After pointing out in this blog the mockery that the the International Organisation of Standardisation (the ISO) is making of standards setting by allowing multiple standards for the same thing, the folks who run the TV studios here at CNET Networks said let's make a video about it. So, we did. In this video, I step up to the whiteboard to show how both the OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft's Open XML document format are following nearly identical paths to becoming ratified as international standards for doing the same thing, by the same international standards setting organization. ODF is ahead of Open XML in terms of timing, but, contrary to what Gartner says, Open XML looks like it will follow in ODF's footsteps at the ISO within the year. I have no clue what sort of insight Gartner was basing that determination on. But, unless some sort of divine intervention takes place at the ISO (change in rules, fear of ridicule and embarassment by me, a "bribe," hell freezing over, or real divine intervention), as far as I can tell from my interview with someone who knows the ISO ropes as well as anyone, there isn't much that can stop Open XML from getting ISO ratification. Oh well. You know what they say... the best thing about standards is that there's so many of them.
Also, if this subject interests you, be sure to read my treatise on knowledge centricity vs. document centricity. It doesn't make the format issue moot, but it does give you an alternative way to think about document-centric business cultures and how inefficient they are at generating business value. There are alternatives to doing business the way you do it today.