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OOXML Critic Fired From Finnish Standards Board 200

Shirke writes "A Finnish computer magazine reports that Finnish Standards Association has fired Mr. Lassi Nirhamo (article in Finnish). Some excerpts: Mr. Nirhamo was chairing the OOXML standard proposal meeting. During the meeting Mr. Nirhamo asked other board members to be excused of his duties and voice his opinion as a private citizen. After this was granted he criticized the standard proposal and resumed his duties as chairman. Mr. Nirhamo has now been let go due to a 'lack of trust.' Independent observers have assessed his chairmanship as 'excellent' and 'one of a kind.' The Association is accepting applications for the position. Anyone interested?"
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OOXML Critic Fired From Finnish Standards Board

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  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Romancer ( 19668 ) <romancer.deathsdoor@com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @01:26AM (#20833827) Journal
    Getting fired for something that's on record that you not only asked permission to do, but got that granted permission documented.

    That's a new one to me.

    Are these people elected and when's the next open forum meeting?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C ( 15259 )
      Getting fired for something that's on record that you not only asked permission to do, but got that granted permission documented.

      You speak Finnish then? I don't, so I can't tell what exactly he was fired for. However, it seems unlikely that he was fired for speaking as a private citizen, so much as for the content of what he said.

      Look at it this way - if I asked my company for permission to speak candidly, and it was granted, and then I told them that I'd been stealing stuff from them, or selling secrets t
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:27AM (#20834103)

        Look at it this way - if I asked my company for permission to speak candidly, and it was granted, and then I told them that I'd been stealing stuff from them, or selling secrets to the competition, I'd be fired. Not because I spoke candidly, but because of what I said.

        No you wouldn't, you'd be fired for what you did. Big difference there.

        If you asked to speak candidly at a meeting, were given permission and you stood up and said "Our products suck, no one I know likes them and we're a laughing stock", a good company would maybe want to hear more details as part of an improvement process.

        Then again, maybe if you work for a company that's a laughing stock, inability to take criticism is probably a respect aspect of the corporate culture and being fired might look good on the CV.

        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          Maybe he wasn't fired for what he said on or off record, but HOW he said it.

          Look at it this way: It's his job to say the things he said, right? He chose to say them off the record so that instead of genuinely trying to help, he was just having a bitch session. He then went right back to failing to oppose something he didn't believe in.

          I wouldn't trust him, either, after that. In 1 short moment, he proved that everything he says on the record may not be grounded in truth or reality, but rather in his nee
          • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by CortoMaltese ( 828267 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:13AM (#20835865)

            Look at it this way: It's his job to say the things he said, right? He chose to say them off the record so that instead of genuinely trying to help, he was just having a bitch session. He then went right back to failing to oppose something he didn't believe in.
            He was not supposed to say those things on or off the record as a chairman of that meeting, or as a representative of the Finnish Standards Board, which was present as an independent, unbiased observer. What he did have was enough technical competence to understand what was wrong with the proposed standard, and asked if he could present his opinion as a private citizen. He was allowed to do that, and he also repeated that the opinion of the Finnish Standards Board would be the result of the meeting, regardless of his own opinions. In my opinion, he did the Right Thing.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 )
          Bottom line is that there is really no such thing as "permission to speak candidly" - anywhere.

          It can help if you want to be frank - but you're ALWAYS going to be remembered for what you say, so be careful about what leaves your mouth...
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Goaway ( 82658 )
          Try a relevant analogy: You're a project leader at a company, ask to speak candidly, say, "I hate this project and I wish it would just die", are you really expecting to be allowed to continue leading that project?
          • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by macshit ( 157376 ) <snogglethorpe@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @09:12AM (#20836681) Homepage
            Try a relevant analogy: You're a project leader at a company, ask to speak candidly, say, "I hate this project and I wish it would just die", are you really expecting to be allowed to continue leading that project?

            Er, no, that isn't a relevant analogy. The committee's job wasn't to promote MS's standard, it was to judge it. If a company was evaluating a potential expensive purchase, and the team leader candidly said "well let's be frank, this product sucks" before the "official" evaluation was over, people would either laud him for his frankness, or argue with his premise, but they sure as hell wouldn't fire him!

            Of course, if the Finnish committee sees its job as promoting Microsoft products, then of course your analogy would be correct -- and the committee should be charged en-masse with corruption.
            • by Goaway ( 82658 )

              Er, no, that isn't a relevant analogy. The committee's job wasn't to promote MS's standard, it was to judge it. If a company was evaluating a potential expensive purchase, and the team leader candidly said "well let's be frank, this product sucks" before the "official" evaluation was over, people would either laud him for his frankness, or argue with his premise, but they sure as hell wouldn't fire him!

              They couldn't argue with him, because he said that off the record. On the record, he is still supposed to be objectively evaluating the purchase. You don't think the people who actually want that product to be approved would feel a bit of a "lack of trust" in his ability to come to a balanced decision after that outburst?

              • What he said was said on the record, but he had to temporarily step down as Chairman so that people were clear that he was speaking as a private citizen not as the chairman of the committee.

                As the chairman of the committee, he was responsible for shepherding and implementing the decisions of the committee.
                As a private citizen he had a good deal of experience and an opinion about which way he would have liked the decision to go.

                It is actually standard practice, in this situation, to do precisely what h

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by laa ( 457196 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:38AM (#20834141) Homepage

        You speak Finnish then? I don't, so I can't tell what exactly he was fired for.
        I do. The problem is that he got no reason, we was fired during his four months "trial period" so the employer is not obliged to give a reason. The article certainly tries to hint that the reason was his open speak, but then again, it's pure guesswork as no reason was given.

        A chairman is supposed to be objective but I am still stunned. Finland is a place where you're almost always permitted to speak your mind freely. Interesting...
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mr Europe ( 657225 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:53AM (#20834183)
        A guick translation (of the story and one comment presumably from a board member present the meeting):

        "Lassi Nirhamo was the chair leader of the OOXML-meeting in Finland, where the Finland's opinion should be agreed. During the meeting Nirhamo surprized all and asked other board members to be excused of his duties and voice his opinion as a private citizen. After getting the permission he told as his personal opinion that he was against the acceptance of Microsoft's standard. He also listed the grounds for his opinion, which Microsoft members could not deny. In the end of the meeting he proposed as the meeting would abstain from giving a opinion."

        The formal reason was that his four month trial period was ending.
        • So ... the real reason he was let go was he was too knowledgable. Mr. Nirhamo spoke his opinion and backed it up with a list of reasons for that opinion. These same reasons were also not contested by 'Microsoft members'.

    • Getting fired for something that's on record that you not only asked permission to do, but got that granted permission documented. That's a new one to me.

      He's not fired. He's simply pining for the fjords.
      • by stjobe ( 78285 )
        That was the Norwegian Blue. Keep your scandinavian countries straight, ok?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by phoenixwade ( 997892 )

          That was the Norwegian Blue. Keep your scandinavian countries straight, ok?
          It is so near to Russia,
          So far from Japan,
          Quite a long way from Cairo,
          Lots of miles from Vietnam.

          Finland has it all....
      • by vidarh ( 309115 )
        I guess it would make sense to be pining for the fjords when stuck in a country like Finland who hasn't got any decent ones...

        On the other hand they have too many damn lakes.

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hazem ( 472289 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:09AM (#20834035) Journal
      Getting fired for something that's on record that you not only asked permission to do, but got that granted permission documented.

      The key here is that as the chairman of the committee he's supposed to work from a neutral point of view. Sure he has his own personal opinion but he's not supposed to let that influence his job as chairman. By taking the role of chairman you are pretty much agreeing to be bound by that.

      When he then openly expressed his opinions about the matter his further judgment will be called into question, especially if his decisions as chairman align with this publicly stated opinions. He gave up his objectivity and by keeping him as chairman, anything that comes out of that committee would be called into question.

      Depending on the rules of order in place, the committee probably did not even have the authority to let him "step down" from the chairmanship and back up again.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 10Ghz ( 453478 )

        The key here is that as the chairman of the committee he's supposed to work from a neutral point of view. Sure he has his own personal opinion but he's not supposed to let that influence his job as chairman. By taking the role of chairman you are pretty much agreeing to be bound by that.

        According to the people who were present during the meeting, he handled the meeting really, really well. He was balanced, and kept the meeting in a tight rein. He also repeatedly underlined the fact that SFS's official stand

        • by rvw ( 755107 )

          So it was not like the meeting was anti-OOXML. It was fair and balanced. He apparently asked to voice his opinion as a private citizen (a request that was granted) due to pressure from Microsoft. And his opinion was based on facts that Microsoft could not refute.
          So MS pressured him to give his opinion? Then they probably suspected that he was not a fan. In that case this was an excellent move to get rid of him.
          • by 10Ghz ( 453478 )
            The way it seems to me, is that MS put heavy pressure on the committee to approve OOXML, and he gave his opinion as a response to that pressure.
      • by weicco ( 645927 )

        Chairman's duties in the meeting are as follows:

        • Open the meeting
        • Go through the agenda
        • Make sure that meeting has sufficient authority over matters that are in the agenda
        • Introduce subjects from the agenda (or call other people to do the introduction) and start discussion about them
        • Give meeting members turns to make statements about the subject
        • End discussion about the subject
        • Close the metting and decide new meeting time if necessary

        Or at least I was instructed so.

        Chairman isn't supposed to make his

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by walt-sjc ( 145127 )
          If you are talking about the general case for a meeting chair, keep in mind that the chair may ALSO have other duties, and may need to report on those duties (thus speaking...) But you are right, generally the chair doesn't use his position as a pulpit. A chair is not a dictator, a chair is a moderator / facilitator. That said, while unorthodox, what he did (stepping down, speaking, and resuming his chairmanship) is exactly the way it needed to be done to be legit.

          Apparently, Microsoft now has the power (t
      • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:09AM (#20834527)
        Anybody who has ever been involved in standards, whether ISO, IEC, or their national standards body, knows that this happens all the time. Chairing the meeting is not incompatible with holding strong views. What less ethical chairmen would have done is simply talk to people before the meeting, find people who agreed with their objections, and then make sure they got a chance to express them. If the opposition try and say too much, have a useful retired consultant who can be relied on to stand up and waffle the meeting out.

        ISO and IEC are often very political and feelings often run very high in working groups, though this rarely makes it way to the plenary sessions. People shout. Observers try to intervene and have to be shut up. This guy behaved perfectly properly. Your comment about "decisions as chairman" show a bottomless ignorance of procedure. I can only assume that either you have no experience whatsoever of standards work, or your employer is based in Redmond.

    • Are we sure that local representatives or local shills of a certain American US vendor did not ring up and say "we don't like this guy"?
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @01:27AM (#20833833) Homepage Journal
    another Finn that no-one trusts.. Good grief.. I can't think of any.

  • Oh, well, uhm... yes, this needs a good candidate... mumble hard to find mumble.. how about... mumble... aah... I know! Steve Ballmer?

    What? Too obvious?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    But it sounds like, again, OOXML is a shit standard, and it's going to be pushed through by pressure from MS and its political lackeys (I mean allies), and anyone who takes a stand is going to be crushed.

    Do I have it?
       
  • Any more details? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Skrapion ( 955066 )
    I searched around Google a bit, but I couldn't find anything. Anybody have any more details? Some things I'd be interested to know are:
    • What did he say?
    • What is the structure of the Finish Standards Association? Who fired him?
    • Who claimed he was 'excellent' and 'one of a kind'?
    • Who else is part of this association?
    • What does this association standardize, and for whom? In other words, what is the impact of this association's decision?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by PrayingWolf ( 818869 )
      In this case, the Finnish Standards Association is the body that decides Finland's stand in the debate over OOXML becoming an ISO standard. Finland's vote at ISO is now going to an "abstension"...
    • Re:Any more details? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rasjani ( 97395 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:18AM (#20834057) Homepage

      • What did he say?
      • What is the structure of the Finish Standards Association? Who fired him?
      • Who claimed he was 'excellent' and 'one of a kind'?
      • Who else is part of this association?
      • What does this association standardize, and for whom? In other words, what is the impact of this association's decision?

      Some answers:

      • During the meeting, he asked permission to speak as private person and was granted to do so. The article is abit brief on the matter but comments on the article says that he mentioned errors/problems in ooxml and even the microsoft representative on the crowd wasnt able to deny those facts. I should also mention that the same comment mentions that he explicitly pointed out that this was his personal view and SFS should should have only the view that this meeting will decide, twice.
      • He was fired by Pekka Järvinen, who's basicly CEO of SFS. According the article, Nirhamo was still on his 4week trying period and Järvinen said to the press that the contract is cancelled due to issues that have appeared are causing a lack of trust and he cannot talk more about the details.
      • Comments in the article mentions that he was keeping the meeting well in course, not allowing people to wonder to offtopic discussion.
      • Member list of the association is here: http://www.sfs.fi/sfs_lyhyesti/jasenet/jasenluettelo/ [www.sfs.fi] . Briefly said, its an organization that has members from wide range of finnish industrial and commercial associations and finnish government/minister offices.
      • SFS Covers alot of standardizing in various fields. Im not so aware of all the things they work with but seeing the memberlist has basicly all the major industrial and commercial associates and all major government offices, i would assume that their work is atleast "relevant" =)

      Addition to the last answer, i read the linked article which covered the actual meeting. In the end notes of that article, journalist mentions following:

      Freely translated: Finland is one of ISO JTC1-group's so called 36 P members, who's votes 75% are required to accept the standard. And due to outcome of this meeting, Finland's decision wasnt declared due to results of this meeting.
      • And due to outcome of this meeting, Finland's decision wasnt declared due to results of this meeting.
        To be precise, Finland's vote in ISO will be "abstension" due to the results of this meeting.
      • Re:Any more details? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by vinsci ( 537958 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @07:18AM (#20835371) Journal
        Reporters may want to talk to Mr Jaakko Lehtinen who participated in the OOXML-meeting at the SFS [www.sfs.fi] and wrote this insightful comment (in finnish) regarding the decision to fire Mr Nirhamo:

        Translation of the original comment in finnish [tietokone.fi]*:

        October 1st, 2007, 22:03 by Jaakko Lehtinen
        Re: Wrong opinions

        Can it really be, that Microsoft would be involved in this decision as well.

        I question what caused this lack of trust. We don't know that, as we're not told. This however causes suspicion regarding the SFS.

        You see, I was there at the SFS's ooxml decision meeting, which ended in very even votes for and against and where the state's votes also were 2-2 — first even 3-1 against ooxml.

        Mr Nirhamo handled his role as chairman in a very professional manner. He kept the discussion tightly within the agreed 'frame', to use contemporary wording. Some [attendees] tried to start for example comparing the existing standard and the suggested standard against each other, but that was ended immediately, as it was not on the agenda for the meeting. No kind of deviations to other subjects were allowed. Not even from Microsoft.

        And it was a very well handled decision meeting, I dare say as someone who has been in meetings with hundreds of pretty big decision makers.

        Rarely — hardly ever — have I seen and experienced such a great performance by the chair.

        Further about speaking one's mind, he made it clear at least twice, that the SFS doesn't have and can't have any other opinion that the decision of that meeting.

        Due to Microsoft's pressure he separately inquired if he can put forward his own opinion of the matter. The representatives of the SFS who were present gave him permission to temporarily diverge from his position as chair and to state his own opinion.

        He then showed the facts, that he based his opinion on. These arguments could not be denied by Microsoft either. There are errors and contradictions in the ooxml-suggestion.

        I am very sorry about how Mr Nirhamo has been treated and disappointed at the SFS's way of handling the matter, if the alleged lack of trust was due to that meeting.

        In that case, the SFS does not deserve my trust.

        This looks like a full-blown scandal at the SFS to me. Certainly, the SFS under managing director Pekka Järvinen [www.sfs.fi], can not be trusted to create standards according to the SFS's charter [www.sfs.fi] (link in Finnish), which among other things says that the SFS is an independent organisation and that it should represent the interest of Finland [finland.fi].

        ____________
        *) Although I believe this translation to be very good, I'm not a translator by trade.

    • Re:Any more details? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CortoMaltese ( 828267 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:01AM (#20835739)
      Assemblix wiki [assemblix.net] has some more details:

      The goal was to reach consensus between all parties while SFS acts as an independent observer. There was no vote, but all parties were given the chance to voice their opinion. If no consensus could be reached, Finland's vote would be "abstension".

      Gathered from the above source and others, the opinions were (non-exhaustive list):

      Approval:

      • Microsoft
      • Novell
      • Sysopen Digia
      • Tietoenator
      • WM-Data
      • Ministry of Trade and Industry
      • Ministry of Finance
      • Customs
      • City of Helsinki
      Disapproval:
      • Nokia
      • Sun Microsystems
      • IBM
      • Ministry of Education
      • Ministry of Justice
      • National Archives Service
      • National Library
      • Electronic Frontier Finland
      • Confederation of Finish Industries
      • The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities
      • Centre for Open Source Solutions
      Abstension:
      • F-Secure
      • Nordea
      • Tax Administration
      After the comments Microsoft representative wanted to know why it was not possible to accept the "approval with comments" option. It was at this point that chairman Lassi Nirhamo of SFS responded "as a private citizen" that the proposal does not fulfill a single requirement set for ISO standards.

      At the end, the chairman had stated that it was evident that the corporations disagreed, and that it would've been enough if the state had been unanimous, but as this was not the case, Finland's vote would be "abstension".

  • Somebody nominate me. Microsoft has not bought me yet. Hey, if they really did offer me millions, then I might have to reconsider... but that hasn't happened, so I am still qualified.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aranykai ( 1053846 )
      No, Im pretty sure that being bought off is a requirement to hold chair on a committee. So, get millions from Microsoft, then they'll consider you.
      • by dwater ( 72834 )
        Eh? If that were true, then this article would not exist since the guy wouldn't have the job to start with....hrm...perhaps he *was* bought off, but changed his mind since getting the job? Unlikely, I think.
  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @01:46AM (#20833929) Homepage Journal

    Mr. Nirhamo has now been let go due to a 'lack of trust.' ... The Association is accepting applications for the position. Anyone interested?"
    Apparently they can only trust someone who wouldn't speak up for the truth...

    I'm in!
  • FTA (Score:3, Informative)

    by PrayingWolf ( 818869 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:01AM (#20833983) Homepage Journal

    The article says (I can read finnish) that mr. Hirkamo was still on his trial period of 4 months, during which his boss could legally fire him without providing a reason.

    The CEO of the organization in question, Pekka Järvinen, stated that "Unfortunately issues came up during the trial period, after which trust is no longer possible". And "I cannot comment on the reasons any further".

    I guess his anti-Microsoft ideas were not appreciated :-P

  • by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:01AM (#20833989)
    "throwing chairs" in Finnish?
    • by jkrise ( 535370 )
      "throwing chairs" in Finnish?

      Not just Finnish... it's the same in any language.
      It begins like Balls and ends like .. you know, Bummer.
    • Re:How do you say (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fizzl ( 209397 ) <fizzl@[ ]zl.net ['fiz' in gap]> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @07:17AM (#20835359) Homepage Journal
      Quite easy actually.
      First, let us tackle the verb and the subject.

      Throw = Heittää
      Chair = Tuoli

      Now, the interesting thing is that the basic form of this verb is only used when speaking of 3rd person perspective. F.ex. "Ballmer heittää tuolin".
      Also note, that in this case the basic form of "Tuoli" is not used. The 'n' suffix indicates a possessive form. Which makes no sense so it must mean some other form. Which, I have no idea. No one but the men of language sciences know all of Finnish forms of words.
      Then, let's have a look for first person action. "I throw a chair" -- "Heitän tuolin".
      Again, have a look at the suffixes. Lord only knows why, but now we threw out one T and added an N to the verb. The subject has the N suffix again. the subject is actually useless without a form. Basically only thing you can do with a subject without form would be edumacation like "This is a chair" -- "Tämä on tuoli".

      To give something to chew. Let's list the normal presens form:
      Heitän tuolin (I throw a chair)
      Heität tuolin (You...)
      Heittää tuolin (He/She...)
      Heitämme tuolin (We...)
      Heitätte tuolin (You (in plural))
      Heittävät tuolin (They...)

      And to indicate the possessive:
      Tuolini (My chair)
      Tuolisi (your...)
      Tuolimme (Our...)
      Tuolinsa (His...)

      Any combination of these is valid.
      More interesting things to do with 1st person declensions [www.uta.fi].

      And here's the 15 basic cases to finnish language:
      nominative, genitive, accusative, partitive, essive, translative, inessive, elative, illative, adessive, ablative, allative, abessive, comitative, and instructive.

      And 12 adverbial cases:
      superessive, delative, sublative, lative, temporal, causative, multiplicative, distributive, temporal distributive, prolative, situative, and oppositive.

      You don't just throw chairs in Finnish! Prepare for lifetime of torture with the grammar before you can simple things correctly!
      From http://www.helsinki.fi/~jshermun/language.htm [helsinki.fi]:
      "It is an essentially logical language. The rules are absolute and reliable in all situations, except exceptions."
  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:05AM (#20834011)
    In their defense, the board just said they'd excuse him of his duties. They didn't say they'd give them back.
  • by kalpaha ( 667921 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @02:06AM (#20834019)

    Here's a quick translation of the article.

    The finnish standards association has suddenly terminated the contract of Lassi Nirhamo, the new expert of the IT standardization team. As late as last week, Nirhamo participated in the SFS press conference and was part in making the finnish stand on OOXML known at the ISO organization. Lassi Nirhamo tells to the Computer- magazine that he only got the information about the severance of his contract last thursday, after his four months probation was coming to an end. At this point the employer can legally terminate the contract without any cause.

    Lassi Nirhamo himself wonders, that no reasons were given. "It's quite hard to say anything about reasons, when they haven't told me", says Nirhamo.

    Lassi Nirhamo lead the OOXML- meeting in Finland, in which the finnish stand on the standard was decided upon. During the meeting, Nirhamo surprised the participants by announcing that he would speak as a private person for a moment, instead of being the chairman of the meeting. At that point he announced that he was against accepting the Microsoft standard. At the end of the meeting, Nirhamo put forward the opinion that Finland should abstain from voting.

    The CEO of the Finnish Standrds Association, Pekka Järvinen says that the reason for ending the contract is lack of trust. "Unfortunately, during the probation period, issues came up, after which trust is not possible. I cannot comment further than this." Järvinen says over the phone.

    SFS is now searching for a new expert who would be responsible for the many IT standardization related jobs, like continuing the OOXML- issue in the ISO organization next spring.

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )
      There could be a perfectly valid reason for this; after all, in this context it makes sense that you want the people on the team to be reasonably unbiased.

      However, it seems to me that the Finnish want it both ways:

      1. They want people who are qualified to understand what's going on.
      2. They want people who haven't and will not form an opinion either way regarding what the appropriate course of action should be.

      To my mind, you cannot possibly have a person who meets both requirements. Anyone who's qualified
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Flambergius ( 55153 )
      "Lassi Nirhamo tells to the Computer- magazine that he only got the information about the severance of his contract last thursday, after his four months probation was coming to an end."

      For those not familiar with Finnish labour law: almost all employment contracts being with a four month trial period (koeaika). That's what the article is refering to. I think "probabtion" isn't the best translation, as it could imply that Mr. Nirhamo was on probabtion for some other reason. Anyways, during that four month pe
      • by weicco ( 645927 )

        Anyways, during that four month period his employment can be severed for without the employer having to provide a justification (or indeed to have one).

        And another thing. If employer gives employee a reason why they terminated your work contract during that four month period, employee (now ex-employee) could bring the subject to the court for illegal termination. Well, if employer's reasons was illegal. So it's safer for employer just to be quiet about it. Don't know if this is the case in this particular

        • Btw2. According to my translator koeaika: noviciate, parole, probation, qualifying period, trial period

          Koeaika is trial period. According to dictionary.com, probation can refer to a type of punishment for a crime, while koeaika can not (the term for that is "ehdonalainen").

          Basically, probation can have negative connotations, while koeaika is simply a period for showing your abilities - an extended interview, in a way.

  • by rxmd ( 205533 )
    ...that his career is finnished, I guess.

    (Thanks, thanks, I'll be here all week.)
  • kind of makes you wonder if there was any pressure political or financial from MS.

    I find this whole OOXML debacle deeply disturbing, yet more evidence of decisions that should be taken on technical merit being swayed or decided on commercial factors. Worrying.

    Worse it sets a very dangerous (IMHO) precedent.
    • kind of makes you wonder if there was any pressure political or financial from MS.

      Some finnish computer magazine (can't remember which) expressed the reason for Finland's abstaining as "Industry representatives were divided on the issue, with Microsoft supporting the standard and others opposing". One of those "Ok, makes sense, no wait, WTF"-moments...
  • by raatti ( 985607 )
    (Note: this is a very quick word-to-word almost translation, I am not an expert in this just wrote for people to get a view of the issue)

    The news is:

    --
    Expert who criticised the Microsoft's standard was fired.

    Finnish Standards Association SFS has suddenly let go of IT standardation team's fresh expert, Lassi Nirhamo. Yet in the last week, mr. Nirhamo participated in SFS press conference and was taking the Finnish stand about the OOXML standardiation issue into ISO.

    Lassi Nirhamo told the magazine (Tietokone)
  • If the definition of the chairman's job is to be impartial and to make sure that all sides get a fair hearing (which it may or may not be), then by speaking up as a "private person" with strong views in the middle of a hearing, the chair has just questioned his own qualifications for the job. Consider the effect on the possible outcome -- the committee votes against OOXML, and Microsoft is going to cry foul -- the chair, who runs the show, was biased against them from the start. It discredits the committee.
    • maybe, you have some valid points.

      but the article also praised him for his approach and professionalism. he stated his views were his own.

      personally I don't think there is such a thing as an impartial chairman - but there certainly can be unprofessional ones.
    • No mod points for the moment, but the parent has made a very good point that made me change my mind about the issue.
      Yeah I'm a flip flopper. Heavens forbid that people actually change their mind when presented with another point of view. I guess I'll never be a president now. :-)
    • The article has a link to a Finnish news item. There have been a few comments on the news and one of them was from Jaakko Lehtinen, who was apparently also present at the Finnish OOXML meeting. He said in his comment (freely translated) that he has seldom seen such a well and professionally chaired meeting. Apparently the chairman also asked the meeting whether he can voice his private opinion and the SFS people granted the request.

      So it's not like Nirhamo (the fired chairman) tried to ram his opinion throu
    • Suppose a judge in a trial stood up in the middle and said, "I'd like to speak as a private person for a moment, and I think the defendant is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! Thank you. Now on with the trial."

      For your analogy to be anywhere near correct (setting aside whether it would ever even happen) the judge would hand over the trial to another judge while s/he gave evidence in the case, following the rules of the court.

      That said, a committee is not a court of law, and (if I recall Robert's Rules of Order correctly) the chair can participate, hold opinions and even vote (e.g., to break a tie.) However, it is proper procedure for the chair to relinquish the position temporarily if they wish to participate o

  • Depends... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @04:24AM (#20834601)
    Anyone interested?

    Depends. How much does MS pay?
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @07:08AM (#20835325) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Nirhamo is Finnished.
  • ...and if it wasn't Microsoft's "long reach" to push this guy off, it sure looks like it!

    I don't know. I love my country, but it has been increasingly corrupt in the last 2-3 years. I blame it on the influence of some foreign CEOs. My previous employer "Nokia" was fuxored up quite badly, in that period.

    Anyways, I'd love to be able to say that in Finland we sort out these kinds of situations, and that justice and truth ultimately prevail. Sadly, I'm not sure anymore.

Once it hits the fan, the only rational choice is to sweep it up, package it, and sell it as fertilizer.

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