Brussels, June 27, 2007 — The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), said that it was putting up a 2,500 Euro prize in its fight against Microsoft’s attempt to gain international standardisation for its Office format.
Veteran FFII campaigner Benjamin Henrion, founder of the noOOXML.org site, explains: “Microsoft is spending millions on rent-a-crowd support for international certification for its proprietary Office format, OOXML. But we already have an ISO standard for word processing, called ODF (Open Document Format). OOXML is Microsoft’s attempt to subvert this existing standard, to keep its strangle-hold on the world of documents. It’s time for activists across the world to stand up, to reach out to their national ISO bodies, and to explain why Microsoft’s format is not open, not a standard, and not XML.”
The FFII is putting its money where its mouth is. The team that makes the best effort to helping the International Standardization Organisation (ISO) fight off Microsoft’s lobbying stands to win an FFII “Kayak Award”, consisting of 2,500 Euro and the chance to present their campaign at the FFII’s annual conference in November.
FFII president Pieter Hintjens explains: “In July 2005, before the vote on the Software Patents Directive, a group of young campaigners took to kayaks, in the waters outside the Parliament building in Strasbourg. They fought a symbolic battle with industry lobbyists who had rented a yacht. The Kayak symbolises individual skill and collective action.”
To qualify for nomination for the Kayak Award, a team or campaigner must show how they made a significant impact on the ISO process, “to defend ODF and stop Microsoft’s attempts to corrupt the international standards-setting process”, as Henrion puts it. “Anything goes: websites, letter-writing campaigns, going to meetings, even kayaks.”
The deadline for nominations is 31 August, and the award winner will be announced on 30 September 2007.
For more details see http://www.noOOxml.org/kayak .
Microsoft is pushing for adoption of its Microsoft Office file format as an ISO standard in a fast-track mode. Countries members of ISO has until the 2nd of September to make their mind on the specification. Most of the countries are receiving comments from the public until the end of June or the beginning of July.
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The FFII is a not-for-profit association, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1,000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.