Arnaud (IBM) speaks up: How to make a fool of yourself - Ecma’s lesson #1:
One of the comments India’s NB registered with its NO vote on OOXML in September was:
The name “Office Open XML” is often mistakenly called ‘Open Office XML” implying a connection to the OpenOffice project which does not exist. This naming confusion has been documented and has occurred numerous times, including by analysts and even in Microsoft press releases and blogs.
It then requested the name to be changed to something that would be less confusing.
Ecma’s response is to deny the request, explaining that there is no need to change the name because “we believe there is no confusion“.
Yet, in the very same document, in response to another comment from India’s NB mind you, Ecma wrote (emphasis is mine):
There is no specific definition of macro languages in the Open Office XML specification […]
You’ve got to love it.
ECMA International is not the only party that gets it wrong. Yesterday at a standards conference1 a Committee member stressed that they were facing the Open XML problem which caused a W3C representative to respond that W3C was dealing with XML and allows open participation.
Sure, OOXML is not XML, it is a format said to be specified in XML as a meta language.
The other issue is that we have a format family:
- DIS29500 = the upcoming ISO format with the changes yet to be applied by the BRM, no one knows if it ever would get implemented.
- ECMA 376 = the buggy version standardized and submitted to ISO, no implementation of this format
- Microsoft Office 2007 = a format that is deployed by a proprietary party and includes much more binary slack than ECMA 376.
- Microsoft Office 2009 = a format that maybe would be made compatible with ISO29500 or not
Then we have:
- Open XML
- Office Open XML aka Open Office XML (err)
UPDATE: Alex Brown stresses: Bloggers and commentators take note: properly speaking OOXML is attempting to become an "ISO/IEC" standard, not just an "ISO" standard. JTC 1 is the body which carries out dual standardisation for these parent organisations.