EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


OOXML BRM Convenor: “It May Be Time to Start Again from Scratch”

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Alex Brown has just said so.

Ultimately the situation raises questions which go to the heart of the relationship between JTC 1 as an entity, and its member bodies. Just who is in charge, the nations or the officials? The unfortunate state of the Directives have meant there have been too many occasions when officials have had to step in and save the nations from the folly of the Directives that they themselves approved. Like ODF and OOXML the Directives is (literally) a standard, a standard that has faults. Unlike ODF and OOXML, however, I am beginning to believe the Directives have got to a state where they cannot be redeemed by evolution and amendment. It may be time to start again from scratch.

Sounds good, Alex. Given the feedback from Bryan (see below), whom you succeeded, OOXML needs to be flushed and we need to “start again from scratch,” to use your own words. Thank you for your honesty.

“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”

Martin Bryan
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. AlexH said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:13 am


    Alex Brown isn’t saying OOXML needs to be started from scratch: if you read what he’s saying, it’s actually the complete opposite – he believes the problems with OOXML can be fixed.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to twist someone’s words like that.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:22 am


    Alex Brown isn’t saying OOXML needs to be started from scratch:

    I did not say that he said that. Read carefully. I am sure that you, being an OOXML apologist, would be quick to defend it as usual.

  3. AlexH said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:26 am


    So what exactly are you thanking Alex for?

    Putting his words in the context of your own opinion implies that he agrees with it.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:48 am


    So what exactly are you thanking Alex for?

    Admission that the process is dysfunctional. He pretty much joins the voice of Bryan as far as I can tell, but he is less open and blunt about it (Bryan didn’t mean for this to be publicly seen and he regretted that this had happened).

    Putting his words in the context of your own opinion implies that he agrees with it.

    You’re being overly pedantic, Alex, unlike those who attended and managed the BRM in Geneva.

  5. AlexH said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:58 am


    Alex Brown has said on a number of occasions, over the past year I think, that the process is flawed. This isn’t something new:

    “The kind of fast-tracking procedures used for ODF and mooted for OOXML give very little time for a small part-time volunteer group to give such bulky documents adequate scrutiny. There is no doubt ODF is, right now, less good than it would have been if subjected to the full rigours of ISO standardisation. With OOXML predicted to weigh in as a behemoth 7,000 page standard the danger that OOXML will be inadequately scrutinised is greater still.”

    – Alex Brown, June 2006

    He has consistently held this opinion all along, long before the BRM.

    This still doesn’t give you the right to twist his words. You said, specifically (of Alex), “OOXML needs to be flushed and we need to “start again from scratch,” to use your own words”.

    So, if I use *your* words to put forward my point of view, that’s ok? Sure, let’s try that. I give you your own words on Moonlight:

    “Moonlight is fine”, in the words of Roy, “it’s a great step forward”.

    Now do you see how wrong that is? They’re your words, but not your opinion. You’ve done exactly the same to Alex Brown.

  6. AlexH said,

    May 21, 2008 at 5:03 am


    Look, if you still think I’m being pedantic, here is an easy correction to make: change the title to “OOXML BRM Convenor on ISO process: ”It may be time to start again from scratch””.

    You see, that way you don’t confuse his words about the process with your words about the OOXML standard.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 21, 2008 at 5:17 am


    Evidence of the process breaking culminated in Microsoft’s sheer abuse (dare I say corruption and bribery too). If that’s the case, why should OOXML slip through while the process gets mended?

    As for the rest, you’re playing a game of semantics. It’s an endless thing and your expectations from a blog are as high as you wish for them to be.

  8. AlexH said,

    May 21, 2008 at 5:30 am


    Your first question cannot be answered in the terms you state it, as well you know.

    As for a game of semantics: yes, this is about semantics, that’s in fact precisely the problem. It’s significant that you think semantics is a game, and you feel free to ascribe meaning to those who obviously don’t support your views.

    Believe me, my expections of this blog aren’t that high. You’ve admitted you don’t read it or research it, but using someone else’s words to espouse an opinion they don’t hold is generally thought to be pretty bad form. It’s bad manners, Roy.

  9. Quentin Crisp said,

    May 21, 2008 at 6:33 am


    Careful there Alex, you’re about to get tagged. Roy doesn’t deal in facts, only (mostly fictional) drama.

    Like many others I read this blog because it is entertaining. For the first month of having it in my list of feeds I thought it was some sort of comical parody site, but I couldn’t work out what of.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 22, 2008 at 2:18 am


    Only one single person is being tagged and if you follow the links in the flag you’ll find out just why.

What Else is New

  1. Leaked: Budget and Finance Committee Outcomes That Jeopardise What's Left of the EPO's Future

    A look at the latest reckless step from the Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (chaired by Battistelli's pet chinchilla), which marginalises yet more oversight or a branch which facilitates patent quality control (thereby concealing the effect of Battistelli's ruinous sausage factory mentality)

  2. Links 27/10/2016: Major Changes in Unity 8, Nextcloud Targets Phones

    Links for the day

  3. 'Balkan Express' Teaser: EPO's Željko Topić, Kuterovac, Campinos, Gurry, Battistelli and the DKPTO (Kongstad)

    Various photos of Topić and Kuterovac. Some more photos with other IP "luminaries" such as Campinos of the EUIPO and Gurry of the WIPO.

  4. The United States Pressures India to Broaden Patent Scope and Other Monopolies

    The envoy of the US is trying to tell India how to run the country (stricter laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and patents), as a condition for foreign investment by multinational corporations

  5. Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (EPO) Confirms Exile of the Boards of Appeal

    Crushing of highly-skilled staff, propaganda in the form of new press releases, and recruitment attempts that won't succeed because the world now knows what goes on inside the European Patent Office

  6. Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

    Links for the day

  7. Leaked: EPO's Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

    E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

  8. Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

    The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or "placements") -- all under the guise of 'studies'

  9. Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the 'Reform' (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

    Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

  10. No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

    Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, "unified" patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

  11. Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

    Minutes of the Administrative Council's meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

  12. Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

  13. Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace's Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

    Links for the day

  14. Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

    Links for the day

  15. Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] 'Study' (Then 'Conference') Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the 'Workshop' Umbrella

    Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for 'studies'), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

  16. EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

    EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

  17. UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn't going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements -- or advertisements for jobs that will never exist -- are withdrawn

  18. Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

    Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards' independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

  19. EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez - Battistelli's Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

    Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection")

  20. Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel's New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

    Links for the day

  21. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  22. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  23. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  24. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  25. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  26. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  27. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  28. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  29. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  30. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts