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Canada Tells Why It Voted No on OOXML & How ISO Must Improve - Updated: Others See Need to Fix ISO
Thursday, April 03 2008 @ 09:26 PM EDT

Canada has its public statement announcing its OOXML vote and why it voted Disapprove with Comments:
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 standard, Information Technology - Office Open XML file formats, Fast Track approved

Date: 2008-04-02

Following the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25-29 February 2008, the international standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats has achieved the required number of votes for approval as an international standard. As indicated in its final position statement, Canada voted to "Disapprove with Comments". Canada was among 10 countries that expressed concern with the Fast Track of ISO/IEC DIS 29500.

Canada says, in effect, that OOXML didn't belong on the fast track, that the quality of the standard isn't yet what is expected of an ISO/IEC standard, and that there are too many unknowns. It suggests ISO fix its procedures so this never can happen again, because it would "bring disrepute to the whole ISO and IEC International Standards process."

Update: How do you like this headline from IEC? IEC & ISO prove openness and consensus maintained in ballot resolution meeting.

So there.

And I am the Queen of Sheba. I can top that though. Want to laugh? Here. From Redmond News:

Andrew Brust, an RDN contributor, Microsoft regional director and chief of new technology at consultancy twentysix New York, said of the process that Microsoft was forced to counter targeted opposition from competitors and open source advocates.

"I think the worst you can say about that effort was that it was necessary to make the vote fair, and it was unfortunate that the OOXML standard could not be judged exclusively on its technical merits," Brust said. "Were it judged that way, without the politics, I think it would have won approval [in the first round of voting], and done so with much less rancor."

hahahha .... [gasp..... choke.... falls on floor struggling for breath] Stop! Stop! I can't breathe. What a funny dude. And let me assure you that that is not the worst you can say about that effort.

Here's a more realistic headline from ComputerWorld's David DeJean, based on Planet Earth as opposed to Planet Marketroid:

"Microsoft wins this OOXML battle, but loses the war"

It looks like that to me, too. Even many of the countries that voted yes or at least moved to Abstain from No said pointblank that OOXML is technically not ready for prime time. Nor were the reasons given for voting Approve technically-based.

Microsoft employees say things, I think, that they hope will advance their careers in-house. No one out here believes a statement like that. It's inspiring, but mainly for parody. Red Hat and ODF Alliance agree people have eyes and can see what happened, as CRN reports:

"Red Hat's legal team issued a statement expressing "disappointment" but not surprise at the ISO's decision. "[OOXML] made it though an unfortunately flawed fast-track ISO approval process," the release states....[The ODF] will continue to be a force in procurement decisions to be reckoned with," the release said. "Government and Enterprises are tired of the lack of choice, lack of innovation, and premium rents from vendor lock-in. We doubt anyone will be confused by this outcome."

The OpenDocument Format Alliance issued a release predicting governments will take a "buyer beware" point of view regarding OOXML and said ... "The process itself brought to the fore OOXML's deficiencies that will prevent its use by public administrations, chief among them that OOXML remains a "community of one" -- undocumented features, IPR restrictions, and features and functionality linked to other Microsoft products that will prevent OOXML's use in other software products," the statement read.

Here's what Mark Shuttleworth thinks, as reported by Paula Rooney on ZDNet:

The International Standards Organization (ISO) did not carry out its responsibility, he claimed. “It’s sad that the ISO was not willing to admit that its process was failing horribly,” he said, noting that Microsoft intensely lobbied many countries that traditionally have not participated in ISO and stacked technical committees with Microsoft employees, solution providers and resellers sympathetic to OOXML. “When you have a process built on trust and when that trust is abused, [ISO] should halt the process.” Shuttleworth

He says he won't "invest in trying to implement a standard that is poorly defined". Why not?

“If we get close to implementing it, Microsoft would move the goal post,” he projects. “Microsoft doesn’t think it’s bound by the standard.”

Compare his clear and forthrightly honest statement with the Microsoft guy. See the difference between Microsoft and FOSS?


Fast Track
Canadian Final Position Statement

Canada has carefully reviewed the results of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML. Fast Track Ballot Resolution Meeting and determined after detailed analysis that Canada will maintain its Disapprove vote.

Canada notes that major enhancements had been made to ISO/IEC 29500 during the Ballot Resolution Meeting, but the general quality of the standard was not yet what was expected of an ISO/IEC Standard, and that there were still too many unknowns.

Canada states that the inappropriate use of the fast track process for this DIS has rendered it impossible to ascertain whether in fact 29500 meets the standard of quality and correctness required in an International Standard.

Canada further recommends that the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Fast Track procedures and processes be reviewed and enhanced to ensure that this situation does not arise again in the future, and bring disrepute to the whole ISO and IEC International Standards process.

Finally, Canada recommends that the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track documents and materials, plus the enhancements made at the Ballot Resolution Meeting be submitted to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 as a New Work item for processing via the normal standards development processes.

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