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A Microsoft Slur in the OOXML Saga -- Did I Tell You or Did I Tell You? - Updated
Tuesday, March 18 2008 @ 07:09 PM EDT

Remember I told you I've noticed that people who don't support Microsoft's agenda end up the victim of smear campaigns?

The New Zealand Open Source Society is reporting that an employee at Microsoft recently sent an email to one of the technical bodies advising an NB involved in the OOXML ISO process, smearing a man's reputation, Matthew Holloway, apparently to undermine his technical input which was critical of OOXML. Standards New Zealand was took the claims so seriously that they responded to parties who received this email. The New Zealand Open Source Society has all the gruesome details, and the reason I'm highlighting it here, aside from wanting to help undo a wrong, is because NZOSS request that if the slur, or others like it, has spread to other NBs or advisory bodies that you please direct them to the defense of Mr. Holloway's good name and reputation by Standards New Zealand on that page. Here's the request:

We have discovered that Matthew Holloway was badly slurred by a Microsoft employee in an email to one of the bodies advising an overseas standards NB. It is worth noting that our own national body, Standards New Zealand (SNZ), took the claims so seriously that they responded to parties who received this email.

We discovered the slur by chance; similar information may be circulating in other countries. If you are aware of this please point concerned parties to this article. SNZ have given us permission to quote this email. I have removed names to protect the guilty parties.

Sad. Why can't Microsoft just compete fairly, with decency?

Update: Look at this, will you? Jan van den Beld works for CompTIA:

The former Secretary General of ECMA International admits that there is some room for improvement in the ISO standardisation process that Microsoft's Office Open XML format has followed, but challenges critics of the process to come up with a better method.

Jan van den Beld was secretary general of ECMA from 1991 to 2007, and ... was responsible for advising Microsoft to pursue through ECMA the fast-track process to ISO standardisation for its Office Open XML format.

"If people say this whole ISO process is lousy, out of date and doesn't work anymore or is broken, I challenge anybody to make a new worldwide process," van den Beld told PC World while in Australia working for the Computing Technology Industry Association.

CompTIA??! Folks, the lobbying group funded by Microsoft and some others, the group that voted Internet Explorer the 'most influential' tech product of the last 25 years? The same entity that told the EU Commission in support of Microsoft that they'd never received any complaints about interoperability? Here's one paragraph from the 2004 Order of the President of the Court of First Instance, which found otherwise:

163. CompTIA further contends that the serious and irreparable damage which that remedy will cause to the entire sector, and also to the members of CompTIA, exceeds any possible adverse effect which the lack of immediate disclosure could have on the public interest or the interest of third parties. In that context, CompTIA states that no evidence has been brought to its attention of an interoperability problem on the servers market, even though it plays a greater role than any other trade association in certifying the qualifications of technology industry workers in the servers sector.

Is there anything Microsoft does CompTIA *won't* support? So if he asks you to lunch to tell you how wonderful OOXML is, just consider the history, please.

Here's my suggestion, by the way, on how to improve the process: don't allow 6,000-page submissions on the fast track, publish in advance who can vote, don't change the rules midstream, require GPL-friendly patent pledges, don't allow proprietary extensions... my... let me count the ways. I know. I'll let you do the rest. To get you started, here's Rob Weir on 25 defects still remaining in OOXML. Actually, some of them are new.

Update: Bill Gates testified to the US House of Representatives, Committee on Science & Technology, on March 12th about OpenXML. You can watch the video on YouTube.

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