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DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
Wednesday, August 22 2007 @ 11:53 PM EDT

DIN e.V., the German standards institute, has now posted the results of the meeting August 21 by the technical committee. It's a "yes" (or "yes, comments") decision on Microsoft's submission of OOXML as a proposed standard. It's in German, naturally. A volunteer, RA Schinagl, who is a lawyer in Germany, has provided an English translation, so we can have a more accurate picture of what the vote was, even if we can't read German.

Update: There is now the DIN statement in English.

Here is the translation:


Germany will support the acceptance of the Office Open XML as an ISO-standard – but with quite a few suggestions for improvement.

The process of the international standardization provides that at a national level the formation of opinion about standards projects shall happen in so-called mirror boards. Thus it happens in the case of the fast track procedure for the implementation of the ECMA-376 "Office Open XML“ standard as ISO-standard, ISO/IEC 29500 which was initiated by the ECMA.

All 103 full members of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) may ballot by 2 September 2007 about this – one vote per country.

The ECMA-376 standard published in December 2006 documents on 6000 pages the XML-format for office application which was originally developed by Microsoft.

It is the second of such formats that has been proposed at an international level.

The "Open Document Format“, the OASIS-consortium (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) looks after was already published as ISO/IEC 26300 "IT –Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument)“.

The board in charge of the standards committee IT and applications (NIA) at the DIN e.V. has held a meeting on 21 august 2007 in Berlin after months of intensive preparatory work on the topic of the Office Open XML. Representatives of software suppliers, application developers, scientific institutes, ministries and administrations attended.

Following an extensive and constructive discussion of the statements received the board decided to accept the draft of the ISO/IEC 29500 with comments.

Regarding the large extent of the document the German comments on the technical improvement of the ECMA-standard sum up to several dozens of pages. Those proposals for the technical improvements will be delivered to the ISO.


DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML | 126 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections go here
Authored by: Waterman on Wednesday, August 22 2007 @ 11:57 PM EDT
If needed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspick discussions
Authored by: Waterman on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:00 AM EDT
go here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topics go here.
Authored by: Waterman on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:03 AM EDT
And don't forget to make links clickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
Authored by: Waterman on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:13 AM EDT
Yes with comments means that MS has been at work. There are just too many things
wrong with this proposed "standard" that it should never have seen the
light of day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is German for...
Authored by: bbaston on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:14 AM EDT
"you've been had"?

I wonder what history will say about this "lobbying effort" and those who fell in line?

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML and Wikipedia
Authored by: Fieldman on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:37 AM EDT
The Wikipedia page on OOXML has been taken over by MS-sympathisers.

It would be good to have a more balanced view, especially since that page is the first result when searching for OOXML.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does the ISO realize they are killing standards?
Authored by: kawabago on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:44 AM EDT
If OOXML is accepted by ISO then every company will rush to have their product
become an international standard. That will make standards completely
meaningless and there will no longer be a need for the ISO.

Bye Bye ISO, it was nice while it lasted!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not an explanation at all
Authored by: gdt on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 01:54 AM EDT

Most of us are wondering why -- since there were so many substantive comments -- Germany's vote would be "approve". "Approve" indicates that Germany is satisfied with the draft international standard as it it, and promotes its immediate publication.

The reasonable alternative would be "disapprove, with comments" which would lead to a Ballot Resolution Meeting where comments would necessarily be addressed. If all comments were satisfactorily addressed Germany could then alter its vote to "approve".

As stated in the Australia National Body forum an "approve with comments" vote carries so little weight to pay any attention to the comments that it is equivalent to "approve, with a Christmas card".

No where does the statement explain the reasoning that lead to this ineffective choice -- an approval with substantive comments.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I hope someone took notes in the meeting
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 02:21 AM EDT
Meeting notes strike me as more useful to understanding the outcome than the press release after the fact.

The reports here on Groklaw from other countries' meetings have been most interesting.

Do we even know who was at the meeting, and what company/interest they represented?

Free minds, Free software

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft wins again
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 02:24 AM EDT

By unseen, but presumably unsavory, methods, Microsoft wins another approval vote.

I really have no idea whether it's even possible for the standards community to recover from this further blow, but I have no difficulty in predicting the outcome with 99.9% certainty: Microsoft is going to win. The proprietary MS Office data format is going to become an ISO standard.

The reason I'm so sure of this is that every Microsoft maneuver takes us by surprise. It's not just that we're not coordinated, facing a well-organized opponent. It's that we never seem to know what's going on until after it's happened.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Finland abstains
Authored by: mjr on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 03:56 AM EDT
Bummer :I

Incidentally, it appears that Finland will be abstaining; the issue split both
the industry participants and the different branches of government who were at
the meeting to determine Finland's position.

[ Reply to This | # ]

DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
Authored by: Jimbob0i0 on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 04:23 AM EDT
That's funny I was *sure* the ISO guidelines on voting state that if there are
any comments that require addressing a no with comments is the only vote that is

Yes with comments pushing the draft forward as is since a yes means there is no
need to act on any comments given?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: schestowitz on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 05:06 AM EDT
Sorry about linking to the Evil Domain, but this is worth sharing:

,----[ Quote ]
| Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense

| and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards
| Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote yes on
| ISO standardizing Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in
| competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.
| Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by
| one vote to support Microsoft.


We already know from Andy that similar tricks might be pulled in China. Was
Germany a victim too? Maybe?

Roy S. Schestowitz, Ph.D. Candidate in Medical Biophysics | GNU/Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E

[ Reply to This | # ]

DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 07:05 AM EDT
I explained somewhere else the warmap, so again:

a) YES vote == current ECMA standard gets relabeled as an ISO standard, with all the bugs
b) YES mit comments == same as a), and some suggestions for later improvements
c) conditional disapproval == current ECMA standard has a change to get improved and technical comments will get fixed. Microsoft will need to offer more. A negotiation process get opened.
d) rejection of the standard == same as c) or no ISO approval, but ECMA standard is here to stay

No rational player, even when you are a partner of Microsoft or really want OOXML's ISO approval can support options a) and b). No player takes any risks except Microsoft. We know that the current ECMA standard is broken, and full of errors. So even when you want OOXML you should disapprove as a matter of negotiation strategy.

The only explanaition for a YES vote (which is just not rational) is either an “idealistic” agenda to support Microsoft’s monopoly or the existance of other means that compensate your self-interest.

A Yes or a “Yes with Comments” (which is formally non-existing) is a *very* bad business proposal.

And why does Germany grant unconditional support for Microsoft? Sorry, I don't get it. Maybe its because the Committee is stuffed by Microsoft?

- ECMA says they will consider all comments. --> Nice, but an essential condition is that enough nations disapprove the current premature fast-track proposal for an ISO standard.
- go "Yes with comments" --> means: ECMA should become an ISO standard with no changes and no additional offers. That is you grant Microsoft an ISO approval for their broken standard and receive nothing in return.

Simple Game theory:

1. ECMA fasttrack proposal adopted:
MS: proprietary ECMA standard becomes ISO standard, on equal ground with ODF.
You: ISO Specification = ECMA specification, ISO Patent conditions = ECMA patent conditions.

2. ECMA fastrack proposal fails, no ISO adoption
MS: ECMA standard but no ISO standard
You: ECMA specification, Ecma patent conditions

As you can see scenario 2 provides absolutely no advantage for you over scenario 1. So disapproval ensures that ECMA/Microsoft will be forced to offer you more to get its ISO approval:
- more specification
- close the specification bugs
- make other committments
- improve patent uncertainties.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Some errors - Authored by: gdt on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 09:01 AM EDT
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:05 PM EDT
I used to have respect for DIN standards. Now I do not.

If this has been pushed through like this and they have rolled over and played
pawn to Microsoft I cannot trust any DIN standard. I will always have to ask
'where is the catch and what is wrong?'. That totally defeats the point of a
standard. How can anyone use a DIN standard, from now on, without the risk of
walking into a patent trap?


[ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft: Where do you need a bribe today?
    Authored by: hamstring on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:17 PM EDT
    Nothing more needs to be said...

    # echo "Mjdsptpgu Svdlt" | tr [b-z] [a-y]
    # IANAL and do not like Monopoly

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Did they even read the purposed standard?
    Authored by: Eric Damron on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 12:34 PM EDT
    Did they even read the 6,000 page purposed standard? Do they even know what
    they are approving?

    I think not.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Germany now bought by Microsoft
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 04:28 PM EDT
    It's that simple. I wonder just how much money it cost
    Microsoft to turn a formerly sensible government into its

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Current Tally - DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 04:35 PM EDT
    So with 103 votes at stake, how many yes or yes with comments have shown up so far?

    I don't think the United States has voted yes yet, based on this article: /20070811-microsoft-one-vote-short-of-fast-track-ooxml-iso-standardization.html< /a>

    "Executive board members of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), the organization that represents the United States in ISO standardization deliberations, recently held an internal poll..."

    "... With eight votes in favor, seven against, and one abstention, the group was one vote short of the nine votes required for approving OOXML ISO standardization. This does not mean that OOXML is dead in the water, however."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Get the Facts! - DIN e.V. Explains its vote on OOXML
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 04:49 PM EDT
    I suggest you down load the .pdf file from this web site, and ask your boss, how he or she can risk their business on software with so many well documented bugs, when a better option is available. df-vs-ooxml

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Heise has published a list of the mebers of the DIN board
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 23 2007 @ 10:29 PM EDT
    According to heise online this is the detailed list of all the board members the head of the DIN-board Mr. Schuermann has invited exclusively to participate in the DIN- decision:

    "In den Arbeitskreis nahm Schürmann von Unternehmensseite Vertreter von Microsoft, IBM und Sun Microsystems, dem Microsoft-Lizenzhaus PC-Ware, von OpenLimit, die für die Redmonder Signaturlösungen entwickeln, und CIT sowie vom EDV-Haus Dialogika auf, das für Microsoft an einem "Open-XML-Translator" arbeitet. Aus dem Behördenumfeld und dem Sektor E-Government durften das frühzeitig Windows Vista testende niedersächsische Justizministerium, der kommunale norddeutsche Dienstleister Dataport, die Kommanditgesellschaft Bremen Online Services, die Hamburger Finanzbehörde, das Auswärtige Amt sowie das Bundesinnenministerium Abgesandte schicken. Mit dabei ist auch der Deutsche Städte- und Gemeindebund (DStGB), der 2002 einen Rahmenvertrag über den Erwerb von Softwareprodukten mit Microsoft abgeschlossen hat."

    Even if you don't understand the wording, the heise report offers a link to each of the participants . There is not one German big player involved and most of the participating administrative departments are well known to prefer and support Microsoft products. Sounds fishy to me.

    Here you can find an English translation of the initial heise report dated yesterday.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    At least a vicoty from Brazil: NO with comments
    Authored by: ftcsm on Friday, August 24 2007 @ 07:55 AM EDT
    We Brazilians are too critical of our own country cause it's filled with easiy
    bribed politicians, very high taxes for very little return and a lot more. But
    wait, almost every country is like taht now. Ok, politics and rants later, we
    have more important news to you.

    From time to time we can be proud of something from our lands. Now it's time to
    rejoice with ABNT, our national standars body. They decided a vote for NO With
    Comments following a very technical agenda to decide it. There are 63 comments
    that must be addressed before considering the submission of the proposed
    standard. Something like making it a standard before trying :)

    So, alog with USA, count Brazil on the NO list.


    667/ and


    Faith moves mountains but I still prefer dynamite

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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