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ISO Calls For OOXML Ceasefire 312

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
In response to the continued attacks on Microsoft's OOXML standard, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has called for a ceasefire. "Last week the ISO committee in charge of document standards, SC 34, met in Oslo to discuss the way forward for OOXML and ODF. The plenary session was marked by protests outside, largely carried out by delegates from a nearby open-source conference. The protesters were calling for OOXML to be withdrawn from ISO standardization -- something that could theoretically happen if a national standards body were to protest against its own vote within the next month or two."
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ISO Calls For OOXML Ceasefire

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  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday April 14, 2008 @11:59AM (#23065780)

    We the undersigned wish to make it clear that the ISO fucked up and should never have made OOXML a standard, and that we will continue to attack ISO until it is revoked. Furthermore, we believe that this is for the ISO's own good, because allowing this result of obvious corruption to remain can only harm ISO's credibility as a standards organization. We also wish to remind the ISO that these so-called "personal attacks" have only become necessary in the first place because our technical objections have been entirely ignored. Finally, we note that the resolution to create working groups to maintain OOXML and "harmonize" it with ODF was stupid, because neither group would be necessary in the first place if the redundant, conflicting, and poorly-designed OOXML hadn't been approved in the first place!

    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:07PM (#23065918)
      Withdrawing OOOXML is not the only option... In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        No, "turning it into a reasonable standard" is stupid regardless, because we already have a reasonable standard -- namely, ODF -- and don't need a different one. Moreover, the fact that the current version of OOXML is ISO-approved means that Microsoft can claim compliance with this version regardless of what happen to the next one, which is bad because then governments and such would continue to use the current, flawed, unimplmentable-by-third-parties version and we would have no recourse.

        • Option #1. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:29PM (#23066336)

          No, "turning it into a reasonable standard" is stupid regardless, because we already have a reasonable standard -- namely, ODF -- and don't need a different one.
          Why wasn't it a "reasonable standard" when it was SUBMITTED?

          WTF is ISO playing at when they take something that CANNOT be said to be a "reasonable standard" and still APPROVE it as an ISO Standard?

          Fuck that! ISO is supposed to approve STANDARDS. Not approve crap and then try to turn it into a "reasonable standard".

          ISO sold out and is now trying to play the victim in this.
        • by hey! (33014) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:00PM (#23066854) Homepage Journal
          Oh, I don't think there is any rule that you can't have more standards than you need, although maybe that'd be a good rule to have, if you could make it stick.

          But a standard is meaningless unless it is possible to determine whether you've complied with it or not. And for something like this, it should be possible to define a compliance test suite that everybody who wants to claim compliance has to pass. Sorry, "our product is the only compliant one because we're the only ones who knows what compliance means" doesn't cut the mustard.

          If a neutral third party could not examine a product and determine that it is compliant, what you have isn't a standard, it's a brand dressing up like a standard.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jhhdk (1120433)
            Check headline on ISO annual report from 2002, "One standard, One Test, accepted everywhere". Pretty sure the "One Standard" thingy was part of their slogan for ages.
        • Nah... phillips and flathead are both standard screwdrivers.

          But really, you don't need flathead.

          But anyone can make a phillips or flathead screw or screwdriver.
        • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:50PM (#23068384)

          No, "turning it into a reasonable standard" is stupid regardless, because we already have a reasonable standard -- namely, ODF -- and don't need a different one.

          The job of the ISO is not to approve the one -and-only-one standard for a given task. Its job is to be a repository of standards that can be followed by all those whose wish to comply with said standard.

          Ideally the bulk of the ISO's work should be to only accept standards that CAN be followed by others outside of the original submitter.

          There is nothing wrong with the market leader of that application (ie. Microsoft and its Word) setting the standard. As long as that standard can be followed by those OUTSIDE of Microsoft.

          The reason some open source enthusiasts are opposed to OOXML is because they would like to create a market for ODF through legislation rather than through competition. While others, such as myself, would be glad to have a document file format that is described well enough to be considered a standard which can be implemented by anyone regardless of the standard's author. We (well at least I) oppose OOXML solely on the merits of its documentation and the method that Microsoft has used to push the inadequate documentation through the standards process. Once OOXML gets its documentation up to shape, I see no reason for it not being accepted by the ISO.

          • The job of the ISO is not to approve the one -and-only-one standard for a given task. Its job is to be a repository of standards that can be followed by all those whose wish to comply with said standard.

            Well said!

            There is no reason at all why we shouldn't have 5 different standards for 10mm fine thread nuts and bolts. The more the better!

          • by kocsonya (141716) on Monday April 14, 2008 @05:17PM (#23070548)
            > The reason some open source enthusiasts are opposed to OOXML is because they would like to create a market for
            > ODF through legislation rather than through competition. While others, such as myself, would be glad to have
            > a document file format that is described well enough to be considered a standard which can be implemented by
            > anyone regardless of the standard's author.

            You got that completely wrong. Those "some open source enthusiasts" are opposed to OOXML because it actually wants to kill ODF by killing competition.

            ODF causes problems to Microsoft because:
            - It *is* a real standard
            - Large entities like standard compliant products
            - Large entities have lots of IT budget
            - Microsoft wants most of that budget
            - Anyone can implement ODF, possibly better than Microsoft
            - There is that damned C-word again, competition!

            So, what Microsoft decided was to create a so-called standard, namely OOXML, that while formally a standard (and thus the decision makers of above mentioned large entities will like it), in practice nobody can implement it but Microsoft. This guarantees the continuation of the monopoly position for Microsoft while pleases the governemnts and corporate management. If it costs money, so be it. If it costs the reputation of ISO, who cares. Microsoft is not a charity organisation (although, if a little charity buys good PR, then they might even spend some money on that), they a business and they don't give a damn about standards - standards mean interoperability, competition and a possible revelation of their technical inferiority. No, they do NOT want a real document standard *especially* because it would open up competition.

            The geeks are the one who want interoperability and competition - hence ODF is a real standard. Microsoft is the one that wants to avoid both with religious zeal, hence their refusal of implementing ODF (an open standard) and caming up with OOXML, a "standard" specifically designed to be unimplementable and then rammed through ISO using loopholes, bribes and everything else that was needed.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by HiThere (15173)
            OOXML is *not* a standard, I don't care what the ISO says. I deny that *ANYBODY* can implement it, and I include Microsoft. There's no compliance test, so they can claim to implement it, when it's convenient, but they don't. They don't even come reasonably close.

            Additionally, due to patent issues, and the extremely limited nature of the MS patent pledge, nobody but MS who cares for their corporate existence would even *try* to implement it. Remember that the MS patent pledge was good for only one versio
          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2008 @06:01PM (#23071072)
            Er, people are up in arms about it being accepted by ISO under the fast-track procedures. ISO's rules on fast tracking a standard specifically disallow doing so when an already-approved standard exists for substantially the same thing. So, no, this is not acceptable. And there are many other reasons. Just wanted to point out the biggest flaw in your analysis (something you have left out that can only be regarded as intentional).
      • by wizkid (13692) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:28PM (#23066312) Homepage

        "Withdrawing OOOXML is not the only option... In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory."

        Yes, but the problem is that the 6000+ page OOXML is so riddled with problems that it would take years to clean it up. Also, Standards are supposed to be open. OOXML is dependent on proprietary technology. So anyone that tries to implement anything from this standard can be sued by $M. If you trust $M, then you deserve to be sued.
      • by Haeleth (414428) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:11PM (#23067026) Journal

        In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory.
        In theory, evolutionary pressures could drive pigs to develop wings. In theory.
    • by bersl2 (689221) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:12PM (#23066004) Journal
      OOXML is no longer the primary problem. I say that for the time being, it should stand.

      The greater concern for me is having ECMA stripped of its ability to push a standard through the fast-track process (Class A Liaison status, IIRC) and changing the fast-track process to be substantially less able to be abused, even if this means taking some or all of the "fast" out of "fast track".
    • "signed" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#23066366) Homepage

      ISO got gamed, ganked and pwned. At this point, Microsoft are teabagging their corpse [wikipedia.org].

      What ISO need to do right now is to grow a pair and admit that they're gagging on sweaty Ballmer-balls, rather than putting their fingers in their ears and going "La la la, the process is perfect, la la la, there's nothing wrong."

      I doubt you'd find any unbiased informed observer that believes them, although I'm sure you'd find a few who would happily say that in return for a free upgrade of their corporate Office installs. The emperor has no clothes, no matter how many procedural boxes they tick off to try to hide their ding-a-ling dangling in the wind.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Akita24 (1080779)
      Exactly. Dear ISO, if you hadn't become a corrupt, greedy bunch of bought-and-paid-for assclowns nobody would be making personal attacks. Act like an asshole get treated like one. For what M$ paid you you should just STFU and go live on a tropical beach somewhere. You want the money AND your reputation back? I don't f'ing think so.
    • Replace them (Score:4, Informative)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:58PM (#23066818)
      ISO is just digging themselves into a deeper hole. Any chance they had of redeeming themselves as a standards body was lost when the joke of OOXML was "approved". They are no longer a reputable standards body, they are just yet another bureaucratic bought and paid for rubber stamp. They will find that their "standards" no longer have any meaning in the real world...in fact they are being replaced as we speak. The official launch hasn't happened yet (but coming very soon): http://www.certifiedopen.com/ [certifiedopen.com]
      • Re:Replace them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by abigor (540274) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:38PM (#23068242)
        ISO does a lot more than deal with software standards. Since apparently they have lost all credibility worldwide in every industry thanks to their approval of a half-baked word processing format, I guess your goofy website will also deal with things such as the following:

        "ISO has just launched the new ISO Standards collection on CD-ROM â" Materials for the production of primary aluminium. It contains the full collection of 108 ISO standards for materials used in the production of primary aluminium, including standards for alumina, pitch, coke, electrodes, ramming paste and fluorides."

        Since of course aluminum smelters the world over will be abandoning the ISO en masse for Certified Open Dot Com.

        By the way, openness != standardisation.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by olman (127310)
          Indeed. As an EE engineer all these cries about how ISO is irrelevant seem not a little hilarious.

          Grow up dammit. ALL electrical gadgets you have (in europe at least) are manufactured according to ISO standards. How is that "irrelevant?"
    • OOXML Ceasefire??? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RobBebop (947356) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:59PM (#23067732) Homepage Journal

      If they really want an OOXML "Ceasefire", then they should offer a compromise with the opponents of OOXML.

      Namely: revoke the standard and allow it to continue to be reworked.

      I doubt anti-OOXML activists would take issue with letting OOXML be re-evaluated a year or two fromnow. We would even let the ISO get away with NOT re-evaluating its processes that allowed brand-spanking new member countries to vote with as much power as long standing members.

      In the meantime, Microsoft (and whoever else is interested) can address the technical issues with OOXML and revise the specification so that it meets the communities requirements for openness.

      At the same time, I think it is accurate to say that there are "features" that customers require in OOXML that are not in any approved ISO standards (for instance, I believe OOXML has collaboration features, whereas ODF does not). Thus, the anti-OOXML community might attempt to code an "Open" standard which addresses those features. Call it the "ODF Extension" and empower it to combined with the original ODF standard to give an identical set of features as are specified in OOXML. If this were achieved and OOXML truly would not bring any added value to the Office/Productivity software standard, then it could officially be flushed down the toilet.

      That said, there cannot be a "Ceasefire" as long as OOXML is still recognized as a Standard...

  • Way forward on ODF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:03PM (#23065852) Homepage
    Why is that even an issue? ODF passed, it's a clear and well-defined standard that nobody has a problem with and nobody had to be bribed to support.

    The only issue is that cluster-fuck of submarine proprietary technology posing as an open standard called OOXML.

    Keep OOXML, or reject that POS like they should have to begin with, the only effect that has on ODF is in the purchasing decisions that may be swayed by MS also having a "standard".
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:25PM (#23066230) Homepage

      That is the major effect though. I think that most unbiased observers would conclude that Microsoft's main goal in having OOXML rushed through is to allow .govs to tick the box that allows them to keep purchasing Microsoft Office. I have no faith that Microsoft will adhere to OOXML in letter or spirit, and in fact that having it 'controlled' by ISO makes this even less likely. Microsoft will not approach ISO to have new features included, they'll just binary-blob them in.

      I say this as someone whose job it is to implement editors for previous (binary) versions of Office formats. The (new) guys working on our OOXML version are super stoked because (they say) it's much clearer. Sure, I tell them, but wait until Office >=2009 starts saving out documents with big embedded proprietary binary blobs. They'll still be OOXML 'compliant', for all the good that'll do us.

      • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:10PM (#23067022) Homepage Journal

        I think that most unbiased observers would conclude that Microsoft's main goal in having OOXML rushed through is to allow .govs to tick the box that allows them to keep purchasing Microsoft Office.
        That was quite obviously their goal. I think the next move, then, ought to be for the free world to very clearly document exactly where and how Microsoft Office 2007 is not a compliant implementation of ISO OOXML and therefore must be disqualified from any bids that specify its use.
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:27PM (#23066286) Homepage Journal

      ODF passed, it's a clear and well-defined standard
      ODF passed without a spec for basic spreadsheet formulas. OOXML has one, albeit flawed in some respects.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, IMO it is much, much easier to add whatever is missing than having to fix an existing specification, for the simple fact that changing things means either
        1) completely drop support for any document created before or
        2) add a special case each time you change something, making an even more complete mess out of things.

        Admittedly, since ODF is already in use it might have this problem a bit too, but not in the massive degree as OOXML seems to.
      • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:40PM (#23066486) Homepage Journal
        ODF certainly has its flaws, but:

        (1) ODF wasn't rammed through a "fast track" process against the wishes of many committee members, unlike OOXML, and

        (2) ODF can actually be implemented by third parties as written. Good luck doing that with OOXML...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        One format passed without specifying a feature that may be useful, while the other passed with ambiguous, unimplementable or outright secret specifications. There is nothing strange about having a standardized format that doesn't specify everything you might want it to, what is strange is having a format which specifies things in an ambiguous, broken, and unimplementable manner.

        To use a bad car analogy, if I made a spec for a car without specifying the color, that wouldn't be the end of the world. If, on th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        ODF passed without a spec for basic spreadsheet formulas. OOXML has one, albeit flawed in some respects.

        In OpenDocument's defence, the OpenDocument committee stated that "A comment was submitted concerning the (inclusion) of a grammar for spreadsheet formulas which conforming implementations should support. While we think that having interoperability on that level would be of great benefit to users, we do not believe [sic] that this is in the scope of the current specification".

        I disagree with the above excuse, but OpenFormula [wikipedia.org] is being worked on, and will fix the problem. Approving a totally different and

    • by cgenman (325138)
      ISO certification means that Microsoft Word is just as open as ODF or ASCII for purposes of government and business contracts.

      If you continue to have to submit resumes in "Microsoft Word Format," there is no way that anyone else can get a toehold in the market. There is also no way that in 30 years we're going to be able to read the documents that we generate today.

      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:43PM (#23067472) Homepage
        If you continue to have to submit resumes in "Microsoft Word Format," there is no way that anyone else can get a toehold in the market. There is also no way that in 30 years we're going to be able to read the documents that we generate today.

        On the contrary, if resumes are required in OOXML format there will no longer be a requirement to reverse-engineer the Word format in order to achieve that. Since every word processor has to be compatible with Word in any case to be marketable the job of producing a compliant open source implementation has become rather easier.

        As for ECMA, it has always been a joke. They were a joke when they accepted Netscape's original JavaScript proposal without any changes. Netscape chose ECMA because they wanted a forum they could just ram something through without any opportunity for comment from any other party. It only took another six years before usable implementations started to turn up in browsers. Early on the <object> tag was known as the 'crash my browser' tag. The specification was at least as baddly written as the code. But the modern Javascript specs are starting to look pretty good.

        The reason that Google has been able to make so much out of AJAX and previous companies have not is not because nobody saw the potential before, its because the JavaScript implementations could not possibly have supported modern apps without crashing. Try connecting to GMail with an early version of Netscape and you will either see it turn off the JavaScript or crash.

        People are completely missing the point of standards work here. You only get from a standards process what you achieve along the way. Its like a university degree, the certificate is probably the least useful output.

        ODF and OOXML are both examples of an obsolete way of document preparation. They are both embedded in the internal data structures of ten to twenty year old systems. I would take an entirely different approach to producing a modern office suite. I would not cobble it together from components.

        Neither format allows you to create an equation in math notation and use it in the spreadsheet.

        This whole argument is like arguing whether gas or oil is better to fire a power station. They are both legacy technologies.

        • by huckamania (533052) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:04PM (#23067808) Journal
          Exactly. Governments would do better by their citizens requiring everything to be in HTML format then either ODF or OOXML. Neither ODF nor OOXML has any current market share (unless you want to admit that word is OOXML compliant), where as everyone has a browser, if not more then one.

          And HTML is the most widely used XML schema so really it's a twofer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Why is that even an issue? ODF passed, it's a clear and well-defined standard that nobody has a problem with and nobody had to be bribed to support

      You haven't talked to anyone who has actually tried to implement ODF from the spec, have you? It is not very well-defined. For example, do you know how it handles password hashing? It just says you should do it. No list of allowed hashes. No documented way to record what hash you've used.

      Want another example? Calendars. There it at least lists the names of the allowed calendar system. But no reference to what those names mean.

      The fact is that to implement ODF in a fairly complete fashion (no one

  • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:05PM (#23065896) Homepage Journal

    In response to the continued attacks on Microsoft's OOXML standard, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has called for a ceasefire.

    They deserve to be taken to the woodshed for a good spanking.

    The ONLY ones who will benefit from a "cease-fire" are the ones who have the criticism coming to them. Let them admit they screwed up, that the processes behind their handling of MSOOXML are fatally flawed, and that a redo is necessary to preserve^Wrestore the integrity of ISO.

  • In my opinion, an easier way to counter this Microsoft OOXML standard is to urge respective governments to avoid it and not to touch it even with a 10 foot pole. That way, alternative formats will take route. Isn't this easier?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      an easier way to counter this Microsoft OOXML standard is to urge respective governments to avoid it
      this nonsense should have been stopped at the vote, the fact we even need to convince governments that this "standard" is nothing of the sort is troubling. Not the least of which because the same corruption likely exists in goverments themselves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wonkavader (605434)
      Yes, it is, however it won't work. The fact that it got the title "standard" will be used by Microsoft as a battering ram, and there won't always be someone with any sense around. Just look at voting machines. People in governments keep buying them, even from manufacturers who had been completely discredited. There now has to be a black mark on this thing so huge that Microsoft won't risk bringing it up.
  • Screw the Ceasefire, time to employ Guerrilla Warfare [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Why is there a call for a cease-fire, anyway? Are Microsoft employees strapping dynamite on themselves and blowing up people at ISO meetings? I can just see a MS code monkey shouting "Ballmer is Great!" before blowing himself and twenty others to smithereens.
      • by S.O.B. (136083) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:41PM (#23066508)

        Are Microsoft employees strapping dynamite on themselves and blowing up people at ISO meetings? I can just see a MS code monkey shouting "Ballmer is Great!" before blowing himself and twenty others to smithereens.


        Fortunately they are able to apprehend them before the bombs go off because of the popup on their Windows Vista powered detonators, "Blow yourself up in a useless display of Microsoft loyalty, allow or deny?"
  • by giafly (926567) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:08PM (#23065946)

    We believe standards debate should always be carried out with respect for all parties, even when they strongly disagree.
    How exactly does fast-tracking a 6,000 page standard, then allowing less than a week to debate 1,100 [consortiuminfo.org] different comments show respect for all parties?
  • by peragrin (659227) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:08PM (#23065950)
    the ISO is corrupted. MSFT fscked up the ISO and it is permanently damaged. Germany, Norway, Poland, and several other countries are looking into voting irregularities in the OOXML vote. For that fact alone the OOXML should have failed to pass pending the outcome of those investigations.

    right now there are several MSFT P member countries that will no longer vote on anything because they are no longer being paid by MSFT to work with the ISO. These countries are deadlocking other standards and forcing them to fail because they refuse to vote on anything not OOXML. Those countries should have their votes discarded until they start attended and voting on things other than OOXML.

    So why should the attacks stop? Has the corruption stopped yet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > Those countries should have their votes discarded until they start attended and voting on things other than OOXML.

      On online gaming servers cheaters get kicked and IP-banned. Why should the ISO be any different?

      Revoke their membership and never let them join again. That's the answer.
  • by techpawn (969834) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:09PM (#23065958) Journal

    The plenary session was marked by protests outside, largely carried out by delegates from a nearby open-source conference.
    Timing + location = success in anything right?
  • Appeals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by firefly4f4 (1233902) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:11PM (#23065998)

    The protesters were calling for OOXML to be withdrawn from ISO standardization -- something that could theoretically happen if a national standards body were to protest against its own vote within the next month or two.

    Does this mean that Norway and Great Britain haven't submitted their appeals yet? I believe both technical committees stated they would appeal. Does anyone know the status of them?

    • Re:Appeals (Score:4, Informative)

      by Haeleth (414428) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:17PM (#23067088) Journal
      I don't know about Britain, but unfortunately Norway won't work out like you're hoping: while their technical committee has protested loudly and demanded that the decision be reversed, the technical committee is distinct from the standards body, and the standards body has sold its soul to Uncle Bill. That's kind of why it ignored the overwhelming technical opposition and voted to approve OOXML in the first place...
  • Why would they cause a ceasefire if people are concerned? Instead, shouldn't they encourage people to voice their opinions and let them know that they're hearing them? They're a standards organization that affects the world, isn't this stuff important?
  • by Compenguin (175952) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:24PM (#23066202)
    I know the Slashdot crowd didn't start caring about ISO until OOXML hit SC34 but I have other issues with ISO. SC29/WG11 (More commonly known as MPEG) is notoriously closed off. All their proposed work for consideration is closed off from public scrutiny until after it has been accepted and published. Reference software updates are only made available to committee members while the rest of us have to wait for a version to be signed off as a Corrigendum/Addendum and then sit for a year as all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed in the general body (why can't non controversial reference software bugfixes get fast-tracked the same way OOXML was?). When people come to MPEG industry forum technical list (Mp4-tech) for clarification they are often referred secret documents and reference software that they have no way of getting. Furthermore their document interchange format is .doc not ODF or OOXML.
    • The upshot is that all of the noise and smoke and confusion about the process will help increase awareness of what the ISO and allied 'standards body' agencies do, and what their process and impacts are to members and non-members. For too long, many people have been in the dark about what the ISO, IEEE, and other bodies represent. It's a good thing to shed light on it and perhaps open the processes to more involvement and scrutiny from non-vendor sources.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:30PM (#23066358)
    The ISO process to fast track and/or approve OOXML has been fought hard by technical people on the basis of technical deficiencies.

    OOXML is *NOT* worthy of ISO approval. Any rational review of the "standard," will show that it is incomplete, non-specific, and completely worthless as a blue print on how to implement a document reader for a document.

    How this got approved is clearly worth a corruption investigation. It calls into question the integrity of the people and organization that approved it.

    It is nothing less than an attempt to eliminate the ability to share documents without paying Microsoft and maintain Microsoft's monopoly. The very thing the ISO standard is supposed to fight. It is criminal that these bastards have subverted the standards process as they did.

    Calling for the end of "Personal attacks" is nothing more than saying "fuck you." Public statements questioning the motives and integrity of these people is the only ration course of action given what they have done. They deserve every last bit of it. Jailtime if we can find a law to fit the crime.
  • There's insults and then there's insults. There's outrages and then there's outrages. It's like the moment in a grade school hallway where you don't even see it and there's a sense something has happened, a thrill rippling through the crowd of kids. A circle forms and there's two antagonists. You know that someone has done something, something big, something that cannot be shrugged off. Either the injured party must stand up and fight, even in the face of a serious thrashing, or he must submit and be labele
  • In terms of constructive action: I'd like to write to the ISO regarding my views on this matter, urging that the matter be reconsidered.

    Does anyone have the contact information for the appropriate body at the ISO?

  • by walter_f (889353) on Monday April 14, 2008 @12:43PM (#23066546)
    In the contrary. It's no longer about just OOXML.

    In addition to targeting OOXML, we ought to start targeting the ISO as a whole.

    This organization, theoretically being in charge for the Standardization of a thousand matters, has knowingly let its own standards drop to an abysmal low level.

    It is time now to question the qualification of the ISO as such severely and, possibly, get rid of it, replacing it by an impartial and responsible institution.

  • Forgetting for awhile the obvious play on words when naming OOXML. How can both OOXML and ODF exist? They seem to be analogous to two trees planted in the same area, competing for resources. OOXML, coming from Microsoft, regardless of its flaws, has quite a head start and will simply kill off ODF. It isn't as if they both start on the same footing and so the better standard would win.
  • So, what personal attacks are there? Can someone point to an example? Certainly, many think that the ISO is broken, Microsoft is corrupt, and suspect that there was some serious fraud happening at some level but none of these are personal attacks. They're legitimate complaints about major organisations. So who is this person being attacked?
    • You're right: there aren't any personal attacks here. This isn't about Microsoft, it's about the process. The easy manipulability of ISO's standards voting process is now open to scrutiny. This plea represents their shock that so many people were paying attention.

      Personally I think Office Open XML becoming Open XML could lead to good things, assuming the standards body improves it over time and that we can get Microsoft to implement it faithfully. (I know, I know: big assumption.) But optimism aside,

  • Here is what I see as the real issue.

    Many jurisdictions are adopting regulations that documents be stored in open-standard formats. There are multiple reasons for this, including the long-term archival accessibility of the data.

    This was obviously threatening to Microsoft. It would be difficult on technical grounds to map between Microsoft's internal formats and a true open standard such as ODF. If Microsoft's products can't read and write in true open standard formats, then government bodies have no choi
  • by SendBot (29932) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:06PM (#23066944) Homepage Journal
    I posted this comment on an earlier story. I looked at the iso website here [iso.org] and found this little gem:

    Standards ensure desirable characteristics of products and services such as quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability - and at an economical cost.

    When products and services meet our expectations, we tend to take this for granted and be unaware of the role of standards. However, when standards are absent, we soon notice. We soon care when products turn out to be of poor quality, do not fit, are incompatible with equipment that we already have, are unreliable or dangerous.

    When products, systems, machinery and devices work well and safely, it is often because they meet standards. And the organization responsible for many thousands of the standards which benefit the world is ISO.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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