The AFNOR Affair: Interview with Frédéric Couchet, Ex. Dir. APRIL, on OOXML in

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| Frédéric Couchet: ISO standards were traditionally the result of compromise
| between competing players. With OOXML, Microsoft obtained a standard which
| none of its competitors had adopted. The first ISO standard in this area,
| Open Document Architecture (ODA, ISO 8613) was never applied. The second
| standard, OpenDocument Format (ODF, ISO/IEC 26300), was applied but never
| accepted by Microsoft. The third standard, OOXML (ISO/IEC 29500), can help
| Microsoft commercially with governments but brings nothing to the market in
| terms of convergence between competing software products, and thus has no
| added value as a standard.


New OOXML Scandal - A Leaked Email Surfaces in France

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| Le Monde Informatique and LeMagIT are reporting on a leaked email from Marc
| Meyer of the French government agency, DGME, which urges that OOXML be
| quickly added to the official list of formats that can be used by government
| entities, a document titled RGI, and then the finalized v1.0 of RGI be
| quickly published, in effect locking in OOXML, before the appeals process is
| completed. The email and the media reports indicate that the RGI was put on a
| back burner last October, when ODF was already on the list, and now,
| immediately after OOXML is approved, albeit controversially, by ISO but
| before the appeals process is complete, not to mention the format, Meyer
| urges it quickly be added to the list of acceptable formats, hence making it
| hard to remove OOXML from the list later, as a fait accompli. * * * * *
| Worse, the email indicates that work on the document was brought to a crawl
| to wait for ISO approval of OOXML. ODF was already on the list when work on
| RGI was brought to a standstill last October. There were suspicions that the
| slowdown was deliberate, and the email is giving legs to those suspicions. *
| It seems that politics has reared its ugly head, and just as happened in
| Masschusetts, questions are now being asked about behind-the-scenes Microsoft
| pressure. *


Sarkozy intervenes in France to revert the OOXML position

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| Confidential sources say that President Sarkozy has intervened himself in the
| French position on Microsoft OOXML, asking members of the committee to revert
| their position, and support an abstention. Our sources say he was approached
| by a lobbyist during his 3-days trip in England. The intervention has been
| made on Friday. * *

The France Shift From No to Abstain -- HP helped Microsoft France do it

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| Here's the scoop from Les on France's sudden change from its No vote
| to Abstain. Microsoft France's President Eric Boustouller sent AFNOR a *
| letter [PDF] in French, of course. He tells a tale about OOXML and ODF
| progressing side by side and how if OOXML is approved, a group will be
| working hard to make the two more interoperable. Attached was a an HP
| statement of support for OOXML. HP sings the same song. And AFNOR? * *
| [...]
| Could it be any more cynical? So, now we know that HP is not supportive of
| Linux and FOSS as we thought. Knock me over with a feather. So, they got them
| to change on the basis of promises for the future. I'm sure there's more to
| the story, of course. *

Can AFNOR really change the OOXML vote to "abstain"?

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| Having participated within the responsible technical committee of the Swiss
| Association for Standardization and considering the decision-making process
| that has been used to be unsatisfactory, I find it interesting to look at how
| things have been handled in other countries, in order to see what can be
| learned from that. I plan to focus my attention in this regard on countries
| where the primary language is German, English or French, so that I will be
| able to understand any relevant documents which might become available to the
| public or personally to me. * * *

Microsoft's ISO win may worsen its antitrust woes

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| Microsoft may have won a year-long quest to make its OOXML (Office Open XML)
| document format an ISO-recognized international standard, but claims of foul
| play in the voting process may come back to haunt the software giant when the
| European Commission concludes its latest antitrust investigation of
| Microsoft's business practices. * *


France: "Non, avec des commentaires!"

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| Apparently, the French discussion on OOXML broke into something resembling a
| bar-fight.
| [...]
| Matters soon got out of hand: the shouting seems to have climaxed with the
| Microsoft representative insulting the management of AFNOR, members of the
| Defense Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and two
| members from the Industrial Ministry exclaiming that they were servants of a
| banana republic! * *