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back to article ISO puts OOXML announcement on ice

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has pushed back its announcement on whether Microsoft has secured enough votes for its Office Open XML (OOXML) file format to tomorrow (2 April). A statement was expected from the ISO today. However, a number of observers who have closely followed the ballot have already …

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OOXML Voting and Zimbabwe Elections ?

Interesting that the ISO OOXML voting and Zimbabwe election results should both be delayed at the same time.

One would like to think that this is just an accident of timing, and similarities did not extend to dubious vote counting or unexplained about turns in votes, but then again...

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Paris Hilton

Iso Mugabe

Ee by gum, it's a parallel universe where the ISO and the government of Zimbabwe are both holding back the good news.

Strange how it's only the Africans that have been told to buck up. I know why the BSI hasn't had much to say. They are still trying to get their web site ready for Firefox when that browser is launched.

Oi.. wait.. Firefox is on version 3. Wot's goin' on?

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Thumb Down

Not just on ice, it belongs in the DEEP FREEZE please.

If ever there was a proposal that should never ever be defrosted, this is it.

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The result is out already!

http://lists.opendocsociety.org/pipermail/members.announce/2008-April/000002.html

Attached file on that page is all the results.

Also see here:

http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2008/03/the-last-lap.html

ISO should be thoroughly ashamed for letting itself be abused like this.

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Happy

April Fools

"Of course, the ISO probably also decided to delay making any announcement today to swerve April Fools' Day."

Surely, ISO could rely on stalwart publications like the Reg not to print misleading and untrue stories on April Fool's day?

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Gates Horns

Next on the ISO agenda...

...fast track certification of Windoze Fista.

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Anonymous Coward

spooky coincidence

Corruption in the Zimbabwe elections and the ISO OOXML vote. Is Mugabe running ISO now?

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Flame

Real reason for the delay...

... all the ballot-stuffers are busy in Zimbabwe right now, but they'll be finished in a couple of days, and then they're available to count the ISO's votes.

Disband the ISO. It's outlived any usefulness. If it's just a rubber-stamp to paid-for corporate interests, why should we even bother with its existence? Just give Microsoft the right to put the words "ISO standard" on their own documents and at least we'll have the benefits of honesty in the process.

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Alert

Are any of these criminal offences?

Could legal proceedings be taken against someone if it could be "PROVED" that they had done anything corrupt, fraudulent or recieved gifts or financial compensation for rigging, perverting or sabotaging the voting process?

Do any existing guidelines or rules exist about impartiality, mis-information and "corporate gifts" exist in any ISO or government guidelines?

NOTE: I am not suggesting that anyone has done anything improper during this voting processes, I am simply wondering from a theoretical point of view what would happen IF any irregularities were found and investigated in more detail.

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Unhappy

Let them...

...who cares any more, the world sucks.

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An appeal is possible

There is an appeal process, which has to be initiated by a P member national body.

See here:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080331144223128

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W
Joke

Prices!!!

BS ISO/IEC 26300:2006 Information technology. Open document format for office applications (OpenDocument) v1.0

---

BSI price: 316.00 GBP to members (158.00 GBP to non-members, membership available from 117.50 GBP)

ISO price: 171.83 GBP

www.oasis-open.org price: Free

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Alert

Mr Pepper and the truth

I have followed the debacle in Norway closely and note that Mr. Pepper and his henchman from Opera (Mr. Wium Lie) + some interesting rumblings from what Mr. Pepper appear to consider "small organizations that have limited finances compared to Microsoft".

What is apparrent is that Mr Pepper and his henchman from Opera are very liberal when it comes to truthfulness when it comes to furthering their cause.

I believe the reason why they failed to get the result they wanted in Norway was exactly that. Their unprofessionalism, accusations and what to me looks like deliberate half-truths continously in the media (as if the fight was happening there!) reduced their credibility so that they had no chance. Had they spent more time being constructive and less in the GLOBAL press they may have had a shot.

This appears to be fairly routine analysis from my part - the hatred of Microsoft causes otherwize exceptionally smart individuals to have a sleep inducing effect on those who make decisions and fail to stimulate the general public into collective action.

Next time, read the rules, understand where the battle is and win it there, and dont come back complaining that you did not understand the process after you stuffed up the committe with all your friends. Oh yes, if you do tell at least nearly whole truths about things that do not matter you get a little more credibility on items that do matter.

So I will be accused of calling 2 people liars. I can live with that. Mr Pepper and Mr Wium Lie are accusing all naysayers of corruption and what is worse. They'd better have some good "evidence".

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A good summary of the sorry saga

I also found this worth reading about this issue: http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/microsofts-great-besmirching

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Joke

Formats?

@W: Is that standards document available as ODF?

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Coat

@Mr Pepper and the truth

"Mr Pepper and Mr Wium Lie are accusing all naysayers of corruption and what is worse. They'd better have some good "evidence"."

Yes, it would be interesting to dig a bit deeper. I think we'd find quite a bit more evidence than you'd be willing to accept, however. After all, various Norwegian big shots routinely brush aside claims of corruption, and I think that quite a lot of Norwegians believe the myth that corruption is the rest of the world's problem, despite a number of high profile "trophy" cases (and convictions). I'd imagine that corruption goes a lot deeper than whether big name businessmen bribe minor officials to get their boat certificates.

It's fascinating to see someone slinging the dirt by using terms like "Mr Pepper and his henchman from Opera" when Messrs Pepper and Wium Lie have visibly done a great deal for the cause of standardisation over the years. Yes, you get to call people liars and accuse them of "unprofessionalism", but I think it's quite clear who have been the liars and have gamed the system: hug your buddies from Microsoft and take a look in the mirror.

Choice of icon: once again, the man puts his coat down on the astroturf because any discussion of OOXML's lack of merit is immediately met with personal attacks on dissenters. (Of course it's conceivable from what you've written that you might claim that you don't like OOXML yourself and don't think it should be standardised. I can't see how attacking the people who did actually bother to do something about it is in any way constructive. I'm more inclined to think you're astroturfing.)

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Pirate

ISO is dead

If OOXML is approved then ISO as an organization is *DEAD* as far as I'm concerned, they're unimportant and all their standards will mean nothing to me from that point on. If ballot stuffing like this is possible and no safeguards are taken (and I mean not after the fact but retroactively) against this (such as only allowing voting by members on the committees who have been contributors for years and years and shown to be contributors, not sock-puppets) then ISO doesn't deserve to be what it is claiming to be, then we need a new standards body, because ISO is no more.

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W

Re: Formats?

>"@W: Is that standards document available as ODF?"

BSI - v1.0 spec: "A4"

@ http://www.bsi-global.com/en/Shop/Publication-Detail/?pid=000000000030141228

ISO - v1.0 spec: "PDF / CD/DVD / Paper"

@ http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=43485

oasis-open.org - v1.0 spec: "PDF / OpenOffice.org XML".

oasis-open.org - v1.0 (Second Edition) spec: "OpenDocument / PDF"

@ http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=office#odf11

It's 700+ pages!

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Bronze badge

Always a version 2.0

They could modify OOXML to be ODF at version 2.0

Lots of "standards" have morfed in wildly different ways over the years. Then get the same people to "ratify" the mess.

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Flame

@Mr Pepper and the truth

So, lets see. On the one side we have the documented payments to Microsoft partners and the sudden rush of new members who vote on one issue and then never show up again, and the manipulation of process that denied the votes of 80% of the Norwegian representatives. That's corruption and conspiracy, and it's completely proven and on the public record.

Then on the other hand we have you, flinging around vague accusations of some sort of wrongdoing - which you neither describe in detail nor back up with evidence. You call them liars but don't name even one of their lies!

So, on the one hand, evidence and logic. On the other hand, a bunch of baseless ungrounded allegations backed up by nothing more than your "argument from authority" - and the so-called authority is your unknown anonymous self.

Explain again why any rational person would believe you for one second?

You've /got/ to be one of the people who they paid. Just because it would be insane to publicly humiliate yourself with this slavish unquestioning devotion to Microsoft's financial best interests if it wasn't somehow bringing you some kind of personal gain.

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As for that April Fools "swerve"

"the ISO probably also decided to delay making any announcement today to swerve April Fools' Day"

Even if they release it tomorrow it will still be a joke if MSOOXML has been "approved" (I use that word in the loosest possible sense, i.e. sarcastically).

What a farce. At least it will make it clear to the EU anti-monopoly commission that their work is far from done - given that it's far from clear how a competitor can ever use or contribute to this mess I'd say we're having another case of SMB. AFAIK MS has yet to pay a penny of the fine, so I guess they'll have to come up with something stronger. If that was barring them from being able to sell to governments and education it would be a nice, unsubtle way of undoing the "benefit" of this farce. And triple the fine, "just for fun", to quote a famous book title :-).

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Pirate

@Kieron Wilkinson

Is Norway a "P member"?

Seems to me they have at least two very compelling reasons to appeal:

1, The "specification" is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone outside Micro$haft to implement, and therefore utterly worthless.

2. They believe they were misrepresented in the ballot and consequently the proposal should not have been passed.

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Stop

ISO to languish because new MS members are not voting any more

so now that Microsoft paid to get is MS Office file format declared a "standard", the ISO is now left with dozens and dozens of voting members who are no longer involved because they joined last year just to get MS OOXML passed. Because these members are not voting on any of the other ISO projects, many of them can not get out of committee since a certain percentage of voting committee members must actually vote.

*So nice job screwing up a long time public service org Microsoft

*Nice work to those Microsoft business partners who bellied up to the table for Microsoft and joined the ISO committees just to vote on MS OOXML

*And nice work press corp for not sending flares up to the general public telling them how Microsoft is destroying an international standards organization just to get a stamp on their already outdated MS Office file format.

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Anonymous Coward

Quote of note.

Gotta love this quote from the nytimes:

-There were tart remarks even from countries that abstained from the vote, like the Netherlands. “This is like someone with six shopping carts of food trying to go through the express lane at a supermarket,” said Michiel Leenaars, a member of the Dutch delegation. “The end result of this will be confusion. The standard is simply too big. There are still a lot of questions out there.”-

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/technology/02soft.html

Off the topic, ballot stuffers are colloquially know in Australia, at least, as "branch stackers".

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Stop

@Mr Pepper and the truth

"You've /got/ to be one of the people who they paid."

This is exactly what I am talking about. You have no idea who I am yet it is certain that I am participating in a corruption ring on this topic.

I will give you one example of what at least was an error if not a lie by Mr Pepper. He claimed that a representative hired by Microsoft was somehow being used secretly by Microsoft in the process when Microsoft had even put out a press release that they were using him in the process as a paid consultant. Nice work by the chair of the committe - it really helped his cause not bothering to check his fact before making an accusation about one of the committe members in the media.

Also, it appears that the committe members votes were not heard. Well that is not quite true. Such a statement suggests that it is the committe which makes the final vote.

Also, there is talk about committe stuffing and even allegation that Microsoft are bad because they removed any stuffee's from first round while the OSS community stuffed the committe themselves. We can do it but you can't.

Also since we apparrently are discussing the vote in Norway, there is allegations of money changing hands for votes and that this is documented. I'd really like to know if this happened in Norway, or whether it may have happenede elsewhere and one simply did not bother to disclose that one is talking about something else, somewhere else and deliberately makes it look like there is actual financial wrongdoing by Microsoft in Norway on this topic which would be illegal.

But hey, since I am corrupt (and apparrently deeply involved in the process) according to you, I guess my view does not count.

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Linux

I love multiple standards.

When (if ever) I travel to Norway I can continue driving on the side of the road I have always driven on. All of the other cars had better get out of my way, my old Daimler Conquest weighs plenty. On the other hand, if I ever travel to the UK i can then drive on the wrong (i.e. right) side. It is surely my right to decide on the standard I wish to use, even if they are not compatible. Just gotta love the ISO.

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What happens now?

Still waiting for the news on this, looks like there is some serious talks happening.

So whats it going to be? If they stick a cert on OOXML then the corporate fascist pigs have 'won', and if they deny the cert then the unwashed hippy open source gang have 'won'.

There is plenty of mud slinging and counter mud slinging going on, any open source orientated site that mentions this rams a great big wadge of 'the truth' down your optic nerve before you can blink, and the all powerfull MS FUD machine is swinging into action and will be getting close to the readline with 'they did it to' facts(tm) before the day is done.

So what is the poor ISO to do with everyone screaming 'discredit them' ? (big change from the wonderfull global authority that stamped the cert for ODF by the way). The waters are far to muddy already for either a yes or no to be accepted by the great unwashed so the only real option left open for the ISO is to judge the effect either decision will have on their reputation. In light of the accusations I'm betting a null vote will be called and the voting process will be subject to a review with a 'yes' as the next choice as the FUD machine can do a lot more harm in the ISO's field of influence than the blogs and forums.

cheers

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Anonymous Coward

How does one complain about the BSI?

Enough complaints and someone might *have* to take notice.

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Fox
Unhappy

@Stan

Had the proposal been rejected then *everyone* would have won. Micro$haft have just as much right and ability to use ODF as the "unwashed hippy open source gang" and everyone else.

They NEVER will implement odf you say? Why could that be? Isn't that what "standards" exist to protect us from? I feel sick.

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@fox

True, the words 'fast track' and '6000 pages' should not be part of the same proposal, trouble is it it's to late to go back and nip it in the bud before it got to the 'out of hand' state it is now in (does that make any kind of sense?). That's why I would expect the only viable option for the ISO is to cut it off now before it's really to late and the FUD and the forums do harm to their reputation. But this is the real world where truth and justice are more buzzwords to add weight to an argument than moral standards so their is a good chance the verdict will carry. As for MS using ODF, their embrace, extend, fsck it up for everyone machine seems to have been powered down for now but you can bet the green button will get a pushing as soon as the FUD machine has finished running the 'MS loves open source' program and ODF will be it's first job if it starts to have an influence on business computing.

cheers

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Unhappy

It's time to break up MS already!

US and EU regulators, are you watching?

Time to break up MS into a few smaller companies, preferably with the office suite spread across at least two of them so they have to compete (and interoperate). Bets on how long it would take the smaller baby-softs to toss this "standard"?

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Prove the Standard

Since 6000 pages is a lot to digest in a theoretical exercise, an alternative would be to test it on the basis of practical effectiveness by appointing a committee to implement the OOXML standard in code, preferably on non-Windows platform, using nothing but the OOXML documentation as a resource. The OOXML documentation can be approved as a standard once the committee succeeds with the implementation.

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