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ECMA Votes Yes to Set up MS's TC
Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 04:48 PM EST

I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn that Ecma voted today to approve the MS technical committee. So the rest, as Andy Updegrove writes, should be rubber stamped as well:
Given that there was so little opposition to the vote, one would assume that things would proceed rapidly and smoothly from here, since much of the normal give and take of standard setting what existing implementations should we accommodate? What features merit inclusion and what don't? What vendors' future product plans should be facilitated? What future capabilities might the community need? What creativity could be utilized to improve the technology? all of these will not only be moot, but will be out of scope for the committee as well.

It would appear that Microsoft has chosen its venue quite well.... All of which makes the contrast to ODF rather stark: in contrast, that standard was developed by a community process that decided what should and should not be included and which had no constraints imposed upon it by anyone; it is supported today in multiple product offerings; it is not only open source friendly, but already implemented in open source; it is already in the voting queue at ISO; and it has no dependency, formal or de facto, that will require it to track any individual vendor's product in the future.

So if what you want is an open standard, ODF is your obvious choice. Only IBM voted no, or really yes to open standards, as I view it, and HP abstained. Ecma only counts yes votes, if I recall correctly, so in effect an abstention is almost as good as a no, at least in terms of its effect. Sony, Philips and Intel, supposed friends of FOSS, voted for this technical committee, which to me is a vote against open standards. They may view it differently, and Groklaw is available if they wish to explain their point of view. I know I'd be interested. Just thought you'd like to know who is who, what is what, and who is doing what.


ECMA Votes Yes to Set up MS's TC | 109 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: Parity on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 04:52 PM EST
If any are needed



[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-Topic Threads
Authored by: Parity on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 04:54 PM EST
Contain the madness!



[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA Votes Yes, but...
Authored by: rsi on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 05:09 PM EST
Hopefully the ISO will say no, providing that it is then submitted to the ISO.
With the Open Document Format already ahead of the so-called M$ "Open???
XML" Format, I hope that they reject the M$ submission.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA Votes Yes to Set up MS's TC
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 05:16 PM EST
The interesting bit is the standard will work to be compatible with m$ not the
other way around. If they miss the standard could be intentionally hobbled thus

there will never be anything completely office compatible that implements the
spec from this committee.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Make-Up of voting members
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 05:45 PM EST
If I read the ECMA website correctly, the voting members seem to be made up of
largely hardware vendors. There are really only two that are primarily software
vendors (Macromedia, Microsoft), the other vendors may have divisions that
develop and sell software, but are largely hardware makers. (Although IBM seems
to be drifting away from consumer hardware, they are still in corporate

[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA Votes Yes to Set up MS's TC
Authored by: Yossarian on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 05:49 PM EST
>Sony, Philips and Intel, supposed friends of FOSS

What is base for the above statement?

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO? ECMA? It does'nt matter much
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 06:00 PM EST
Andrew Tanenbaum: "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many
of them to choose from".

Acrobat PDF has gone ISO lately but they didn't need that label to be succesful.
ODF has a head start in the queue, is available right now, implements all
anybody would need and is free of any thread (patents, MS powerplay etc.).

Let the users decide what the standard should be. I guess they will go for ODF.
Because if you want to have a standard all usual MS-marketing will fail. You
can't say "Yes, it is a standard, but we have the better implementation. We
make sure you can... Blah Blah... Buy MS-Office". If you say something like
this it is clear that you are trying to water down your own standard. So what's
in it for MS?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Its time to understand who ECMA and ISO are.
Authored by: ikh on Thursday, December 08 2005 @ 10:58 PM EST
I've been reading both the stories and comments on this subject at Groklaw and
Andy Updegrove articles and I've been suprised at the lack of understanding of
thees bodies and been waiting for someone better qualified than my self to
explain how they work and debunk some of the expectations I've seen written
about them. I have not yet seen it happen so I finally been goaded into
writting this response.

first, I had better give a little of my background. I am a software engineer
with 20+ years experience on network protocols and distributed systems ( groups
of computer programs that talk to each other over a network ). And I've been
working with ISO standards for networking since the mid 1980's. although I have
never been part of the ISO standards setting process. I think I also came across
ECMA arroubd the same time, but I'm not sure.

ECMA is the European Computer Manufactures Association and ( from my experience
) its primary function has been to turn propriatory de-facto standards into
de-jure standards. There seems to have been a tacit agreement among its members
that whatever a member proposes as a standard is rubber stamped by ECMA. As
such, in my world, ECMA is completely ignored as its standards are not worth the
paper they are written on.
This should tell you why Microsoft chose it for C# and CLI and now for the
Office XML formats.

ISO, on the other hand is a little schizophrenic. It has both standards that it
rubber stamps and standards that are truly open standards. Which type of
standard an ISO standrd is *I think* depends largely on who the sponsoring
organisation is. ECMA on the one hand and ANSI, IEE, ITU eyc on ther other.

One other mis-conception with ISO is the hope that I have seen expressed here
that they won't standardise two standards competing in tha same space such as MS
Office XML and ODF. ISO have done this before even with open standards. An
example of this is SGML ( a superset of XML ) and ASN.1 ( Abstract Syntax
Notation version 1 ). Both are data description languages developed by different
working groups targeting different markets but both doing substancially the same

So please, do expect ECMA to rubber stamp the MS proposal, its what they do. And
expect ISO to rubber stamp the ECMA standard, its what they do with ECMA

Trying to fight Microsoft in these forums is IMHO ( In My Humble Opnion )
pointless and unproductive. Shinning a light
on what they are doing is much more effective. Which is what Groklaw and Andy
Updegrove amongst others are doing.

Just my tuppence worth.


[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA self destructs
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 09 2005 @ 02:56 AM EST
ECMA just voted itself into irrelevancy, if it wasn't already.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA announcement
Authored by: nathan.sidwell on Friday, December 09 2005 @ 06:18 AM EST
Here's ECMA's announcement of TC4, which includes the sponsors.
At the General Assembly meeting held in Nice on 8 December 2005, Ecma International has created Technical Committee 45 (TC45) to produce a formal standard for office productivity applications which is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats, submitted by Microsoft. The aim is to enable the implementation of the standard by a wide set of tools and platforms in order to foster interoperability across office productivity applications and with line-of-business systems.

The TC will also be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and evolution of the standard. TC45 was set up at the request of, Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corp, NextPage Inc., Statoil ASA and Toshiba who are co-sponsoring this initiative

[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA Votes Yes to Set up MS's TC
Authored by: haegarth on Friday, December 09 2005 @ 10:34 AM EST
After all the news about Sony trying to dig up money no matter what, I'm not
surprised they voted for MS. IMHO for Sony this is about money, not about

Well, I won't buy anything from Sony in the near future, that's for sure.

Philips and Intel have strong connections to MS, so they wouldn't dare to spoil
the fun, would they?

Personally, I don't buy from them, either (at least if I can help it...).

MS holds the patent on FUD, and SCO is its licensee....

[ Reply to This | # ]

ECMA Ruberstamping Maneuver Used Again...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 12 2005 @ 03:15 AM EST
There is an interesting article linked via the Inquirer in which ECMA ruberstamping is used to bypass a standards body work in progress. Seems this is common hardball use for the ECMA service -- as others have mentioned above.

Techworld:IEEE loses out as Intel's UWB gets thumbs up
Inquirer: Intel snubs IEEE standard

Might be worthy of the news picks?

[ Reply to This | # ]

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