Raymond attacks Microsoft over OOXML fiasco

Eric Raymond has warned that the Microsoft Permissive License may be refused OSI approval following the OOXML debacle
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Microsoft has been severely criticised by an influential member of the Open Source Initiative over the way it has pursued ISO certification for the Office Open XML specification.

Eric S Raymond, a founding member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), 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.

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