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Danish Unix User Group Files Complaint With EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML
Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:23 PM EST

The Danish Unix User Group, DKUUG, has filed a formal complaint with the EU Commission regarding Denmark's mandating ECMA 376, better known by us as MSOOXML, for certain procurements.

The complaint [PDF] is grounded in breach of the EC Treaty article 81 on unfair competition. The press release says that the regulation "can be seen as an attempt to continue the de facto monopoly of Microsoft in the Danish state on office software, as the various public agencies and institutions need to buy the products of Microsoft to comply to the regulation." ECMA, the complaint states, has stated that its goal is "to enable the implementation of the Office Open XML formats ... in a way that is fully compatible with the large existing investments in Microsoft Office documents." For that reason, the complaint alleges that "the ECMA 376 specification favours a specific product of a specific company."

Further, they express concerns about a lack of openness. A report "procured by ITST itself" -- National IT and Telecom Agency -- found a lack of openness, and openness is a condition of the Danish Parliament acceptance of the regulation. The report [PDF] concluded, "OpenXML cannot be considered as entirely open, as it is considered that Ecma does not work in an entirely transparent manner."

I'll say. Or at all. They seem to believe they have zero responsibility to be transparent in any way, barring reporters from the BRM, not publishing the comments and responses, swearing members to secrecy, and thus excluding the public altogether.

Procurement, the complaint states, should be open to all parties within the EU "where the company Microsoft has an unreasonable competitive advantage, as the ECMA 376 specification is aimed at supporting their product MS Office. Furthermore there are many specifications in ECMA 376 for backwards compatibility of MS Office that are not specified in ECMA 376 nor elsewhere, as they are the private undisclosed technology owned by Microsoft."

DKUUG asks that the EU Commission nullify the Danish regulation on ECMA 376 and that ECMA OOXML be withdrawn from the list of mandatory IT standards to be used in the Danish State.


  


Danish Unix User Group Files Complaint With EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML | 189 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off Topic Here
Authored by: clark_kent on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:26 PM EST
And remember to include links

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is good that this is going to court. A legal test bed.
Authored by: clark_kent on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:30 PM EST
Not that the people will win anyway. But at least we will be educating ourselves
with what we are up against. And there will be some obviousness as to what
Microsoft is up to. Anytime they tell a tale of interoperability, it is on their
terms only, not on terms deemed worthy by the public.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:35 PM EST
If any

---
Erwan

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Pick Comments Here
Authored by: artp on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:54 PM EST
Tell us which news pick you are commenting on.

---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

I just can't see ooxml as an open standard
Authored by: kawabago on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:55 PM EST
ooxml fails as an open standard in every test for openness that you can use. It
does not have independent implementations and is unlikely too. It does not use
existing standards where it should. It will not be maintained by an independent
body. It has binary blobs that are Microsoft secrets which you can wrap
yourself up in for a price. Most important of all, it does not and probably
never will give you any independence from Microsoft, and that is what the whole
standards push is about. That the Danish have decided to use it shows just how
poor the quality of their government IT department really is. If you're Danish,
be afraid, be very afraid.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Danish Unix User Group Files Complaint With EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML
Authored by: JamesK on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 06:33 PM EST
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. ;-)

---
This space intentionally left blank.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Actions by ISO ascribed to ECMA?
Authored by: gdt on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 06:42 PM EST

...The report concluded, "OpenXML cannot be considered as entirely open, as it is considered that Ecma does not work in an entirely transparent manner."

I'll say. Or at all. They seem to believe they have zero responsibility to be transparent in any way, barring reporters from the BRM, not publishing the comments and responses, swearing members to secrecy, and thus excluding the public altogether.

This conflates ECMA and ISO. They both lack sufficient transparency, but are distinct organisations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank you thread: DKUUG files Complaint w/ EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML
Authored by: tce on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 07:02 PM EST
Thank you DKUUG!!!

Gee, what are the good governance bylaws that "guide" the actions of
other standards bodies?

--tce

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who decided to mandate OOXML
Authored by: E-man on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 08:20 PM EST
From the previous GL article quoting a Danish English-language explanation
During the test period, public authorities must be able to receive both standards, known as ODF and OOXML, and new procurements must be able to handle at least one of the two standards.
It finally dawned on me that "procurements" meant specifically procurements of computer software and/or hardware. I've been thinking they were talking about the format that bid submittals for anything would have to be submitted in.

So who gets to decide which format? Is it up to whoever makes the purchase decision? Can he/she simply select their preference? If so, I don't see how this is much of a test. If there is some sort of test design, I haven't seen it. (Of course, it could easily exist without me seeing it.) Does anyone know?

The complaint says:
The Danish state represented by ITST has made ECMA 376 mandatory from the 1st of January 2008 for cartain procurements in the Danish state...
That doesn't say who in the Danish state is doing that. The "offending document" is written in Danish, which I can't read. But it looks like the same policy that we knew about, which says that the procurements (of computer stuff) must handle one of the two standards, but doesn't say which one. So can they truthfully say that OOXML has been mandated before someone issues a bid request that mandates it? Note: the complaint is dated Dec 31, 2007, so nothing could have been purchased under the new regulations yet. I also thought it was odd that they didn't mention the EC findings against M$, since the complaint is about unfair competition.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google's Description of OOXML
Authored by: E-man on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 01:46 AM EST
In all the arguing over OOXML, I am seeing that some people are loosing track of what OOXML actually is. Here is Google's description of OOXML (pdf):
Examining DIS 29500 it becomes clear this is not a serious attempt at an International Standard, but more of the enumeration into XML of the idiosyncrasies of one particular application format, Microsoft Office.
(I didn't find that in a search of GL.) The benefit of the standardization is that the MS Office formats change from being an undocumented de facto standard to being a documented official standard, but still with MS-specific quirks. To me, that's not what an ISO standard should be.

Personally, I think having it as an ECMA standard, but not an ISO standard, is a good compromise.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Danish Unix User Group Files Complaint With EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML
Authored by: Alan Bell on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:45 AM EST
Well I am sat on the ground floor of the CICG conference centre right now, I
will try to arrange an informational handout of the complaint for the BRM
attendees.

[ Reply to This | # ]

debasing standards currencies
Authored by: kh on Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 07:47 AM EST
The real problem as I see it is that MSOOXML becoming an ECMA standard has
debased ECMA in many people's eyes and if it becomes an ISO standard, it will
debase ISO standards even more so.

Maybe it will cause some changes at both organisations. Heaven knows it appears
some are needed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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