GNOME Foundation defends OOXML involvement

GNOME Foundation responds to critics regarding OOXML.

The GNOME Foundation, recently slammed by critics who accused it of supporting Microsoft's Open Office XML document format (OOXML), has issued a statement to clarify its position on the matter.

The International Standards Organization recently shot down Microsoft's request that OOXML be given "fast track" status. Another vote is expected next year. In the meantime, Microsoft has been working with the ECMA TC45 committee to address concerns over OOXML, which critics have argued is too proprietary to merit certification as a standard.

GNOME's involvement in the effort recently sparked stern rebukes from backers of the Open Document Format (ODF), such as Russell Ossendryver, a member of the OpenDocument Fellowship. "It seems that GNOME is becoming Microsoft's cat's-paw to damage and slow down open source and open standards," he wrote.

But the organization's statement seeks to answer such charges. Jody Goldberg, lead maintainer for the GNOME-backed Gnumeric spreadsheet program, has worked with ECMA TC45. "The GNOME Foundation's support for Jody's participation in TC45-M does not indicate endorsement for, or contribution to, ISO standardisation of the Microsoft Office Open XML formats," it reads.

Goldberg had worked for Novell prior to June, and sat on the TC45 committee in that capacity, according to GNOME. He then left Novell and proposed that "the GNOME Foundation facilitate his work with TC45-M by joining ECMA as a nonprofit."

"The decision to participate in TC45-M was made by the Board as a direct result of Jody's request," GNOME's statement added. "It did not involve any third party influence or financial considerations at any point."

Goldberg has not been actively involved with the committee since July, but GNOME has preserved its membership in ECMA to allow his future participation, the group said.

GNOME's position on OOXML was also the subject of speculation following comments earlier this year from its founder, Miguel de Icaza, who dubbed OOXML a "superb standard." Icaza now works for Novell, which has a partnership with Microsoft to improve interoperability between the companies' respective platforms.

But GNOME's statement throws red meat to Microsoft's critics, characterizing the company's involvement in the standardization as self-serving: "Indeed, Microsoft continues to behave in the abusive manner of an unreformed, convicted monopolist with no passion for true industry collaboration in the interests of users."

The group also argues that neither OOXML nor ODF will serve all needs, and that the development of standards overall could be in jeopardy: "We are deeply concerned that abuse of the standards process is eroding public trust in the value and independence of international standards. Both ODF and OOXML are very heavily influenced by their implementation heritage, neither are likely to deliver the "one true office format," and both communities have -- in their own way -- played a role in this erosion of trust."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?