Google open-sources XML-alternative Protocol Buffers

XML, it seems, has run out of steam for Google.

Google said Monday that it has created an open-source project for a data interchange format called Protocol Buffers.

The software is meant to solve the problem of sharing information in a wide range of formats between servers at high speed. It's also designed to let companies like Google upgrade software on a network of connected servers without causing hiccups.

Google thought of using XML as a lingua franca to send messages between its different servers. But XML can be complicated to work with and, more significantly, creates large files … Read more

Microsoft trying to live up to interop pledge

Microsoft on Monday announced a series of moves that it says back up its February pledge to make it easy for others' software to interoperate with its own products.

The news is mostly incremental. Microsoft is making more documentation available on how its older binary Office formats work as well as a final version of the protocols used in Office 2007. What caught my eye, though, were two new projects.

The first involves Microsoft working with China's Beihang University to develop translators to allow Excel and PowerPoint to open and save files in China's UOF format. In the … Read more

Google mapping spec now an industry standard

Members of an industry group called the Open Geospatial Consortium have approved Google's KML technology as an open standard for describing some geographic data.

KML is used to manage the display of geospatial information in Google Earth, the company's software for flying over the surface of a virtual globe. With its 3D coordinate-based system, people can create models of city buildings, draw a line showing where they hiked, or overlay their own custom place names on a generic map.

Google already shared its KML format openly, and others had used it in software products, but Google now hopes … Read more

ISO takes up Open XML-ODF 'harmonization' as Norwegians protest

Correction done to Alex Brown's affiliation.

The ISO has taken over control of the Open XML specification and started a committee to consider harmonization with the OpenDocument Format (ODF).

Wednesday was the last day that all resolutions to the new standard, called ISO/IEC 29500, were accepted, according to Brian Jones, a program manager for office at Microsoft who has been involved in the standardization process.

Last week, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) announced that Office Open XML (OOXML) gained enough votes to pass as a standard.

Alex Brown, a member of the U.K.'s national standards … Read more

EU investigation into Open XML vote still ongoing

European antitrust regulators are investigating whether Microsoft abused its desktop software market dominance in its effort to standardize the Office Open XML file formats.

The European Commission's antitrust regulatory body sent queries to several European countries to see how the standards-setting process was working, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

The investigation is still ongoing, he added.

The effort stems from a complaint lodged by anti-Microsoft lobbying group ECIS (European Commission for Interoperable Systems). The Commission said in January that it is exploring whether the Open XML file formats are sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products.

The Wall Street Journal in … Read more

Challenges coming to ISO Open XML vote?

Now that Office Open XML (OOXML) has been certified as an ISO standard, there is a possibility that the vote leading to that result will be challenged. It seems Microsoft is already counting on it.

The ISO on Wednesday officially announced that Open XML received enough votes to become a standard, reversing a previous attempt in September that failed.

But there have been several reports of "irregularities" in the voting of the 87 national standards bodies that participated.

Those complaints could lead to a formal appeal of the votes which, under ISO rules, need to be lodged by … Read more

ISO: Office Open XML ratified as standard

As expected, the ISO on Wednesday announced that Office Open XML (OOXML) has been approved as a standard, marking the end a long and sometimes contentious path.

The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued a press release with the details of a vote that showed Open XML receiving 75 percent approval and 14 percent disapproval. It needed two-thirds approval and not more than 25 percent disapproval to pass.

News of the vote results circulated on Tuesday when open-document advocates released a document showing the results. Microsoft confirmed the information later in the day.

The effort to make Open XML … Read more

Office Open XML is an ISO standard: Now what?

It's all over except the press release. But in other ways, it's just the beginning.

After a document appeared on Tuesday showing that Office Open XML (OOXML) gained enough votes to be ratified as an ISO standard, Microsoft on Tuesday confirmed the result.

The company's bid-- started in 2005--to make the Open XML file formats international standards has succeeded, barring any last-minute changes. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is scheduled to issue the official communiqu? on Wednesday.

Once final, ISO/IEC certification means that development of the specification, officially called Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500, … Read more

Unofficial document: Open XML passes ISO vote

Update: Microsoft has confirmed that Office Open XML has been ratified as an ISO standard. See updated information below.

A document that appears to be the voting record over a contentious ISO vote shows Office Open XML (OOXML) having enough support to pass as a standard.

The PDF document appeared on at least two Web sites Tuesday morning.

The results in the document show that Open XML received 75 percent approval from the "P-members" of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee and 10 negative votes, or 14 percent.

To become certified, Open XML needed at least two-thirds … Read more

Norway seeks to reverse Open XML vote at ISO

Norway's national standards body has lodged a formal protest over the country's vote on Office Open XML (OOXML) at the ISO.

The chairman of the Norway's standards committee said there were "serious irregularities" with the voting process and that the vote should be changed to oppose ISO certification of Open XML.

In the letter, sent on Monday to the ISO, Steve Pepper asked that Norway's vote be suspended pending the results of an investigation.

Here is the text of what Pepper wrote in the letter (PDF):

I am writing to you in my capacity … Read more