[Fsf-friends] War of formats: India shows thumbs-down to Microsoft

Frederick Noronha [फ़रेदरिक नोरोनया] fred@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Fri Aug 24 16:18:26 IST 2007

Posted by Vinayak Hegde <vinayakh at gmail.com> at GII-India

(url has wrapped)

 NEW DELHI: India on Thursday gave Microsoft a thumbs-down in the war
of standards for office documents. In a tense meeting at Delhi's Manak
Bhawan, the 21-member technical committee decided that India will vote
a 'no' against Microsoft's Open Office Extensible Mark Up Language
(OOXML) standard at the International Standards Organisation (ISO) in
Geneva on September 2.

"We unanimously agree on the disapproval of OOXML with comments. The
same will be submitted to ISO," National Informatics Centre head and
BIS technical committee chairperson Nita Verma said after a marathon
meeting that lasted over six hours. There was no need for a voting as
only Infosys Technologies and CSI supported Microsoft.

The Open Document Format (ODF) alliance, enjoying widespread support
from academia and corporates like Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, Sun
Microsystems, Google, were in a jubilant mood having succeeded in
stalling OOXML from being accepted as a standard in India.

Microsoft said it respect's the government's decision. "There were
only three options `Yes', `No' and `Abstain' to be taken and we
respect the government's decision," Microsoft's legal affairs head
Rakesh Bakshi said. He, however, added that India's 'No' vote will
become a 'Yes' if Microsoft is able to resolve all technical issues
with OOXML before the ballot resolution committee of ISO.

Prof DB Phatak of IIT Mumbai, who was instrumental in conducting the
meetings, looked relieved after being flooded with calls from both
camps over the week.

Speaking to ET outside the BIS premises, the Microsoft camp complained
that when ODF was being standardised by ISO, they did not oppose it
and now the ODF camp refused to return the favour. ODF supporters said
they would have no problems with OOXML if all the 200 technical issues
were taken care of.

Amongst hectic lobbying from both camps, the US government on Thursday
said that it will abstain from voting. China has already voted a 'No'
against Microsoft, while Malaysia, Denmark and Switzerland are
supporting the software major.

A global alliance of Sun-IBM, Oracle, Google, Red Hat have ganged up
against Microsoft which is being supported by Apple, Quark, Accenture
and Novell. On Indian soil, Infosys, HCL, Skelta, Sonata Software and
Sify have come out in support of Microsoft.

September 2 is the last date to submit the vote with comments to ISO.
About 123 counties are participating in the vote. Votes from most are
still to come. Canada, Czech Republic, Iran, Japan, Libya, Cuba, New
Zealand, UK are likely to back the IBM-Sun's ODF Alliance. On the
other hand, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Singapore, Korea,
France and Australia are likely to abstain from voting.
Frederick Noronha  Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
E: fred at bytesforall.org or fredericknoronha at gmail.com
P: +91-832-2409490 M: +91-9970157402
Yahoo: fredericknoronha Skype: fredericknoronha GTalk: fredericknoronha
784, Sonarbhat, Near Lourdes Convent, Saligao 403511 Goa India

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