What a standard means (and why you should sign the NO OOXML petition)
I believe all standards should become standards, based on their technical merits. Look at HTTP as a “standard” – pre-dating HTTP we had Gopher (and WAIS was our Google), but quite clearly, HTTP won the day. TCP is another good standard. These all have one thing in common: they’re open, easy to implement, and there are wide varieties of implementations of them (I can count apache, lighttpd, and numerous ones in Windows-land) that all work similarly.
The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is such a standard. Ratified as ISO26300. Implemented in OpenOffice.org and its derivatives. Implemented in StarOffice. Abiword, KOffice, Google Docs & Spreadsheets (okay, Google Office these days), IBM Workplace, and a lot more. There’s quite a good list on Wikipedia at the OpenDocument software page.
From the list above, you realise that implementations exist that aren’t just created by one entity. There are wide varieties of implementations. Generally, a good standard. Technically adept, for companies like Sun and IBM to back it.
Yet, Microsoft wants to pass OOXML (a competitor to ODF) as an ISO standard! There are many reasons why this is wrong, but the fact that there is no proper working implementation of such a standard (not even by Microsoft, might I add), makes me cringe if this were to be an ISO standard. Realistically, do we need two ISO document formats?
How far the No-OOXML petition goes, I cannot say. But I do encourage you to sign it (peruse the plenty of reasons there, too) – noooxml: Say NO to the Microsoft Office format as an ISO standard.