It's a shame for the standard

    Last week, IBM management approved a new set of rules by which the company will collaborate with technical committees of international and national standardization organizations. More precisely with those of them that work on issues of software interoperability. The company will now consider the degree of “inappropriate pressure” exerted on it by the determining factor when choosing a committee to work with.

    The public and the press, including the influential New York Times, took this as an unambiguous hint - IBM is unhappy with how Microsoft has lobbied for the adoption of the OOXML format as the international standard ISO / IEC 29500. I recall that Russia was among the few countries at the final vote in March who voted "abstain."

    The Russian representative office of Microsoft refused to comment on the statement of IBM, citing the fact that formally it does not apply to their company.

    It should be noted that for many years IBM has supported the ODF format, adopted as the international standard ISO / IEC 26300 in 2006. Now Russia is considering it for adoption as a national one. The Technical Committee for Standardization - TK22 "Information Technologies" is busy with this.

    The Russian office of IBM told us that no major changes in the company's work with Russian standardization bodies are planned. It is still difficult to say something specific regarding the CIS countries.

    Marat Guriev, IBM-Russia Director of Government Programs, who spoke at OOXML discussions in Russia, highly appreciates
    professionalism of the TK22 team. “We have developed quite normal interaction with them,” he says. “I believe that their principled position in assessing draft standards has become the cause of a small, but still important historical event, when our country, during the final vote on the Microsoft project, listened to the opinions of experts on such a serious issue.”

    “IBM has no reason to be offended by us,” said Askold Piavchenko, chairman of TC 22. “The process of adopting the ISO / IEC 26300 standard is ongoing, and it is proceeding well. One of the copies of the final draft of the project now lies in front of me, the other two are sent for examination at Moscow State University, which is conducted under the supervision of Professor Vladimir Sukhomlin.

    I think the Microsoft-promoted draft standard “Office Open XML File Formats” can also become our national standard over time.

    Before voting on the adoption of the ISO 29500 project under the accelerated procedure, we held a meeting of the TC 22 bureau with Microsoft representatives. Microsoft Initiative Manager Vladislav Shershulsky was present from the Microsoft office in Moscow, and Jason Matusow, senior director for interoperability, from the central office.

    TK22 position was as follows. Currently, the draft standard has more than 6,000 pages. For the time allotted before the vote, it is impossible for specialists who were not directly involved in the development of the project to familiarize themselves with and identify the advantages and disadvantages of the project. To vote “for” means, in our opinion, “lose face”, so we decided to abstain. It seemed to me that this position was accepted by Microsoft representatives with understanding.

    In our opinion, in order for the ISO 29500 standard to be readable and suitable for practical use, it is advisable to at least divide it into a core and a number of parts, for example, according to a functional basis (work with texts, tables, graphics, multimedia, etc.).

    At a separate meeting with the chairman of TK22 with the presence of Shershulsky and Sukhomlin, it was decided to hold seminars at Moscow State University. They will develop a public discussion about the latest ideas and developments of leaders in the field of standardization of open document formats. In particular, IBM and Microsoft. "

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