Open XML links for 10-17-2007

I'm pretty knee deep in work for the next version of Office, as well as the ISO comments on OpenXML, so my blogging over the next few weeks will be pretty limited. I did want to point out a couple links I came across recently though:

Mac OS X Leopard

supports multiple file format standards

"Mac OS X is now a fully certified UNIX operating system, conforming to both the Single UNIX Specification (SUSv3) and POSIX 1003.1. Deploy Leopard in environments that demand full UNIX conformance and enjoy expanded support for open standards popular in the UNIX community such as the OASIS Open Document Format (ODF) or ECMA's Office XML."

The X Factor

"In IT you had the data inside the SQL database and then you had all the other trash that was locked up inside of Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. All the data inside databases and that data inside documents is now going to be accessible to the organization," Falk says. "That's a quantum shift."

What Domino Effect?

Mathers recalled when Melanie Wyne, executive director of the Initiative for Software Choice, visited him in committee offices to lobby against ODF and informed him that to the best of her knowledge, only 27 computers in Massachusetts use applications that create files in ODF.

"She got up and she testified to that," Mathers said. "This is where the ODF people I think, unfortunately, get a black eye. If you watch the public hearing, you can see me walk off the stand a couple of times.

"What I'm doing is going to the ODF people and saying, 'OK, would you please come up to the podium and tell the committee what you've been telling me, which is different than what the Initiative for Software Choice is saying,'" he recalled. "They were unwilling, or unable, to come to the podium."


"This is not the first time this has happened, but it is rare," Mathers said. "It's a quick way to kill a bill. Most lobbyists and public-interest groups know that, especially in Texas, if you don't want to wait another two years, you pretty much come with full disclosure."

Talk to everyone later.

-Brian Quote of the Day:

ESS Australia – Australia

" As a software development company we strongly support Open XML becoming an international standard. We have developed systems for clients using numerous document formats in the past, and Open XML is the first document format we have used that simplifies development and integration with existing and external systems.

Through the use of xml the level of interoperability provided by Open XML is unsurpassed.."

- Murray Francis – Development Manager

Comments (15)

  1. Eduardo Montez says:

    Jon Honeyball, who is usually pretty pro-Microsoft, on OOXLM:

  2. Martin Eddington says:

    Do you have any comment on how Microsoft’s "gaming" to try and push OOXML through the ISO’s fast-track process has now killed the SC 34 committee’s ability to get through any more work ?

    The countries who mysteriously upgraded to "P" level on this committee before the OOXML vote appear not to be interested in voting on anything else. Since all votes require a 50% participation this means no work has been able to be done since the OOXML vote.

    More information here:

  3. carlos says:

    "I’m pretty knee deep in work for the next version of Office, as well as the ISO comments on OpenXML"

    forget the comments … just fix the format ( engineering, you know? )


  4. Andrew says:


    In the same issue of PC Pro, Simon Jones offers his viewpoint on OOXML:

  5. Will Spurgeon says:

    Brian, I would also be interested in your comments to how the SC 34’s work has been stonewalled since the Open XML vote in September, as outlined at .

    If the format is a better format, great, I’m all for it, but there appears to be some odd & unnecessary political tactics in play. Could you give us some peace of mind by clarifying Microsoft’s relationship to the recently joined members of the SC 34 committee?

  6. hAl says:

    @martin eddington.

    If you read Andy Upgroves blog you might notice that most of the the ballot he mentions would have failed with the original p-membership as well. Upgrove on his blog says there were 30 orignal p-members and those ballots would not have passed with 30 members either as those have only 8 and 14 votes on them. So when he claims that the new p-member are responsible for holding up the work of ISO sc34 he is not correct as those ballots would have failed without the OOXML standardization proces as well.

    Did Andy Upgrove also measure how many new p-members joined during the Opendocument standardization proces and how active those are in current ballots ?

  7. Martin Eddington says:

    @ hAl

    I have re-read that blog several times to check and can’t see any of the figures you’ve mentioned. Are we reading the same thing ?

    Here’s what I read… "While I’m told that 90% of committee votes have achieved the necessary 50% return in the past, the current numbers tell a far different story: the three most recent have all failed because of P member apathy.   As I read the tallies at those links, only one recent P member responded to a single ballot, even after some ballots had been reissued for a second or even a third time. Had it not been necessary to include the new P members in the calculations, the second two votes would have passed (the first related to establishing a liaison relationship with another organization, and not a standard)."

  8. hAl says:

    @martin Eddington

    But here

    Andy says:

    "bear in mind that the original number was only thirty"

    So where Andy himselfs very well knows there were already thirty original p-members he then suggests that the new influx of members leads to ballot not making 50% even though he puts outs examples like and

    which have 8 and 14 countries voting. Those ballot would therefore have failed even without the OOXML submissions but on the already original p-members.

    Strangely though the last time both those examples votes would have had a chance to actually reach a valid ballot result was in april 2006 (a month before the opendocument vote) as then 8 votes was enough for such a valid p-member result


  9. black silence says:

    you mention ODF, so you know there already is an open standard. and by that i mean really open, not microsoft’s interpretation of that word

    so why does microsoft want to have it’s own standard? it’s the typical "embrace and destroy" policy

    guess you know some of the points mentioned here?

  10. Rob Weir says:

    SC34 did not have 30 original P members.  If you look at ballots back before OOXML started in JTC1, say in 2006, then you can see the number of P-Members.  It was only 9.  

    Of these original 9, 5 of them responded to the recent ballots. So their participation rate was greater than the required 50%.

    However, of the 28 new P-members who joined since OOXML was submitted to JTC1, only 9 responded to the recent ballots, a 32% participation rate.

    Would I like to see greater participation levels from the old timers?  Yes, of course. But that won’t solve the problem.  We could have 100% participation from the original SC34 P-members and ballots would still fail for lack of 50% participation. The present problem is clearly due to the recent membership burst.

  11. hAl says:

    @Rob Weir

    You are wrong. In 2006 there were not nine p-members as you claim. The Opendocument vote in may 2006 showed that there were 27 p-members including the secretariat.

    Here the voting list of the opendocument vote showing 25 out of 27 p-members voting:

    So that the original number of p-members before the Office Open XML submission was 30 as Andy Upgrove clearly mentioned on his own blog seems fairly well in line with that earlier vote number of 27 p0-members 7 months earlier.

    There may have been a strong rise in p-members from 9 to 27 very close before the Opendocument voting but if that is the case then it is the inactivity of the large group of new Opendocument voters since 2006 that would constitute a much larger contribution to the SC34 ballot inactivity then the smaller number of p-members that joined for the Office Open XML voting.

  12. Rob Weir says:


    You’re mixing up JTC1 P-members with SC34 P-members.  It is possible to be a P member of one committee without being a P-member of the other.  The DIS 26300 ballot for ODF was an ballot of JTC1 P-members.  Similarly, DIS 29500 is a ballot of JTC1 P-members.  Fast Track and PAS are always JTC1-level ballots.  If you want to see an SC34-level ballot you need to look at a ballot on an internally-developed SC34 standard.  If you do that you’ll see that SC34 had only 9 P-members.


  13. hAl says:


    But then as about 30 of the p-members were already p-member of JCT1 it would be rather foolish of a lot of those countries to also become p-member in SC34 for purpose of the ooxml ballot vote as only a few of the new members might have needed to become a p-member of SC34 to be able to voteon the DIS.

    I think it that case the confusion about the voting rules is for a DIS is more to blame than anything.

    As you say that 28 new countries became p-member of SC34 then only for about a 1/3 of them the OOXML vote might have been the reason as they probably were not p-members in any JTC1 committee yet but for the rest it would have been either a genuine interest in particpating on SC34 or confusion about voting rules.

    Proper explaining might in that case make several countries change their SC34 status whilst maintaining their overal p-membership of JTC1.

  14. Rob Weir says:

    hAl, As you suggest, confusion about the rules could explain it.  Overall the JTC1 rules are a mess.  As the old saying goues, "The children of the shoemaker go barefoot".  Similary, JTC1, the organization that is supposed to approve the world’s technical standards, itself has Directives that are written carelessly, full of ambiguities and contradictions.

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