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ISO and IEC Reject OOXML Appeals

OpenDocument and OOXML
Update:  For the appeal by appeal details of the IEC Board vote, see this blog entry.


ISO and IEC have announced the rejection of the four appeals submitted by the National Bodies of Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela.  The rejection follows on the heels of July 9th recommendation of the Secretaries General of each of the two standards organizations to their respective management boards not to give the appeals further consideration. 
      
Under the ISO rules of process, this now paves the way for the as-adopted version of OOXML, now called IS0/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology - Office Open XML, to proceed to publication.  That version is substantially different than the current implementation of OOXML in Office 2007, and its text has still not been publicly released by ISO/IEC.  According to a joint press release,
"this is expected to take place within the next few weeks on completion of final processing of the document."  Intriguingly, the press release goes on to say, "and subject to no further appeals against the decision."

The joint press release (also reproduced below) does not reveal how much support the appeals received, stating only:

None of the appeals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela received the support for further processing of two-thirds of the members of the ISO Technical Management Board and IEC Standardization Management Board, as required by ISO/IEC rules governing the work of their joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology.

I hope to learn later today what the actual votes may have been, whether any of the appeals received the requisite 2/3's majority in either body but not the other (earlier in the week I heard that this might still be possible within the ISO board), or in any event, how broad the level of support may have been for any of the appeals

The short press release also contains a repeat of a sentiment that has been included in earlier statements touching on possible reforms to the ISO and/or IEC processes as a result of the OOXML experience, reading as follows:

Experiences from the ISO/IEC 29500 process will also provide important input to ISO and IEC and their respective national bodies and national committees in their efforts to continually improve standards development policies and procedures.

Earlier it had been stated by some sources that any discussions internal to ISO and IEC directed at reforming these processes would be put on hold while the appeals were in process, but I was later told by those directly involved in such discussions that this was not the case.

Today's announcement is not unexpected.  It will be significant to learn, however, what the actual votes may have been.  The greater the support, the more urgent it will be for ISO and IEC to reform their processes in order to remain credible and relevant to the IT marketplace.  This is particularly true, given the origins of the four appeals, none of which came from North America or Europe.  Jomar Silva, a member of the Brazilian National Body, has just posted a blog entry on the announcement that reads in part as follows:

As a Brazilian and as a person who lost a year of life working seriously on it, I can only feel offended and attacked with this decision.

I believe that the time has come for developing countries unite to build an International Standardization Institution that is appropriate to our reality, that understands our problems and aspirations and that treat us with the minimum amount of respect and dignity. Enough to be being used to legitimize the desires of someone else. While we’re in developement, we have the unique opportunity to develop (and change) the world and, we cannot let it go away.

I would also like to invite all those people and organizations in developing countries or not, that want to build a more just and equity based world, to unite us all in this initiative. Throughout all this process, I’m really tired of seeing good people being silenced and I believe we need and must do something about it.

I can assure you that Jomar is not alone in his views. 

I will update this entry later in the day as I learn further details.

For further blog entries on ODF and OOXML, click here

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ISO and IEC members give go ahead on ISO/IEC DIS 29500

2008-08-15

The two ISO and IEC technical boards have given the go-ahead to publish ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML formats, as an ISO/IEC International Standard after appeals by four national standards bodies against the approval of the document failed to garner sufficient support.

None of the appeals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela received the support for further processing of two-thirds of the members of the ISO Technical Management Board and IEC Standardization Management Board, as required by ISO/IEC rules governing the work of their joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology.

According to the ISO/IEC rules, DIS 29500 can now proceed to publication as an ISO/IEC International Standard. This is expected to take place within the next few weeks on completion of final processing of the document, and subject to no further appeals against the decision.

The adoption process of Office Open XML (OOXML) as an ISO/IEC Standard has generated significant debate related to both technical and procedural issues which have been addressed according to ISO and IEC procedures. Experiences from the ISO/IEC 29500 process will also provide important input to ISO and IEC and their respective national bodies and national committees in their efforts to continually improve standards development policies and procedures.

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ISO and IEC Reject OOXML Appeals | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Progress is a vector
Authored by: overshoot on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:14 PM CDT
<blockquote>Experiences from the ISO/IEC 29500 process will also provide important input to ISO and IEC and their respective national bodies and national committees in their efforts to continually improve standards development policies and procedures.</blockquote>

Of course, the Devil is in the details.  Where this leads depends rather a lot on what the ISO management perceive as the lessons of the MSXML debacle, and in partcular what they perceive as having gone wrong. 

Having been driven by criticism to the position that MSXML is exactly what the world needs in a standard and that anyone who disagrees is clueless, they could rather easily present us with a "reformed" process that makes future repetitions much easier and removes all that messy criticism from the proceedings.
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ISO and IEC Reject OOXML Appeals
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 16 2008 @ 12:03 PM CDT
This one is easy boycott ooxml. If someone wants to use it and you are in control tell them you can't won't and don't support it.  Tell them odf is the better supported standard and therefore your first choice in document format.
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