A controversial document has been published by the European Commission DG informatics:
Inter-Institutional Committee for Informatics: Conclusions on document exchange formats following the discussion on office automation platforms
“The minimum requirement is to support XML-based revisable document formats standardised by the International Organization for Standardization, namely:
– Open Document Format for Office Applications, or ODF (ISO/IEC
– Office Open XML, or OOXML (ISO/IEC 29500:2008).”
“2.2. As far as revisable document formats are concerned, XML-based international standards are the preferred approach. Given the fact that:
– on the one hand, OOXML is much more widely used than ODF at the moment, and this situation is not likely to evolve in the foreseeable future; and
– on the other hand, all the Institutions plan to migrate to office automation platforms which will produce XML files natively while providing 100% native support for legacy formats such as Office 2003, the preferred document exchange among the Institutions is OOXML.”
It seems to me the Commission had good reasons to keep this offensive document confidential for so long. Many persons I know are simply outraged when they think back at the OOXML standardization process.
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ISO/IEC 29500 Open XML was transformed in an ANSI standard. Apparently the support of IBM gave a surprise to other industry representatives. Rob Weir explains in Gray Knowlton’s blog that this was no vote but a formality.
Although we (and many others) continue to have serious concerns about the suitability of OOXML as a standard, and have noted our strong objections to the flawed and distorted process by which OOXML was forced through JTC1, US committee rules require that we approve as a National Standard any standard which is approved by ISO or IEC in committees in which the US participates in as a P member. As the committee rules clearly state, this should be read as support of of JTC1′s program of work, not an endorsement of any the merits of specific standard or technology.
But Gray finds abstention looks more appropriate.
Jesper Lund Stocholm was so excited that he revealed:
The support for OOXML in other applications than Microsoft Office 2007 is ridiculously low. Thank you, IBM – you really made my day.
The OOXML standardisation process remains an amusement.
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Washington KEI kindly put an intervention online; it comes from the US delegation at the WIPO SCP session. An organisation I am affiliated with, the FFII, is represented by Dr Bakels at the meeting under its WIPO observer status. As of myself I thought that meeting would be unamusing, but instead I stumble upon the United States denial statement as a rather odd indication of the deep disruption and lost confidence in ISO among some WIPO members:
The United States remains a strong supporter of our policies that allow U.S. standards developers to participate in international standards development activities without jeopardizing their patents, copyrights and trademarks.
Today, more than 16,455 standards are approved as International Standards (with about 1800 more in the pipeline) and 11,500 of these as American National Standards. Thousands more are adopted by industry associations, consortia, and other Standard Setting Organizations on a global basis.
Yet the number of disputes that result in litigation per year is typically in single digits, and the vast majority of these cases involve specific fact patterns. In other words, there is NOT a crisis, as claimed by some, in standard setting.
Good to know that there is no crisis and sure the world economy is undergoing worse disruptions than standardization governance issues. Let me also quickly mention the US endorsement of a re-definition of open standards that may not be met with excitement in the technologists community:
“Open standards systems offer a balance of private and public interests that can protect IP with fairness, disclosure policies, and reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing.“
I would suggest it became irrelevant. What does concern me is that the US diplomat endorsed the statement of the German delegation. I hope their comment was no embarassement.
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