Monday, February 25, 2008

OOXML BRM in Geneva

By now, day 1 of the OOXML BRM in Geneva must have ended. The outcome is still not known, but whatever the outcome, ISO is going to be in for a lot of questions. How does a shoddy, half digested 6000 page long document (I am being *very* polite in my description) be eligible for a fast track review process. Does anyone believe that a complex standard like OOXML can be reviewed in six months? If that is the objective then why even review it in the first place? ISO's credibility has been permanently dented and, as my friends in the FSF points out, we need to make it clear that ISO standards are not open standards.

I have also been talking to a group of young technologists who are alarmed by what is happening in the standards world. We believe that it is time India took a more active (if not activist role) in creating international standards. This realization is spreading to neighboring countries also because policy makers I spoke to in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other countries are also alarmed at the blatant manner in which OOXML is being pushed through. It may be time for emerging economies to come together and tame the beast of proprietary standards.

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