Microsoft converts from OOXML

As one of the "leaders" of the openstandards project I got recently involved with OOXML. It is Microsoft's alternative new format for wordprocessing. Some persons from the industry approached us to avoid "fast-track" standardisation at the International Standards Organisation (ISO) because there should not be two ISO standards for the very same purpose: ISO already has an XML wordprocessing standard, ISO 26300. And a fast-track process would offer very little time for proper review. ISO 26300 documentation is 600 pages, OOXML documentation is 6000 pages.

I thought: nice but we have more important things to do. But the other day Alberto had a draft letter to ISO stakeholders ready, with myriads of complex arguments. A reasoning jungle, 20 bullet points. So the work started. That letter needed to be better structured/worded, Spanish English had to be killed. It was a very tough negotiation with Alberto who insisted on each phrase. That project was fun and our result looked suprisingly good. At the weekend Benjamin drafted quickly a new press release. Monday the letter was sent, some other corrections were applied. The response of the instant action was very positive. Using wikidot a website was build the week after. It seems that you are better in campaigns you are not too passionate about.

Before I left Brussels Microsoft just launched their new VISTA operating system in Brussels, at the Atomium. You could watch it from Benjamin's place. And his Brussels radio station regularly announced these Atomium party events. So the French radio always reminded us of our Microsoft OOXML work. Anyway, Benjamin hasn't finished the site yet. I created three new mailing lists for the ooxml project, one for external parties. The third was misnamed and Tonnerre kindly deleted it. ooo oo, no no, noooxml.

Now I read in the news: Microsoft currently sponsors a converter project of their OOXML format to the ISO 26300 standard. Maybe they don't really believe in their alternative MS-OOXML.

The converter plugin project is hosted on sourceforge, find out more on their website.