The Contradictory Nature of OOXML (Part III) - Mea Culpa
Thursday, February 08 2007 @ 12:13 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
One of the things that you learn early when you blog is to ignore the flames, or at least try to. Lots of people will assume that you're a jerk (a/k/a you think something they don't), or that you have all of your facts wrong. They can often get pretty harsh about it, too. Still, you have to keep in mind that you're not going to always be right, and own up and take it in the chops like a grownup when you get called out. Assuming, of course, that the one calling you out has their facts right.
For example: yesterday I noticed that someone had posted a trackback to this entry of mine to one of theirs that they titled Andy Updegrove's Indian Fancy. That post, at a Microsoft site, and written by self-described "Open XML Technical Evangelist" Doug Mahugh (I see from this entry that he's also the person who wanted to hire Rick Jelliffe to edit the ODF/OOXML entry at Wikipedia) , included the following, beginning with an out take from my blog entry:
"According to one story, at least one of these countries (India) was considering responding by abstaining from voting, in protest over the extremely short amount of time provided to review the voluminous specification. Instead, it appears that it opted to knuckle down, finish its review, and submit contradictions instead."
…Well, maybe Andy knows something I don't, or maybe he's just quoting somebody who got the facts wrong. There's been rather a lot of that getting-the-facts wrong stuff lately when it comes to file formats, you know. :-)
So I clicked on the link he provided, thinking I'd read about India "submitting contradictions" to ISO. But that article doesn't say any such thing! And in fact, when I followed the link I immediately recognized the article because I happen to have read it in New Delhi on Monday morning, a good 12 hours before India had responded to ISO on this matter. I remembered it because I got a good laugh out of the "against the human spirit" comment in it -- the Times of India never fails to make me laugh.
So let me get this right. Andy Updegrove makes up an Indian response to the ISO Fast-Track process, then to support his fabrication he links to an article that was published before India had even responded to ISO, and one which in any event makes no mention at all of India submitting a contradiction. And then, just to help get the word out, an IBM VP links to Andy's article to help him spread this fabrication. (Presumably they do it this way so that nobody at IBM is actually telling lies, they're just linking to the lies others tell on their behalf.)
Wow. Desperate times for IBM, it seems. And their respect for the ISO standards process is downright palpable, wouldn't you say?
Many of Doug's readers were good enough to post comments pointing out that he had obviously misread my post, which pointed to the article not to say that india had responded, but to show that they had considered abstaining. News that they had in fact responded came from another (and highly reliable) source.
Still and all, Doug, I have to own up. My facts were not completely correct, and my source was not completely reliable. In point of fact, JTC 1 made a mistake when they generated their first list, and reported that 19 countries had responded during the contradiction period. That's a fact, and I've got to take the consequences. From your post, it appears that you might have even known that this was inaccurate, although you didn't mention that.
I've now learned that JTC 1 realized its mistake after I posted my blog entry, and has now corrected its mistake and circulated a new list.
That corrected list does not, in fact, show 19 respondents…it shows 20. It seems that they forgot Italy the first time around.
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