OpenXML and ISO standardisation: Community contribution shines
I have been following Open XML for some time now and have earlier posted my views on why OpenXML maybe good for India? Here's the latest from the OpenXML ISO standardisation process after I made the last post:
After India saying "NO" to the standard in Phase I of standardisation process, various worldwide committees (and hopefully Indian as well) participated in the meeting in Geneva to resolve the technical comments made by various committees ( in jargon - "Ballot Resolution Meeting" or BRM). By the end of this mammoth five day meeting, 98.4% of the comments (1011 out of 1027 unique comments raised earlier) were resolved (ISO release on the process). IMHO, this is a true example of community contributing to developing a standard and improving it by collective wisdom. Microsoft has in some terms for the first time come to a platform where it is open to review from various companies and nations...
and there has been one good action from BIS, India and that is to make its member's participation, views and stands clear on its website. With this information, one can objectively access what is BIS thinking and why? Earlier, the whole process seemed to be run behind an iron curtain. I really laud the step in the right direction for BIS by providing visibility into this whole process. i have downloaded the objections raised by various people and looking at them to understand their concerns and gauge their thoughts..
I also came across an interesting article by Jesper Lund Stocholm who represented Denmark (apologies & thanks for the correction Jesper) in the above meeting:
Jesper provides an interesting insight on how IT industry benefits from standardisation of Open XML on similar lines of my thoughts. From there another post from Patrick Durusau came to light. Earlier in July during the Phase I voting, Patrick who was the Chair of committee set up to examine Open XML had recommended disapproval for OpenXML. However, now pleased with the community participation in building the standard, he has decided to recommend approval of OpenXML as ISO standard. He seems particularly pleased with the fact that Microsoft is listening and incorporating changes requested by its members. He offers his thoughts in very interesting but equally thoughtful anecdotes.
The one SHOCKING piece that came to my attention was that IBM India had written mails to its partners asking them to "influence" our national bodies. The grip of establishments like IBM is clear by the assertions made in the email. The abstract from the letter can be found here. What is even more appalling is the brazenness with which IBM is assuming that they are the ones voting and not the national body of India -BIS for this standard!
In my view with the latest developments, the ISO standardization process has only reinforced the openness that Microsoft is committing itself to! It is also indicates that Microsoft is learning to work with the community and this step is sure to make Microsoft products more beneficial to customers.
Just like multiple products in market (e.g. MS Office and Star Office) enhance the value to the customer, multiple standards also enhance that value (e.g. WiFi & WiMax, GSM & CDMA) to customers by bringing the advantage of technology advancement to customers quickly.
I would urge BIS committee to keep the larger interest of IT ecosystem in India in mind when deciding on issues like these. Ulterior motives of organisations should be understood fully and we should not be held hostage to anyone (read IBM and their memo)..
Some other posts from people in India on OpenXML: