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OOXML Appeals Rejected
Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:09 PM EDT

I know it will not surprise you to hear that ISO/IEC have rejected the four appeals against OOXML. Here's their press release. Now what? Andy Updegrove:
Under the ISO rules of process, this now paves the way for the as-adopted version of OOXML, now called IS0/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology - Office Open XML, to proceed to publication. That version is substantially different than the current implementation of OOXML in Office 2007, and its text has still not been publicly released by ISO/IEC. According to a joint press release, "this is expected to take place within the next few weeks on completion of final processing of the document." Intriguingly, the press release goes on to say, "and subject to no further appeals against the decision.

That should be hilarious, when they publish it and anyone tries to actually use it. Anyone? Bueller?

Keep in mind that Microsoft's Office 2007 does not implement OOXML. Infoworld May 21, 2008:

On Wednesday, Microsoft said it will not have support for the current ISO specific for OOXML until it releases the next version of Office, code-named Office 14. The company has not said when that software will be available.
No one does. How could they? Why would they?

What really happens next: the complaints lodged with the EU Commission. ISO/IEC decided to go down with the ship.

Some countries involved in the OOXML process filed complaints, but earlier, the Commission had already announced that it would investigate whether "Office Open XML as implemented in Office is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products". Here's a paper, Lost in Translation, that indicates that it is not. The authors make an understandable mistake I hope the EU Commission does not, thinking that Office 2007 implements OOXML, the ISO standard. It does not. OOXML as a standard has not been published yet. I wrote to Mr. Shah, and that will be corrected in the next revision. But take a look at how bad the situation currently is.

Here's the ISO/IEC press release:


ISO and IEC members give go ahead on ISO/IEC DIS 29500


The two ISO and IEC technical boards have given the go-ahead to publish ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML formats, as an ISO/IEC International Standard after appeals by four national standards bodies against the approval of the document failed to garner sufficient support.

None of the appeals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela received the support for further processing of two-thirds of the members of the ISO Technical Management Board and IEC Standardization Management Board, as required by ISO/IEC rules governing the work of their joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology.

According to the ISO/IEC rules, DIS 29500 can now proceed to publication as an ISO/IEC International Standard. This is expected to take place within the next few weeks on completion of final processing of the document, and subject to no further appeals against the decision.

The adoption process of Office Open XML (OOXML) as an ISO/IEC Standard has generated significant debate related to both technical and procedural issues which have been addressed according to ISO and IEC procedures. Experiences from the ISO/IEC 29500 process will also provide important input to ISO and IEC and their respective national bodies and national committees in their efforts to continually improve standards development policies and procedures.

About ISO

ISO is a global network of national standards institutes from 157 countries. It has a current portfolio of more than 17 000 standards for business, government and society. ISO's standards make up a complete offering for all three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social. ISO standards provide solutions and achieve benefits for almost all sectors of activity, including agriculture, construction, mechanical engineering, manufacturing, distribution, transport, medical devices, information and communication technologies, the environment, energy, quality management, conformity assessment and services.

About IEC

The IEC is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology". IEC Standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology and marine energy to mention just a few. Wherever you find electricity and electronics, you find the IEC supporting safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC also manages conformity assessment schemes that certify whether equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards.


OOXML Appeals Rejected | 175 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off Topic Stuff
Authored by: RLP on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:18 PM EDT
Goes here!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here!
Authored by: RLP on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:19 PM EDT
If any.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Scoffs here...
Authored by: webster on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:20 PM EDT
...with links.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: RLP on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:21 PM EDT
Or picky news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML Appeals Rejected
Authored by: rsi on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:25 PM EDT
This is nothing short of OUTRAGEOUS!!!!

It is time for a COMPLETE restructuring of the ISO, both the organization and
the standardization processes, from the ground up!!!

Hopefully, the EU Commission will step in and be able to correct this fiasco!
Their investigation of Microsoft should now include M$'s manipulation of the ISO
for their own gains, and the ISO's inability or unwillingness to stand up to
M$'s intimidation!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

My only surprise
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:27 PM EDT
Is that the original participants were so weak that they couldn't pick up a copy
of Robert's Rules of Order, and shut down the vote through a tabling motion or
similar mechanism.

It's done all the time - not one single techie appeared to know it was even
possible. And the result? The ISO shills drove the M$ truck right down the
middle of the sidewalk. Congrats to the four companies that protested (too
little, too late). And for the rest of us? Now we know what road kill feels

[ Reply to This | # ]

What now is we get on with it.
Authored by: billyskank on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:34 PM EDT
Standardisation by Corporation is not the future.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Has ISO become the Irrelevant Standards Organization
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 02:39 PM EDT
I think it has. No one will bother trying to standardize on technology with
this group anymore.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML Appeals Rejected - very encouraging news!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 03:43 PM EDT
Since this has to be the absolutly the lowest point the standards committee can
go, we can look forward to nothing but improvement from this day forward.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML Appeals Rejected
Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 03:54 PM EDT
OK, so it looks like MS win again - not on honour, ethics, morals or any other
qualities other than the total opposite of what I have just stated.

There is no way to beat them at all in the way current corrupt high-fliers get
bought out like this.

Sure, a synical comment by me, but by golly I cannot believe it from ISO.


[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML Appeals Rejected - rejected standard
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 04:02 PM EDT
"Office Open XML as implemented in Office is sufficiently interoperable
with competitors' products."

There is no Office Open XML implementation.

Microsoft won't implement it. No competitive product will implement it. Not
only that, but it is a bad standard, as documented in the appeals! A whole
bunch of money wasted on crud!!!

The ISO may accept the standard, but in the real world it is in fact rejected.

The first time Microsoft advertises that MS Office implements the Office Open
XML standard, I'm filing a false advertising complaint with the FTC.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lost in Translation
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 06:12 PM EDT
So what language do shills speak?

>We consider several implications of these results including
> the lack of perfect compatibility between implementations,
> the lack of good implementations outside of Windows,
> and the surprisingly good overall performance of OOXML implementations.

Did they find good implementations of ODF inside of Windows?
How many OOXML implementations did they test?

The page appears to be abstract only, unless my download
skills have suddenly gone on holiday...

[ Reply to This | # ]

OOXML Appeals Rejected
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 06:28 PM EDT
Excellent news. Microsoft did not get the standard they wanted (i.e. with no
change) despite their concerted efforts. IBM did not get the standard blocked as
they wanted despite their concerted efforts. Thousands of people were involved
in review and real changes were made. The fears of people that OOXML would
prevent ODF's momentum have proved groundless. Lots of good side-effects along
the way, such as other technologies made more public, though never enough.

Also, more people now understand that JTC1 standards are voluntary, and a
country or government is under no compulsion to adopt it. And they understand
that standards are frequently works in progress, with ODF being the poster-boy
for this.

And there are now hundreds more people with some experience in standards
committee work. And many will realize that when they are in a committee, the
outcome is largely out of their control, and grandstanding just wastes time. And
they will realize that issues like not having enough time to review a standard
over the course of more than a year is their shortcoming, not someone else's.
And they will see how monumentally counter-productive it is to bandy about
libels, hyperbole and slurs without evidence: it utterly destroys credibility.

But most of all, I think people will see that you don't win things at ISO on a
technicality or by confrontation. You have to convince the national technical
committees, going through each issue. The technical committees have to
demonstrate to the National Bodies that they are open-minded enough for the NBs
to have confidence in them and accept their recommendation. And once there is a
clear super-majority to accept a standard, it takes more than procedural
quibbles about preparatory meetings to overturn the NB result. That is what
happened here, not some conspiracy.

Now, finally, I hope the people who are thinking "I wasted so much of my
time" will accept the responsibility they they chose to spend the time
themselves, when they could have been promoting ODF. And I hope some will start
to doubt the echo chamber..

As I have said from the start, it is very hard to block a standard (for which
there is a clear market requirement) at ISO: the process is not remotely geared
to win/lose but win/win (i.e. if you try to make someone else lose and are not
willing to compromise, you will surely lose; instead the process encourages even
rivals to work to improve the texts.) And if the technology is poor or
underdescribed, that is all the more reason that it should be put through the
standardization/maintenance process, if it is a significant technology.

Now it is finished, my advise (which I am sure everyone is eager to hear) is to
get involved in all the things that ODF needs to be a world-beater: QA,
internationalization, conformance, conversion, OASIS, KOffice, etc. Be a
builder not an armchair complainer.

Cheers, and thanks for the fun over the last year
Rick Jelliffe

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nice FUD
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 06:48 PM EDT

Nice FUD, citing the "Lost in Translation" paper's results for OOXML, but not mentioning the nearly identical results in the same paper for ODF. Also nice FUD, saying Office doesn't currently implement OOXML, yet ignoring that the deviations in current Office from OOXML are quite similar to the deviations of OpenOffice from the ODF spec.

[ Reply to This | # ]

does it actually matter?
Authored by: skip on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 07:01 PM EDT
Given that even Microsoft have all but abandoned this 'standard', and no-one
else can implement it (certainly not if Microsoft themselves haven't, at least
not completelly), how important is it anyway?

Ok, its bad that its been approved, but I'm wondering if all this rejection is,
is an attempt to save face. I rather suspect that if they rejected it, there
might be some stories emerging of unofficial payments or 'incentives' going to
people who should have been judging it on the merits.

It seems clear that everyone is going to adopt ODF, even Microsoft are moving in
that direction.

I say let them have their hollow victory, and then the world can move on to more
important things, why they try to fool themselves that they didn't just blow
millions and create a lot of bad feeling just to get what is in the end, a
useless 'standard' approved.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nu, Pogodi!
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 07:55 PM EDT
Hey, everybody!

So, M$ thinks their pursuit has paid off and they have finally gotten their

1) A standard they themselves are not implementing and won't in the near

2) The current form hilariously broken.

3) NATO going ODF.

At this point, I'm simply content to just point and laugh. I'm sorry, but M$'
nasty shenanigans have been too well documented. I'm viewing the world the way
I do smokers -- you want to, that's your business, go ahead. But don't say you
had no idea things would turn out the way they will.

I would suggest a new name for UhOhXML -- WYGIWYD. What You Get Is What You

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO standards means zilch?
Authored by: BarbieLee on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 09:30 PM EDT
ISO stands for what? In the construction trades billions of dollars have been
spent meeting ISO standards. Companies brag about having met ISO standards or
being ISO compliant after years of hard work in the lab, in the field, and in
the office meeting all the requirements.

I always felt it was a waste of manpower (woman power)to try and become ISO
compliant. If the electrical components met specs, if the valves met specs, if
any parts met specs what was the purpose of being ISO compliant? To me it was
like taking out a second driver's license because everyone thought the first
driver's license didn't carry enough status symbol.

Sometimes we can get too caught up in our own technical specifications thinking
that is all that matters and the actual product that does the real work is

[ Reply to This | # ]

Now, enough evidence for Neelie Kroes?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 15 2008 @ 09:37 PM EDT

I would like to think Kroes was waiting for ISO's final rejection
of the appeals before acting. Now that that the rejection has come,
I hope it clears the way for something like what the member of the
Green Party in Germany proposed -- a five-year ban on Microsoft
from bidding on EU government contracts -- and that's just on the
civil side.

On the criminal side, it's what we all suspect: that ISO officials
and others involved in greasing OOXML's path took bribes from

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corruption. It's time for a alternative
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 16 2008 @ 02:20 AM EDT
ISO shown themselves to be unaccountable and irresponsible. The ISO stamp now
means one thing only: corruption!

It's time to create an alternative organization. Follow <a
l">Jomar Silva</a> lead.

Let them rot alone!

[ Reply to This | # ]

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