Microsoft joins OpenDoc committee, and the motive is...?

Microsoft joins OpenDoc committee, and the motive is...?

Summary: Microsoft has joined the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee, which plays a key role in the ratifying the OpenDocument format as an international standard, according to Ingrid Marson's report on ZDNet. Groklaw's Pamela Jones speculated that Microsoft's intentions may not be pure--the wolf in the hen house--and the company would like to sabotage ODF ratification and promote its own format, Open XML File Format.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Microsoft
13

Microsoft has joined the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee, which plays a key role in the ratifying the OpenDocument format as an international standard, according to Ingrid Marson's report on ZDNet. Groklaw's Pamela Jones speculated that Microsoft's intentions may not be pure--the wolf in the hen house--and the company would like to sabotage ODF ratification and promote its own format, Open XML File Format. 

Here they are on the list, bold as brass, on the INCITS V1 list, the group that has the job of reconciling comments ISO voters make with the work OASIS is doing and deciding whether resolution has been reached. There sits Microsoft, waiting, like a spider.
I know. They just want to help out.

I hope I'm not giving them ideas, but all they would have to do to slow ODF down, I'm thinking, is ensure lots of discussion, review, documentation, exploration, etc. to arrange that ISO can't ratify ODF until ECMA is ready to submit their competing XML.

That can't be the plan, I'm sure. That would be mean and anticompetitive.

It's rare that there would be no comments needing resolution. And if there is a comment, it has to be sent around to everyone, and then there has to be a response, and then consensus has to be reached. You get the picture. Meanwhile, Microsoft's XML is whizzing through ECMA's special fast track process.

Accusation denied by Microsoft.  Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of standards affairs, said that Microsoft's presence in the group won't impact the voting process for ODF. 

Olavi Petri, a researcher in Finland, responded to the news in his Talkback post: 

Effects on the group's other activities remain unaddressed. Voting is only one small part of what the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee will be doing. There will be plenty of other opportunity for MS to throw sand in the gears. If MS has truly made a 180-degree turn and decided to make positive contributions to OpenDocument, then the OASIS Technical Committee would be the place to do that instead of ISO's INCITS/V1. MS has been repeatedly invited to join and repeately encouraged to join by observers. To make a positive impact, it would be a matter of accepting the invitation and joining the OASIS TC.

However, the place where MS has the potential to have the most negative impact on OpenDocument at this stage would be ISO's INCITS/V1.

Actions speak louder than words. 

Indeed, let's see what Microsoft actually does as a participant on INCITS/V1 before issuing the final judgement...

Topic: Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

13 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Umm, so what?

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Indeed

      It can always backfire to them by having people join the ECMA board. And start throwing sand in that machine.
      tombalablomba
  • Microsoft will not be able to do anything nasty here, All eyes are watching

    them. Being part of the process will help them learn and understand the process, but not much else.

    Of course they will be working behind the scenes to derail ODF, but this position will not help them much.

    In the end, they might admit defeat and support ODF like they supported the internet, but in the mean time, are hoping to create compatibility problems and other problems for people that do not use MS Office.
    DonnieBoy
    • Time is on their side...

      All that needs to be done is slow it down enough their XML format becomes a "standard" before ODF.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Same applies to openxml

        It just needs one group to start throwing sand in the machine @ ECMA which is also an open standards group. IBM and Sun are part of it :)
        tombalablomba
  • Perhaps an honest effort to improve ODx.

    Microsoft knows at least as much about what formats should be as any other group. Because the company has already found a worthwhile solutions to the problems being addressed, their advice should be unusually valuable.

    Why should this committee settle for less than the best possible format(?), one which may be read and written by any program whose authors are willing to state only that they will not make a version of the formats unuseable by all other applications.

    This may do more for the committee than for Microsoft.


    ---------------------- ;-) ----------------------
    Anton Philidor
    • "Perhaps an honest effort to improve ODx."

      Perhaps, but knowing Microsoft's history, I very much doubt it. Frankly, they should just be kicked off since they have so verbally and publicly stated they do not like nor want ODF.
      nomorems
      • Sorry you can't do that...

        That is the wonderful thing about "open", it has to be "open" to everyone. My advice... Suck it up and deal with it because there is nothing you can do.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
    • YBK, Anton

      [i]Microsoft knows at least as much about what formats should be as any other group.[/i]

      See, this is what happens when you don't delineate sarcasm. People might actually think you were serious.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • I plastered on a smiley at the end.

        I envisaged a situation in which the inventors of ODx were hanging on Microsoft's every word, hoping to improve their format until it attained the same level of performance as Microsoft's own.

        Like I say, apparently nothing on ZDNet is absurd enough to be taken unseriously.

        I think Microsoft joined partly to find out what was going on, and partly to enjoy the false showing of fair-mindedness while the hostile planning is moved to an informal venue.

        Similar situation to the one in MA, but Microsoft will not be caught unaware by the duplicity again.
        Anton Philidor
    • I suspect the big issue is document security.

      As ODF has nothing in the way of a secure document (Information Rights Management) it will be an area Microsoft pushes hard for inclusion.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Oh, why not

        [i]As ODF has nothing in the way of a secure document (Information Rights Management)[/i]

        1) DRM has nothing to do with security -- separate threat models
        2) "rights management" isn't a document property in the first place, it's an apps property
        3) OpenDocument does, in fact, support RMML.

        That was three strikes.

        [i]it will be an area Microsoft pushes hard for inclusion.[/i]

        4) They'd need a time machine, not an INCITS/V1 membership.

        That would be a walk if you had balls.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Embrace..... Extent..... Extinguish......?

    What else?

    Whenever foresight fails, hindsight will prevail.
    Ole Man