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RE: India votes against OOXML

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  • Fouad Riaz Bajwa
    Hi all, Hey, let me make it clear, there is already an ISO Open Document Format as an open standard and approved and in place and being used, Microsoft just
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 23, 2008
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      Hi all,

      Hey, let me make it clear, there is already an ISO Open Document Format as
      an open standard and approved and in place and being used, Microsoft just
      wants to battle it with its "Vendor Backed" OOXML format so that it can have
      its "Always There" & "Monopolistic Advantage" to lock-in everyone who uses
      it to Microsoft. Boy, don't we all love Microsoft for that? Since we are so
      naïve, we never thought of looking at: ISO/IEC 26300:2006
      http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnum
      ber=43485

      I would like to appreciate Shahzad's optimism as always, but still, I would
      remain very skeptical on Pakistan's decision to vote in favor or against MS
      OOXML Specification, we already know their answer, despite our efforts and
      the reasons being very factual, and that have continuously been witnessed on
      the Pakistan ICT Policy list since we first brought up the issues and
      started the campaign against OOXML. We have had an experienced background to
      do so, not claiming that we have full knowledge against it, just for the
      sake of it, and we continue to advocate against it.

      First, international vendors and corporations like Red Hat India and Google
      were the first ones to notify Pakistan of the MS OOXML campaign, even IBM
      Pakistan didn’t respond, which definitely shows lack of responsibility on
      their part whereas they have been beating the Open Source drums for quite
      some years now probably since 2001. Novell India that heavily pushes Suse
      Linux and OpenSuse (all carrying ODF support) that services Pakistan has
      been also acting like a chicken, probably their eggs will hatch soon.

      Secondly as far as the Government of Pakistan with reference to the Ministry
      of IT & T and Pakistan Software Export Board is concerned, now that the PSEB
      MD has left his seat, I can guarantee you, the acting MD may have no
      knowledge of the issue and it would definitely be a hectic task to have him
      or his new team go through the 6000 document specification and understand
      all the technical and not so technical jargon and identify where Pakistan
      should have its position in the process. I don't blame them, their eggs may
      be ready to hatch too, its summer already.

      Reality bites but Ministry of IT has no control or intervention power over
      the Pakistan Quality Standards body as it falls under the Ministry of
      Science and Technology that is totally alien to Open Source Software, Open
      Standards, for them, the Internet may be believed to be a product of
      Microsoft too. A bit of letters may have revoked some activity in favor of
      the OOXML discussion but that was due to continuous pushing from our end to
      the PSEB to take up its stance on such an IT/ICT issue as it affects their
      members. Only a handful of vendors of open source solutions from Pakistan
      intelligently pursued the matter despite PSEB claiming it was playing a role
      but if you browse through our email exchange with the ex-MD PSEB on the
      subject, he had raised his hands as well declaring PSEB has intervened for
      all it could in its limited capacity. Big round to the IT Industry, as they
      claim, they are well aware of "all" the technology advancements around the
      globe, we can say "DUH" to that.

      Second set of issues involve, the local industry is hardly aware of the
      existing ISO open standard called Open Document Format or XML-ODF or how
      these affect its future of document exchange. With the new Electronic Crime
      Bills and various other electronic ordinances, we will be witnessing a lot
      of foul play, I am not going to explain it here though but we may remain
      optimistic that it's going to eventually happen. Well just for "Pete's Sake"
      and since all of already knew about it, and to feed my sheer optimism in
      favor of Shahzad, here is information about the standard:

      ISO/IEC 26300:2006 - Information technology -- Open Document ...
      http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnum
      ber=43485

      OpenDocument - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia |
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument

      OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) |
      http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/

      In order to vote against OOXML, it must be initially recognized that our
      Government lacks knowledge on the Open Document Format ODF, the existing
      open standard and specification already approved by ISO. It never accepted
      it in the first place and isn’t against it either since its awareness on the
      subject is limited and we would like to assure you that with the way things
      have been, there may be less luck in the future.

      The purpose of XML-based ODF is for document contents to become independent
      from specified application or vendor's file format and vendor lock-in, an
      important issue that governments must take into consideration, especially
      the Government of Pakistan that has many ICT/IT programs in progress
      throughout the public infrastructure. Hence open and transparent
      standardization process through opinions from worldwide user community is
      being developed and its position has strengthened since its official
      approval from ISO, international organization for standards, as file format
      standard.

      For example, the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards announced in
      November 2007 that it had accepted ODF as a national standard (KS) and
      OpenOffice.org applications such as word processor, spreadsheet,
      presentation etc, have been accepted as document formats for the first time
      thus following the KS establishment, ODF now stands as the national standard
      for Korea, have we heard anything of this nature from Pakistan?

      It must also be noted that even though Korea approved ODF as KS, it is not
      compulsory for users but it could be influential in public institutions as a
      choice of document standard. At the time, 23 countries were voting rights
      including Korea all voted in favor, thus it was approved as ODF without any
      objection. According to an official at Korea Agency for Technology and
      Standards, ODF was approved as ISO standard for it realizes open mind with
      participation of various vendors and it is not subordinated to a specific
      vendor. These reason also worked for the approval as KS in its case.

      I would like to point you all to realize that what you all think or
      anticipate is happening here is not actually action but discussion. Like the
      PKNIC issue, clearly diverted to a point of no-discussion. Same goes on the
      OOXML case, just be optimistic because pessimism is only for the action
      takers. A change in attitudes and coalitions for change is required. Things
      are getting messed up and we just want to play wearing blindfolds to the
      problems arising instead of gearing up towards taking action to resolve
      them.

      Anyways, as always, going on with sharing Shahzad's optimism, the world is
      beautiful, we are all intelligent, we are not going to vote in favor of
      OOXML and we are really all aware of ODF, PKNIC is no more an issue, we
      govern the internet really well, oh there really is no problem, if there is,
      lets hope it will just disintegrate with our optimism. Keep up the good work
      all and beat the drums on Pakistan ICT Policy but lets understand one thing
      for sure, it ain't all peanut butter and jelly for us.

      Btw, Shahzad, I would love to know what you feeded the government officials
      and what we campaigned for, I hope it’s the same thing, oh, by the way,
      don’t get me wrong, but, did you feed the ODF pill first or the OOXML first
      because what's happening is making perfect logical sense.

      Best optimist ever

      Fouad Bajwa
      FOSS Advocate with a twist
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