Saturday, February 09, 2008

OSFI raises objections to ASSCOHAM's stance on OOXML

The Open Source Foundation of India would like to place on record its objections to ASSCOHAM's stance on OOXML. Neither us nor the Open Document Format Alliance ( nor the Free Software Foundation (, which have been leading the fight for open standards were consulted before ASSOCHAM issued its press release. An industry body is expected to listen to all sides of a debate before arriving at a conclusion and we are disappointed that a respected body like ASSOCHAM, which has temendous credibility among policy makers has not followed this process.

We would like to ask ASSOCHAM if it:

A) Has a clear definition of an "open standard" and if it has evaluated OOXML to see if it passed the test. For the record, OOXML has been submitted a few months ago to ISO, so it is not even an international standard nor does it meet the criteria for an open standard. See for more information.

B) Is ASSOCHAM aware that the European Union is examining whether Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws during a struggle last year to ratify its Office software file format as an international standard.

C) Is ASSOCHAM aware of the serious allegations of abuse of the ISO processes by the proponents of OOXML. For example, in Pakistan, the 12 member committee reviewing OOXML was stacked with four Microsoft Gold Partners and even the IT Ministry and Pakistan's IT leaders were not aware of the committee's participation at ISO?

It is clear that only a single interested party's opinion is being reflected through this press release. We would like to point out that ASSOCHAM's credibility as an industry organization will be seriously affected if it does not give due consideration to alternate points of view.

Venkatesh Hariharan
Open Source Foundation of India