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A Reminder: ISO's Code of Ethics & What Happens Next - Update: Venezuela Appeals Also
Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:41 AM EDT

Now that there have been at least three official appeals filed against OOXML, by South Africa, Brazil and India, as well as a letter of protest from a participant entity at the BRM over the way matters were handled in Denmark, I thought this might be an excellent time to take a moment and remind ISO of its published Code of Ethics [PDF]. Here's just a bit of it, some words to live by, or at least words I hope they will live by, as they decide what to do with the appeals. And then some information on what happens next.

Update: ZDNET's Tom Espiner reports that Venezuela has also filed an appeal:

"After the two-month appeal period, we now have four appeals — Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela," Jonathan Buck, the director of communications for IEC, told on Monday. "The appeals are now with our CEOs, IEC General Secretary Ronnie Amit, and ISO Secretary General Alan Bryden, who have a 30-day period to make sure appeals conform to directives."
Hilarious. Why should that be the ruler's edge? No one else seems to conform to the directives. It's why they are appealing. More details from Peter Sayer at PC World.

Here's the section of the Code of Ethics that struck me as most relevant, with some vital bits highlighted:
As providers of solutions to business, government and society, ISO and its members recognize that it is imperative to conduct activities in an ethical manner that deserves the confidence of all parties involved in standardization and of the general public. Each ISO member and each of ISO’s organizational entities, including its technical and governance bodies and core support functions, are expected to act in accordance with this Code of ethics and to promote adherence to the values of ISO by other organizations and individuals participating in the ISO standardization system....

ISO members are committed to developing globally relevant International Standards by:

ensuring fair and responsive application of the principles of due process, transparency, openness, impartiality and voluntary nature of standardization by:

  • organizing national input in a timely and effective manner, taking into account all relevant interests at national level;
  • taking appropriate measures to facilitate the participation of consumers and other affected parties from civil society, SMEs and public authorities.

ISO parties are committed to:

making their best endeavours to contribute to ISO’s consensus-building mechanisms, coherence and global relevance by:

  • applying ISO’s authorized procedures properly and diligently;
  • preventing conflicts of interest by communicating in a fair and transparent manner to interested parties when work on new standards is initiated and subsequently on the progress of their development, ensuring that market needs are the driver for the development of standards.

Have they lived up to these goals, would you say? It never hurts to get back to core values. And now that they must decide what to do about the appeals and the letter of protest, all of which raise issues covered exactly by the Code of Ethics by my reading, one can only hope that they will reflect on how important those core values are when it comes to ISO's reputation.

What happens next? Andy Updegrove explains the steps:

Here's how the actual rules under the Directives for handling appeals describe the process:
11.2.2 Upon receipt, the JTC 1 Secretariat shall advise all its P-members of the appeal, and take immediate action, by correspondence or at a meeting, to consider and decide on the appeal, consulting the Secretaries-General in the process.
"Upon receipt" appears to have been interpreted as "after the deadline has passed." Presumably the three NBs involved will now be contacted.
11.2.3 If JTC 1 supports the SC, the P-member who initiated the appeal may either
  • Accept the JTC 1 decision, or
  • Appeal against it.
"Supports the SC" here presumably means that if the Secretaries-General (the "CEOs" referred to by the IEC spokesman) are of the opinion that the appeals do not justify the action(s) requested in the appeals. Given that there have been three appeals, two of which only partially overlap in their objections, and the third of which has not yet been disclosed, there are a variety of possible permutations which may occur entering and exiting this step.
11.3.3 The Secretaries-General shall, following whatever consultations they deem appropriate, refer the appeal together with their comments to the TMB/SMB within one month after receipt of the appeal.
This is in alignment with the spokesman's comments, as quoted in the IDG story.
11.3.4 The TMB/SMB shall decide whether an appeal shall be further processed or not. If the decision is in favour of proceeding, the Chairmen of the TMB/SMB shall form a conciliation panel (see 9.2). The conciliation panel shall hear the appeal and attempt to resolve the difference of opinion as soon as practicable. If the conciliation panel is unsuccessful in its endeavours, it shall so report within three months to the Secretaries-General, giving its recommendations on how the matter should be settled.

... all of which comes down to this:

As with the other rules that have been at issue in the OOXML Fast Track process thus far, those that will apply here are superficially rational - but also superficial, when it comes to detail. As has consistently been the case to date, that means that a great deal is left to the discretion to those in the ISO/IEC hierarchy. What this means is that ultimate control of the resolution remains in the hands of the same individuals, and their colleagues, that made or approved, the decisions in the first instance upon which the appeals are based.

Or in plainer English, they very same folks who brought you OOXML will decide if they did a good job.

OOXML, the apparently unusable standard that not only we, the public, are not allowed to see, but National Bodies have yet to see, despite a set deadline in the rules for them to have it in hand. How odd that it would not be published prior to the deadline for appeals to be filed. Does that mean the deadline isn't really the deadline, since other so-called deadlines have proven so squishy? I don't know, but it makes logical sense that it's unreasonable to expect appeals to be filed regarding a format whose final draft folks haven't seen.

Update 4: Peter Sayer's account of the Venezuela appeal includes the information that the deadline is in fact being broadly interpreted:

On Friday, IEC spokesman Jonathan Buck said: "By the deadline last night, we had received three appeals, from Brazil, India and South Africa."

By Monday, though, the IEC had relaxed its interpretation of the directive: Venezuela's appeal, although filed after May 29, "was filed within the two months of the BRM [ballot resolution meeting] closing so that it is being accepted. (The BRM closed on 29 March 2008 so the interpretation is that the last calendar day of May is being applied)," Buck wrote in an e-mail.

The IEC had already decided to accept Brazil's appeal, which was filed on time but addressed to the chair of JTC 1 rather than to the secretaries general of the IEC and ISO as rules require.

Hence, a reminder of the stated principles in ISO's Code of Ethics about due process and transparency, as well as a reminder that the whole world is watching.

Update: We have the official English translation of the Danish letter [PDF]. The grounds of the complaint are:

  1. Microsoft's Office formats hinder interoperability
  2. XML forms are lacking
  3. The complete specifications text is still not ready
  4. Contradictory formulations
  5. The maintenance of DIS 29500 is not in place

Hinders interoperability! Here's the entire letter:

att: Vice-President Jacob Holmblad

Copenhagen, 30th May 2008

Complaint regarding the certification procedure in Danish Standards

Dear Jacob Holmblad

The Danish Open Source Businsess Association hereby submits a formal complaint regarding the certification procedures after the meetings in Danish Standards committee S-445 (previously S-142/U34) as well as the decision to change the Danish vote to a yes in connection with the treatment of DIS 29500. I write to you in your position as Vice-President for ISO,secondly as CEO for Danish Standards.

The Danish Open Source Business Association informed Danish Standards in a letter of March 22 2008 that the Danish requirements to DIS29500 have not been met. We summarized our points of views in the following five main points:

1. Microsoft's Office formats hinder interoperability
2. XML forms are missing
3. The complete specifications text is still not ready
4. Contradictory formulations
5. The maintenance of DIS29500 is not in place

I would also like to point out that after the round of hearings during the summer of 2007, agreement had been reached in the committee to formulate 168 change proposals and on this basis recommended a "No with comments". In order to change this position, according to Danish Standard's rules, there had to be a consensus in the committee. Furthermore, according to ISO's regulations, the complete specification must be ready at the latest 30 days after the BRM, so that the committee can consult the specification in order to verify to what extent the Danish technical objections were accommodated.

The discussion on the meeting March 26 was based on the unfinished specifications draft and on editorial notes from the BRM. This was far from sufficient to assure the committee that the 168 change proposals had been accommodated. Therefore, as you know, there was a great deal of disagreement during the meeting. Quite simply, we discussed specifications that did not yet exist.

Two months after Danish Standards announced the changed vote, we note that:

  • There never has been agreement in the committee regarding whether the Danish requirements were met
  • The five main points in our letter 22 March 2008 have still not been solved
  • The specification is still not ready, so that we can make certain that the change proposals have been incorporated

On this basis, the Danish Open Source Business Association ascertains that the procedures and the decision conflict with ISO's rules, and the process has caused considerable damage to the reputations of Danish Standards and ISO.

It is highly unusual that there are still no combined specifications, and I would like to bring to your attention the fact that Deputy Director of Danish Standards, Jesper Jerlang, in Danish Computerworld on May 22 admits that ISO's rules have been broken because Danish Standards has not received the final specifications. This is stated in section 13.12 in ISO's JTC 1 directive, which states:

"In not more than one month after the ballot resolution group meeting the SC Secretariat shall distribute the final report of the meeting and final DIS text in case of acceptance."

The process has thus been formally annulled now for 2 months -- since March 29, at which time the specifications should have been sent to the national standardization organizations. The prerequisites for the fast-track procedure no longer exist, and, therefore, I expect that ISO recommence the case.

I also expect that Danish Standards will inform ISO that it wishes ISO to recommence the case. The legitimacy of an ISO standard can only be sustained, when the certification process and foundation can not be called in question. An over-hasty, and therefore probably incorrect completion of one standard can bring other standards and the very system of standards in discredit.

Kind regards

Morten Kjærsgaard
Chairman of OSL


A Reminder: ISO's Code of Ethics & What Happens Next - Update: Venezuela Appeals Also | 298 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here, please....
Authored by: perpetualLurker on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:44 AM EDT

Please put a description in the title!


"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance
like nobody's watching." -- Leroy "Satchel" Paige

[ Reply to This | # ]

Care to discuss a News Pick?
Authored by: perpetualLurker on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:46 AM EDT

Please mention the news pick in the comment...


"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance
like nobody's watching." -- Leroy "Satchel" Paige

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-Topic here, please...
Authored by: perpetualLurker on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:47 AM EDT

And please remember the instructions for HTML links are on the comments


"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance
like nobody's watching." -- Leroy "Satchel" Paige

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO went too far to change the course now
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:06 AM EDT
With the way they conducted the DIS29500 affair, ISO went too far to change the
course now. They would loose their faces if they said they were mistaken. I wish
there was a way to help them get out of this with only minimal loss, but I'm
affraid the damage is too big. They would probably even accept total destruction
of the organisation, in order to protect their personal interests.

My journalist colleague told me that the loss of credibility of ISO and it's
standards seems to be a non-issue both for MS and ISO itself. They just won't
officially admit anything wrong could be happening.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Reminder: The EU is watching :)
Authored by: SilverWave on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:17 AM EDT

Phorm is highly intrusive - it's like the P.O. opening all my letters to see
what I'm interested in, merely so that I can be sent a better class of junk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two immediate problems that I see
Authored by: devil's advocate on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:20 AM EDT
1) What exactly does "ensuring that market needs are the
driver for the development of standards" mean? That can be read as
supporting the way they have handled everything so far.
2) If the same people review what they have done, what do you expect beyond an
affirmation that they did a good job? To say the contrary, that they broke the
rules as alleged, would be an admission that they were at fault.
Putting 1) and 2) together, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the outcome
of these "appeals".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Moving slowly
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:51 AM EDT
This stuff moves slowly. There is still hope in the OOXML case.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Further level of appeals - are they possible?
Authored by: PolR on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:52 AM EDT
I think this reminder of ethics is a good thing.

Here is rule 11.1.1 on rights of appeals.

11.1.1 NBs have the right of appeal
  • To JTC 1 on a decision of an SC;
  • To TMB/SMB on a decision of JTC 1;
  • To the Councils on a decision of the TMB/SMB.
Appeals shall be made within two months after receipt by the P-members of the report of JTC 1 or SC on the relevant meeting or vote by correspondence. The decision of the Councils on any case of appeal is final.
I am not clear where in this process we are. Is it an appeal to JTC 1 of a decision of SC34? Or is it an appeal to TMB/SMB of a decision of JTC 1? If it is the former, then rule 11.2 that applies. If it is the latter, then it is rule 11.3. I say so because of the titles of the rules. Andy Updegrove omits them in his analysis, so I quote them for you.
11.2 Appeal Against an SC Decision

11.3 Appeal Against a JTC 1 Decision

11.4 Appeal Against a Decision of the TMB/SMBs

I don't quote the nitty gritty details of these rules, PJ has some of it in the article. But the rules allow appeals over an appeal. See for instance:
11.2.3 If JTC 1 supports the SC, the P-member who initiated the appeal may either
  • Accept the JTC 1 decision, or
  • Appeal against it.
And repetitively we also have:
11.3.1 Appeals against a JTC 1 decision may be of two kinds:
  • An appeal against an original decision of JTC 1, or
  • An appeal arising out of 11.2.3 above.
So multiple levels of appeals are possible. According to rule 11.1.1 the last level would be the appeal against a TMB/SMB decision to the Councils. I wonder if this is where we can get the arguments heard by new people not previously involved. I think that the very fact the lower levels of appeals are heard by the same folks that brought us the problems should be ground to raise to another level of appeal until some truly independent review is done.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What Happens Next?
Authored by: Ian Al on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 04:58 AM EDT
There may not be an answer.

I have worked in committees and I have also had the responsibility for
documenting and implementing what they have decided. Committees cannot deal with
much detail. They have to make keynote decisions with clarity such that authors
with skill and a detailed knowledge of the topic can produce a full

The contradictions in the ECMA drafts have already been mentioned. I don't think
they would stop the draft being produced and the standard being published. The
standard implementation would be whatever Microsoft decided to select from the
pick-and-mix. As long as the individual elements hang together as implementable
paragraphs, this part of ISO will be happy to publish.

We know that the BRM did not make keynote decisions with clarity. Most of the
output was block-voted by default and no BRM committee expertise was brought to
bear. Much of the technical discussion was truncated and much was ignored. The
6000 page input document turned into an 8000 pages of largely unconsidered
material and the keynote decisions were largely skipped.

If you find a particularly obnoxious mechanic, he will crossthread a UNC bolt
into a similar sized metric nut. Even though the components of the resulting
fixing may be of excellent materials and manufactured to the relevant standards,
the resulting fixing will be of appalling quality and performance and the parts
will not be reusable in an improved device. However, even if the marketing
department insist that the customer demands it, the mechanic will not be able to
thread a ½" bolt into a 3mm nut.

I suspect that the authors are still at work trying to produce a publishable
text, warts and all. I think the challenge of converting 8000 pages of
unmoderated material into a standard of implementable elements has proved too
much. Even if Alex Brown says that it must be done so that his expert opinions
offered to the British Library (I know, a low blow with no evidence) have
credibility, I think the authors are finding it impossible.

So, what happens next? I think that the Microsoft decision to adopt ODF 1.1
tells us that the answer is nothing. How long does it take to thread a ½"
bolt into a 3mm nut? The OOXML standard will never happen. Microsoft will allow
OOXML to be added to the long list of promised vapourware for Windows 7 and
Office 14.

Ian Al

If you are not using Linux, you may be beyond help.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Reminder: ISO's Code of Ethics & What Happens Next
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 05:55 AM EDT

IMHO, the most important failing of the process lies in another part of the quoted text.

ISO parties are committed to:
making their best endeavours to contribute to ISO’s consensus-building mechanisms

The process of asking for a flat "yes" or "no", en masse, for 1,000 items which demanded discussion is so far from a best endeavour at consensus that it can expect a postcard wishing it was here.

Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

If nobody has implemented OOXML...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 08:51 AM EDT
If nobody, including Microsoft, has implemented the "standard" OOXML
"approved" by ISO, then I guess Microsoft cannot advertise MS Office
as a
product that meets internationally accepted file format standards. False
advertisement is illegal in most countries. Moreover, any large governmental
purchasing contract that specifies that the software to be purchased must
adhere to an ISO file format standard might thus automatically exclude any
offers from Microsoft and their MS Office product.

Perhaps this is part of the reason for why Microsoft suddenly has begun talking

about ODF? Cold feet?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Great work, PJ. Thanks n/t
Authored by: mvs_tomm on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 09:09 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are four appeals: Venezuela is the fourth
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 09:17 AM EDT
According to the information that an ISO official sent to a friend, Venezuela
also submitted an appeal. Sorry for not having any reference.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML dead: If you cannot beat them, join them, or EEE
Authored by: Winter on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 09:24 AM EDT
I like to speculate and also like conspiracy theories
(eg, like the South Park vision of 9/11 conspiracies)

Summarizing my view of the OOXML situation. To get OOXML into an ISO standard,
MS had to:

- Extend DIS29500 with every suggested change, but keep all the old errors

- Hand over control over DIS29500 to ISO SC34 and the NBs. Effectively, the
large countries of the EU have extracted control over the standard from MS,
which was their primary objective from the start. If you think MS can outsmart
the French (and German) diplomatic services, you might have to brush up your
recent history. MS currently control SC34, but I expect some
"adjustments" soon.

- Fight such a dirty war that they actually alienated complete governments.

Now MS are stuck with a very questionable ISO standard, which cannot be
implemented, not even by MS, and with several governments that either swore off
OOXML completely (Brazil, China) or are keeping MS to faithfully support the
result of the BRM (Germany). MS feel unable to really support the
non-transitional part of DIS29500 and have delayed it indefinitely.

That is OOXML is a dead horse. MS victory was Pyrrhic. As usual in international
affairs, if you really win big, you deny the loser even the sympathy of the

A clear case of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish ;-)

Next round:

As the existing ODF standard has now become mandatory (according to WTO rules),
MS HAVE to support it. So they will have to get into the game. Naturally, MS
will try to take over control over ODF. That is not possible in OASIS. So they
will try to get control over ODF over to SC34, which they at least can currently
control to some extend.

However, the larger countries have been waken up (if needed) to the importance
of document standards. Countries like France, Germany, China, or Brazil will NOT
let their complete administration kept hostage to some private US interest. I
can remember no example from history where any of these countries ever did forgo
a National Interest of this importance out of free will or a simple bribe.

Neither OASIS nor the more important NBs will help MS to get sole control over
ODF. Certainly not while MS are in the position that they are "down".
Trying to argue that a commission, SC34, that is controlled by parties that have
neither interest nor experience in ODF should take over control from the
organization that actually created and maintained the standard will be hard, to
say the least.

But I am prepared to see a move from (larger) EU members to get some control
over ODF. But the EU is an organization that works with give and take, and not
with carpet bombing.

Just to speculate, a very nice carrot would be to propose to OASIS members that
the EU would mandate ODF as one of the community wide document standards in
return for some control over the direction of the standard. China might get into
some such deal with UOF. This could then be formalized with SC34 (from which
they will purge any effective MS influence).

Remember, MS is not loved by many of its users. They might be envied or feared
by smaller countries. They are neither loved nor feared by larger governmental
bodies outside of the USA. The EU court cases and Chinese-MS "MOU"
showed that clearly.


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 | # ]

Cynical Comments Thread Here
Authored by: artp on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 10:07 AM EDT
Because we know that you want to!

[But it won't clutter up any substantive comments that may be made.]

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

I think ISO should grant fast-track privileges to the W3C and the IETF.
Authored by: billyskank on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 10:31 AM EDT
As I understand it, ISO gave fast-track privilege to Ecma because they thought
that Ecma could develop IT standards more successfully than ISO had in the

If this is correct, then it has manifestly been a monumental mistake. In which
case, this is my proposal. If ISO want a partner to help them develop IT
standards, they should strip Ecma of its fast-track privilege and give it
instead to bodies which have proven their abilities to develop open, workable
standards in the world of IT.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

The ruler's edge
Authored by: PolR on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 12:17 PM EDT
Hilarious. Why should that be the ruler's edge? No one else seems to conform to the directives. It's why they are appealing.
A funny scenario would be the ISO/IEC Secretaries-General dismiss one appeal on the basis that its doesn't conform to the directives and allow the others to proceed. Then they send a message that the directives are really meant to be followed.

Unfortunately, considering the appeal will be ruled by the same bunch that created the problem first, I am afraid a little inconsistency won't stop them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

    A Reminder: ISO's Code of Ethics & What Happens Next - Update: Venezuela Appeals Also
    Authored by: pfusco on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 12:58 PM EDT
    As for me, Im still trying to understand why it takes a full month to
    "ensure" the letter(s) conform to directives.

    only the soul matters in the end

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    UKUUG vs British Standards Industry
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 01:01 PM EDT
    UKUUG is currently waiting for their judicial review case to be brought before a
    judge. if the judge says "yes" then they will get a chance at a
    judicial review.

    the judicial review that they are requesting is that the BSI did not follow its
    procedures in their reviewing of the OOXML standard.

    so, overall, that's now... what... six countries now.

    the main counterargument that the BSI are making is that "even if the
    judicial review goes ahead, it's still a complete waste of time because it's a
    voting process, and the total number of votes is stacked against one vote
    changing (BSI's vote) making any difference".

    however, with _five_ other countries appealing, suddenly that argument is no
    longer absolutely true...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS Alternative intent --> ISO
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:01 PM EDT
    Microsoft had to know that forcing OOXML through fast track would create a
    firestorm of controversy. And they had to have reasonable expectation that they,
    and others, could not and/or would not be able to implement OOXML. So my
    question is why would they pursue standardization of OOXML in the first place?
    One theory might be much more insidious than we have considered. Microsoft hates
    standards because they have to comply with them. ODF is a point in case. The
    more software is standardized the more MS loses control over customer lock-in.
    ODF compliant software provides consumer choice, Microsoft Office provides
    little choice in file formats. Perhaps Microsoft's intent was to so thoroughly
    discredit and if possible destroy ISO's reputation that ISO would have
    difficulty being able to operate as a software standardization organization for
    the foreseeable future? If you cannot defeat your enemy outright destroy or
    damage his infrastructure and he will soon be unable to operate.



    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I wonder
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 02:57 PM EDT
    If South Africa had not started the ball rolling, would we have seen the other

    Are ISO glad to accept the late appeals as it gives them a way to get out of
    their hole?


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • I wonder - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:03 PM EDT
      • I wonder - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 06:16 PM EDT
    ISO and ethics . . .
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:07 PM EDT
    Is an oxymoron without peer.

    - Or -

    Need a standard? Buy one from your nearest ISO dealer.

    M$ did.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Buying Friends
    Authored by: sproggit on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:19 PM EDT
    I'd like to go on record, here and now, to publicly thank Steve Ballmer, Bill
    Gates, the Microsoft Management Team and their top shareholders for the complete
    farce that they have made of the voting process in their attempt to ratify OOXML
    via the ISO fast-track process.

    Now that we see the cracks appearing in the facade, it's interesting to note
    that MS do not appear to be making the same written [and perhaps other]
    inducements to shore up the support that they managed to conjure up to get the
    standard through the original ballot process.

    Do you suppose that it's because they have learned that you don't buy these
    types of friends, you can only rent them for short periods of time? Do you
    suppose that they now realise that it's just completely impractical to keep on
    paying out in the face of sustained resistance? Or could it be something as
    simple as the fact that the mastermind who planned this coup didn't realise that
    there would be an appeals window in which complaints could be lodged?

    Either way, we should all be grateful.

    By acting in this way, Microsoft have called the attention of an even wider
    audience to the way that they are prepared to manipulate behind the scenes to
    get what they want. The EU Commission is already taking intense interest in the
    ISO voting activities.

    But much more than these instant case, many people around the world realise that
    under the shiny, corporate-speak exterior, Microsoft's executives are willing to
    authorise and participate in what seem to be reported as some of the shadiest of
    business practices. Loading national voting bodies with MS-paid representatives
    is simply the equivalent of ballot-box stuffing. If that were a political event
    Microsoft could, if this is as bad as it appears, have been guilty of election

    Now this is interesting because no politician on Earth wants to be associated
    with a company or organisation that is in turn associated with election fraud.

    So the huge miscalculation that Microsoft have just made is to draw attention to
    their practices in front of a wide audience. No politician is going to rush to
    their side in their defence now, because in the US it's election time. So
    there's less chance of some Washington official contacting their opposite number
    in Brussels to have a nice little cosy chat about getting of Microsoft's

    The rigging of the voting process was a master-stroke.

    Thanks, Steve, we appreciate all the hard work you put in there.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Failing Directives and JTC1: SWG-Directives
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:32 PM EDT
    It looks like some directive related issues that played a role in the OOXML
    process are being discussed in SWG-Directives.

    The Meeting Recommendations from the SWG-Directive meeting in March are publicly

    Recommendation 10 references some interesting views of the IEC Central office on
    the Fasttrack process: "if there were changes foreseen there would be no
    natural reason not to submit it to the five-stage process" (public document
    N8670 at

    Recommendation 15 could be relevant, if only the document was available (N9002)

    Recommendation 20 describes *a* way to handle the new P-members that don't care
    to vote after the yes to OOXML.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

      This Groklaw story is in the Slashdot queue
      Authored by: David Gerard on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 03:51 PM EDT
      Here in the Firehose queue. If you have a Slashdot login, please go there and click the "+".

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      US Vote On OOXML = " Don't Push Robert's Rules" It's Not Nice? haha
      Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 04:45 PM EDT
      Here's a few qoutes from the USA's vote on OOXML. Makes one wonder if all the people at these meetings are "Robert's Rlues Of Order" Dullards or whether they just want to be nice and liked:
      In reply to the above comment: I'd rather not go into too much detail on what I was told on a blow by blow basis, but suffice it to say that Microsoft's specific actions were not anticipated. The slides they presented were not made available until after the meeting, nor was the vote presented in advance. It's worth keeping in mind that the standards process isn't run by experienced parliamentarians, and most of the people on these committees get to know each other pretty well over time. In many ways it's more collegial than adversarial, despite competitor tensions, than a strict exercise in Robert's Rules of Order. Also, if you're too adamant in one situation, you'd better really know your rules of order the next time, when you'd like people to cut you a bit of slack.As a result, and especially if you have a few other people to support you, it's often easy to carry things along on a more ad hoc than strict basis.
      LINKEY And these people are protecting "our" interests? hahaha

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      A Reminder: ISO's Code of Ethics & What Happens Next - Update: Venezuela Appeals Also
      Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 06:19 PM EDT

      I clicked on the link to the ZDNet story and this link Microsoft wins battle for OOXML approval was recommended :-)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      The Sounds of Silence
      Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 08:18 PM EDT

      Are all we are hearing from Microsoft so far. Jason Matusow has not updated his
      blog since May 28, and Doug MaHugh hasn't updated his since May 21.

      Bob Sutor on the other hand, appears to be related to the Energizer Bunny.


      [ Reply to This | # ]

      • AB too! - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 03 2008 @ 02:52 AM EDT
      "We do have specific directives under Joint Technical Committee 1 and at no .."
      Authored by: dio gratia on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 08:18 PM EDT
      "... and at no time were processes not followed."
      Having read the ZDNET article, as well as the PC World Business Center article, it would appear that the ISO may have devolved into a political organization, wherein "Communications Director' may be effectively a synonym for spin doctor as described in the press. While procedure(3a) can have a distinct meaning from process(2b), it may be convenient if the reading audience were to assume the are synonymous definition (process (1a), proceeding(2),pr ocedure(2a)).

      Of course, this would be an error on the part of the reader, in that it could be interpreted as the ISO stating a conclusion in advance of the appeals process. It is generally held axiomatic that for a communications director to lie to the press invalidates the ability to carry out the office. A good communications officer might provide the means for the press to provide a more positive 'spin', albeit not necessarily consciously. One could note that the actual title is given as Director of Marketing and Communications (LinkedIn< /a>, lift 07), which could imply that wearing the marketing hat implies postive spin. Now if only the high caliber of the individual holding the office were held by those at all levels of the organization, we wouldn't end up with such controversies.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      wish for a spy
      Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 09:46 PM EDT
      I wish we had an anonymous spy in the ISO who would let us know what really
      happened. Were they bribed, or just incompetent? And what is their strategy

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      • more - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 09:50 PM EDT
      EU, Microsoft, and ODF
      Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 02 2008 @ 10:40 PM EDT
      The EU is investigating whether Microsoft is going to make OOXML truly interoperable with ODF. linky

      [ Reply to This | # ]

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