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Updegrove: Germany Told "Impossible" to Vote No. So, They Vote Yes - Updated 2Xs: Finland Yes
Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:41 PM EDT

Andy Updegrove is reporting now that Germany is another odd case. He says a friend is telling him that DIN told the committee there they couldn't vote no, only yes or abstain. So the bottom line is it will not change its September Yes vote. I know. Weird. They certainly can vote no, according to my reading of the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 website. Maybe they should vote again?

The following is the message that he got from a German expert that he knows personally "who sits on the relevant DIN (the German standards body) committee":
Germany is voting "YES" on DIS 29500 at ISO. The relevant committee was given by DIN only the choice between "YES" and "ABSTAIN" on DIS 29500, since changing from "YES with comments" in September 2007 to "NO" in March 2008 was deemed impossible. Everyone could vote "yes", "abstain" or "no" on the question whether Germany should vote "YES" or "ABSTAIN" on DIS 29500.

8 votes were in favour of "YES", 6 were in favour of "ABSTAIN", some pointing out that they would have preferred to vote an outright "NO". 4 voted "abstain to the DIN vote", i.e. on the vote between "YES" and "ABSTAIN" to ISO. 2 of the 4 had initially voted for a German "ABSTAIN", but under pressure changed within 48 hours their vote from a German "ABSTAIN" to "abstain to the DIN vote"; one of the 4 was compelled by instruction to vote "abstain to the DIN vote", even though he wanted to vote at least "ABSTAIN". That means: without very strong pressure from Microsoft Germany would have voted "ABSTAIN", with 9 to 8.

Who at DIN told them it's impossible to go from Yes to No? On what basis? The rules give them the exact option to change from Yes to No. Is there some footnote or rule hidden in someone's closet or some new rule that says you can't change from Yes with Comments to No? Here are the directions given when the new rules for recording a changed vote were published on the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 website:
* 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.

If anyone has details on who said it was impossible, or why, or who changed at the last minute under pressure, do tell. What is meant precisely by "pressure" from Microsoft in this context? Updegrove indicates he thinks it will probably be Monday before anyone can figure out the final results.

Update: Uh oh. Finland has reportedly voted Yes, a change from Abstain.

Update 2: Now Denmark has gone Yes. You might want to look at this YouTube presentation by Jan van den Beld, former Secretary General of ECMA and now with CompTIA, for a cynical view of multiple standards. He compares the DVD formats war. Choice is good, he says. Let the marketplace decide. They'll all die but one. And if one is from a monopoly looking for lock-in? Then is it good? Also he mentions that he sometimes would ask, why do you need 5 DVD formats? Do you still call that standardization? He says the answer was always, "You are well paid. Shut up." He goes on to say that behind such wars are patents and a desire by each format to sue over patents.


Updegrove: Germany Told "Impossible" to Vote No. So, They Vote Yes - Updated 2Xs: Finland Yes | 85 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
off topic here
Authored by: groklawdranem on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:51 PM EDT
place off topic here

[ Reply to This | # ]

news picks
Authored by: groklawdranem on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:52 PM EDT
right hand column news picks

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: groklawdranem on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 11:54 PM EDT
not expecting any corrections but just in case :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Updegrove: Germany Told "Impossible" to Vote No. So, They Vote Yes
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 12:06 AM EDT
Another one for the EU investigators? They are going to be busy. Sounds like
this whole NB thing was subcontracted to a certain African leader who is about
to get re-elected - er, sorry, I mean about to go to the polls.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Same ol' same ol'?
Authored by: mtew on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 12:36 AM EDT
Didn't this also happen back in September?


[ Reply to This | # ]

This is all fuel for another anti-trust suit
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 01:34 AM EDT
I would have thought MS would have stayed clear of all EU countries.

Unless OOXML is a trojan. The aim?

To destroy the whole ISO standards process. Think about why they might want to
do this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did the BRM "fix" Germany's comments?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 01:57 AM EDT
Sorry, I have the full BRM summary at the office, & don't
feel inclined to d/l it again. But if Germany's comments were
"passed" in that bulk vote of 900 or so, then regardless of
which way Germany voted there, I think they can't object,
and are obliged to go with the flow (of mire)

[ Reply to This | # ]

what's the count now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 02:24 AM EDT
I'm losing track. How many known yes/no/abstain votes are there now?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Totally R I D I C U L O U S
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 05:41 AM EDT
The whole story is a laugh and a half.
I never seen such manoeuvering nor imagined
that a supposedly scientific process could be
manipulated like this.
Makes a mockery of standards issued by that organisation.
Their credibility IMHO is now a huge zero.


Keep up the good work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Key to winning votes - Own the chairman.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 06:25 AM EDT
Its plain that this is part of the Microsoft strategy, as it is a key part of
their 'Evangelise' Document. Methinks this needs looking into.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Poor fools in Finland
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 06:50 AM EDT
According to the arcticle, the YES camp seems to think that if OOXML is accepted
now it will remain and be further developed within ISO with Microsoft just one
participant amongst many. Yeah, right.

Why it is so hard to grasp that Microsoft does what is good for Microsoft, and
at this time interoperability is NOT it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Impossible, The Check from MS Has Already Cleared...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 07:23 AM EDT
Let's face it, someone was paid off and the enforcers are in the wings. MS has
$$$ to $pare and will buy the vote or the retribution for voting no.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Let me guess
Authored by: overshoot on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 08:15 AM EDT
Germany was one of the countries where the NB was originally told that the way
to vote if they had problems was "yes with comments."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rough summary of the Dansih announcement
Authored by: belboz on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 10:14 AM EDT
This is not a word by word translation. Think of it as a summary

Danish Standard has decided to change its vote from "No with comments" to "Yes". This implies that the Danish Standard closely will monitor, that the accepted Danish comments and changes are incorporated into a possible final ISO/IEC standard.

The proposal to make Open Office XML into an ISO/IEC standard has been dealt with in the internationally since early 2007. Two major milestones has been the danish vote in September 2007 and the "Ballot Resolution Group meeting" in February 2008 in Geneva.

The original Danish vote
Denmark originally voted "No with comments" to the original proposal. This meant that Danish Standard would try to get an approval of Open Office XML as a standard, under the condition that a series of comments were addressed.

The danish strategy has, during the entire process, been on increasing OOXML's opennesss and interoperability, as a condition for the acceptance of the proposal is a standard.

Ballot Relsolution Group Meeting"
On the BRG meeting in Geneva, all Danish and other national standard bodies comments were processed. A Danish delegation, appointed by the standards committee, participated. This delegation carried the Danish mandate

The delegation approved that all Danish comments were accepted as changes to ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML. During the meeting, there were changes to the originally proposed solution to the Danish comments. The Danish delegation accepted these changes.

The working groups submission
During the entire process, the working group has followed the strategy to maximize the Danish influence.

After the BRG meeting, there has not been consensus in the working group that all Danish comments, on a sufficient level, has been incorporated in the final standard. And there has been disagreement about OOXML's maturity as a standard.

In the working groups final submission to Danish Standard, there is no consensus whether Denmark should change its original vote. The working group has therefore asked Danish Standard to handle the work results the the working group has produced. See the full submission from the working group link not included in this summary

Denmark's changed vote
Danish Standard notes that the 168 Danish comments are approved as changes to OOXML. On that basis, Danish Standard changes the Danish vote to "Yes". Danish Standard closely follow the progress towards a possible standard, and the work with incorporating the Danish changes.

The process fro here
All national standards organizations must announce if they want to change their vote by March 29th. After that ISO/IEC will make the final announcement whether OOXML becomes a standard.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"abstain to the DIN vote"?
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 11:57 AM EDT
I'm not sure exactly what that means since apparently one option was ABSTAIN.
What's the difference?

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

The finnish vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 12:59 PM EDT
Was forced by the chairman, apparently. The rules of the vote stated that if
there were at least one significant party opposing the proposal (i.e. OOXML
standardization) then the vote would not be "yes". Finnish
EFF-equivalent Effi and the Center for Open Source Software (COSS), i.e. two
significant parties, were in opposition, but the chairman passed an
"yes" result regardless. Thus walking all over the regulations that he
is supposed to enforce himself.

Blatant corruption, I'd say. I believe that Effi is going to do a press release
later on this subject once the minutiae of the meeting are understood better.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 03:44 PM EDT
    • Hopefully - Authored by: John Hasler on Friday, March 28 2008 @ 04:55 PM EDT
    • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 02:25 AM EDT
      • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 07:37 AM EDT
        • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 31 2008 @ 01:54 AM EDT
          • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 31 2008 @ 06:24 AM EDT
    • Hopefully - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, March 30 2008 @ 03:27 PM EDT
Updegrove: Germany Told "Impossible" to Vote No. So, They Vote Yes - Updated 2Xs: Finland Yes
Authored by: zcat on Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 01:57 AM EDT
What were the choices again?

"you can change from no to yes"
"you can change to no from yes"

Something like that.. I recall is was worded in such a way that most people
would only see "no to yes" in both, much the same way that
"office open XML" is unnaturally worded and frequently read or
misquoted as "open office XML"

I'm not sure if this is more confusing or less confusing in countries where
English is not their first language, but it sure looks like Germany stumbled
over it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

a flaw in ISO
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 08:45 AM EDT
procedures could cause it to work against the infrastructure providers that
count on it for quality and compatibility assurance. this includes the military,
a NATO procurement standards body being a precursor to ISO. if this is an
indication of how stuff can be foisted off on customers even when standards and
documentation procedures are in place, maybe the whole process should be
deprecated and replaced with one that benefits its constituents. a serious
question when applied to document formats, absolutely critical if for instance,
military or medical supplies must be obtained from alternate sources due to
unexpected demand, or to keep schoolchildren from being fed unfit lunches.

i have been involved in ISOization of several companies i worked for, and have
read much of the history and reason for the standards body. it's a great idea,
but the possibilities for politicizing important decisions seem to be too
plausible and plentiful. alliteration not intentional.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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