More OOXML Standarization Noise

I found this post by Mark Shuttleworth interesting and well written (I found it after reading a ZDNet article referencing it – I will not link to it, since the ZDNet blogs do not seem to handle trackbacks) Emerging consensus in favour of a unified document format standard?

I agree with a number of things in this post.

Is Microsoft investing heavily in getting OOXML accepted? I would be pretty sure they are – I would be.

I agree there are technical issues with the current OOXML spec, based upon what I have read elsewhere. I do not believe that these issues are a reason to abandon the spec, only that “fast-tracking” the spec without fixing them is wrong. The OOXML spec should go through as much review as is necessary to satisfy the standards bodies that it is ready.

I agree that ODF supporters (and other OOXML opponents) should make their opinions known in a technically meaning full way to their representatives on the standards bodies.

I also believe that supporters of OOXML should do the same.  

I still disagree with the belief that there must be one “standard”. It still seems strangely ironic to me that the open source community is very much in favour of having alternatives, as long as the alternatives do not come from Microsoft.


I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Posted in Irony
2 comments on “More OOXML Standarization Noise
  1. Fred says:

    Thanks for the links. The first one is the same post I refer to in my post.

    I have read a great deal of the noise on both sides of this debate, and I tend to find a lot of it (on both sides) extremely lacking in factual content. Much of it has more the tone of a religious or political debate than a technical one.

    I agree that a large portion of Microsoft’s pain is its own fault, due to attitudes it has displayed and practices it has followed. However, I do not delude myself into believing any of the other commercial organizations involved (Sun, IBM, etc.) are any more altruistic – they are in this for their own interests, and will play the system just as hard as Microsoft. I have been watching these processes go on for many many years. Every one of these companies has a vested interest in getting the option THEY support accepted as THE standard, and they all invest heavily in it, whether it is through paid lobbying, or simply the fact that they keep people on their payroll whose prime responsibility is to protect their interests on the standards bodies.

    I am sorry, none of them do it out of the kindness of their hearts or for the public good. This is business, folks.

  2. I’ve never got the impression that the open source community only wants one standard. Rather, they have rejected OOXML as the ECMA has rubber-stamped OOXML without addressing any concerns over proprietary information and extensions.

    Yes, there’s been talk of merging the standards into one, but not out of hate of Microsoft. Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu fame explains it here:

    I agree that the open-source community can be rabidly anti-Microsoft, but only Microsoft is to blame. They’ve screwed all of their competitors time and time again. People eventually learn. In just this battle alone…

    Microsoft played dirty pool on Peter Quinn in Massachusettes:

    Microsoft playing dirty pool on the ECMA fast-track:

    And now Microsoft is actually getting called out on the dirty pool they’re playing with ISO:

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