Sometimes, it’s not just Microsoft’s fault…

So now Brian Jones is all about explaining the infamous conspiracy’s plans to portray the distribution of the Ecma answers as being closed and locked up by MS. That’s not how I understand it.  The problem here is that there seems to be some attention paid at veiling the information  and the whole set of answers by the Ecma and that does raise questions. But who really said it was Microsoft? I don’t necessarily imply it. Brian thinks the HCCOTAMAEAC (High Command Center Of The Anti-Microsoft And Everything American Conspiracy) is up to something that would lure people into thinking it’s all Microsoft’s fault. But I can tell you that there are questions that, despite Jan Van Den Beld’s answers, remain either too vaguely answered or just not explained at all. And sorry to keep ranting about that particular one, but the jury’s still out on why in the hell the Ecma’s TC 45’s page is locked by a password. That’s, in my opinion, the biggest problem here, because the TC 45’s works are in a sense independent of the ISO/JTC-1.

You can pretend to give the password in question to any national standards organization, (by the way, I never got it, and I wonder if the Afnor has it, and being part of the committee, I actually doubt it ever had it ) , but the process has to be public. I mean, really public, like a web site with no passwords, open to everyone with public mailing lists and records of meetings minutes. Why is that not possible?

An interesting explanation might come up by studying the way traditional societies such as Ancient Greece or Medieval Europe considered the value of secrecy and its relationship with darkness and light. In short, you could theorize it by defining darkness (and thus, its obvious relationship to secrecy) as something that precedes the Light, something that has not been created or hasn’t manifested itself. “Fiat Lux”, and the Creation starts after that famous sentence.  The Ecma seems to have not manifested its Creation… yet. Or it has, but somebody revealed it before its Creator. The rest is mythology.

And talking about myth and darkness, I also wanted to share my thoughts on the controversy that looks more and more like a storm in a tea cup to me: More details are starting to emerge about the plans of the former OpenDocument foundation (Read here). I’ve known Gary Edwards and Sam Hiser (and even Marbux) for some time now. I told them what I was disagreeing on in regard of their actions, and what I was agreeing on. In short, I think their way of handling their PR really should be amended, and it wouldn’t hurt them, as it actually hurts the proponents of the true interoperability right now by sending panick waves.  I share some of their analysis on Microsoft SharePoint (actually share it completely), except that until now the adoption of SharePoint 2007 in Europe has been slower than in the US, hence the divergence of views on that.

SharePoint server, as I explained many times has the ability to insert OOXML once and for all inside your organization’s business processes. To counter this, Gary had a project, the Da Vinci plugin. I always thought of it not as a plugin but as an application server, running quietly inside the organization’s IT infrastructure and blocking SharePoint to a certain extent. The problem is that the Da Vinci plugin development was stopped or blocked, and anyway, in the end nobody saw it running. That’s the issue, because I would have like to believe in Gary’s whole claims and because of that I obviously cannot subscribe to them. So now they are turning to CDF, but when I come to think of it, it’s yet another huge miscommunication issue. CDF is, and will never be a document format in the sense one would generally understand it. It is more of wrapper, a meta-format embedding other formats, and among those, there could be ODF as the default document format. Yet the actual possibility of CDF largely remains to be demonstrated today, and in the end, the public outrage between the former OD foundation and the W3C is not going to speed up the development of CDF, nor will it help the Da Vinci team recover, I’m afraid. But all this, in the end, only helps Microsoft.

And mind you Brian, I’m not implying that Microsoft is behind all this…

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