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How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated 2Xs: ISO Press Release & Letters
Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:36 AM EDT

The Manila Bulletin Online tells us how the Philippines changed its No vote on OOXML to Yes. Once again there is an indication that when no consensus was reached, the chairman decided to make it Yes. That blatantly happened in Norway, and I can't help but want more details about the Philippines.

Take a look and see what you think:

The nine members of the technical committee tasked to evaluate the country's position came up with a razor-thin 5-4 decision in favor of the Microsoft-backed document format, said Reyes in a phone interview.

The voting process was as tight as it can get, with most representatives from the government sector electing to reject the document format. However, the chair of the committee, Philip Barilla of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), tilted the balance of power to the "yes" side.

That sounds familiar, doesn't it? The technical people fervently say no. Isn't the rule that the decision has to be by consensus and if that isn't possible, one is supposed to vote Abstain? That is what Australia told us, and that is what I understood from the Directives.

Update 2: Open Malaysia Blog now has an update on the voting in the Philippines (PSIA voted Disapprove while CICT NCC voted Approve), and also some letters explaining why folks voted the way they did.

And the opposition never changed their minds:

According to Reyes, a number of institutions, both local and international, fiercely articulated their opposition to the document's approval as an ISO standard. Among those who wrote to express their objection were open source advocates Red Hat, Google, and the ODF Alliance.

Reyes said the BPS also solicited the opinions of top industry groups ITAP (Information Technology Association of the Philippines) and ITFP (Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines), but the organizations did not submit any position on the issue.

ITAP? ITFP? Where were you? Or is it true your views were solicited? And if anyone there in that country has more details, I'm all ears.

Here's the breakdown on who supported and who didn't, and maybe you guys can help me figure out who is who on the list of supporters:

Also voting in favor of the Open XML's approval were Peter Que of the Philippine Computer Society, Beng Coronel of the Philippine Software Industry Association, George Kintanar of the CIO Forum, and Juan Chua of the Computer Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers Association of the Philippines.

Casting the negative votes were Julie Sudario of the CICT's National Computer Center, Peter Banzon of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Prospero Naval of the computer science department of the state-owned University of the Philippines, and Darwin Santos of the DOST's Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development.

Also, if anyone is reading this in the Philippines, if there are local rules for your standards body, The Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry, and how it should conduct itself in its dealings with ISO, I'd be very interested to read them.

On the subject of how the voting is supposed to go, Avi Alkalay, one of the delegates in Brazil, has published an Open Letter to YES-voting and ABSTAIN-voting Countries that asks how they match up their votes with the Directives:

The JTC1 rules [PDF] page 49 item 9.8 says:
NBs may reply in one of the following ways:
  • Approval of the technical content of the DIS as presented (editorial or other comments may be appended);

  • Disapproval of the DIS (or DAM) for technical reasons to be stated, with proposals for changes that would make the document acceptable (acceptance of these proposals shall be referred to the NB concerned for confirmation that the vote can be changed to approval);

  • Abstention (see 9.1.2).

[Note: Conditional approval should be submitted as a disapproval vote.]

In other words, from my understanding, if there is one or more technical problems, the NB must disapprove the DIS. Many countries found many technical problems in OOXML that are still unresolved even after the BRM.

I also understand that such an important matter as an International Standard for Office Documents can’t be defined by 10 or 30 opinions collected as votes in a committee. Thats why the JTC1 process above talks about technical content, not opinion or vote. What I learned from studying the OOXML specification is that it is not ready for acceptance since many countries have found and reached consensus that the spec has problems, even after the BRM. If the NB-leveraged technical team — formed by people that would vote YES and NO — has produced a list of submitted problems in the spec, this list is by itself the consensus that the spec is still problematic.

I would like to understand why an NB that has produced technical comments voted YES or ABSTAINED. I thought abstention is a position for countries that were not able to create a committee to technically discuss the specification for reasons such as logistics or lack of quorum.

Update: Here's the official ISO press release. A snip:

2008-04-02

ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats, has received the necessary number of votes for approval as an ISO/IEC International Standard. Approval required at least 2/3 (i.e. 66.66 %) of the votes cast by national bodies participating in the joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, to be positive; and no more than 1/4 (i.e. 25 %) of the total number of ISO/IEC national body votes cast to be negative. These criteria have now been met with 75 % of the JTC 1 participating member votes cast positive and 14 % of the total of national member body votes cast negative.


  


How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated 2Xs: ISO Press Release & Letters | 178 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections
Authored by: grouch on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:05 AM EDT
Corrections here, please.

---
-- grouch

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks comments
Authored by: grouch on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:08 AM EDT
News Picks commentary here, please. It helps to place the title of the article in the title of your comment, or make a link and change to HTML post mode.

Thank you.

---
-- grouch

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: grouch on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:10 AM EDT
Off with their topics, I say!

---
-- grouch

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anonymous MS OoML supporters please post here.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:14 AM EDT
If you were a
HOD - Head of Delegation
NB member - National Body member
TC member - technical committee member
or paid MS consultant

--- WELCOME!

Please sign in, and include your email address to receive a special (private)
update message.

If you are Grouch, get the hat trick man.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:21 AM EDT
For those following along at home our friends at open Malaysia are also tracking
the situation in the Philippines.

There is an added twist to the story--there exists a pdf at
http://www.box.net/shared/3yw2f1c004 dated Feb 05 2008 that states that
Philippine Software Industry Association intends to vote 'NO'.

Yet on the day of the vote Beng Coronel, acting on behalf of the PSIA, voted
'Approve'.

Why did he change is vote?

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes
Authored by: pallmall on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:22 AM EDT
According to some comments on the Open Malaysia blog (see update 1 on the page), there is some question about the vote of the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA). It appears that the PSIA had decided to vote "no", but the vote changed (or was "miscounted") at the meeting. A board member of the PSIA claims that the PSIA maintained the "no" vote, and nobody's saying how the PSIA was counted as a "yes". The vote should have been 5-4 against unless the PSIA rep decided to suddenly switch without telling anyone else in the PSIA.

---
Groklaw! -- If I had better things to do, I'd still be doing this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

With all the technical people voting no, who's going to buy an ooxml product?
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:22 AM EDT
All of the technical people involved in this process have been fairly uniform in
their disapproval of this standard. Those are the same people Microsoft is
going to have to sell products based on the standard too. I don't think they'll
be too successful.

[ Reply to This | # ]

NBs can't promote voting
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 01:56 AM EDT
The vote of the members is nothing more than opinion. The JTC1 rules is not
asking for opinions but technical findings.

The rule is: is there any one or more technical comment still open? Disapprove
the DIS.

The list of technical comments built by a technical team of YES-voting and
NO-voting people is by itself the technical consensus that the OOXML spec is
still problematic.

The idea of "consensus" in this case cannot be the result of a
political conversation meeting. Consensus must be technical.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wouldn't it have been easier...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 02:41 AM EDT
if Microsoft simply appointed representatives for each country from its' staff
members at the main headquarters. A swift unified decision could have been
delivered without suspicions of corruption lingering. The stockholders would
have been happier with all of that low cost in house labor. Officials are
notoriously more expensive than keeping everything in the family.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO/IEC DIS 29500 receives necessary votes for approval as an International Standard
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 03:31 AM EDT
ISO has made its announcement

ISO Statement

75% P members for, 14% total against.

"Subject to no formal appeals from NBs in next 2 months it will proceed accordingly to publication"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lock-in on the desktop
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 03:40 AM EDT

Reuters gets it - why doesn't the ISO?

This "standard" will do exactly the opposite of what a legitimate standard is supposed to accomplish: support lock-in by one vendor.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Open Letter
Authored by: jeevesbond on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 04:14 AM EDT
The open letter from Avi Alkalay is fantastic. It wont recieve a response, but
it's just the sort of ammunition we need to prove this isn't a true standard.

I notice Rick Jelliffe is busy talking total twoddle in the comments. Even when
reality is right in front of him he still denies it! :D

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated: ISO Press Release
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 04:17 AM EDT
That sounds familiar, doesn't it? The technical people fervently say no

The story says the technical people were 5-4 in favor of it. How do you get "fervently say no" out of that?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Validating the documents?
Authored by: jmtapio on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 05:33 AM EDT
I wonder if it were feasible to create an OOXML-validator
that would throw errors when a document contains bugs and
contains non-standard parts (like Windows metafiles).

It would be nice especially if some organizations start
putting out documents with the current Office version of
the format "because it is a standard". I presume it is and
it will be almost impossible to create valid standard
documents with Microsoft applications and it would be nice
to have a good way to show that to people using the
format.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One thing that helps Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 05:44 AM EDT
One thing that helps Microsoft is all the people providing support for friends
and neighbours when Windows plays up. I have decided that I am no longer going
to provide support for Windows PCs. I will help them install a different OS if
they want but will not troubleshoot their Windows problems because to do so will
only further entrench Microsoft's position.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO standards for sale! Apply here!
Authored by: knarf on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 05:59 AM EDT

It now seems that ISO has lowered itself to the level of all those 'accredited online universities' which proclaim to offer degrees for sale. A search on Google for 'degree buy university' gives a sample of what I mean. I propose a similar scheme for ISO standards:

It's now possible to earn affordable
ACCREDITED STANDARDS!
  • No Consensus
  • No Technical merit
  • No Waiting
  • No Scruples
  • No Need
  • No well, then again, maybe a slightly Hefty Fee
Order Now!!!

So if all of you who have some time and web space on their hands create a site somewhat like ISO's with these extra properties... and link 'm here, and possibly link to those other sites linked here... Oops I did not say that did I? Never did, never will...

---
[ "Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur
et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est." ]

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does it matter?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 06:46 AM EDT
It is not as if the ISO is going to change their decision.

This is the most insane system I have ever heard of, or could imagine. They are
hardly even shy about admitting to all the cheating, but they go ahead as if
everything is fine.

No matter how many irregularities are spotted, no matter who's attention these
irregularites are brought to, the deal is done, msft won and everybody else
loses.

The ISO is simply another thoroughly corrupt, msft rubber-stamping committee.
Even more sadly, the ISO still has enormous credability with government
agencies.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not everything is necessarily corrupt
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:36 AM EDT
Personally, I believe there is more than enough proof of tampering to invalidate
the vote and scrap the process.

I do however want to caution those people who hold a hammer and think everything
is a nail. Some of these boards may be following their own rules or what they
perceive to be the momentum of the (non)standard.

In some cases the boards themselves may have different ground rules we don't
know about.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did they even have the standard?
Authored by: Dark on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:45 AM EDT
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I am under the impression that the corrected draft standard, incorporating the resolutions of the BRM, was not available at the time of this vote.

Thus, the ISO has approved OOXML as a standard without even reading it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Petition to the UK Priminister
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:53 AM EDT
I have sent the following petition request to the UK Prim Ministers Petition
site.

When I get the link I'll publish it.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reject DIS 29500 as a document
standard for use in local and national government and investigate and publish
the results of any such investigation into how the BSI changed its vote on DIS
29500 to 'yes' when there are so many outstanding issues in the standard.

Submitted by John Imrie – Deadline to sign up by: 2 June 2008

Category: Information and communication

More details:

DIS 29500 aka Microsoft OOXML, has recently been passed as an ISO standard.

However there have been many reports of ballot stuffing, vote rigging and abuse
of process from various members of the National Bodies who claim that the rules
under which the National Bodies are supposed to work where either ignored or
changed to allow this standard to pass.

Until these allegations have been investigated DIS 29500 status as in
international standard is in doubt.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why they did this?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 07:59 AM EDT
Well hey, they had to do something with all that money after trying to buy
Yahoo!

[ Reply to This | # ]

From I$O's News Release Page
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 08:29 AM EDT
For the new (non)standard for Micro$oft (only).

Link

< p>
ISO/IEC 29500 is a standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. According to the submitters of the document, one of its objectives is to ensure the long-term preservation of documents created over the last two decades using programmes that are becoming incompatible with continuing advances in the field of information technology.

Emphasis and underline is mine.

What is wrong with the world? Why do so many people stick their heads in the sand and are so removed from the events that unfold around them?
Do they not see that the OOXML text does not intend any backward compatability for decades old documents?

At work one of the developers asked me to open an Excel file generated with a third party web control. No version of MS Office could open it with fidelity. But, I opened it flawlessly with OpenOffice 2.3.

Market share does not a standard make.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated: ISO Press Release
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 09:16 AM EDT
According to another source, the votes went as follows:

University of the Philippines, Philippine Software Industry Association,
DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute and DOST-Phil. Council for
Advance Science and Technology Research and Development all voted NO.

Philippine Computer Society, Commission on Information and Communications
Technology, Commission on Information and Communications Technology-National
Computer Center and Computer Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers Association
of the Philippines all voted YES.

The CIO Forum, who only attended the final meeting, did not formally cast its
vote but expressed, albeit verbally, that they are voting YES. This was
considered - swaying the final results 5-4, in favor of OOXML approval.

Conflicting stories - until the Bureau of Products Standards issues the real
score, everyone can just speculate.

No matter how you look at it, it should not have been YES.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Separate votes? - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 10:15 AM EDT
Criteria met
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 09:51 AM EDT
>> These criteria have now been met with 75 % of the JTC 1 participating
member votes cast positive and 14 % of the total of national member body votes
cast negative.

just because the criteria have been met, does this mean it actually becomes a
standard ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated: ISO Press Release
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 10:06 AM EDT
Wasn't ISO meant to prevent this. We now have two different standards covering
the same process. It is now simple, all developers go free for all like before
the ISO. ISO is now meaningless and pointless. All developers revolt, stop
supporting ISO standards.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is an abstention allowed at this point in the game?
Authored by: Jimbob0i0 on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 11:49 AM EDT
Norbert's thoughts on france
Norbert Bollow BRM delegate for Switzerland raises an interesting point.
At this point in the process is an abstention allowed?
We have all been assuming that approve/disapprove/abstain are all allowed at this point but the regulations at 3.1 may indicate that abstain is only allowed earlier in the process and that P member countries have an obligation to vote approve or disapprove if they have not specified in advance they wish to abstain from the process for a given work item - and then they will not be at meeting or be entitled to vote.... In that case all the bodies that vote abstain since 'they felt it was not ready for yes' should realistically be no.... thoughts?
3.1 Participating Membership

P members within JTC 1 shall be NBs that are Member Bodies of ISO or National Commit

3.1.1 P members of JTC 1 and its SCs have an obligation to take an active part in the work of JTC 1 or the SC and to attend meetings. P members of JTC 1 and its SCs have an obligation to vote approval, disapproval, or declared abstention within the time limits laid down on all questions submitted for voting (unless 3.1.2 applies) within JTC 1 or the SC. "Abstention" is an appropriate response (with or without comment) if an NB is not confident that their technical review is sufficient to cast an "approve" or "disapprove" vote. P members of JTC 1 have an obligation to vote on FDISs prepared by JTC 1 or its SCs as well as DISs distributed for fast-track processing.

3.1.2 A P member may have an interest in the field of JTC 1 without having interest or competence in all of the work items which may be dealt with. In such an instance, a P member may inform the JTC 1 Secretariat, the SC Secretariat and the ITTF at the beginning of the work, or at a later stage, that it will abstain from participation in discussion or voting on specific items. Such a position, established and recorded by JTC 1, shall entitle the P member to be absent from meetings and to abstain from voting on the relevant FDISs.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated: ISO Press Release
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:01 PM EDT
PJ, et al, I'm curious who will be answering the Article 18 letters that went
out from the EU commission? Surely not the same tech leadership who ran the
'yes' votes to the ISO.

---------------------------------------

What other company can set aside $4.1 billion to pay civil legal awards it knows
it will lose?

[ Reply to This | # ]

An OOXML Chairperson Has No Power - What Is Wrong With The Other People At The Meeting!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:38 PM EDT

(Robert's Rules Of Oder) Again.. the OOXML chairperson has no "power" at a meeting.

Anyone at the meeting can object to any mis-use of "power" or any error etc. by the chairperson or anyone else at a meeting. Then all business MUST stop; until the abuse/mis-use/error is debated. It MUST be debated. No other business can proceed until the debate is carried out. It's that simple. Is everyone asleep (at the wheel) at these meetings. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can we please have a list of all the irregularities?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:49 PM EDT
Could someone compile a list of all the known irregularities in the ISO approval
process for OOXML, in approximately chronological order?

I think it would be useful to see a sort of summary of the entire trainwreck,
with about 1 bullet point for each irregularity. Rather a lot of them have been
reported so far, and its hard to keep them straight.

Also, such a list would be useful to point to when trying to explain to people
what is wrong with ISO approving OOXML as a standard, and why OOXML should not
be accepted for anything and why the output of the ISO process should no longer
be trusted after this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just an excuse for MS to force an upgrade
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 12:58 PM EDT
"Oh, the standard came out after MS Office 2008. You need to buy the MS
Office 2009 upgrade."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Razor-thin?
Authored by: rand on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 02:15 PM EDT
They must have really thick razors in the Philippines if 56% to 44%* is 'razor
thin'. Or maybe the swing voter is malnourished.

*Banker's rounding.

---
The wise man is not embarrassed or angered by lies, only disappointed. (IANAL
and so forth and so on)

[ Reply to This | # ]

How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes - Updated: ISO Press Release
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02 2008 @ 05:53 PM EDT
http://www.itaphil.org/

The link above brings you to ITAP. Guess who is among those members?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Real vote results, with some letters
Authored by: yoonkit on Thursday, April 03 2008 @ 01:31 AM EDT
I managed to get a hold of some position letters and posted it up on openmalaysiablog

The Philippine Decision on OOXML - Updated x3

The correction is PSIA voted Disapprove
while CICT NCC voted Approve.

I also have NCC and DOST letters for your viewing pleasure.

yk.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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