The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V. is a research institution as a kind of public private partnership. According to its statutes it is a public benefit organisation and acts selfless, it does not pursue primarily its own economic interests. It is co-funded by German federal and federal state governments and employs more than 12 000 researchers. Frauenhofer Fokus is the group for "Open Communication Systems". Open Communication systems, that sounds familiar to you? Indeed Fraunhofer Fokus pioneered Open Source project such as Berlios.
Fraunhofer Fokus is also represented in the DIN document committee for document formats. There it was a proponent of the adoption of the questionable OpenXML format while German government representatives sent furious protest letters. Now Fraunhofer is in the news again:
February 23, 2009 Microsoft partners with Fraunhofer Fokus
Fraunhofer Fokus recently announced a new project to create an IS29500-Validator and Document-Library. The project will test the validity of documents regarding conformance to ISO/IEC 29500. As part of the project activities Fraunhofer Fokus will initiate the development of an Open Source document validator.
Fraunhofer FOKUS initiates its new Document-Interoperability-Lab. The lab will test the validity of documents regarding the document-standard ISO/IEC 29500 known as Office Open XML. As part of the lab activities Fraunhofer Fokus will initiate the Open Source development of a document validator. Additionally a library consisting of valid test and template documents will be offered. Word processing, presentation as well as spreadsheet documents will be taken into consideration. Microsoft Corporation will support these activities as development partner.
The question is who will trust the research results of Fraunhofer Fokus? And why does the German tax payer invest in a research institution that sells out to companies across the Atlantic regardless of our national public interest in interoperability? For instance Fraunhofer Fokus applauded(!) the ISO adoption of Open XML.
Fraunhofer DIN NIA person Gerd Schürmann sent also emails that seemed to be equivalent to those of Microsoft's Mario Wendt. Let's look if the document experts can validate that. Does it make you feel comfortable that Schuermann was named for the DIN NIA 43 subcommittee which deals with translation matters of ISO/IEC 26300 (ODF) and ISO 29500 (OOXML)?