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.
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