Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nigerian CSOs kick against OOXML approval

Nigerian-based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have kicked against the plans by the global software giant, Microsoft Corporation to get its DIS 29500 "Office Open Markup Language (OOXML)" certified by the International Standard Organisation (ISO).

Daily Champion recalls that on Sunday, September 2, 2007, ISO is voting on Ecma 376, “OOXML” while various countries voting dates have been chosen at random, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is expected to hold its voting on the issue on Wednesday, 29, 2007 at its Lekki office in order to form a consensus.

But sounding a note of warning, the CSOs argued that OOXML has several flaws that make it fall short of admission into a global standard, more so by ISO.

XML is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) initiative that allows information and services to be encoded with meaningful structure and semantics, which computers and humans could understand. XML is great for information exchange, and could easily be extended to include user-specified and industry-specified tags.

“The DIS 29500 Office Open XML h (OOXML) does not meet the criteria defined by ISO and others for an International Standard, “ CSOs insisted.

According to sources close to the body, OOXML is an immature documentation of one vendor’s proprietary document format, which depends on software patents held by this vendor.

This, CSOs noted, block interoperability, hence its in conflict with existing ISO standards.

“More than two hundred other technical comments have been raised by industry, academics, researchers, and experts,“ our source informed, stressing that the ISO JTC-1 directive paragraph 48 section 9.8 requires national bodies to vote “NO with comments” if there remain unanswered technical problems.

“The accuracy and honesty of the voting process has been questioned in many countries,” our sources added.

Already, a website www. NoOOXML.org has added voice to the calls on all ISO members to apply the proper rigor and allow sufficient time to examine all technical comments by ensuring a fair and accurate vote in all advisory committees under a neutral chairman.

Just as experts advised that by abstaining from voting would not be in the best interest of any country.

It was also gathered that SON intends to call for stakeholders meeting in its office in Lekki to ensure full community participation.

“They plan to call a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday next week but confirmed that they can also accept email inputs,“ our source declared.

The Wednesday meeting, our source added, is where they want stakeholders to present facts for or against the proposed standard.

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