If DIS 29500 mark II has been accepted, then the narrowness of the victory needs to be something that Ecma and Microsoft take very seriously: standards maintenance needs to be a budgeted, normal cost of doing business. They should be aware that they are being thrown a lifeline, to some extent. If this becomes a one-off publicity stunt, as is the dire warning of MS’ competitors (and therefore, their own publicity stunts!), and timely, real maintenance is not performed, I would expect OOXML would be de-standardized at ISO.
Early reports Sunday indicate that Office Open XML (OOXML) appears to have enough votes to be certified an ISO standard. An official tally is not expected until Monday.
Some of you may have noticed that I decided a while back to ignore the whole OOXML/DIS 29500 debate here on XML.com. Two reasons: 1) Too much cost, not enough gain. 2) Rick Jelliffe had things covered from top to bottom, someone *MUCH* more qualified and capable than I to provide a proper perspective of what was going on and what it all meant.
However, with what seems to be the end of a *VERY* long and painful road — for both the pro and the con side of the OOXML/DIS 29500 — I believe it fair to make a couple of quick comments regarding this attempted debacle.
Firstly, regardless of whether or not OOXML gained the ISO stamp of approval, given the dominance of the Office product, and the success of Office 2007, there was no argument as to whether or not the various formats represented by the specification would maintain their market lead and therefore remain in the pole position as the default standard used by the document editing masses.
Stopping the ISO standardization process wouldn’t have changed that, whereas gaining an official ISO approval will at very least ensure that the Office document formats from this point forward will remain open and accessible. It’s not a perfect standard. But then again, there’s no such thing. The process to make them better can now (hopefully!) begin. Isn’t this a good thing?
Secondly, there are a whole list of people that I believe _should_ be called out for their shameful comments and behavior over the course of the last 22 months. But what would be the point? Not a single one of you believe you’re in the wrong.
But whether you’re wrong or right, there’s no justification for your behavior, *ESPECIALLY* as it relates to your treatment of Rick Jelliffe, a *Linux* using, open source and open standards advocate who has continued to stand up and fight for this same openness to continue forward while the rest of you attempted to not only shoot down OOXML/DIS 29500, but to take down Rick’s hard earned respect and credibility in the process.
It was shameful, unjustifiable, and each and everyone of you owe Rick a personal apology.
And a bottle of twenty year old Scotch, though if nothing else, please start with the apology and then see where things go from there. ;-)
To Rick: Your commitment to bring about greater transparency and openness in this document-based world of ours is truly commendable. Like many other folks on this planet I have nothing but admiration and respect for who you are, what you stand for, what you both have and continue to do, and what you have accomplished thus far.
Thanks for standing up for what was right!