Remember how Massachusetts wanted to adopt an open document standard? No matter how much pressure Microsoft was applying we were stick to our guns.
Well scratch that. Massachusetts just added Microsoft’s Office Open XML to the list of acceptable open source formats. The Information Technology Division just snuck in the draft proposal yesterday in the middle of a holiday week hoping no one would notice. But as you can imagine they would want to have an open and complete comment period on the draft right? Well wrong, the comment period ends July 20th.
A review draft of ETRM v. 4.0 is available for review and comment from July 2nd through July 20th, 2007. Comments should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. This major release of the ETRM updates content published in version 3.6, introduces the new Management Domain, enhances the ETRM’s format for accessibility and usability as well as provides additions and updates to existing language and technical specifications. For a detailed outline of major revisions made in this version please consult the Major Revisions for ETRM v.4.0 document.
Andy Updegrove blog has more.
two years ago Microsoft’s formats were closed, and now they have been adopted by Ecma, and perhaps may soon be adopted by ISO/IEC as well. Bringing Microsoft to this point is, from that perspective, a victory indeed..
But this would likely be a Pryrrhic victory at best. Office still commands a huge lead in the marketplace, and its ability to outspend the new entrants (many open source) into the office productivity suite marketplace will be enormous. If no one is buying ODF-compliant products, no one will develop them. And if no one is developing them, no one will be competing with Microsoft. And if no one is competing with Microsoft, then no one will care whether Microsoft contributes new features to Ecma or maintains them as proprietary extensions of Ecma 376, or whether it fully implements Ecma 376, or whether, in fact, it continues to support Ecma 376 at all. And then we will be right back where we started