The Kayak Award

How and why did the FFII decided to offer Microsoft a cash prize as best anti-OOXML campaigner? I'll explain how this happened and draw some lessons from it.

In June 2007, when Benjamin and myself were discussing how to drive a world-wide effort against OOXML, we had the idea of offering a prize. Prizes are great motivators. We were on the train to Strasbourg, and the name "Kayak" seemed appropriate, since most campaigners are like tough hunters skimming over the icy waters, relying on pure skill and nerve to harpoon that fat, speedy seal. If you're a vegetarian, imagine a fat, speedy aubergine. So we announced the prize in a press release and waited to see what happened.

Microsoft picked up on the prize and tried to use it against us, by accusing us of bribing people to disrupt the standards process. They were very annoyed, I think.

So this gave us the idea of using the prize to further embarrass and annoy Microsoft. We make them the winners, in such a way that they cannot collect the prize without looking even more greedy. I figured, if we do this, next time we offer the Kayak Award, people will take us more seriously. After all, if we're willing to spend 2,500 Euro just to embarrass Microsoft in front of the media, think of how far we'll go to get good laws and a good standards process.


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  • Pieter Hintjens <gro.iiff|hreteip#gro.iiff|hreteip>