OOXML 'tool of monopoly lock-in': OSI founder

OOXML 'tool of monopoly lock-in': OSI founder

Summary: The Open Source Initiative's (OSI) founder Eric S Raymond is very unhappy with Microsoft for trying to force a "divisive" and "technically bogus" specification through as an international standard.

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The Open Source Initiative's (OSI) founder Eric S Raymond is very unhappy with Microsoft for trying to force a "divisive" and "technically bogus" specification through as an international standard.

Raymond labelled Microsoft's behaviour in pushing Office Open XML (OOXML) for fast track ISO certification as "egregious", and said that he was almost ready to recommend that Microsoft not receive approval from the OSI for the Microsoft Permissive License.

The OSI are the "stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD)", and review and approve licences as OSD compliant. Microsoft on 10 August submitted the Microsoft Permissive License for OSI approval. The OSD is the most widely accepted set of criteria in the IT industry for classifying software as open source.

Raymond said that OSI's official position is that "OSI will treat any licences submitted by Microsoft strictly on their merits, without fear or favour. That remains OSI's position". However, Raymond said that his "resolve is being sorely tested", because "Microsoft's behaviour in the last few months with respect to OOXML has been egregious".

"They haven't stopped at pushing a 'standard' that is divisive, technically bogus, and an obvious tool of monopoly lock-in; they have resorted to... ballot-stuffing [and] committee-packing... to ram it through the ISO-standardisation process in ways that violate ISO's own guidelines wholesale," said Raymond.

"Despite my previous determination, I find I'm almost ready to recommend that OSI tell Microsoft to ram its licences up one of its own orifices, even if they are technically OSD compliant, because what good is it to conform to the letter of OSD if you're raping its spirit?" said Raymond in a blog post.

Microsoft had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Topic: Patents

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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