[Linux-aus] Fwd: [LINK] and it's Australia's turn on August 9

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Thu Jul 26 02:04:01 UTC 2007

On 7/26/07, Tom Worthington <Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au> wrote:
> At 04:06 PM 25/07/2007, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
> >... Couldn't find it or the relevant committee at
> >http://www.standards.org.au ...

No both the committee and the meeting are hard to find on the site.
The process is very inaccessible.

> The British Standards Institute have taken the innovative step of
> using a Wiki to help prepare input on how the UK should vote on ISO
> ballot on Office Open XML/OOXML ( DIS 29500)
> <http://www.xmlopen.org/ooxml-wiki/>.

Some excellent and specific information about concerns here:

> I have sent a message to Standards Australia asking which committee is looking
> after it and that they might do something similar (I am the ACS representative on
> the Council of SA).

Yes. OOXML proposal was not created by bringing together the
experience and expertise of all interested parties (such as the
producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators), but by Microsoft
alone. The process feels compromised and if the process is not able to
be carried out openly and fairly this provides a good indication of
how fairly and openly ooxml would operate if adopted.

> There is a set of very carefully prepared detailed comments on the
> draft standard
> <http://www.xmlopen.org/ooxml-wiki/index.php/DIS_29500_Comments>. The
> comments typically are suggesting that proprietary and obsolete
> Microsoft features in the standard be replaced with non-proprietary
> and more up to date ones. An example is to replace an old hash
> algorithm from Excell with a more robust one
> <http://www.xmlopen.org/ooxml-wiki/index.php/2._WordprocessingML_Reference_Material#>.
> The comments get a little cheeky at times, such as suggesting a
> "doWrongDateCalculationsLikeExcel" tag. But as far as I can see these
> changes are feasible and would make the standard better at the cost
> of causing some minor inconvenience to Microsoft.


> However, there is already an XML based international standard for
> office document formats: OpenDocument  ISO/IEC 26300:2006
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument>. ODF has similar
> functionality to the proposed OOXML. If OOXML needs changes to make
> it suitable as an international standard, then its major feature
> (compatibility with Microsoft Office) is lost.

So we need a 'standard' which matches Microsoft, not a standard which
is compliant XML and available for open participation? Make a 'Hello
World' file in ODF and in OOXML then
unzip both to compare. No great skill is needed to see some immediate
issues with OOXML.

> There is work already underway to provide translation between
> Microsoft Office OOXML and the ODF International Standard format
> <http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2007/07/microsoft-office-openxml-to-odf.html>.

Guest Commentary: The converter hoax
16.07.2007 12:02
Free Software Foundation Europe

> When such a translation available, Microsoft Office users can then
> use the existing international standard format. There would therefore
> be no need top adopt OOXML as an international standard.

I strongly feel that to adopt this formal as a standard would
compromise the idea and purpose of standards. The proposal includes
proprietary material. DMCA and DRM make it possible to generate
threats and risks around access and interaction with this material for
businesses not supported by Microsoft or for business models not
supported by Microsoft.

Given the status of Microsoft as a convicted monopolist and its
practices internationally in forcing this format through on an
inaccessible fast track the success of the proposal would discredit
the Australian Standards process.

I sincerely hope we have more backbone and are able to recognise that
the function of a standard is an important factor in Australia's
ability to participate in technology and innovation.

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