OOXML: Brazil Says NO

After a very difficult and inconclusive meeting in ABNT (Brazilian Technical Standards Organization) office last tuesday, the standards process director had to analyze the audio recording of all the meeting, review some facts, review again all 63+2 comments produced by the technical group about the ECMA specification, and conclude that a NO for OOXML is the correct position for Brazil in ISO Fast Track process.

Brazil will fill the ISO form with a NO and will attach the 63+2 technical comments to it.

I was a member of the technical group that have studied OOXML specification extensively. I learned that it is unbelievable how ECMA (same guys that put together the JavaScript standard!) can think that a wannabe spec like OOXML is ready for submission. It is incomplete (does not provide mappings with legacy standards, since compatibility is OOXML goal), too long (6000+ pages), fully tied to a single product, uses deprecated substandards, promotes bad practices (embedded binary objects), has clear proprietary hooks (like “formatAsWord95” XML tags), reinvents the wheel all around (date and color formats etc), and most of all does not have a standards-grade look and feel required for a universal and (virtually) eternal document format (doesn’t have to be perfect, but can’t be that imperfect).

Shame on you, ECMA. Your position as a trusted standards organization was severely damaged.

In my opinion, the YES-voting countries are not reading the OOXML specification, are making a pure political decision or simply don’t have a standardization process. This is not to mention that they completely ignored the fact that a similar standard — ODF — already exists. Neither is the case of Brazil and our ABNT.

Countries that will absent their vote probably had a tough time in the decision process with a lot of conflicts between political ramblings and technical facts. This was almost the case for Brazil and our ABNT, but we got the courage to do the right thing.

In parallel, ABNT is turning the OpenDocument Format into a national standard and will adopt and promote as it is: a truly open, universal and independent format for digital documents.

This is a happy day.

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60 thoughts on “OOXML: Brazil Says NO”

  1. ABNT letter:

    Date: 23/08/2007 13:34

    Prezados Membros da CE 21:034.00

    Comunico que, como resultado das discussões ocorridas no âmbito da CE, o voto do Brasil que está sendo enviado pela ABNT à ISO é de desaprovação pelas razões técnicas apontadas pelo GT2 da CE.

    Este voto seguiu o preconizado na Diretiva do ISO/IEC JTC1.

    Agradeço a colaboração e o esforço de todos que possibilitaram o resultado alcançado.


    Eugenio Guilherme Tolstoy De Simone
    ABNT – Diretor de Normalização

  2. The result is very important and the notice to Microsoft is simple: We are thinks in future, not past. Congratulations!!!

  3. I am very proud of Brazil today!

    Microsoft, learn to work with the rest of the world and contribute to the already existent ODF standard — instead of trying to spread lies, to artificially split the market into using useless redundant standards and to shove down upon us your badly defective (and essentially proprietary) OOXML format.

  4. I would say that in the voting “yes” countries the ballot has been rigged by the votes Microsoft has bought by stuffing the voting committees with Microsoft partners. This has been observed and well reported.

  5. And in another news, the US of A are going to vote with their colective feets and pass a YES with comments, most likely. Germans thit just that today also. Great Shame, Great Shame.

  6. Congratulations, good to hear! News has traveled all over the world. Be proud.

  7. Greetings from Uruguay, hoping our country to follow your lead on this.

    Congratulations !

  8. SPM, the process in the National Bodies does not make use of votes. The objective is consensus, and not to vote. For subjects like this, 50 people in a room does not represent the will of an entire country.

    In Brazil and in all other countries that followed a process, a NO is inevitable because of the quality of the OOXML specification, and the technical issues you can extract from it.

  9. Congrats to Brazil! I’m hoping my country (Canada) follows your country instead of the USA for a change

  10. Ainda bem que alguem ainda tem a integridade e coragem para tomar a decisão correcta. Só gostava que o meu país pudesse dar tambem um bum exemplo, mas ao contrário do Brasil, que deu um bom exemplo, o meu deu um péssimo exemplo, com um painel técnico totalmente corrupto. Para ver a pouco vergonha a que a situação chegou, ver a cobertura q o groklaw.net deu á situação

  11. It is good to see Brazil do the sensible thing, unlike so many of the ‘Western’ countries!

  12. Gracias Brasil! Muy Bueno!

    (That used up most of my Knowledge of Spanish.) It is good to see a country with a thinking modern attitude to software. Thanks from England (and I think we voted against as well).

  13. Well done.

    From ECMA International’s own website –

    “Ecma is driven by industry to meet the needs of industry” (says it all!)

  14. Greetings From Singapore

    I hope my countries standards board follows the same suit. Congratulations to Brazil for standing up to Microsoft

  15. The fact of the matter is OOXML is Microsoft’s attempt at “future locking” the future of all of humanity’s digitals assets in a propietary format. How unfortunate when 50 years from now quadrillions of bytes of data will essentailly be undecipherable or lost to future generations because Microsoft and friends had their collective heads so far up their collectives asses that they love the smell of their own BS.

  16. First to Standardize? Who even uses ODF outside of Open Office. Is it not a shame commercial companies like Apple are being political by adopting it. Value my friend.

  17. Hi,

    It’s nice to know that ABNT evaluates innovations based on their technical features and that it works on its own, instead of giving in to lobbying pressures. This is rather rare in this country. Please keep going ! 🙂

  18. I do not see so badly the standard either that they want to implant with because he is so bad? , he is that I do not understand much of this but people speak very badly of which Microsoft tries.I have entered http://www.ooxml.es and it has seemed to me well…


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