FSFE context briefing: Interoperability woes with MS-OOXML

Released at 11:15, 5-3-2008.

FSFE has released a context briefing that highlights three examples of how the proposed MS-OOXML specification and its practical implementation in MS Office 2007 hinders interoperability, fosters vendor dependence and results in market distortion. The proposed MS-OOXML/DIS29500 specification continues to raise serious technical and legal concerns.

At the recent ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting for the proposed specification more than 1,000 technical concerns and proposed dispositions required discussion. Participants were only able to discuss between 20 to 30 dispositions and to accept approximately 200 minor editorial corrections in the allocated time. Around 900 dispositions were not discussed.

"The standardisation process is being tested quite extensively by this," says Shane Coughlan, FSFE's legal coordinator. "It is important that standards are open and do not exclude anyone. Interoperability and access are not optional components of a fair digital society."

FSFE's perspective is that there is only one reasonable response by national bodies: move DIS29500 out of the FastTrack process by voting "DISAPPROVE, with comments" and suggest methods of handling the proposed specification through the normal ISO process, ideally by convergence into ISO/IEC 26300, the Open Document Format (ODF).

About the Free Software Foundation Europe:

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and involved in many global activities. Access to software determines participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study, modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.

Contact:

You can reach the FSFE switchboard from:
Belgium: +32 2 747 03 57 ext 408
Germany: +49 700 373 38 76 73 ext 408
Sweden: +46 31 7802160 ext 408
Switzerland: +41 43 500 03 66 ext 408
UK: +44 29 200 08 17 7 ext 408
Shane Coughlan, FTF Coordinator, FSFE extension: 408
Further information: http://fsfeurope.org