If you loved OOXML and the way that ECMA did exactly what Microsoft wanted, you’ll love the new working group around XPS, Microsoft’s home grown competitor to PDF. The current link for the new program is up on the ECMA website. Here’s what it says:
The goal of the Technical Committee is to produce a formal standard for office productivity applications within the Ecma International standards process which is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats. The aim is to enable the implementation of the Office Open XML Formats by a wide set of tools and platforms in order to foster interoperability across office productivity applications and with line-of-business systems. The Technical Committee will also be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and evolution of the standard.
Programme of work:
- Produce a formal standard for an XML-based electronic paper format and XML-based page description language which is consistent with existing implementations of the format called the XML Paper Specification, including:
- Produce a fully documented and unambiguous standard for an XML-based electronic paper format and page description language.
- Produce appropriate W3C XML Schemas to enable automatic verification of files written to the standard.
- Enable interoperability between existing industry implementations of applications, devices, tools and platforms.
- Assume responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and evolution of this Ecma International standard.
- Support backwards compatibility with implementations targeted to prior versions of the standard.
- Evaluate and consider proposal for complementary or related additional technologies.
- Establish and maintain liaison with other Ecma TCs and with other Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs) as appropriate to facilitate and promulgate the work of the TC.
- Evaluate and consider contributing the Ecma standard to an ISO and/or IEC TC for approval and adoption.
The highlighting is mine. The standard must be compatible with Microsoft’s implementation, which is the only implementation. How open. How independent. How collaborative. What do you think? Should we just save time and money and let Microsoft simply define international standards for us based on what they put in their products?
Note the error in this version in the scope of work at the top. They clearly just cut-and-pasted from the OOXML effort charter, which tends to imply that that worked so well that they will just do it again and again.
OOXML was not an anomaly, we now have a pattern. You can either object and do something about this, and that includes helping to stop OOXML, or else you can wake up one morning and find “international standard” being increasingly synonymous with “defined in Redmond, WA.” You have a choice.
Addendum: Andy Updegrove has posted more on this in “There They Go Again: It’s Time to Just Say No to Microsoft and Ecma.” Also see Stephen Walli’s “Microsoft Continued Standards Abuse, PDF and the XML Paper Specification.”