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No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:12 PM EDT

I've been puzzling over something in the ISO press release announcing that the four appeals against OOXML as an ISO standard, from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela, would go no further. In the press release, it said this:
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.

Wait a second. What's that "subject to no further appeals against the decision" part? What rules would those be? When I read the JTC1 Directives, Edition 5, Version 3.0 [PDF], I see in the section on appeals another step you can take if the TMB/SMB decide not to proceed with your appeal, which is what just happened:

11.4 Appeal Against a Decision of the TMB/SMBs

An appeal against a decision of the TMB/SMB shall be submitted to the Secretaries-General with full documentation on all stages of the case.

The Secretaries-General shall refer the appeal together with their comments to the members of the Councils within one month after receipt of the appeal.

The Councils shall make their decision within three months.

So, ask your lawyer, but I read that as saying a denial by the TMB/SMB is *not* necessarily the last word, no matter what the press release said, if an NB wishes to bring the appeal to the next level, which would be to the "Secretaries-General" and "the Council".

Who's that? How does that work? I've done some digging, and here's the joke. Three of the appealing NBs are listed as members of the Council. Again, ask your lawyer, but here's what I've found.

Here's the ISO Council:

The operations of ISO are governed by the Council, consisting of the Officers and eighteen elected member bodies.

Council appoints the Treasurer, the twelve members of the Technical Management Board, and the Chairmen of the policy development committees. It also decides on the annual budget of the Central Secretariat.

In 2008, the member bodies elected to the Council are the following:

ABNT Brazil (2009)

AENOR Spain (2009)

AFNOR France (2008)

ANSI USA (2008)

BIS India (2009)

BSI United Kingdom (2009)

DIN Germany (2008)

DS Denmark (2008)

DSM Malaysia (2008)

INNORPI Tunisia (2009)

JISC Japan (2009)

KEBS Kenya (2009)

MSA Malta (2008)

NEN Netherlands (2009)

SABS South Africa (2008)

SAC China (2009)

SPRING SG Singapore (2008)

SUTN Slovakia (2008)

The Council is chaired by the President if he chooses to do so, or otherwise by the Vice-President (policy).

I'm thinking the folks walking on the sunny side of the street have not yet turned over every stone available to them. Yoohoo, India. Brazil. South Africa. Um... Malaysia. Are you reading all the rules?

There is also a standing committee on strategy within the ISO Council, with this purpose: "To advise Council on appropriate policy and strategic matters, and to raise any related issues." I don't see the members of that committee listed.

What about "the Secretaries-General"? Here's the ISO contact page. ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and the mailing address, telephone, and Fax numbers are on that page. Here's the page on the ISO "Principal Officers". Not that ISO makes it easy to figure anything out. It's all like wading through pea soup, which keeps getting stirred this way and then that.

Rob Weir has a fascinating explanation about how the appeals vote was set up. If you can stand up in front of an audience and explain it after reading it, I'll take my hat off to you. He does the clearest of anything I've seen, and what is very interesting is his tour of how other standards bodies handle appeals and how consensus can be defined, which started me thinking about how to set up a process to prevent, or at least make more difficult, the kind of stacking problems ISO had.

Here's the IEC Central Office. And here's the ISO/IEC Information Centre website, and you can get the ISO annual report from this page.

There's also a dewy-eyed description of the standards process, but we saw it play out in real life, so, fair warning, it might curl your lip.

I suppose it's possible they've changed the rules since that referenced version of the Directives, but I note that Section 1.2, General provisions, of the Directives says:

These Directives shall be complied with in all respects and no deviations can be made without the consent of the Secretaries-General.
So... I wonder? Were the ad hoc changes made to the process, as outlined in some of the OOXML appeals, consented to in every case by the Secretaries-General? I guess if the appeals go higher, we'll find out.

Here's a graphic of the ISO structure, if you are curious. This page on the ISO system, Governance and operations, tells us:

ISO’s orientation is guided by a Strategic Plan approved for a five-year period by the ISO members. The ISO members, ultimate representatives of ISO for their own countries, are divided in three categories: member bodies (full members), correspondent members and subscriber members. Only member bodies have the right to vote.

The General Assembly, which meets annually, consists of a meeting of the Principal Officers of ISO and delegates nominated by the member bodies. Correspondent members and subscriber members may attend as observers. The Principal Officers include the President who is a prominent figure in standardization or in business, the Vice President (policy), the Vice President (technical management), the Treasurer, and the Secretary-General. The General Assembly’s agenda includes, inter alia, actions related to the ISO annual report, the Strategic Plan with financial implications, and the Treasurer’s annual financial status report on the ISO Central Secretariat.

The ISO Statutes stipulate that, while the General Assembly is the ultimate authority of the Organization, most of the governance functions of ISO are performed by the Council in accordance with the policy laid down by the member bodies. The Council meets twice a year and its membership is rotated to ensure that it is representative of ISO's membership. All member bodies are eligible for appointment/election to the Council. Under the Council, there are a number of policy development committees to provide strategic guidance for the standards’ development work on cross-sectoral aspects. They are: CASCO (conformity assessment); COPOLCO (consumer policy), and DEVCO (developing country matters). The policy development committees are open to all member bodies and correspondent members.

The Technical Management Board (TMB) reports to Council, and is itself responsible for the overall management of the technical work, including for a number of strategic and technical advisory groups. Member bodies are eligible for appointment/election to the TMB in accordance with a set of criteria established by the Council.

Operations are managed by the Secretary-General (chief executive officer) who reports to the Council. The Secretary-General is based at the ISO Central Secretariat in Geneva (Switzerland) with a compact staff which provides administrative and technical support to the ISO members, coordinates the decentralized standards' development programme, and publishes the output. The ISO Central Secretariat also acts as the secretariat of the governing bodies, policy development committees and their subsidiary bodies.

So, ask your lawyer, but that looks like the X on the map. "The Technical Management Board reports to the Council." So how about that? Loved the comical sentence about only Members getting to vote. Rules, schmules.

I also note this section on periodic review:

15.3 Periodic Review

15.3.2 On request by an NB or the Secretaries-General and in any case not more than five years after the publication of the most recent edition of a standard, each IS for which JTC 1 is responsible shall be reviewed by JTC 1 with a view to deciding (by a majority of the P-members voting in a meeting or by correspondence) whether it should be:

  • Confirmed;

  • Revised;

  • Declared as stabilised;

  • Withdrawn.

Standards which have previously been declared as stabilized are not subject to the periodic review; however, each Sub Committee shall periodically review a current list of its own stabalised standards to ensure that they still belong in stabilised status.

The periodic review of a standard shall include the review of any subsequently approved amendments or corrigenda. The publication dates of amendments or corrigenda do not affect the timing of the periodic review. The review shall include an assessment of the degree to which the standard has been applied in practice....

I'd certainly love to hear about OOXML being applied in practice. So, even ignoring the creative possibilities of periodic review, defined so vaguely one could, I think, ask for one at any time, unless I've misunderstood what ISO has on its website, which is always possible, I see another possible step in the appeals process.


No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4? | 158 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:32 PM EDT
Oh joy! Another chance to see Redmond crooks try to fudge the rules on one
hand, and claim allegiance to ISO on the other. Sounds like a replay of the ISO
disk standard mess foisted on users by Redmond. This time with a light turned

I hope one of the four countries has the courage to play the card - it will be
VERY interesting to see how high corruption at ISO goes, or whether there's a
governing group as fed up with the Redmondians abuses, and the impact on the ISO
reputation as the rest of the decent people on Earth.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: PolR on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:35 PM EDT
I think South Africa should also be highlighted as a council member.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Thread
Authored by: PolR on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:36 PM EDT
You know the drill.

Follow the important stuff. below the posting box please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks here please.
Authored by: PolR on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:38 PM EDT
And remember to place the title of the news pick in your comment title please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: PolR on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 11:50 PM EDT
The councils are a group of national standard bodies. Microsoft has shown skills
at subverting national standard bodies. But I notice India, Brazil and South
Africa are all there. And Malaysia as well as China don't cave in easily to
Microsoft either.

On the other hand I also see a larger number of NBs that have been owned. But
still, it may be worth a try, if only to show how subverted the process is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Get OpenDocument out of the ISO
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 12:12 AM EDT
Being "standardized" by such a tainted organization is
no good. Being controlled by it is worse. Let's get our
own standard removed. Perhaps some other organization
(IETF, IEEE, W3C) is more deserving. Perhaps we should
just go it alone.

Let the ISO be a joke. We don't need their now-meaningless
stamp of approval. They hurt us more than they help us,
and they need us more than we need them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

answer to a question
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 12:39 AM EDT
Q: "What's that 'subject to no further appeals against the decision' part?
What rules would those be?"

A: Whatever rules they want, or don't want. They have demonstrated this amply.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 01:02 AM EDT
In the history of computing, M$ will be seen as a big flash in the pan, a fire
than burnt down and smoked up the world.
But...time moves on. ISO, IEEE, W3C, and others are not good.

All it takes is Google, or some enlightened group or even individuals, to
release great working stuff. It can happen.
You can not compete in the new IT field without top notch people. M$ does not
attract or retain talent to use their systems.

Someday, the DOD will wake up and get the USA back in the game. IT is like
speach and education, critical to the national security of the country.
Someday, the NSA will wake up and get the USA back in the game...
Someday, the people of the USA will get back in the game.
None of the above happens with M$ in the game.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can't People Read? Or Is It Something Else?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 01:24 AM EDT

Why did you - just now - have to point out what everyone involved in the OOXML process - needed to know? There are responsibilities that go with attending any meeting, as a voting member. As I have pointed out before - some people let themselves be steamrollered in the OOXML meetings, by not even understanding "Robert's Rules".

So .. there are now two possibilities to the above ineptitude. One, that that some people are meek and let themselves be bullied. Or two, ..

[ Reply to This | # ]

wiggle room for ISO
Authored by: grouch on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 02:32 AM EDT

On request by an NB or the Secretaries-General and in any case not more than five years after the publication of the most recent edition of a standard, [...]

So far as I can see, they haven't even published the final draft of DIScordant 29500. Therefore, no "request by an NB" for a review will be tolerated.

The appeals being swept under the floating rules rug does not surprise me. The process for dismissing appeals is somewhat akin to having SCOG pass judgment on whether SCOG's cases are legitimate.

-- grouch

GNU/Linux obeys you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Only members may vote"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 03:55 AM EDT
Well, easy. Since the MS shills are all "members", they get to vote.
Anyone who's reasonable isn't allowed because they are not "members"
they are members.

Just as well PJ doesn't allow swearing. Two words had to get quotes around

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 04:27 AM EDT
Every time I read this, I see it saying that publication will happen if there
are no further appeals, not the publication is cannot be subjected to further

[ Reply to This | # ]

Right of appeal to the Supreme Soviet
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 04:46 AM EDT

Sounds about the same.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO guilty of deliberate fraud?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 07:16 AM EDT
The ISO is planning to sell copies of the ISO 29500 standard and the ISO label
branding, which people and organisations assume means the standard and any
products so labelled comply with the ISO's published rules and guidelines for
certification, especially those about ISO standards being independently
implementable by multiple vendors, and that they should be vendor neutral, and
that the standard would be fully documented, and that adequately watertight
covenants would be provided for any patents from those submitting the standards
to ISO that allow this to happen.

From what I can see, ISO is perpetrating a massive fraud on the world. What is
more, their committees handling OOXML contradictions, objections and the
appeals, seem to be willfully and repeatedly committing abd recommitting this

I really can't see why ISO and members in the ISO committee cannot be held
criminally liable for fraud. If a commercial testing company fraudulently and
intentionally certified concrete strength as compliant with the specification
when they weren't, they would be prosecuted for fraud, and possibly jailed. In
ISO's case the fraud is much worse, as at each step many people have pointed out
what ISO was not be doing, and ISO did it anyway and repeatedly did it with
deliberate and single minded intent - presumably because they thought they were
not accountable to anyone, including the law in any of the countries in which
they sell their standards, and which provide them support in terms of personnel
and finances.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 07:38 AM EDT
Of course, the National Bodies on the Councils are largely the same National
Bodies who sent delegations to the BRM and voted to accept OOXML as amended by
the BRM.

Also, even on the now fairly slim hope of any successful appeals, most outcomes
would not be the withdrawal of IS29500.

I would expect that almost any appeal that relates to fixes in the text would be
dealt with by referring the proposals back to the maintenance process at SC34:
the councils are not technical committees and won't make changes outside their
competence or where there is already a process set up.

For example, a proposal like "the name should be changed" would get
sent down to SC34, and scheduled so that a new work item for the same standard
with a different name and number was proposed (and if voted for by SC34 NBs) the
next text would come out as a draft of that, but again the proposing National
Body would have to convince the other NBs about why it was necessary and more
important than other issues.

Issues that relate to procedure would be added to the Council agendas, but not
necessarily dealt with by the meeting(s) discussing the appeals. What the
meetings would be most interested in would be proof of malfeasance or conspiracy
enough to render the votes of the other NBs invalid. And appealing a ballot that
has succeeded rather than a ballot that has failed will probably be difficult
too, given the bias in the process towards getting standards rather than
preventing them.

(I was told, by the way, that any National Body can make an appeal about any
standard it likes at any time, to JTC1 or SC34 even apart from the appeals
process on approval of the standard, and apart from the Defect Report and
maintenance process, and apart from the five year reviews. All it needs is some
new and pressing issue that it can convince other NBs about, and convince them
that the issue will not or cannot be addressed by the existing processes.)

Rick Jelliffe

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 08:02 AM EDT

What makes you think OOXML will be reviewed in 5 years? How could it be any
different than, "oh yes, MS Office. Still has 90 percent of the Office
Software Market. That standard is still good."?

Color me cynical!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Likely voting on the Council
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 08:43 AM EDT
Based on the vote tallies at Rob Weir's site, here's the way we could expect the Council to swing, assuming everyone on the TMB filled out the ballot in accordance with their objectives (which is a big assumption, I know)...

ABNT Brazil (2009) BR Process
AENOR Spain (2009) ES No Process
AFNOR France (2008) FR No Process
ANSI USA (2008) US No Process
BIS India (2009) IN Process
BSI United Kingdom (2009) GB Process
DIN Germany (2008) DE No Process
DS Denmark (2008) DK No Process
DSM Malaysia (2008) MY Unknown
INNORPI Tunisia (2009) TN Unknown
JISC Japan (2009) JP No Process
KEBS Kenya (2009) KE Unknown
MSA Malta (2008) MT Unknown
NEN Netherlands (2009) NL Process
SABS South Africa (2008) ZA Process
SAC China (2009) CN Process
SPRING SG Singapore (2008) SG Unknown
SUTN Slovakia (2008) SK Unknown

That's 6 for processing the appeals, 6 against, and 6 unknown.

[ Reply to This | # ]

expected to take place... subject to...
Authored by: hardmath on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 11:52 AM EDT

Not withstanding the absurdity of having voted ISO adoption of a
"standard" which is still in flux, the way I read this part of the ISO
press release is that their near term schedule for publishing a final (initial)
version of the OOXML standard is conditioned on there being no further appeal of
the adoption decision.

I think implicitly it recognizes, rather than denies, the possibility of further
appeal at this time.

regards, hm

The time has come, The Darlus said, to squawk of many things.
Of Unixware and System V, and bankruptcy stock delistings.
(to be continued...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Only Members getting to vote
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 12:53 PM EDT
Loved the comical sentence about only Members getting to vote. Rules, schmules.
PJ, I'm not 100% sure what this remark was directed at. Were you trying to make some sort of statement about the voting at the BRM?

I agree that the BRM was a sham, but making fun of a sentence about only members being allowed to vote doesn't seem to apply since only members were allowed to vote at the BRM, but they allowed P and O members to vote (They are both subsets of "Member"), while some directives seem to say that only P members shuld have been allowed to vote.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OK. An appeal under 11.4. And then what?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19 2008 @ 04:05 PM EDT
Another vote?

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Further Appeals on OOXML? What About 11.4?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 21 2008 @ 07:47 PM EDT
I feel really betrayed by ISO. This is the top most level of pretty much the
whole world and still, corruption is tearing it apart. It's really sad and we
need a new free organization.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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