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UK Unix group vows to appeal OOXML ruling

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A group of UK open source supporters today slammed a High Court judge’s decision to reject its call for a review of the British Standards Institution’s approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) document format as an international standard.

The UK Unix and Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) said it planned to appeal the judgment, and is asking for donations to continue its fight against the software giant’s contentious OOXML victory earlier this year.

The UKUUG had been calling for the BSI to reverse its vote at the International Standards Organisation (ISO), which approved OOXML as a standard in April – in the face of fierce opposition from open-istas.

Early last month UKUUG asked the High Court to carry out a judicial review of the BSI decision to vote in favour of Microsoft's OOXML specification.

However, that application was rejected by Mr Justice David Lloyd Jones on 5 June on the grounds that the BSI hadn’t breached procedures.

UKUUG claimed in a statement today that Lloyd Jones “was wrong in his reading of papers,” before adding: “The matter will now be heard in open court.”

The group, which is made up of influential open source advocates in the UK, also quoted Lloyd Jones as saying UKUUG’s application "does not disclose any arguable breach of the procedures of BSI or of rules of procedural fairness", and that it was "in any event… academic in light of the adoption of the new standard by ISO".

UKUUG hopes to continue its fight against OOXML, which rivals the open source document format Open Document Format that's used by the likes of Sun Microsystems and IBM and became an ISO-approved standard last year, but the group needs funds somewhere in the region of £50,000 to keep its appeal alive.

It also claimed that OOXML is "riddled with technical holes" and added that "no one can implement it."

Earlier this month, in the latest twist to what has been a lengthy saga for all the players involved, the ISO confirmed that four national standards body members – Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela – had issued formal appeals against the approval of OOXML.

Officials at the ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission are currently scrutinising the appeals, which in turn has delayed the official blessing of Microsoft’s document format as an international standard. ®

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