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Denmark Votes No with Comments to OOXML
Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 11:35 AM EDT

It's official. Denmark will vote no with comments on OOXML. Here is the press release. It's in Danish, of course, so here's something in English for you, Leif Lodahl's blog, where he says he just received an email from Danish Standards that the vote will be no with comments. 64 pages of them. And he lists a handy English to Danish translator, but that doesn't help us, so if you instead try the Danish to English page, you get confirmation that they believe the comments need to be addressed before OOXML is ready to be declared a standard. Of course, as Andy Updegrove pointed out yesterday, there has been a last-minute surge in new members on the subcommittee that will work on the comments.

We have a human translation now, thanks to Groklaw member The Pirate. Thank you!


Office Open XML-document standard - Dansk Standard has cast Denmark's vote

Dansk Standard (the Danish Standard's institute) has on behalf of Denmark voted "No with Comments" to the proposed standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML. This means, that DS will cooperate with the standards committee to approve Office Open XML as a ISO/IEC standard, if certain problems is addressed.

The ISO (International Standards Organization) proposal of the standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML has been reviewed since last new year. The proposal is if Office Open XML ought to become a ISO/IEC standard. DS has as national standards institute just cast the vote for Denmark.

The treatment of the proposal has happened in a committee under DS, with 33 companies and organizations joining in. The IT & Telecommunications ministerial board has participated with status as an observer.

ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML went through a public hearing in the spring, where it has been open for everybody to send in their comments. DS received 39 hearing comments.

The committee's finding

The committee has worked constructively, and through the late summer very intensely with -- amongst other things -- the hearing comments. The result of this was that the committee on a meeting the 24th of August in consensus agreed on a list of subjects for improvement of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML. The committee recommended to DS that these subjects are handed over to ISO. The committee did not conduct a guiding vote.

The vote of Denmark

DS has based the vote of Denmark on the consensus evaluation among the contributing parties, and the committee's recommendation. Denmark will in the following process work for an approval for ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML, if the points of concern raised by the committee are addressed. With the vote 'No with comments' DS ensures the best starting point for the Danish wishes for the changes to the standard.

Further process

All national standards organizations must hand in their national vote and comments to ISO, at the latest by 2nd September 2007. The final decision if Office Open XML will become a ISO/IEC standard is expected to be made in a common meeting in Geneva on the 25-29 February 2008. In this meeting DS will participate as a part of a delegation that has been appointed by the standards committee. In the delegation, further members will be CIBER Denmark, IBM Denmark, Microsoft Denmark and the 5th magistrate of Aarhus commune (Children and Youth)

Further information

Jesper Jerlang, Vice director of DS
(email & phone number)


Denmark Votes No with Comments to OOXML | 282 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: feldegast on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 11:54 AM EDT
So they can be fixed

My posts are ©2004-2007 and released under the Creative Commons License
Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0
P.J. has permission for commercial use.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] Off Topic thread
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 11:56 AM EDT
Off Topic thread for comments not related to the story above.

Free minds, Free software

[ Reply to This | # ]

[NP] News Picks thread
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 11:59 AM EDT
The News Picks thread is where you can comment on News Picks articles.

Placing the title of the News Pick in your comment title is most helpful.

Free minds, Free software

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark Votes No with Comments to OOXML
Authored by: phantomjinx on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 12:09 PM EDT
In reference to uiCombat97to2003 and a couple of other tags...

"If this is correct, then Microsoft is the only company who can provide a
complete and correct implementation of the ECMA-376 Office Open XML
specification", page 9.

Looks like they hit the nail right on the head with that conclusion. Would M$
prefer it if that conclusion was indeed the case?

Answers on a postage stamp.


[ Reply to This | # ]

MS OOXML is a Public Relations Disaster
Authored by: SilverWave on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 12:13 PM EDT
Its like watching a train wreck...

What are they thinking ://

"intellectual property" - a propaganda term designed to confuse patent law with
copyright and other unrelated laws and to muddy the different issues they raise.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Keeping it all straight
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 12:31 PM EDT
I admit that I confuse European countries sometimes, especially Scandinavian ones. To help me keep track, I looked for previous articles on Groklaw about Denmark.

The only other recent one was:

OOXML News From Denmark

But the one before that was:
Microsoft and the OOXML ISO standard process
Saturday, March 03 2007 @ 09:48 AM EST

This article, from March, provides some context and insight into current European happenings:
Numerous public administrations (in North America, Latin America, but especially in Europe) have taken steps encouraging, and sometimes imposing, the use of the ODF format in administrations. In France, the General Reference for Interoperability (RGI)iv defined by the General Management of State Modernization recommends the use by administrations of this ODF format, cited under its International Standard ISO/CEI 26300 reference. Other, similar initiatives exist, notably, in Europe, Belgium and Denmark; across the Atlantic, the federal states of Massachussetts, Minnesota, and Texas have also taken similar measures.
What was happening in March seems to add some perspective to what is happening now.

Some may also find it interesting to note that PJ has mentioned Denmark 26 times in Groklaw stories, more than I would have guessed.

Bill Gates strong arms Denmark on Software Patents in 2005:
Gates v. Denmark

All 26 articles:
Search results

Free minds, Free software

[ Reply to This | # ]

Something is NOT rotten in the State of Denmark....
Authored by: tiger99 on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 02:30 PM EDT
To paraphrase Shakespeare, whose works are out of copyright even in the US.

Well done Denmark!

I hope that the countries we have not heard from yet, including the UK, are also going to do the right thing.

The ultimate embarrassment for the Monopoly will be if they are unable to respond to the comments and fix all the shortcomings in their pathetic apology for a standard in the time available. Since their vote-stuffing and bully-boy tactics have had a fair bit of public exposure, the same may well happen to the technical folly of their standard. They have been a laughing-stock amongst serious software and engineering professionals since DOS 4.0, if not before, and they are likely to become a laughing-stock in the eyes of the general public now.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS-XML is deliberately NOT a Standard
Authored by: webster on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 02:39 PM EDT
1. A standard is something easy for all to implement. Compare measures like
feet, meters, kilograms etc. The Monopoly has concocted something that is
deliberately unusable by all but them. It is a lock-in, lock-out tool of

2. If anyone at the Monopoly had any ethical sensitivity left, they would not
propose this standard, not promote it, not stack the committees, not threaten
their "partners," not bribe journalists. To call it a standard is a
Lie. They assume a Divine Right to maintain their Monopoly and crush all
others. They must feel moral about this in comparison to some of their
shenanigans of the past, to put it so very delicately. Promoting a false
standard isn't like stealing code, or sabotaging competitor's code. They have
been destroying other peoples' code and standards for years.

3. Will the World wake up? If it wakes up, will it do anything? It is like
the boy that says the Emperor has no clothes. Well the Emperor has given out
the same clothes, so everyone refuses to hear the boy. Do not trust the
Monopoly. Anything they want is bad. Even if it were a better standard, their
software were better, it is bad simply because it is theirs. They are proof of
the old adage that power corrupts. Clearly it has corrupted their moral vision.
Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely. They may yet have the world on Vista.
With their billions they can buy governments. PR has become a their
"Ministry of Truth." If it is Pro-Monopoly, it can not be a lie. Do
you believe it when you read "Office Depot recommends Monopoly Vista?"
What quality inspired that recommendation?

4. If MS-XML becomes a World Standard as is despite the numerous comments,
.....[back to work! Rant suspended..]


© 2007 Monopoly Corporation. ALL rights reserved. Yours included.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vote tally?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 04:15 PM EDT
I've been looking for a tally of all the votes that we know of so far, and I've
been coming up short.

Does anyone know who's voted, how, and how close OOXML is to getting the votes
it needs?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Vote tally? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 04:43 PM EDT
  • Vote tally? - Authored by: nuthead on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 08:48 PM EDT
  • Vote tally? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 10:24 PM EDT
  • Vote tally? - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 02 2007 @ 07:40 PM EDT
What does it take for a bribery conviction?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 06:10 PM EDT
So MS has been offering inducements to third-parties for their votes on OOXML.

How close does this come to falling foul of anti-corruption legislation? Both in
the countries concerned, and also IIRC the USA has laws against paying bribes in
other countries.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No with Comments to OOXML: Denmark
Authored by: bbaston on Saturday, September 01 2007 @ 06:20 PM EDT
Great, especially the comments which will HAVE to be addressed because of the NO vote. Brazil had some sizzlers too.

What is Microsoft thinking? Probably not much (pun intended) because MS-XML [which they call OOXML] is not and was never intended as a Standard. MS-XML is a hurriedly-assembled Office 2007 summary format presented to assure Government-specification lock-in for Office 2007 - which is obvious from worldwide comments from this process.

IMHO the ISO in October will attempt to merge OOXML with ODF as a means for Microsoft to save face. Even if that attempt is dropped as too messy and unnecessary, Microsoft will then say, "See, we added ODF to all our Microsoft products. What's everyone so upset about?"

The EU and others will hopefully charge Microsoft with additional anticompetitive behavior just on this ISO manipulation alone - but MS won't even see that as significant. Ethics to the unethical are beside the point.

As an American, my embarrassment at the US Yes vote for an obviously and flagrantly flawed "standard" is enhanced because that change was pushed through by Homeland Security pulling rank on the other US Government participants, who changed from NO to Yes (DoD and others) and let it squeak by.

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

They pull no punches !
Authored by: Bart van Deenen on Sunday, September 02 2007 @ 10:57 AM EDT

The introduction of two different date base system, and suggestion to mis-handled date calculation to preserve error calculation from earlier version of Microsoft Excel seem the worst possible choice for retention of backward compatibility.

It serve no purpose to duplicate the errors of the past by encapsulating them into a new specification, and this way miss the opportunity to set things right.

Instead of duplicating the mistake and bring it forward, one should instead find a smarter way to do it the correct way, instead of encourage application developers to continue making the same mistake

The obsession to provide backwards compatibility by continuously adopt "deprecated" specification like VML and re-implement the mistake of the past doesn't provide a viable methodology for introducing a new specification.

It also impose unnecessary additional work both for implementation and maintenance of the specification, since it enforce adoption of cumbersome construct to work around the old mistakes.

Wow! It seems us Penguin huggers aren't the only one that can see quality (or lack thereof) in specifications.

Thank you Denmark :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Language please!
Authored by: tiger99 on Sunday, September 02 2007 @ 04:23 PM EDT
We don't use that particular word here. No doubt PJ will have something to say
when she sees it, or may even remove your post.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Colored Google Map with OOXML Voting status here
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 02 2007 @ 05:59 PM EDT
Colored Google Map with OOXML Voting status here

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft votes no to their own standard?!?!?!
Authored by: T.H. on Monday, September 03 2007 @ 08:36 AM EDT
In the press release there is a link to more information about the decision making process and how the "No with comments" vote was determined. This page lists the members of the committee:
Participants: CBS, Microsoft [emphasis added], Netcompany, Conzern, Thydata, ITEK, IBM, KMD, IT og telestyrelsen, NNIT, Tectura, PKF Consulting, Avanade, Sirius IT, TOPNORDIC, Dansk IT, Traen Informationssystemer, OSL, Vision People, Munk IT, Knowledge Cube, Proactive, Ementor, Liga, Fujitsu, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, DKUUG, Århus Kommunes 5. magistrat (Børn og Unge), Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, CIBER Danmark A/S, Region Midtjylland, Hewlett-Packard
In the press release you can read:

Danmarks stemme

Dansk Standard har baseret Danmarks stemme på en konsensusvurdering blandt de deltagende parter samt på udvalgets enige indstilling.

Danmark vil i den videre proces arbejde for en godkendelse af ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML, forudsat at de punkter, som udvalget har indstillet, bliver adresseret. Med stemmen ”Nej med kommentarer” sikrer Dansk Standard det bedste udgangspunkt for varetagelse af de danske ønsker til ændringer af standarden.

Which translates to:

Denmark's vote

Danish Standard has based Denmark's vote on an evaluation of consensus amongst the participating parties and the unanimous recommendation of the committee [emphasis added].

Denmark will in the ongoing process work for an approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML, provided that the points recommended by the committee are addressed. With the "No with comments" vote, Danish Standard ensures the best starting position for taking care of the danish wishes for changes of the standard.

So in essence, Microsoft have just voted against their own proposed standard. Go figure.. Maybe their representative didn't want to lose face by being the only one going against the recommendation in this exclusive gathering of Danish IT professionals?? Or whatever.

In any case an embarrassing moment for MS.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Antitrust in the EU
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 03 2007 @ 12:36 PM EDT

There are several treaty terms which make the antitrust legislation in the EU. The most relevant EU antitrust rules seem to be article 82 of original EU treaty. This says:

Article 82

Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market in so far as it may affect trade between Member States.

Such abuse may, in particular, consist in:

(a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions;

(b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers;

(c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

(d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

As I read this, probably MS aren't yet breaking this, although they are sailing very close to the wind. OOXML is not yet affecting trade between member states. They aren't limiting technical developments to the detriment of consumers: they are simply promoting a substandard over an existing standard. If however, they were to object to improvements in the standard, then they might be using their monopoly position to the detriment of consumers.

It's possible that the way that the decision was reached in Poland will be exposed as a breach of antitrust rules because this could be read as interference which limits technocal development. I'm wondering whether we'll get an explanation of the change of comitteee venue.

I also wonder whether article 81, which covers catels could apply.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Ask the EU - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 03 2007 @ 12:45 PM EDT
  • Ask the EU - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, September 03 2007 @ 12:48 PM EDT
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