I'm a bit mystified by a reference to me in a post that Microsoft's Jason Matusow added to his blog yesterday. In that entry, Jason states in part:
The general discussion in the media and blogs has been about the vote itself, but Rob Weir from IBM came out with some comments that really should be addressed. Rob points out that membership in the V1 committee has changed in the past month, and the insinuation is that it is somehow inappropriate that companies and individuals would show up to voice their opinion. What’s particularly troubling is that this isn’t just happening with INCITS/V1 but Rob seems determined to question the motivations behind national body membership in Spain, Portugal and Italy as well. So let’s take some facts into consideration.Participation Hypocrisy:
- IBM and ODF advocates (ODF Foundation, Andy Updegrove…) repeatedly have called for mobilization of those who opposed Open XML.
I'm having a bit of trouble following Jason's reasoning here. Indeed, it's true that I have called for individuals to write to the Massachusetts ITD - in response to an ITD request for public comments - to make their feelings known on ODF and OOXML in a situation where those comments impose no obligation on the decision makers to accommodate those that offer the comments.
But I fail to see how where the hypocricy comes in (on my part), when Jason equates that conduct with what appears to be a global phenomenon of sudden interest by Microsoft business partners, that have heretofor taken no interest in document format stnadard setting, in becoming eleventh hour *voting* members of National Bodies that will determine whether OOXML is adopted as an ISO/IEC JTC1 global standard. In the former case, those affected are letting those that can make decisions know of their feelings, while in the latter, a select group seems to be intent on (how to say this delicately) stuffing the ballot box.
Am I missing something here?
There’s much more in Jason’s blog entry, such as this:
So, I am a little confused. V1 committee participation has increased with organizations who have technical and business interests with the standard being discussed. If IBM is such an advocate for open standards (meaning process and technology), why then be so concerned when it turns out that the openness invites participation of those who disagree with them?
Hmm. I’m a little confused here, too. But indeed, perhaps Jason is right, and IBM should go on a global education quest, in an effort to ensure that each National Body enjoys an even wider level of voting participation, as compared to simple input. Sun would presumably know many knowledgeable companies as well, and should pull out all stops to augment the richness of the dialogue. Doubtless the ODF Alliance, ODF Fellowship, and countless others might wish to contribute to the voting as well.
Of course, some National Bodies might have difficulty finding a room large enough to accommodate so many dedicated truth seekersl. Apparently that happened In Portugal when it was time to take a vote on OOXML. It appears that the chair of the committee thought that there was plenty of diversity to be found in only two dozen attendees, with no reason to worry that this would exclude representatives of IBM or Sun, and despite the fact that some companies apparently already had more than one representative in the room. Here is an extract from an attendee’s notes of how that transpired, as reported at Groklaw:
GH: Demands this item to be kept open for there are doubts about new members that beg the questions:
- Sun wasn’t admitted entry for lack of space. Does ONN maintain this decision, and is it sensible?
- Is this "rule" sustainable when there is more than one person per entity in the room? Is this in conformity with the rules?
CR: States new entities weren’t accepted because of
a) lack of space in the room (20 seating spots — this isn’t true, 24 people were seating at the beggining and there were still chairs in the room)
b) representativity had been achieved (this isn’t true, eg universities, public administration, libraries, etc…), there were software companies, software associations, and even an individual.
The alternative would be to go to an auditorium where one wouldn’t have the same conditions (an U disposition oriented towards the table with the ONS, and President and Secretary of TC).
GH: One shouldn’t sacrifice representativity because more than one person per entity would be present. Considers the decision should be reviwed, demands this request be registered in the minutes.
It seems to me that there is a strange disconnect between Jason’s views and those of Carlos Romero (the "CR" in the notes above, and identified by the note taker as "a MS Proxy" – a characteraization for which I cannot personally vouch).
Perhaps the method suggested by me, then, might be preferable. Why not leave the voting to those who have shown consistent, knowledgeable, historical interest in document formats, and content ourselves with sending them our comments, to help inform them in their decisions?
When emotions are high and (as Jason points out, self interest might be rampant), that seems to be the preferable course of action to me.
And, moreover, not hypocritical at all.
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