Proprietary past looms over Microsoft OOXML hopes

Proprietary past looms over Microsoft OOXML hopes

Summary: More than 30 member countries of the ISO have attended a ballot resolution meeting in Geneva to prepare for a final ruling on Microsoft's OOXML document format

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More than 30 member countries of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) have attended a ballot resolution meeting in Geneva to prepare for a final decision on Microsoft's contentious OOXML document format.

The formal scrutiny process for the OOXML format will conclude on Friday, when the five-day ballot resolution meeting comes to a close ahead of a final ruling on its status.

Once the meeting is over, a communication on its outcomes will be sent to members. There will then be a 30-day grace period for further submissions of comment to the ISO, before votes for and against OOXML becoming an international standard are re-tallied, and a final decision is reached.

"There's a lot of collaboration going on between the various national bodies attending the meeting at the moment, so we can expect to hear an announcement on the outcome of the meeting from its convener by the weekend," said Sarah Bond, platform strategy manager for Microsoft.

Bond told ZDNet.com.au that over 3,500 comments had been submitted since the preceding ballot on the format in September last year — where Microsoft was narrowly defeated in an attempt to fast track the decision on OOXML becoming a standard — and leading up to this week's meeting.

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While OOXML is already an Ecma worldwide standard, an ISO approval is considered to be the final word on the status of a format, and the prolonged anticipation over the outcome the vote has generated heated debate both for and against Microsoft's open document platform.

Among a number of criticisms of the format is that it represents an unnecessary intrusion by Microsoft into the open document marketplace, which already has its own international standard in the form of IBM and Sun's Open Document Format (ODF).

According to Bond, it is a debate that doesn't affect the greater community of users. "It's being played out in circles that don't involve normal participants," she said, adding that Microsoft's proprietary legacy may have galvanised users from the start.

"Perhaps Microsoft hasn't communicated as best as it could have about the openness of OOXML," she said.

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2 comments
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  • openness of OOXML

    A lot has been written about this subject, and how OOXML is so much more sophisticated than ODF. The only problem I have with OOXML is the fact that, all the extras are eye candy and not actually needed, or even used, in a lot of cases. Odf has all the basic needs, and is capable of serving its purpose. OOXML has some proprietary components which may case problems down the line.
    ator1940
  • And the Zdnet "story" on OOXML

    It will be interesting to see how zdnet will report on OOXML in Genevea.
    Could think of three different approaches:
    1. Small, fast dissaperaring story.
    2. Short, "on the other hand story", good enough for The Master.
    3. Nothing.

    My regards, hovewer, to zdnet.co.uk and "Leaders", I feel are much more independent, than those of many "sisters".

    If ISO/OOXML is of interest, then read consortiuminfo.org

    http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20080229055319727

    PS. the Header:.
    "Proprietary past looms over Microsoft OOXML hopes",
    Screwed, by purpose, or not, to imply that Microsoft is not proprietary to day, and thus OOXML not proprietary either.
    lgmbackman