Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life

{April 16, 2008}   More on OOXML: ISO tries to recover lost credibility through press notes

After the unfortunate show that Microsoft and ISO provided us recently, ISO’s response is a FAQ note about ISO/IEC 29500 (OOXML, that’s it) in which they threaten Microsoft with the most severe of penalties if they’re tricking on as. Funny. In that statement, they try to answer all the issues that initially were concerns but that now has turned into proven facts about the OOXML standard and it’s approval, and to try to recover some of their lost credibility. It’s sad to be commenting on this, words don’t come easy, as if to say. Microsoft has already proven who’s the one in charge here, who owns the committees, who takes the decisions and in which terms, and nothing happens. It’s gonna take more than to publish a FAQ note saying how well you did it and to threaten Microsoft to behave or else. No one seriously believe you at the moment, you know?

A funny thing is that ISO dismisses any responsibility about standardization, and relies on the market taking the decisions for them. Microsoft has said many times that they consider something positive and healthy to have multiple standards for the same, and let the market decide. Now ISO declares to think along the same lines: “After a period of co-existence, it is basically the market that decides which survives”. We don’t really need an organization for standardization for that, do we? We already have the market for that. Will ISO apply the same policy for every standard from now on? Like, say, having a couple of competing standards at least for every need, and let the market decide?

ISO tries to recover from their credibility loss with this note (“the standards development process is credible, works well and is delivering the standards needed, and widely implemented, by the market“), without much success at least in what I’m concerned. If they keep trying to convince with press notes instead of with real acts, no one is gonna believe them ever again.

Michaël says:

I think your comparison with the United Nations is a bit unfortunate. First, diplomacy sometimes requires press notes instead of real acts. Second, it’s not correct that the United Nations doesn’t do ‘real acts’ in line with their purpose.

Your message would have been stronger if you stuck to the main message.

Miry says:

OK Michaël, I’ll take your advice. For the sake of sincerity, anyway, I’ll copy here the part of the comment I’ve just removed: “Wanna have the same international credibility that some other puppet organizations have? (say United Nations for example)”. I didn’t remove it because I thought I was mistaken, but to make a stronger message, as you suggest.

I’m not judging myself UN, all I was stating is that in general UN lacks credibility, mostly because of their double standards and their dependency on some certain governments, and many people don’t believe in them at all. They’re generally considered a puppet toy with no real power or will. ISO might go the same way and start being considered a puppet toy for Microsoft and other monopolistic organizations.

Nacho says:

About actions..
Is anybody doing something like this in Spain? Any formal protests?

Spain is one of the major FLOSS sponsors, as official bodies are concerned. How could they not vote against OOXML?

¡Un saludo!

Antonio says:

Michael, I think the comparison is good as far as UN does not make any action when the country is an ally of the powerful countries, as for instance happens in Israel, where it does not matter how much rules and advices the broke up. If you change USA by Microsoft instead, and the international reality by the standardization procedure it is a good analogy despite obviously that one problem is rather rather worse than the “OOXML shit”.

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