Wednesday, April 02, 2008

ISO Accepts Microsoft OOXML as a Standard

Though the results of the final voting are out, and it appears that Microsoft OOXML has been accepted as a standard by ISO. There is a two-month period when members can appeal against the decision, after which, if there are no appeals, the standard will be published. See,1000000121,39378350,00.htm for the news.

This is a shame, since many objections have been apparently 'resolved' without properly resolving the technical issues. As FSF Europe says, OOXML was approved "despite severe technical and legal concerns with the specification that have been raised by various parties."

As FSFE's German Deputy country coordinator Matthias Kirschner says, "Issues like the'Converter Hoax' and the 'Questions on Open Formats' are still equally valid."

"For some, who have criticized Microsoft's now-successful attempt to fast-track Office Open XML as an ISO standard from the start, it seemed appropriate that the company confirmed OOXML's ratification on April Fools' Day." says Elizabeth Monalbano (see However, it seems that the members of the committees of certain countries are not happy with the vote. For instance, a committee member has informed ISO that the country had not decided to vote "Yes", as it seems to have done. "Members of the Norwegian technical committee that voted to ratify Microsoft's OOXML document format as an ISO standard are protesting that decision even before the full results of the standards body's vote on the technology have been announced." One wonders whether similar problems could surface regarding the vote of some other countries too.

In any case, let us hope that the government of India will not adopt OOXML as the standard file format.