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Counter-Claims On Flaws In OOXML Meeting 96

Posted by kdawson
from the what-went-on-behind-closed-doors dept.
ericatcw writes "Critics have charged that last week's ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) to decide the fate of changes to Office Open XML standards proposal was too perfunctory and deviated from accepted ISO practices, possibly in an attempt to smooth the passage of the Microsoft format. This week, the ISO 'convener' of the BRM disputed those charges, saying that voting to dispose of 900 changes to the spec at once and allowing 'O' Observer countries to vote were the correct moves. ISO released a statement backing him up. Also, Patrick Durusau, editor of the competing OpenDocument Format specification and a late convert to OOXML's passage, also said that claims the process was flawed were overstated."
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Counter-Claims On Flaws In OOXML Meeting

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  • by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:10PM (#22689246)

    This OOXML standardization process was actually flawed from the begining.

    It wasn't finished when ECMA submitted it to ISO for standardization (flaw 1). It was submitted as a fast-track process, which is clearly not appropriate, and ISO passed the fast-tracking anyway (flaw 2), the first vote was completely corrupted, with banana republics joining as "P" (as in "participating") members one or two weeks before the vote (flaw 3), even though the first vote raised more than 3,000 issues, they went ahead with the fast-tracking (flaw 4), all of them to be discussed and fixed at a 5 week meeting behind closed doors (flaw 5), where all 1,000 corrections were supposed to be discussed and agreed by consensus, but 900 of them were voted instead (flaw 6).

    These are only some of the flaws of the process itself, not to mention the flaws of the text or of the format itself (issues with dates before 1900, unnecessary high complexity, bit-masks instead of XML, using proprietary formats for images [VML, DrawingML] and equations [OOML] instead of SVG and MathML).

    I hope at least that sanity will prevail until the end of the month, and that the fast-tracking of this standard will be gloriously dropped!

    • by Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:27PM (#22689312)
      Here:

      http://consortiuminfo.org/ [consortiuminfo.org]

      And Here:

      http://www.groklaw.net/ [groklaw.net]

      Enjoy the links. I've been reading groklaw.net for about 5 years now. Worth every minute. I've been watching the OOXML/ODF process since the state of Massachusetts started talking about using some other format than MS Office. Dave Berlind broke the story on ZDNet.com of all places. I really enjoyed watching Microsoft and their allies work themselves up into a lather over the whole thing.

      Seems that once governments started to think about lock-in, MS got interested in interoperability. I guess MS is really worried about shareholder lawsuits with claims that they didn't do *everything* they could to maintain share value. MS doesn't seem to get that the question for governments is how to maintain their sovereignty instead of MS shareholder value.
      • by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:38PM (#22689368)

        I also like Rob Weir's blog at http://www.robweir.com/blog/ [robweir.com]

        Seems that once governments started to think about lock-in, MS got interested in interoperability.

        Yeah, but it's Microsoft's way to interoperate, as usual... If they were really interested in interoperability, they would have implemented ODF as a first-class citizen in Office already.

    • It wasn't broken until Microsoft specifically set out to break it, but ISO is screwed now doesn't have bylaws which allow it to fix itself. Microsoft has put it's finger on a button which tones the death bell for ISO, everyone is now in full damage control mode to disguise that fact ... but it's all in vain. If you give very small countries with corrupt governments disproportional voting power in international bodies your process will get corrupted. Look at FIFA.
      • by mpe (36238) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @09:55AM (#22692170)
        If you give very small countries with corrupt governments disproportional voting power in international bodies your process will get corrupted.

        Corrupt governments are not only found in small countries. If anything people in small countries appear more likely to accept that their governments are corrupt.
        • Oh boy, they accept that their countries are corrupt, rah. Maybe that's why they're still corrupt.

          But that's not the point, and that's not even the kind of corruption the parent was talking about.

          Small countries are numerous. And small. The properties go hand-in-hand Therefore, those that can be bought, can be bought relatively cheaply. For the amount of money Microsoft spends on politicians in the US to keep the FTC off it's back, it can buy the votes of a few dozen small countries if those countries
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      You flaws 1 and 2 also applied to the ODF ISO standardization. If ODF had been subjected to the same level of scrutiny as OOXML, it would also have hit your flaws 4 and 5 and 6. But it wasn't subject to such scrutiny. so sailed through, with the knowledge that it could be finished in later revisions. (And it needed fixing...see the massive changes in ODF 1.2 and compare to 1.0).

      So why is Microsoft being required to operate under different rules? People seem to want theirs to be flawless before allowing i

      • People seem to want theirs to be flawless before allowing it to be an ISO standard--a requirement no one else has been subject to.

        Microsoft's covenants only cover this version of MSOOXML. Once the competing format is extinguished, MS will exercise it's patents and lock computer users back into their monopoly.

        Making this version flawless means the format won't need to be revised as soon and consumers will be able to delay the inevitable shafting a little longer.

      • by filbranden (1168407) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:49AM (#22690666)

        You flaws 1 and 2 also applied to the ODF ISO standardization.

        Not true. ODF standardization by ISO didn't use the fast-tracking process, it was done by the PAS (Publicly Available Specification), which allows the appropriate time for scrutiny of a standard, differently of a fast-tracking process, which is supposed to ratify a de facto standard, which OOXML isn't at all. If you want more details, read Fast Track versus PAS [robweir.com].

        Also, from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], you can see that the work on ODF started in December 2002 in OASIS, it was approved by OASIS as a standard in May 2005, was submitted as a PAS to ISO in November 2005 and "after a six-month review period, on May 3, 2006 OpenDocument unanimously passed its six-month DIS ballot in JTC1, with broad participation, after which the OpenDocument specification was approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006". If that's not enough scrutiny, I don't know what is.

        (And it needed fixing...see the massive changes in ODF 1.2 and compare to 1.0)

        Not true. The changes in newer versions of ODF are evolution of the standard. New features are being introduced. Version 1.1 introduced accessibility [wikipedia.org] features. Version 1.2 introduces metadata [robweir.com] capabilities, which allows the use of ODF in the semantic web.

        So why is Microsoft being required to operate under different rules?

        Actually, Microsoft is playing by their own rules, but not in the sense you imply. The rules for fast-tracking seem to have been written [groklaw.net] specially for OOXML.

        People seem to want theirs to be flawless before allowing it to be an ISO standard--a requirement no one else has been subject to.

        You're making a lot of false statements on ODF, I wish you could back them out. You base your whole line of thought on the assumption that OOXML is following the same process than ODF, which is completely false, as all the links I included here will show. Agreed, the links are from ODF backers, but it's clear that Microsoft wouldn't start making these comparisons, it only shows how they're abusing a process to have their way.

        However, even if Microsoft would submit it as a PAS, after reviewing and finishing it in ECMA, and even if they didn't use dirty tricks to try to approve their standard, it should never be considered for standardization anyway! The thing about standards is that, unless everybody uses the same standard for the same purpose, they're irrelevant. They only solve problems if they're adopted. There already is a standard for office documents, it's ODF.

        Instead of promoting their own, on the basis that it provides legacy compatibility (fallacy [homembit.com], otherwise there would be tables on how to convert binary documents), and that standards should compete (fallacy, products should compete, they should all use the same standard so that you can move from one product to the other and take all your documents with you, you would choose products based on features and would not be locked into any vendor), Microsoft should instead just adopt ODF.

        The argument that ODF is insufficient for MS Office is a fallacy as well, because ODF supports extensions, and for versions 1.1 and 1.2 (or 1.3, there's still time!) Microsoft could indicate exactly what they think is needed in ODF to support conversion from legacy formats. Microsoft is part of OASIS, they were actually invited to cooperate on ODF when the process started, but they refused. ODF proponents would certainly be interest

        • by mike260 (224212)

          Of course, as long as Microsoft wouldn't suggest inserting flags in ODF to make dates work wrong, or to force formatting bugs that existed in a specific product from 10 years ago, you have to agree that that's ridiculous.

          Actually you do have to deal with the date thing somehow, else old spreadsheets potentially break on conversion to OOXML. Unless you want spreadsheets to silently start displaying COMPLETELY WRONG dates in certain weird cases, there's no way around it. And no, you can't compensate for it on import/export.

    • As PJ commented:

      "So much for an open standard. I have a question for the ISO. Have all prior meetings been run like this? In the deepest shade you can find? You know they have not, and I know they have not."

      http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080305124744293 [groklaw.net]

    • all of them to be discussed and fixed at a 5 week meeting behind closed doors (flaw 5)

      I believe that if you check that out it was a 5 day not 5 week meeting. Which of course make the flaw even greater.

      From a PC World article on the topic.

      http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;619140964 [idg.com.au]

      Delegates from 32 national delegations that attended the ISO's five-day Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) decided to abandon the required individual review of 900 of 1,100 comments -- or dispositions -- that were file

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:13PM (#22689254) Journal
    So we have more than just allegations of companies being bribed to take up membership and vote for OOXML. Those same new members are conspicuous absentees when it came to voting for other matters.

    And now this? The stench of corruption is unbearable.
    • by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:18PM (#22689270)

      I also read yesterday that US was advised to vote "yes" by INCITS [computerworld.com], despite of what the US delegates and the HoD Frank Farance told about the BRM on the media.

      Because the countries raised issues in alphabetic order, and the second round wasn't even completed, US delegates could raise only one issue for discussion. And yet, they recommend that the text is good enough for approval. Unbelievable. As you said, it really smells. Bad.

      • OOXML by Microsoft? Isn't that the company that was facing anti-trust litigation world wide all those years ago? What the hell are they still doing around?

        *sigh*
        • Say NO to Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

          by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @09:07PM (#22689690)

          What the hell are they still doing around?

          Microsoft is only going to start listening when people talk with their wallets. Until then, whatever EU does will only make them use big words as interoperability while disguising their efforts to lock in people to their products.

          That's why we should say NO to Microsoft.

          Start by saying NO to Internet Explorer and saying YES to Firefox. You won't regret it.

          Say NO to Outlook, and say YES to Mozilla Thunderbird, or start using GMail.

          Then, try to install Open Office along with Microsoft Office, although you may have problems opening some old documents, in general Open Office has very good quality. Open Office default format is the ISO standard ODF, which is gaining momentum and will start to have mass adoption after OOXML flops in this fiasco.

          Say NO to Microsoft's Silverlight, since it's just another attempt to hijack the web. Developers, stick to Flash. Users, refuse installing the plugin and complain to the webmasters whenever you visit a site that requires it.

          Say NO to Microsoft's XPS, since PDF is ubiquitous and it's an ISO standard as well.

          And finally, if you've come so far, you should start saying NO to Windows and saying YES to Ubuntu. You may be impressed.

          I'm not trolling here, this is not open source zealotry. It's only the realisation that Microsoft will only improve if there's competition, and there won't be any competition unless people start realising they have alternatives. Just look at IE, Microsoft didn't improve it at all, until it started having competition from Firefox, which by now has 25% market share for browsers, thanks to people who adopt it and spread the word. It's time we give them reason to do the same with their Office suite and Operating System as well.

          • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogiraoNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday March 09, 2008 @01:22AM (#22690782) Homepage

            Then, try to install Open Office along with Microsoft Office, although you may have problems opening some old documents, in general Open Office has very good quality.
            It's not too rare to have problems opening old MS-Office files with MS-Office!
          • by KlomDark (6370)
            "Developers, stick to Flash"

            Are you fucking kidding me? Both approaches (Flash and Silverlight) are highjacking attempts. I refuse to install either one. They are bullshit from sucky programmers. If you can't do it with HTML and Javascript (Backed by the server code of your choice - C#, Java, RoR, PERL, whatever), then go home, you are a sucky coder.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by mrbluze (1034940)

      The stench of corruption is unbearable.

      That's exactly what my mother used to say about my old sneakers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SlashWombat (1227578)
      It strikes me that M$ is only utilising the very same model that is used in the USA, where might has right. As an external (to the USA) observer the "corrupt" M$ techniques mirror the USA congress lobbying techniques very closely.

      To quote the [very] old Superman TV series. Truth, Justice ... and the American way.
      • To quote the [very] old Superman TV series. Truth, Justice ... and the American way.
        What Superman meant to say was Truth, Justice OR the American way. (whichever pays more) I'm glad to see countries choosing the american way.
  • by moreati (119629) <alex@moreati.org.uk> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:34PM (#22689348) Homepage
    I read up a bit on this last weekend. I got the following impression:
    1. The time allowed for the BRM (1 week) was fixed by ISO rules for a fast track standard
    2. Attendees generally felt it was better to get most suggested changes in as were. It was better to make the changes even if they had reservations, rather than leave the text of MS OOXML in it's original form.
    3. All Participants were genuinely trying to improve the standard, regardless of their stance on ODF vs MS OOXML. Better to fix it as much as possible now, inc case it does become approved.
    The failings of this BRM seem to stem from the following:
    1. MS OOXML is a voluminous body of text. There are a approx 6000 pages
    2. MS OOXML is controversial. There were over a 1000 comments, many participants were not happy in many ways
    3. MS and ECMA inappropriately tried to push OOXML as a fast track standard, given it's size and the controversy
    4. ISO were not setup for a standards process where the participants are so combative. I'm not so sure on this one, just a feeling I got.
    • by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:54PM (#22689440)

      Attendees generally felt it was better to get most suggested changes in as were. It was better to make the changes even if they had reservations, rather than leave the text of MS OOXML in it's original form.

      Wrong. See what Head of US Delegation Frank Farance said here [consortiuminfo.org]:

      "Eighty percent of the changes were not discussed," said Frank Farance, head of the U.S. delegation [...]
      "Virtually every comment we processed did not survive unedited," he said.

      The greek delegate Antonis Christofides also said here [ece.ntua.gr] that Canada had a list of cases where the ECMA resolution made the text worse than the original.

      • by moreati (119629)
        Apologies, I did get that wrong (or at least I over generalised). If I understand correctly, then:
        1. The 900 change block vote (the 80% that were not discussed) passed based on approve/disapprove votes, but only by counting votes from non P attendees.
        2. There is disagreement about whether non P attendees were entitled to vote on this ballot, under ISO rules.
        3. The consensus is settling toward the non P vote being against ISO rules.
        4. Although a majority decided to carry out the block vote, the majority of attende
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by filbranden (1168407)

          How's that?

          You're still off...

          1. The 900 change block vote (the 80% that were not discussed) passed based on approve/disapprove votes, but only by counting votes from non P attendees.
          2. There is disagreement about whether non P attendees were entitled to vote on this ballot, under ISO rules.
          3. The consensus is settling toward the non P vote being against ISO rules.

          P-members ("P" as in participant) are the ones with the right to vote. O-members ("O" as in observer) have the right to attend meetings, receive documents, make suggestions, but they don't have the right to vote (in general). The votes in the BRM were counted for both P and O members, when according to the directives, only P members should be counted. Here [robweir.com] the situation is well explained, the rules seem clear to me, but ISO stands on the grounds that the decision to allow O members to

      • Wrong. See what Head of US Delegation Frank Farance said here

        "Eighty percent of the changes were not discussed," said Frank Farance, head of the U.S. delegation [...] "Virtually every comment we processed did not survive unedited," he said.


        Wrong again; 94% of the changes were not discussed!

  • Alex Brown (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    From the first link:

    1. Under Directive 9.1.4 under the standing rules of ISO/IEC JTC1, only the votes of "P" members (emphasis mine) are to be taken into account.
    However, Alex Brown, the Convenor, decided in advance, notwithstanding the rules, to allow all attending delegations to vote.
    Can this person be removed from the ISO, for violating voting rules of conduct?
  • by Ensign Nemo (19284) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:46PM (#22689406)
    Mr. Durusau,
      I'm sorry but I have no idea how you can possibly believe what you wrote.

    I've followed this fairly closely and am EXTREMELY ANGRY at the crap MS has pulled trying to force this through!

    Microsoft has been talking out both sides of its mouth for the last 15 YEARS and up until about 6 months ago has shown no intent of changing their ways and you think that they have because they honestly want interoperability. !?!?! There is a reason almost noone who's done business with MS trusts them, and it ain't jealousy.

    You need to read 'The Scorpion and the Frog'. But MS will not sting you until you've carried them across the river (voted YES on dis29500).

      They might be hearing you but they are NOT listening. They'll nod their heads and look like they're interested in what you're saying, but if (God forbid) this bullshit format gets accepted as an ISO standard, they will go back to their old way of doing things. Go peek at the anti-trust transcripts.

    They threw some table scraps on the floor and you think they're welcoming you to the table and are going to treat you like an equal. Seriously? Seriously!?!?!

    If they want OOXML to be an ISO spec, they need to go through the normal route. No fast track!

    • by filbranden (1168407) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @08:05PM (#22689472)

      Durusau, as the co-editor of ISO ODF and OASIS ODF, should be more interested in pushing Microsoft to implement ODF as a native file format. After all, isn't ODF his own child?

      He doesn't realise (or does he?) that if OOXML is standardized, ODF will never be picked up by Microsoft, and all other competitors will be forced to implement OOXML, which will (once again) make Microsoft's format the de facto standard. Just look at how bad it was for everybody to try to follow binary formats as Microsoft changed them once and again.

      What father would see a bully beating his child, and praise the bully for "at least listening", even though all is ignored?

    • I've followed this fairly closely and am EXTREMELY ANGRY at the crap MS has pulled trying to force this through!

      Actually, what you've been following are biased opinions by people who have a financial stake in OOXML failing. It's no surprise that you're angry, that's what they want you to be. That's not say there aren't problems, but in general what you are angry about is complete fiction created by people who are desperate to make people believe the way you do.

      Perhaps you should step back and try to read
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by filbranden (1168407)

        I've followed this fairly closely and am EXTREMELY ANGRY at the crap MS has pulled trying to force this through!

        Actually, what you've been following are biased opinions by people who have a financial stake in OOXML failing. It's no surprise that you're angry, that's what they want you to be.

        You are wrong. I've been reading both sides of the story from the start, both pro-ODF (Rob Weir, Updegrove, Sutor, Groklaw, and OOXML [which is indeed quite extremist]) and Microsoft's side as well (Brian Jones, Jason Matusow, and the [sarcasm]"independent"[/sarcasm] consultants Rick Jelliffe, Miguel de Icaza and Patrick Durusau, which have clearly been biased from the start). From viewing what both sides have to say, I can filter out what seems to be exagerated or even a lie, and I can say that I have fi

        • Well, I appologize for implying you were sheeple ;)

          You seem relatively informed and objective, despite your bias. A few points of clarification. The EU didn't fine Microsoft for "abusing their monopoly", but rather for failing to follow their orders in a timely manner. The EU gave them a ridiculous timeframe to create documents that are far more complex than a "simple" document format. It was no surprise that the documents Microsoft could come up with on the EU's timetable were insufficient.

          In a way, th
          • Well, I appologize for implying you were sheeple ;)

            Good to see that there are balanced people on the other side as well!

            The EU didn't fine Microsoft for "abusing their monopoly", but rather for failing to follow their orders in a timely manner.

            The particular reason for that specific fine is not that important, the fine is part of EU's action against Microsoft because of their anti-competitive practices, by abusing their monopoly to drive competitors out the market. There's no way to deny they did that several times. I agree that the requirements to produce complex documents on all the proprietary formats that EU required seems to be too tough on Microsoft, and I don't really

            • Also, the world would be better off by Microsoft standardizing the binary formats, because most competitors have already reverse engineered most of those formats and support already around 90% of their features

              The binary formats are obsolete. XML formats are needed for todays search indexing oriented archival systems, which still need to archive those billions of documents. Lots of Microsofts customers have been screaming for a more index friendly way to convert old documents for years. Their approach wa
              • the world would be better off by Microsoft standardizing the binary formats

                The binary formats are obsolete.

                Yes, they're obsolete, which doesn't mean there are millions of files in thos formats. I said they should standardize the binary formats using the fast track process, since that's what that process is meant for. Using that process for a new format doesn't make any sense at all.

                On your comments on Gary Edwards, if he's so brilliant and enlightened, how come did he end up making that comment about CDF being the true format for office documents, which is clearly completely off? For me, he just made an ass

          • by TheSync (5291) *
            Fast Track was intended as a way to give existing and de-facto standards more interoperability. The part that most people are confused about is that OOXML is *NOT* a new format. It's merely a different implementation of the legacy binary documents. In that respect, it's effectively a de-facto standard that fits well with ISO Fast Track's intended purpose.

            A "standard" is a public document which provides the information required to create interoperable implementations. Standards can reference other standards
      • How do you know what I've read? Do you know me? You assume that because I think this is a crap standard and this shit MS is pulling is also crap that I've fallen for anti-OOXML propoganda? That anyone who's not pro-OOXML is only hearing one side of the story?

        In addition to reading pro-OOXML and neutral articles, I've read sections of OOXML. It's complex garbage. Have you looked at it or are you just going off what other people say?

        I have to read and write standards and specifications and deal with other
  • Fallacies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g2devi (898503) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @07:56PM (#22689448)
    > And, it would give Microsoft
    > developers, many of who are members of national bodies,
    > an important forum where Microsoft has
    > been shown to listen and respond to their concerns.
    >
    The conciliar tone of this response makes some fundamental errors:

    1) The fallacy of lowering the bar: We could ensure that almost everyone has a medical degree by changing the medical degree exams to a potty training exam. Of course, if that were to happen, a medical degree wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on. Similarly, if a poorly documented, incomplete, sparsely reviewed (ODF's review took *years*), heavily manipulated standard proposal, is allowed to pass ISO, how credible would ISO standards be? If Patrick is sincere in wanting OOXML to pass as a proper standard, he'd propose that OOXML be sent back for a complete review.

    2) The fallacy of appeasement to encourage reform: If Microsoft is unwilling to have OOXML go through at least as rigorous a review as ODF before standardization, then how on earth can Patrick expect that they'll hang around after standardization. One OOXML is standard, the pressure is off. If he *really* believes Microsoft is serious about standardizing OOXML, then disapproval would do nothing other than allow for OOXML to undergo a *real* review to iron out all the details.

    3) The fallacy of "Let's just do this once...Never again, I promise": If you let Microsoft off the hook this time, how on earth can we turn them or any other major company down again?

    4) The fallacy of assuming that OOXML is any good. Joel (a key former Microsoft developer) justified why OOXML is so complicated ( http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/02/19.htm [joelonsoftware.com] l) and why no-one, even Microsoft is able to implement it from scratch (they use code from old versions of Windows). If OOXML is virtually impossible to implement, then what good is it?

    5) The fallacy that OOXML solves any real need. There are virtually no OOXML documents out there (even if you include the various OOXML-like formats exported from MS-Office) so the "backwards compatibility" mandate. OOXML presents no other mandate other than getting the ISO stamp so Microsoft can get contracts that require ISO standards. If there's something legitimate missing in ODF, then it should be added to ODF, otherwise OOXML is pointless. And if "backwards compatibility" required, then DOC would make a *much* better thing to standardize for legacy data given that it's been frozen since Office 2000, it's been reverse engineered to death by OpenOffice and many other Office competitors, and most documents out there are (unfortunately) in the DOC format. Why isn't any effort spent on fixing a *real* need as opposed to a fake one?

    Being "fair and balanced" is often the most popular position, but if a thief comes into your house and claims all your money, you'd be a fool or a wimp to settle on the "fair and balanced" approach of choose to splitting the difference. If ISO doesn't have the backbone to reject OOXML from fast track so it can be resubmitted for proper review at least as thorough as ODF, then ISO *will* be broken....which is just fine according to Microsoft since when you have no standards you can trust, defacto market standards win.
    • by orlanz (882574)
      "...OOXML from fast track so it can be resubmitted for proper review at least as thorough as ODF, then ISO *will* be broken....which is just fine according to Microsoft since when you have no standards you can trust, defacto market standards win."

      I already consider the ISO to be partially broken. Many people who know this issue have greatly reduced the acknowledgment of the ISO. Their image has already taken a hit.

      It is disgraceful that a impartial, global, standards body gives so much special attention t
    • Oh, OOXML solves a real need. The need is the business need for Microsoft to have some pretense at interoperability and avoid being blocked by sensible policies on retaining access to data, but nevertheless avoid actual interoperability with anything except Microsoft products. It's also critical for them to patent encumber their alleged standard so that it cannot be enhanced, revised, or have any enhancements come from the developers of the rest of the world, rather than internally from Microsoft.

      These are
    • by Sciros (986030)

      We could ensure that almost everyone has a medical degree by changing the medical degree exams to a potty training exam. Of course, if that were to happen, a medical degree wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on.
      It could be toilet paper; that would be appropriate and then the degree would be worth about as much as the paper.
    • If Microsoft is unwilling to have OOXML go through at least as rigorous a review as ODF before standardization, then how on earth can Patrick expect that they'll hang around after standardization. One OOXML is standard, the pressure is off.

      Doesn't anyone remember Microsoft's response to FIPS-151?

      You know, the "POSIX Subsystem" in NT? The one that's so useless that there have been three independent re-implementations of POSIX functionality on top of the WIN32 subsystem instead? Microsoft eventually bought a
  • Your processes may have been sufficient before this point; however, this is no longer the case. Your lack of transparency is unacceptable henceforth, and radical improvements in this area are demanded.

    FWIW.
  • by John Jamieson (890438) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @01:18AM (#22690770)
    The ISO just does not understand that once you are under the microscope, defending your poor choices and covering up just causes loss of face and trust.
    No one is buying the spin!

    If they had reacted properly to the stacking of votes in the first place, they would have gained credibility. Now it looks like they are just pupets that can be bought by big multinationals.

    I used to respect them, but now I know the good work that has come through them is because of the member countries being diligent, not from any intrisic goodness of the ISO.
  • Utterly insane (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seebs (15766) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @02:53AM (#22691064) Homepage
    I was involved with the C committee during the work on C9X.

    The process described here shows essentially no similarity to a real standardization process. We have established, conclusively, that OOXML is not ready to be called a standard; it needs serious revision and work. The only time a "fast-track" process makes sense is when a standard is widely implemented and in use as a de facto standard, and is known to be workable.

    It does not make sense when the "standard" is known not to be workable, has been implemented at most once, and there are literally thousands of unresolved comments, questions, or concerns -- many of them, as reported previously, impossible to resolve without the addition of huge chunks of new text to the specification.

    It took years to get the C standard, about a tenth the size of OOXML, to a state where we could in good conscience vote to adopt it as an actual standard.

    This process is an insult to standardization, and that the Microsoft-paid folks are talking about it as though it were a success leaves me utterly stunned. I can't decide whether to ascribe such claims to malice, incompetence, or both.
  • Extracted from http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2008/03/02/On-OOXML [tbray.org]:

    "Standards Process Abuse: Microsoft decided, rather than working to produce a harmonized standard by enhancing ODF to add MS-Office-specific features, to re-invent the world from scratch. This seems wrong.

    ECMA, which claims to be a serious standards organization, blessed the process of generating a XML dump of the internal data format and publishing it in six thousand poorly-edited pages, in well under a year. This seems wrong.

  • Some of my posts have been modded down because I say Companies have a responsibility to behave ethically. People as well.

    The problem is that years ago, "unethical" behavior was a black mark on your reputation and "proper" business didn't operate that way. Well, it did when it could, but there was a sensitivity to unethical behavior that sort of made people think twice before doing scummy things.

    These days, neither companies nor people value ethics. They are viewed as quaint little rules. If it isn't illegal

13. ... r-q1

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