Ben Langhinrichs

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September, 2007
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 4 Sep 2007, 09:07 PM
As many of you now probably know, Microsoft and Ecma failed to get the Open XML passed on a fast track ballot.  That doesn't mean it is dead, not at all, but it does mean they have to go back to the committee table and deal with some of the 10,000 comments (I mean that number seriously, although there are likely many duplicates).

So, of course, the spin meisters are out in force, trying to make it sound like a loss is a win.  There are a few notable exceptions, such as Jason Matusow, who lays out the facts without much spin, to his great credit.  But there are some very funny efforts as well.  My favorite is this chart from Stephen McGibbons (note DIS29500=OOXML and IS26300=ODF):

OOXML vs. ODF chart

Above this, and this is the really funny part, is the caption:
And when both are combined it is very interesting to note that there is clearly more support for OpenXML already than there was for ODF.
So, Stephen manages to turn a unanimous vote for ODF into less support than a rejection for OOXML.  That is just priceless.  Please, visit Stephen's site (click on the image above) and enjoy the rest of the creative charts and feel free to share your thoughts, although Stephen has an unfortunate habit of holding off on publishing comments he doesn't like.

Copyright © 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

Tue 4 Sep 2007, 07:46 AM
For those who don't know, PRWire is a great service that lets you get your press releases published fairly widely at no great expense.  Microsoft has used the PRWire service to put out a puff piece entitled Strong Global Support for Open XML as It Enters Final Phase of ISO Standards Process, which, for those of you not well versed in political newspeak, means that they were unable to manipulate the ISO Fast Track process to get what they wanted.  Yup, they failed, so they have to trumpet "strong global support", meaning the committees they stacked and the countries they strong armed.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Open XML is dead, which would not even necessarily be a good thing.  It simply means that there will have to be a ballot resolution meeting - Microsoft can't simply cancel it and claim that there were no significant comments.  With any luck, and it seems frightfully unlikely at this time, ISO, ECMA and Microsoft will actually work together to make a better Open XML standard.  Unfortunately, what seems more likely is that Microsoft will try to game the system some more, ignoring even their own well being in an attempt to "win" at all costs.  I really wish that they could focus on winning by being better, rather than win by spending more resources, but that seems to be the Microsoft of a bygone era.  It is sad to see a great company lose its direction and moral compass.

Copyright © 2007 Genii Software Ltd.