decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:40 PM EDT

Here's a new ISO FAQ that it hopes will convince you that it did a fine job handling the OOXML standards process. In it, it hints that it can withdraw approval of OOXML if Microsoft misbehaves about patents in the future:
What about hidden patent issues?

The ISO/IEC/ITU patent policy requires that licenses be available on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions to all patents needed to implement an ISO/IEC International Standard and/or ITU Recommendation, and that all identified patent owners make a declaration to that effect.

Microsoft, the holder of patents involved in the implementation of ISO/IEC 29500, has made such a declaration to ISO and IEC. If, after publication of the standard, it is determined that licenses to all required patents are not so available, one option would be to withdraw the International Standard.

By that they must mean they'll withdraw it if Microsoft misbehaves going *forward*. They surely didn't care about the way Microsoft dragged us all to this neck of the woods. The Microsoft OSP is discriminatory already, so as it is implemented, it will have to be implemented in a discriminatory way, because it was written that way. Patents and Linux and FOSS don't mix. So RAND terms in Microsoft's hands are discriminatory. Period. There is no escape from that problem.

So the standards world will have to decide if it cares about open standards and Open Source. Microsoft will kill it off otherwise, using patents on standards to enforce lock-in.

Dear ISO, damage control doesn't work, if you let the damage remain. That's like putting out a statement that if an oil spill you caused does any damage in the future, you'll clean it up right away, but for now, you'll leave the spill in place and wait to see what happens going forward. Oil spills need to be cleaned up before they do more damage.

ISO tries to also explain having two standards for document formats:

The ICT industry has a long history of developing multiple standards providing similar functionalities. After a period of co-existence, it is basically the market that decides which survives.

Oh, you mean when Microsoft told us OOXML was for something altogether different from ODF, that wasn't true? Well, how do you like that? So, the *market* decides. And here I thought it was Microsoft forcing itself on us.

I see what ISO means. A monopoly has a standard and 90% of the desktops. Along comes a standard that really works, but only cutting edge and technically savvy people who understand that a standard should work for everyone, not just the monopoly, explain to the world how it will help you avoid vendor lock-in and interoperability problems the monopoly is historically noted for, and somehow it is supposed to "win" in the market. Son, when there is a monopoly stranglehold on a market, no one "chooses". The monopoly is the default. You have to work hard to escape, as ISO has so vividly demonstrated. Here's the FAQ's response to that:

In this particular case, some claim that the Open Document Format (ODF), which is also an ISO/IEC standard (ISO/IEC 26300) and ISO/IEC 29500 are competing solutions to the same problem, while others claim that ISO/IEC 29500 provides additional functionalities, particularly with regard to legacy documents.

The ability to have both as International Standards was something that needed to be decided by the market place. ISO and IEC and their national members provided the JTC 1 infrastructure that facilitated such a decision by the market players.

There is a difference between market *place* and market *players*. Microsoft is a player, and we all saw how fairly they play. The market place tried to speak, and we were called emotional or secret operatives for a market player. For shame, ISO, for shame. So, after the monopoly-distorted market "chooses" OOXML and "kills" ODF, as the FAQ suggests, I'm sure ISO will withdraw OOXML. Not. And even if it did, the poor victim of Microsoft's litigation pincer move will not benefit. It will be too late.

What about the contradictions? They tell us it's none of our business. If they find any, they'll fix them in the maintenance process, which is like selling you a car with four different sizes of tires and assuring that that if you see it's a problem, you can always bring it in for maintenance:

What about contradictions with other ISO and IEC Standards?

A number of such claimed contradictions were identified during the one-month JTC 1 fast-track review period, prior to its release for voting and comment. The submitter, Ecma International, responded to these comments at the end of the review period.

Some of these comments were reflected in national body comments on the fast-track Draft International Standard (DIS). These comments, e.g. the non-alignment with ISO 8601, Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times, were dealt with in the ballot resolution meeting (BRM).

It is possible that others may still remain, but these can be taken care of during the maintenance of the standard. In all cases, the final decision on whether there are contradictions and how to resolve them rests with the national members of ISO and IEC.

Standards are supposed to at least work out of the gate. No? Too naive?

To those who think that ISO showed itself to be broken, and noticed some irregularities, ISO has a word for you: butt out. They have it under control and the fox will clean out the henhouse without your help:

Will ISO and IEC review how ISO/IEC 29500 was adopted?

We reviewed the process before it started, all the while during its course and afterwards as well. While the voting on ISO/IEC 29500 has attracted exceptional publicity, it needs to be put in context. ISO and IEC have collections of more than 17 000 and 7 000 successful standards respectively, these being revised and added to every month. This suggests that the standards development process is credible, works well and is delivering the standards needed, and widely implemented, by the market. Because continual improvement is an underlying aim of standardization, ISO and IEC will certainly be continuing to review and improve its standards development procedures.

I am sure you are relieved to hear it. Anyway, now you know. If Microsoft plays dirty with patents, ISO might withdraw OOXML as a standard. And as we've seen watching the OOXML standards process play out, when ISO says something, they reeeeeally, reeeally mean it.


  


ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ | 338 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:48 PM EDT

From the answer to the first question

As stipulated in the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives under the section relating to the fast-track process, the criteria for proposing an existing industry standard for the fast-track procedure are a matter for each proposer to decide. In the case of ISO/IEC 29500, Ecma International considered that the fast-track procedure was appropriate.

How can a standard that has never been implemented be called an existing standard?

[ Reply to This | # ]

corrections thread
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:52 PM EDT
corrections to the article go here

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • ISO FAQ - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:08 PM EDT
  • , reeealy-->, reeeally - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 04:26 AM EDT
  • MicrosoftPoole - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 05:15 AM EDT
Stop the Press: Things went well!
Authored by: Winter on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:52 PM EDT
ISO publishes a press release and faq to explain that everything really went as
it should. Nothing wrong!

I guess they never did that for these other 24000 other standards.

This really gives one confidence.

Rob


---
Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Offtopic thread
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:57 PM EDT
Anything that is not to do with the topic is off topic and goes here

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'd like to see a National Body lodge a protest...
Authored by: Zartan on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:02 PM EDT
...during the protest period, siting the difficulties PJ has outlined above. Yes, it would amuse me greatly to see how fast the ISO management would backwater and spin and not address the fundamental problems.

8-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The News Picks thread starts here
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:02 PM EDT
his is where to comment on the stories in the right hand menu

[ Reply to This | # ]

The On-Topic thread.
Authored by: billyskank on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:21 PM EDT
If you want to say something on-topic, you can post it here if you like. :D

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where would we be if we did not stick to standards.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:23 PM EDT
Implementing standards properly must be the most important thing in the world to ISO.Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just remember the golden rule...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:26 PM EDT
..The one with all the gold makes the rules

[ Reply to This | # ]

Define.. "discriminatory"
Authored by: kutulu on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:40 PM EDT
The Microsoft OSP is discriminatory already, so as it is implemented, it will have to be implemented in a discriminatory way, because it was written that way. Patents and Linux and FOSS don't mix. So RAND terms in Microsoft's hands are discriminatory. Period. There is no escape from that problem.

It's not really helping anyone to keep saying this, because you are relying of a definition of discriminatory that means nothing to standards bodies like ISO. (And because there's a much better way to attack this, see below.)

Non-Discriminatory does not mean making sure every single person in the world is capable of meeting the terms. It means that everyone in the world has the same set of terms to meet. If the terms were "Everyone who gives Bill Gates 9,000 ostriches packed into a Ferrari gets a perpetual license", those would be non-discriminatory terms, despite the extreme difficulty in getting all those birds in one car. In fact, if the terms said something like "companies which pay us $10000 get a perpetual license, except if you are using the GPLv3, in which case you get one for free" would be discriminatory -- against anyone who's not using the GPLv3.

Just because the OSP's non-transferable and non-sublicensable terms make it incompatible with most OSS license doesn't mean it's discriminating against OSS -- it means OSS groups of their own free will is choosing not to act like other groups that do meet those terms. And of course OSS isn't behaving like everyone else - that's the whole point of OSS.

What you should be focusing your time and energy on is the other part of RAND - the "reasonable" part. Because non-sublicensable terms on software or patents, in the current market, are unreasonable. When the percentage of the market using, developing, relying on, or interacting with GPL-licensed software gets into the 90% range, terms that are non-GPL-compatible quickyl become unreasonable.

The problem is, of course, that it's a much easier judgment to make to call something discriminatory (which would be obvious from the terms) than to call it unreasonable (which requires taking it in context). But if you want to convince the people who make these decisions that the OSP is not meeting ISO's RAND requirement, focus on the part that actually fails.

[ Reply to This | # ]

There is a difference between market *place* and market *players*.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:44 PM EDT
There is a difference between market *place* and market *players*...and
Micro-Softheaded is gaming the system.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO in a bit of a bind
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 04:56 PM EDT
The problem that they have is that they only have value if people agree to use a
standard. A standard that nobody uses is a waste of time.

ECMA cam about because the ISO process was so long winded and broken for the
software industry. And also because Microsoft, and others, wanted more control
over standards than ISO would give them. Since then the industry has matured a
bit, and we've also seen over the years how ECMA has been used as a convenient
ratification mechanism.

I think that ISO accredited ECMA because it saw that it was a competing
institution. And ISO only has power if it's recognized as the Gold Standard.

So, despite the shenanigans, ISO is unlikely to back away from ECMA unless the
alliance becomes a threat to ISO.

The problem for us is that ISO does a great deal of valuable work, I'm sure that
the majority of its work and process is not skewed in the way that OOXML has
been. So attacking ISO head-on is counterproductive on a larger scale.

However, it seems to me, that the agreement with ECMA is not that cosy: it seems
to me highly unlikely that ISO is seeing the alliance as a benefit at the
moment, but it can't really break the alliance while ECMA poses a competitive
threat.

So the obvious thing for people who think that this was a bad standard is to
disavow ECMA standards. Remember standards and standards institutions only have
value if we give them value.

The would be casualties of ignoring ECMA standards. For instance, Javascript is
more formally known as ECMAscript. (Have I got the caps right?)

Perhaps a competing standards body, to ratify open standards would be a good
idea. If ECMA can gain accreditation and fast track status for its standards,
then I don't see why Open Standards couldn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODF is now a Brazilian Standard: NBR ISO/IEC 26300
Authored by: DannyB on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:16 PM EDT
ODF is now a Brazilian Standard: NBR ISO/IEC 26300
On the afternoon of last Tuesday (08/04), the final translated version of the ISO/IEC 26300 was approved by members of the ABNT’s committee responsible for that activity.

. . . .

I consider that this approval is the first and most important step towards the consolidation of ODF as a standard for editable office documents throughout Brazil.

. . . .

---
The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

With ISO losing credibility is the room for a new standards body?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:17 PM EDT
Seems this would be a good opportunity for a standards body that chooses
standards based on technical merits.

If nothing else, if such a new organization were started, ISO might improve
their own processes so they don't lose their current position as the leading
standards organization.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"ISO FAQ"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:18 PM EDT
At least ISO has a sense of humor, albeit a weird one.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: 1N8 M4L1C3 on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:31 PM EDT

ISO, ECMA and the various NB's should implement tighter "conflict of
interest" rules with respect to their ratification process.

Where a party is in a postion of conflict (or even a perceived position of
conflict) then they should be automatically excluded from the voting process.

These rules should encompass not only the submitting party/parties, but any of
their associates who might be enriched or otherwise benefit from a successful
outcome.

It appears quite strange that most countries have already implemented various
laws, rules and procedures to protect these voting processes within their
respective political and legal frameworks... ...so why is it that the various
national and international standards bodies can't manage to do the same thing?

And while we're at it, lets give these rules some teeth... ...any subversion of
the process is grounds for an automatic disqualification of the proposal itself
or the casted vote. [e.g. If someone should stack the deck with their associates
and happen to get caught, these votes
and/or the entire process, would be automatically annulled - see you next
time....]

Imagine for a moment an ISO vote [or an NB vote] where the submitting parties
(e.g. ECMA and Mickey$oft), as well as any financially-affiliated cohorts were
excluded from the process after their presentation of the proposal. They get to
wait outside while the rest vote. If their proposal has legs - it can stand on
it's own merit.

Perhaps this way, the non-affiliated parties voting on the proposal would be
unfettered towards ensuring that due diligence and process had been given in a
clear and just manner... ...instead of languishing awash in controversy and
bickering.

...oops, there I go dreaming again.


---
On the 7th day, Linus saw that which he created and it was good... ...on the
8th day SCO litigated.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents and Linux and FOSS don't mix?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:39 PM EDT

Could someone explain, if "Patents and Linux and FOSS don't mix", how come we can use ODF, which is covered by Sun and IBM patents? IBM's patent license has all the same alleged flaws that OSP has, so the difference isn't licensing terms.

I came to admire Groklaw for its excellent coverage of SCO, but it's OOXML coverage falls far short of that level of quality. The OOXML coverage here is, frankly, more often FUD than factual. Please return to the level of quality and integrity that Groklaw used to exhibit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: PolR on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 05:46 PM EDT
The only question this FAQ answer is its authors are unable to tell the
subversion of their own process when they see it.

Now they look stupid and incompetent. Did they really expect to soothe rightful
indignation with this text? They would have been better off keeping silent than
write this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO open to abuse
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 06:29 PM EDT
This suggests that the standards development process is credible, works well and is delivering the standards needed, and widely implemented, by the market.

Worth noting at that point, I believe, is that that's just false. The process relies on good faith and is not protected against abuse. This time it has been badly abused. So, the standards produced can't be relied upon because someone with an interest towards something becoming a standard can get it with impunity.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It is simple...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 06:39 PM EDT
MSFT won this round, but the battle has just started. Can I ask each and every
person reading Groklaw to take half an hour and write to their national
standards body and to send copy of the letter to your local MP, and prime
minister/queen/president/king or whoever is your head of state and at least one
local newspaper.

You've read the arguments here and related websites and blogs on both sides.
Express your opinion. It does not have to be phrased in the most elegant terms
and it does not have to make the full complete argument. Just express your
opinion and let the non-technical world know that there is something really
dodgy going on and it actually does matter to all our everyday lives.

I guarantee that it will get attention simply because for a lay person this is
obscure area and the more public learns about the obvious breaches of the rules
of ISO the more people get curious about why so many people are so passionately
(and justly) upset and how it all got this far in the first place.

Personally, I am in the (un)lucky position to have legitimate connections to
three different countries to ask for clarification why they acted the way they
did.

Sigh, the best any of them did was to abstain and for two of them I am deeply
ashamed for the whole process. In particular, I am disgusted with the spurious
arguments about document archival and how OOXML will help it. I mean how does it
help document retrieval 100 years from now when even MSFT does not understand
the standard. And MSFT is not committed to supporting it, either.

And never forget to ask your country to pledge a formal protest on the grounds
that OOXML was obviously unsuitable for the fast track approach, only small part
of the documentation was ever discussed at the BRM (it is a simple fact that no
one can deny! Many people on the periphery that are interested in issues around
document retention have no clue how flawed the ISO process was.) Even the
advocates of OOXML do not understand it and the final edited form of the
standard is not available as rules state it should be.

Particularly, your local academic/university or national library might be quite
receptive to the facts of the case how OOXML undermines and severely hurts the
ability to view and interpreter electronic documents in the future. For that
matter your local university history department is another place to express
concerns.

The point is to bring in not only people who are technologically minded, but
also let the people who are honestly concerned about our ability to read
electronic documents far in future have their say and actually make their
informed decisions.

Never ever underestimate the power of librarians!!!!

I have MS word documents that are "only" 15 years old and although
they are readable the format and layout when opened with the current MSFT
software is way strange. On the other hand all my TeX documents are still
completely reproducible from the original source with the current TeX software
and they look exactly the same when printed on devices that no one even had idea
that those devices would be in existence when I wrote the originals.

In many ways this is no different than Japan and their "scientific"
whaling: it's just a battle where we need to emphasise the rules of law, the
rules of the ISO and how they were broken and the harm and the cost of
continuing one company monopoly. Many does not make immoral acts right.

Politicians can be bought unless we the people keep them accountable.

I would write a sample letter, except that we are not asking rule by the mob. We
are asking for institution to hold up their own rules and national bodies to act
in their self interest (for one the wider good and self-interest are in full
agreement).

Bring the knowledge freely shared on this web site to the attention of less
technically minded people but who do have professional interest in the matters.

[ Reply to This | # ]

...the standards development process is credible, works well and is delivering...
Authored by: Zarkov on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 06:47 PM EDT
Hmmm

That statement may be true for a specific value of 'True'...

Given the blatant level of bribery, corruption, pressure and inducement we saw
in the 'standards development process' one might begin to suspect that the
product the process works so well at and is so credible in delivering is in fact
bribery, corruption, pressure and inducement.

The statement merely validates the position of those who have a vested interest
in the devlopment and maintenance of bribery, corruption, pressure and
inducement in the market place...

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 06:48 PM EDT
"It is possible that others may still remain, but these can be taken care of during the maintenance of the standard. In all cases, the final decision on whether there are contradictions and how to resolve them rests with the national members of ISO and IEC."
Does this not imply that the standard will bee withdrawn if Microsoft sues an open source developer?

Vidar

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bingo - withdraw now
Authored by: star-dot-h on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 07:10 PM EDT
So, Steve Balmer's words and threats don't count?

He was CEO of MS in October last year and still is now. ISO put your money where your mouth is.

---

Free software on every PC on every desk

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO is rather talkative these days
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 08:38 PM EDT
ISO sure has been a chatterbox lately. First, responding to the
Norway demonstration, and now this. Funny, we didn't hear a
peep out of them during the approval process.

I would like to think Neelie is turning up the heat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO Is A Joke
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 09:27 PM EDT
Someone cue the violins. I've lost all respect for a national body that is
Microsoft lap dog.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RFC2551
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 09:51 PM EDT
After a thorough examination of the ISO process and all
relevant documents, it appears to me that OOXML is a
perfect candidate for RFC2551.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is that a long A in FAQ? n/t
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 09:53 PM EDT
.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time to put the Inch on the ISO Fast Track
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 10:00 PM EDT

Time to put the Inch on the ISO Fast Track. Then we'll let the market decide between Inches and Centimeters :-)

Exactly the same arguments which lead to one set of international measurements (ie, metric) are those which lead to one international document format.

--gdt

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: fuego451 on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 10:40 PM EDT
Dear ISO,

You put your cards on the table. All of us can see them. We all know what your
ruse was and where it originated . It does not matter what you say. It does not
matter what you do. You can not spin it because we are not stupid, as you'd
hoped. We all see you for what you are. NOTHING!

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Let the Market Decide" argument is flawed
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 10:45 PM EDT
"The ability to have both as International Standards was something that needed to be decided by the market place."

ISO really needs to take a first year economics class.

Monopolies ALWAYS lead to suboptimal outcomes. Allowing a monopoly market to choose the terms upon which players can compete in the market will serve only the monopolist. Calling this a "market choice" is a deception. Market choice is only legitimate in a free, competitive market.

By approving 29500, ISO is serving to further damage competition in the market.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Contradictions between ISO standards
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 11:32 PM EDT
ISO 8601:2004 (but 1988 at the time about to be discussed) is a standard for
formatting times and intervals. It specifies that time zones east of UTC are
positive and time zones west are negative, so US/Pacific time is currently UTC
-07:00.

POSIX - ISO 9945:2001 (but circa 1990 when first standardized) also specifies a
convention for time zones. Time zones east of UTC are negative, and those west
of UTC are positive.

So, these two standards contradict each other on how to allocate positive and
negative signs to time zones. In the case of POSIX, there was ample precedent
to justify the continuation of the Unix convention. I'm not sure whether the
ISO 8601 team had a brief to look at other de facto standards, but they came to
a reasonable decision too.

That doesn't alter the result: 8601 takes negative to be westerly and 9945 takes
negative to be easterly.

But neither of these standards was fast-tracked through the system - though
POSIX was initially developed by IEEE rather than (or, at the very least, as
well as) ISO.

Just a comparison...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsof opening up?
Authored by: Night Flyer on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 02:17 AM EDT
Please help me understand this:

"The ISO/IEC/ITU patent policy requires that licenses be available on
reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions to all patents needed to
implement an ISO/IEC International Standard and/or ITU Recommendation, and that
all identified patent owners make a declaration to that effect."

Suppose that I, as an individual, wish to archive my personal correspondence
(ie: without corporate resources) in OOXML:

My understanding is that OOXML was/is/will be tied closely to (is based on?)
Microsoft Word, which is its tightly controlled, proprietary software ...

Is Microsoft releasing some of its hold on its software? Or does 'reasonable
terms' mean something beyond my personal means?

How much does OOXML open up Microsoft Word?

---
Veritas Vincit - Truth Conquers

[ Reply to This | # ]

"The wonderful thing about standards..."
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 04:42 AM EDT
"The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them to
choose from." -- Grace Hopper

...Ronny

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't hold your breath waiting for this one
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 05:53 AM EDT

If Microsoft plays dirty with patents, ISO might withdraw OOXML as a standard.

Yup, after it teaches pigs to fly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Translation of the ISO FAQ into English
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 06:06 AM EDT
  1. We have learned nothing from the disaster that was the MSOOXML process
  2. We're not going to start learning now
  3. Microsoft has paid off the key people, and they're going to stay bought; the little people can get lost
  4. We'll put out some soothing press releases to confuse the opposition until MSOOXML consolidates its monopoly dominance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reject the standard (on some technicality)
Authored by: tz on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 08:41 AM EDT
That I think is the only way they can save face.

I'm not sure how much is ignorance and how much is malice, but at some point
negligence becomes malicious.

It would be difficult to have any 6000 page specification fast tracked even if
it was something like the combined RFCs which have been analyzed for years and
are well analyzed and known.

The collection of engineering books and design notes and things from the backs
of envelopes is beyond stupid.

Now there is criticism of ODF that it isn't PERFECT from being on the slow
track. Well, it is being fixed on that same slow track. As it should be.

Why should OOXML be privileged to get fast track approval with dozens of serious
defects?

Other than Microsoft lock-in, I don't see as big a problem with a OOXML type
specification - but one that achieves the goal of document fidelity, not one
that simply rubber stamps "what Office 2007 emits". It could be
better than ODF, but that will take years of proper work.

Or Microsoft could start now what they should have done years ago and suggest
how ODF can do things better. Nothing is perfect.

OTOH, and mark my words, three years from now attachments will be in ODF and
people who are stuck with Office without a good converter will be opening up
Google Docs or something very much like it on a different server.

Or there will just be a link to a shared, encrypted Google Doc.

ODF can be webbed. OOXML probably can't be (barring the years long process
above), at least not a native format.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So what happens if ISO misbehaves (again)?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 09:02 AM EDT
Here's a new ISO FAQ that it hopes will convince you that it did a fine job handling the OOXML standards process. In it, it hints that it can withdraw approval of OOXML if Microsoft misbehaves about patents in the future:

The problem is not Microsoft. Microsoft hasn't been misbehaving - the problem was and still is the ISO SC34 committee and its leaders have been misbehaving. SC34 is misbehaving because it is packed with Microsofties who are there only because they are paid or receive other inducements from Microsoft to vote the way Microsoft wants or fix ballots in the way Microsoft wants). ISO SC34 misbehaved and the chairs of various national boards misbehaved, ISO misbehaved because ISO did not follow ISO's mandate, and allowing OOXML through on the fast track in contravention to ISO's own rules and mandates.

The question that needs to be asked is not whether Microsoft will misbehave, but WHETHER THE ISO and ISO SC34 COMMITTEE WILL CONTINUE TO MISBEHAVE AS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING, AND WHETHER ISO WILL CONTINUE TO PERMIT THEM TO DO SO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Subversion of ISO
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 11:18 AM EDT
I have posted a version of this deep within a thread above, but I think it
deserves higher visibility. I apologize for the duplicate.

The question is to what extent the subversion has spread within ISO. It is a
large beast with many committees and subcommittees. We don't know the extent of
the Microsoft subversion yet.

I am convinced that both JTC1 and JTC1/SC34 have been totally subverted. But how
about the umbrella organization the oversees all committees? I can see two
scenarios:

Scenario 1: they have been totally subverted with key positions being held by
Microsoft proponents. In this scenario they are hopeless until someone with
power makes heads roll. Is there any such someone?

Scenario 2: they have been intoxicated and swallowed the Microsoft propaganda
hook and sinker, but are otherwise sincerely believing they are doing the right
thing. In this scenario they may still change their mind.

If it is scenario 1 they are incompetent. They should know this FAQ is putting
oil on the fire. This is contrary to their agenda. They would be better off to
shut up and hope the controversy wears off over time.

If it is scenario 2 they are still incompetent but for a different reason. In a
controversial setting their job is to hold tight and support their
subcommittees. This FAQ just followed that logic without realizing their
subcommittees
are being subverted.

The "Evangelism is war" document has a section on mind control. It
talks about how to control mental output by controlling mental input. The theory
is when Microsoft controls all the information channels, you can only think in
the terms they raise. If the main source of information the umbrella ISO listen
to are JTC 1 and ECMA, it may take a lot of rocking the boat to make them
understand they are being spoon fed with poison. I begin to suspect all the
smear about battling vendors, proxy web sites and personal attacks could have
for main purpose to make sure the umbrella ISO doesn't listen to other sources.

Does this theory make sense? Any idea?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Legacy Functionality? Whos' kidding who?
Authored by: bilagain on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 12:32 PM EDT


"while others claim that ISO/IEC 29500 provides additional functionalities, particularly with regard to legacy documents."

Am I wrong or did MS already announce that it plans to stop supporting and start blocking older document formats for a "lack of security" or something. Where's the mention of this tidbit?

Beta News Article

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's over
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 01:49 PM EDT
Like I said answering another post, this is over. It was over before it was
started. These people only care about money and power, that's why they're there.
Poor people cannot give them any of those. Game over.

It's time, and take no personal offense in this, for you all to grow up. This
the way the world works. How do you think Microsoft reach where it is? And IBM?
Sun? Any company?

Didn't you see what happened in Massachusetts? It's not a characteristic of
software world only. It's a characteristic of mankind.

You could dream on, hope for better world, and so on... but it will not going to
happen. Even if the software world was only compose of open source, things would
happened in the same way. Or do you think people change just they produce or use
open source software. If Microsoft was developing and selling open source it
would behave the same way.

People in here, and in other places, complain about Microsoft, about their
unethical and corrupt behavior, but still use their software, their
technologies, their hardware (mice, keyboards), their games, their portable
devices, their media centers, their game consoles...

If they get away from Microsoft, they just go to Apple and that's even worse.

If any person, from the general population, goes to use true free software, open
source, open standards and so on, they will use it because they don't any
better, it's by ignorance, by following others.

Examples abound: PS3, routers, cell phones, micro-laptops, etc. Do you think any
of the people using those know they are using open source, do they even care? Of
course not!

When receiving their wireless router and seeing the GPL license, will they
bother to read it? of course not! Like they didn't care to read the EULAs.

The game is not played this, and is a game not doubt about it. Until you learn
how to played it you should all need to spend your time on more important
things.

You only need to see how Alex Brown, the person in charge, dismisses those who
protest as partial, extremists and nut jobs, to see that the only thing that you
achieve with your protests is nothing than feeling a little better with
yourselves.

Although there were idiots on both sides (pro and anti Microsoft), those
pro-Microsoft had power and so everyone ignore they were idiots. Those on the
anti-Microsoft camp had none and so everyone concentrate on the fact they were
idiots.

This is pessimism, it's realism. Nothing really changed. We will continue to
live as before.

And, although you direct your anger towards Microsoft, it's not really their
fault. The blame falls entirely on ISO's shoulders. They let this thing happen,
the way they happened with full knowledge. Meaning they don't give a damn!
Microsoft could propose horse manure as an ISO file document format and they
would accepted it anyway.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A few questions
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 01:54 PM EDT
Why all this talk about 'Microsoft's patents'? How does anyone know whether or
not someone else, somewhere, owns a relevant patent? What is to stop a country
from issuing a patent on a Microsoft 'invention' just like the US used to issue
them on other countries' inventions?

What valid patents could exist for a document format? Someone else owns the
original document including every detail of its layout, MSOOXML is merely an
arrangement of that information for saving as a file, the document as restored
from the file is (well it should be) an exact copy of the original. Unlike MPEG,
no change has been made to the data. Software patents are bad enough, but can
you patent software that does not actually do anything?

If ISO DIS whatever is finally issued, does this mean that all the absurdities
and contradictions now become ISO standards? If I was contracted to conform to
this ISO standard, could I apply the 'leap year rule' recursively to change any
date in the contract to suit myself?

I really have no interest in Microsoft (why anyone chooses to do business with
them is beyond me) but I am just feeling trollish. I will just get back under my
bridge.

---
Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Sun is an ISO Standard !
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 02:37 PM EDT
ISO long ago lost credibility with me due to the efforts of a colleague of mine
to have the solar spectrum declared an ISO standard.

His version of the solar spectrum, that is!

http://www.spacewx.com/ISO_solar_standard.html

Suffice it to say that I don't use this "standard" in my own work,
because it does a poor job of reproducing actual space physics observations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO's face is not saved
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 02:55 PM EDT
In the old days, we had punch-cards (EBCDIC, an IBM standard) and paper-tape
(ASCII, an open standard).

For all IBM's market power, eventually the open standard came to dominate.

Dear ISO.

This is a struggle; on one side are the 'scientists and engineers', who will
tell you once that ISO26300 is what they want, and will not repeat the message
because they are busy researching and solving problems, and it's unethical to
spend their employers' money repeating themselves. On the other are the 'rich
businessman', who want ISO29500 so they can keep selling the things they have
always sold, and who will sit in ISO meetings filibustering for as long as it
takes to get their way, ethics notwithstanding.

But the rich businessmen have nothing useful to contribute to the advancement of
the state of the art. That is down to the scientists and the engineers.

ISO, your face is not saved. If anything, the scientists and engineers will find
another venue to collaborate. The BRM in Zurich was expensive and a waste of
valuable laboratory time, and is unlikely to be repeated.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It may just be me, but...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 04:07 PM EDT
Doesn't this FAQ kind of hang them on their own petard?

As in, fast tracking should have been for established standards, and they admit
it isn't even close to established (what with the known contradictions and
such). Isn't that grounds for withdrawing its status as a standard?

The FAQ pretty much admits that they did not in any meaningful way meet the
requirements for fast-tracking. Where they are now seems far more like where
OOXML should be if it was submitted in the usual way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Public Consumption - ISO puts out a face-saving (it hopes) FAQ
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 16 2008 @ 06:54 PM EDT
I think part of the problem is normally standards are not developed for
public consumption. For example, how familiar are you with the RS232 serial
communications standard? Which pins are for data, which pins are for sync, data
ready, etc, how long you hold a signal high, and so on.

I would guess, not very, and you probably really don't care, as long as
people can build hardware that works. This is the environment standards are
normally developed in.

The OOXML "standard" is no such bear. It is a six thousand page
piece of something or other that will markedly affect peoples lives for decades
to come. As a result, it has gotten more public scrutiny than a sex scandle.
The response of the ISO is not surprising. They just don't know how to handle
it. When was the last time you saw thousands of bloggers arguing about pin
assignments?

So for purposes of civility, I hope there is a little sympathy for
individuals who find themselves in strange shark infested waters, and are trying
to deal with it. Working on an ISO committee, would I think be analygous to
being a president on a condominium board. When anything breaks, you are
expected to fix it, even if you don't have the resources to do it.

I'm not saying they did things correctly. I just feel the pressure they
faced from certain areas was something they just didn't have the experience to
handle.

I sincerly hope this is the only time we see the ISO manipulated this way.
The next time someone tries to fast track six thousand pages representing
millions of lines of code I'm hopeful this example will demonstrate why it
shouldn't be permitted.

Meanwhile, I am waiting for the results of the appeals.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can we hope for a new ISO #1 standard in the near future?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 08:09 PM EDT
The topic should be "Fast Track Bribery Standard".

The FAQs really look like everybody involved knew what was going on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )