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April 1st, 2008

Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML’s win

Posted by Paula Rooney @ 1:35 pm

Categories: General, Development, Linux, Enterprise Policy, Linux Desktop OS, Linux Server OS, Standards, Distributions, FOSS, business models, IBM, GPL, Red Hat

Tags: Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth, Standard, Microsoft Office, ISO, Microsoft Corp., OpenDocument Format, OOXML, OpenDocument Format (ODF), Iso standards

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said the approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML is a “sad” day for ISO and the computing public.

“I think it de-values the confidence people have in the standards setting process,” Shuttleworth said in an interview just hours after the news was leaked. The International Standards Organization (ISO) did not carry out its responsibility, he claimed.

“It’s sad that the ISO was not willing to admit that its process was failing horribly,” he said, noting that Microsoft intensely lobbied many countries that traditionally have not participated in ISO and stacked technical committees with Microsoft employees, solution providers and resellers sympathetic to OOXML. “When you have a process built on trust and when that trust is abused, [ISO] should halt the process.” Shuttleworth

“[ISO] is an engineering old boys club and these things are boring so you have to have a lot of passion … then suddenly you have an investment of a lot of money and lobbying and you get artificial results,” he said about the vote. “The process is not set up to deal with intensive corporate lobbying and so you end up with something being a standard that’s not clear.”

More than 3000 questions about the specification remain unanswered and OOXML is so enormously complex and ambiguous that it can be implemented in a variety of ways, Shuttleworth contends. That negates the very purpose of a standard, he added.

Office Open XML does not belong alongside ISO standards such as HTML, PDF and ODF, Shuttleworth maintains.

“The things that make for a very good standard are clarity and consensus, and the genuine belief that multiple organizations can implement the standard,” he added, noting that much of OOXML is a compilation of old Office “quirks and inconsistencies “ dumped into an XML format that different Microsoft developers implemented differently for different versions of Word and Excel.“They have a tasty dump of all of that declared as a standard,” Shuttleworth claimed.

Like Red Hat and Novell, Ubuntu’s Debian-based Linux desktop distribution uses the open source, OpenDocument Format compliant OpenOffice office suite that competes against Microsoft Office.

Will Ubuntu implement IS DIS 29500 now that it is a standard?
“We’re not going to invest in trying to implement a standard that is poorly defined,” Shuttleworth said, maintaining that the specification can be altered and added to as Redmond wishes – regardless of its rivals’ product cycles.

“If we get close to implementing it, Microsoft would move the goal post,” he projects. “Microsoft doesn’t think it’s bound by the standard.”

I wouldn’t want the job if people told me to implement it as a standard,” he added

The ISO approval gives Microsoft the ability to promote its OOXML products to governments and customers but no guarantee about future changes. “It puts us into a situation where we have multiple standards for document formats and no clear guidance as to how standards will evolve,” he said.

Microsoft’s argument that the standard is complex because the software is complex is hogwash, Shuttleworth also maintains, because more complex software – such as e-mail and the web– have simple and clear standards all developers can implement: IMAP and HTML.
“Rendering web pagea is rich, very detailed with fonts and different layouts and support for different devices. It’s an amazingly rich content format but we have a standard to drive it that is clean and clear by comparison with Office Open XML,” he added.

In the end though, the same kind of lobbying and politicking that doomed Massachusetts’ effort to establish OpenDocument Format as a standard also tanked the global effort to unite behind ODF, Shuttleworth claimed.
“All the work was done behind closed doors instead of in a public forum,” Shuttleworth lamented. “All of that is very unfortunate and doesn’t actually move the technology or industry ahead. We’ve always had Microsoft with private file formats.”

Shuttleworth does not believe, however, that the ISO win will slow Linux’s advance on the desktop and maintains that OpenOffice suites and ODF applications will gain steam. “It’s always been an uphill battle to use anything that’s not Microsoft Office,” he said. “The battle will be won on the merit. “

Paula Rooney is a Boston-based writer who has followed the tech industry for almost two decades. See her full profile and disclosure of her industry affiliations.

  • Talkback
  • Most Recent of 124 Talkback(s)
Not any I came accross.
The only ones that get broken under IE are some wiseass that decides to exploit some code. It is OSS software that can't render IE extensions properly. Sounds like OSS wants a mandate so that MS can n... (Read the rest)
Posted by: osreinstall Posted on: 04/03/08 You are currently: Logged In | Log out
But of course he does GuidingLight   | 04/01/08
*CLEARLY* Tinkie   | 04/02/08
His philanthrophy is a very good thing GuidingLight   | 04/02/08
Please tell me... Monkey_MCSE   | 04/02/08
Well, that is easy John Zern   | 04/02/08
Left out? *NEW* Diazamet   | 04/03/08
"classify Microsoft Office as "non-open" document standard" *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
Apples and oranges. Philanthropy <> good code *NEW* jlafitte   | 04/03/08
Non-GM food a problem? *NEW* fr0thy2   | 04/03/08
All very good points he is making. A sad day, but, not sure we have heard DonnieBoy   | 04/01/08
There is enough room at the table for everyone. osreinstall   | 04/01/08
Not about OSS v Microsoft SwashbucklingCowboy   | 04/01/08
Standards don't mean anything. osreinstall   | 04/01/08
But, funny that 90% of the people use MS Office, but, ODF sailed through DonnieBoy   | 04/01/08
After 100s of millions, dirty tricks and lobbying, ... ShadeTree   | 04/02/08
Gotta play the game nucrash   | 04/02/08
Aside from the usual Yagotta B. Kidding   | 04/02/08
Er, weren't you watching... A.Sinic   | 04/02/08
You mean those votes were MS's competition. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
all the little guys collaborate to try to make the standard non-proprietary *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Sounds like a R&D cartel. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
sure live in your fantasy *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
As opposed to your fantasy. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
The table is getting smaller cpuobsessed   | 04/01/08
Only because folks don't try to compete. osreinstall   | 04/01/08
a serious question... Monkey_MCSE   | 04/01/08
The standard is to hamstring MS. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
I think that you couldn't be more wrong. *NEW* daengbo   | 04/02/08
No, I think you are. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
Very well defined and articulated! *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
Yeah sure old man *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
osreinstall I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Stevey, I know exactly what is going down. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
since there is a free Office2007 to ODF output and input filter *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Why should they. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
If you don't like it DON'T BUY IT. *NEW* jlafitte   | 04/03/08
Big brother? Nope simple corruption *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
You do not have to have multiple standards for everybody to fit at the DonnieBoy   | 04/01/08
You want everyone to eat brocolli. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
Good luck getting your M3.45756849 screw for your microsoft car *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
No Problem. Consult a parte manual. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
m5 bolt timing chain tensioner in Porsche 911 *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
They use standard bolts on all cars. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
How so? *NEW* jlafitte   | 04/03/08
"Enough room for everyone...", said the cannibal. Zogg   | 04/02/08
You need table manners and pass the salt. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
so ODF isn't a standard in MA. Er actually it is. *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Good thing it isn't the only choice. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
sure formats with proprietary lockin give choice *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Still babbling about bolts. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
No offense, but you are pretty ignorant Stuka   | 04/02/08
So are you buddy. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
like TCP/IP hurt the internet huh? *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
IE didn't hurt the internet either. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
the judge's Findings of Fact said microsoft's actions had slowed innovation *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Just because a judge said so... *NEW* jamesrayg   | 04/03/08
That judge was dismissed for bias. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
So IE doesn't break normal standard pages then? *NEW* zkiwi   | 04/03/08
Not any I came accross. *NEW* osreinstall   | 04/03/08
I don't dine with crooks peter_erskine@...   | 04/02/08
You must have when you went to pot luck. osreinstall   | 04/02/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win zkiwi   | 04/01/08
I would refuse roaming   | 04/01/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win applebypd   | 04/02/08
well if you've seen MSDN... *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
I agree with Mark 100% LittleGuy   | 04/02/08
Strange, I'm exactly the opposite... Guy Smiley   | 04/02/08
Well, at least we agree that ISO relevance is gone. NT LittleGuy   | 04/02/08
Why? zkiwi   | 04/02/08
Because... *NEW* Guy Smiley   | 04/03/08
There's a diference... *NEW* zkiwi   | 04/03/08
Standards are for simplified interaction and competition *NEW* fr0thy2   | 04/03/08
well this just shows your ignorance *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Yeah, fancy ratifying a standard that isn't owned by Microsoft *NEW* fr0thy2   | 04/03/08
And it begins BFD   | 04/02/08
I wouldn't call it whining.. Monkey_MCSE   | 04/02/08
I guess you think the single vendor bidding process for Blackwater was good *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
ISO have been compromised Linux Geek   | 04/02/08
Open Source "lobbying" = "whining" No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/02/08
The difference here.. Monkey_MCSE   | 04/02/08
Sorry Monkey A.Sinic   | 04/02/08
fact still remains Monkey_MCSE   | 04/02/08
Not for Desktop Publishing *NEW* daengbo   | 04/02/08
Your ranting simply doesn't matter. No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/02/08
You keep calling it choice... *NEW* Monkey_MCSE   | 04/03/08
Why do you whine so much? *NEW* No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/03/08
100 million users say you're wrong. *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
You mean PDF don't you? *NEW* No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/03/08
If "lobbying" = "whining"... Sysadm1n   | 04/02/08
He gets so many things wrong easson   | 04/02/08
still waiting for the proof.. Monkey_MCSE   | 04/02/08
Exactly, this standard is like the microsoft titanic, and holes are holes *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
So... zkiwi   | 04/02/08
Not only wrong, but only tells one side of it. No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/02/08
Damn those dirty FLOSS bastards!1! Sysadm1n   | 04/02/08
we all know No_facts can't provide proof *NEW* Monkey_MCSE   | 04/03/08
This is the same ODF that microsoft sat and still sits on the committee for *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Unaddressed is functionally equivalent to unanswered *NEW* daengbo   | 04/02/08
Unaddressed! Riiiiiiiight......... *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
no, they weren't answered. They were ignored *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
This from a guy whose company is eatign the POSIX dogfood hornerea   | 04/02/08
ah just compete Boot_Agnostic   | 04/02/08
AMEN! Give usrs a CHOICE No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/02/08
exactly why OOXML will never be used outside msoffice *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
No one? Yo mean like IBM, Sun and Google *NEW* No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/03/08
Who you gonna call? tonymcs@...   | 04/02/08
Who you gonna call? IBM!!! Sysadm1n   | 04/02/08
IBM? Oh yeah, they did say they were going to use *NEW* No_Ax_to_Grind   | 04/03/08
A fine declaration *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
Well at least one thing came about from it all.. *NEW* Monkey_MCSE   | 04/03/08
100 million users for Openoffice, 20% of the market *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Well Said Mark Shuttleworth! peter_erskine@...   | 04/02/08
My sentiments, exactly! *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win *NEW* sudheer.s@...   | 04/03/08
Status Quo *NEW* Gerald Quaglia   | 04/03/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win *NEW* troutmaskreplica   | 04/03/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win *NEW* malevolentjelly   | 04/03/08
and ignore completely the corruption *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
Shouldn't Microsoft be the ones developing plugins? *NEW* peter_erskine@...   | 04/03/08
Novell is going to implement this standard *NEW* Ole Man   | 04/03/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win *NEW* jlafitte   | 04/03/08
you think corruption is humane? *NEW* stevey_d   | 04/03/08
RE: Ubuntu's Shuttleworth blames ISO for OOXML's win *NEW* anonymuos   | 04/03/08

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