Brazil Says “NO” Again to OOXML

Mar 26, 2008

In his blog, Avi Alkalay, an Open Standards, Open Source and Linux advisor at IBM Brazil, reports on the official Brazilian vote, which was decided by consensus of the entire technical team, and quite firmly says that OOXML does not deserve to be an international ISO standard.

The first vote in August 2007 was also NO, for the same reasons, says Alkalay. "OOXML is an awful specification" he explains. The criticisms levied at the time by the Brazilian committee, according to Alkalay were that OOXML was “incomplete” due to its failure to map to legacy standards, “too long” (6000+ pages), “fully tied to a single product” and more importantly that OOXML did not have the “standards-grade look and feel required for a universal and (virtually) eternal document format”. According to Alkalay the outcome at the time was only to be expected because Brazil followed the prescribed process: technical analysis OOXML specification, comment, wait for responses, analyze and see if problems were fixed. A vote of NO would then be automatic if any issues remained unresolved, and Brazil discovered numerous unresolved issues. “If every country followed this simple process, OOXML would receive a NO from 100% of them.” says Alkalay before going on to plead for a technical consensus rather than a vote. “It is not a matter of will, but a technical issue that can only be reached by rational analysis and deliberation.” Alkalay also states that Brazil would vote NO again and again, even if all of OOXML’s technical issues could be resolved. OOXML would still have legal issues and also serious overlap problems with the OpenDocument Format ISO standard. Alkalay did not attend the meeting at ABNT (Brazilian Technical Standards Organization) because the outcome was obvious in the light of the analysis and deliberation process in Brazil.

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