Norwegians march in protest of OOXML standardisation

60 software experts take to the streets following Microsoft's alleged underhand tactics

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By  Quintin Smith Published  April 14, 2008

A body of protestors took to the streets of Oslo, Norway last week to protest against the standardisation of Microsoft’s OOXML format.

OOXML, the format of files created in Microsoft’s latest suite of Office applications, received international standardization earlier this month amid claims of foul play.

The standardization represents big money for Microsoft, as many offices and agencies refuse to make use of formats that haven’t received standardization.

The crowd of Oslo protestors consisted of over sixty software specialists and enthusiasts led by Steve Pepper, the ex-chairman of Standards Norway's ISO JTC/IEC committee on OOXML. Pepper has formally protested against the decision before, when last month he faxed a message to the International Organization for Standardization to inform them of irregularities in the Norwegian committee’s vote.

But the marchers had more issues with OOXML than Microsoft’s alleged underhand tactics. They claimed the format was technically deficient as well as unnecessarily complex, and that granting it international standardization would give Microsoft power to force people across the world to use its Office applications.

Pepper was quoted as saying: “People shouldn't have to pay money to Microsoft to be able to read my documents.”

Microsoft claim that the alternative to OOXML that’s currently in use, OpenDocument, lacks backward compatibility and the sophistication required to satisfactorily process mathematical equations.

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