The Fast And The Furious

Computerworld writes that ISO on Saturday agreed “to put Open XML, the document format created and championed by Microsoft Corp., on a fast-track approval process that could see Open XML ratified as an open, international standard by August”.

According to CW, an e-mail sent Saturday by Lisa Rachjel, the secretariat of ISO’s Joint Technical Committee (JTC-1) on Information Technology, states that “the Open XML proposal, along with comments and criticism by nations that have already reviewed it, will be put on ISO’s 5-month balloting process”.

ISO has not yet confirmed this. Their press officer, Roger Frost, told me that he expects to have information about the next step in the process by tomorrow.

So, it seems that Microsoft has succeded in pushing the agenda, and the only interpretation I can make of this is that ISO accepts that the balloting does not necessarily end with an unanimous vote. CW writes: “For a proposed standard to be approved by the ISO, no more than one-third of JTC-1, or 10 countries, can vote against it. Meanwhile, no more than one quarter of ISO’s 157 members that cast their vote — non-JTC-1 member countries may abstain — can vote against it.”

I now foresee, and will by all means contribute to, a continious campaign for members states to vote against the approval of the substandard “standard”. Voting against the approval should not be seen simply as a vote against Microsoft, but should be based on the solid fact that EOOXML is flawed, heck even Microsoft acknowledges this.

By pushing the fast-track, those who care about the standard of standards are forced to vote against the approval, since balloting is binary (yes/no), and a yes-vote would mean that the as-is Ecma-standard is endorsed. At the end of the day, it’s a vote about the credibility of international standards and about the legitimacy of international standardization processes.

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  • Hello, someone pointed me in the direction of your blog so I thought I would comment –

    Just to clarify, my comment in the press was not an endorsement of the idea that Ecma Open XML is flawed. I realize that is your position, and I can respect that. I was commenting on the fact that I have respect as well for the ISO process, and in that process any concerns raised need to be considered in a thoughtful, rigorous fashion. The fact that a member body provided a submission makes it “legitimate” – thus the submissions that endorse Open XML, those that are neutral, and those that raise concerns are all legitimate.

    I wrote on this in my blog today as well.

    Jason Matusow

  • […] GotzeBlogged Enterprisey thoughts – John Gøtze « The Fast And The Furious […]

  • Thanks for clearing that up, Jason! As I just wrote in another entry (linked above), ISO will not publish submissions, whcih I think is a shame. That only adds to confusions and speculations about legitimacy. Please consider asking ISO to publish submissions. Oh, a good luck incorporating legitimate concerns in OOXML – I mean, if you (Microsoft) don’t incorporate them, who else could? 😉

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