As the ISO standards process wends it way forward, it seems that the anti-Open XML lobbyists are working one another into a frenzy. The sheer drama of some of the things that have been written lately makes for rich comedic fodder. Let's take a look ...
I first noticed things were getting a bit strange when a big garish "NO OOXML" banner appeared on Rob Weir's blog. Apparently this new web site has been set up to help centralize the lobbying efforts of those who are "fighting against" the Open XML standards process. It's worth a look, because some of the comments are great. My personal favorite so far: "Microsoft invading Denmark with puppets." The mind reels.
Rob chose their biggest banner graphic, but I prefer the understated one shown here. They also have several others to choose from, including French, Spanish, or Portugese versions, with animated GIFs that cycle through various Open XML-bashing messages. Karl Rove would be so proud.
Karl would also surely be proud of the 2,500 Euro reward being offered on the NOOOXML site for "The team that makes the best effort to helping the International Standardization Organisation (ISO) fight off Microsoft's lobbying." Hey guys, if I take the summer off from blogging, am I elligible for the reward? That would be about the perfect amount to buy a new Nikon D200 like I've been wanting for a while, and with all the time I'd save by not blogging I could take a lot more pictures. Let me know ... dmahugh at you-know-where.
Meanwhile, IBM lobbyist Bob Sutor is warning people that the sky is falling and helping folks in other states and countries exercise their right to help IBM lobby against Open XML ...
Last week he encouraged Massachusetts residents to submit email comments to try to get Open XML removed from the ETRM, with the explicit goal of turning it into an ODF-only mandate. Apparently Bob feels this is in the best interest of the state of Massachusetts, although he doesn't live there so the cost of legislating lack of choice won't come out of his personal tax bill.
Bob also recently offered up some "questions for your national standards body," such as "Who are the members of your national standards body, when exactly did they join, and what are their primary commercial partnership relationships?"
I assume Bob's concerned about all of the Open XML developers who have joined the technical committees worldwide. It's hard for IBM to convince everyone that the spec can't be implemented when there are people sitting at the table who are making their living doing exactly that, implementing Open XML solutions from the spec. Ah, for the good old days of spring, when many of the TCs had nobody in the room who had actually worked with Open XML, and cheap stunts like bringing in printouts of all 6000 pages could draw naive gasps. "You mean I'd have to read all that to create a document? Oh my God!"
Meanwhile, IBM invites people to join who have no experience with the technology, no intent to implement it, and have just joined to cast a NO vote. IBM execs come in and slap them on the back and thank them for coming -- I've seen it with my own eyes. I guess, in IBM's view, this is how standards processes are supposed to work: it's not about expertise in the subject matter, it's about loyalty. Again, Rove and Bush would be quite proud.
Bob also offers up some helpful tips on "Fighting OOXML in Spanish- and Portugese-speaking countries." After a reader complained "you have crossed the line from having a different opinion to stuffing ballot boxes," Bob wrote that "When all the details are made known about what the pro-OOXML folks are doing to secure victory, I suspect you won’t find these more grass roots efforts to be too much." Hey, feel free to make those details known any time, Bob. We're all dying to hear about them! :-)
And so it goes. Another recent post on Bob's blog offers "info on fighting OOXML" and includes a link to the "DIS 29500/OOXML Fact Sheet." This fact sheet is thoughtfully provided by the ODF Alliance, and offers insights such as this logic puzzler: "DIS 29500 is too long (6000+ pages) and even at that length is not fully published; it contains both undocumented and under-specified elements that prevent full implementation." So ... it's both too long, and not long enough? Man, that's evil.
Another interesting development lately is the beginning of rifts in the anti-Open XML camp. The sense of frantic urgency to some of the fearmongering, combined with the beginnings of finger-pointing regarding tactics used to date, seem to indicate some concern that all this lobbying and influence-buying may come up short. Time will tell on that front.
Meanwhile, back at Rob's blog, it seems the discourse has reached a new level: like terrorists, Open XML now represents a lethal threat to our safety. Yes, you read that right: Open XML can kill. Rob's post today, "The Formula for Failure," warns that the Open XML spec "has incorrect formulas that, if implemented according to the standard may cause loss of life."
Frankly, I agree with some of Rob's comments, such as the need to specify whether arguments for trig functions are in radians or degrees. That's why I'll be supporting a "yes with comments" vote in the technical committee I serve on, because there are a bunch of these editorial errors and omissions that should be cleaned up.
In my next couple of posts, I'll be going through some of those specific editorial issues that have been raised in the documents being distributed by the anti-Open XML lobbyists. There is room for improvement in the spec as it stands, but -- in my opinion, anyway -- the sky is not falling, and we'll all benefit from having the huge corpus of existing Office documents move into an XML-based standard. Open XML is here to stay.
Interesante post de Brian Jones que me encantaría replicar aquí enterito, pero que prefiero que lo leáis
>Apparently this new web site has been set up
>to help centralize the lobbying efforts
>of those who are "fighting against" the Open XML
>standards process. It's worth a look, because some
>of the comments are great.
>My personal favorite so far:
>"Microsoft invading Denmark with puppets."
>The mind reels.
i'm wrong or you are feeling envious ? ;-) ...
it seems that *your* petition/lobbying did badly, uh?:
www.noooxml.org: 20000 _independent_ signers in couple of weeks
microsoft uk petition: can't tell... the site is gone !
Funny - there's speculation as to why FFII and IBM are now partnering: http://www.ipjur.com/2007/06/ibm-now-partnering-with-ffii.php3
And now we see FFII puting a bounty out to get people to block Open XML: http://press.ffii.org/Press_releases/FFII_puts_up_a_prize_in_fight_against_Microsoft_Office_standardisation
It looks like the "www.noooxml.org" site was set up by the FFII's Benjamin Henrion
"So ... it's both too long, and not long enough? Man, that's evil."
Isn't this the same complaint the EC competition commissioner came up with? Not surprising, since IBM co-wrote the script in both cases.
Did you see Waterworld? That movie was too long, and even with all of its length, it failed to specify some things that might have made it understandable. The movie needed to cut about 90 minutes of wasted footage and then add in another 15 to 25 minutes that showed us why we would care.
Now do you get it?
The quote was actually that it's too long, and "incomplete" (not "too short"). In non-technical terms that means it "waffles" and doesn't fill its function. You attack the quote and convieniently miss the point.
You also waffle on about lobby groups and such and convienientely side-step (actually ridicule is more accurate) the serious allegation that inconsistent evaluation of technical and medical data in a global standard could put lives at risk. You cry 'scare-mongers' while simultaneously admitting that the errors are of concern.
Are you a medical professional? Are you a nuclear physicist? No, you're a sycophant in a crappy t-shirt.
"Frankly, I agree with some of Rob's comments, such as the need to specify whether arguments for trig functions are in radians or degrees. That's why I'll be supporting a "yes with comments" vote in the technical committee I serve on"
Here we agree on the facts but not on the conclusion. I'd make it a "put on hold until fixed" vote.
It is acceptable to miss such details when drafting a specification - writing perfect specs is hard. But it is a lot less respectable to ignore the errors once they are discovered.
"Karl Rove would be so proud."
Because Karl Rove is well known for relentless bashing of political opponents based on irrational hatred.
Oh, wait, that's the left.
not surprising to see all this rather pathetic bravado on an MSDN site.
The fact is that MS is a convicted monopolist whose business practices would make a con man blush.
Everything from excessive FUD, (c'mon Ballmer; WHICH patents does OSS infringe? put up or shut the fuck up.) to threatening OEMs with higher volume licensing costs if they dare ship competing OS's. (Thank Science that Michael Dell has more balls than that.)
I suggest anyone who wants a raw and untempered history of the company read this site:
you forgot to mention that major opponents don't have read the Open XML specs yet, and that most of them are not even technical people ... however they bring in ISO subcommittees a 600 technical comments spreadsheet with them ...
Actually, Shaun, they're nice quality t-shirts: thick cotton, well-made. I've washed mine many times and it's still like new.
Yes, I "get" that OOXML needs work, and that there are certain parties that would rather see it buried than fixed.
Doug Mahugh misses one very important point. There is no need for endorsing OOXML with an ISO seal of approval. MS served on the OASIS committees which brought the ODF document specs into being but deliberately behaved as lurkers and not collaborators. There would be no problem at all about legacy MS formats if MS provided the relevant information.
Doug crows over the fact that there is some dissension within the ranks of those opposed to making OOXML an ISO standard but, once again, misses the point that OOXML should never have been fast tracked in the first place.
Ted, I think you haven't really been following along closely enough. Open XML and ODF were essentially developer in parallel. ODF was based on StarOffie and Open XML based on Microsoft Office.
I posted about this a few days ago: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/07/09/open-xml-timeline.aspx
Also note the quote at the end. Compatibility with the legacy base of Microsoft Office was an explicit non-goal.