a 'mooh' point

clearly an IBM drone

I missed you, Rob

So today was the last day of the two-day meeting in the, in Oslo created, Ad Hoc Group 1-committee (AHG1). It has been a couple of interesting days and also rather productive. We managed to cover quite a lot of ground and I am quite pleased with the outcome of the meeting. Note, that we have not made any decisions at the AHG1-meeting. All we did was to suggest a possible structure for future work on OOXML in a new Working Group under SC34, Working Group 4 (WG4). SC34 will have to decide themselves (or, ourselves) on what to do in the event that the appeals on OOXML-approval are overthrown.

There were a total of 18 people attending the meeting – of these were nine people of either ECMA or Microsoft. The rest was comprised of representatives from British Standards Institute (BSI) and Dansk Standard (DS) and a couple of “neutral” people, herein myself, Francis Cave (UK), a guy from NL-net Foundation in the Netherlands, Keld Simonsen (NO), a guy from IBM (HUN), the convener Dr. (*giggles*) Alex Brown (UK) and Murata Makato (JPN). The meeting took place in the pleasant surroundings of British Library near St. Pancras Station in London.

The meeting report is available from the SC34 website.

I think the content of most of the discussions of the meeting can be summed up in these three words: “Openness”, “transparency” and “participation” – with the latter perhaps being the most important.


Murata Makato is currently the convener of SC34 WG1 – the WG that currently holds responsibility of the 29500-project in SC34. He will therefore be acting convener of WG4 as well until SC34 formally points out who should hold the position. We have suggested to SC34 that Murata Makato be pointed convener of WG4, but as with all positions in JTC1, it is at the discretion of the NBs and I encourage each NB to think hard on whether they have someone who could fill the position (I should note that I personally think that Murata is an excellent choice as convener).  Since the work-load of WG4 quite possibly will be rather large, we have also suggested that WG4 should have a secretariat. It is at the discretion of the convener to point out who should run the secretariat – it could be an NB, but in theory just about anyone. ECMA has offered to run the secretariat for the W4.

We have suggested to SC34 that an editor of OOXML should be appointed to oversee and coordinate the overall process of work on OOXML. ECMA has offered to continue to fill out this position, but it will ultimately be up to SC34 to decide. We talked quite a lot about how to structure editing of the 29500-project. In ISO-terms, maintenance is defined as “revision, withdrawal, periodic review, correction of defects, amendment, and stabilization”. We discussed having multiple editors (possibly one for each of the IS 29500-parts (four in total)), we discussed multiple editors sharing responsibility of editing the whole text as well, but we ended with a suggestion to have a single editor for the project and assign an “editorial team” to him/her. We agreed that this was the most flexible way to structure this task. The editorial team should consist of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) of either the NBs or ECMA or any other expert invited/nominated by an NB. This will allow WG4 to adapt the resource-level in terms of body-count to the specific work-load being thrown upon it.

Now, if you ask me, it is crucial that the NBs step up to the task and participate in the work on maintenance and future development of IS 29500 – should the appeals have a favorable outcome. If we don’t step up, SC34 – and WG4 - will in effect simply be a new place for ECMA to meet and work on OOXML. But it is a daunting task – at least compared to the normal work load of some WGs under the JTC1 umbrella. We talked a lot about the possible magnitude of work, but since none of us were able to predict the future, we have suggested the following as initial meeting schedule and work-load:

  • Weekly teleconferences
  • Quarterly face-to-face meetings
  • Overall communication via, possibly, email

The first face-to-face meeting should take place in early 2009.

If the work-load is not as big as we fear (or hope), the activity-level will quite possibly be adjusted really quickly to a more infrequent level.

But this work-load is rather big - at least if you ask me. Even if you don’t count the quarterly meetings in, we are talking about weekly teleconferences of maybe 2 hours each – and with preparations for them of at least a couple of hours for each, initially. This amounts to between a half and a whole work-day each week. Note that none of this is funded by ISO. This effectively means that you don’t want to join the WG4 (or the editorial team) unless you really mean it. I don’t think there is any way to sugar-coat this – participating in standards work, be that in OASIS, ECMA or ISO is serious business and it takes up a lot of time. That being said, we need the NB-participation in this – otherwise the whole ISO-process regarding OOXML becomes, well, ‘moot’.

We actively encourage the NBs of SC34 to participate in the WG4 [and on a personal note; this should be regardless of position on OOXML itself]. The 29500-project drew an enormous amount of attention throughout the last months, and especially the feedback from those opposing OOXML has been extremely valuable. It would be sad, if all those good resources chose not to participate.


Openness is here referred to as the ability of participating in the process. This was sadly one of those areas, where not much was changed – mostly due to JTC1 directives. The members of SC34 (and the subordinate working groups) are national bodies, so if you want to participate in maintenance of OOXML, you need to join a national body. In some countries there is a fee, in some not. In Denmark, as an example, it is free for NGOs and private persons to participate and there are discounts for SMBs if they should choose to join. For “regular” companies as CIBER or IBM, the annual cost is about €3000.

We talked about setting up an informal channel for feedback from the community, but we ended with a decision about a closed NB-website for submission of comments to WG4 – essentially an electronic edition of the “Defect report” form from ISO.

I am thinking about creating an open, informal channel for feedback and comments on IS 29500. It should allow everyone to submit comments to the site about the spec and allow “comments on comments” to facilitate discussions on the feedback. The channel (a website, really) will be REST-enabled and allow any NB to use the contents of the website in their own work on IS 29500. The idea is to create a single point of feedback to enable not only the community to provide feedback but also assist the NBs with their technical work on IS 29500. The website is not a direct channel to SC34 but an informal place to discuss issues with the text. If anyone would like to contribute to this work with either ideas, funding (website costs etc) or technical expertise, please let me know.


And what about transparency? Well, this will follow the rules of JTC1 which means that meeting reports and attendance-lists of face-to-face meetings will be posted on the SC34 website and be accessible for everyone. We will have to find a specific form in doing this, but I will do whatever I can to have the meeting reports be as much as possible like the meeting minutes from OASIS ODF TC. This means that not only will any decisions be recorded – details about the discussions around them should also be available. We will also likely be posting intermediate drafts of the specification for everyone to see – in exactly the same way OASIS ODF TC and ECMA TC45 has done until now. This will allow everyone to follow not only the work going on in WG4 – but also what the result of the work in the actual specification will be.

Participation – a final note

I missed a lot of people in London – the people and organizations opposing OOXML. I had expected a stronger representation from some of the big companies that have criticized DIS 29500 and I had also expected more of the opposing countries to attend. In effect, by not participating in the meeting, they contributed to the alleged “Microsoft stuffing”. I think it calls for a bit of after-thought on their part. They might not have had their cake (to eat) in Geneva, but not participating in the work is the sure road to an ECMA/Microsoft dominated WG in SC34. I will not begin to speculate (much) on possible reasons for not attending – maybe it’s just much easier to sit on one’s hands and claim “Microsoft stuffing” than actually attending the meeting. Just note, that it’s hardly “Microsoft-stuffing” when no one but Microsoft participates.

Comments (32) -

Jesper, how many people did your company send to the meeting? Did any other organizations other than Microsoft and Ecma send more than one person?  I didn't think so.  So why would be odd that there was only one person from IBM there?  Our views are not so difficult to explain that it requires an army to represent them.

I'd note also that when Microsoft participates in maintaining ODF in OASIS they have also sent only one person, Doug Mahugh.  This is logical, for the same reason.

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your comment. Please note, though, that I have not asked for multiple attendees from e.g. IBM. I specifically wrote "a stronger representation from some of the big companies that have criticized DIS 29500". That could either be more representatives present or "stronger voices" in terms of technical/procedural knowledge of either OOXML or JTC1-directives. I think you'd be a perfect match for this, and I genuinely wish, that you had had the possibility to attend the meeting. If you look at the Danish mirror-committee of SC34 and its member list (www.ds.dk/.../default.aspx), there was a lot of "high-pitch"-opposition of OOXML. Still, not a single one of the opposing parties thought it'd be worth the while to take the trip to London ... even excluding IBM that was represented in London.

And for the record, CIBER Danmark (a company of 60-70 employees) sent one person, me.


Well, knowledge of OOXML was not relevant to the meeting.  In fact you do not even have access to the text of the standard, so there is no decision you could make which could depend on detailed knowledge of the standard.  But with 10 Microsoft/Ecma persons there, I'm sure you had some knowledge of OOXML that the ad-hoc could dip into if that became necessary.

As for JTC 1 Directives, you had the Secretary General of Ecma there.  Fast Track was written for Ecma specifically, and they are the main user/abuser of that process.  So you had ample representation of those who could interpret the rules.  Since the ad-hoc could not change Fast Track rules, my well-known criticisms of Fast Track would not have been in scope.

In any case, I don't really hear any argument for why I should be interested in OOXML maintenance.  I wasn't interested in developing OOXML initially in Ecma.  So why should I be interested in maintaining it now?  Voting against OOXML only obliges an NB to attend the BRM.  It doesn't give any obligation to maintain the standard.  On the contrary, the maintenance obligation is to those who support OOXML.


The contrast between your (IBM) attitude on OOXML maintenance and Microsoft's on ODF maintenance is absolutely striking.  IBM has a long and deserved reputation for participation in standards making and maintenance.  That reputation is going to be severely eroded over time if IBM representatives like you say things like "I wasn't interested in developing OOXML initially in Ecma. So why should I be interested in maintaining it now?"

First, two things:

1. Thanks for the openness, transparency, participation perspectives. That is very useful.

2. I am completely supportive of your creating an independent "shadow" that provides for public participation and contribution, with some sort of unofficial transfer mechanism between that forum and WG4.  For starters, I think that the OASIS Open Document TC (and its subcommittee) provides an useful model, especially with its discussion lists (though a better host is desired) and a wiki (but with contributor-editable bits as well as non-editable bits maintained by its stewards).

I also think that you will need to deal with IP issues immediately with regard to contributions being freely made by those with the authority to do so.  The OASIS mechanism seems to be simple and plain enough.  (This means that you need registration and security for those who can contribute, although I think any site and its content should be publicly visible without need for any registration activity.)

Go for it.  

Ian, neither you nor Jesper answered my question.  Why should I be involved in maintaining OOXML?

And how exactly is this a "absolutely striking" difference with Microsoft?  They sent one person to OASIS, and IBM sent one person to the ad-hoc meeting on OOXML maintenance. One equals one. Odd example of a "striking difference".


Hi Rob,

One of the interesting things when discussing with you is, that you sometimes pick a word almost out of context and then go haywire with it. Because you are naturally correct, technical knowledge of OOXML was not a prerequisite of the meeting - after all, there is no text available. But that is not to say that we did not benefit from the knowledge most of us had with the text, the ISO process and the work we did in Geneva. As an example, we discussed the expected work-load of incoming defect reports, and here we clearly benefitted from the knowledge we have aquired when working with the text. I am actually a bit surprised that you would say, that we could just rely on the expertise of ECMA in terms of OOXML-knowledge. I would expect you to agree with me, that if the ISO-process regarding OOXML has shown us but one thing, it is that everyone benefits from a balanced opinion?

Your mentioning of the Fast-track procedure is moot with regards to the work we did. If the appeals are overthrown, maintenance of IS 29500 is standard ISO procedure. I am sure you know this. So even though ECMA "invented" the Fast-track process, their knowledge of FT was not relevant. Knowledge of JTC1-directives and rules were indeed important, on the other hand. You are one of the very few people I would expect to be able to recite the JTC1-directives at 3 a.m., and we would have benefitted from you being there.

About interest in maintenance, I am a bit surprised about your comment of lack of interest. Is this your personal opinion, or do you mean that IBM as such is not interested in the development of the most widely used document format there is? I wonder if your competitors are smiling and clapping at this very moment.


I notice an odd treatment of the ad hoc group participation, and SC34 participation generally.  The minutes identify participants with the NB they are associated with or represent, along with those participants associated with ECMA [TC45].  This seems entirely appropriate and consistent with the federation structure of ISO/IEC JTC1.

On the other hand, much is made of the employment relationships of some of the participants (but not others).  This is made an issue yet it is not consistently dealt with.  I am unsure what to do with this.  Clearly, ones employment, and especially the employer's support for participation in an NB (or at ECMA) is a factor, and employers/sponsors may have policies that govern/constrain the participation that they support.  (In corporate parlance, one is a solid line association and the other is a dotted line.  I am confident that the dotted-line is to the NB or ECMA and thence to SC34 in most cases.  The solid line generally traces the financial arrangement.)

So, while noticing participant affiliations in addition to their NB (or ECMA) association is important in terms of assessing the balance of participation in SC34 and its WGs, it would appear that consistency requires emphasis on the dotted lines for how that participation is achieved.

On reflection, it strikes me that addressing this post to Rob Weir was actually off-kilter.  I don't see any need for him to account for his absence from the ad hoc group (and WG4 in the future).  Now, if SC34 manages to mount an OOXML-ODF harmonization effort, one would certainly hope to see expert participation from the OASIS TC and perhaps Rob would find that a valuable way to invest his energies (or not).  Even then, I don't see how he can be brought to account for how OASIS chooses to participate and whether or not his employer chooses to bear the expenses of his participation on the behalf of OASIS or INCITS.


Regarding the IP-issues I have not really thought of it. The idea was to consolidate all the good efforts previously put forward on sites like GrokLaw, NOOOXML and others into a single point of reference. It was also not the idea to have an "official transfer mechanism" to the SC34 NBs. The content on the website should/could be used by the NBs in much the same way as the contents on Groklaw was during the ballot period. There is only a single way to contribute directly to the work in SC34 and that is through the NBs so if you want to contribute directly, information should be sent to them. The wish to create this "shadow" is due to the realization that this model does not work for everyone. Some people might wish to add a single comment and some people just don't want to write an email directly to their NB. Some again would like to remain anonymous.

There will be no automated transfer to any NB, but the NBs are naturally welcome to use the data on the website just as they did previously.

And about holding someone accountable for not showing up in London, please note that I am not in any way holding Rob personally accountable for not being in London. I am simply expressing my wish that people like him and others had participated in the meeting. I am also saying that given the interest in blocking OOXML from being approved by ISO, it would be a natural thing to participate in the meeting where the future work was considered. Even though someone wished OOXML had never seen the light of day, I would imagine it would be of some interest to make sure, that the process of maintenance of the (undesired) standard became as good, open and transparent as possible.

I think maintenance of OOXML will be done primarily by those that favored OOXML in ISO - no doubt about it. But in terms of making sure that the process around maintenance is as good as possible (I would imagine that a company like IBM would have an interest in transparency and openness of the work as well, if for nothing else, for competitive reasons), one must ask one self the following question?

How do I best ensure that the process of maintenance of OOXML is as open and transparent as possible?

a) by doing nothing except blogging about Microsoft-stuffing of the meeting or
b) participating in the meeting like the one in London to maximize ones resources in ensuring a good process?

(and this is in no way aimed at Rob personally)

Jesper, as a member of the US NB in JTC1 and JTC1/SC34, I see a dozens of ballots go by my desk every day, for hundreds of items progressing through JTC1 or one of its many SC's and SWG's.  I do not have the ability or interest in attending every little ad-hoc meeting that comes along, even though my background, knowledge and skills may be of use to them.  My time is scare commodity and I must pick where I apply it carefully.  

In any case my opinions on the OOXML maintenance debate were introduced many months ago and are already institutionalized.  The fact that you are saying the core issues are participation, openness and transparency satisfies me very much.  If I have you representing my views, then my attendance surely would have been redundant.

If your ad-hoc benefits from my prior work in identifying defects in OOXML, and pointing out the process requirements for maintenance, then you are entirely welcome.  I wish you all the luck.

Jesper, I understood the informal and, in particular, unofficial character of the site you propose to create.

"The idea was to consolidate all the good efforts previously put forward on sites like GrokLaw, NOOOXML and others into a single point of reference."

If that is your goal, I don't understand why the site that ad hoc group 2 is expected to launch would not provide that capture point.  My understanding was that site is for capturing public comments (not just input from NBs) and has exactly that purpose.  Did you consult Murata-san about this?

With regard to sending e-mails to NBs, my impression is that these processes are very opaque, a bit like submitting bug reports to an invisible repository.   However, I understand that the forum you propose would be outside of the SC34 process and have no particular status.  What interested me was the openness and transparency in an acceptably-neutral place.  Considering IP, I still think you should at least require registration in order to submit and to comment, so there is some minimal provenance and others would understand they are free to make use of the content as they choose.  

Back when Ecma had made a proposal to take over the maintenance of IS29500, someone had something to say about that, and I quote:

"So what does a counter-proposal look like?
First, I think we should defer decision on this until the next SC34 Plenary, presumably in Spring 2008....The UK has made a proposal to create a new working group (WG) in SC34 dedicated to "Office Information Languages":...WG4 would be expected to work on the maintenance of, for example:
•  ISO/IEC 26300:2006
•  ISO/IEC 29500 ....
I think this deserves serious consideration.  This may be the type of neutral venue -- not Ecma and not OASIS -- that would be conducive to getting the technical experts together ...This would also be a way for Microsoft to fulfill their promise to transfer stewardship, control and ownership of OOXML over to ISO, a promise made they made publicly and repeatedly."

That somebody was Rob Weir, on his blog of Dec 6 2007.


Just for clarification against my understanding: orcmid.com/blog/2008/04/ooxmlodf-iso-steps-in.asp

I believe ad hoc group 1 is charged with proposing the approach to maintenance of IS 29500 and only IS 29500.  The harmonization proposal is separate from this as well as I can tell from the last SC34 meeting reports.

Ad hoc group 2 was charged with setting up a mechanism for capturing comments and technical analysis of IS 29500, with particular attention to capture of comments since the offering up of OOXML as DIS 29500.  I notice that the due date for that activity was July 2, if I computed 90 days from the last SC34 meeting correctly.  I do not know where there is an account for progress of this assignment.

Ian, you prove my point.  I called for this all many, many months ago.  But it still remains to see whether it will happen.  

What everyone is missing is the fact that Microsoft is not obligated to participate in SC34/WG4 maintenance, or to do maintenance exclusively in SC34/WG4.  Ecma is fully capable of submitting any future version of OOXML under Fast Track rules directly to JTC1 (not SC34) for another 6-month ballot.  That is Ecma's right as a Class A Liaison. There is nothing SC34 can do to remove that right.   In fact this is the way Ecma maintains most of their standards.  You might run down the history of C# some day and see what I'm talking about.

I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being a split responsibility, where SC34 owns the defect reporting for OOXML 1.0, but that future revisions of the standard come directly from Ecma.  So essentially SC34 sits around in the menial bug fixing role, but all new features come directly from Microsoft, where they are then rubber stamped by Ecma and pushed via Fast Track into JTC1.

Rick Jelliffe

All important, large and (potentially) market dominating standards need an assertive, systematic program of independent review. This is just as true for OOXML as it is for ODF.

I hope future meetings and electronic meetings will not be sensitive to promote Eastern hemisphere participation.

Rick Jelliffe

Oops I mean will be sensitive *to* promote Eastern hemisphere participation.


If that is your goal, I don't understand why the site that ad hoc group 2 is expected to launch would not provide that capture point. My understanding was that site is for capturing public comments (not just input from NBs) and has exactly that purpose. Did you consult Murata-san about this?

As noted in the meeting report, we had a demonstration of the webinterface at the AHG-meeting. But that tool is to be used exclusively by the NBs and is more of a kind of "submission-tool". The idea, as I understood it, was to digitize the regular "Defect report"-form from ISO. What I envision is a "collaboration-tool" for the general public audience - and naturally also for NBs, if they should choose to join. The problem with mixing an official tool with a public tool is the JTC1-directives that has rules about making NB-comments public and it would also put a burden in administration in terms of access-control etc.

As you say, IP-issues should be considered, and I'll add that to the requirement-list I will start putting together in a few days.


Thank you for taking your time to respond.

So essentially SC34 sits around in the menial bug fixing role, but all new features come directly from Microsoft, where they are then rubber stamped by Ecma and pushed via Fast Track into JTC1.

Correct me if I am wrong, but if the appeals are overthrown, IS 29500 becomes a "regular" JTC1/ISO-project regardless of the entrance-level - just as ODF is today where the initial PAS-submission is not relevant to the current work. Anything passed into SC34 about OOXML will be via the regular JTC1-channels, that is via defect reports, creation of new work-items etc.

Is this not correct?

Take a look at C# as a parallel example.  It was also a Microsoft/Ecma Fast Track.  According to JTC1 Directives, maintenance is owned by JTC1. But in practice all we see are new versions announced by Microsoft at their PDC conference, then submitted to Ecma, and only then sent via Fast Track through JTC1 as a "technical revision".  Although 29500:2008 may be an ISO project, that in no way prevents Ecma from originating and submitting a technical revision to OOXML under Fast Tracks.  That doesn't contradict SC34's ability to produce corrigenda for 29500:2008 if they wanted to.  Again, look at C# for how that works in practice. They just add language to the first page that says "This version cancels and supersedes ISO/IEC 29500:2008".  You can't tell me it can't be done, because Microsoft/Ecma has done it numerous times before.

Who knows.  Maybe you'll be able to get Ecma to compromise.  But I think they have all the procedural cards.  They can do whatever they want via Fast Track.  The question is really whether they see any PR benefit to allowing some token SC34 participation in the process.  We'll see.  Certainly SC34 participation would not be onerous or challenging to them if the ad-hoc committee consists of a majority of Ecma/Microsoft employees.  So they may allow that.

OK, it looks like there are two different collection situations, one that is retrospective (ad hoc group 2) and one that is part of the on-going maintenance.  However, the resolution for the initial collection is that it provide for collection from the general public and that the collection be openly available on the SC34 web site.  I am not going to go into what the maintenance one would be like because maintenance has not been set up yet.  For the record, here is the relevant text from the resolutions of the April 2008 SC34 meeting.  If it is not being done that way, or it is asking the NBs to do the collections, I would expect an account to be provided of that to the same level of public attention as the resolution itself.

"Resolution 5: Creation of Ad Hoc Group 2 on ISO/IEC 29500 Comment Collection

"[Note: This group will focus only on the initial collection of comments on ISO/IEC 29500. The long-term maintenance of ISO/IEC 29500 will be addressed by Ad Hoc Group 1.]

"ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 establishes Ad Hoc Group 2 in accordance with subclause 2.6.2 of the JTC 1 Directives, with the following terms of reference:

"Definition of the task:

"To define and put into operation a mechanism to compile a list of comments on ISO/IEC 29500 received from NBs, liaisons, and the general public.

"To publish the on-going list as an open document on the SC 34 website.

"Time frame: The collection mechanism is to become operational within 90 days from the end of the April 2008 ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 plenary. Once this is operational, collection will continue until a long-term maintenance process is operational."


I think you are perfectly correct in your assessment of the possible situation, where the maintenance-work on OOXML in ISO will, in reality, be done outside ISO by ECMA and sent to ISO for review (as it is with ODF, presently). This is a situation where I hear complaints from "real" standards-people (those directly employed by standards organisations and not like you and me who are employed by external companies) that this situation is rather annoying. It is my feeling, that there is quite a big desire to make sure, that this does not happen, and that all work on OOXML will be done in ISO.

But as you say, it is really the perogative of any party with submission-status in JTC1/SC34 to decide how to submit new versions of the standard they work on. OASIS aquired PAS-submitter-status for SC34 (or was it JTC1 itself?) a couple of months back, and I am sure you guys could do exactly the same with respect to "obsoleting" the existing standard if you chose so. This was, amongst other reasons, why Denmark voted "No" to grant OASIS submitter-status in SC34 unless OASIS ODF TC would move maintenance of ODF to SC34.

It is obvious to me, that SC34 really wants maintenance (in JTC1-terms) of OOXML to be done completely within SC34, but I am afraid that the NBs did not consider the expected work-load and just thought "We want maintenance, but some of the other NBs must do the work and not us". As it was said again and again at the AHG1-meeting, it is usually not the case that there are multiple volunteers for positions or work in SC34 - most of the time people need to be gently "encouraged" to take on new work.

I hope it will be different this time.



I hope future meetings and electronic meetings will be sensitive to promote Eastern hemisphere participation.
(my edition of your quotes, I hope I got it right)

How do you suggest this should happen in other ways than the regular SC34 channels?

Is this your personal opinion, or do you mean that IBM as such is not interested in the development of the most widely used document format there is?

Which format are you talking about? It can't possibly be ISO/IEC 29500, right? This format, for which we don't even have a spec, is used by NOBODY.

As everybody knows the most widely used document format is Microsoft's binary format. And if people were to switch to OOXML they would be using Microsoft's OOXML format, which is not ISO/IEC 29500.

Given how much effort Microsoft put into complying with standards like HTML and CSS I seriously wonder on what ground you believe they will ever bother complying with ISO/IEC 29500 which they don't control.

This is the biggest joke in this whole story. Some people believe they gained control over the format Microsoft is using but all they got is control over a format which Microsoft will support at its own leisure. And based on their track record this doesn't mean much.

Nobody controls the format Microsoft Office supports, other than Microsoft itself. Either you really believe otherwise and you need to wake up or you know better and you're just part of Microsoft's propaganda.

If IBM was not interested in developing or maintaining OOXML is it strange they were the most numerous represented organisation behind MS at the BRM meeting.

Hi Arnaud and welcome to the party.

Which format are you talking about? It can't possibly be ISO/IEC 29500, right? This format, for which we don't even have a spec, is used by NOBODY.
Oops - I stand corrected. I meant to say

"The document format most likely to be the most widely used document format".

And I was talking about OOXML - in whatever edition you would like to spin it - take a pick.

But your comment about usage reminded my of the article Rob wrote about the infamous Google file type count at www.robweir.com/.../...re-all-ooxml-documents.html .

As you might remember, in May last year, Rob did some "research" about the number of files being available on the internet in either ODF or OOXML-format. His results were:

Format Count May 2007
ODT: 85200
ODS: 20700
ODP: 43400
Total ODF 149300

DOCX: 471
XLSX: 63
PPTX: 69
Total OOXML 603

It has been more than a year now since Robs findings, so now that you brought up the subject about usage of the document formats, I thought I'd redo it again - for your viewing pleasure.

Format Count July 2008
ODT: 65200
ODS: 13900
ODP: 25300
Total ODF  104400

DOCX: 49700
XLSX: 9180
PPTX: 21200
Total OOXML  80080

So if you'd allow me to interpret a bit, you (and ODF) had a good thing going up until Q2 of last year. But when you (as in "IBM") decided to stop focusing your resources on ODF and instead using them to attack OOXML - and thereby discrediting IBM and its reputation in the industry, ODF-usage has dropped by 30% whereas usage of OOXML has sky-rocket by more than a thousand percent.

... talk about chopping off the branch you are sitting on ...

Nobody controls the format Microsoft Office supports, other than Microsoft itself. Either you really believe otherwise and you need to wake up or you know better and you're just part of Microsoft's propaganda.
Dude, please unclinch and lighten up a bit.


PS: Do you know if IBM will be sending someone to Redmond next Wednesday for the "ODF in Microsoft Office 2007-workshop"?

You sure of those numbers Jesper
I get much higer numbers for docx on google
docx: 75900
xlsx: 9250
pptx: 28400
and significantly lower numbers of especially ODS and ODP files.


The number of hits depends on what country you are in. I'm in Norway and I get different results.


The number of hits depends on what country you are in. I'm in Norway and I get different results.

That is true. I am currently in Seattle (just got off the plane) and here I get 50500 for DOCX.

When it comes to being discredited or not, it's only your opinion without anything to back it up, so let's leave the he says she says crap aside. For what it's worth we've never stopped focusing on ODF, did you forget our release of Symphony, and the increasing adoption rate by governments around the world?

Hi Arnoud,

did you forget our release of Symphony, and the increasing adoption rate by governments around the world?

No, I did not forget that, but even though I love the UI of Symphony (I use Symphony as my primary ODF-program) I am not that impressed with the support for ODF in comparison with OOo. But if what you are saying with respect to the adoption rate is that the numbers that I (and Rob) found are nuts and useless, I am pretty happy with that and couldn't agree more.


Hi Jesper

You state that our NB has decided that participation is free for NGO's?

I would expect that DKUUG ought to qualify as a NGO, but our DS only grants a 50 % discount on the fee, mwhich by thew way is charged per participant and WG.

Hi Eskild,

I am pretty sure the information I got from Danish Standards was that NGOs are admission-free, but of course I could be wrong. There also might be a trade-off consideration between NGOs with very little money and NGOs with millions like DKUUG, NLnet Foundation and other organisations.

If you contact DS and get a different answer than the one I provided above, I'd be happy to correct my article.


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