OOXML does not buy its way in Italy

Also in Italy we are discussing if the Office Open XML format (the XML format which replicates the working of MS Office 2007) is to be approved as an ISO standard (ISO/IEC DIS 29500), with a “fast track” procedure. For several reasons this would seem unacceptable. Many are indeed the unanswered questions on the standard.

The voting in Italy was scheduled to end the 13 of July, for members enrolled on or before 8th July. Strange things started to happen, not unlike other member bodies' situations abroad.  Up and until mid-may the members of the relevant Uninfo committee (JTC1) were five: IBM, Microsoft, CEDEO (Leonardo Chiariglione), the PLIO organization (Openoffice.org in Italy) and HP. Then new members started flocking. At the last count, voters were 83 [0].

Wow! a great number, indeed! If one considers that admission to JTC1 costs in excess of EUR 2000 (more than 2700 USD), it shows a great deal of interest in the standardization process (is the irony sufficiently evident?).

Luckily, to oppose this situation there has been a certain number of companies of the Free Software (AKA open source) world, but not only, and various associations like MiLUG, LUGBZ and LUGTS (Linux User Groups), but also TIS and Assoli.

The vote has now taken place, the qualified majority was not reached (2/3rds).

Actually it is quite impressing seeing how the voting panel was formed. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that among those favouring the adoption of the standard without  reservation a large majority is made of business partners of the proposing entity, a law firm retained by the latter, the official certified business partners association of the proposing entity [1]. “Money can't buy me love” Beatles used to sing: perhaps neither a standard. 


[0] I know it because I am one of them, beyond, honestly, being also counsel to PLIO.
[1]I cannot publish the list of voters/members, but it is available for cross checking in case anybody doubted my word.

Bob Sutor liked the punch line:

“Can’t buy me (OOXML) love in Italy

See the blog post “OOXML does not buy its way in Italy”. I had been trying to figure out how to get that Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” into a blog entry for a few days, but Carlo beat me to it.”

Thanks Bob! 😉

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