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ISO Calls For OOXML Ceasefire

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.

Software 312

In response to the continued attacks on Microsoft's OOXML standard, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has called for a ceasefire. "Last week the ISO committee in charge of document standards, SC 34, met in Oslo to discuss the way forward for OOXML and ODF. The plenary session was marked by protests outside, largely carried out by delegates from a nearby open-source conference. The protesters were calling for OOXML to be withdrawn from ISO standardization -- something that could theoretically happen if a national standards body were to protest against its own vote within the next month or two."

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Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065780)

We the undersigned wish to make it clear that the ISO fucked up and should never have made OOXML a standard, and that we will continue to attack ISO until it is revoked. Furthermore, we believe that this is for the ISO's own good, because allowing this result of obvious corruption to remain can only harm ISO's credibility as a standards organization. We also wish to remind the ISO that these so-called "personal attacks" have only become necessary in the first place because our technical objections have been entirely ignored. Finally, we note that the resolution to create working groups to maintain OOXML and "harmonize" it with ODF was stupid, because neither group would be necessary in the first place if the redundant, conflicting, and poorly-designed OOXML hadn't been approved in the first place!

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (4, Funny)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065918)

Withdrawing OOOXML is not the only option... In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066050)

No, "turning it into a reasonable standard" is stupid regardless, because we already have a reasonable standard -- namely, ODF -- and don't need a different one. Moreover, the fact that the current version of OOXML is ISO-approved means that Microsoft can claim compliance with this version regardless of what happen to the next one, which is bad because then governments and such would continue to use the current, flawed, unimplmentable-by-third-parties version and we would have no recourse.

Option #1. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066336)

No, "turning it into a reasonable standard" is stupid regardless, because we already have a reasonable standard -- namely, ODF -- and don't need a different one.
Why wasn't it a "reasonable standard" when it was SUBMITTED?

WTF is ISO playing at when they take something that CANNOT be said to be a "reasonable standard" and still APPROVE it as an ISO Standard?

Fuck that! ISO is supposed to approve STANDARDS. Not approve crap and then try to turn it into a "reasonable standard".

ISO sold out and is now trying to play the victim in this.

Re:Option #1. (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066804)

Because of the fast track process being misused, and then forced through by corruption.
The normal process is designed to develop a reasonable standard from something that's not already suitable, hence why it takes longer.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066854)

Oh, I don't think there is any rule that you can't have more standards than you need, although maybe that'd be a good rule to have, if you could make it stick.

But a standard is meaningless unless it is possible to determine whether you've complied with it or not. And for something like this, it should be possible to define a compliance test suite that everybody who wants to claim compliance has to pass. Sorry, "our product is the only compliant one because we're the only ones who knows what compliance means" doesn't cut the mustard.

If a neutral third party could not examine a product and determine that it is compliant, what you have isn't a standard, it's a brand dressing up like a standard.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067070)

Nah... phillips and flathead are both standard screwdrivers.

But really, you don't need flathead.

But anyone can make a phillips or flathead screw or screwdriver.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (4, Insightful)

wizkid (13692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066312)


"Withdrawing OOOXML is not the only option... In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory."

Yes, but the problem is that the 6000+ page OOXML is so riddled with problems that it would take years to clean it up. Also, Standards are supposed to be open. OOXML is dependent on proprietary technology. So anyone that tries to implement anything from this standard can be sued by $M. If you trust $M, then you deserve to be sued.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (5, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067026)

In theory, OOOXML could be turned into a reasonable standard so that is the other option. In theory.
In theory, evolutionary pressures could drive pigs to develop wings. In theory.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (5, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066004)

OOXML is no longer the primary problem. I say that for the time being, it should stand.

The greater concern for me is having ECMA stripped of its ability to push a standard through the fast-track process (Class A Liaison status, IIRC) and changing the fast-track process to be substantially less able to be abused, even if this means taking some or all of the "fast" out of "fast track".

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (-1, Flamebait)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066524)

Rewarding the abuser of a standard being pushed through abuse and bullying by allowing their standard to stand is the equivalent of saying a rapist should be punished but don't abort his baby. Mind you this metaphor is severe but an act of malice and depravity should not be rewarded by raising the spawn of such an act. We should abort this 'standard' before it matures and becomes something more evil.

Re:OT - What? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066686)

the equivalent of saying a rapist should be punished but don't abort his baby
That was a really poor example - for to be any kind of parallel, it would have to be predicated on the assumption that the /purpose/ of rape is impregnation.

"signed" (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066366)

ISO got gamed, ganked and pwned. At this point, Microsoft are teabagging their corpse [wikipedia.org] .

What ISO need to do right now is to grow a pair and admit that they're gagging on sweaty Ballmer-balls, rather than putting their fingers in their ears and going "La la la, the process is perfect, la la la, there's nothing wrong."

I doubt you'd find any unbiased informed observer that believes them, although I'm sure you'd find a few who would happily say that in return for a free upgrade of their corporate Office installs. The emperor has no clothes, no matter how many procedural boxes they tick off to try to hide their ding-a-ling dangling in the wind.

Re:"signed" (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067032)

Wikipedia has an article on teabagging?
do not want to believe!

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (2, Insightful)

Akita24 (1080779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066376)

Exactly. Dear ISO, if you hadn't become a corrupt, greedy bunch of bought-and-paid-for assclowns nobody would be making personal attacks. Act like an asshole get treated like one. For what M$ paid you you should just STFU and go live on a tropical beach somewhere. You want the money AND your reputation back? I don't f'ing think so.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (4, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067080)

It was the meeting of SC34 and a text from SC34, not ISO.
SC34 is totally controlled by Microsoft. And it invited ECMA to the group!
SC34 will play a role in the maintenance regime for OOXML and they announced to corrupt ODF.
Outside the SC34, the Norwegian committee took the streets.

Re:Slashdot calls for ISO cessation of stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066708)

Stop whining!

Replace them (3, Informative)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066818)

ISO is just digging themselves into a deeper hole. Any chance they had of redeeming themselves as a standards body was lost when the joke of OOXML was "approved". They are no longer a reputable standards body, they are just yet another bureaucratic bought and paid for rubber stamp. They will find that their "standards" no longer have any meaning in the real world...in fact they are being replaced as we speak. The official launch hasn't happened yet (but coming very soon): http://www.certifiedopen.com/ [certifiedopen.com]

Way forward on ODF? (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065852)

Why is that even an issue? ODF passed, it's a clear and well-defined standard that nobody has a problem with and nobody had to be bribed to support.

The only issue is that cluster-fuck of submarine proprietary technology posing as an open standard called OOXML.

Keep OOXML, or reject that POS like they should have to begin with, the only effect that has on ODF is in the purchasing decisions that may be swayed by MS also having a "standard".

Re:Way forward on ODF? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066230)

That is the major effect though. I think that most unbiased observers would conclude that Microsoft's main goal in having OOXML rushed through is to allow .govs to tick the box that allows them to keep purchasing Microsoft Office. I have no faith that Microsoft will adhere to OOXML in letter or spirit, and in fact that having it 'controlled' by ISO makes this even less likely. Microsoft will not approach ISO to have new features included, they'll just binary-blob them in.

I say this as someone whose job it is to implement editors for previous (binary) versions of Office formats. The (new) guys working on our OOXML version are super stoked because (they say) it's much clearer. Sure, I tell them, but wait until Office >=2009 starts saving out documents with big embedded proprietary binary blobs. They'll still be OOXML 'compliant', for all the good that'll do us.

Re:Way forward on ODF? (4, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067022)

I think that most unbiased observers would conclude that Microsoft's main goal in having OOXML rushed through is to allow .govs to tick the box that allows them to keep purchasing Microsoft Office.
That was quite obviously their goal. I think the next move, then, ought to be for the free world to very clearly document exactly where and how Microsoft Office 2007 is not a compliant implementation of ISO OOXML and therefore must be disqualified from any bids that specify its use.

Formulas in spreadsheets (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066286)

ODF passed, it's a clear and well-defined standard
ODF passed without a spec for basic spreadsheet formulas. OOXML has one, albeit flawed in some respects.

Re:Formulas in spreadsheets (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066462)

Well, IMO it is much, much easier to add whatever is missing than having to fix an existing specification, for the simple fact that changing things means either
1) completely drop support for any document created before or
2) add a special case each time you change something, making an even more complete mess out of things.

Admittedly, since ODF is already in use it might have this problem a bit too, but not in the massive degree as OOXML seems to.

Re:Formulas in spreadsheets (4, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066486)

ODF certainly has its flaws, but:

(1) ODF wasn't rammed through a "fast track" process against the wishes of many committee members, unlike OOXML, and

(2) ODF can actually be implemented by third parties as written. Good luck doing that with OOXML...

Re:Formulas in spreadsheets (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066676)

One format passed without specifying a feature that may be useful, while the other passed with ambiguous, unimplementable or outright secret specifications. There is nothing strange about having a standardized format that doesn't specify everything you might want it to, what is strange is having a format which specifies things in an ambiguous, broken, and unimplementable manner.

To use a bad car analogy, if I made a spec for a car without specifying the color, that wouldn't be the end of the world. If, on the other hand, my spec said "The car should have this particular color, but I won't tell you what it looks like nor how to make it, but it has to be identical to this paint sample I have in my basement, and which present law prohibits you from reverse engineering" then the spec has a rather serious problem. OOXMl effectively does the latter.

Re:Formulas in spreadsheets (3, Insightful)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066696)

ODF passed without a spec for basic spreadsheet formulas. OOXML has one, albeit flawed in some respects.

In OpenDocument's defence, the OpenDocument committee stated that "A comment was submitted concerning the (inclusion) of a grammar for spreadsheet formulas which conforming implementations should support. While we think that having interoperability on that level would be of great benefit to users, we do not believe [sic] that this is in the scope of the current specification".

I disagree with the above excuse, but OpenFormula [wikipedia.org] is being worked on, and will fix the problem. Approving a totally different and incompatible standard just makes the problem worse.

Re:Way forward on ODF? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066752)

ISO certification means that Microsoft Word is just as open as ODF or ASCII for purposes of government and business contracts.

If you continue to have to submit resumes in "Microsoft Word Format," there is no way that anyone else can get a toehold in the market. There is also no way that in 30 years we're going to be able to read the documents that we generate today.

what is a one-sided cease fire? (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065864)

A cease fire is when both sides agree to stop shooting. So is ISO saying they will agree to stop attacking us? I didn't even notice ISO was attacking me.

Re:what is a one-sided cease fire? (4, Informative)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065938)

Blame the /. editor. In the linked article the word "cease" is used once, and it isn't followed by "fire."

ISO f$cked up, and can't stand the heat ... (4, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065896)

In response to the continued attacks on Microsoft's OOXML standard, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has called for a ceasefire.

They deserve to be taken to the woodshed for a good spanking.

The ONLY ones who will benefit from a "cease-fire" are the ones who have the criticism coming to them. Let them admit they screwed up, that the processes behind their handling of MSOOXML are fatally flawed, and that a redo is necessary to preserve^Wrestore the integrity of ISO.

An easier route is this one (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065898)

In my opinion, an easier way to counter this Microsoft OOXML standard is to urge respective governments to avoid it and not to touch it even with a 10 foot pole. That way, alternative formats will take route. Isn't this easier?

Re:An easier route is this one (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065966)

an easier way to counter this Microsoft OOXML standard is to urge respective governments to avoid it
this nonsense should have been stopped at the vote, the fact we even need to convince governments that this "standard" is nothing of the sort is troubling. Not the least of which because the same corruption likely exists in goverments themselves.

Re:An easier route is this one (2, Insightful)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066128)

Yes, it is, however it won't work. The fact that it got the title "standard" will be used by Microsoft as a battering ram, and there won't always be someone with any sense around. Just look at voting machines. People in governments keep buying them, even from manufacturers who had been completely discredited. There now has to be a black mark on this thing so huge that Microsoft won't risk bringing it up.

Re:An easier route is this one (1)

theapeman (1068448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066142)

Why not urge governments to require all documents to be delivered in either ODF or OOXML? And by OOXML I dont mean 'microsoft office 2007 format'. Any document ought to be validated by an (open-source) validation program. So no proprietary extensions are allowed - just what is written in the standard.

Re:An easier route is this one (2, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066352)

Would not work.

It requires MS to follow a standard.
MS will not follow a standard that they do not control.(and change every 2 years)

Best case: they would ship a "ISO compliant" version of Office 2007 that would need patches to work. The patches would fix thins but make it write non-ISO OOXML files.

Guerrilla warfare (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065914)

Screw the Ceasefire, time to employ Guerrilla Warfare [slashdot.org]

Re:Guerrilla warfare (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066268)

Why is there a call for a cease-fire, anyway? Are Microsoft employees strapping dynamite on themselves and blowing up people at ISO meetings? I can just see a MS code monkey shouting "Ballmer is Great!" before blowing himself and twenty others to smithereens.

Re:Guerrilla warfare (4, Funny)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066508)

Are Microsoft employees strapping dynamite on themselves and blowing up people at ISO meetings? I can just see a MS code monkey shouting "Ballmer is Great!" before blowing himself and twenty others to smithereens.


Fortunately they are able to apprehend them before the bombs go off because of the popup on their Windows Vista powered detonators, "Blow yourself up in a useless display of Microsoft loyalty, allow or deny?"

only pussie call cease-fire (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23065934)

And leave it to the swiss to call cease-fire

What's the ISO standard for Irony? (5, Insightful)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065946)

We believe standards debate should always be carried out with respect for all parties, even when they strongly disagree.
How exactly does fast-tracking a 6,000 page standard, then allowing less than a week to debate 1,100 [consortiuminfo.org] different comments show respect for all parties?

Re:What's the ISO standard for Irony? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23067012)

At the risk of missing the point of your posting:

ISO doesn't stand for anything - it isn't an acronym; it's the Greek word for "equal".

If it were an acronym it would doubtless be OSI because the French would insist on it.

Um no it won't stop (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065950)

the ISO is corrupted. MSFT fscked up the ISO and it is permanently damaged. Germany, Norway, Poland, and several other countries are looking into voting irregularities in the OOXML vote. For that fact alone the OOXML should have failed to pass pending the outcome of those investigations.

right now there are several MSFT P member countries that will no longer vote on anything because they are no longer being paid by MSFT to work with the ISO. These countries are deadlocking other standards and forcing them to fail because they refuse to vote on anything not OOXML. Those countries should have their votes discarded until they start attended and voting on things other than OOXML.

So why should the attacks stop? Has the corruption stopped yet?

Re:Um no it won't stop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066588)

> Those countries should have their votes discarded until they start attended and voting on things other than OOXML.

On online gaming servers cheaters get kicked and IP-banned. Why should the ISO be any different?

Revoke their membership and never let them join again. That's the answer.

Re:Um no it won't stop (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066650)

Well said.  If I had my mod points...

GOD calls for corepirate nazi disempowerment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23065956)

it's all right in the manual. the next 'chapter' could be kind of scary for some. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
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is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

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dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

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the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

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meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

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& pretending that it isn't happening here;

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Re:GOD calls for corepirate nazi disempowerment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066078)

You so crazy.

Location, Location, Location (2, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065958)

The plenary session was marked by protests outside, largely carried out by delegates from a nearby open-source conference.
Timing + location = success in anything right?

I suspect that... (-1, Offtopic)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065982)

...even had Microsoft done everything right the first time that there would be people complaining. It is, after all, Microsoft.

Re:I suspect that... (2, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066114)

You are either woefully ignorant of MS' business history or you have a check in you back pocket with Bill's signature.

MS has done a few things for the greater good but this action is one that will destroy MS' reputation in Joe users' mind when it get out to mainstream news.

Re:I suspect that... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066260)

MS has done a few things for the greater good but this action is one that will destroy MS' reputation in Joe users' mind when it get out to mainstream news.

Sadly, I think you underestimate the apathy of the public over this stuff.

Joe user will hear the words "ISO Standard", "voting" and decide they neither know nor care WTF this is all about. The mainstream news will know this, and won't both reporting it.

Us in tech will find yet another reason to loathe Microsoft and their business practices, but to the average user, they simply will not care about this. You can't easily make this an issue people will understand why they should care about. It's so far off their radar as to be non-existent.

Cheers

Re:I suspect that... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066134)

"Doing everything right the first time" in this context means adopting ODF, not pushing forward your own clusterfuck of a "standard".

Re:I suspect that... (2, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066206)

Something insanely witty and funny that makes everyone think I'm smart.


No, what you just wrote does not make you seem witty, funny or smart. People are seriously concerned about OOXML, and someone here just takes potty shots? If you don't know what the issues are about, go find out before shooting off your keyboard.

Re:I suspect that... (1)

void* (20133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066222)

While probably true, it does not obviate the fact that they most certainly did many wrong things while trying to push through a "standard".

The fact that some will complain no matter what you do doesn't give you the right to do wrong.

Re:I suspect that... (-1, Flamebait)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066232)

Absolutely true, the fight between ODF and OOXML is entirely ideological.

The Open Source industry doesn't want a closed-source competitor to be approved as a document standard, pure and simple..

Re:I suspect that... (2, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066338)

Lets see,

number of companies that can make a format that works with ODF (aka compete): infinite

number of companies that can make a format that works with OOXML (aka compete): 0.

Let alone global trade rules that having overlap in standards doesn't allow, this will not pass over smoothly or easily.

So how much does MS pay you? I admit I'd take the cash too but I'd openly admit that I am, if that were the case.

Re:I suspect that... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066382)

ideology has nothing to do with it.

Nobody but MS can implement this standard.

Re:I suspect that... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066388)

If OOXML was a clean standard that could be implenmented freely then i woud stop complaining about it.

unfortunately it isn't. It is patent encumbered, limited, and reverse engineering the sections that say do like word 95, or keep dates like lotus123 version 2, is a problem.

From the standard alone you should be able to recreate an OOXML document. but it is impossible to fully implement.

to clean up OOXML to make it so that other developers can use it will take more work than simply using ODF, or even upgrading ODF to support new features will.

Appeals (3, Interesting)

firefly4f4 (1233902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23065998)

The protesters were calling for OOXML to be withdrawn from ISO standardization -- something that could theoretically happen if a national standards body were to protest against its own vote within the next month or two.

Does this mean that Norway and Great Britain haven't submitted their appeals yet? I believe both technical committees stated they would appeal. Does anyone know the status of them?

I don't see a problem here. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066016)

Okay, let's assume that OOXML gains ISO certification as an open, freely available standard. Sure, now governments and other organizations which demand IT standardization can consider OOXML. What sane entity will actually choose a standard with such a convoluted, incomprehensible definition as OOXML?

Of course, I'm sure the US Government will select that standard - remember, I did ask, what sane entity would choose such a horrible standard.

This may put Microsoft back in the running with governmental and other organizations, but I see it rather like getting a plow horse qualified to run in a horse race. Okay, there may be some profit in it for Microsoft, but even with ISO validation would you consider adopting a standard which even the author can neither explain nor understand? This pony'll go off at 99:1 every time, IMHO.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066160)

Sane? I refer you to the history with Diebold and voting machines. Sane (or not stupid, or not looking for an excuse) is not that common.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (3, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066180)

The problem here is that if the MS-OOXML standard is kept, it confirms that the ISO is no longer relevant.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066196)

It's not about adopting a standard, it's about everyone taking the path of least resistance and continuing to use MS-Office. Microsoft couldn't give a damn about anyone else actually making a rigorous implementation of OOXML, and in fact, has stacked the deck against it. Yes, we'll have some sort of OOXML support in OpenOffice and KOffice, but because these guys are still going to be forced to reverse engineer everything to make it work, and will always be a few steps behind Microsoft, which has demonstrated over the years that it has no problems breaking standards, even ones it advocates. Worse, there's still the patent bombs, so that anyone reverse engineering the proprietary hooks put into the OOXML standard better be goddamned sure they're not using any of Microsoft's officially sanctioned protocol and format releases.

The only hope anyone has right now is that the EU keeps the gun to Microsoft's head. The US DoJ seems to have little or no interest in this sort of thing now, so no one can expect any support from Washington.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (2, Interesting)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066252)

Why in hell do you think Microsoft went to the expense of trying to get OOXML approved? Because it is now a checkbox they can tick off. It is "an open standard".

Your HO does not reflect reality.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066276)

Horse and pony analogies?

Get with the times and technology, /. is all about the car analogies....

Re:I don't see a problem here. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066512)

They don't care about the format. OOXML may be 6000 pages long but ODF is 860, and nobody is going to read that either. The bureaucrat will just choose the a package that says it's ISO compliant. And actually - they should. The ISO is meant to save organisations from costly requirements analysis and provide them with a ready made and tested solution.

Although if they go for OOXML, they will both comply with ISO standards, and violate them at the same time.

Re:I don't see a problem here. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066746)

What sane entity will actually choose a standard with such a convoluted, incomprehensible definition as OOXML?
your prediction rests on the assumption that "governments"="sane entities". i see minimal evidence to support this assumption.

even though my country (canada) voted against it, i'll still remain wary on this front.

Cart before the Horse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066040)

From the Article:

"Another ad hoc group will also become operational in three months' time, collecting reports of "possible editorial or technical defects" in OOXML from national standards bodies, "liaison organisations" and the general public."

Shouldn't they have done that BEFORE making it a "standard"?

Re:Cart before the Horse (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066282)

This is as close to tacit admission that the ISO was undermined as we're ever going to get. To my mind, the simplest way to fix this in the future, at least for formats and protocols, is to require a minimum of two completely independent and cross-compatible implementations before it ever goes to a vote. If that was the case, OOXML would never have made it, because there's not even one (Office 2007 OOXML is not a full implementation of OOXML).

Re:Cart before the Horse (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23067086)

Valued Microsoft Customers,

We'd like to introduce you to our newest business partner, Softmicro!

Softmicro creates and distributes the Softmicro Office software suite; very similar in many respects to the Microsoft Office software suite.

Having partnered with Microsoft, and after a long period of testing these two completely independent Office suites, we have determined that they are 100% cross-compatible.

Microsoft and Softmicro have also reached an agreement to support each other in both marketing efforts and customer support. In fact, we hope that you find Micrsoft and Softmicro to be indistinguishable from one another.

Thank you,

Bill Gates

If they throw out the standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066162)

If they throw out OOXML as a standard, does that mean all those people have to give Microsoft back all that money?

Re:If they throw out the standard (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066228)

The bribees did what they were paid for: vote for MS'OOXML.

So... NO!

This seems pretty backwards (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066164)

Why would they cause a ceasefire if people are concerned? Instead, shouldn't they encourage people to voice their opinions and let them know that they're hearing them? They're a standards organization that affects the world, isn't this stuff important?

Re:This seems pretty backwards (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066262)

Read the article. What is being described is personal attacks. They encourage them to voice their opinions, just not to engage in personal attacks, which apparently they were doing.

Re:This seems pretty backwards (3, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066502)

It is a "personal attack" to question someone's integrity, in this case, however, they deserve what they get.

If they don't want to be called a microsoft lackey or corrupt, then they should have thought about that before hand.

Sorry, they can't whine just because people are exposing their corruption. Sucks to be them, but they brought it on themselves.

Re:This seems pretty backwards (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066572)

But personal attacks are heard. The same can't be said about technical arguments.

SC29 has been a villain for quite some time. (5, Informative)

Compenguin (175952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066202)

I know the Slashdot crowd didn't start caring about ISO until OOXML hit SC34 but I have other issues with ISO. SC29/WG11 (More commonly known as MPEG) is notoriously closed off. All their proposed work for consideration is closed off from public scrutiny until after it has been accepted and published. Reference software updates are only made available to committee members while the rest of us have to wait for a version to be signed off as a Corrigendum/Addendum and then sit for a year as all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed in the general body (why can't non controversial reference software bugfixes get fast-tracked the same way OOXML was?). When people come to MPEG industry forum technical list (Mp4-tech) for clarification they are often referred secret documents and reference software that they have no way of getting. Furthermore their document interchange format is .doc not ODF or OOXML.

Re:SC29 has been a villain for quite some time. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066384)

The upshot is that all of the noise and smoke and confusion about the process will help increase awareness of what the ISO and allied 'standards body' agencies do, and what their process and impacts are to members and non-members. For too long, many people have been in the dark about what the ISO, IEEE, and other bodies represent. It's a good thing to shed light on it and perhaps open the processes to more involvement and scrutiny from non-vendor sources.

"Personal Attacks?" (4, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066358)

The ISO process to fast track and/or approve OOXML has been fought hard by technical people on the basis of technical deficiencies.

OOXML is *NOT* worthy of ISO approval. Any rational review of the "standard," will show that it is incomplete, non-specific, and completely worthless as a blue print on how to implement a document reader for a document.

How this got approved is clearly worth a corruption investigation. It calls into question the integrity of the people and organization that approved it.

It is nothing less than an attempt to eliminate the ability to share documents without paying Microsoft and maintain Microsoft's monopoly. The very thing the ISO standard is supposed to fight. It is criminal that these bastards have subverted the standards process as they did.

Calling for the end of "Personal attacks" is nothing more than saying "fuck you." Public statements questioning the motives and integrity of these people is the only ration course of action given what they have done. They deserve every last bit of it. Jailtime if we can find a law to fit the crime.

seems like a pretty big outrage to me (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066492)

There's insults and then there's insults. There's outrages and then there's outrages. It's like the moment in a grade school hallway where you don't even see it and there's a sense something has happened, a thrill rippling through the crowd of kids. A circle forms and there's two antagonists. You know that someone has done something, something big, something that cannot be shrugged off. Either the injured party must stand up and fight, even in the face of a serious thrashing, or he must submit and be labeled a bitch. Depending on the stature of the injured party, accepting bitch status can cement the bully's prestige and make all other resistance seem futile while even a lost fight can stiffen the resolve of the other kids and make them refuse to back down.

That's all this shit boils down to really, schoolyard power struggles. The only difference, when Microsoft is playing for all the marbles, they're going to take a hell of a lot more than just your marbles if they win.

So, is this the offense that sparks the rebellion or will it be accepted without complaint, confirming Microsoft's ability to do whatever the hell they want for there shall be no consequences?

Say What? (1)

Akita24 (1080779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066522)

You want to take the bribe AND keep your reputation? Methinks not. That's like wanting the great sex AND keep your virginity. Ain't gonna happen. Take you big fat bribe and go choke on an umbrella drink somewhere and STFU.

How to write to the ISO? (1)

kurisuto (165784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066534)

In terms of constructive action: I'd like to write to the ISO regarding my views on this matter, urging that the matter be reconsidered.

Does anyone have the contact information for the appropriate body at the ISO?

OOXML Ceasefire? Not really... (3, Insightful)

walter_f (889353) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066546)

In the contrary. It's no longer about just OOXML.

In addition to targeting OOXML, we ought to start targeting the ISO as a whole.

This organization, theoretically being in charge for the Standardization of a thousand matters, has knowingly let its own standards drop to an abysmal low level.

It is time now to question the qualification of the ISO as such severely and, possibly, get rid of it, replacing it by an impartial and responsible institution.

If you can't take the heat... (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066652)

then get out of the kitchen. ISO needs nerds with spines.

ISO created their own mess that allowed the vote to be packed for OOXML. Now, they can suffer for their stupidity and lack of foresight.

In any case, the call for a cease fire should energize those that are making ISO sweat. It is obviously working and exposing the fact that ISO can be bought.

The only place for ISO now is history as they have allowed MS to soil their reputation. No one can trust them to do the right thing. Once a dog bites a person, we destroy it because it has demonstrated the propensity to attack a human. ISO has exposed its political side and there is no reason to not think that ISO will not be hijacked in the future.

Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (0, Troll)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066654)

Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed...

There is no document standard that properly handles advanced properties and content.

I will again, mention one TINY item that ODF skips and ONLY OOXML supports completely, and it is INK.

I know everyone here seems to 'know it all' but there are billions of dollars in the medical industry that have applications built on INK technology and data. What happens to all these documents, and the exchange of these documents if INK is not preserved?

We could demand all government to not use OOXML, but when medical information that contains INK technology is submited to the government, the data will be lost or reduced to an image at best.

And the medical industry is just one example, although one of the biggest adopters of handwritten and Ink technologies.

So if we demand our governments to not use OOXML, or we demand that OOXML is killed, do you really feel comfortable with the medical industry having to convert and destroy the Ink format? There are billions of documents with Ink technology used in them, and this includes everything from Doctor's notes, to even signature authorizations.

I can't believe that SlashDot readers hate MS so much they are willing to kill technology and destroy technology in use. Is this really in YOUR best interest?

Just to clarify Ink for people. It is NOT just an image, Ink contains a lot of data from the stokes, direction, speed, pressure, as well as the textual equivalent of the Ink written. Which all would be lost when trying to convert it to an Image. Additionally, the 'richness' of Ink technology is why Microsoft TabletPCs and Vista with built in Ink support is important for industries like medical, as well as why it works so well.

You can even do Ink in web pages, but yet everyone here wants to shove this technology in the can so we can rally around a format that has no knowledge of Ink? How can people really justify this?

Microsoft research has put more money and time in making Ink work and work well by staying in native 'Ink' formats and working like existing words, as well as holding the Ink data even when converting the handwriting to text.

As for people that thinks Ink sucks or is a toy technology, go to YouTube and search for Ink, there are several demonstrations of MS Ink technology and even some comparisons of how well it works even for unreadable handwriting because it uses the stokes, pressure, to determine the word instead of the image the Ink produces.

(And if anyone wants to go 'Apple has Ink', also look at the YouTube videos of how Apple's Ink technology works in comparison to MS's technology. Apple's Ink uses an Image format and Image based recognition, and will never touch the recognition levels of MS's technology until they also handle Ink like MS's technology does.)

With my little argument of how important Ink is and a format to hold Ink is, do you really think just based on Ink, that we throw out all the Ink format just because we are paranoid or hate MS?

Now what if we up the conversation of other media formats supported and contained in OOXML, like sound notes (with textual recognition) to advanced animation or Video formats that OOXML provides support for. Then what about advanced engineering math and functions OOXML supports, that a large portion of many industries use and rely on?

In contrast ODF doesn't even touch 50% of today's document technologies, let alone have native support for upcoming and future technologies. OOXML not only defines today's document technologies, but has built in support for emergining technologies and has detailed specifications for adding new technologies in the future that are far more elegant than a reference point and freaking Zip file with the content like you get with ODF.

If you kill OOXML, you will cripple the medical industry at the very least, besides sending other industries back to the early 90s in terms of document features. Scientists and engineers will love having to go back to creating formulas and equations in non-natural formats or rasterize them in their documents. BRILLIANT, AYE?

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066798)

So, to save an INK file, you need to place it into a OOXML container?
If ODF were to add INK support, would they need to repeat all the related specification from OOXML? (assuming it's not patent-encumbered)
Instead of approving a flawed "standard", why not open the INK format, so it can be used everywhere?

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (2, Informative)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066866)

Absolutely sounds like a well paid Microsoft Info-mercial. ODF actually allows groups to submit their proposals for well defined extensions / additions. One standard for all document types is what is needed. (Not one wolf-in-standards clothing)

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066914)

Okay I don't know everything. However, why do we want another document format? Surely it would make more sense to incorporate the OOXML INK components to ODF. It's XML. Adding extra features is easy. Changing existing features is not easy.

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066932)

Scientists and engineers will love having to go back to creating formulas and equations in non-natural formats or rasterize them in their documents. BRILLIANT, AYE?
Actually scientists use LaTeX for formulas since it beats Office by far.

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (3, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067014)

I work in health care technology and I have never heard of the INK standard. (A quick search shows that Google has never heard of it either...).

I call shenanigans. This may exist as some proprietary obscure standard (and it probably deserves to die).

Re:Fun to Hate MS, but OOXML is needed... (1)

firefly4f4 (1233902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067038)

If that's actually a concern, why not just work to add that support to ODF instead of ramming through yet another format?

Any argument in support of "OOXML has this feature, ODF doesn't" has to start with why not just work to improve the current format first.

XML is eXtensible by name and by function, and therefore any standard based on XML is also extensible. You do not need two overlapping standards here -- you simply work to add what's missing to the existing one, just as OASIS is adding spreadsheet formulas to ODF (1.2 is due for ISO submission later this year, I believe).

Disclaimer: I work for IBM. This post and it's contents are my own thoughts.

No way!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066694)

Why should we cease fire?
It was W.R.O.N.G. to add another standard when the ISO already approved ODF. ISO had the once in a lifetime chanceto do something for humanity...but instead they F.U.C.K.E.D. up and let the money overrule them.

We will stop when:
1) OOXML's standardization is revoked
2) When the ISO C.H.A.N.G.E.S their process to make sure this never, and ever happens again.

We must prevail

Re:No way!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23066832)

Putting P.E.R.I.O.D.S. in your comments does not make you look smarter, contrary to your apparent B.E.L.I.E.F

How can both exist? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066702)

Forgetting for awhile the obvious play on words when naming OOXML. How can both OOXML and ODF exist? They seem to be analogous to two trees planted in the same area, competing for resources. OOXML, coming from Microsoft, regardless of its flaws, has quite a head start and will simply kill off ODF. It isn't as if they both start on the same footing and so the better standard would win.

The time for a ceasefire (0, Offtopic)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066776)

Is when it is dead!

I agree. Refrain from personal attacks (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066780)

So, what personal attacks are there? Can someone point to an example? Certainly, many think that the ISO is broken, Microsoft is corrupt, and suspect that there was some serious fraud happening at some level but none of these are personal attacks. They're legitimate complaints about major organisations. So who is this person being attacked?

Re:I agree. Refrain from personal attacks (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23067054)

You're right: there aren't any personal attacks here. This isn't about Microsoft, it's about the process. The easy manipulability of ISO's standards voting process is now open to scrutiny. This plea represents their shock that so many people were paying attention.

Personally I think Office Open XML becoming Open XML could lead to good things, assuming the standards body improves it over time and that we can get Microsoft to implement it faithfully. (I know, I know: big assumption.) But optimism aside, there's nothing wrong with criticizing the process and conducting an investigation into it. That concern goes way beyond Microsoft. So let's keep shining the light of accountability on this fiasco. If they're a genuine, open standards body they should welcome this.

Government requirements to use open standards (1)

kurisuto (165784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066890)

Here is what I see as the real issue.

Many jurisdictions are adopting regulations that documents be stored in open-standard formats. There are multiple reasons for this, including the long-term archival accessibility of the data.

This was obviously threatening to Microsoft. It would be difficult on technical grounds to map between Microsoft's internal formats and a true open standard such as ODF. If Microsoft's products can't read and write in true open standard formats, then government bodies have no choice but to use a non-Microsoft product to comply with the open-standards requirement, which means lost sales for Microsoft.

By forcing thru their proprietary format as a "standard", Microsoft can now truthfully state that their file formats satisfy the legal requirement for government documents to be stored in open-standard formats.

Very clever indeed.

From the ISO website... (3, Interesting)

SendBot (29932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23066944)

I posted this comment on an earlier story. I looked at the iso website here [iso.org] and found this little gem:

Standards ensure desirable characteristics of products and services such as quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability - and at an economical cost.

When products and services meet our expectations, we tend to take this for granted and be unaware of the role of standards. However, when standards are absent, we soon notice. We soon care when products turn out to be of poor quality, do not fit, are incompatible with equipment that we already have, are unreliable or dangerous.

When products, systems, machinery and devices work well and safely, it is often because they meet standards. And the organization responsible for many thousands of the standards which benefit the world is ISO.
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