Saturday, December 01, 2007

An Antic Disposition: The Myth Of OOXML Adoption

Read the full post for more context.

Consider this: In JTC1 we vote. One country one vote. We do not vote based on a nation's GDP. Jamaica and Japan are equal in ISO. We have engineers review the standards. We do not bring in accountants to review financial statements and verify inventories. If we want to make decisions based on market share then we should scrap JTC1 altogether and hand standardization over to revenue department authorities to administer.
But that would then perpetuate a technological neo-colonialism where the developed world controls the the patents, the capital and the standards, and the rest of the world licenses, pays and obeys. There's the rub. Where standards are open, consensually developed in a transparent process and made available to all to freely implement, there we lower barriers to implementation, level the playing field and allow all nations of the world to compete based on their native genius. But where standards are bought we end up with bad standards and a worse world for it.

I admire Rob Weir's energy and his quest for a utopian breakthrough in standards, but I see things a bit differently.  The first paragraph of my forthcoming Burton Group overview covering ODF and Open XML:

The software industry has rarely seen debates as intense as those surrounding OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Open XML (also known as Office Open XML [OOXML]) during recent years. It’s a story that has many elements appropriate for a James Bond movie, with multi-billion dollar business empires at risk, global political intrigue, and even some conspiracy theories at the intersection of capitalism (commercial software products), democracy (industry standards), and communism (e.g., related standards controlled by the People’s Republic of China). This is improbably heady stuff for what’s ultimately a debate about something as mundane as file formats.

More to follow...

An Antic Disposition: The Myth Of OOXML Adoption

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