Open standards beat Microsoft 13 to 4
Microsoft‘s plans of having its OOXML document format accepted as a national standard[/1] were thwarted by a conclusive vote against the move in a meeting yesterday.
The question that was put to vote was whether or not Microsoft[/2]’s OOXML document format should be accepted as a standard by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). This was part of a larger, global move by Microsoft to get the format accepted as an international standard by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
Yvonne Ndhlovu of SABS, who acted as project leader for the local leg of the process, informed Tectonic that the votes amounted to 2 votes of yes, with comments; 2 votes of yes, without comments; and 13 votes of no, with comments.
"South Africa will vote no," she said, referring to the international voting to take place.
The process for acceptance begins in each participating country. To be accepted, 75% of the committee members must approve. Each country then forwards their decision to the international body, where each country’s vote carries equal weighting.
As reported earlier, Benjamin Henrion, founder of the noOOXML.org site, explained: "Microsoft is spending millions on rent-a-crowd support for international certification for its proprietary Office format, OOXML. But we already have an ISO standard for word processing, called ODF (Open Document Format). OOXML is Microsoft’s attempt to subvert this existing standard, to keep its strangle-hold on the world of documents."
A source close to the voting process speculated that Microsoft might still attempt to cripple the process bureaucratically before the vote is taken internationally in September.
Ndhlovu added that the comments were being collated and would become available in about three weeks.
Potlaki Maine, Microsoft’s South African technical officer was unavailable for comment as he was out of the country.