This time, interestingly, the three big software companies – TCS, Wipro and Infosys all supported OOXML. Even NASSCOM, which represents the IT industry was in favor of OOXML. The ones who opposed were the the likes of Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, IBM and more importantly the academia including IITs, IIMs and IISC.
Unfortunately not much about the debate is made public. The opposition is not something new, most of the world agrees that OOXML has problems at multiple levels (pdf), right from the technical specifications to the patents. It will be really valuable to find out why NASSCOM along with TCS, Wipro and Infosys wanted OOXML to be a standard. Unless they are non-technical reasons. I hope that at some point of time the details are made available, at least to software professionals.
It is important to make these debates as transparent as possible. A lot of yess and nos might not be based on technical merit as OOXML might affect a lot of businesses in positive and negative ways. However, whether it should be a standard or not should be based on whether it is good or bad for the users, not businesses. That is the reason I think it is significant that the academia has voted against OOXML.
I have said this earlier, and I hope that at some point of time the reasons behind the votes will be divulged.
While we are on the topic of OOXML, Microsoft is opening up the SDK. Opening up the SDK is good, and Microsoft will attract a lot of developers since a lot of businesses operate in that world. It will be good, but again for only those who are trapped in that world.