Patrick Durusau’s latest blog posting (PDF) is worth a read. I do not agree with his opinion that there was no standard war. However, his factual account of the events is accurate.
I quite simply cannot understand why Durusau bother to post this at all. Since he is the chair of an important committee, he would had been better off keeping his opinion to himself, if only for the sake of appearing impartial.
Was there a war? I think there is. A war requires two parties to have difference in opinion, and both parties maneuver aggressively. A declaration of war, although nice, is not a necessity. Did both side maneuver aggressively? Yes.
One other thing, unilateral declaration of ceasefire, like the one declared by Microsoft a long time ago, is only effective if one side has overwhelming advantage against the other. The fact that Microsoft is defending itself long after the declaration is a sign that the war is still raging.
It is, however, true that Microsoft did not started the war. They first ignored ODF. As PJ pointed out, Massachusetts forces it to rethink this strategy, and Microsoft came out fighting. OOXML passage through ECMA and ISO is a war. May be not the big crash of superpowers, but at least a guerilla war fought between a superpower and local, disorganized fractions such as this fly-by blog. Interestingly, most anti OOXML/proODF people do not see Microsoft supports for ODF in Microsoft Office’s next service pack, and its decision to rejoin the ODF committee at OASIS as them winning the war. Do I believe this is a turning point in the war? Not yet. It will depends on what is delivered in the service pack, and Microsoft behavour in the committee. However, it can potentially be a turning point. If it is, I don’t like it. I do not think either party should be the winner as winning implies someone has to lose. What I really want to see is the cliche “win-win” situation where everyone benefit from one single document format.
If I were Microsoft, I must admit I probably will not had acted differently. I cannot recall how many times I ignored things just to have it come back and bite me later. I had, in the past, engage in a bit of fighting.
Every time the result is clear, I did not win. Most of the time, I capitulated quickly as I do not have the resources like Microsoft. Nonetheless, I lose.