Autism Western Cape and Kilimanjaro

Completely unrelated to computers however more importantly, Gerhard from AWC and a team of volunteers are attempting to summit Kilimanjaro, all on their 1st attempt. Not only is this a very worthwhile cause but a friend of mine, Neil Stewart, is on the team and I wish him all the luck on the world – go Neil!!! More info here from the AWC dinner at Black Angus.

The OOXML gravy train continues

It seems that the Microsoft-dominated SC34/WG4 committee responsible for maintaining the ISO/IEC 29500 standard ( Microsoft’s submitted document format standard ) is now making changes outside the scope of theĀ  mandated rules, in a possible attempt at bringing the standard more in line with MS Office 2007.

There is a clear delineation in the rules between making changes to fix an issue and making changes that are additive to the standard. And the WG4 committee are making clear additive changes that are likely to cause incompatibilities with vendors who might have ( there weren’t actually any ) written according to the original standard. Instead of Microsoft changing MS Office 2007 to be in-line with the standard, it seems that the standard is being changed to be in-line with MS Office 2007 – scary!!! And the fact that MS Office contains far more patent-encumbered and non-implemented features than the standard itself should be worrying to all.

Another area of concern is the i4i patent suit against Microsoft; it’s likely that the 29500 standard will need to be completely withdrawn as it quite possibly is in contravention of the patent. What’s that I hear you say? I told you so? Yes you did …

And perhaps we should be worried about the current defect report which runs to over 800 pages – longer than the entire ODF 1.0 standard!

I get the feeling though that ISO and the WG4 committee are not worrying overly about this. And that should be a warning to all – ISO appear to no longer be putting out impartial standards, and vendors are charting the course of standards nomination, acceptance and maintenance.