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Microsoft Government Politics

Denmark Becomes Fourth Nation To Protest OOXML 171

Posted by kdawson
from the i-do-believe-it's-a-convoy dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The rumors of a fourth OOXML complaint turned out to be true. Denmark has become the fourth nation to protest the ISO's acceptance of OOXML, and Groklaw has a translation of their complaint. They now join India, Brazil, and South Africa. There are going to be plenty of questions about deadlines, because people have been given two different deadlines for appeals, and the final DIS of OOXML was late in being distributed and not widely available. In fact, that seems to be one of Denmark's complaints, along with missing XML schemas, contradictory wording, lack of interoperability, and troubles with the maintenance of DIS29500. In other words, we should expect a lot of wrangling over untested rules from here on out, and Microsoft knows how to deal with that."
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Denmark Becomes Fourth Nation To Protest OOXML

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  • Farewell ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @09:50PM (#23622547) Journal

    Will noone step up and defend the credibility and proud history of ISO here? They have done good work in the past. Cannot someone defend the way they've handled this?

    No?

    Anybody? Anybody at all?

    I thought not.

    Reputation. 60 years to build and 6 months to burn down.

    Goodbye ISO.

    • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:08PM (#23622669) Journal
      "Goodbye ISO."

      From a more optimistic slant:

      ISO is being forced to address certain issues for the first time, and the outcome could be a more robust and impartial standardization process.

      I'm not predicting a better future for ISO, just refusing to believe that all is lost.
      • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:34PM (#23622825)

        ISO is being forced to address certain issues for the first time, and the outcome could be a more robust and impartial standardization process. I'm not predicting a better future for ISO, just refusing to believe that all is lost.
        Show me one admission that the ISO even realise that this is an abomination of a process. SC34 are overrun with Microsoft zealots like Rick Jelliffe and they blame the world for noticing what a poor job they've done.

        They need to admit fault if they want to be trusted again. As of yet there is nothing from the ISO that would inspire confidence.

        • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:41PM (#23623197)
          Until ISO PUBLICLY admits the SPECIFIC mistakes made AND takes action against the people who committed those mistakes, there is no reason to believe that ISO will do anything differently in the future.

          ISO sold out. That's all there is to it.
          • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @02:59AM (#23624205) Homepage Journal
            Sadly, I fear you are correct. However, there is another consideration. There ARE other standards bodies, and standards bodies are no different from commodities or currencies - once they are devalued, nobody wants to buy in. A standards body is only a tradable commodity whilst people are still buying in, same as with the dollar or the zlotty. If one of the other bodies were to become politically attractive to enough countries and enough businesses, the ISO currency collapses.

            It doesn't matter if it's not a total collapse, it just has to scare ISO. Scare them badly. So badly they stop messing around and pocketing back-handers, but go straight for a bit.

      • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:29PM (#23623137) Journal

        From a more optimistic slant:

        ISO is being forced to address certain issues for the first time, and the outcome could be a more robust and impartial standardization process.
        ISO has already blown it @ the State level.
        Their rules were not setup to deal with an actively aggressive entity like Microsoft.

        Maybe things will get fixed at the National level, but the organization as a whole has been tainted by the abuses visited upon the individual member States. The only way they can regain their credibility is for each country to implement robust rule changes.

        ISO doesn't just certify software.
        Maybe the next poorly conceived ISO spec to get railroaded through will have real world safety implications.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cp.tar (871488)

          ISO doesn't just certify software. Maybe the next poorly conceived ISO spec to get railroaded through will have real world safety implications.

          I'd consider having to buy an expensive program for a not at all cheap OS just to open a standardized document a real-world consequence. And with a limited budget that is expected to feed my family, for instance, I'd even call it a safety implication.

          Other possible implications are left as an exercise for the reader.

          Some of us here are educators, in one way or another. It is our duty to ram this point home to future generations.
          Change is possible, but we have to work rather hard to achieve it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            I'd consider having to buy an expensive program for a not at all cheap OS just to open a standardized document a real-world consequence. And with a limited budget that is expected to feed my family, for instance, I'd even call it a safety implication.

            I have to wonder if you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds: a document that (and we're speculating even here, but I'll give it to you for the moment) can maybe only be opened correctly with Office is equivalent to (for example) certifying a standard for
            • by cp.tar (871488)

              The scope of a tragedy is only assessed by the survivors.

            • by symbolset (646467) * on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:52AM (#23623881) Journal

              I have to wonder if you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds: a document that (and we're speculating even here, but I'll give it to you for the moment) can maybe only be opened correctly with Office is equivalent to (for example) certifying a standard for nuclear plant safety that could kill millions of people.

              I'm not trying to be inflammatory, but seriously, listen to yourself for a minute.

              Oh, FSM preserve us!

              You're not referring to one of the Windows ONLY worms that crashed multiple nuclear plants [securityfocus.com] are you? You have to be some anti-Microsoft troll to be bringing that (2003) ancient history up again.

              Dude, if you're a Microsoft astroturfer you should make sure you pick up your personal effects on the way out today.

            • How about PPS? DocX? I've not tried opening DocX documents but I suspect somehow that they are not able to open perfectly in anything but Word 2007 - I doubt even Word 2003 documents are perfectly rendered in anything but Word 2003. It is indeed, ridiculous, but that doesn't automatically mean that it won't exist. Vista is ridiculous too - it's a step backwards in almost every way from XP - but it still exists, and people still buy it.. :(
        • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday June 02, 2008 @08:03AM (#23625809) Homepage
          Increasingly, this notion that what we geeks are hot and bothered about is "just software, after all" is going to be questioned.

          Many thousands of annual deaths are attributable to harmful drug interactions, and a lot of these result from the unavailability of standard Electronic Medical Records(EMR) across care providers.

          That's right, vendor lock-in and nonstandard documents are killing people.

          The (open) standardization of general-purpose office documents should have been completed a decade ago. EMRs should have been standardized 5 years ago. Many people have died unnecessarily.
      • ISO 9000 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by symbolset (646467) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:31PM (#23623149) Journal

        As a wiser poster than me observed some time ago, that ISO failed to have management processes in place a year in advance of predictable environment changes is evidence they fail even at following their own standards.

        That they've let this issue go so long past its natural conclusion - laughing at a proposal to fast-track a 6000 page un-implemented proprietary standard - is evidence they are themselves compromised by agents of an external entity.

        If they abort this atrocity all is not yet well. Until they dig out and expel every agent that perverted their mission and monitor for some time that their processes do now work, they will remain suspect.

        If they fail to do the right thing, well, they're done. Stick a fork in them. The nations of the world would prefer to return to the bad old days of setting their own standards and negotiating equivalence by treaty. They will not stand for having their standards dictated to them by a US corporation, even through a puppet ISO.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cp.tar (871488)

          If they fail to do the right thing, well, they're done. Stick a fork in them. The nations of the world would prefer to return to the bad old days of setting their own standards and negotiating equivalence by treaty. They will not stand for having their standards dictated to them by a US corporation, even through a puppet ISO.

          Actually, the nations of the world in general will bend over and spread'em for both the US and their corporations with little or no questions asked, and a Thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another-sir afterwards.

          Were it not like that, OOXML would not have passed through ISO with so little opposition, i.e. the opposition would not have been quashed so easily.

          Living in one of these nations, I cannot begin to tell you how much it saddens me.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by symbolset (646467)

            Living in one of these nations, I cannot begin to tell you how much it saddens me.

            Don't despair yet. We're giving this issue the one thing it cannot stand: Light [google.com].

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by cp.tar (871488)

              Living in one of these nations, I cannot begin to tell you how much it saddens me.

              Don't despair yet. We're giving this issue the one thing it cannot stand: Light [google.com].

              Are you saying this issue is kind of like a cockroach?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Herschel Cohen (568)
          RE: "Until they dig out and expel every agent that perverted their mission ... "

          I fear the cure may be worse than the disease. Anytime a program like this is put into play, it becomes a game to settle old scores having nothing to do with the supposed issue at hand. That is, too often it is the classic "punish the innocent" while giving the selected guilty another free pass.

          It becomes a witch hunt. Believe me I would like to see what was proposed be carried out, but reality intrudes. Like a civil war the
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        I'm not predicting a better future for ISO, just refusing to believe that all is lost.

        Yeah, they did refuse to standardize the time cube [timecube.com] after all. For some reason (it was a bit clearer and *much* shorter than MooXML wasn't it ?)

        *snort*

        No organisation wide acknowledgement and reorganisation in reaction to the MS debacle means the ISO has lost it and cannot be trusted. There's no other way to see it. And there's no sign of this so far.

    • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Compenguin (175952) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:25PM (#23622763)
      ISO has been playing games like this with SC29/WG11 for years.

      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.

      Where did this "credibility and proud history of ISO" meme come from?
    • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:27PM (#23622783) Journal
      Will noone step up and defend the credibility and proud history of ISO here? They have done good work in the past. Cannot someone defend the way they've handled this?

      No?

      I don't understand this "blame the victim" mentality that's pervasive in Slashdot discussions on this.

      Microsoft deliberately subverted ECMA, a number of national standards bodies as well as ISO itself. The influence they brought to bear was unprecedented, and ISO simply was not designed to deal with it. The fast track process was abused to prevent a reasonable response, and the short deadlines are being used to the same effect in this protest phase.

      It was a deliberate, calculated attack on an unprepared target.

      And ISO is not alone - look at all the governments and departments MS has bought or influenced over the years.

      Whether ISO can recover from this is questionable now. Responding correctly will be hard because the committees are still stacked with Microsoft reps. They're like a rooted box - untrustworthy without some extensive malware cleaning.

      If this is evidence for anything, it's that Microsoft is out of control and must be split up.

      • I don't understand this "blame the victim" mentality that's pervasive in Slashdot discussions on this.

        But it had to be said. Many thousands will read this thread. Already this thread is the number one hit on google news for "ISO" [google.com]. While there's still time to change the outcome the downside risk must be made very clear to the people making the decision. It was important that the first comment not be some GNAA garbage.

        The ISO's stock in trade is their reputation. If they will not defend it they deserve

        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:21PM (#23623079) Journal
          It was important that the first comment not be some GNAA garbage.

          It was, but it's even more important that people realise the problem is Microsoft, not ISO.

          As long as they are allowed to continue wielding the amount of power they do today, they will corrupt ANY standards body. It's simply not possible to design a consultative standards body that's immune to the type of panel and committee stacking we've seen from Microsoft on this issue.

          Yes, ISO is now badly damaged, and that's a tragedy all of it's own, because ISO was a body of great value to the whole world. Now the world needs to be looking at clipping the wings of the predator that did the damage, not at sinking the boot into a crippled ISO.

          • It was, but it's even more important that people realise the problem is Microsoft, not ISO.

            I agree with you in every way. You got the message out - your post is highly moderated and right below mine. I recommend people reading this review what you've said.

            When you're going for the first comment you have maybe thirty seconds on slashdot when it's slow. That's not time enough to nuance stuff. You have to strike while the iron is hot and get in the best blow you can. Too much subtlety and it's lost. To

          • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:48AM (#23623867) Homepage
            The problem is both.

            ISO is not set up to handle an aggressive, resourceful and abusive applicant. Which meant they ended up doing something which everyone sees is patently nonsense when confronted by such an applicant. Using the "fast-track" for a "standard" that is over 6000 pages, incomplete, with literally thousands of objections to it, and for which there exist -zero- implementations is patent nonsense, and everyone sees it. (possible exception if they've been paid handsomely to develop a blind spot for it)

            Yes. MS is to blame for abusing a process. ISO is to blame for not having adequate defences against abuse.
            • by Alsee (515537)
              Using the "fast-track" for a "standard" that is over 6000 pages, incomplete, with literally thousands of objections to it, and for which there exist -zero- implementations is patent nonsense

              I'm sure it's merely a typing error, but the words 'and' and 'is' are in the wrong spots and I think you meant to say 'preposterous' at the end.

              Using the "fast-track" for a "standard" that is over 6000 pages, incomplete, with literally thousands of objections to it, [] for which there exist -zero- implementations, and p
              • by Eivind (15695)
                Actually no. English is my third language, so it -is- possibly I'm mistaken, but I do believe that "patent nonsense" is commonly used in the meaning of "definitive nonsense" "total nonsense", "unquestionably pure nonsense", in this use it has nothing to do with patents as in monopolied inventions.

                I really meant to say that using the fast-track for a "standard" that is so heavily critiqued, so HUGE, and so incomplete is "total nonsense".

                Again, it's possible I'm mistaken, but Wikipedia and Google seems to agr
          • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:19AM (#23624313) Homepage Journal

            Now the world needs to be looking at clipping the wings of the predator that did the damage, not at sinking the boot into a crippled ISO.

            I love the "crippled ISO" image. It almost suggests that if we just shout at Microsoft and stop saying hurtful things about ISO, why then the organisation will get a chance to heal, and recover its ethical values, and be a force for good in the world once more.

            Sadly, I don't think things work like that.

            While I agree about Microsoft, I don't think we can really absolve ISO from all blame. To do that would be to send a message to the ISO saying "it's OK to be corrupt. No one minds. Break the rules, stack the deck; they'll just blame the organisation sponsoring the standard. Get your noses in the trough, boys!"

            I agree that the fall of ISO is a tragedy. But until and unless they set their house in order I don't see how anyone is going to trust them again. Effectively they've just hung out a shingle saying "For Rent".

            At the very least, ISO need to admit that there's a problem here and take steps to both fix the damage done, and to ensure it doesn't happen again. And that's not going to happen if they feedback they get "well, I guess that could have happened to anyone".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Microsoft deliberately subverted ECMA

        ECMA are an organisation designed to used this way, or in other words ECMA is a sell-out by trade, selling out is the ECMA business model.

        Listen to Jan Van de Beld former General Secretary of ECMA [youtube.com] describe how they run their business: QUOTE:

        "ECMA for instance has made all the standards for DVD and optical disks. There were 5 recording formats. So there you feel a little bit uneasy, of course. And again after a few beers I can ask the people in the room. Why do you

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pembo13 (770295)
        The victims shouldn't stand-up and defend the perp after the fact. If they really are the victim, let them reveal their rapist, or lie in shame.
      • I don't understand this "blame the victim" mentality that's pervasive in Slashdot discussions on this.

        I don't understand how ISO is a victim here.

        And ISO is not alone - look at all the governments and departments MS has bought or influenced over the years.

        Ok, question: Was anybody holding a gun to their head, forcing them to take the money?

        Does anyone seriously think that being bought is somehow unavoidable, or something Microsoft can force you into doing?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Samgilljoy (1147203)

        I don't understand this "blame the victim" mentality that's pervasive in Slashdot discussions on this.

        It's highly tendentious to characterize the ISO as a "victim." It would be just as easy to call it a body of accomplices. What use is such an organization, if they can't even handle the entities whose products they are supposed to judge? At best, they're incompetent, not poor victims bedazzled by city slickers.

        This "victim" crap is the same trope people trot out to excuse failures on the part of people who belong to some group many are afraid to criticize. You want to blame Microsoft; you don't want

    • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:21PM (#23623081) Homepage

      Cannot someone defend the way they've handled this? No? Anybody? Anybody at all?I thought not.
      On slashdot? Not without an asbestous suit. Look at it from ISOs point of view - they had a lot of large companies voting for OOXML. Stuffed or not, many national bodies voted yes. What do you expect, an ISO tzar sitting on top to say "We'll take your votes under advicement, but we'll do whatever the f... we like and reject it anyway"? Like in a court, almost no matter how badly the case was botched it's the parties that has to appeal, not the judge. That's what happening now, and the appeals process can get all the dirty laundry and breach of process out in the open.

      Reputation. 60 years to build and 6 months to burn down. Goodbye ISO.
      Yeah sure, an organization that makes thousands of standards is going to burn down over one mishandled one. I wonder if you'd like to try that standard on anything else, for example Congress. If we burned them down every time the process was subverted by riders or they passed unconstitutional laws or just did things that in retrospect were considered horrible, horrible screwups we wouldn't have time to rebuild before we'd have to burn them again. Go easy on the hyperbole, the world is not about to end. If all appeals fail and OOXML is finally approved, there will still be a reckoning in ten years or so that this was a mistake. Having standards is too important though, burn down ISO and you'll have even more paid shills like ECMA take their place.
      • by symbolset (646467)

        I wonder if you'd like to try that standard on anything else, for example Congress. If we burned them down every time the process was subverted by riders or they passed unconstitutional laws or just did things that in retrospect were considered horrible, horrible screwups we wouldn't have time to rebuild before we'd have to burn them again.

        You say that like it's a bad thing... For both ISO and Congress. I wonder how others feel on this subject. Mark Twain had a useful quote but I can't find it.

      • by Alsee (515537)
        Congress. If we burned them down every time [] they passed unconstitutional laws

        Well, that would certainly limit the rate at which they do so.

        -
      • by Tom (822)

        Yeah sure, an organization that makes thousands of standards is going to burn down over one mishandled one.

        Absolutely, yes. That's pretty normal, in fact. Drive to work every day of the year, nothing happens. Drive over a little kid one day, and you're going to be "burnt down" over one mishandled drive.

        Like a 0-day, the event revealed a fundamental flaw in the ISO process, and demonstrated a remote exploit. And like a 0-day, the question naturally arises if this was the first exploit, or only the first publicly known one. Like a 0-day, you can not safely assume that the flaw has not been exploited before, witho

    • Re:Farewell ISO (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tim99 (984437) on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:29AM (#23623453)
      I'm a technical assessor and signatory approver for a real ISO Standard - ISO-17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories). This was formerly ISO 25, one of the first international standards, which goes back nearly 60 years.

      A number of people have mentioned to me that they consider that Microsoft have 'played' the ISO process and, as a result, consider that even 'good' standards have been compromised. I believe that they are right, and that ISO need to consider getting their house in order. ISO 17025 is a standard that can allow for testing on materials to be carried out in one country, and then these materials can then be exported and distributed within other countries without further testing. In the past there has been disquiet that laboratories in 'Less economically developed' countries, were either not capable of carrying out the technological requirements of some tests; or that they were more liable to a corruption of process. By hard work, and negotiation over a number of years, this disquiet has been addressed.

      As a result of the OXML debacle, we may now be in a position where a LEDC can now truthfully say "Why pick on us - ISO is corrupt anyway".
  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:21PM (#23622743)
    Prince of Denmark: To be or not to be. -- Not to be.


    [presses remote button and explosion rips through ISO headquarters in Geneva]

  • ... what ramifications does ISO's decision actually have?
    • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:57PM (#23623269) Journal
      "... what ramifications does ISO's decision actually have?"

      A brief summary:

      Storing data in an open document format will ensure the accessibility of that data moving forward, regardless of software vendor, changes in the software ecosystem, etc... because anyone will be able to implement their own version of the standard for retrieving the stored data should that become necessary.

      With this in mind, governments and institutions around the world are looking at ways they can ensure the accessibility of their documents unconditionally moving into the future. The impact of these new open document format policies will be huge on software purchasing decisions, as any software package used to generate, modify, or read documents will need to comply with the open document format.

      Enter MS and OOXML, a document standard that has now been validated by and internationally accepted ISO review procedure.

      There are questions about the way the standard was written, whether it can actually be implemented, whether any implementation would require dependence on proprietary MS technology, and whether the dominant MS products would adhere to the strict letter of the standard or break compatibility with non-MS implementations as has happened in other instances with MS implementations.

      Finally, there are questions about whether bribery and other underhanded tactics were used to secure a fast track process and passing vote through the ISO process.

      If OOXML is allowed to stand there are concerns that MS will effectively achieve lock-in with the governments that opt for OOXML technology, because access to data stored in OOXML documents will remain dependent on MS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sique (173459)

        Enter MS and OOXML, a document standard that has now been validated by and internationally accepted ISO review procedure.

        But Morten Kjærsgaard begs to differ:
        1.) There is no validated standard right now, for that the final draft had to be published and sent to the members by March 29 2008. This deadline is missed, so the DIS29500 is not official yet and thus cannot be accepted yet.
        2.) For a standard to get fast tracked, there has to be an implementation. Because even Microsoft will not support OOXML for at least a year, OOXML couldn't be fast tracked to begin with, and the votes in the different comitees were vote

    • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:23AM (#23623419)

      Beaten by another, but I wrote a reply so I'm posting it anyway.

      The main thing seems to be that lots of government bodies are putting in place (or have already put in place) legislation requiring all government documents use a format that complies to an "open standard". Requiring this for internal documents is less common, but it is common for anything published for public access. The idea being to ensure every citizen is able to access the information the government produces without having to buy products from a specific vendor, for example.

      From a technical point of view what ISO does matters not at all. Microsoft are going to continue to develop the format to suit their needs, and any long-term compatibility with whatever ends up being in the "OOXML ISO specification" will be purely coincidental, as they've already stated. Government departments will continue using whatever software they feel like using, and will make a half-hearted attempt to conform to whatever rules they have to, just like they always have.

      If .docx and friends get the magic ISO Standard Tick then government departments can simply slap their .docx files on a website and be in compliance with the legislation regarding making their publications publically accessible without vendor bias: it's not their fault that there's only one working implementation of the "standard". Now they could theoretically mount legal action against Microsoft for selling them a product which they claim supports the OOXML ISO standard but doesn't really, but that's unlikely since everybody knows the whole thing is a sham and they're just playing along to cover their asses.

      On the other hand, if .docx and friends don't get the magic tick, then the government departments will have to publish their files in something other than {.doc,.docx}. If the chosen format was ODF (.odt etc) then people will need software that can open it. This means a) the government will be pointing people to alternatives to MS Office, and b) Microsoft will "have to" natively support opening .odt files within Office; otherwise they risk losing customers -- particularly the ones that buy Office because that's "what you use to write documents". Also the government departments will need a way to export to the "standard" format, and if Office can't do it natively some may decide to switch software to save that step.

      Consider that currently, even if you use OpenOffice or KOffice or Abiword or anything else, you probably send documents to other people using .doc unless you specifically know they don't use Office. The reason is simply that, even if they do use something else, they can probably import the .doc file without problems. However if they do use Office, they're completely unable to import most other document formats.

      So, the hoped-for end result is that Microsoft will effectively be forced to make Office interoperate with other software, rather than having everyone else trying to implement Microsoft's format. While the documentation for .docx will no doubt be useful in figuring out some corner cases, it's not a significant improvement over the reverse engineered re-implementations of the format currently being used.

      That's the theory, anyway. I doubt it will have an earth-shattering affect either way, but I suppose it's another straw on the camel's back.

  • by pheede (37918) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:21PM (#23623087)
    No: Denmark has not protested formally. Denmark is represented in ISO by Dansk Standard [en.ds.dk] which, as you may recall, somewhat controversially changed its vote to "Yes".

    This is a protest letter from Foreningen af Open Source Leverandører [osl.dk] a vendor's association (literally: "The Association of Open Source Vendors", their official English title seems to be "The Danish Open Source Business Association"). They happened to be part of the technical committee (as I understand it, I may be wrong) in Denmark, but are not formal representatives of Dansk Standard.

    The recipient of the letter, Jacob Holmblad, is the managing director of Dansk Standard, who also happens to be vice-president of technical management at ISO.

    While an interesting complaint, which raises a number of pertinent issues, this is not a formal complaint from a national standards body as those from South Africa, Brazil, and India.
    • by AySz88 (1151141) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:59PM (#23623289)
      FYI, I think the correct wording is that Denmark hasn't yet appealed formally. The summary is misleading with the whole talk about appeals, but this letter itself doesn't seem to be an appeal.

      However, this quote from TFA suggests that Denmark is still intending to appeal:
      "'Jacob Holmblad [the recipient of the letter, and ISO Vice President, and managing director of Danish Standard] will appeal directly, because he has one foot in each camp,' explains Morten Kjærsgaard to Computerworld."
      • Go dream... (Score:3, Informative)

        by jopsen (885607)
        I hate to say it... but I don't think an appeal from Denmark is comming...

        I live in Denmark, and do read Danish... Usually I'm not reading local tech-news, however I've been reading a little from various Danish news sites and judging from the wording there I don't think you should expect an official appeal.

        Also as "spectrokid" says in a comment below you I quote:

        this country is a notorious Microsoft bitch

        The quote you have from the article is not translated correctly in Danish it says:

        Jacob Holmblad får klagen direkte, fordi han har en fod i hver lejr," forklarer Morten Kjærsgaard til Computerworld.

        The correct translation would be

        Jacob Holmblad receives/gets the complaint directly, because he has a foot in each camp," explains Morten Kjærsgaard to Computerworld

        He doesn't say that he'

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spectrokid (660550)
      I live in Denmark and this country is a notorious Microsoft bitch. MS has a development center here, most large companies are pure MS-shops and the government is not exactly doing great efforts to look beyond Redmond shrink-wrap. Heck, even the crown prince wife is an ex-MS employee!
      • by broeman (638571)
        Yeah, just look at this homepage:
        http://www.investindk.com/visNyhed.asp?artikelID=11439 [investindk.com]

        That's just sad. A Microsoft commercial on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' homepage. Microsoft didn't do any development in Denmark before it bought Navision (a business solution application, used by most Danish companies), and renamed it to Microsoft Business Solutions.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      somewhat controversially changed its vote to "Yes".

      For the benefit of those who may not have been following this issue closely, black holes somewhat suck.

      -
  • Let's hope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeevesbond (1066726) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:40AM (#23623825) Homepage

    Does anyone else find it odd that Microsoft touted support for ODF then pushed back supporting OOXML [slashdot.org] to the next version of Office just before all these complaints landed on ISO's doormat?

    This, to my mind, shows two things:

    1. Microsoft believes these appeals/complaints are likely to succeed;
    2. they certainly have paid shills in a number of ISO committees, otherwise they wouldn't have seen this coming;

    Apparently representatives from Microsoft were stalling for time in Brazil [homembit.com]. So the support for ODF In Office seems like firefighting more than anything. The dropping of the Microsoft project, encoding books to OOXML [nytimes.com], would also seem to be a sign that Microsoft is giving up.

    *joke* If these appeals are successful, I for one will be on Alex Brown's blog, posting this video of Kryten [youtube.com] in 'smug mode'. Muahaha. */joke*

    • Re:Let's hope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sique (173459) on Monday June 02, 2008 @06:43AM (#23625257) Homepage
      I would wager 3.)

      They play for time, implement the depreceated ODF 1.1, thus are "standards compliant" and count on the several flaws within ODF 1.1 to taint ODF's stance with gouvernment officials, which in turn will be still using .doc/docx for information interchange. Thus Microsoft gets the time to mend OOXML to agree with their actual document format.
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @02:07AM (#23623955)

    ...I would think the best way to combat this is to find some way to turn the situation upside down. What's Microsoft's business strategy for next-generation products, and how could this be used to cause problems for them?

    If Microsoft's understanding and control of the current arena is so complete that they can pull off something like this, then it's time to change the venue. Microsoft doesn't seem to do well in novel and fluid situations.

  • OK..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @02:14AM (#23623983) Homepage Journal
    So the hierarchy of countries where there is a real informed segment of the populace or government now starts with Denmark, South Africa, India and Brazil?!?

    Refresh my memory, do those countries waterboard people? Do they use rigged machines to count votes? What is the matter with those people?!?

    Pinko commies the lot of 'em, allowing true interoperable anti monopoly standards and actually counting votes. They better not be brown, or we'll bomb the shit out of 'em!
  • by Bayesela (1151523) on Monday June 02, 2008 @09:42AM (#23626835)
    "After the two-month appeal period, we now have four appeals -- Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela," Jonathan Buck, the director of communications for IEC, told ZDNet.co.uk on Monday http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39427754,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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