OOXML IPR problems

I get sent a lot of material on OOXML by people around the world, and I presume I’m not the only recipient. A lot of it is, frankly, rather funny, since it assumes that the people reading it won’t ever double check what they’re being told or compare it to methods of past disinformation campaigns. As I’ve said before, the whole OOXML story will probably make several wonderful business school case studies and maybe even one or two from law schools.

Anyway, the phrase that caught my eye last night in one of the presentations I was sent was “No IPR problems!”.

I immediately thought “That should have an asterisk.” As in:

“No IPR problems!*”

* If you don’t care about 1) everything you need to use the spec, or 2) are interested in using free software.

For the first, see “Developers Beware: OOXML – IPR: Minding the Gaps and Why They Matter” from the ODF Alliance.

For the second, see “Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise: No Assurance for GPL” from the Software Freedom Law Center and the Groklaw discussion.

We’re in the end game for OOXML as far as the JTC1 Fast Track Ballot goes. In the days to come I’ll have more to say about these last few days and then look beyond to give you an idea of what I think will come for the standards world, whether or not OOXML gets approved. Microsoft and ECMA have provoked a crisis in the standards world via OOXML and there will be significant changes and implications because of that.

In the meanwhile, if you see strange statements being made about OOXML or see bad behavior with respect to trying to get support for it in these last 11 days, I encourage you to let people know. Talk about it, blog about it, fight it. This is your time and this is your chance.

Also see: ‘An “OOXML is a bad idea” blog entry compendium’


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