Office 2008 update delays Open XML converter

,----[ Quote ]
| The downside is that the effort to fix Office 2008 has diverted resources
| from the development of the Open XML file format converter for Office 2004.
| Originally expected by mid March, the final version is now slated to arrive
| by the end of June.

Not the first delay; discrimination against Apple; they blame 'security' again
(an excuse, just like "terrorism" or "paedophilia" for Web filters).


OOXML Approval Vote Fails in INCITS

,----[ Quote ]
| The overall vote is not, to me, a surprise. *Leaving all politics or opinions
| aside on whether OOXML should become an ISO/IEC standard when ODF already
| exists, I do not believe that OOXML is in good enough shape to recommend a
| yes vote, with or without comments. *

OSIA takes issue with OOXML, lobbies Standards Australia

,----[ Quote ]
| Opposition to the endorsement of the program comes on top of the suspected
| stacking by Microsoft of a variety of standards bodies in order to get OOXML
| approved as the ISO standard. "This was not part of OSIA's submission and is
| not anything OSIA has direct knowledge of", said Scott. "However, there are a
| number of people who assert that Microsoft is doing as you suggest", he said. * *

Report from Australia - the OOXML Forum

,----[ Quote ]
| I'd say things look grim in Australia, but it's not too late to express
| yourself to Australia Standards. The public is encouraged to continue to send
| comments until August 21. *

Swiss Cheese [for OOXML]

,----[ Quote ]
| The present spin doctors of Microsoft and ECMA managed to convince Mr.
| Thomann to reject every serious technical and general concern we had
| regarding OOMXL by pointing to compatibility reasons. At the end we had a
| majority _against_ Microsoft but which (giving the unfair rules) results in a
| Swiss vote _for_ Microsoft. Mr. Thomann was fretting and fuming at the end of
| the meeting how it can be that successful international companies (we had
| representatives from IBM, Google, ...) vote against the best interest of
| their customers and theirself! * * *
| Yes, this is how the democratic system at SNV / ISO works. After the meeting
| I could not eat as much as I wanted to puke...

Interview with Ecma’s Secretarie General

,----[ Quote ]
| The following is an interview of Jan van den Beld, the Secretarie General of
| Ecma International. *
| [...]
| * * * (ramble on multiple and proprietary 'standards')
| DB: But don’t you think that encourages patent wars?
| JvdB: I have never thought so deeply about it (how the pemission of multiple
| standards encourages patent wars). In a way yes, of course, there are hardly
| any subjects in hi-tech where no patents are involved. That is one of the big
| worries about bodies being concerned with patents So, we stay out of it. If
| you have a patent, you get an unconditional right and what you do with your
| patent is your business. You can ask "is that good?" Well that’s an
| interesting question. * * *

No is no, to OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| I’ve heard several reports of supporters of OOXML trying to get national
| standards bodies to change their votes from “NO with comments” to “YES with
| comments” because “it’s the same thing.” The logic, which I’ll explain in a
| later post, is that any comments will trigger a ballot resolution meeting, so
| there is no need to be so negative and vote NO. * *

IBM is still locked out of the Portuguese OOXML meeting

,----[ Quote ]
| In spite of various communications, we [IBM] are still locked out and will
| not be allowed to participate. Microsoft will be there, as well as a special
| Microsoft guest, as will various Microsoft business partners, and others. *

OOXML does not buy its way in Italy

,----[ Quote ]
| Particularly noteworthy is the fact that among those favouring the adoption
| of the standard without reservation a large majority is made of business
| partners of the proposing entity [Microsoft], a law firm retained by the
| latter, the official certified business partners association of the proposing
| entity. * *

,----[ Quote ]
| [PJ: is reporting (in Portuguese, but a Groklaw member
| translates for us) that the person who is head of the ISO technical committee
| about to vote on Microsoft's Ecma-376 wouldn't let IBM and Sun
| representatives in, claiming there was no room! This, if true, is ridiculous.
| And *here is a second source reporting the same thing, also in Portuguese. So
| in the US, we hear reports of packing the TC. Now, it's weeding out those who
| are not likely to vote a certain way desired? Is this how standards
| get "approved"? I don't recall ODF having to play such games. Here is the
| rough translation:] * * * *
| Portugal, and more concretely, its national organization of certification IPQ
| is a member "O" (observator) of ISO/IEC for the voting of OOXML (ISO DIS
| 29500). *
| WARNING: the first meeting of the Technical Commission "Language for document
| definition" was on Monday 16 of July. The vote was delayed. Representatives
| of IBM and Sun were not allowed to attend because there "was no available
| space in the room" *
| Dear G [Sun Microsystems] due of restricted number of members of the CT
| (Commissao Tecnica) that can attend the scheduled meeting room to host the
| meeting, we cannot, in this stage, accept your proposal of integration of the
| CT. *
| With my best regards,
| D [Microsoft as president of the Technical Commission]

,----[ Quote ]
| * * * More details are emerging from Portugal regarding the kerfuffle there
| * * over Ecma-376. If you read Portuguese, here you go -- just click on the
| * * link. I asked a Groklaw member to do a rough translation, and if you see
| * * ways to improve it, sing out, but it gives a bit of the history of how
| * * this committee that has no room for Sun or IBM (see previous News Picks
| * * item) was formed and how it happened to choose a Microsoft representative
| * * to be president of the committee that decides whether to "approve"
| * * Microsoft's submission as a "standard". Unless I'm missing something, it
| * * appears to have been set up so Microsoft can "approve" itself. Now that's
| * * handy. Here's the translation of the part about how Microsoft is
| * * represented on this committeee with no room for IBM or Sun:] * * * * *
| * * * I was present on the meeting of the Technical Commission (CT) created
| * * * to award the ISO standards in the area of structured documents (in
| * * * Portugal) *
| * * * A Technical Commission (CT) did not exist when ISO 26300 (Open
| * * * Document) was submitted neither when there was a submission of OOXML
| * * * (ECMA 376, potential ISO 29500) for the the fast track, and that was
| * * * the reason why Portugal did not submit any opinion nor had any right to
| * * * vote. We expect that now, with the pressure made and the CT created
| * * * there would be right to vote. * *
| * * * The CT was created by the Computing Institute, in which is delegated
| * * * the responsability for the norms of the IT sector; a delegation granted
| * * * by the Portuguese Institute of Quality (IPQ), the point of contact of
| * * * ISO in Portugal. Its creation is motivated mainly by the pressures and
| * * * availability of some people when the proposal for fast tracking of
| * * * OOXML and a neccessity to avail now the OOXML as standard ISO and as a
| * * * Portuguese National Standard * * *
| * * * In the meeting they were present:
| * * * 2 persons from II (Instituto de Informatica [Computing Institute])
| * * * 1 person from the local government (Alentejo region)
| * * * 1 person from Jurinfor [Jurinfor is a Microsoft partner]
| * * * 2 persons from Microsoft
| * * * 1 person from Primavera [Primavera is a Microsoft partner]
| * * * 1 person from ISCTE
| * * * 2 persons from Assoft [reportedly, most members of ASSOFT are Microsoft
| * * partners]
| * * * 1 person from the Inst. Informatica da Seg Social [Computing Institute
| * * of the Social Welfare Department]
| * * * 1 person from the Inst. Tecn. Informacao da Justiça (eu) [Technical
| * * Institute Information of Justice (eu)]
| The meeting dealt basically with the bureaucracy details of the creation of
| the CT. It didn't go into details of OOXML; that discussion will be held in
| the next meeting, on July 16th about 14:30 in the II [Instituto de
| Informatica, I assume] *
| The CT, thus, was composed of 8 vocal elements, one representative for each
| of the organizations present. The II [Instituto de Informatica] is arranging
| and hosting the initiative and is a not-named representative. *
| The 8 vocals will readily follow to the election of the president of the CT.
| There was 1 candidate in the place (Miguel Sales Dias, from Microsoft). I did
| not present my candidature but made myself available in case the rest of
| representatives deemed it neccesary -- informed not adequate since to begin
| with, as a member of the OpenDocument Alliance, I had a conflict of interest. * *
| The vote results were 7 votes in favor of Miguel Sales Dias, of Microsoft,
| who was designated to preside over the CT, and a (1) blank vote.
| It was decided to adopt consensus as the form of adoption of any proposed
| norm, following to majority vote in case there is no consensus in the CT and
| if there is a strong opposition to submit any norm. *

How the Game is Played: INCITS V1 Narrowly Votes Down OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| As significantly, Rob reports that a very dramatic increase in the membership
| of V1 was observed in the months leading up to the vote – most of whom were
| coincidentally were representatives of Microsoft business partners, and the
| great majority of whom voted as a block in favor of advancing the
| specification in a manner that would permit, and against any vote that would
| prevent, final approval as an ISO/IEC standard. * * *

Sock Puppets to VoteSock Puppets to Vote on Monopoly Enablement in Colombia?

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft sets the deck of card and ensures that (at least) 9 of out 14
| chairs in the technical committee are also in its pocket.

Microsoft is Outmuscling OOXML Opposition in Spain

,----[ Quote ]
| The Andalusian Government has reported recently the manipulation of Microsoft
| in the National Technical Committee 71 of AENOR. On July 10th, just the day
| before the one and only meeting of AENOR to study DIS 29500 and vote on it,
| Microsoft announced officially (via the secretary of the Committee) that that
| Andalusian Government and several other Spanish public entities were asking
| for the approval of ISO DIS 29500 (what finally resulted all a fake!). * *

Packing The Court At The ISO?

,----[ Quote ]
| * * *...P member countries ('participating member' countries) sending
| * * representatives, and I am interested to note the majority of
| * * their representatives are, as individuals, also Microsoft employees.
| [...]
| How can they not see that OOXML (ECMA 376) is unwanted by anyone outside of
| Microsoft? How about it Brian Jones? Are you really so desperate that you
| have to resort to that?

OOXML Fails to Gain Approval in US

,----[ Quote ]
| On Friday July 13th, INCITS V1 met via teleconference for 3 hours but failed
| to reach a 2/3 consensus necessary to recommend an "Approval, with comments"
| position on Microsoft "Office Open XML" (OOXML) document specification. *

Guest Commentary: The converter hoax

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft maintains that while it would have been easy to support the Open
| Document Format (ODF) natively, it had to move to MS-OOXML because this was
| the only way for them to offer the full features of its office suite. But if
| Microsoft itself is not able to represent its internal data structures in the
| Open Document Format (ODF) in its Microsoft Office suite, how could an
| external conversion program from MS-OOXML accomplish this task? The answer to
| both questions is that it is not possible because two things cannot be the
| same and different at the same time. * * *