Six questions to national standardisation bodies

It seems that many people have been confused by Microsoft’s attempt at trying to portray MS-OOXML as an Open Standard, which includes methods such as paying bloggers to manipulate Wikipedia or trying to confuse people about competition on the basis of a common standard, which is generally good for competition, vs competition of multiple standards, which is generally bad for competition.

Since this confusion exists in many national standardisation bodies, it is not surprising to also find it on the net and in various online sources. If they are not outright manipulated, that is. So it comes as no surprise that journalists have a hard time to see through the smoke, and not everyone does as good a job as the Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung (NZZ).

We therefore decided that it was time to help people working with the national standardisation bodies and journalists inform others about the issues in a way that would not require more than 5-10 minutes on the receiving end. The result has just gone online: Six questions to national standardisation bodies by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), also available in a PDF for pretty printing. These six questions, namely

  1. Application independence?
  2. Supporting pre-existing Open Standards?
  3. Backward compatibility for all vendors?
  4. Proprietary extensions?
  5. Dual standards?
  6. Legally safe?

raise issues that every national standardisation body should have satisfactory answers for, otherwise it must vote No in the ISO/IEC process and request that Microsoft incorporate its work on MS-OOXML into ISO/IEC 26300:2006, the Open Document Format (ODF).

In order to counter the misinformation that is currently floating around on the net it is important to spread the word far and make sure that these six questions are submitted to every single national standardisation body and used as widely as possible to inform people in politics and media.

In case you want to link the page, you can use this button

to link to the page, which exists in two versions:

  • 250×98 pixel version, code:
    <a href="" border="0"><img src="" /></a>
  • 500×195 pixels version, code:
    <a href="" border="0"><img src="" /></a>

Please help us spread the word.


And while you’re at it, you should also consider to sign the online petition against MS-OOXML.


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About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is a technologist and entrepreneur. Background as a software developer and physicist. Head of product development and Chairman at Vereign AG. Founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Previously president and CEO at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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