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OpenOffice XML Format To Become ISO Standard, Says Tim Bray

OpenOffice XML Format To Become ISO Standard, Says Tim Bray

Related Links:
  • "I Didn't Invent XML Dammit," Says Tim Bray
  • "The World's Gone Crazy with XML," Says Sun's Senior IT architect
  • How Will Companies Ever Make Money Off Open-Source?

    "Frankly, I wasn't convinced at first that going to ISO would help the Open Office format, but my management kicked me in the head and said 'It can't hurt, it doesn't cost much, and the customer wants it, stupid.' Which are good arguments. And now having had the pleasure of being the message-bearer, it's obvious that the customer and the [Sun] management were right."

    Thus wrote Sun's Tim Bray, in a recent account of how the European Commission (EC) comes to have decided, as now seems likely, that the Open Office XML format will become an ISO standard.

    Bray explained how in mid-July the EC had written a formal letter to the participants in a March meeting attended by Sun and Microsoft. The Sun letter, sent to Sun's Jonathan Schwartz, requested that that Sun consider taking the Open Office XML Format, currently under construction at OASIS, to ISO for consideration as an International Standard.

    It also asked Sun to implement a set of filters to allow software to interoperate between the Open Office and Microsoft Office XML file formats.

    To Bray fell the happy task of reporting back to the Commission. ("I must say, it was just a total delight to be able to stand up and give the good news there in Brussels.")

    He presented Sun's replies to a gathering of EC luminaries at a breakfast meeting. Sun was happy to move forward on both counts. On September 1st, Sun proposed the idea of taking the OASIS spec, once it's finished, to ISO. "The committee seems to like that idea and so does the OASIS management, so apparently the chances are good," Bray noted.

    Plus Sun has built filters for MSWordML and ExcelML and they'll be in the next releases not only of Sun's own StarOffice but in the mainstream OpenOffice.org open-source code, so anyone can use them.

    "The system is working," Bray concluded. "There is room for endless debate as to the proper role of the public and private sectors in a well-governed society. But this just seems to me like a complete no-brainer. Vendors will as a matter of course attempt to achieve lock-in whenever they get a chance, unless they're willing to take the long bet on enlarging the whole market (the reason I work here is that Sun usually likes that kind of bet)."

    "So it seems to me entirely appropriate," he continued, "for governments to lay down the law to fight lock-in and send letters to executives and use their massive purchasing power in support. We all come out ahead."

    "I'd just love to know which of the EC recommendations were highlighted in the letter that Microsoft got," Bray added. "I hope that they included either submitting their Office XML formats to a standards body or joining the existing standards work in the area."

    Related Links:

  • "I Didn't Invent XML Dammit," Says Tim Bray
  • "The World's Gone Crazy with XML," Says Sun's Senior IT architect
  • How Will Companies Ever Make Money Off Open-Source?
  • More Stories By XML News Desk

    The XML-Journal News Desk monitors the world of XML and SOA /Web services to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances and business trends, as well as new products and standards.

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    Question 09/27/04 11:35:56 AM EDT

    Now that the Open Office XML Format is due become an ISO Standard does that mean Java can also now be standardized by ISO?

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