Participation – Open XML Discussion cont…

Looking through the extended comments in the posting I did recently about the comments being put into Open XML, one theme that is being referred to often is about who is participating and th eimplications of that. I find this particular piece of the discussion intersting. I have absolutely no problem with interested parties participating in the processs of standardization. That means both people who agree with and disagree with me (or in this case - with my company). The whole point of my posting was to disagree with the insinuations being made on this front. I think as many individuals and organizations who are interested (either from a technical or business perspective) should have a say in the process. I think one situation I would disagree with is if one party had wholly or partially-owned subsidiaries brought onto committees to vote as a block - that would seem wrong to me. Working with your business partners or like-minded orgs is what collaboration is all about and that is fine. The fact that support letters get sent in - even if it is the same letter 100 times - means that those orgs cared enough to list their name in support of a given goal. (I'm pretty sure this what petitions and many other forms of participation look like in other arenas).

 I'm jumping on a back online tomorrow.

Comments (9)

  1. Sam Hiser says:

    Okay, I’ll spell this out for you brain-dead people.

    When business partners participate in standards discussion (on which they have no record of previous commitment to technical participation), this is corrupt.

    They stand to benefit financial from the business relationship with Microsoft WHEN the said standard becomes ratified.

    The PROBLEM with that — for all you crass, uneducated, unethical & uncouth people — is that standards are supposed to be BUSINESS-NEUTRAL.

    If this standard is not BUSINESS-NEUTRAL, then there would be no motivation for this gaggle of supporters to enter these rooms to vote the block on Microsoft’s behalf.

    To suggest this is okay is to argue that OOXML is not BUSINESS-NEUTRAL and is therefore not a STANDARD. You are admitting that the voting situation around the world is corrupt.

    Is the holy grail of market dominance that BLINDING? Apparently so, Jason. The situation is disgusting and ridiculous and you should hide. Hide.

  2. jasonmatusow says:

    Wow Sam – my first suggestion is to calm down, and let’s discuss this without the need for flame retardant materials.

    1) your first paragraph is significantly problematic for the Oracle and Red Hat participation at INCITS. I think they should be there if they want to be, and I don’t think it is corrupt. I suggest you should probably be more considerate of your allies in this particular scuffle.

    2) I think you have so entirely, and utterly missed the point of neutrality in standards that it is remarkable for someone as clealry intelligent and informed as you are. Standards are neutral so that all participants can interact uniformly. Contributors are protected from each other and from implementors. The standards body staff is protected. The implementors are protected from each other and from the impelementers. That is the whole point of the nuetrality. In fact, for example, RAND – the discriminatory part is not about whether or not someone can or can’t accept the IP terms associated with the specification, it is that all implementors are offered the same terms in a non-discriminatory fashion…that is neutral.

    I think you would have a hard time explaining how Qualcomm earns their money, and many, many, many other companies if business-neutral means no finanical gain from the achieving of a specification.

    Has SUn or IBM or Novell or Linspire, or Turbo, or any other firm distributing OpenOffice finanically gained by the success of ODF? I think you should re-think your position on this one.

    Our business partners will gain finanically because of Open XML success in the marketplace. I think if they don’t they are not likely to remain our partners for very long. I want to see hundreds of thousands (and yes, we partner with hundreds of thousands of services providers, ISVs, and IHVs) finanically gain from the success of Open XML. I want to see them create jobs, invent new things, grow the knowledge economy. I am absolutly guilty of this.

    As always – thx for the comments. And Sam, please use the insult tool in my previous blog post to get more creative with the invective. It will be more enjoyable for all.


  3. Sam Hiser says:

    Jason, you miss the point again.

    The reason the Net works is because everyone has the same access to TCP/IP and HTML. No special treatment.

    You’re backing a thing that has nothing like that kind of neutrality. It won’t work as a standard because it isn’t one; and you’ve admitted in many different ways indirectly that it was never intended to be.

    I reject your implication of financial gain from ODF. Ask yourself this:  what is the nature of pecuniary gain from the Net? Answer: widespread sharing. The nature of the OOXML’s proposition is the Godfather gets to spread the love around to the henchmen.

    You’re corrupt.  

  4. jasonmatusow says:

    No, no, no…not corrupt… you missed the opportunity to tell me that:

    "Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold."

    or that I am a:

    "Yeasty dizzy-eyed pumpion"

    I’m telling you, the insult tool is the best thing on the web. 🙂

    We’re not likely to agree on the standards stuff. You think I’m missing it, and I think you are…impass. Open XML is a standard today – that is a reality and independent implementations are happening with no royalties, no concerns about MS patents, and a highly detailed specification. Maintenance of the spec is not in any one company’s hands. No matter how much we quibble on the details… ODF, Open XML, and now the move of PDF to more openness as well are a good trend for the industry and for those who use the stuff the industry produces. Maybe we can agree on that point.


  5. Andrew Sayers says:

    I agree that everyone should have the chance to say their piece, but I’m still not sure where you stand on the issue of voting rights.  What do you believe the criteria should be for someone to have a vote in the process?

    – Andrew

  6. jasonmatusow says:

    Andrew – good question and one that I should move to a top-level post. I’ll try to do that this week. I also want to comment more specifically on what I understand to have happened in Portugal.

    Thanks – have a great weekend. I’ve been on the road all week and plan to spend some time with my boys thinking about something other than standards.


  7. hAl says:

    Sam Hiser talking about neutrality.

    That is just one big joke.

    I seldomly heard any OSS representaive expressing such a biased view on everything to do with Microsoft even culminating in comparing Microsoft to the germans in WWII.

    Also sam I have seen you claim on a number of times that OOXML isn’t open and ODF is.

    So could you make for us an example ODF document that you cannot produce in OOXML using OOXML licensing because it isn’t open enough but that you can make using ODF licensing ??  

    Just to show us that ODF is so much more open it shouldn’t take you long to produce such a document … (allthough I wonder why you have’nt produced such a document example already).

  8. Hi Jason,

    wish you a good time with your children. Looking forward to your post about Portugal. Maybe you could also address the situation in Spain, while you are at it:


  9. Sam Hiser says:


    I’ve never stated or inferred I wasn’t biased. I’d like Microsoft to stop acting in criminally negligent ways toward all its customers and those millions of people who can’t avoid being its customers.

    I’m totally biased! Hooray for biase. Someone has to take a position.

    Regarding your kind request: That’s a cock-eyed example of OOXML’s equivalency vis openness — an ODF document and the same document in OOXML? Wha? Sure, I’ll type you a the same memo on my Linux machine and then on my Windblows machine (Sorry, don’t have Vista…YET.). Sure, no problem!  That proves…what?

    hAl, you’ve got your wires crossed.

    Kindly re-phrase question so it makes sense…or re-frame your understanding of the whole entire issue.

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