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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote

OpenDocument and OOXML

Updated 4/1:  A press release has been issued by Standards Norge defending its decision.  An English translation of that press release is posted at Steve McGibbon's blog, and can be found here.  Geir Isene has posted a partial response here.

One of the things that most of us learn at our mother's knee is that you shouldn't rush things.  If you do, you'll make silly mistakes.  Mothers also tend to tell their children to play by the rules, but some apparently listen better than others to that advice as well.

The wisdom of the first truism was demonstrated most clearly during the Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva, although its effects had been evident throughout the entire Fast Track process.  In the latest evidence of the other truism, the first formal protest has been filed with ISO over a National Body vote.  The National Body in question is Norway, and the protest has been filed by...(wait for it)...Norway itself. 

How can all of this be true in a country like Norway?  Elections this flawed usually only occur in Florida.

The complete story has been developing at the blog of Geir Isene, who left a comment at my blog yesterday, pointing tohis account of what had transpired on Friday at a meeting of Standards Norge, the Norwegian Standards Intitute.  That entry read in part as follows:

March 28th: Meeting in the Norwegian Standards Institute (Standard Norge).

Purpose: To decide the final vote for Norway on whether the document format OOXML should become an international standard.

The meeting: 27 people in the room, 4 of which were administrative staff from Standard Norge.

The outcome: Of the 24 members attending, 19 disapproved, 5 approved.

The result: The administrative staff decided that Norway wants to approve OOXML as an ISO standard.

Their justification: “Standard Norge puts emphasis on that if this [OOXML] becomes an ISO/IEC standard, it will be improved to better accommodate the users’ needs.”

This translates to: “Yes, we know the standard is broken, 79% of our technical committee have told us. But we hope that it someday will be repaired by someone. And we’ll be happy to help if someone can give us the resources.”

today, he sent me an email to another entry at his blog, in which he reports that Stephen Pepper, the chairman of the relevant Norwegian committee, has sent a formal protest to ISO, the text of which reads as follows:

I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman (of 13 years standing) of the Norwegian mirror committee to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34. I wish to inform you of serious erious irregularities in connection with the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (Office Open XML) and to lodge a formal protest.

You will have been notified that Norway voted to approve OOXML in this ballot. This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80% of which was against changing Norway’s vote from No with comments to Yes.

Because of this irregularity, a call has been made for an investigation by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry with a view to changing the vote.

I hereby request that the Norwegian decision be suspended pending the results of this investigation.

It remains to be seen whether Norway could change its vote, if that is the outcome of the investigation,  whether it will simply lose its right to change its vote entirely, in which case its flawed vote to "approve" would revert to the "disapprove" vote that if filed last year, or whether ISO might refuse to change a vote after the deadline had passed.

Pamela Jones has posted a detailed analysis of the rules that relate to appeals of decisions in ISO/IEC JTC1, which you can find here.

One gets the impression that the tale of the final vote on OOXML will be in the news for some time to come.

For further blog entries on ODF and OOXML, click here

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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote | 19 comments | Create New Account
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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 31 2008 @ 01:40 PM CDT
Does it really matter? A lot of NB voted without consultation with technical committees (for example in Russia low-level clerk sent "Yes, without comments" since relevant technical commitee had NO meetings and no comments at all), many others voted "Yes" when technical committee said "No" (like US or Norway), but result is still "aprove" vote.

Since Microsoft only needed rubber-stamp and is not interested in standards beyond that we can conclude that the battle was lost and move on. Yup: ISO was shown as whore (albeit not very cheap: Microsoft was forced to spend a lot of time, efforts and presumably money to get that "Yes" vote), a lot of good people lost faith in it, but this is not the end of the world...
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IBM gets blacklisted by the Feds for ethics issues with EPA
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 31 2008 @ 05:14 PM CDT
While it's a bit off topic, since so much of the discussion here focused on ethics and actions by Microsoft, it seems appropriate to point out that today, the US federal government formally suspended IBM from new contracts for ethics issues!

So while posters here want to paint a picture of Microsoft as the only questionable actor in the OOXML debate, I think it's only fair to question how much of the anti-Microsoft fervor is being driven by IBM - a company who clearly needs an ethics lesson or two itself.

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  • April's fool - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 01:31 AM CDT
OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 31 2008 @ 09:16 PM CDT
"One thing we have got to change in our strategy -- allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company" (Bill Gates).

That's what guarantees the MS Office cash cow, and any means are legitimate to ensure that it continues.
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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 02:33 AM CDT
Steve Pepper is not "Norway" as your headline claims.  Standard Norge is.

As a respected and leading committee member, his concerns certainly should carry weight in Norway and at Standard Norge, however you know he is not "Norway" so why do you write it?

Rick Jelliffe
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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote
Authored by: Andy Updegrove on Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 06:30 AM CDT

It's a long headline which makes efficient use of the space available.  Also, have you checked to see whether  the rules allow the Chairman of the Standards Norge mirror committee to issue a protest?  If they do, then he is authorized to speak for Norway in this fashion, and the title of the post is accurate.  Please get back to me when you have checked the rules, and we can see whether a correction is necessary.

More importantly, if I were to spend even ten minutes going through your blog entries, I could find a half dozen statements that could be picked at with equal validity.  I haven't spent my time doing that at your blog, because I have more important things to do with my time.  Be assured that this would be a time consuming process if I were to read your blog regularly.  Moreover, there have been many times that I believe that you have seriously misrepresented something, and when I have had the facts to back it up. 

One thing that's interesting I've noted when you leave these comments at my blog is that when I give a refutation that shows that your point was off base, rather than acknowledge it, you just move on an make another point.  Often the same thing happens again with the next point.  You never acknowledge it if your point was wrong.  Instead, it all smacks of a dog that just wonders into another dog's yard from time to time simply to raise a leg.

Clearly, you and I have different base views on ODF and OOXML.  Unlike you, I haven't included ad hominem statements about you in my blog.  Although I don't read your  blog  that often, I've seen enough such staements when I do visit your blog to know that you've made such statements a staple. 

Perhaps one day you and Patrick Durusau will realize that there is more of importance going on here than document specifications, that people that are sincere in that belief are neither automatically  technically biased, "flakey" or "only one step up from Rob Weir" (very efficient snub to both of us in a single phrase).  They just see some things that you don't, one of which is that partisanship can cloud your vision and judgment as much as anyone else's.

Or, to quote an Indian partner of my father's many years ago, "You are not only wrong, Sir, but wrong at the top of your voice."

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OOXML Woes Continue as Norway Files Protest with ISO Relating to its Own Vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, April 03 2008 @ 03:08 AM CDT
The reply from Norway essentially breaks down into...
since there were more yes answers in the august hearing we can't really listen to the march meeting.

Problem with the argument is that there are very little ground for making the poll equal with technical commitee.

It is disingenious to assume that the people answering in August had the full information about the number of errors in OOXML. There are even less reason to believe that they could anticipate a BRM that must use a paper ballot since they did not have time to discuss the solutions proposed.

It is an open question if the people answering in august would still stick to the same oppinion now. The reason why this is the case is that it is unknown if these has kept themself updated about the truth about OOXML. If standard Norway really wanted to use a the hearing method to decide things they should have done a new hearing with the evaluation from the march meeting included to the people voting. Limiting correct information is the key for how Microsoft managed to trick the world to accept OOXML.
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