Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, August 24, 2007

India Rejects OOXML, for Now

Another big shoe has dropped on OOXML.

India will vote "No" at the upcoming ISO vote on whether or not OOXML should be a standard. For the moment, India is saying "not."

After six hours of debate, 19 of the 21 members of India's technical committee agreed to vote "No" with comments, meaning that should Microsoft later address technical concerns about OOXML, India might shift its position. That will be no easy task. There are some 200 technical issues that have been raised by various parties to the OOXML specification, which itself spans a few thousand pages.

Last week a similarly big blow struck OOXML when Brazil decided to vote "No". As one member of its technical committee indicated, Brazil is likely to use ODF as the basis for its national document standard.

Most countries have not yet indicated their position. However, with the US abstaining and China and Japan voting "No," it is difficult to see how OOXML will in reality become a global standard, regardless of the ISO vote results.

ODF and OOXML will likely coexist for a time, and some (like Gartner) argue that OOXML will be the de facto standard given Microsoft's market dominance. Yet, technology dominance is a hard to maintain forever, and the winds are shifting as governments look to ODF, not OOXML, as the foundation for their own national standards.

After all, silicon is not stone. There is always the hope that Microsoft will continue to evolve and find a way to provide backward compatibility with all its proprietary formats while still ensuring that an unencumbered document standard like ODF is the way forward.

Categories: OpenStandards, OOXML, India, Brazil

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Global Warming's Give and Take in Norway

Global warming is bearing gifts to Norway. As Norway's glaciers disappear, it is gaining islands at an equally rapid (or alarming) pace.

On the Svalbard archipelago, a cluster of islands off Norway's northwest coast, the give and take of climate change are evident and undeniable.

Svalbard's glaciers are melting, and fast. The ice is receding at a rate of 16 cubic kilometers each year, according to the Norwegian Polar Institute.

At the same time, new islands are appearing along Svalbard's coasts. But these islands are not its first global warming gifts.

Last year, a new island emerged off Svalbard.

In 2004, yet another island, the size of a soccer field, rose off the eastern coastline of Svalbard.

What global warming taketh, it giveth back.

For some, it means access to new lands and natural resources (like oil). For others, it means submerged homes, less food and the disappearance of water supplies.

Lucky Norway.

Categories: GlobalWarming, Norway