[Fsfe-ie] Fwd: [ffii] FFII opposes Fasttrack adoption of Microsoft OOXML format as ISO standard

Malcolm Tyrrell malcoh0l at yahoo.ie
Mon Jan 29 13:28:04 CET 2007

Got this from news at ffii.org.



PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / ICT ]

FFII opposes Fasttrack adoption of Microsoft OOXML format as ISO

Brussels, 29 January 2006 -- The FFII has sent an open letter to all 
delegations of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to 
oppose with contradictions the "fast track" adoption of the Microsoft's

6000-page OOXML specification (ECMA-376) before the deadline of 
February, 5th. Microsoft's proposal damages the adoption of the
ISO 26300 standard (OpenDocument) that covers almost the same 
functionality in just 600 pages.

The FFII has several concerns with the proposed standard. OpenXML
on undisclosed patents, and undisclosed or incomplete licensing terms 
that make any independent reimplementation impossible or heavily risky.

It obliges implementors to reverse-engineer the behavior of old closed 
Microsoft applications and formats. It uses non-standard formats for 
languages and dates, and specifies known bugs, such as treating 1900 as

a leap year.

Benjamin Henrion, FFII analyst, explains: "Microsoft is pushing through

a overcomplex proposal in a very short time frame. The fast-track 
procedure was never intended for specifications of this size and 
artificial complexity. It seems clear that the pressure is on ISO to
look too closely at the many traps in OOXML, which include patent 
minefields that will allow Microsoft to strictly control who implements

this. Microsoft tried to introduce its patents into international 
standards before, resulting in the failure of an anti-spam standard."

Multiple associations, companies and bloggers who have looked at OOXML 
describe it as a "single vendor standard", since large parts of the 
standard simply refer to application behavior, not technical 
specifications. Examples include the option to enable "WordPerfect text


OOXML was produced in one year by Microsoft alone and ratified as 
ECMA-376 by ECMA, a private association that drafts standards on
It is via ECMA that Microsoft has been able to push for a fast-track 
procedure at ISO/IEC. By comparison, the Open Document Format ISO 
standard took 5 years of work through ISO/IEC and OASIS and counts with

multiple implementation covering all the main platforms (Symbian, 
Windows, Linux, Mac OS, BSDs and Solaris). In contrast, Microsoft's 
format has no any implementation in market currently, and in medium 
terms it is expected to cover only the Microsoft platform.

Alberto Barrionuevo, FFII Vice-President, concludes: "We ask all ISO 
delegations to cancel the fast-track procedure. It is simply impossible

to clarify all the issues and contradictions existing in ECMA-376
such a short fast-track time frame. Indeed, this standards-stuffing 
attempt undermines the entire credibility of the ISO/IEC process. If 
Microsoft can buy a single-vendor 'standard' with impunity, what is ISO



* FFII's Open Letter to ISO: Contradictions to ECMA-376 fast track 
process at ISO/IEC

* Grokdoc: List of Contacts of all ISO delegations

* Espacenet (EPO): 14 European software patent applications by
regarding XM

* OpenDocumentFellowship: Licensing conditions that Microsoft offers
Office Open XML

* EP12711339: very broad software patent application on data 
representation by Microsoft

* Permanent link to this press release

Contact information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
openstandards at ffii.org

About the FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European 
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the 
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. 
More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have 
entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions 
concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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