back to article Official: OOXML approved as international standard

The ISO/IEC confirmed this morning that Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) has been approved as an international standard, leaving the Open Document Format (ODF) lobby raging about alleged voting irregularities. The International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) finally posted a press release today officially confirming what …

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Alien

I hope they all get cancer

Anyone know where to sign up for those Virgle one-way tickets? I want to get off this shithole.

The ISO have put "Subject to there being no formal appeals from ISO/IEC national bodies in the next two months, the International Standard will accordingly proceed to publication." right in the middle of their press release though... an invitation? Perhaps there's still hope for our species.

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Another April Fools' Day story!

Oh wait, it's the second of April already.

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Pirate

Right ...

Right, 3/4s of them change their mind overnight (or, as overnight is measured in such situations)... I smell a rat.

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Anonymous Coward

Screw 'em

Why join them if you can beat them?

March on, I say, and let the market decide over a period of time. More and more people are getting switched on to Open Office, and at the end of the day numbers will decide, not an outfit which is more bent than the Olympic committee.

OK, it's an uphill struggle, but not skating on ice by any means.

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A "standard" with only one implementation possible is a waste of space

Call us back when it's actually possible for a third-party to have an independent implementation.

Until then, this is just business as usual. New versions of office have yet another file format that is guaranteed to be impossible to import and export. Just calling OOXML a "standard" won't change this.

Surely one of the national bodies has some integrity left? Or is this just confirmation that standardisation has become like every other walk of business life - hard cash talks - any thought of honorable behaviour (you know - like having a standard that , I don't know, was actually implementable by someone else) can just get stuffed.

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Bad day for the ISO

This decision is the end of public confidence in the ISO impartality and honesty, in fact a fateful day for this organization (the fact that Microsoft was an unfair company was already well-known).

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Dead Vulture

April Fool's was YESTERDAY!

See title.

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Tom Robertson...

...how's your appetite? Can't be good, anything you touch with that tongue will turn to dust and acid. As for the ISO, I have some tooling to specify for a milling machine at the mo. I was trying to stick to ISO standards even though they are not the most common, sod that now, they aren't worth shite. Shame MS can't be brought to justice for miss-use of the word 'open' but that would mean 'truth' and 'facts' would have to be judged too.

Can someone post a clear and simple howto to get the formal complaint procedure rolling without having to leave the keyboard?

cheers

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Coat

It's broken...

The 7th seal that is.

Coat, hat, pub.

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Anonymous Coward

Market decisions...

"...More and more people are getting switched on to Open Office..."

Frankly, these numbers are utterly insignificant. And it'll take more than a bit of wild accusation-slinging to beat Micro$haft's "marketing and promotion" (aka bribery and corruption) budget in an open market.

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Anonymous Coward

Zune gets ISO certification

In a surprise move, ISO certifies the Zune as the world standard MP3 player, shortly after certifying Microsoft Bob, Internet Information Server and Vista.

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Money can't buy you love....

But most things have a price

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widely adopted standard?

So a standard that has 1 implementation is a "widely adopted standard"? This is a meaning for the phrase "widely adopted" I wasn't aware of.

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Gates Horns

SOS

SOS - Different Day.

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Pirate

Shamdard

Well done to Groklaw for following the details.

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Coat

Just to clarify...

Microsoft win the vote by 2/3rds. See Revelations 13:18.

Coat, Hat, Home...Before the pub owner knows I'm on his WiFi.

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How much...

...did this cost MS? It just seems strange that so many would suddenly swing in favour when the "standard" still has apparent problems.

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Delayed to avoid April Fools?

People probably would have thought it was the most obvious April Fool they'd come across (even more than the flying penguins!) had they not delayed the release by a day.

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It only needs 3 objections

I don't know the finer details but it seems that if they need 2/3 approval, and they have 24/32 then by removing 3 approvals you get 21/32 - ie less than 2/3.

Germany and Norway might be 2, and if the irregularities alone don't cast huge doubt on the others like Philippines then it might come down to one other NB to object and the ISO is lost.

Now, if the BSI would be so kind as to show off how well they operate and have any confidence in their decision to approve, maybe that'll tip the balance.

It also appears that many votes are void simply because they weren't allowed to vote on MSXML, but only on whether their previous objections had been solved. Thus if the technical committee declared them unsolved or could not verify they were solved (none of them could?), they *should* have kept the previous disapproval. Instead they seem to have had a vote on whether to accept MSXML (with all the irregularities that went with it).

It does seem as though the ISO cannot accept the 'vote', but whilst they dither they are likely to spend an awful lot of time defending a process they know has gone horribly wrong.

(I know people refer to it as OOXML but really it's time to clarify this - its MSXML and cannot be anything else).

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Standards and business as usual

Where have you been? The reason for standards is to enable big business to stifle competition.

If the standards organisations get the wrong answer and don't favour big business, big business simply ignores them and uses their market clout to force their own systems.

Stop whining, that's the way it is and will be.

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Phantom implementation counts as 'widely accepted'?

Except even Microsoft isn't implementing OOXML as defined in the ISO submission... so I'm at a loss; who's got that 1 implementation?

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Gates Horns

what a load of cobblers

f$*%k.

current office 2007 users are also gonna be up shit creak or made pay out for "upgrades" as the OOXML standard submitted is supposedly just a tad different from what is currently implemented in Off07.

I conccur, ISO no longer worth a shite

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Um...

Open Office can import and export Office 2007 docs, that was the whole reason I even tried the thing in the first place...

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Jobs Halo

ISO - The farce is strong in you!

Stitch up complete then....

You expected anything else? I will continue installing Open Office on friends machines and save them a fortune on billys bloatware, any company that sends me stuff in "unreadable" format clearly doesnt want my business.

This is beyond farce - and the ISO mark is severley devalued and tarnished by this.

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Linux

ISO Standards

This is from the ISO standards pages on Standards Provide to everyone:

ISO standards provide technological, economic and societal benefits.

For businesses, the widespread adoption of International Standards means that suppliers can develop and offer products and services meeting specifications that have wide international acceptance in their sectors. Therefore, businesses using International Standards can compete on many more markets around the world.

For innovators of new technologies, International Standards on aspects like terminology, compatibility and safety speed up the dissemination of innovations and their development into manufacturable and marketable products.

For customers, the worldwide compatibility of technology which is achieved when products and services are based on International Standards gives them a broad choice of offers. They also benefit from the effects of competition among suppliers.

For trade officials, International Standards create "a level playing field" for all competitors on those markets. The existence of divergent national or regional standards can create technical barriers to trade. International Standards are the technical means by which political trade agreements can be put into practice.

For developing countries, International Standards that represent an international consensus on the state of the art are an important source of technological know-how. By defining the characteristics that products and services will be expected to meet on export markets, International Standards give developing countries a basis for making the right decisions when investing their scarce resources and thus avoid squandering them.

I do not see how MS OOXML works in any of these statements

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standards of standardisation are dropping

BSI are no longer recognised as a standards organisation in my view and I no longer recognise ISO as an intenational standard format.

Now one standard is clearly tainted none can be trusted, good work MS & BSI, hope your pay off was worth it and i hope that the lifetime free copies of windows cause you endless virus and security problems.

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Re: Wwidely adopted standard?

Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW.

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The lessons of history

Quote (from lelong, above): "... the end of public confidence in the ISO impartality and honesty."

Eh? *What* public confidence? The ISO may be many things but 'impartial' and 'honest' are not among them. It is a bloated, patriarchal, self-interested cartel run by patronising bureaucrats with a 'we know best' attitude who are in the pocket of big business.

ISO was the body, remember, that tried to sink TCP/IP in favour of it's own cumbersome inter-networking system, the OSI Reference Model.

The OSI system was designed by committee and as a result instead of a racehorse they'd come up with a mishapen camel. TCP/IP, on the other hand, had been developed by inspired and talented individuals and was lean and mean.

Most significantly, TCP/IP was up and running on real networks and was being tweaked and refined all the time. ISO's system was just a collection of abstractions, never tried in the real world.

Despite initial kowtowing to the ISO by business, many arms of the US government, and most European governments, TCP/IP eventually won the day.

It won partly because it was evangelised by the fathers of today's internet (most notably by Vint Cerf); partly because the UNIX community adopted it and it was built into early Sun machines; partly because it was the de facto standard in academic and research institutions; but mostly because it was far better than anything the ISO could come up with.

Which brings us round to today....

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So where were the objections?

To quote from Alex Brown's blog:

"Recently my standards colleague Inigo Surguy wrote a blog entry advising readers how to submit comments on the DIS. Guess how many good technical comments we received. I'll give you a clue: it was a good round number. In fact, guess how many truly meaningful technical objections were emailed to BSI over the whole course of the project. I can remember two. By contrast of course, there were a gabillion emails which were either form letters of MS origin, or copy-and-paste jobs from noooxml.org."

I would have assumed, given the huge rumpus these proceedings have generated, that the BSI would have been inundated with solid technical reasons why OOXML shouldn't become a standard. Evidently this didn't happen - I can only conclude that most of the anti-OOXML zealots are all mouth and no trousers.

Which is a shame, since as a die-hard Linux / OpenOffice user I'd have liked to have seen MS beaten on this one.

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Gates Horns

Not even one implementation

There are currently exactly zero implementations of this standard - Office doesn't comply with the modified parts, and I think Microsoft have publicly stated that it never will.

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At least this is confirmation that we need to mistrust Microsoft

At least this is confirmation that we need to mistrust Microsoft.

When they start talking about interoperability remember this shameful ISO shambles, remember their continuing backing of SCO and lets be clear about the following point.

Microsoft are a monoploy out of control which is prepared to break all kinds of laws and rules to force people to use their poor quality products.

They do not believe in competition as a force for good. The fact that a so-called democracy called the United States is prepared to allow a company to act in this way brings shame on that country as well.

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Gates Horns

Look at this another way

If Microsoft change their implementation of OOXML in MSWord, they'll no longer be allowed to call it OOXML.

Heise.de says:

"36 countries and standardization organizations appended comprehensive technical comments to their votes in the final round, and Microsoft will have to take them into account. The vendor will be forced to thoroughly revamp its current Office standard storage format for the upcoming initial implementation of the "new" OOXML."

Once MS has complied with the implementation changes, we'll have something that everybody can work with. Now all we need is an OOXML implementation for OpenOffice, and this will STRENGTHEN OpenOffice.org's position in the market.

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Black Helicopters

Now let's see how MICROSOFT implements it

Little cute sting in the tale - if a procurement selction is made on the basis of this standard MS will have to prove a valid, functional implementation.

If it does so, it has documented deficiencies in, for instance, Excel that will bar it from anything but simple additions..

Having said that, it *may* explain how Brown can claim any improvements in the UK economy since he got his hands on it. Aha - found out at last.

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Paris Hilton

And the Paris Hilton angle....

Is Paris Hilton the only person Microsoft is yet to corrupt?

Hmm...

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Stop

level playing field???

If you put this 6000 page monstrosity out on the playing field, you'd have a distinct depression... this thing is so huge, it can warp space and time around it... witness so many people coming out in favour of a standard that not even Microsoft can implement themselves as it has so may completely contradictory sections...

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Linux

It's a pointless sham

There are no implementations of the standard available, even MS's Office07 isn't compliant. The standard is flawed and in places opaque so it's impossible to fully implement by anyone other than MS.

Now we have:

* one office standard with several independent implementations.

* one standard that is incompatible with the first and has no independent implementations

* One non-standard de facto standard...

Bill Gates must be really please with him self now, he has managed to buy some of the worlds richest and poorest nations all in one go!

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Unhappy

MS broke standards

What a sad day for interoperability. I'll be writing to my MP, MEP, and to the EC. I suggest you all do likewise.

The fact that many (11 by my count) national bodies changed their votes from Approve to Disaprove or Abstain afaik has never been seen before. Changing from Approve to Disaprove is almost unheard of.

@Daniel

I have been following this closely, and I had never heard of Inigo before Alex mentioned him on his blog. If that was common, itsn't not surprising most missed it.

@Dirk

"Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW."

Apple: No they don't. Google: How hard is it to search a XML document? I wouldn't call that support. Google's public statements have explicitly slated OOXML.

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Pirate

Wasters

STOP FUCKIN BLEATING - IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT FUCKIN USE IT - IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE IS IT.

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Gates Horns

Re: WWwidely adopted standard

"Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW."

Apple currently has very limited support, you'd hardly call it a full implementation. Unless you are talking about "we're behind you" support. Which if you were would be irrelevant to discussion on whether it is a "widely adopted standard" as mentioned in your title.

Google search has limited indexing and rendering support, just as it does for the old office file formats, which has about as much relevance to the discussion as the flying spagetti monster. Google hate OOXML, and have rightfully pointed out that as a standard it is (to use the technical term) bollocks.

Not sure why we're adding extra W's to our post titles, but I didn't want to break the widely adopted standard. Even if it's completely unnecessary, probably a mistake and only previously adopted by one person.

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IT Angle

For the non-technical

aka - those who come here to read the BOFH stories.

What does a Standard require to become standard? Although reading the story and the comments, I'm not sure the ISO actually knows any more.

Wouldn't it be more fun if formats and Standards, were made to battle it out like the Betamax vs VHS and more recently the Blu-ray vs HD DVD (won surprisingly it seems by Blu-ray, I have a suspicion that the developers and makers were only interested in charging far far more for the hardware and then software than they would have got for the DVD equivalent).

So the crux of this message is. What is a standard. Could anyone create a standard no matter how theoretical, and erm, does copyright/licensing laws still apply to a file format that obtains the ISO "Standard" mark?

The icon, because now I truly know how little I know about software and hardware. Occasionally I value my ignorance, but on this matter I believe answers will help a great deal.

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Tom
Silver badge

The question is...

What is the going price of an ISO standard approval, and are you better off buying a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

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Anonymous Coward

MS OOXML - The best standard money can buy....

Is there anything else really to add?

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RE: So where were the objections?

>>> To quote from Alex Brown's blog:

"Recently my standards colleague Inigo Surguy wrote a blog entry advising readers how to submit comments on the DIS. Guess how many good technical comments we received. I'll give you a clue: it was a good round number. In fact, guess how many truly meaningful technical objections were emailed to BSI over the whole course of the project. I can remember two. By contrast of course, there were a gabillion emails which were either form letters of MS origin, or copy-and-paste jobs from noooxml.org."

>>> I would have assumed, given the huge rumpus these proceedings have generated, that the BSI would have been inundated with solid technical reasons why OOXML shouldn't become a standard. Evidently this didn't happen - I can only conclude that most of the anti-OOXML zealots are all mouth and no trousers.

Well I did email my objections, but guess what, you can expect most of the objections to look similar when they are objecting to the same points ! So I can only conclude from the comments quoted that anything objecting to one of these common dung-piles must be "... copy-and-paste jobs from noooxml.org".

So THAT's how the situation turned around ! Label all objections as meaningless copy-n-paste jobs and dismiss them, about the only plausible alternative explanation for the BSI changing tack so unexpectedly (the primary explanation being that they were bought).

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Gates Horns

Why did they vote for it?

Krusty: Lets just say it moved me. To a bigger house! Oh crap, I said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud.

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Flame

@AC and others, re "April Fool"

It *is* an April Fool story - and ISO are the fools.

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Gates Horns

@Aidan Thornton

> There are currently exactly zero implementations of this standard

There are hundreds of thousands of compliant consumers already and it's easy to implement a compliant producer. The Unix cp/DOS copy programs are actually both. Why?

If I may quote Rob Weir (http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/01/standard-trolls.html):

"... in plain English, in order to be able to claim conformance with OOXML, an application must not crash when presented with a valid OOXML document, or must be [cap]able of producing at least a single valid OOXML document. This is not exactly a high threshold."

This might well mean that Microsoft can already claim OOXML conformance for Office 2007 and so could probably others for their products. In practice most people will be using MS-Office to generate their OOXML-"compliant" documents and will expect competing software to read and write these.

In how far correctly interpreting/generating Office 2007 documents then has anything to do with the otherwise *optional* features described on a further 6000 pages of the OOXML standard is anyone's guess.

Cunning, no?

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Gates Halo

leavign aside the age of aquarious

that is supposed to be happing with everyone gamboling about on openoffice/ubuntu etc, in the real world we need a file format for use with the suite they use and that is still Microsoft office.

The is about zero chance of the sort of large instutions I've worked for moving off excel for many years so I'm pretty unconcerned by the whole fuss here.

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If it doesn't implement the standard, gov can't use M$ Office anyway ?

If, as I am constantly seeing, OOXML isn't currently implemented by anybody and is also unimplementable, then M$ office still isn't in the running for Gov procurement because it still doesn't use the OOXML standard.

The only true working standard then, is still ODF. If govs mandate standards document file types only and do purchace M$ Office, they are breaking their own rules and can be pushed to move to software that uses a real implemented standard.

I would still like to see somebody put in an objection to ISO in the next month or two as stopping this in the first place will be better than having to attempt damage limitation later.

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Anonymous Coward

Only problem i can see is...

the fact that things like the .docx (OOXML based) file format contains a .bin file and as at this moment the network I work on will not allow these files to be emailed around. Great standard!!!

Still lost as to why we need two standards...

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