Last update Tue, 11 Sep 2007 21:15:00 GMT

This page contains our collected information and our comments about Microsoft's proposal for ISO standard, ECMA-376 (OOXML) with comparisons to ISO/IEC 26300 (ODF).

The information presented here is collected by us and it is our views which are expressed here. That is, this site is independent from the <NO>OOXML campaign site. For ongoing news regarding OOXML we recommend that you visit the <NO>OOXML site as the page you are reading now will only be updated rarely. Only when we get new significant facts, such that Microsoft would have improved the specification draft, which could possibly change our opinion somewhat about OOXML, or for instance, that Microsoft would decide to drop OOXML.


The 27th of Aug 2007 there was a big scandal at the Swedish Standards Institute, SIS when 23 new members, mostly Microsoft partners suddenly appeared at the voting at SIS for recommending ECMA-376 for fasttracking towards an ISO standard. Here is a blog from a member of one these new companies, with some of ours (Roland Orre's) comments. When 23 new members appear just before a decision about whether a standard should be recommended or not, it certainly indicates a problem with the review and voting procedure, but it also indicates a serious problem on how Microsoft handles technical issues. Microsoft has also acknowledged that there was a problem and there are evidence that Microsoft has influenced the voting procedure. Here is an article from Wall Street Journal which indicates that this hijacking of the voting procedure has happened in many countries.

Anyway, this page is a result from a debate article in the Swedish newspaper Computer Sweden, where Klas Hammar, business area manager of Microsoft Sweden writes a debate article in Computer Sweden the 7th of Sep 2007, where he claims that OOXML is "future safe". We certainly do not approve this claim and replied on Klas Hammar's article the same morning. When the signature "Johan Wallqvist" then replied to our comments, claiming that we had just taken our arguments from the <NO>OOXML site as well as claiming that we had got them from IBM, we decided to make an official statement about this through this web page as we had collected information about OOXML on our own, reaching the conclusion that we can not support OOXML. There is also an article in DN "Microsoft vägrar ge upp striden" 11th Sep 2007 (in Swedish) where Klas Hammar says:

"One could ask the question why it shouldn't become a standard".

Well, our view is that this question is redundant when one has understood the issue. It is a standard proposal which in its current shape locks people to platform dependence. Our view is that documents should be freely exchangable between any platforms, now and in the future.


Listed below this summary are the technical comments and the technical documentation which has been used as a reference for our opinion upon OOXML in its current form, together with the links from where this documentation can be fetched. We have also put the standard documents here, both for ODF and OOXML, as they are zipped otherwise.

Technical comments on OOXML:

These documents are collected here locally, but also linked to orig. site. If you want some brief, straight to the point documents start with Google's, Oracle's and Italy's comments. They are quick and easy to read.
Google's Position on OOXML as a Proposed ISO Standard (3 pages)
version 1: local, orig site
version 2: local, orig site
Oracle Comments on DIS 29500 (8 pages)
local, orig site
Open Document Format Alliance comments about OOXML (5 pages)
local, orig site
Spain comments on OOXML from FFII (12 pages)
html, local ODF, ODF orig site, PDF orig site
Singapore's comments on OOXML by Anand Vaidya (91 slides)
(this is a good overview of the most serious flaws with ECMA-376)
local ODF, orig site Flash and ODF
Italian (Associazione PLIO) comments about OOXML (6 pages)
local PDF, orig site PDF

Standard definitions:

The ISO/IEC 26300:2006 standard (OpenDocument v1.0 and v1.1)
  1. First standard, ODF 1.0, ISO in May 2006: local ODF, local PDF, orig site ODF (722 pages)
  2. Latest standard, ODF 1.1 ISO in Feb 2007: local ODF, local PDF, orig site ODF (738 pages)
The ECMA-376 (Office Open XML) standard
  1. Part1 Fundamentals (178 pages PDF)
  2. Part2 Packaging_Conventions (131 pages PDF)
  3. Part3 Primer (473 pages PDF)
  4. Part4 Language_Reference (5220 pages PDF)
  5. Part5_Compatibility_and_Extensibility.pdf (43 pages PDF)
orig site ZIP archives

Other documents and links:

A white paper on the differences between ODF and OOXML by Edward Macnagthen
local PDF, orig site PDF, orig site ODF, link to background of white paper
A study in comparing file sizes: "Why is OOXML Slow?"
link to html
OOXML stalls at ISO
O'Reilly article by Nat Torkington)
How a standard can kill a standard (OOXML versus ODF)
O'Reilly article by Andy Oram
The <NO>OOXML campaign site
The <NO>OOXML campaign site led by FFII (Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure)
A petition you can sign, organized by FFII, to recommend that OOXML does not become an ISO standard. With the eight most serious flaws of OOXML listed in 39 languages.

Roland Orre
CEO, Research Director
NeuroLogic Sweden AB