[Linux-aus] Australian Government Desktop Standard mandates OOXML??

Jeff Waugh jdub at bethesignal.org
Thu Jan 20 23:32:52 EST 2011

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 17:21, Jeff Waugh <jdub at bethesignal.org> wrote:

>    - I suspect that use of the term "ECMA-376" is almost entirely an
>    arse-covering exercise, when what they really mean is "DOCX and friends
>    (including DOC and friends!) created with Office 2007".
>    - ECMA-376 should only be referred to as OOXML by the most charitable
>    of commentators and/or partisan hacks. It's the fish that John West (ISO)
>    rejected, and for good reason. ECMA accepted what is essentially an XML
>    serialisation of the binary Office formats.
>    - But that's a silver lining: You're more likely to have a compliant
>    implementation of ECMA-376 (or thereabouts) than ISO-29500, whichever vendor
>    you go with.
>    - Pretty embarrassing putting a globally rejected, piece of shit,
>    bought-and-paid-for "standard" on your COE document! Would have been more
>    honest to just say "Office 2007 compatible binary and XML formats". :-)
> Further to these points, Alex Brown points out:

"By specifying Ecma 376 without an edition number the convention is that
> the latest version of that standard is intended; and though I do think there
> is a danger of over-reading this particular citation the current version of
> Ecma 376 is the second edition, which is the version of OOXML that was
> approved by ISO and IEC members in April 2008. The Ecma and ISO/IEC versions
> are in lock-step, with the Ecma text only ever mirroring the ISO/IEC text.
> And although (as now) there are inevitably some bureaucratic and
> administrative delays in the Ecma version rolling in all changes made in JTC
> 1 prior to publication, to cite one is, effectively, equivalent to citing
> the other."

Which is an interesting angle -- I wasn't aware that the ECMA standard would
be updated, probably due to those "bureaucratic and administrative delays".

If AGIMO are similarly unaware that ECMA 376 should in practical terms mean
ISO 29500, then they have a wee problem on their hands!

Lends further strength to my suspicion that mentioning the standard at all
is merely an arse-covering exercise in order to avoid saying "Microsoft
Office 2007+ formats". :-)

- Jeff
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