Friday, April 18, 2008

Open Office XML, a Potemkin standard?

At last night’s meeting of the DC XML Users group I asked what they thought of the controversy surrounding the International Standards Organization adoption of OOXML. There was general agreement that the ISO had not covered itself in glory and that its reputation has taken a major hit. Someone mentioned this post by Tim Bray -
The important thing is this: The ISO Delta is completely irrelevant to the marketplace. It is not implemented in the shipping Microsoft products. Microsoft may choose to implement some portion of it in some future release of some product, or they may not. Given Office’s release and adoption cycle, it’s very unlikely that any pieces of the delta they decide to implement will be widely deployed in anything less than five years.

Thus, if you write OOXML software and you generate ISO-Delta markup, it won’t be usable by the deployed base of software. In fact, we have no information as to how gracefully Office will react; will it bypass such markup or explode messily? I’m not optimistic. So, implementors should not generate ISO-Delta markup.

If Bray is correct, the whole purpose of a standards organization has been defeated. It is a shame, a real shame.


Anonymous said...

There was a protest in Oslo earlier this month at the ISO meeting to request the withdrawal of OOXML

Betty Harvey

Alice said...

I saw that, pretty amazing? I think the ISO really booted it.