CyberTech Rambler

March 19, 2008

Patrick Durusau has the correct intention, but the way he chosen is wrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 8:23 am

Patrick Durasau, project editor for ODF, came out in support of OOXML as a ISO Standard. His comments comes in the form of several PDFs rather than website which makes it difficult to link to. I will refer you to Rob Weir’s comment which is the best article that links to Durusau’s letters. Given that this can be consider a big coup by pro-OOXML camp, it is surprising that the normally vigilant Jason Matusow could not even find the time to chronicle this piece of good news. Nevertheless, for the interest of balance blogging, here are  Jason Matusow’s takes (take1, take2)on Durusau’ support. Of course, PJ’s comment is here.

Rob Weir did a good job dissecting Durusau’s argument. I do not actually agree with all of them but that is immaterial here. The strong thread in all of Durusau’s letter is Microsoft has open up and we should encourage it. While PJ will argue Microsoft is being dragged kicking and screaming to open up and I do agree that the heat Microsoft is feeling do contribute to the opening up of Microsoft, I do agree with Durusau that we should encourage  and support Microsoft.

However, I disagree that OOXML should be approved as ISO standard purely on the ground of “encouraging Microsoft to open up”. What happened here is Microsoft had chosen the wrong process. The process is inadequate to approve OOXML. To approve OOXML this way is wrong as it means inadequate scrutiny of an important international process. Safeguarding this process is more important than encouraging a company to embark on a process that you and I would like to encourage.

The appropriate way of encouraging Microsoft is to nurse OOXML properly and bring it up to the quality required for an ISO Standard. This means OOXML should go through the standard “standardization” process, preferably at ISO. We should not allow OOXML to be rush through, but we must acknowledge the work already performed by Microsoft. Hence, a faster standardization process, say one year less than the standard 3+ years will achieve this and perhaps strike the correct balance.

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