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Kenya Changes From Yes to Abstain! Denmark Says No; EU Commission Investigating Poland - Updated 6Xs - Mexico
Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 12:25 PM EDT

I'm hearing now that Kenya has changed its vote from Yes to Abstain! Kenya is a P-Member. There's also an unconfirmed report that the committee in Denmark has asked Denmark Standards to vote No, after the considerable pressure to change the vote to yes reportedly failed.

And more news from troubled Poland, with news that the EU Commission is investigating the process in that country. Things have reportedly gone from bad to worse there, with threats of lawsuits in the air if folks talk publicly about what is happening.

We also find out that the infamous slide the Brazilian delegate told us about, the one with the misleading "98% of issues resolved" number, showed up in Poland, shown by the chairperson, and it turns out it was apparently created by an employee of Microsoft Nederland. Worse, a letter from Tomasz Schweitzer, president of PKN, that was sent to the chairperson and which she was supposed to send to all the members prior to the meeting to vote, advising them to vote to Abstain if no consensus was possible, wasn't distributed after all, so the sender finally put it on the internet to try to reach everyone. An IBM representative is reported to have accused the chairperson of deliberate manipulation of the process at the meeting that failed to reach consensus. Remember the chair chose to allow voting by email when no consensus was reached? It seems that she failed to mention that if missing members didn't send in a vote by email, she'd count it as a Yes vote, since the rules allow that. But if they don't know because they were not informed, might some not realize that any failure to vote by email will tilt that way? So, delegates in Poland: are you voting? Please do. All this being reported by a very brave Borys Musielak of PolishLinux.org.

First, Denmark, reported by Leif Lodahl:

The committee S-142/U-34 under Danish Standards could not agree to change their vote from No to Yes, so the committee has asked Danish Standards to vote NO !

This is still unconfirmed !

Danish Standards has told the chairman (professor at Copenhagen Business School Mogens Kühn Pedersen) to keep his mouth shut: http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718

The situation in Poland, as told by Borys:

We have already mentioned the letter from Tomasz Schweitzer, president of PKN in which he asked KT 182 (techical committee reposnsible for OOXML standarization process in Poland) to “abstain from voting” in case of not achieving a consensus over OOXML during the (Thursday’s) meeting. Here is an (translated) extract from the letter, again:
[…]Polish stance on OOXML should be a result of a consensus, that is no significant opposition from any interestedparty. I believe that in the existing situation, the most fair and neutral decision KT 182 could make is to abstain from voting. I would like to however emphasize once again that the final decision belongs to the committee.

The letter was sent on February 26, 2008 to KT 182 chairman, Elżbieta Andrukiewicz and was supposed to be distributed among the KT 182 members (it was addressed to the chairman and all the members). However, a source close to KT 182 releveled that no one in the committee knew about the letter since Andrukiewicz didn’t even bother informing the members about the letter and replied to Schweitzer on her own. The PKN president was so surprised that Andrukiewicz decided not to distribute it that he made the letter available on the Internet (here is the original [in Polish]). As far as I know such situation is a precedence in 84-year history of PKN.

Just to remind you, on Thursday’s meeting 12 members voted for OOXML, 10 members voted against it and 2 abstained from voting. As the consensus has not been achieved, Andrukiewicz decided that the voting should continue by e-mail and all the missing members should be allowed to vote. What she did not mention is that if the missing members fail to send her an e-mail with their stance, it will be automatically assumed they vote yes. This is one of the crazy rules of PKN process of opinioning new ISO standards.

Am I the only one who thinks this process is seriously flawed?

Following the meeting, more interesting stuff took place. The IBM representative for KT 182 accused Andrukiewicz of intentionally manipulating the process. He claimed that the fact of not revealing the letter could influence the members voting and the process in general. It’s not the only accusation, though. Andrukiewicz, while presenting the results of the Geneva Ballot Resolution Meeting on OOXML, presented the same slides the delegate from Brazil wrote about in his summary of the BRM:

Mr Barta informed Mr. Oh (the secretary of SC34, from Japan, author of that slide and the person that was presenting it) that that slide and those numbers SHALL NEVER leave that room, because they didn’t summarize nor represent the results of the meeting. The slide didn’t also explain the process used by the meeting so it is meaningless to the people that wasn’t at the BRM.
In general the slides presented a false impression of the results of the BRM, claiming that 98% of the OOXML issues have been resolved during the meeting which is obviously not true. What is even more interesting is the real author of the slides. An anonymous KT 182 member confirmed that basing on the properties of the PowerPoint file which the members received, the author is Raul Pesch, Platform Strategy Manager, Microsoft Nederland.

Andrukiewicz obviously did not agree with the charges and, amazingly threatened to sue anyone who distributes these accusations. I’m waiting for my lawsuit to arrive any time now :)

It’s also worth mentioning that the European Commission is currently investigating the Polish OOXML standarization process. Schewitzer, PKN’s president has been already questioned by the EU representative. There has been already doubts about the process last year (after moving the OOXML case from KT171 to KT182 for unknown reasons), when the EU representative called the process “according to the rules but certainly not fair”.

Ah! PowerPoint metadata. Thank you, Microsoft!

Update: Microsoft Nederland's Pesch gave a speech in 2005 at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, and there's a blog entry on it by a student there, Martin Sturm. The funny part, to me, is that Pesch responded to the blog article in a comment, and he obviously used Microsoft software to copy and paste his comment in, because it's almost unreadable in spots, due to Microsoft's habit of extending standards. To me it's a metaphor for what I believe we can expect our documents to look like if we try to read a Microsoft Office document in software that is not Microsoft Office. If we dare to take the legal risk. Take a look. Then think about the article just before this one, about the OSP not covering extensions to OOXML. Extrapolate.

Update 2: More by Mr. Pesch -- a downloadable Powerpoint presentation, you can find here, in Dutch and some parts in English, about Microsoft and standards. Slide 21 is interesting. It says that according to EIF, an open standard must:

Be adopted and maintained by a not-for-profit organisation and its ongoing development must occur on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties.

Be published and available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissable to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.

Make related intellectual property irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis. Have no constraints on standard re-use.

So, what do you think? Does OOXML qualify as an open standard under these requirements?

By the way, word from DigiToday that Finland has ... how to put it? It's going to register a yes vote, I gather, without having voted, claiming consensus was reached, despite strong opposition. Can anyone translate this for us from the Finnish so we can verify? A little background, Lassi Nirhamo, the expert fired last year by the CEO of the Finnish Standards Association after he said he personally was opposed to OOXML. [Finnish article.]

Update 3: We have a translation of the new story:

Last summer Finland chose not to approve the standard proposal. However, in the meeting which run over five hours chairman Aki Siponen determined that Finland's stance has changed.

SFS did not do the decision based on voting but by trying to reach a consensus. After discussion total consensus was however unreachable.

The chairman noticed that Finnish IT industry was divided but especially those representing users had changed their opinion.

Compared to last year's meeting Ministry of Education, National Archive, National Library, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, and Confederation of Finnish Industries, for example, changed their opinion. No Nokia representatives were present in the meeting. In the meeting IBM, Sun, Google, Red Hat, EFFI, COSS, Ministry of Justice, and Mireabilis opposed approval of the current proposal.

Is this not the weirdest standards process you've ever seen? The thing is, I think the rules allow the chair broad powers to figure out when consensus has been reached. But here, is there even a claim of consensus, since there was strong disapproval by quite a few? How can this be all right, then? You tell me. I suppose those who opposed will be familiar with the rules and will know if something can be done about it or not. One change I'd like to see in the ISO rules is to make them comprehensible to nonexperts, so those with money to burn can't use the rules to their advantage, since no one else knows what is going on in advance.

Update 4: Get a load of this, will you? Participants at the BRM were told that only technical issues can be addressed. Bill Gates, however, reportedly contacted the president of Mexico to try to influence Mexico to accept OOXML. Unless, of course, they were talking about representing dates in Excel or other technical issues. Hardy har. Like, totally. I'm sure. Here's the paragraph in Spanish and if someone can translate, that'd be great:

Nada más para que se dé idea de la magnitud de la presión que se está ejerciendo en torno al voto de México en el seno de la Organización Internacional de Estandarización respecto del futuro de Open XML. Trascendió que el mismo Bill Gates se comunicó con Felipe Calderón para influir en la postura que se hará pública el próximo lunes en Ginebra. Aquí la comisión gubernamental está un tanto incómoda por la posición de algunos representantes de la UNAM, en especial la de Alejandro Pisanty, ex director general de Servicios de Cómputo Académico. Se trata de un respetado investigador que critica fuertemente el estándar que impulsa Microsoft. Su posición es estrictamente teórica a favor del software libre.

And here's a computer translation, and you'll catch the drift despite the usual awkwardness:

Nothing more so that idea of the magnitude of the pressure be given that is exercising around the vote of Mexico in the breast of the International Organization of Standardization regarding the future they to Bid for XML. It transcended that the same one Bill Gates communicated with Felipe Cauldron to influence in the position that will be make public next Monday in Geneva. Here the governmental commission is a little uncomfortable by the position of some representatives of the UNAM, especially that of Alejandro Pisanty, former general director of Services of Academic Computation. It is a matter of a respected investigator that criticizes hardly the standard that prompts Microsoft. His position is strictly theoretician in favor of the free software.

Catch the drift? Here's a better translation by Groklaw member ile , who clearly has a sense of humor:

Just to get an idea of the kind of pressure that is being exerted in relation with the vote of Mexico in the ISO with respect to the future of Open XML. It has been divulged that Bill Gates himself got in touch with Felipe Calderón [I prefer the automatic translation, Cauldron :)] in order to have some influence on the position that will be made public in Geneva next Monday. Here the governmental commission is somewhat uncomfortable because of the position of some representatives of the UNAM [the biggest university in Mexico], in particular that of Alejandro Pisanty, former head of Academic Computation Services. He is a respected researcher, very critical of the standard put forward by Microsoft. His strictly theoretical position is for free/libre software.

Update 5: Thanks to another reader, we have a translation of the letter from Dr. Schweitzer, the one that didn't get delivered:

Polish Standards Committee (PKN)

Warsaw, 26 February 2008

Mrs. Elisabeth Andrukiewicz, Ph.D.
Chair of Technical Committee 182
cc
Members of Committee 182
and the Subcommittee on Electronic Documents

PR-084-168/2008

Dear Mrs. Chairperson! Dear Colleagues!

I am turning to you in the rather emotional matter of ISO/IEC DIS 29500. From the very beginning the Polish Standards Committee has attempted to maintain neutrality during the formulation of the country's position on the above-named project, which hasn't always been nor is it now received with understanding. Acknowledging the complete independence of Technical Committees of the PKN in questions of merit, I don't have the right to influence your position, much less completely determine it. In such situations in general, should we explain ourselves? Secondly, taking into account interpolation from communications directed to Mr. Premier Donald Tusk in the matter under discussion, and the explanation which I had to submit to the European Commission, I nonetheless decided to raise my voice. For me personally, this was a very difficult decision, because I belong to the modest grouping that favours the introduction in Poland of a complete system of voluntary standards, and this action conflicts with my convictions. In order that I may keep an honourable peace with my convictions, please treat my public approach as an appeal that you may either apply, or choose not to do so.

It appears to me that in Poland we have a clear delineation in the opinions of the participants in the process between two groups that hold divergent views on the international standard under discussion. It may seem like a silly observation, but institutions are standing in favour of the proposed concept, while against it is a very large group of individual users who are expressing their views directly or through various intermediary organizations.

As your committee further considers the documents related to this project, the country's position in the matter of this project should be decided by consensus, which means a lack of strong opposition from any direction. I believe that in this situation, the neutral and unbiased solution would be for Committee KT 182 to abstain in the vote, but I emphasize once again that the decision in this matter belongs to your committee.

with regards,

Tomasz Schweitzer, Ph.D.
Pres.
Polish Standards Committee

Update 6: A reader found her reply posted on the Internet, and a reader has translated it for us from the Polish:

Dear Mister President,

With great consideration the Presidium of TC no. 182 [Technical Committee number 182] has familiarized itself with your appeal. We can understand your anxiety, Mister President, because not very often does a normalization process stir as much controversy as the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Office Open XML File Formats proposal does.

TC no. 182 carries the standardization process of the 29500 norm proposal in accordance with procedures valid in PKN [Polish Normalization Committee] and with suitable international directives. Conformation of our actions to the rules placed on members of Technical Committees has been many times publicly acknowledged by you, Mister President, which we are very grateful for.

One of the canons of a normalization process is the rule of consensus. The act on standardization has a definition of this term. Article 2, paragraph 5 defines consensus as: "universal agreement, characterized by lack of solid opposition among interested parties in regard to important issues, achieved in a process of examining opinions of everyone concerned and drawing together opposed positions". The definition is of course well known to you, Mister President.

The above definition is in fact commonly understood in this way and also carries on to proposals of international standards. The best example of such an approach is the recently finished agreement meeting (Ballot Resolution Meeting) for the aforementioned project. The goal, set by 32 Member States of ISO and IEC, was to "achieve a greater quality text of the specification". Spirit of agreement and cooperation for normalization, in the best sense, was present in the meeting, which resulted in agreement on 98% of raised issues (1014 of 1027). Can a better example of difficult but achieved consensus be found?

We thank you, Mister President, for your prior support and we assure you of our determination to bring the entire process to a finish, with profit to standardization; we invite you, Mister President, to the TC no. 182 meeting which will discuss, among other things, issues related to finishing normalization process of ISO/IEC DIS 29500. The meeting will take place on Thursday, 20th March, at 11:00 AM, in Room number 601.

In the name of TC no 182 Presidium,
Elzbieta Andrukiewicz
Chairman of TC no. 182

14th March 2008

Shocking, isn't it? Attendees at the BRM have already said that it's not true that 98 percent of the issues raised were resolved. And there are objections filed regarding the BRM by at least two NBs, we've heard. So this is a remarkable letter indeed. Even if we lay that aside, has consensus been reached in Poland by her own cited definition?


  


Kenya Changes From Yes to Abstain! Denmark Says No; EU Commission Investigating Poland - Updated 6Xs - Mexico | 171 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections, here, please
Authored by: DaveF on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 12:36 PM EDT
Please summarise in the title.

---
Imbibio, ergo sum

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-topic posts
Authored by: DaveF on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 12:38 PM EDT
Please confine offf-topic posts to this thread and remember to make clickies as
per the red instructions on the comment submission form.

---
Imbibio, ergo sum

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: DaveF on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 12:40 PM EDT
Breaking news goes here. Use the title to summarise the content and make links
clickable as per the instructions.

---
Imbibio, ergo sum

[ Reply to This | # ]

Yes->Abstain is not the same as No->Yes
Authored by: dwheeler on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 12:57 PM EDT
Changing from "Yes" to "abstain" does not exactly cancel a
change from "no" to "yes". In particular, the count of
"yes vs. no" is not the same at all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I commented before about conspiracy in restraint of trade...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:01 PM EDT
It seems obvious that this committee of the ISO standards process is being
manipulated by a giant corporation already convicted of illegal activities in
restraint of fair and free trade.

If this is that case, aren't people
facilitating that manipulation (like Dr. Oh and Chairperson Elżbieta
Andrukiewicz) opening themselves to criminal prosecution for participating in a
consipracy? Or at least liability for being part of a fraud?

I'm dumbstruck
that people educated in these things don't think about the potential liability
arising from actions obviously not intended to meet both the spirit and the
letter of the rules!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Are ISO standards safe to use?
Authored by: kawabago on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:01 PM EDT
I'm really beginning to worry if ISO standards are actually safe to use. The
process for approval is so completely flawed that I don't see how anyone can
have any confidence in any ISO standard. Standards that deal with electricity or
fuels could literally have fatal flaws in them if this is the vetting process
they went through.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kenya Changes From Yes to Abstain! Denmark Says No; EU Commission Investigating Poland
Authored by: mini on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:10 PM EDT
Wow.

When seeing this, I actually think the process in Sweden sort of worked - there
was a voting irregularity (one person voted twice or similar), and the entire
vote was completely canceled (Sweden didn't even vote, and thus could not
participate at the BRM). This is how it should work, and this is how to stop
committee stuffing etc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Again...All OOXML Chair People Need To Be Sent To Roberts Rules Of Order School
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:33 PM EDT
I am frankly stunned at how inept most OOXML chair people are at chairing
meetings. It's clear - "Roberts Rules Of Order" govern all the OOXML
meetings.

At the same time, members on the OOXML committees have an obligation to ensure
that the chair person follows "Roberts Rules Of Order"; and if the
chair person doesn't follow "Roberts Rules Of Order" - the chair is
replaced.

The first obligation of any OOXML member is to follow ALL rules; not just non
disclosure rules - if in fact they exist.

Yes, Gates/M$ is trying to rule the world; that doesn't mean that Gates/M$ IS
ruling the world (anymore than the USA is ruling the world).

OOXML members....please do your duty and yank all chairpersons that don't follow
the "Roberts Rules Of Order"! It will save a lot of space here on
groklaw! :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Elizabeth Andrukiewicz's Email?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:46 PM EDT
Anyone here have Elizabeth Andrukiewicz's email. I would like to write her - in
order to explain "Roberts Rules Of Order". (Since I am apparantly an
"almost" Polish citizen).


(This whole OOXML Shlamazel could make a good documentary ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Translation of http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718
Authored by: KarlJorgensen on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:49 PM EDT

For those of you who do not read Danish, here's a translation of http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718:


Danish OOXML-decision not until tomorrow

The document group under Dansk Standard will not publish the danish recommendation for the ISO-standardisation of OOXML until tomorrow (friday).

By Torben R Simonsen, 27th March 2008 @ 10:55 am

Despite the fact that the danish document group under Dansk Standard has had its meeting about the danish recommendation for ISO-standardisation of OOXML, the group will not publish the result until tomorrow.

"There will be no word until tomorrows press release. I have been gagged, so I cannot say any more." says the head of the document group, Professor of Copenhagen Business School Mogens Kuhn Pedersen to version2.dk.

With regard to why he has been gagged, he answers "Well - it's because this is all too exciting"

Danish Demands Met

ISO's member countries must give their vote before the 30th of march on whether the Microsoft-supported open (sic) document format should be granted ISO approval. OOXML has already been approved by the industry organisation ECMA which has recommended it to ISO.

At the initial discussion of OOXML in the document group, the recommendation from the danish document group was that OOXML should not be approved as an open standard, unless ECMA could ensure that a large number of issues were resolved.

Since then, ECMA has worked on resolving all the received issues - including the danish ones, and after the Ballot Resolution Meeting in february at ISO in Geneve, it became clear that all of the issues raised by Denmark would be able to be incorporated into the standard (sic). The immediate conclusion after the ISO meeting was therefore that all of the arguments for a continued "No" to OOXML had been removed.


Any errors in translation should be blamed on me.

Personally I doubt that all of the issues have been resolved to everybody's satisfaction. And if they had, the resulting standard must deviate significantly from what MS office produces anyway, rendering the whole thing moot...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Nederland's Pesch "recent speech" - looks like May 2005
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 02:23 PM EDT

PJ wrote,

"Microsoft Nederland's Pesch gave a speech recently at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, and there's a blog entry on it by a student there"

When I visited the link,

http://www.wolkje.net/index.php/2005/05/18/microsoft-speech/
I found
"This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2005 at 19:07 "
Also the Pesch comment is dated,
"Raul Pesch Says: May 20th, 2005 at 1:12 "

Don't know what happened here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Translation of Schweitzer's letter to Andrukiewicz
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 03:00 PM EDT
Polish Standards Committee (PKN)

Warsaw, 26 February 2008

Mrs. Elisabeth Andrukiewicz, Ph.D.
Chair of Technical Committee 182
cc
Members of Committee 182
and the Subcommittee on Electronic Documents

PR-084-168/2008

Dear Mrs. Chairperson! Dear Colleagues!

I am turning to you in the rather emotional matter of ISO/IEC DIS 29500. From
the very beginning the Polish Standards Committee has attempted to maintain
neutrality during the formulation of the country's position on the above-named
project, which hasn't always been nor is it now received with understanding.
Acknowledging the complete independence of Technical Committees of the PKN in
questions of merit, I don't have the right to influence your position, much less
completely determine it. In such situations in general, should we explain
ourselves? Secondly, taking into account interpolation from communications
directed to Mr. Premier Donald Tusk in the matter under discussion, and the
explanation which I had to submit to the European Commission (!), I nonetheless
decided to raise my voice. For me personally, this was a very difficult
decision, because I belong to the modest grouping that favours the introduction
in Poland of a complete system of voluntary standards, and this action conflicts
with my convictions. In order that I may keep an honourable peace with my
convictions, please treat my public approach as an appeal that you may either
apply, or choose not to do so.

It appears to me that in Poland we have a clear delineation in the opinions of
the participants in the process between two groups that hold divergent views on
the international standard under discussion. It may seem like a silly
observation, but institutions are standing in favour of the proposed concept,
while against it is a very large group of individual users who are expressing
their views directly or through various intermediary organizations.

As your committee further considers the documents related to this project, the
country's position in the matter of this project should be decided by consensus,
which means a lack of strong opposition from any direction. I believe that in
this situation, the neutral and unbiased solution would be for Committee KT 182
to abstain in the vote, but I emphasize once again that the decision in this
matter belongs to your committee.

with regards,
Tomasz Schweitzer, Ph.D.
Pres.
Polish Standards Committee

[ Reply to This | # ]

In the end, it won't matter
Authored by: justjeff on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 03:27 PM EDT
Chairman: and Kenya, how do you vote?

Kenya: Kenya abstains.

Chairman: Kenya abstains. And the representative from Microsoft, how do you
vote?

Microsoft: Microsoft casts seventy-four votes in favor.

Brazil: Microsoft? Microsoft doesn't get a vote! Only national standards
bodies can vote. Its in the rules!

Microsoft: Rules?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Great news! It CAN be done!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 04:05 PM EDT

Kenya Changes From Yes to Abstain!

Great news!

Now - will this inspire anyone else to turn round a national committee?

[ Reply to This | # ]

control the chair == control the results
Authored by: grouch on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 04:08 PM EDT

PJ said:
The thing is, I think the rules allow the chair broad powers to figure out when consensus has been reached.

This fits with Microsoft's oft-used tactic of stacking panels and "being able to choose the moderator". (Fake grass roots, aka astroturf, is manufactured for consumption by the masses and used to cloak the secret manipulations used to stack panels).

Reference: How to Get Your Platform Accepted as a Standard - Microsoft Style by PJ:

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions naturally favor alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual opposition. For example, an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell, WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost every "naturally occurring" panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select the panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can't expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only "independent ISVs" on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the "real world." Sounds marvelously independent doesn't it? In fact, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the "independent" panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you've got a major win on your hands.

-- James Plamondon, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft, Exhibit 3096

Microsoft never changes its dirty tricks. Still sliming after all these years.

---
-- grouch

"People aren't as dumb as Microsoft needs them to be."
--PJ, May 2007

[ Reply to This | # ]

Re: One change I'd like to see in the ISO rules ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 04:45 PM EDT
PJ writes:

One change I'd like to see in the ISO rules is to make them comprehensible to nonexperts, so those with money to burn can't use the rules to their advantage, ...

I think, PJ, quite a number of the groklaw followers, would have the same to say about the justice system. I present, for your consideration, Exhibit 1

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some math about vote changes
Authored by: bugstomper on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 05:22 PM EDT
Criterion #1 (2/3 of non-abstaining P votes) leads to some interesting results when counting the effects of vote changes. Every change from Abstain to Yes would add one Yes vote to the total, but increases the required number of Yes votes by 2/3 of a vote. A single change from Yes to Abstain would not change the number of No->Yes changes needed to pass if the resulting Y+N P votes was a multiple of 3. It is only a change from No to Yes that can be simply counted.

So looking at the current tentative totals at the Open Malaysia blog, and adding in Kenya's change from Yes to Abstain, we find that the tentative count of P votes is 17 Yes, 14 No, and 10 Abstain. With no further changes to Abstain votes, 4 No->Yes vote changes would be required to pass. But note that if every one of the 7 Abstains that have not yet announced their final vote changed to Yes, that would not by itself be enough to pass the 2/3 vote required, because of the larger number of votes being counted. There would have to be an additional 2 No->Yes changes.

Here is a table of how many No->Yes changes would be needed to go along with different numbers of Abstain->Yes changes if there are no more changes in Yes votes:

A->Y 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
N->Y 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2

I'm posting this because I was surprised by just how many vote changes would be required to allow the vote to pass, and especially by the result that even every remaining non-final abstaining P vote changing to Yes would not be enough by itself.

Of course all this speculation will be moot once the final votes are announced, presumably next week.

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  • Thanks - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:37 PM EDT
Clarification needed
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 05:42 PM EDT
In the article you say the Schweitzer letter advises them to "vote to
abstain". That is not how I read it at all. He is recommending that they
"abstain from voting".

Since Poland voted 'yes' in September, that is a crucial distinction. A vote of
'abstain' is a change in their vote, and would not favor OOXML, while
'abstaining from a vote' would leave the previous 'yes' in place and favor
OOXML.

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Proposed translation for update 4
Authored by: ile on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 06:24 PM EDT
[this is a quick and ready translation of update 4; it is
a rather peculiar use of the Spanish language, actually]

Just to get an idea of the kind of pressure that is being
exerted in relation with the vote of Mexico in the ISO
with respect to the future of Open XML. It has been
divulged that Bill Gates himself got in touch with Felipe
Calderón [I prefer the automatic translation, Cauldron :)]
in order to have some influence on the position that will
be made public in Geneva next Monday. Here the
governmental commission is somewhat uncomfortable because
of the position of some representatives of the UNAM [the
biggest university in Mexico], in particular that of
Alejandro Pisanty, former head of Academic Computation
Services. He is a respected researcher, very critical of
the standard put forward by Microsoft. His strictly
theoretical position is for free/libre software.

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Is this not the weirdest standards process you've ever seen?
Authored by: elronxenu on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 06:25 PM EDT

Yes, this is the weirdest standards process I have ever seen. It might even be the weirdest process of any kind.

  • Two different membership levels and subtle differences in how their votes affect the result
  • Some votes passed through simple majority, some through 2/3 majority
  • Stacking of the 'O' member list with third world countries who invariably vote 'YES'
  • Stacking of the members of the National Bodies with Microsoft business partners
  • Non-discussed changes voted to approve in bulk
  • A 6000+ page "standard" pushed through the Fast Track process
  • Double-voting
  • Secret meetings
  • Microsoft offered bribery in the form of Marketing assistance
  • Failure to vote counted as a "Yes" to approve
  • A respected ODF editor suddenly turns face and strongly and repeatedly recommends adoption of a competing standard
  • No need for substantially overlapping standards
  • Rule changes after the process has begun
  • A meeting room of sufficient size cannot be obtained
  • Participants turned away from a meeting
  • Consensus is obtained in the face of strong objections
  • A "standard" with many, many technical flaws
  • An estimate of only 1% of the technical flaws found and addressed during the BRM process
  • The only technical changes accepted were those which do not require Microsoft to change Office
  • Bad parts of the specification were moved to a "deprecated" section rather than removed entirely (implementors will still be required to add support for these bad parts, because we know Microsoft will use them)
  • A "standard" which relies on undocumented Microsoft legacy application behaviour
  • A "standard" which cannot be implemented by third parties
  • Microsoft itself does not and will not comply with this "standard"
  • Insufficient protection from patent litigation for users of the "standard"
  • Microsoft "extensions" not covered by Microsoft's promise not to sue; cannot be implemented by third parties
  • No promise by Microsoft to adhere to the specification in future versions of Office
  • ISO locked out of future maintenance
  • Past history of Microsoft dirty tricks regarding documentation, interoperability and standards participation
  • National Bodies being followed around the globe and lobbied constantly by Microsoft representatives
  • Accusations by Microsoft of bad behaviour by IBM
  • Accusations by Microsoft of bad behaviour by India
  • Accusations by everybody else of bad behaviour by Microsoft
  • Acceptance of DIS 29500 will clearly support and enhance Microsoft's global stranglehold on office software
  • Acceptance of DIS 29500 does nothing to preserve legacy documents (presumably a legacy document, to be preserved, must be preserved in its original file format)
  • DIS 29500 does not aid readability of newly created documents (a format should not only represent the structure and look of the document, but also be obvious enough that an archaeologist from the future should be able to figure out many of the semantics of the format without need of any 'rosetta stone')

Yes, this is indeed a strange process. It is highly illogical for anybody, anybody at all, to vote Yes for standardisation of DIS 29500. I must suspect all Yes voters of corruption or extreme incompetence. This is not just a vote on technical grounds, although a narrow focus on technical matters also demands a No vote. A vote of Yes is a vote for extending Microsoft's dominance in the office application space, for documents which cannot be shared between applications, documents which will be unreadable (and not understandable) in the future. It's a vote for Vendor-controlled international standards. It's a vote for bribery and corruption.

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Re: Update 5
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 09:33 PM EDT
In the translation of the letter to the chair, in Poland, we find the following
as the addressees:

>Polish Standards Committee (PKN)
>
>Warsaw, 26 February 2008
>
>Mrs. Elisabeth Andrukiewicz, Ph.D.
>Chair of Technical Committee 182
>cc
>Members of Committee 182
>and the Subcommittee on Electronic Documents
>
>PR-084-168/2008
>
>Dear Mrs. Chairperson! Dear Colleagues!

As I interpret it, the addressee is the Chair, **with CC to the entire
committee**! In the place of the chair, it would have been *my* assumption that
the author had performed the CC himself, and was not expecting me to send the
notice/letter to all committee members. Also, I see no request in the body of
the letter to forward it to those members.

Hence, I think I would fault the author, more than the chair, for the lack of
forwarding of this letter, especially knowing that the chair is leaning toward
approval. Sorry. :-(

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  • Re: Update 5 - Authored by: PJ on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 09:37 PM EDT
    • Re: Update 5 - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 06:58 AM EDT
    • Re: Update 5 - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 08:36 PM EDT
translation of http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718/ - FIXED
Authored by: LocoYokel on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:32 PM EDT
Copied to a top level in case thread disappears with broken post.

Original post by KarlJorgensen.


For those of you who do not read Danish, here's a translation of http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718:

Danish OOXML-decision not until tomorrow

The document group under Dansk Standard will not publish the danish recommendation for the ISO-standardisation of OOXML until tomorrow (friday).

By Torben R Simonsen, 27th March 2008 @ 10:55 am

Despite the fact that the danish document group under Dansk Standard has had its meeting about the danish recommendation for ISO-standardisation of OOXML, the group will not publish the result until tomorrow.

"There will be no word until tomorrows press release. I have been gagged, so I cannot say any more." says the head of the document group, Professor of Copenhagen Business School Mogens Kuhn Pedersen to version2.dk.

With regard to why he has been gagged, he answers "Well - it's because this is all too exciting"

Danish Demands Met

ISO's member countries must give their vote before the 30th of march on whether the Microsoft-supported open (sic) document format should be granted ISO approval. OOXML has already been approved by the industry organisation ECMA which has recommended it to ISO.

At the initial discussion of OOXML in the document group, the recommendation from the danish document group was that OOXML should not be approved as an open standard, unless ECMA could ensure that a large number of issues were resolved.

Since then, ECMA has worked on resolving all the received issues - including the danish ones, and after the Ballot Resolution Meeting in february at ISO in Geneve, it became clear that all of the issues raised by Denmark would be able to be incorporated into the standard (sic). The immediate conclusion after the ISO meeting was therefore that all of the arguments for a continued "No" to OOXML had been removed.


Any errors in translation should be blamed on me.

Personally I doubt that all of the issues have been resolved to everybody's satisfaction. And if they had, the resulting standard must deviate significantly from what MS office produces anyway, rendering the whole thing moot...



---
Waiting for the games I play to be released in Linux, or a decent Windows emulator, to switch entirely.

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Kenya Changes From Yes to Abstain! Denmark Says No; EU Commission Investigating Poland - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 02:54 PM EDT
Concensus : "...lack of solid opposition among interested parties..."

I've not heard of any committee where there is not valid opposition to the
standard as it now exists.

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