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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)


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"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?"

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