Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

Driven to Extremes

Well-attended protest

I've been speaking at the excellent Go Open 2008 conference here in Oslo today - attendees may be interested in my slides. My talk embodied the comments I made in response to Michael Tiemann a while back.

Of much more interest was what happened at lunchtime, however. I've heard plenty of accusations from certain OOXML proponents that all the noisy opposition to them is coming from extremist agitators and anarchists and should be ignored as a consequence. The (very un-Norwegian) activities in Oslo today seemed to suggest otherwise. As the International Herald Tribune reports, there was a demonstration and protest march by placard-wielding demonstrators on the streets of Oslo - see the local TV report. This in itself is unusual - Norway is not given to such outbursts - but there's more that makes it unusual.

This protest was organised not by extremist agitators but by Steve Pepper (who made a great speech), the widely respected chair of the SC34 mirror committee that reviewed OOXML for Standards Norway and by his colleagues. I asked them why they were taking this unusual step and they told me it was because the majority view of their committee had been ignored by Standards Norway. They are furious - Pepper has resigned. So there may be extremists involved in the protests against OOXML somewhere, but in the specific case of Norway the protesters are highly respected standards and business people who have been driven to extremes rather than starting from them.

Podcast Interview With Trond Heier

Trond Heier, Linpro CEO I also had the chance to interview the CEO of Linpro AS, a respected Norwegian open source service provider, about his reasons for taking part in the protest. You can listen to the podcast in either MP3 or Ogg format. Trond explains that the message Steve Pepper delivered was in English so that the Norwegian group could encourage other, similarly unhappy groups in other countries to speak out as well. The protest was held outside the building where JTC1 SC34 was holding a meeting.

More pictures:

Organised by the SC34 mirror committee Outside the ISO meeting Message to Microsoft Message to Brussels

If you are a writer looking for photos or clips for your article or blog, you are free to use any of these as long as you attribute them to me. I'd also prefer you to link to this blog posting too.

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Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.

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