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Shuttleworth and Ars Question MSOOXML’s Chances

Two industry heavyweights have noticed MSOOXML is now struggling in its cakewalk to ISO approval.

Ryan Paul, for Ars Technica, reports that MS OOXML might not succeed in the fast-track process in Microsoft one vote short of fast-track OOXML ISO standardization:

“Executive board members of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), the organization that represents the United States in ISO standardization deliberations, recently held an internal poll to determine the position that the United States should take on Microsoft’s request for Office Open XML (OOXML) approval. With eight votes in favor, seven against, and one abstention, the group was one vote short of the nine votes required for approving OOXML ISO standardization.”

In his personal blog, Mark Shuttleworth wonders if there is an Emerging consensus in favour of a unified document format standard?

“It’s too early to say for certain, but there are very encouraging signs that the world’s standards bodies will vote in favour of a single unified ISO (“International Standards Organisation”) document format standard… In the latest developments, standards committees in South Africa and the United States have both said they will vote against a second standard and thereby issue a strong call for unity and a sensible, open, common standard for business documents in word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.”

Shuttleworth identifies three highly compelling arguments that the world implement one, single standard:

  1. This is not a vote “for or against Microsoft”
  2. Open, consensus based document standards really WORK WELL – consider HTML
  3. A SINGLE standard with many implementations is MUCH more valuable than multiple standards

ODF is an important standard that could one day be as significant as HTML. Current efforts to derail it are coming from one source that sees it as a threat to its monopoly–but whatever your feelings toward that company, everyone is better served in the long term by building the best infrastructure today. And that digital infrastructure is ODF, not MSOOXML.

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