Standards guru Andy Updegrove, commenting on Brown's post, said: "Which leaves, of course, one question remaining: with no general awareness of the facts, will Alex's blog entry drop like a pebble into the pond of the internet, leaving few, if any ripples? Or will others pick up on it? If the latter, then one must assume that Microsoft will have little or no incentive to still comply with the Strict version of OOXML, and the whole ODF-OOXML saga may prove, at last, to be less a gripping drama than a simple farce."
Let me make it clear: I don't blame Microsoft. Every technology company makes money by creating de facto standards and then pushing them to as wide a market as possible using every means that is legal. And some that are not so legal as long as they do not get caught. IBM has done it in the past, so has Adobe, so has Apple.
Every time software is updated, a little tweak here and there ensures that any ground competitors have made in creating compatibility with your standard is lost. Remember the seven editions of Windows 98?
All the polite debate in the world cannot change certain facts: Microsoft Office Open (what an irony!) XML is a closed format. The company will keep tweaking it as time goes on and the lock-in will be complete. In fact, given that it is losing money on every front and still has only two cash cows - Windows and Office - the tweaking is likely to become more aggressive.
Is this government of the people, by the people and for the people? Or, as the Free Software Foundation chairman Richard Stallman put it so eloquently a few months ago, is it of the people, by the flunkeys and for the corporations?