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Defending Openness in the European Union

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| Given that companies favouring closed-source, proprietary approaches can
| hardly argue with that logic, the battle has moved on. What we are seeing now
| is a desperate rearguard action to redefine “open standards” to embrace
| elements that are decidedly closed.
| The OOXML fiasco at ISO is perhaps the highest-profile manifestation of this,
| where a closed, proprietary standard was gradually made to seem open. Here,
| the “open standard” label represents simply a box that must be ticked to keep
| that pesky EU and its communistic member states happy, not a real Damascene
| conversion to fairness and a level playing-field.


EU holds firm on "open standard", US firms go ballistic

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| The EU Commission announced on June 25 that EIF/2.0 (The European
| Interoperability Framework which defines the rules for software used in
| e-Government) will hold the line as regards patents on standards.
| The announcement is expected to annoy those who wanted a "broad" definition
| of open standards that would include patented standards. As expected, the
| Business Software Alliance and the Association for Competitive Technology,
| both vocal in their defense of software patents and patented standards, have
| denounced the move as "imposing one business model over another".
| The move has also been described as "hurting small tech start-ups that rely
| on patent protection to survive". "Even programs like BlueTooth are
| excluded", says ManagingIP.



ISO Fantasy

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| What OOXML Is · The ISO process, brutal and corrupt as it was, has been
| * * * * * * * * ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
| covered to death by everyone. Its output, soon to be known as ISO/IEC 29500,
| differs from ECMA-376 in two ways. ¶
| [...]
| What Microsoft really wanted was that ISO stamp of approval to use as a
| marketing tool. And just like your mother told you, when they get what they
| want and have their way with you, they’re probably not gonna call you in the
| morning.


Computer experts stage street protest in Oslo against Microsoft document format
as standard

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| OSLO, Norway: Roughly 60 data experts staged a rare and noisy street
| demonstration in downtown Oslo on Wednesday to protest the adoption of
| Microsoft Corp.'s document format as an international standard and against
| Norway voting for the move.
| [...]
| He claimed the committee ignored the advice of the vast majority of the
| Nordic nation's software experts, was pressured by Microsoft and
| displayed "scandalous behavior."


OOXML triggers demonstration in Norway: "Let's throw OOXML out of ISO"


BE, NL: governments will not use ISO OOXML

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| Asked to comment on last week's ISO approval for OOXML, Fedict's chief IT
| architect, Peter Strickx, said: "There will have to be multiple
| implementations, in order for us not to become dependent on a single vendor.
| It will also have to be compatible with open standards that we already use,
| in this case Open Document Format ODF."


DE: German Foreign Ministry will not use ISO OOXML

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| In the weeks prior to the second round of votes last September,
| irregularities were reported in the standard committees in many participating
| countries. These claims *continued until after the final discussion, in
| February and March this year.
| The European Commission has started an investigation into the allegations.
| The Commission sent a letter to all EU national standards committees in
| Europe, requesting information about the process. Sources at the Commission
| declined to comment, as the investigation is on-going and no official
| position has yet been adopted.


Software wars

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| Allegations of committee-stuffing, the outcome of votes overridden by
| political appointees, a final decision that many involved consider tainted:
| this may sound like a discredited election in some third world country. But
| it is actually a description of an ugly fight over international technical
| standards that wrapped up this week. Microsoft came out on top, but at the
| cost of tarnishing its reputation and the credibility of an important
| back-room process that oils the wheels of many global industries.



Martin Bryan: we are getting “standardization by corporation”

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| A November informative report of Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34
| WG1 highlights the fallout of the ECMA-376 fast-track process for ISO. He
| says he is 'glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible'
| [...]
| In what is an astonishingly outspoken report, Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC
| JTC1/SC34 WG1 has given us insight into the total mess that Microsoft/ECMA
| have caused during their scandalous, underhand and unremitting attempts to
| get - what is a very poorly written specification {i.e. DIS 29500 aka OOXML,
| AR} - approved as an ISO standard. …


Dysfunctional ISO - Courtesy of Microsoft


Microsoft accused of stacking ISO committee

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| In a memo sent following his last meeting as head of the working group on
| WG1, which is handling Microsoft’s application to make the Word format an ISO
| standard as ECMA 376, outgoing Governor Martin Bryan (above), an expert on
| SGML and XML, accused the company of stacking his group.


EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push

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| I hope they think to investigate the smear campaigns that seem to always
| happen to anyone on the other side from Microsoft. What happened to Peter
| Quinn was by no means unique.


Protest in front of Town Hall for Document Freedom

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| The protest organized by FSUG and FCI seems to have attracted a lot of
| deserved attention, despite the hurried execution.


Techies protest proprietary standards; seek policy

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| Ever since the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) vote on April
| 2 adopted Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) as a document standard, techie
| blogs and websites have been inundated with posts and articles voicing their
| opposition to proprietary software and technical issues with the new
| standard.

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