The Art of Mugging

As one might have reasonably imagined, it would be impossible for a single view of the truth to appear following the BRM.  Both pugilists are holding their arms aloft at the moment.

I had hoped that the victory would have been more clear cut at this stage, but no matter, I am quietly confident that the fix is in.  It’s now just a waiting game. 

I wish my “my attorney” (harking back to a strange night in Geneva) had waited until he came down from his intoxicated state before posting a mangled argument, ripe for dissection by the Microjelliffe-Soft. (Note to readers – his intoxicants consist mainly of ego-rush, after enjoying his status at the OFE, hanging out with Vint “OSI Amnesia” Cerf etc and giving interviews.)

 One of the highlights for me this week was the Spec Fission Auction, presented by my mechanical turk, another US delegate, graciously provided by Oracle for my use.

As those of you in the know, know – IBM has a multi-pronged approach here.  The IBM/Sun ODF axis is well known, but perhaps not the IBM/Oracle one.  Supplier selection by government mandate is only a matter of time (and money).

One NB kicked off with the idea of splitting the specification into 2 parts,then another raised it to 4, then with the assistance of some of my US colleagues, raised it to 9 and finally 10.  Unfortunately, the end result was somewhat lower, but it was fun while it lasted.

I did mention recently about the number of pro open source/pro ODF proponents at the BRM.  Indeed many of them were in the US delegation.  Certainly enough for a quorum.  Even if Microsoft, BP and the DOD dissented, they were still outnumbered by others with a more appropriate stance.

So it appears that some good work has been done, with the US, Yoon Kit’s Malaysia, winner of the BRM popularity contest, India, and (true to form) South Africa

Now to the title of this post – although we were able to deftly pick Microsoft’s pocket this time, they are now learning more about the standards process.  We have enjoyed a long period of them being ‘babes in the wood’, whilst we journeymen made hay whilst the sun shone.

I have a slightly uneasy feeling now regarding the smooth progress of ODF.  Although I feel it would be churlish for the enemy to churn out 2000 non duplicated comments when we try to move forward to 1.2/1.3, I fear it could be a case of Matthew 26:52.

In addition, it may be unwise for us to denigrate ISO too much, as this will dilute the commercial value that we have so long worked to achieve.  If we push too far, then Microsoft can simply claim that being an ISO standard is not really necessary, as it has little value ‘ according to IBM, Oracle, Sun and a host of other experts’. It is a very risky strategy that could lead to more Denmarks.  So please, ODF advocates, hold thy tongues, as in this case, discretion is certainly the better part of valor.  

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