So I'm a lazy bum what can't be bothered to post anything for months on end. But sometimes, I is compelled, COMPELLED I tells you, to just write something.
The genesis of this post was a week ago when I was at a government agency (can't remember which one -- it's the one inside a big building in Putrajaya) where I was asked about ODF and OOXML. My first answer was that I'm not really an expert in the issue. My second answer was a glib and mischievous one, which went as so (more or less):
ODF is a vendor independent, ISO-certified standard for Office documents. It has all the open standards goodness (no royalties, not controlled by a single vendor, no patent encumbrances, published for free, etc.). It is supported by many applications. It is supported by many nations and states. The open source guys like it too. The Free Software guys don't like the term "open source", but they like ODF too.
OOXML is led by Microsoft.
The rest of the world couldn't give a spit's worth of a donkey's droppings.
After laughing to myself at my one (rather bad) joke, it dawned on me that my audience was at best non-plussed and at worst, totally confused. You see, the way they heard it, ODF and OOXML are neck and neck in terms of adoption, support and application diversity. It dawned on me that I couldn't name a single application apart from Microsoft Office which uses OOXML. Further, apart from the name of Novell (hiss!) and the British Library of Congress (I know, there is no such thing but for the sake of clarifusion, I decided to confabulate the two libraries), I couldn't name other bodies involved in the Ecma OOXML thingmy.
So I did some, admittedly cursory, searches. I needed to, because I must be able to name some of them supporters and applications. It would be unfair otherwise. From the searches, I find statements like:
- ... (we made changes to the format in our final product based on input from companies such as Apple, Novell, and Toshiba as well as organization such as the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library) ... in an interview.
- ... which includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress. -- this at Ecma's site, one of its press releases.
- ... which includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress. -- yep, it's the same as the previous one, except this one's on the front page of the OpenXMLcommunity site.
- The committee included representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress. -- oh yeah, same as the previous two, but it was at some press release which was more or less pasted on Vulture Central's developer site.
Plus many, many more other press coverage and interviews with Microsoft personnel, mentioning the same representatives. It's not very helpful. And don't get me started on the applications that actually use OOXML other than Microsoft Office (right, ok -- and Novell and Corel ...).
So, I was wondering if anyone can help me out here and name a full list of representatives for Ecma 376 in TC45 of Ecma International which is based in Geneva who were deliberating on the Office Open XML standard which was submitted by Microsoft with the (alleged) encouragement of the EU, no less, and the "Organizations all over the world ..." with their billions of documents ... ekcetera.
One has to, after all, be even-handed and fair when asked about ODF and OOXML. After all, according to the people I have been talking to , Microsoft has been very even-handed and fair about OOXML and how ODF is an IBM conspiracy. Heck, Microsoft even made a press statement about their support for ODF as an American National Standard (w00t!!).
Finally, I would like us all to consider the following two words: competing and standards. Now, let's join them together: competing standards. Let us then change the word standards for applications. And then let us all wonder if Microsoft representatives know the difference.
 Which rather surprisingly, do not include "... representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress."