While I was catching up on the development of IE8 I found this over at the IE blog:
Dear Microsoft, when updating to Office 2008 SP1 for Mac I am asked to download a 180 Mb update file. While I appreciate you continuous improvement of software through the release of service packs, I must object to the poor implementation of the automatic update handler.
My son has the dubious pleasure of being the primary beta tester of T-shirt messages. This time it is the first draft of the model that will be called “Ballmer”. Turned out pretty OK…
First, some people bash Microsoft for not implementing DIS 29500 (OOXML) in Office 2007. Then, someone discovers that OpenOffice 2.4 does not create proper ODF. (Update: The test procedure was wrong). And then, Microsoft announce that a coming Office service pack will add native ODF support to Microsoft Office ahead of OOXML support. And, South Africa appelas OOXML adoption. Will Microsoft Office 2007 become the first Office suite to support ODF?
At the heart of the issue is the lack of reference implementations. ISO is way behind W3C in this area. Could someone please tell ISO that open source reference implementations are an absolute necessity when working with standards for information exchange?
Preferably, the Working Group should be able to demonstrate two interoperable implementations of each feature.
It is simple really. The benefit of a standard is created when it is used. Open source reference implementations shortens the time to market for everyone implementing the standard in their products and also disambiguate interpretation of the standard specification.
Opening a particular Word 2007 document in Word 2008 can yield this error:
Seriously? Can’t Microsoft get their own implementations to cooperate better? And this has just been approved as an ISO standard?
I own the domain name standards-schmandards.com which I use for my accessibility blogging. Recent events have made me wonder if I shouldn’t use it to cover recent events regarding IE8 instead. Or, as Mark Pilgrim elegantly writes:
Said the monk:
If you give me non-standard markup, I will render it according to standards.
If you give me standard markup, I will not render it according to standards.
What do you do?
The student sat for a long time and said nothing. Then, without looking up, he raised one finger and said, “There is only one web.” Many years later, the monk was enlightened, but by then it was too late.
I thought the whole idea is that a standard is a contract that tool makers and content producers should be able to rely on. And now you are saying that the standard isn’t enough but that I specifically must inform a particular browser that I want standards standards mode?
The member countries have had six months to consider if the Office Open XML (OOXML) format should become an ISO standard. In Sweden, SIS arranged a working group that have looked through the material. As you may know the OOXML format has been heavily criticized (by many e.g. Google (PDF)) for allowing embedding of closed Microsoft-specific objects in the document standard and thus making it difficult for non-Microsoft software to read OOXML documents.
Unfortunately, SIS is an organisation where anyone can become a member. Member organizations can send participants to a working group for a fee. The current rate is 17,000 SEK (~$2,500). The day before the vote that decided if SIS would say yes to OOXML in the ISO there were a couple of new members in the SIS/TK321/AG17 working group:
|Company name||Relation to Microsoft|
|Formpipe software||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Cybernetics||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Strand Interconnect||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Cornerstone Sweden||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Solid Park||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Fishbode systems||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|KnowIT Sverige||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Modul 1||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|IDE Nätverkskonsulter||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Connecta||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Camako Data||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Sogeti||Microsoft Gold Partner|
|Tieto Enator Corp.||Microsoft Gold Partner|
And so, Sweden will be voting yes to make OOXML an ISO standard.
For more information see:
- Patrik Fälström’s post “Microsoft managed to buy the vote of Sweden in ISO?“.
- Dagens Nyheter (in swedish).
- Matusow: Open XML – The Vote in Sweden