Alex Brown: "Without action, the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure"
Apr 01, 2010, 17:02 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)
"In reviewing my RSS feed this morning, I found this interesting
blog entry by Alex Brown, titled Microsoft Fails the Standards
Test. In it, Alex makes a number of statements, and reaches a
number of conclusions, that are likely to startle those that
followed the ODF-OOXML saga. The bottom line? Alex thinks that
Microsoft has failed to fulfill crucial promises upon which the
approval of OOXML was based. He concludes that unless Microsoft
reverses course promptly, “the entire OOXML project is now
surely heading for failure.”
"As you will recall, Alex was the Convener of the (in the
opinion of many) controversial Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) held
in Geneva, Switzerland in February of 2008. That meeting was the
crucial and penultimate stage in the OOXML adoption process (you
can find a resource page I set up on the BRM, its consequences, and
commentary on both sides of the issues here). For those who did not
follow this drama, OOXML is an XML-based document format standard
created by Microsoft and initially approved by the Ecma standards
body, while ODF is the OpenDocument Format (ODF) developed by
standards developer OASIS.
"Part of what allowed OOXML to achieve a positive vote at the
BRM was a series of promises that Microsoft made during the lengthy
adoption process. Those promises were meant to address concerns
over Microsoft’s true intentions relating to OOXML. For
example, some suspected that Microsoft’s primary objective in
achieving ISO/IEC adoption of OOXML was to cancel out any advantage
that ODF might have gained when it earlier achieved that status.
Would Microsoft in fact actively support OOXML after it had been
approved, or would future versions of Office include (for example)
proprietary extensions, or not support the finally adopted ISO/IEC
standard at all?"