Posted by : Amol Vaidya Monday, April 07, 2008

Bureau of Indian Standards ! These are the people who represent India at ISO and give their views on Standards and their adaptation. Funny to say that these people voted against OOXML. Their reasons ? Here are the minutes of the "experts" meeting, but to cut a long story short, here are my sentiments :

1) It seems BIS does not understand the fact that the design goal of OOXML was not to deal with binary file format. They seem to be more worried about conversion from Binary format to be part of the standard rather than looking at how the new standard can actually make life a lot more easier from interoperability point of view.

2) The enlightened guys in the committee objected to Custom XML being allowed to be embedded inside OOXML documents. To quote "... the provision to include custom xml elements into a document unacceptable if inter-operability must be ensured." Guys ! dont you understand the basics of what XML is used for ?

3) As stated by a learned professor of the committee, he is strongly of the view that voting for OOXML by BIS at ISO will increase the digital
divide in India and will harm the domestic industry and economy. Eh ?? On what basis sir ? Care to explain ? Or you just like making statements ? And he feels it wise to go by ODF. I hope he is currently living his life with an Open Standard wordprocessor running on an Open Standard Operating System with an Open Standard thought process. I wish the BIS team reads up on the fact that the ODF format is limited to the features and performance of OpenOffice and StarOffice.

As far as the story goes, Microsoft has won the OOXML battle and has won ISO recognition as a global document standard. Of course, Microsoft has frowned at BIS for voting against the format which as the ruling suggests, most are in favour of. However, Microsoft has agreed to work and support what BIS expects from them.

So at the end, OOXML joins the ranks of PDF, HTML and ODF amongst document formats.

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