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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Microsoft Office OpenXML (OOXML) - last few days

From: Phil
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Microsoft Office OpenXML (OOXML) - last few days
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 16:50:03 +0100
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On Friday 22 June 2007 21:32, Chris Lale wrote:
> Microsoft is currently submitting its Office Open XML (OOXML) format for
> endorsement as an ISO international standard using the "fast-track"
> procedure. BSI British Standards is accepting comments on the draft
> submission by 30th June[1].
> There are arguments and a petition on the <NO>OOXML website[2].

Does anyone know what the politics of this are? That is to say, what sort of 
arguments are likely to sway BSI.

The way I see it:

1. a standard is (to quote from Wikipedia) "[a] code of best practice that 
improves safety, efficiency, interoperability and facilitates trade"

2. Microsoft's OOXML is not a real standard, because it is (a) partially 
secret, (b) patent-encumbered, and (c) very complicated; as a consequence 
OOXML will never be implemented by anyone other than Microsoft

3. Item 2 above is in fact the whole point of OOXML. Microsoft invented it as 
a fake standard purely to spoil the success of Open Document Format (ODF), 
which is already an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 26300:2006).

4. Microsoft want ODF to fail because if ODF is successful it will break their 
monopoly hold on the market for office software, which is based on the fact 
that only Microsoft software fully understands the file formats used by 
Microsoft Office. (Note: this fact should in itself be enough to make any 
impartial observer doubt that OOXML is a genuine attempt at creating a 

5. all the above are obvious to any well-informed and impartial industry 

Given all of the above why are BSI even considering OOXML, and not just 
laughing it out of the room? Do BSI get money from Microsoft for doing so?
In general, what motivates BSI to act in one way and not another?

Philip Hunt, address@hidden

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