HALF THE POPULATION of Norway turned out as 60 software experts marched in a street demonstration in downtown Oslo on Wednesday protesting Norway's ISO committee vote favouring fast-track adoption of the Microsoft Office Open XML (OOXML) document formats proposal as an international standard.
Opponents allege that OOXML is technically flawed, opaque and incomplete, will prevent development of OOXML implementations other than Microsoft's and block interoperability with competing document formats, and is designed to perpetuate Microsoft domination of the office applications software market.
ISO already has approved Open Document Format (ODF) as an international standard for office document formats. ODF enables full interoperability and has been implemented by multiple software vendors.
Protestors demanded that ISO revise its procedures to eliminate political and vendor influence and achieve "standardisation of standardisation." Marchers carried banners such as "Micro$oft: Support ODF" as they walked through downtown streets in good spirits and a light rain.
The noisy but peaceful demonstration was led by Steve Pepper, who resigned as the chairman of Standards Norway's ISO JTC/IEC committee on OOXML to protest the committee's vote in favour of approval.
Pepper said the committee ignored the position of most of Norway's technical software experts opposing fast-track approval of OOXML as an ISO standard.
He claimed that the committee succumbed to lobbying pressures by Microsoft and its minions, and that it exhibited "scandalous behaviour" in its procedures leading to approval of OOXML.
Pepper said, "People shouldn't have to pay money to Microsoft to be able to read my documents."
It is not reported if the protest made the local news.
An Associated Press account of the protest is here. µ
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