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Saturday, March 08 2014 @ 01:48 AM CST
Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 07:14 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Updated: (8:45 AM EDT 4/1): OOXML has been adopted
Updated: (1:45 OM EDT 3/31): Reuters has just reported that ISO will not announce the results of the OOXML vote until Wednesday April 2
Updated (3:30 PM EDT 3/29): Unless thus-far unannounced votes that were formerly "approve" or "abstain" switch to "disapprove," it appears that OOXML will be approved. See details in the cumulative "updates" section below
Like many I'm sure, I'm trying to keep track of the votes on OOXML as they become known. I've set up a spreadsheet where I'm recording votes as they become known, whether they are formal and confirmed, or coming to light from other sources, and therefore to a greater or lesser extent possibly not accurate, what the sources are, and any associated comments (mostly from Pamela's articles at Groklaw, the most recent of which is being updated with new votes as news comes in to her). You'll find the most information about specific country voting there, and at several of her prior blog posts, including this one, this one, this one, and this one.
For the benefit of those that want to get a quick look throughout the weekend, I'll post the running tally here of which votes have switched, what the net change has been, now many votes have come to light, and how many remain to be announced. It is likely that it will not be possible to know the final vote until all votes are in, due to the complicated, double test way in which the vote is counted, which is complicated by the fact that the final number of abstentions, and whether they move from "yes" or "no" votes, can decrease the number of votes that need to switch to "yes" votes. For that reason, I also include an explanation of how the omplicated two-part test for approval will be calculated.
You may also want to read my last blog entry, which discusses the impact (or non-impact) of a vote to approve OOXML, called The Future of ODF and OOXML.
Friday, March 28 2008 @ 08:09 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Tomorrow is the last day that a National Body (NB) can change its vote on OOXML. Only a few NBs have announced what they have decided, and of those, not enough have changed their votes to reverse the outcome of last summer, in which DIS 29500 (a/k/a OOXML) failed to gain approval. It will not be until Monday that the final vote will be announced by ISO/IEC JTC1 (or become public through disclosure by an NB committee member, as the case may be).
Many journalists and others have asked me whether I have a prediction on what the outcome will be, and also what I think it will mean if OOXML is approved. I don’t have an answer to the first question, as there are too many countries involved, and too much may change until the last minute. But I do have an answer to the second question, and that answer is the same one that I have given every time that a new decision point has loomed in the ongoing quest for a useful format standard that can bring competition and innovation back to the desktop, as well as ensure that the history and creativity of today will remain accessible far into the future.
That answer is this: if anyone had asked me to predict in August of 2005 (the date of the initial Massachusetts decision that set the ODF ball rolling) how far ODF might go and what impact it might have, I would never have guessed that it would have gone so far, and had such impact, in so short a period of time. I think it’s safe to say that whatever happens with the OOXML vote is likely to have little true impact at all on the future success of ODF compliant products.
Here are ten reasons why I believe this prediction will be borne out.
Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 06:18 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
With fewer than 48 hours to go throughout most of the world, only a small percentage of the 87 countries that voted last summer on OOXML have announced whether they will stand by, or change, the votes that they cast during the original six month voting period. To my knowledge, only one National Body (NB) has formally announced a change of vote thus far (Czechia has changed from "disapprove" to "approve"). Pamela Jones earlier today posted an informal report that Kenya, a P member, has switched its vote from "approve" to "abstain." And Pamela also reported that Cuba has not only announced a "disapproval" vote, but that it's earlier vote to approve was incorrectly registered, placing it in a unique category of its own. In yet another category can be found reports that a committee has recommended one action or another, but is not itself the committee that is able to make the final decision for the NB (the United Kingdom is an example).
All other reports, official and informal, of which I am aware are to the effect that the prior vote will stand, including the United States (approve), Brazil and India (both disapprove). And I've now learned that Germany can be added to the "no change" category as well, although the vote was not only very close, but, as has become almost more the expected rather than the unusual, was also unique to the circumstances and decisions made within the NB committee about what options would be permitted in the vote. The following is the message that I received a few hours ago from a German expert that I know personally who sits on the relevant DIN (the German standards body) committee:
Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 05:11 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
As regular readers will have noticed, I haven’t blogged in awhile. This is in part because I’m on the road for most of six weeks, but also because the news about OOXML continues to be both more predictable as well as more intense. At some point, the single events of the day become less individually meaningful, because they are simply part of the same fractal pattern that has replicated itself over and over since September of 2005, when Massachusetts adopted ODF, putting document standards on many powerful companies’ strategic maps. Since then, that pattern has spread dramatically, engulfing more companies, affecting more National Bodies in more countries, and invoking more campaigning on both sides. Only rarely is something now written or said that cuts through this fog of war. A few days ago in South Africa, someone did just that, and that’s what I’ve written about today.
Sunday, March 09 2008 @ 05:45 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
On February 29, about an hour after the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting closed, I posted this blog entry, based on information available at the time. Corrections were made over the next two days to take further information into account as it became available; those corrections are duly noted in the text. Due to the extent and energy of the debate that has erupted around the BRM, I turned that blog entry into an ongoing resource page, adding first-hand accounts of many delegates to the BRM, the views of selected non-attendees, the text of public statements and press releases by ISO/IEC JTC1, Ecma, various National Bodies and other interested parties, and more.
In order to make that material easier to use, I've now moved that material to this new entry, reorganized it, and added the Table of Contents immediately below (the original blog entry, as corrected, now stands alone at the original date of posting, with a forward link to this resource page). You can also view the many press articles that continue to be written as I add them to the News Picks column to the right, as well as hundreds of additional articles from the past several years about ODF and OOXML, by bookmarking . You can therefore stay current on further developments and statements relating to the BRM by bookmarking this blog entry.
My thanks to all of you that have pointed me to much of the data that appears below. Please continue to send me links to information as you find it or provide it, and I'll add it below. NOTE: you must click through to the full text of this entry for some of the Table of Contents links to work
Table of Contents
I. Updated Blog Entry - As posted on February 29
II. Comments to Blog Entry - Includes an extensive exchange with BRM Convenor Alex Brown
III. Daily Updates - Supplemental notes on the materials as added
IV. BRM Accounts by Delegates (interested and neutral) - Blog postings and interviews of delegates with their details and perspectives
V. BRM Commentary by Others - Both interested and neutral; for press accounts, see the ODF/OOXML News folder
VI. Public Statements and Press Releases - ISO/IEC JTC1, Ecma, National Bodies, and more
Friday, February 29 2008 @ 05:53 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
I have now created a very extensive, indexed BRM Resource Page to hold the many links, press releases, delegate statements and other material that were originally found here. You can find that extra materials here.
A rather incredible week in Geneva has just ended, bringing to a close the Herculean task assumed by the over 100 delegates from 32 countries that attended the BRM. That challenge, of course, was how to productively resolve the more than 1,100 comments (after elimination of duplicates) registered by the 87 National Bodies that voted last summer with respect to a specification that itself exceeded 6,000 pages.
I have spent the week in Geneva, and have spoken with many delegates from many delegations on a daily basis. Each believed that a body that purports to issue "global open standards" should not impose an obligation of secrecy on how the standards that people must live with are approved on their behalf. It would be fair to say that, notwithstanding all of the charges and counter charges that have been made leading up to the BRM regarding how National Body votes were taken last summer, how delegations have been selected, and how they have been instructed to act and vote at the BRM, there has been a good faith effort by all to try to achieve a successful result. The same appears to have held true within delegations, even those that contained representatives of the most opposed parties.
There are two ways in which you may hear the results of the BRM summarized by those that issue statements and press releases in the days to come. Perhaps inevitably, they are diametrically opposed, as has so often happened in the ODF - OOXML saga to date. Those results are as follows:
98.4% of the OOXML Proposed Dispositions were approved by a three to two majority at the BRM, validating OOXML
The OOXML Proposed Dispositions were overwhelmingly rejected by the delegations in attendance at the BRM, indicating the inability of OOXML to be adequately addressed within the "Fast Track" process
[Paragraph updated] In this blog entry, I will explain why the following is the best characterization, and help you read the various press releases and statements that may be made with the benefit of the appropriate context:
Only a very small percentage of the proposed dispositions were discussed in detail, amended and approved by the delegations in attendance at the BRM, indicating the inability of OOXML to be adequately addressed within the "Fast Track" process
Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 02:34 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This rather long essay is in one sense a reply to the open letter recently released by Patrick Durusau, in which he suggested that it was time to acknowledge progress made and adopt OOXML. But it is also an explanation of why I have for the first time in my career become personally involved in supporting a standard. The reason is that I believe that we are at a watershed in public standards policy, and that there is much more at stake than ODF and OOXML. In this essay, I explain why I think we need to recognize the existence and vital importance of what I call “Civil ICT Standards,” and why more than simple technical compromises are needed to create them in order to protect our “Civil ICT Rights.”
As I write this entry, hundreds of people from around the world are converging on Geneva, Switzerland. 120 will meet behind closed doors to hold the final collaborative discussions that will determine whether OOXML will become an ISO/IEC standard. When their work is complete, not everyone will be pleased with the changes agreed upon, but all will acknowledge that the specification that eventually emerges will be much improved from the version that was originally submitted to Ecma two years ago.
Most will also agree that Microsoft’s customers and independent software vendors (ISVs) will be far better off with OOXML publicly available than they would if Microsoft had not offered the specification up at all.
To reach this final draft, hundreds of standards professionals in many nations have spent a great deal of time and effort, including many at Microsoft. And while Microsoft, working with Ecma, has not agreed to all of the changes that have been requested, my impression is that it has agreed to many that will, if implemented by Microsoft, require a substantial amount of work and technical compromise on its part.
Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 09:28 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Microsoft has just made a major announcement relating to its core products and involving the degree and manner in which it will make the details of those products available to developers. The importance of the announcement was underlined by those that were brought together for the press event at which the decisions were announced: chief executive Steve Ballmer, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, senior vice president of the server and tools business Bob Muglia, and Brad Smith, the senior vice president and general counsel for legal and corporate affairs.
At first glance, this appears to be an important decision by Microsoft indicating a greater willingness to be both open and cooperative. There are a number of promises in the announcement that I like, including the commitment to publish a great deal of material on the Web, as well as the freedom that will be offered to developers to take certain actions without the necessity of first obtaining a license. However, I have not had the opportunity to read any of the supporting details, and those details will be extremely significant, especially as regards the open source community, where subtle differences in legal terms can permit use under some open source licenses, but not others.
Similarly, with respect to ODF, it will be important to see what kind of plug ins are made available, how they may be deployed, and also how effective (or ineffective) those translators may be. If they are not easy for individual Office users to install, or if their results are less than satisfactory, then this promise will sound hopeful but deliver little. I am disappointed that the press release does not, as I read it, indicate that Microsoft will ship Office with a "save to" ODF option already installed. This means that ODF will continue to be virtually the only important document format that Office will not support "out of the box."
Friday, February 08 2008 @ 08:25 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that EU regulators have announced a third investigation into Microsoft's conduct on the desktop. This latest action demonstrates that while the EU has settled the case against Microsoft that ran for almost a decade, it remains as suspicious as ever regarding the software vendor's conduct, notwithstanding Microsoft's less combative stance in recent years. The news can be found in a story reported by Charles Forelle bylined in Brussells this morning.
According to the Journal, the investigation will focus on whether Microsoft "violated antitrust laws during a struggle last year to ratify its Office software file format as an international standard." The article also says that the regulators are "stepping up scrutiny of the issue." The Journal cites the following as the type of activity it will look into:
In the months and weeks leading up to [last summer's vote on OOXML], Microsoft resellers and other allies joined standards bodies en masse -- helping swell the Italian group, for instance, from a half-dozen members to 85. Opponents said Microsoft stacked committees. People familiar with the matter say EU regulators are now questioning whether Microsoft's actions were illegal. Microsoft said at the time that any committee expansion had the effect of making more voices heard; it also said rival International Business Machines Corp. mobilized on the other side of the vote.
A Microsoft spokesman referred to a statement issued last month, in which the company said it would "cooperate fully" with the EU regulator and was "committed to ensuring" the company is in compliance with EU law.
Wednesday, January 30 2008 @ 06:21 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
As many of you are aware, Alex Brown will be the "Convenor" of the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) that will run from February 25 through 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. Alex has a variety of unenviable tasks, including:
Trying to interpret various standing Directives and other ISO/IEC JTC1 rules and practices that were created for what might be described as kinder, gentler times (not to mention for shorter specifications).
Figuring out how to process c. 1,000 comments (after elimination of duplicates) during a 35 hour meeting week, without the currently contemplated possibility of an extension.
Herding 120 cats, some of which will have strong opinions on individual points, others of which will have alternating suggestions on how to resolve a given point, and many of whom may be just plain bewildered, due to the lack of time to be fully prepared.
For better or worse, the rules that Alex will be interpreting and applying are not as comprehensive, and certainly not as detailed, as the situation might demand to put everyone on exactly the same page regarding what should (or at least could) be done at many points in time. As a result, knowing how Alex's thoughts are shaping up is both interesting and important. To his credit, he has been generous about sharing those thoughts, and often how he arrived at them, at his blog, which can be found here.
While I've often linked to Alex's blog and have had a permanent link in the "Blogs I Read" category for some time, I'd like to point to Alex's latest entry, which covers several important points that others have recently blogged on. In many cases, Alex comes out differently than some others that have stated firm opinions, and since Alex has the gavel, his opinion will be the one that counts.
Quote of the Day
“Announcements about standards committees tend to rank just above earnings calls and chipset specs on the excitement scale
-Susie Ochs, writing at TechHive [Ouch!] See all Quotes
Latest NewsAre you a member of GoodReads If so, then I'm running a giveaway of 10 signed copies there right now. Below is the latest review (40 reviews, 4.9 stars average)http://bit.ly/1gft8Ix
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thinking Person's Cyber-Thriller
Amazon Reader Reviews March 7, 2014 - This review is from: The Alexandria Project: A Tale of Treachery and Technology (Kindle Edition)
If you think a mystery novel containing elements of international espionage, politics, finance, cryptography, law, Internet technology and inter-governmental agency turf battles might appeal to you, I highly recommend this novel. It contains all this, plus much more (did I mention the Mother Of All Hacker Attacks and plot twists that will have you calling your chiropractor)? It will make you think twice (thrice?) about U.S. data security almost every time you read the international headlines. And the protagonist -- Frank Adversego -- may become your new anti-terrorist fictional hero. Highly recommended. ...Full Story
President Xi's Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group Approves Work Plan
USITO.org Weekly March 7, 2014 - China's Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group (CCILG) approved its work plan and priorities in an inaugural meeting on February 27th, according to a report on the State Council website. The leading group is led by China President Xi Jinping and two deputy heads, Premier Li Keqiang and party propaganda department head Liu Yunshan, and is comprised of ministerial leaders. The leading group will play a central leading role in coordination of China's cybersecurity and informatization strategies, plans and policies.
At the meeting, Xi emphasized that cybersecurity and informatization play a strategic role in China's national security, economic development, and the daily life of the people. Xi said that China's development as a cyber power would require a focus on the overall landscape, ministerial coordination and innovative development....[Announcement is in Chinese] ...Full Story
New GAO Report Finds Need for Increased Support for U.S. Participation in the Development of International Nanomanufacturing Standards
ANSI Weekly News March 7, 2014 - The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report, titled “Nanomanufacturing – Emergence and Implications for U.S. Competitiveness, the Environment, and Human Health,” that found that additional financial and organizational support – particularly in connection with U.S. involvement in the development of international nanomanufacturing standards – is required to ensure U.S. competitiveness in the this emerging field.... ...Full Story
As smart as it gets
STR Team/Business Standard
AFAQS March 6, 2014 - In January this year at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), which aims to bridge that gap by plugging cars - and their amazing capabilities - into the same mobile ecosystem that powers your Android smartphone, tablet and television.
At Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Google announced the Open Auto Alliance, a partnership with Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai to bring Android to the dashboards of these car manufacturers. Apple is working with both BMW and Mercedes to bring its iOS into the cars. Then there is Ford's Sync, a platform developed by Ford and Microsoft, which provides real time information on traffic, directions among other things. What do 'smart dashboards' mean for the consumer and what opportunities do they open up for brands?.... ...Full Story
OECD Crafts Global Standard for Sharing Tax Information
ComplianceWeek March 5, 2014 - Stepping up efforts to curb international tax evasion, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a global economic policy forum with 34 member government, has unveiled a new data-sharing initiative aimed at exposing the practice.
Responding to a mandate from G20 leaders to reinforce action against tax avoidance and evasion, OECD developed a new global standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities worldwide.The standard calls for information from financial institutions to be automatically shared with other countries on an annual basis. The protocol details the account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions that need to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, and common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.... ...Full Story
Significant changes to public procurement rules: Recently, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed changes to the rules that govern not only participation by agency personnel in standards development, but also all procurement by government agencies as well. These changes are far-ranging, and some could have a significant negative impact on consortium-developed standards unless the proposed changes are modified. Public comments will be accepted through May 14.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which seeks to facilitate all standards development activities in the U.S., will be holding a Webinar tomorrow which outlines the proposed amendments. The Webinar is free, and open to non-members as well as members of ANSI. As I will be filing comments with OMB, please contact me if you would like to participate in those comments.
ANSI to Host OMB A-119 Revision Webinar for Members on March 6
ANSI.org March 4, 2014 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will hold a free, members-only webinar discussing proposed revisions to White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities,” from 2:00 pm to 3:45 pm on Thursday, March 6, 2014....
The circular...was last updated in 1998 and is being revised again to reflect notable changes that have occurred in the ensuing years in connection with voluntary consensus standards, conformity assessment activities, and government regulatory work. A draft of the proposed update has been published online.
The March 6 webinar will look at the proposed revisions to OMB Circular A-119 in connection with intellectual property rights (IPR), incorporation by reference (IBR), standards development organization (SDO) process issues, and conformity assessment, among other topics....
All individuals interesting in taking part in the webinar must register in advance....Given the importance of the proposed revision, ANSI will develop a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community. Stakeholders are encouraged to review the draft revision – which is available online – and to submit input on the proposed changes to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 21, 2014. ANSI also encourages organizations to submit their own comments in direct response to OMB’s Federal Register notice.... ...Full Story
Now comes the acid test for the government's open standards policy bryang
ComputerWeekly.com March 4, 2014 - The UK government's consultation on the use of open document formats has closed, and we now wait for the acid test of the Cabinet Office commitment to open standards.
The outcome of this process will determine the government's ability to break its lock-in to proprietary software for years to come....The responses are overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed use of ODF as the standard for documents - a format support by Microsoft Office, and by plenty of other non-Microsoft applications.
The controversy arises from the omission of OOXML - the standard proposed and designed by Microsoft, used (in one of its forms) as the default for Office, and by, well, not very many others....So, what happens next?
The government has only two options - to stick with its proposal and exclude OOXML, or accede to Microsoft's wishes and allow both ODF and OOXML.
If they choose the latter, the Cabinet Office will stand accused of crumbling in the face of the big supplier power it has said so often it wishes to break away from. The open standards policy would be in tatters.
If they stick to their preferred option, then it must be likely that Microsoft will formally challenge the outcome of the consultation process, leaving it mired in legalities for ages - and possibly until a change of government in 2015 decides it's not worth the hassle.... ...Full Story
China Establishes Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group
USITO.org Weekly March 4, 2014 - On Feb. 21st, Mr. WU Hequan, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, stated at the ICT In-depth Observation Conference 2014 hosted by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) that the Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group has been established, as reported by a website under the Shanghai Information Security Association.
Domestic media, including Aastock, a well known stock market media organization, previously reported on January 23rd that China was drafting a National Information Security Strategy and would release it following the establishment of a Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group. ...Full Story
97% of SaaS Vendors Backing SAML-based Single Sign-on
Cloud Security Alliance March 4, 2014 - OneLogin...and the Cloud Security Alliance today announced findings from their OneLogin 2014 State of SaaS Identity Management survey, which was conducted to better understand the maturity of SaaS vendors in their implementation of identity management solutions, security standards and assurance certifications....Most notably, the survey results point to the widespread adoption of SAML standards by SaaS vendors for single sign-on identity management, in response to customer demands for fast, simple and secure employee, customer and partner access to applications in their environments.
By eliminating all passwords and instead using digital signatures for authentication and authorization of data access, SAML has become the Gold Standard for single sign-on into cloud applications. SAML-enabled SaaS applications are easier and quicker to user provision in complex enterprise environments, are more secure and help simplify identity management across large and diverse user communities.... ...Full Story
UK Gov garners 400 comments on ODF proposal, extends deadline
EC Joinup March 3, 2014 - ...more than 400 comments have been submitted to the UK government, in response to its proposal to use the Open Document Format and HTML standards for sharing and editing electronic documents....the proposal and comments will be evaluated by a panel of experts. The panel will advise the Open Standards Board, which in turn will make a recommendation to the government's Chief Technology Officer....comments were submitted by a range of stakeholders, including representatives from UK government agencies, the proprietary software vendor of a ubiquitous office suite, developers of free and open source office alternatives, and advocacy groups such as OpenForum Europe and the Free Software Foundation Europe.
Many participants commend the UK government for proposing to adopt the Open Document Format (ODF) as the standard.... ...Full Story