Since a post on Rob Weir’s blog (a member of the US delegation) about the mapping of the binary data was published today, I’ve already received phone calls and e-mails from Brazilian colleagues who participated in the discussions on the issue in Brazil wondering the reason why Brazil has not submitted a proposal for it at the BRM. This was one of the things that we are committed to do in Geneva, but guys… we just could not make it.
The mapping is nothing more than a document that explains how to correctly translate the data stored in the old format (binary data as .doc, .xls and .ppt files) to the new proposed format (.docx, .xlslx and .pptx). The importance of this is that several document converters can generate more similar documents, reflecting adequately the old data in the new format. In addition, this document provides a clear identification of attributes that can not be translated (for technical reasons) and that must be preserved. All this is part of the most basic idea of OpenXML, an editable documents format (such as ODF) that support the legacy (the ECMA argues that this “legacy support” is what differentiates it from ODF and therefore makes it necessary). By the way, ODF is already an approved ISO standard (ISO/IEC 26.300).
Seeing that I cannot comment any details about the meeting, I cannot explain the details of what happened but I have the duty to respond to those who worked with the theme here in Brazilian NB (ABNT): “They didn’t allowed Brazil to present its proposal about the mapping.”
I cannot tell the details of the meeting, but I can tell a conversation we’ve had (myself and another Brazilian delegate) with a person, at the beginning of the lunch break on Friday. I will disclose this conversation because the person has identified himself as a member of the ECMA, a member of a national delegation present at the BRM but didn’t said that he was speaking on behalf of anyone (the protocol used there), so I understand that this was a conversation that is not covered by the scandalous “Law of Silence” imposed on us all.
This person tried in saying that believes that we should not submit our proposal that asked the mapping, since there was no time at the meeting (just over three hours) to write the mapping document. We’ve said that our proposal stemmed from the premise that the ECMA had this document because they justifies “the need” of OOXML because it supports the binary documents legacy and it is also stated that there are still things that can not be translated (deprecated), they should have thoroughly studied this and at least have made the mapping.
I have never seen a person so nervous and ashamed in my life… He said that Microsoft should have this mapping and if we want, we can ask it to Microsoft but not ask it to ECMA. He said that ECMA was only responsible for creating the new XML schema and who do not have this mapping documentation.
As our conversation was not going to nowhere, I explained him that our proposal was the result of the work of a committee in Brazil and unfortunately that if he could not come back in time and to tell this story throughout Brazil, we would have to insist with our proposal.
I described this issue here, because hey didn’t allowed Brazil to present the proposal…
If the ECMA not have the mapping, can someone there explain to me:
1 - How can they assure that OpenXML is 100% compatible with the legacy?
2 - How can they assure that OpenXML is not a 100% overlap with ODF, if they didn’t studied thoroughly the legacy support?
3 - How do they assure that there are “deprecated” elements that can not be translated into XML and “shall” be kept?
4 - How can they force the whole world to lose a year, millions of dollars and time for many people, that would be more productive doing other things, to discuss such a proposal, if the most elementary basis of it is real solid?
Finally, as a protest, an excerpt from a music of Peter Gabriel, about Steve Biko:
”You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire”
What relief… Tonight I’ll sleep my first night in peace with my conscience since Friday…