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[News] Analysis of British Library as 'Agent' of the Convicted Monopolist

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Good bye, British Library

,----[ Quote ]
| This is an image from the good old days. Microsoft's Jean Paoli hands over 
| the OOXML specification to Jan van den Beld, the general secretary of ECMA. 
| And you find Adam Farquhar from the British Library, the bearded person on 
| the right. The British Library was instrumental to legitimizing the whole 
| ECMA and ISO OOXML standardisation process as an 'independent' participant in 
| the committee work. ECMA did a brilliant job to mature the specification text 
| to get it ISO fast-tracked. Or as the ISO BRM convenor and recent consultant  
| for the British Library Alex Brown reflects1:      
|     Ecma made the road very rocky though, by initially producing a text that 
|     was so lousy with faults. 


More details below. The British Library might be the New Newham.

The analysis moves on to discussing the fact that Microsoft tossed the
book-scanning project some days ago, showing how 'dedicated' Microsoft is to
preservation. OOXML will probably come under more fire this week:

South Africa appeals ISO vote on OOXML format

,----[ Quote ]
| South Africa is the first country to have made public its appeal. Other 
| national standards bodies that took part have until May 29 to appeal the 
| decision.  



Ecma - a case study for vendor capture

,----[ Quote ]
| A small network of people of ECMA International dominated the whole ISO 
| process around OOXML while technical experts of national ISO members were 
| impeded by committee stuffing, rules bending and political intervention and 
| the general restrictions of the revamped ISO/IEC fast-track process.   
| [...]
| On the right you find a picture of Jan van den Beld, back then general 
| secretary of ECMA international who received the 2000 pages from Microsoft 
| represented by its employee Jean Paoli (center). Jean Paoli is probably best 
| known for taking the Microsoft credit for the standardization of XML. The 
| other person with the beard is Adam Farquhar from the British Library, chair 
| of ECMA TC 45. You also find the picture on the right in Adam Farquhar's May 
| 07 presentation which advocates for OOXML.      


,----[ Quote ]
| And the company Griffin Brown, of which the BRM convenor Alex Brown is the 
| director, sent out a press release 13 March 08 celebrating the 10th 
| anniversary of XML:  
| "Recent moves by Microsoft to standardise its Office products around XML file 
| formats merely confirms that most valuable business data in the future will 
| be stored in XML. … Alex Brown is convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Ballot 
| Resolution Process, and has recently been elected to the panel to advise the 
| British Library on how to handle digital submission of journal articles."    
| [PJ: A bit of background on the British Library here, but the short version 
| is that it uses Microsoft, was a co-sponsor of having Ecma put what is now 
| OOXML on the fast track, and says today it is "pleased".] - No OOXML   


British Library books go digital

,----[ Quote ]
| Digitised publications will be accessible in two ways -initially through 
| Microsoft's Live Search Books and then via the Library's website. 


Britain: E-Mail Time Capsule in Works

,----[ Quote ]
| Now the British Library is appealing to ordinary Britons for their
| e-mails, saying it wants to create a snapshot of British life in 2007.
| [...]
| The e-mails will be collated and indexed by Microsoft Corp., which
| has previously partnered with the library to digitize books from
| its archive, and they will be available to researchers before
| the year's end.


Vista and British Library put da Vinci online

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft and the British Library have digitised two of Leonardo da
| Vincis' notebooks.
| [...]
| The British Library has created an updated version of its application
| called "Turning the Pages" which allows people to browse parts of
| its 150 million piece collection via a web browser. We heard how
| this works better using Vista.


Publish And Perish

,----[ Quote ]
| Alexander Rose, the executive director of the futurist Long Now
| Foundation, worries about the impermanence of digital information.
| "If you save that computer for 100 years, will the electrical plugs
| look the same?" he asks. "The Mac or the PC--will they be around?
| If they are, what about the software? " So far there's no business
| case for digital preservation--in fact, for software makers like
| Microsoft, planned obsolescence is the plan.
| "The reality is that it's in companies' interest that software should
| become obsolete and that you should have to buy every upgrade,"
| Rose says. We could be on the cusp of a turning point, though, in the
| way businesses and their customers think about digital preservation.
| "Things will start to change when people start losing all of their personal 
| photos," Rose said.


British Library calls for digital copyright action

,----[ Quote ]
| In a manifesto released on Monday at the Labor Party Conference
| in Manchester, the United Kingdom's national library warned that the
| country's traditional copyright law needs to be extended to fully
| recognize digital content.
| "Unless there is a serious updating of copyright law to recognize
| the changing technological environment, the law becomes an ass,"
| Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, told ZDNet
| UK. 


BBC Corrupted

,----[ Quote ]
| Today the BBC made it official -- they have been corrupted by Microsoft. With 
| today's launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of 
| duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution 
| of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating 
| system to view BBC programming on the web. This is akin to saying you must 
| own a Sony TV set to watch BBC TV. And you must accept the Digital  
| Restrictions Management (DRM) that the iPlayer imposes. You simply cannot be 
| allowed to be in control of your computer according to the BBC.      



Microsoft’s 4th of July Trans-Atlantic assault on document standards

,----[ Quote ]
| With OOXML and XPS, Microsoft has chosen to not work with existing standards, 
| but to create new ones, as they have in their recent announcement on Web3S 
| instead of working with the rest of the industry on the Atom Publishing 
| Protocol. In the case of OOXML, this is a logical move on Microsoft’s part, 
| since it is an evolution of Microsoft’s XML strategy started with the 
| Microsoft Office 2003 version and ODF will be a technology diversion from 
| that strategy. With Microsoft controlling 90% of the office productivity 
| tools market and OOXML being the default file format for Microsoft Office 
| 2007, OOXML is likely to be widely-used.        


Microsoft criticized for Open XML petition

,----[ Quote ]
| The petition is an attempt to make it appear that Open XML
| has "pseudo-grassroots" support, argues Mark Taylor, the
| founder of the Open Source Consortium.


Microsoft calls on UK public to raise the Office standard

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft is calling on the Great British public to join its campaign
| to get the XML Office format adopted as an international standard.
| [...]
| It is not clear if the UK is an opponent. However, a representative
| of fellow member the Bureau of Indian Standards recently reportedly
| complained to the IndiaTime.com over Microsoft's decision to dump
| 6,000 pages of documentation on them.

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