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OOXML Rumored to be Approved, Announcement Wednesday 223

Posted by Zonk
from the long-hard-slog dept.
dominux writes "Rumors are already circulating that Microsoft's OOXML has been voted in by the standards board. The Open Sourcerer claims to have results of the ballot on dis29500. According to the site Microsoft managed to flip enough countries to make it stick. 75% of the P members who didn't abstain voted for Microsoft (That is 58% of all the P members). 14% of all the P and O members voted to disapprove it, this includes all the new O members that joined just in time to cast their vote. Norway has asked that their vote be suspended due to voting irregularities, but it would take more than that to make a difference to the result. ZDNet is still playing it cautious, noting that an announcement either way is set to be made on Wednesday."
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OOXML Rumored to be Approved, Announcement Wednesday

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  • by Kinthelt (96845) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:24AM (#22930050) Homepage
    This had better be an April Fool's joke.
  • by farker haiku (883529) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:24AM (#22930054) Journal
    because nobody would believe it if it was made today.
    • by filbranden (1168407) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:31AM (#22930536)

      Unfortunately, it seems to be true.

      I've been tracking this for the last few months, and it's clear that this was essentially a victory of corruption over merits.

      What's being said now is that this will be a pyrrhic victory [wikipedia.org] for Microsoft. Many will discredit this standard (even with the ISO stamp on it) because of the history of corruption that lead to its approval. Those who already disliked Microsoft will only hate it even more and become more vocal.

      I hope this whole process served to show the world (once again) what "business as usual" means for Microsoft.

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@RABBI ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:50AM (#22930670) Journal
        What's being said now is that this will be a pyrrhic victory [wikipedia.org] for Microsoft. Many will discredit this standard (even with the ISO stamp on it)

        That is the goal.

        Microsoft does not like being held to standards. The devaluation of ISO is as big a win for them as the acceptance of MSOOXML.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)
        So it's time for a new format war now!

        Not all ISO standards has become de facto standards, so the winner is still not decided.

        Since the HD-DVD/BlueRay war is over we need a new. PC v.s. Mac is a long dead one, only a few die-hard Mac freaks are still using real Macs (not the x86 ones). See this as a battle in the Ms vs Open Source war.

        Just too bad that the GUI:s like KDE and Gnome are so Windows-like. And I really think that CDE should have gone open source - just for the sake of it.

      • "Many will discredit this standard (even with the ISO stamp on it) because of the history of corruption that lead to its approval."


        Works out perfectly since nobody in their right mind will bother to attempt to implement it, nobody in their right mind will consciously adopt it, so now, Microsoft can just embraceextendandextinguish it.

      • by init100 (915886)

        What's being said now is that this will be a pyrrhic victory for Microsoft.

        It may be in more ways than one. Sources in the EU says [europa.eu] that approval of OOXML as an ISO standard may break a WTO agreement regarding technical barriers to trade, which says that overlapping standards should be avoided.

        Which one has the greatest amount of clout, the WTO or the ISO?

    • I'm not sure .gov sites joke too much, and that may be a good thing. What would be next?

      Anyway, from their site, the cause of the suspenstion is,

      Cause

      Suspension by any Federal agency pursuant to Executive Order 12549 and the agency implementing regulations based on an indictment or other adequate evidence (a) to suspect the commission of an offense that is a cause for debarment or (b) that other causes for debarment under the agency regulations may exist.

      Treatment

      Same as Code R, except that suspensions are

  • Basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by behe101 (1177615) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:24AM (#22930056)
    if this is approved we can safely assume ISO is corrupt.
    • Re:Basically... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:37AM (#22930172)
      I am hoping one or two countries stand up and say that how this standard was passed shows that all ISO standards are worthless.

      With dozens of countries reporting massive voting problems they had better not pass it, or at least switch those countries from yes to abstain until future reference. Norway had the majority vote againist the standard but still voted yes, Poland, germany, France all had voting irregularities. I hope the EU launches an Anti-trust investigation into MSFT's business practices on it. that would be so much fun to watch.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Artuir (1226648)
        It would be fun to watch if all these rulings seemed to accomplish anything useful. At least from my perspective here in the states, all the ruling in the world has not done a bit of good. Perhaps this is just my ignorance showing, but they've been getting "slammed" by the EU for a very long time. What has come of it? Has it made a difference at all outside the EU?
      • Re:Basically... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @11:03AM (#22930776)
        Standards Norge have responded - Oliver Bell has an english translation of their PR - http://osrin.net/2008/04/01/norway-and-germany-there-are-no-irregularities/ [osrin.net]
        • Re:Basically... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by toriver (11308) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:02PM (#22931836)
          I find their logic to be from Bizarroworld, not Norway: So they appear to claim that by approving the fast-track acceptance of a standard larger than "10 years in the making" SQL, it sets it up for later improvement? Unlike, say, the alternative which is to leave it to a longer and more thorough process in a technical committe?

          The real issue is that the "leaders" of the Norwegian standards organization have interests in promoting Microsoft technology, and have apparently swallowed the largely incorrect arguments from that camp. (For instance, OOXML does not automagically transform older Office documents, they are just "swept under the rug" inside the new file format, still as unparseable by non-Microsoft tools as before.)
      • I am hoping one or two countries stand up and say that how this standard was passed shows that all ISO standards are worthless.

        Why? What does that do besides saving Microsoft the money and effort of corrupting future standards votes? Most ISO standards don't get this degree of corrupting influence applied, because most aren't being pushed by organizations whose vested interests are diametrically opposed to useful standards that are using standardization as a PR push and have the money to corruptly influence

    • Unfortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:37AM (#22930584)
      Unfortunately to Microsoft discrediting ISO would be a bonus. If there are no reliable standards bodies then it just wakens the position of people trying to argue the advantage of standards compliance. For MS the best outcome would be that people would say "standards mean nothing anyway", because the alternative to de facto standards are de jura - and Microsoft sets most of these.
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      It's bigger than that, it would mean ISO gets as irrelevant as ECMA. I wonder if citizen is gonna submit its own standard for time measurement units.
    • ISO, like the UN, has always been at least as corrupt as its membership. Since half the countries in the world are genocidal dictatorships, both organizations are fundamentally corrupt. The only reform is to get rid of these members.
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:25AM (#22930064) Journal
    So, ISO got an extremely high profile black eye in the credibility department from which it may never recover. Developers and purchasers who are not able to make their high-level decision makers realize that they shouldn't early-adopt OOXML despite this certification are going to end up being held responsible for the massive clusterfuck that eventuates. Information will become a lot harder to keep organized and accessible in countries that adopt this messy non-spec as a standard, and global productivity will shrink due to the ensuing chaos.

    Thanks MS.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You wish. For now this 'extremely high profile black eye' consist of Norwegian protest (which will be ignored or answered with 'no law was broken so stop whining') and bunch of nerds raging on Slashdot. Which they do all the time anyway. Until it hits mainstream media no one that actually matters is going to care.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        You wish. For now this 'extremely high profile black eye' consist of Norwegian protest (which will be ignored or answered with 'no law was broken so stop whining') and bunch of nerds raging on Slashdot. Which they do all the time anyway. Until it hits mainstream media no one that actually matters is going to care.

        You think the opinions of mainstream people matter where ISO is concerned? It's the opinion of the propellerheads that work with the technology that matters. If it's not the propellerheads opin
      • I think the best we can hope for at this point is that EU regulators decide to take a close look at what happened, and then take Microsoft to task for once again abusing its monopoly. But other than fining Microsoft, there's nothing to be done. The damage to the ISO has been done, an unimplentable standard has been passed, and not even Microsoft will ever implement OOXML as it sits.
      • It has hit mainstream media here in Norway. The largest economical newspaper had a double page on it today.

        Eivind.

    • by Tom (822) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:47AM (#22930218) Homepage Journal

      So, ISO got an extremely high profile black eye in the credibility department from which it may never recover.
      Not just ISO. All the national standard bodies that votes "yes", too.

      In Germany, for example, DIN used to be very highly respected. In fact, this whole mess is the first time ever that I heard people say that DIN should fuck itself, be dissolved, is corrupt, etc.
  • With thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minginqunt (225413) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:26AM (#22930074) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has performed a valuable service without really meaning to.

    By demonstrating once and for all how embarassingly corruptible the ISO is, it calls into doubt the validity of many past and future ISO standards, and will force us into a proper re-evaluation of self-appointed standards bodies and the standards they whore around.

    For too long we've taken the rather naive view that being an 'open standard' is enough. At last we see the foolishness of that view.

    And in this case, I think it's somewhat unfair to judge Microsoft too harshly for wanting to game the system any way they could- what company wouldn't have done in their position?

    But it is to ISO's massive, disgusting and probably reputation-destroying shame they they simply laid back and allowed themselves to be corrupted, defiled and sodomised by a large multinational. And they didn't even get a kiss afterwards.

    I hope everyone who played their part in this sordid venture has plenty of time to repent at leisure when they realise that the ISO can never, WILL never, be trusted again.
    • Re:With thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:44AM (#22930202) Homepage Journal

      what company wouldn't have done in their position?

      But it is to ISO's massive, disgusting and probably reputation-destroying shame they they simply laid back and allowed themselves to be corrupted, defiled and sodomised by a large multinational. And they didn't even get a kiss afterwards.
      Yes, I also put all the blame in a rape on the victim, usually. Most of them just don't really struggle, do they?

      Now seriously, ISO is fucked (even if this is an April Fools news), but MS is still the party that did it. The blame should be on them.
    • by westlake (615356)
      will force us into a proper re-evaluation of self-appointed standards bodies and the standards they whore around.

      In the real world this translates to nothing more than the acceptance of the de facto standards of the marketplace. The entrepreneur will always move faster than the committee - he'll be at light speed before the committee is out of first gear.

      • will force us into a proper re-evaluation of self-appointed standards bodies and the standards they whore around.

        In the real world this translates to nothing more than the acceptance of the de facto standards of the marketplace. The entrepreneur will always move faster than the committee - he'll be at light speed before the committee is out of first gear.


        Right. Because entrepreneurs are always finishing their deliverable before they're invited to review the spec and tender a bid. Entrepreneurs move
    • it calls into doubt the validity of many past and future ISO standards

      Including ODF, so now we just go back to the situation we had before all of this ISO standard document talk, back to MS Office again. What has changed? Oh right, nothing, which is pretty much what MS's goal was in all of this. They win either way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smallpaul (65919)
      By demonstrating once and for all how embarassingly corruptible the ISO is, it calls into doubt the validity of many past and future ISO standards, and will force us into a proper re-evaluation of self-appointed standards bodies and the standards they whore around.

      Can you please point me to an institution that is not corruptible?

      For too long we've taken the rather naive view that being an 'open standard' is enough. At last we see the foolishness of that view.

      What does that mean? Being an open standard has n
      • Re:With thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <[moc.eeznerif.todhsals] [ta] [treb]> on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @12:01PM (#22931212) Homepage
        Actually, i believe they should suspend the process until the allegations of corruption can be thoroughly investigated.
        Any countries found to have broken the rules should have their vote changed to abstain and possibly have their status within the organization demoted.
        If there's sufficient evidence of corruption to call the result in to question (ie if all the countries forced to abstain were changed to yes or no it would change the result) then the process should be restarted, or dropped from the fast track.

        The entire process should be opened up, each voting country should be required to document in detail why they voted yes or no (explanation shouldn't be necessary for abstentions), and in the case of a second vote should be required to address all of the comments submitted at the first vote, and explain why/how they have been addressed or aren't relevant to that country.

        Those who vote on the issue should also be able to demonstrate a competent understanding of the proposal in question, and have done a sufficient level of research into the proposed standard and the issues surrounding it. It is entirely unreasonable for people with little or no understanding in particular fields to have any say in their standardization, for instance many people on slashdot will be qualified to discuss a standard for a computer document format, but considerably fewer will be qualified to help define a standard for fixings used to connect water pipes together etc.
        • Those who vote on the issue should also be able to demonstrate a competent understanding of the proposal in question, and have done a sufficient level of research into the proposed standard and the issues surrounding it.

          And adhering to this would (rightly) have totally derailed the fast-tracking of this standard. As I recall, less than 20% of the issues the participants had with the proposal were actually discussed during the BRM due to time constraints. The standard was something like 6000 pages (2/3
      • You seem to misinterpret who the victim is. The victim is not the ISO. They are culpable before and after the fact. The victim is everyone else. Those that will be adopting the standard without knowing how the process was corrupted. Those that purchase those products for home and school to teach the next generation of minds--that don't know that the process was corrupted. The ISO members and the corruption of the process worked together with Microsoft.

        For the next 10-20 years we are going to have this
        • You seem to misinterpret who the victim is. The victim is not the ISO. They are culpable before and after the fact. The victim is everyone else. Those that will be adopting the standard without knowing how the process was corrupted

          That's the problem, they won't be implementing the standard, because it's unimplementable. At best, guys like Google and the OO.org team will put in place a semi-working extrapolation, and will be forced to use the reverse-engineered modules for the Word 97-2003 references. It w

      • by Chops (168851)

        I agree with the poster who said you are blaming the victim. ISO manages a process and counts votes. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is nobody at ISO with the authority to say: "Well this standard passed through the procedures but we can't allow it through, so we'll change the procedures." After the fact it might make sense to change the procedures but it would be totally wrong to change the rules of the game in the middle of a standardization process.

        Well, that's a problem with ISO then. There _is_ a

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)

      And in this case, I think it's somewhat unfair to judge Microsoft too harshly for wanting to game the system any way they could- what company wouldn't have done in their position?

      Any company willing to make a little less bucks to make the world a better place ? I know that cynicism is fashionable nowadays but I feel tiring to see everyone assume that everybody is only acting in his/her self-interest without giving a damn to others. In most companies, there are people with enough influence to make the company bend toward one stance or the other. If these people have an ethical mindset, the company's stances will be more ethical.
      Microsoft could have considered that such a corruption

    • by Shadowlore (10860)

      And in this case, I think it's somewhat unfair to judge Microsoft too harshly for wanting to game the system any way they could- what company wouldn't have done in their position?


      Oh I dunno, maybe all the ones that didn't and don't.
  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:27AM (#22930080) Homepage
    The Microsoft way
    (tho' rather funny)
    Seems here to stay;
    Redmond has money!
    Burma Shave

  • by Adaptux (1235736) * on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:33AM (#22930136)
    The claimed results of the ballot on dis29500 [theopensourcerer.com] document looks like a blatant forgery to me. For example, the implied claim about the process having been managed by ISO/CS ("Central Secretariat") ist wrong; the process is managed by ISO/IEC ITTF ("Information Technology Task Force"). Also, there is no defined "Voting stage" of "enquiry" in the JTC1 directives, etc etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:33AM (#22930142)
    nuff said
  • Yeah right! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PinkyDead (862370) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:44AM (#22930204) Journal

    "I have repeatedly made the argument that it is bad logic that leads you to the conclusion that there should be only one document format"
    And this is Microsoft's policy on things, right? That it is bad logic to conclude that there should be only one of something.

    So can we hope to see Microsoft dismantling it's various monopolistic positions in the near future (voluntarily). I look forward to it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The difference between the two arguments is the implicit "open and complete, community developed" and "closed and incomplete, MicroSoft developed".
    • All this means is that ODF will have to compete on the merits. Since we all know how wonderful ODF is, it shouldn't even be a contest. Also, I've heard that OOXML is unimplementable, so again, it's going to be a hard sell for Microsoft. They've just committed one of the classic blunders, "Never base your product on a standard from Microsoft".
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        But the point is, Microsoft don't care if people implement OOXML... Infact, they would prefer that noone else does, as that leaves users with no choice but to use their products.

        They also have significant enough existing market share that their refusal to implement ODF hurts the standard significantly. They refused to implement it purely out of malice, as it would have been significantly easier for them to implement ODF (possibly extending it in the process) than to create OOXML from scratch. They also refu
  • Microsoft wins (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:44AM (#22930208) Journal
    If OOpsyXML is not made a standard, Microsoft has proven how corruptable the ISO is, and they win. They will claim that ODF being an ISO standard means nothing, through corrupt actions they were able to take themselves. It's blaming the victim, but it will work.

    If OOpsyXML is approved, then the ISO credibility will actually mean nothing, because the standards is, by all accounts I have seen, utter garbage.

    Microsoft has proven, once and for all, that democracy is a failure, even if it is the best failure to date.

    --
    Toro
    • It's not really "blaming the victim". There wasn't anyone holding a gun to the ISO's head demanding the OOXML proposal be fast-tracked.
      • by Torodung (31985)

        There wasn't anyone holding a gun to the ISO's head demanding the OOXML proposal be fast-tracked.
        That is an excellent point. It makes the whole incident more like the fable of The Scorpion and the Frog. [allaboutfrogs.org]

        Either way, the ISO is sunk.

        --
        Toro
    • by Pecisk (688001)
      Corrupt people will take down ANY system that will get in their way. It is nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with human being's shortsightness and greed, which comes from self-preservation instinct. If you can't handle it, you get urge to get as much power as possible, as much money as possible.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:46AM (#22930214)
    Well a few points:

    If this is an April fools joke it isn't funny.

    If this is real and the (gasp) "standard" was approved, we should all start calling it the "Fools Standard" in everything we write, thus putting the proper "spin" on it.
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:55AM (#22930278)


    It's not just those who voted for the standard that should be admonished, but thsoe coutnries who knew it was a wrong and corrupt process and yet still abstained!

    To extend the oft-used rape analogy in the discussions on this topic, these are the bystanders who stood and watched while the rape occured.

    I think we need a new icon for ISO stories...a spineless jelly fish might be appropriate...

  • You know, it's being announced tomorrow and its April 1st. Also the opensourcer's numbers don't even remotely add up. Come on folks, you can do better than that for an April fools joke.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:02AM (#22930306)
    Dear all,

    as you all may be aware we are involved with the ISO/JTC1 SC34 work.
    Please find the official results for the ISO vote for OOXML (DIS 29500).
    Probably the impact on the adoption of ODF of the OOXML process will be
    minimal, but surely there will be some interest from the public around this.

    OOXML which was submitted by Microsoft to ECMA, and by ECMA to ISO, has
    literally crawled through the needles eye. After a year of discussion
    and repairs it still receives the very minimum of support. The BRM
    convinced some yet unconvinced others, and counter votes from large
    countries like China, India, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Iran speak
    volumes. This must be one of the worst results ever for a standard to
    pass within ISO/JTC1 in years.

    Appartently the chair from the Norwegian committe has filed a protest
    against the national outcome. Although one vote would not make much
    difference, others may follow.

    Kind regards,
    Michiel Leenaars
    NLnet foundation
    OpenDoc Society board

    http://lists.opendocsociety.org/pipermail/members.announce/2008-April/000002.html [opendocsociety.org]
  • Oh. Haha. It's funny because it's unlikely..
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#22930402)
    This whole OOXML ISO Standards thing was just an elaborate April Fool's Joke that Microsoft orchestrated. Man, they really had us going, didn't they?
  • by seyyah (986027) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:30AM (#22930522)
    Check it out: http://dot.kde.org/20080401/" [kde.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    MS corruption is rife in the UK, so much so that the greasy-palmed
    BSI changed from no to yes on OOXML.

    Searching for "corruption" on the BSI site quickly finds
    BIP 3018:2004 "Ethics and Anti-Corruption DVD"
    http://www.bsi-global.com/en/Shop/Publication-Detail/?pid=000000000030130847 [bsi-global.com],
    a snip at £680.85. Status "withdrawn", I wonder why?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:35AM (#22930558)
    So when msft is caught red-handed, like in Norway, or Sweden, then that one particular vote is not counted. But it is assumed that everything else is just fine, in spite of dozen of irregularities?

    That doesn't really seem fair to me. It seems like, if you cheat, then you either win, or at least break even. It's like saying that the penalty for shop-lifting is that you have to put the stuff you stold back.

    In fact, it seems like, in the case of Norway, msft did better than break even. Instead of a "yes" msft rigged a "nothing" which is better for msft than a "no."

    Considering the massive number of irregularities in the OOXML approval process, I think OOXML approval should be put on hold, until an investigation can be completed.
  • Not all bad (Score:3, Funny)

    by Einmaliger (1052420) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:36AM (#22930574)
    This is not necessarily a bad thing. If it's standardized, Microsoft might be motivated to finally come up with a product that actually implements the whole thing.
    • YEs it is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:41AM (#22930606)
      Why?
      All they have to do is implement more than everyone else, then change the "standard" so that others are not compatible.
    • In any case, that's not how standards are supposed to work. They are not descriptions of what might be nice to have so that someone (maybe the body who submitted the standard) maybe implements it all. In most cases, standards solidify tried and accepted stuff.

      And here you are, conjuring up nice images of Microsoft maybe, probably, if they are sufficiently motivated, implementing their spec themselves, for the first time, ever.

    • Re:Not all bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @11:39AM (#22931064) Homepage
      Here's why that's not very likely:

      1. Microsoft's implementation of other standards is often [intentionally] broken. One needs to look no further than HTML for evidence of that.

      2. As you pointed out, the Office 2007 documents do not comply with the OOXML spec, so currently, no one supports a rigidly defined implementation of OOXML. But it's rather telling that many "yes" voters are discussing "changes" "growth" or "evolution" of the standard. ISO does not support this notion. Standards are rigidly defined and adhered to. If there is a change that needs to be adopted, a new standard is created. But as evidenced by all prior Microsoft behaviors and methods, they can't leave a file format alone for 5 minutes, let alone 'forever.' For Microsoft and ISO to be compatible, they'd have to have a new standard adopted with every new service release of their office and Windows products. (Either that, or ISO will have to change everything it stands for... which has arguably happened already)

      3. One of Microsoft's most identified behaviors has been to keep changing standards, methods, procedures and behaviors of its products and protocols. Some would suggest that is to prevent people from being "too compatible" and for the longest time, the Samba project, for example, was having a difficult time keeping up with the changes. (They did, and it would seem Microsoft ran out of ways to break SMB/CIFS to thwart Samba as that doesn't appear to have been an issue lately) Microsoft is more inclined to move the mountain closer to them than they would be to move closer to the mountain.

      "Hope" and Microsoft have been words that rarely connect. I have hoped Microsoft would behave better than it does for quite a long time. they simply won't. The tragedy is that they have the resources to make really good stuff. They don't want to do it that way. Instead, they'd rather use tricks and tactics to get their way about things. It's really unfortunate that they'd take the less honorable approach, but clearly by keeping the competition suppressed, they have been far more successful which is good for share holders... just not so good for the rest of "technology" and the world that uses it.
  • by pjr.cc (760528) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:53AM (#22930696)
    All I can I say "who cares?".

    I know next to nothing about how iso standards go, and I suspect there are many people out there making comment (the vast majority) that know about as much as I do.

    In all likely hood the guys at ISO central are sitting there laughing at each other going "hahahha, the IT crowd really got their knickers in a knot over this? they think this one was irregular, they should have seen ISO9004!". But they most likely have their hands fairly well tied too, the votes are in and they probably cant do much about the (supposedly) obvious corruption of the process.. or can they? What power do they have? I certainly don't know myself...

    But look at it from another angle, what does it really mean? The whole purpose of standardizing the format (as i understand it) was so that documents could be accessed at any point in the future (and by other applications) without loosing their content and formatting. How does OOXML achieve this in reality? how do you test that theory? With ODF at least you can say, "ok, i just saved a document in ODF from MS word using sun's plugin and opened it up in Sun Star office - wow it prints and looks the same", but thats not case closed because you need to try that again in 10 years and confirm the theory. Try that again with OOXML - "ok, i just saved an OOXML from ms word, now lets open it up in ..... err... what else reads ooxml? oh thats right nothing, we'll have to wait for office 2010"... Or even better (assuming what most people are saying is correct about ms word not even saving according to the standard). "wow, KOffice just realised their OOXML plugin, lets take a look - hmmm, this looks nothing like what i saved, and documents i saved in OOXML format in Koffice dont look right in MS Word either" (or even better, "but documents i saved in KOffice do look right in MS word"). The response "we coded our plugin according to the ISO standard", but of course, then everyone else codes according to the standard and the only one that looks wrong is MS Office - not a compelling argument for MS office is it?

    In a way, MS could very well shoot themselves in the foot if they have 10 other office product vendors with the same ooxml implementation that looks wrong only in MS office...

    Another thing to consider - Would OOXML being a standard kill ODF? No, ODF still exists and in reality alot of people round the world are already using it - ironically they're probably mostly using it from MS Office anyway because of Sun's ODF plugin. Which brings me to the next point, if OOXML wasn't a standard does it release the strangehold of MS office? no, Sun did all the dirty work providing ODF import/export for MS office already.

    The only real problem that exists is when governments of the world (who fell into the trap of ooxml) realize that the MS Office written OOXML documents will only ever open again in MS office properly (hi, welcome to vendor lock-in, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride - oh and by the way, office 2010's OOXML implementation will be slighly different, so hang onto the old hardware cause your going to need it so you can keep office 2007 around). At the end of the day it just gives various bodies the world over a comfy feeling they can stick with MS office anyway and save in its native format (and perhaps point fingers at someone else when it goes wrong). When it comes to "oh, KOffice cant open OOXML the same way MS can", KOffice will get blamed but thats why MS have tonnes of money for pulling off stunts like this no?

    Obviously im ignoring things like third party applications that dont open documents for word processing, but things like Google Search appliance wont record documents with a proper formatting and thus MS search will look "right" - and again, this will benefit MS (and there will be many applications in many field that will probably suffer something because of it).

    Maybe the EU should have taken MS's 3.1bil and bought their own votes on the ISO committee's just for a bit of poetic justice (or
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Unfortunately, MS are big enough that if they refuse to comply with the published standard, other vendors will simply be forced to reverse engineer and implement the deviations anyway. Otherwise the poorly informed majority of people will simply assume it is the third party implementation at fault, not MS.
    • You silly creature, the goal was never to "make sure documents are readable in the future". The goal was to attack Microsoft on what the community thought was 'a sure thing'. But they were wrong so now they will say that the whole thing is meaningless.
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @11:21AM (#22930920)
    ...DoinItLikeWord95DoesIt.
  • by TropicalCoder (898500) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @11:37AM (#22931038) Homepage Journal

    On Groklaw we learned today [groklaw.net] that Hewlett Packard participated in overt political interference along side Microsoft

    "Here's the scoop from Les Echos.fr on France's sudden change from its No vote to Abstain. Microsoft France's President Eric Boustouller sent AFNOR a letter [PDF] in French, of course. He tells a tale about OOXML and ODF progressing side by side and how if OOXML is approved, a group will be working hard to make the two more interoperable. Attached was a HP statement of support for OOXML [hp.com]. HP sings the same song. And AFNOR?"

    Take a look at HP's Ethics and Compliance Page [hp.com] and you will see how concerned HP is of public perceptions after recent events connected with HP's investigation into leaks of confidential information from the Board of Directors tarnished HP's reputation in this area.

    HP tells us they have a long-standing commitment to conducting business with uncompromising integrity, which is core to everything they stand for as a company. I am sure that if they really understood that by supporting MSOOXML they are headed for another scandal, they would distance themselves from OOXML. Even more, since their ambition is to provide a leadership role in corporate ethics, they would help to turn the tide against OOXML.

    In light of this, you may wish to help them understand the errors presented by the "HP Position Statement on Standardization of Office Document Formats" and you may comment directly to their Board of Ethics on the Comments page [hp.com]. That is where I just posted the following letter...

    Dear members of the Board of Ethics and Compliance at HP

    It is clear that your company is deeply concerned about conducting business with uncompromising integrity. In light of your commitment to being a leader in global citizenship and corporate ethics, I wish to direct your attention to a serious error in judgment by somebody there at HP who formulated the "HP Position Statement on Standardization of Office Document Formats".

    I refer to the following statements...

    "HP believes that the international standardization process is working."

    It is now blatantly obvious that quite the contrary is true, specifically, that the standardization process was seriously flawed. Please see the current discussion on Groklaw about this at http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080331212042460#c684749 [groklaw.net] and you will quickly realize that your statement is a serious error.

    "additional evolution of it will take place under control of the global community"

    ...another error - in no way whatsoever could we conclude that the decision for MSOOXML to become an ISO standard was made by the "global community". I believe that decision was made by Microsoft and its partners who overwhelmed the ISO voting process, and AFAIK, additional evolution will be done by ECMA, who is controlled by Microsoft.

    "Hewlett-Packard Company ...believe[s] that the two standards will co-exist interoperably, and that customers should have the opportunity to select the standards which best fit their needs."

    The phrase boggles the mind when you try to parse it. Let us imagine that the two standards, MSOOXML and ODF are interoperable - then why would we need both? Why would the end user choose one over the other if they both do the same job? Interoperability implies that we could easily convert from one to the other. If this were possible, than that in itself is a demonstration that MSOOXML is a duplication of an existing standard - ODF - and therefore should not be/have been approved.

    ...and if they do

  • pause for thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @11:58AM (#22931194)
    there will be condemnation.

    there will be appeals.

    and like a jumper that has been badly washed, the ISO system will never be the same. trust takes a long time to build, but can be destroyed in an instant.

    groklaw did a superb (as normal) run down on the appeals process, and this will be so inevitably roundly condemned that an appeal will almost certainly happen.

    but really I'm quite OK about this being voted in, I always predicted a Pyhrric victory for MS. Here's my logic - if they did not manage to force this through then they lost. But they did manage to force it through and in the process created such scrutiny, condemnation, criticisms of OOXML and contempt from the industry that they still lost. OOXML is widely regarded as a flawed, massive, unimplementable standard, an evolved jumble of legacy components with little clarity. It will be fascinating to see if any other implementation will ever be implemented. Already moves are underway to specify cross platform implementations as required for many, many governments - and I think we can all see where that leaves MS.

    Even if another portable implementation is ever implemented, then once again MS loses as their cash cow is no longer required on the corporate desktop.

    I mourn for a once respected standards body, of course. But I think ISO has allowed this to happen to itself - it has lost its impartiality and technical clarity and I do not know where the future lies for it. In in ideal world only technical merit should of won out, and only one standard should ever of been introduced to meet a this requirement. If OOXML was demonstrably better then ODF should of been deprecated.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Guys, this is an April Fools joke! Here is the real story, basing on the Jason Matusow's blog post from today: Microsoft admits manipulation, abandons OOXML [polishlinux.org].
  • Windows PROPRIETARY formats, of course. By virtue of its illegal desktop MONOPOLY what ever format Microsoft rolls out for any file automatically becomes the default "standard", no voting or user approval necessary, even IF everyone else has to pay to use it, which they will.

    Nice way to neutralize all competition, too.

    I have little doubt that this was the plan all along.

    All they had to do was to grea$e as few wheel$, both corporate and political, and the deal was done, just the way Al Capone greased the Po

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