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New Rules for Changing Your Vote on OOXML
Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 02:06 PM EDT

New rules for changing your vote on OOXML. Yup. Like we didn't expect that. I know you don't want your votes to end up ignored, so here's what I think you have to do by March 29, and I'll show you the exact wording on the SC 34 page after that:
1. they've added people you must email, and you must copy yourself, so just writing to Keith Brannon is no longer sufficient. You must add Maho Takahashi and Martine Gaillen as recipients of your email, and CC yourself.

2. you have to have a specific subject line on your email: "Modification to the vote on DIS 29500 - Country (National Body/e.g. JISC)"

3. you have to mention the name of the sender in the email.

4. they also say you must inform ITTF of your intention to change your vote in writing by March 29.

I don't know if that last means you have to do more than just email, or who exactly you'd write to if there is a separate requirement. We get to guess. I've written to ask. Here's the ITTF page, and because it lists the same names, I think that is what they mean, but I don't know. I'd suggest asking, if it isn't clear to you either, and if I get an answer, I'll post it here. If you have a lawyer, ask your lawyer, by all means. It's terrible that it's so unclear, but it is what it is. The problem with the Fast Track rules is that they are unclear both before votes *and* after.

Here's what the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 page says about it, and go by this, not by my guess as to what they mean:
* In regard to the September 2, 2007 JTC 1 ballot on the fast track DIS 29500 based on Ecma 376, the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) was held in the week of February 25-29, 2008 at the International Conference Centre Geneva Within 30 days after the BRM, national bodies voted in the 2 September ballot may change their vote from any of “approve”, “disapprove” or “abstain” to any of “approve”, “disapprove” or “abstain”. Any NB wishing to change its vote must inform ITTF of this intention in writing by 29th March, 2008.

  • Vote change shall be communicated by email addressed to Keith Brannon ( as well as Maho Takahashi (, Martine Gaillen ( and yourself on copy.

  • The following shall be indicated in the subject. "Modification to the vote on DIS 29500 - Country (National Body/e.g. JISC)"

  • The name of sender shall be mentioned in the email.

* In accordance with the JTC 1 Directives, the progress of the specification will depend on the revised status of all previously-received votes after the BRM.

Please see SC 34 N 932: Frequently Asked Questions regarding DIS-29500 Ballot Resolution Meeting for more details.

What does "in writing" mean? Is email enough? They don't say. However, if you go to the FAQ they link to, it says:

6.3 What is the mechanism for changing a vote?

Any NB wishing to change its vote must inform ITTF of this intention and confirm the intention in writing.

6.4 Why must countries inform ITTF and not JTC 1?

Because ITTF is responsible for administering the voting of NBs on FDISs and DISs.

What does that mean, that you must inform ITTF and confirm it in writing? Your guess is as good as mine. What I know for sure is that it's the right question.

If it was me, if I couldn't get a clear answer, I'd snail mail too to all the names, certified or registered mail. I'd set up my email to send me back a receipt, and I'd follow up. I'd also email the contact email for ITTF: and I'd snail mail them too. Here's their page with contact information. It's so sad that no one knows in advance precisely how things are supposed to go. It leaves you having to try every possible thing you can think of to make sure you get it right. Did NBs get notices of this change, I wonder?

As in all things legal, ask your lawyer what to do, and the final word is the page itself and the SC34/JT1 Directives rules.

Whatever they are this week.


New Rules for Changing Your Vote on OOXML | 111 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT - Off topic thread here
Authored by: Totosplatz on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 02:11 PM EDT
Please make links clicky.

Greetings from Zhuhai, Guangdong, China; or Portland, Oregon, USA (location

All the best to one and all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: entre on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 02:45 PM EDT
If Needed...

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Here
Authored by: SilverWave on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 02:50 PM EDT

You don't need to use an Anti-Virus with Linux as thats mainly a windows thing
But you can if you want to, its your choice.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft actually needs some countries to change their votes
Authored by: billyskank on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 03:10 PM EDT
because they need enough countries that previously voted "no" to
change their vote to "yes" in order to pass their abomination. For
that reason, I wonder why they should want to make it harder for countries to
change their votes.

Okay, Microsoft will be concentrating on countries that might change their
"no" votes to "yes" - I assume that they will be fully
coached on the procedure for changing their votes. Whereas countries that voted
"yes" or that are unlikely to change their "no" votes will
not be paid much attention.

Still, I don't get it. I do agree though that, given how the rules have been
changed, bent or broken so far in Microsoft's favour, we have to look on this
with the utmost suspicion.

It's not the software that's free; it's you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Germany may accept ooxml as standard?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 03:26 PM EDT
Today heise has a report of DIN to be kind of fond of the OOXML becoming
standard. The report is somewhat confusing to me.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Changing horses in midstream
Authored by: artp on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 05:16 PM EDT
Does anybody else feel odd about these many shifts in-process?

If I were trying to get a process to fail, I would change the rules many times
while it ran its course. Then anyone who objected to anything would have to
prove which set of rules applied to which action at whatever time it took

Suppose I had changed my vote immediately after the BRM, using the third set of
rules set out. Then later, I might want to change my vote again, after the
fourth set were promulgated (the current set, I think). Some other NB might have
only changed their vote under the fourth set.

Now try comparing what happened to each of the three votes and trying to decide
if the rules were followed, when you don't even know which set of rules were in
force without knowing WHEN each vote took place.

I suspect that after all is said and done, that someone will decide that the
whole process needs to be redone because they failed to call for a timestamp on
each vote. That would give Microsoft another shot at the goal!

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO only has itself to blame now
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 08:30 PM EDT

Watching all this over the last six months, I get the impression of
apathy from ISO. Well, I guess if they don't care about their
reputation, we can't save it for them.

I wonder how many old-time members will quit, leaving only
Microsoft's business partners.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Rules for Changing Your Vote on OOXML
Authored by: skuggi on Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 08:55 PM EDT
"In writing" looks like it should be by a handwritten letter but they
do not say what address to send to so it is confusing.
Regarding the change, it might as well be possible that they are concerned about
"no" vote to be changed to "yes" and this whole manipulation
of microsoft. It at least makes it more hard both ways to change a vote.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: reiisi on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 12:03 AM EDT
Many of the so-called standards reviewed by the ISO really aren't supposed
to have a drastic and sudden effect on a very large percentage of the people
in the world. In many cases, they are intended to simply formalize defacto
standard practice. And dependency on MSOffice has become a defacto
standard practice.

I suspect this was initially viewed within ISO as Microsoft finally being
to establish a stationary target, so that the defacto standard of MSOffice
documents would finally become available to 3rd party developers, and thus
a step in the right direction.

The looseness in procedure is that the fighting has usually been assumed to
have been done elsewhere. Not so much of a rubber stamp as a place for
companies to make available whatever parts of their technology that they are
willing, and a place for companies to cooperate.

I think that many were surprised that the war might not be over.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What, "no one"? I don't think so
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 02:42 AM EDT

It's so sad that no one knows in advance precisely how things are supposed to go.

Call me a cynic, but I would bet money that National Bodies that are thought likely to change their No vote to a Yes have been told exactly what to do, and however they report the change to Yes, it will be counted.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is there a name for a fake standard?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 03:54 AM EDT
Giving things names is important. The best I can do is "slamdard".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't rely on email
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 06:50 AM EDT
Now that Groklaw has published these email addresses, they are at risk of DDOS attacks and hoaxers sending fake emails pretending to come from delegates.

So you can't rely on email getting through and escaping filtering. Use conventional mail too - giafly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

what about cast votes?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 07:57 AM EDT
do the votes that have already been changed in the period between the BRM and
now, according to the original rules, become invalid? do the NB's that changed
their vote have to re-vote?

[ Reply to This | # ]

India to maintain NO vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 10:18 AM EDT
see link -

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO Problems Come From Botched Network Issues
Authored by: n7lyg on Thursday, March 20 2008 @ 11:11 AM EDT
Does anyone remember the real reason that ISO asked ECMA to join? Does anyone remember the huge networking fights of the 1980's? Back when the Internet protocols were fighting with the imaginary ISO OSI networking stack? I say imaginary because no one actually took ISO seriously in their networking issues. The only thing left over now from that era is the horrible ASN.1 syntax and X.509. Back then X.500 was supposed to take over the e-mail world, but only Microsoft ever took it seriously and it eventually died.

When the OSI networking folk finally gave up, ISO looked around and tried to figure out how to effectively compete with IETF. They saw ECMA and decided to ask them to propose the Fast-Track stuff to allow for something better to suck in. Their basic idea was that IETF moved quickly, so how to we get ISO to move quickly.

The fact that they took the wrong path is now clear. Their problem was that the networking people got bogged down with ASN.1 and an utter confusion over "bits on the wire" issues and lost sight of the real reason for standards. Standards are needed to perform practical objectives. OSI was chasing something else and ASN.1 is what came out.

History has something to teach all of us.


[ Reply to This | # ]

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