Red Hat lobbies for OOXML “no” vote

Red Hat has urged ISO members to vote against Microsoft’s bid to have OOXML ratified as an ISO standard.

Red Hat lobbies for OOXML

ISO members have until the end of the month to change their vote, after last year’s bid to have the Office Open XML fast-tracked as an ISO standard was defeated.

But Red Hat has joined companies such as IBM and Google in opposing OOXML’s ratification. “As the 29 March voting deadline on OOXML approaches, Red Hat has announced its support of Open Document Format (ODF) instead of Office Open XML (OOXML),” the company claims on its blog.

The Linux vendor rehashes the familiar arguments about the relatively short period of time for review of OOXML and the complexity of the 6,000 page standard document. However, it also claims that key parts of the specification are yet to be completed.

“Regardless of the complexity of the specifications, it is thought that OOXML is not currently defined enough to be fully implementable by those without access to inside information,” Red Hat claims.

“ECMA, for example, acknowledges that additional information is necessary for compatibility with legacy application settings, and promises that the information will be made available.

“While it’s helpful to acknowledge the limitations of OOXML, we think it is unfair to ask the nation bodies, as members of ISO, to approve an incomplete standard.

“Given the lack of interoperability and inadequate review, Red Hat is asking members of ISO to vote ‘No’ to OOXML this month.”

Microsoft has long insisted that there’s scope for both ODF and OOXML to become ISO standards, and that it shouldn’t be seen as a battle between two competing formats.

“Open XML was developed as an international open standard through the collaborative efforts of leading companies and organisations (including competitors of Microsoft) at ECMA,” a Microsoft spokesman says in a statement. “The length of the specification reflects the needs of the developers who build upon it – they asked for a comprehensive roadmap and ECMA has provided this.

“The growing number of companies building Open XML-based applications indicates the specification is entirely manageable and widely supported.

Hundreds of ISVs, including Apple, Novell, IBM and Sun, are working across a variety of platforms including Linux, Windows, the Mac OS and the Palm OS, to offer solutions that support Open XML today.”

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