I was travelling in Europe last week and meeting a variety of people regarding interoperability, Open XML/ODF, and intellectual property issues. It was an excellent trip and, as usual, learned a great deal about what people really care about on these issues.
An important clarification needs to be made about an interview I did with Matthew Aslett of the Computer Business Review Online. They ran with a headline that reads, “‘Legitimate concerns’ raised over Microsoft Office formats.” The point I was making in the interview was that the ISO process is designed to hear input on a given standard. I was expressing respect not only for the process, but for the fact that there were submissions that raised concerns.
Let me be absolutely clear that I do not believe there are any contradictions, or other factors, that merit the delay of Open XML becoming an ISO standard. I have respect for all opinions in this process. More importanly, I believe that the process should recognize input from all member bodies and take that input into consideration in a deliberate and thoughtful way.
The fact that concerns were raised by member bodies make them “legitimate” inputs, but it does not make the concerns themselves valid. The whole point of the coming 5-month balloting process is for the voting members to take all points of view into consideration prior to casting their final ballot.
Those in opposition to the adoption of the international Ecma Open XML standard by ISO are pointing to my comments as “proof” of what they believe. That is unfortunate as it does not represent what I think.