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UKUUG appeals the initial court decision on BSI's OOXML action

If you're looking to support UKUUG in it's efforts to examine the BSI's OOXML decision, you can join UKUUG or make a donation
Press release -- Thursday 19 June 2008

UKUUG appeals the initial court decision on BSI's OOXML action

The High Court has rejected the UKUUG's application for a Judicial Review of
BSI's actions in voting 'yes' to the fast-tracking of the Microsoft sponsored
DIS29500 (OOXML) in April 2008.  UKUUG is appealing that decision since it
believes that the judge was wrong in his reading of the papers. The matter will
now be heard in open court.

UKUUG believe that problems in OOXML might be resolved but only after a
thorough and open examination of over 1,000 technical and several legal issues
by experts in this field from all interested stakeholders. Only some 20% of
issues initially found were adequately discussed at the BRM, OOXML is thus
riddled with technical holes; no one can implement it. Fast tracking is for
established tried and tested specifications that need only occasional tweaks to
keep them copper bottomed.

UKUUG is concerned about costs, especially if it should lose. BSI's lawyers say
that their bill is some £25,000 to date. This is expected to rise.

Alain Williams, Chairman of UKUUG, said:

    We are concerned about future generations being able to access today's
    electronic documents. That can only happen with fully disclosed document
    formats. To ensure continued profits, Microsoft prevents effective
    competition in word processors by keeping file formats secret. Adopting
    OOXML would be like setting to sea in a sieve, Lear's Jumblies might make
    sense of it, but I can't.

and continued:

    all help, small or large, will be gratefully received. Please visit our web
    site to join UKUUG, email us at chairman@ukuug.org, to donate see:
    http://www.ukuug.org/ooxml/fund/

ENDS

Overview of events:

* On 30 April UKUUG applied to the High Court in London for a Judicial Review
  of British Standards Institution's (BSI) actions with regards to their recent
  decision to approve the fast tracking of OOXML.

* On 5 June Mr Justice David Lloyd Jones rejected UKUUG's application and observed:
    ''The application does not disclose any arguable breech of the procedures
    of BSI or of rules of procedural fairness.'', and
    ''In any event the application is academic in light of the adoption of the
    new standard by ISO.''

* UKUUG believes that BSI has breached its own rules and that the approval of
 OOXML was a perverse decision.

* UKUUG is disappointed that J Lloyd Jones appears to have overlooked UKUUG
  stating that South Africa appealing had put OOXML into limbo. We note that
  Venezuela, India and Brazil have also subsequently appealed.

* The next step will be an oral hearing at a date yet to be determined.

UKUUG seeks to compel BSI to protect UK interests by not voting for a standard
that seems to be encumbered and so it is uncertain that it is capable of vendor
independent implementation.

Progress of OOXML has been put on ice following formal objections from South
Africa, Brazil, Venezuela and India. With BSI withdrawing its support OOXML
will now be examined fully and might become worthy of being an ISO standard.
UKUUG believes that there is no technical need for OOXML, ODF should suffice
and Microsoft is free to adopt ODF without the need for licensing payments.
Being based on XML ODF can grow to accommodate requirements that are not
envisaged today.


Background:

OOXML is Microsoft's attempt to answer ODF (the OpenDocument Format) that is
becoming ever more widely adopted by organisations and governments around the
world.  The motivation of adoption is that ODF was completely specified in 2006
by ISO (International Standards Organisation).  ODF is supported by 20+
independent software suites; this demonstrates that ODF documents will remain
readable for the foreseeable future - which means hundreds of years.

OOXML is not supported by any software and the current state of DIS29500 is so
poor and incomplete that implementation outside Microsoft is not possible.  We
note that Microsoft has said that it will support ODF before OOXML.  

Editor's Notes:

UKUUG is the UK's Open Systems User Group, for people who care about open IT
standards and the systems that implement them.  UKUUG promotes education and
understanding through its newsletter, regular briefings and conferences.  It is
independent of any industry groupings and not-for-profit.  It values
intelligence, thoughtfulness and long-term thinking rather than immediacy and
froth.

BSI: Since its foundation in 1901 as the Engineering Standards Committee, 
BSI Group has grown into a leading global independent business services
organisation.  The Group now operates globally through its three divisions: 
BSI British Standards, BSI Management Systems and BSI Product Services.

For further information about UKUUG visit:
        http://www.ukuug.org

Technical objections to OOXML:
        http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections

Further news:
        http://www.noooxml.org/
	
First press release:
	http://www.ukuug.org/ooxml/firstrelease.shtml
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