplicity and ease of interactivity. Microsoft goes out of its way to force its customers into its methodologies.
“Open Standards” is everything Microsoft isn’t.
There is an appeal effort underway to address this label of OOXML as the office standard. I am hoping, for the sakes of both healthy competition and plain ethical software development, that the standard is revoked.
Speaking of revoked, I’m hungry. Anyone have some food they’d like to share?