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Apples and Oranges?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 07:12 AM CST
Hi Andy (and Alex, I suppose)

I've read a lot of the accounts and your blog, but what I think fails to appear clearly is the basis of the entire mess of this process.

I think the clearest picture is achieved by combining http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1114 and http://elot.ece.ntua.gr/te48/ooxml/brm-clarifications with your accounts of the procedure here (over the last year).

The cause of the fast-track is the relationship of ISO with ECMA, which I gather has been under strain longer than just this particular "standard". The failing of the first step of the fast track causes an abomination of a standards process, because it's trying to save spilt milk. The resulting BRM can only work with a very limited set of issues, which shouldn't cause a failure of the first fast-track vote in the first place.

As I understand it, the technical nature of the BRM will only try to resolve the issues itself, not resolve whether the proposed standard is fit for its job or the title of ISO standard. In fact, there is no vote on that, since ECMA is allowed to enter their "standards" in the fast-lane, but I digress. A tally of the "approve/disapprove" votes will determine whether the fast-track procedure has succeeded and the proposal is made a full ISO standard (with issues to be resolved, I presume). This tally is the apples and oranges bit, because the type of the majority of issues resolved (typos, grammar, etc.) are not indicative of the quality of the standard at all!

OOXML is a cuckoo's egg in ISO's nest!

I have no doubt the final outcome will be approval, because alternatively it will require an all-out subversion of the process to block it. Instead of taking the process serious, NB's should change their votes to an all disapprove one, to indicate their lack of acceptance of the standard, instead of the specific approval/disapproval of the technical issues.

Cheers

Simon Oosthoek (interested spectator)
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