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Early Signs That Geneva’s BRM on OOXML Cannot be Trusted

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML at 11:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That who sets the rules wins the game

We have already seen and pointed out many irregularities in Geneva’s Ballot Resolution Meeting, which is supposed to address the thousands of issues raised with regards to OOXML. Examples include the fact that Microsoft itself will respresent entire nations such as Portugal and Ireland. It rarely gets as ridiculous as this. You have to shake your head and remind yourself that even worse irregularities such as bribes have already been seen and documented but never reported in Microsoft-associated media. Most people know nothing about this.

There is more about the BRM in the following blog posting which says that “Microsoft wants National Bodies to wear blinders”.

I’ve participated in many standards meetings. Never have I seen issues being segregated by their origin. Once issues are raised they all end up in the same pool for everybody to consider, regardless of their origin. And then when a resolution is proposed everybody gets to express his or her opinion on it, not just the people who raised the issue. This is simply because everybody’s interest is in the standard as a whole, not just particular sections of it.

The fact that it’s an impossible task for countries to merely read about all the issues that were raised and their associated proposed dispositions only proves, once more, that the fast track process is totally inappropriate for OOXML.

What the posting seems to suggest — although it’s too short to profoundly address the core issue — is that the entire rendezvous in Geneva is set up in such a way so that Microsoft wins either way. The deck of cards has already been fixed, accompanies by the media blitz. The following newly-raised concern too seems to suggest that the process will be ineffective if its purpose is to address burning questions and scrutinise the candidate.

In my last post I mentioned how the BRM could get through the “straightforward” issues by discussing them quickly in batches. Following feedback on this, and further thought, I am tending towards a more radical plan: not discussing these “easy” issues at all, but instead deferring them to ballot papers that NB delegations can complete “off line” so that valuable session time is not consumed considering missing commas and the like. This leaves the sessions clear to discuss more important matters.

If you expect fair treatment in Geneva, think again. There are too many signs that someone up above sets the rules. See [1, 2].

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A Single Comment

  1. Arnaud Le Hors said,

    January 25, 2008 at 11:01 am


    Hi Roy,

    Microsoft is certainly trying to shape things up to their advantage, not surprisingly – they did state that they would do everything to try and get the ISO standard label -. And it has become apparent that the whole process is biased towards approving submitted specifications, rather than rejecting them.

    But that doesn’t mean Microsoft will win either way. There are lots of reasons for Microsoft to still lose, common sense being one. ;-)

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