Re: OOXML [was Re: GNOME Foundation Board Meeting Minutes :: 7/6/07]

Here's something IBM's Rob Weir said about what ECMA is doing now:
robert_weir us ibm com

    The practical difficulty here is that of timing.  While I have no doubt 
    that Jody was instrumental in getting additional technical disclosures 
    from Microsoft back in 2006, Ecma TC45 is not in that mode of operation 
    right now.  The OOXML standard Ecma 376 has already been approved by 
    Ecma.  It is now before JTC1 as DIS 29500 and the text is essentially 
    frozen since December 2006.  The only changes that can be made to it 
    must be in response to specific JTC1 national body ballot comments. 
    Jody can no longer go to a TC45 meeting and say, "Gee, I'd like more 
    information added on X, Y and Z".  JTC1 rules forbid changes to the 
    standard that are not traceable to a national body comment.

    Certainly, Jody or any other Ecma TC45 member so inclined can help 
    Microsoft address the thousands of ISO comments that were received, and 
    help prep OOXML for approval by JTC1.  There is certainly a lot of grunt 
    work to be done there.  But let's not call that anything but what it is 
    -- helping Microsoft gain ISO approval.

If this is accurate, then it is impossible for participation in ECMA
_today_ to serve the goal which has been presented here as the motive
for GNOME's membership.

Rob continues:

    Of course, when then next MS Office version comes around (Office 2009 ?) 
    and Microsoft wants to revise OOXML to account for new features, then 
    I'm sure Ecma TC45 will reactivate for new work and Jody can continue 
    his good work getting more detail from Microsoft. But right now TC45 is 
    entirely focused (and limited by the process to focus) on JTC1 member 
    comments. We now have dozens of JTC1 member states who voted against 
    OOXML to "keep the bastards honest".

This means it might be useful to keep the GNOME Foundation ECMA
membership open for future work.  But Jody should not help with the
current activity, because that activity can only do harm.

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