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05.30.08

Slashdot: World’s Third-Largest Population Appeals ISO’s Decision (Updated, Confirmed)

Posted in America, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOft

We haven’t concrete proof yet, but Slashdot, citing what we did yesterday, came up with the headline “Brazil Appeals OOXML Decision.” For background on this appeal, you might wish to read about the events in South Africa.

Brazil is now appealing the ISO’s decision to standardize OOXML, following South Africa’s lead.

Can anyone confirm this? This came to my attention in a response I received in Technocrat and I’ve just asked in Bob Sutor’s blog for something substantiated. Might Slashdot be right? Or wrong?

Either way, in other ODF news, watch the following very elaborative analysis from SVG.org:

Thomas is part of the legal team representing some companies in the EU against Microsoft.
The bit in the interview that caught my attention was the following quote:

We filed our complaint with the Commission last February, over Microsoft’s refusal to disclose their Office file formats (.doc, .xls, and .ppt), so it could be fully compatible and interoperable with others’ software, like Linux. We also had concerns with their collaboration software with XP, e-mail software, and OS server software and some media server software with their existing products. They use their vast resources to delay things as long as possible and to wear people down so they’ll give up.

[...]

What is worse is that even if people manage to stop OOXML from becoming an ISO standard it will be an ephemeral victory.
We need to recognize that this is the problem. Instead of trying to bury OOXML, which amounts to covering the sun with your finger.
We need to make sure that OpenOffice.org can thrive on its technical grounds.

On the technical side, OpenOffice.org makes good progress. In fact, the following press release has just come up.

Advanced Integration of OpenOffice.org with Apple VoiceOver, ODF Editing is Now Accessible on All Key Desktop Platforms; More Than 100 Extensions Available for OpenOffice.org

As we stated a few days ago, the download pace of OpenOffice.org had gone up significantly.

Update: The news from Slashdot can now be confirmed by Groklaw, which has the details. Bravo, Brazil!

According to Andy Updegrove, there are more appeals on the way (we just don’t know about them yet). This is excellent news. The appeal from Brazil is reproduced below.


Dear Sirs,

The Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT), as a P member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34, would like to present, to ISO/IEC/JTC1 and ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34, this appeal for reconsideration of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 final result.

This appeal is based on two main considerations:

1. Brazil considers that the BRM was inconclusive.
2. Brazil considers that the final version of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 text shall be released immediately.

1. About the BRM

At the BRM, the Brazilian delegation was not allowed to present an important proposal regarding the legacy binary mapping. This proposal was a complementary part of USA delegation proposal regarding the new organization of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500. It also shall complement the scope change proposal approved at the BRM.

Brazil has tried to present this proposal, during the debates, on the first day of the meeting and, attending to a request made by the convenor, Brazil has taken offline discussions with USA and other delegations and prepared its proposal to be presented on Friday, during USA proposal presentation.
On Friday, when USA ended their part of presentation and asked for Brazil to present its part of it, the convenor denied this opportunity to Brazilian delegation.

Several delegations has protested against that arbitrary decision, but those appeal was in vain and until the end of the BRM, the Brazilian delegation was not able to present its proposal. The main reason alleged by the convenor was “lack of time”.
The proposal here mentioned, is the one available on the file “Br_Multipart_Proposal.ppt” available to all BRM members the ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34 website at least since the fourth day of the meeting.

Brazil also noticed that most of the decisions taken during the BRM were based on the “lack of time” argument, and we think that this is completely incompatible with the kind of decisions that should have be taken on that meeting.

During the BRM, some decisions were also taken based on the argument that “we need to give answers to journalists”, and we think that the media coverage of that meeting was not so important as the meeting results, to be used as a decision making criteria.
Even with the “lack of time” alleged, some members of ECMA delegation, and not members of any NB, was allowed to do half-hour speeches during the two first days of the meeting.

The voting rules of that meeting were not taken in accordance with ISO/IEC/JTC1 directives subclause 9.1.4. Brazil also notes that the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 was voted under ISO/IEC/JTC1 but the BRM was organized by ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34. Even if the directives subclause 9.1.4 was intended to be used, Brazil cannot understand if the P member status considered, should be the ISO/IEC/JTC1 or the ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34 one.

Brazil also considers that if most part of the issues was to be decided by vote, without any kind of discussion allowed.

About the same subject, Brazil considers that the elected “default voting criteria” was only elected because it was the “less bad” criteria that could be analyzed, and we do not consider that this voting decision represents the intent of the vast majority of BRM delegates. They went there to discuss the technical propositions.

Analyzing the document “SC 34 N 990 – EDITED NOTES OF THE MEETING”, on page 7, we have found the register of BR objection to the multi-part split decision but analyzing the document “SC 34 N 989 – RESOLUTIONS OF THE MEETING” we do not find that objection registered.

During the BRM, the delegations were asked to vote in block for the rejection of a set of responses that was considered by the convenor as “responses without any editing instructions”. Those responses are listed on the file “dis29500-nochange.txt”, available at the SC34 website during the BRM and, as far as Brazilian delegates remember, this set of responses was “rejected in block” as requested.

When we analyze the documents N989 and N990 we do not see any reference to that decision and also at the ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34 document with title “Result of Proposed disposition of comments (SC 34 N 980)”, that presents a table with the status of each response, some of the “block rejected responses” appears as accepted (e.g. responses 3, 5, 10 and 11 among others).

To finalize our considerations about the BRM, analyzing the document N 989, we’ve found that the BRM can be summarized by:

Total of responses available for discussion: 1027 100 %
Total of responses addressed at the BRM: 189 18,4 %
Total of responses decided by “default” vote: 838 81,6 %

We use the term “responses addressed at the BRM” above because the majority of those responses was decided by block vote without any discussion at the BRM.

For the above-mentioned reasons, Brazil considers that the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 BRM was inconclusive.

2. About the final version of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 text

According to the directive item 13.12, the final version of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 text shall be distributed on not more than one month after the end of the BRM.

Seen that almost three months has passed after the end of BRM, without any final version of the text distributed or published, and based on directive subclause 13.12, Brazil request the distribution of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 final text.

For all those reasons presented, Brazil kindly request that the final result of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 should be reconsidered by ISO/IEC/JTC1 and ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC34.

Best regards,

Marcia Cristina de Oliveira

ABNT – Manager Standardization Process

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27 Comments

  1. Uncle_Sam said,

    May 30, 2008 at 5:18 am

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    Yooouhooo !!! Alllllright !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let the parttyy beginnn !!

  2. Penny Lemon said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:07 am

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    Brazil has issued a protest about the BRM, but is not appealing the final outcome. The difference is subtle, and I have to admit to not fully personally understanding it.

    SA remains the only country to have filed a formal protest to date.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:16 am

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    Interesting. There’s still a lot of confusion and it’s discussed in GL (you can see my message there). The word “appeal” shows up in 3 places that are quite trustworthy. I don’t know…

    In any event, there appear to be as many as two more appeals that we just don’t know about. Yet. Let’s wait and see.

  4. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:30 am

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    Well, the language they use in the letter is “appeal for reconsideration”, but reconsideration isn’t really on the table: the result either stands or it does, and that’s it. That’s the ambiguity Penny is talking about, and what Andy was talking about when he said:

    But with each additional appeal that is filed, one would hope that a review of the process will be found to be more urgent, given the evident unhappiness of National Bodies that attended the BRM in good faith, and left unsatisfied not with the result, but what they had witnessed in the course of a long and frustrating week in Geneva.

    It’s that second dissatisfaction that Brazil particularly seem to be addressing.

    If an appeal against OOXML is going to succeed, it really needs to come from an NB which didn’t vote no – someone who voted abstain or yes. I’m not sure that will be coming, but there was an interesting discussion (again on Andy’s site) about why appeals from no-voting countries are likely to amount to little.

  5. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:35 am

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    BTW, for the further appeals I put my money on Malaysia and (possibly) India.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:36 am

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    If an appeal against OOXML is going to succeed, it really needs to come from an NB which didn’t vote no…

    Can you back this with a link please?

    When a voting process is rigged, should it matter who is protesting?

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:38 am

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    Malaysia has been eerily quiet and India… well, Microsoft seems to be fighting them insanely even after they supposedly ‘won’ (read: corrupted the process sufficiently). I was actually wondering about China when I read Andy’s post.

  8. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:58 am

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    I’ll try and find a link, but the basic gist of the argument is that the appeals process is basically only ever used for “no doubt” problems. If ISO quashes OOXML based on arguable appeals from no-voters, they’re effectively overriding the majority vote.

    The problem with saying the BRM vote was “rigged” is that (unless I misunderstand you) you’re saying that the NBs were stuffed and/or otherwise incented to vote a certain way; appealing that doesn’t fly because NBs are entitled to vote as they please. If France want to vote by Sarkozy fiat, that’s “ok” (obviously it’s not, but you know what I mean).

    As for China – I honestly don’t see them appealing. Given what they’re doing with UOF, I don’t seem them caring too much. If they do appeal, I suspect it will be quite weakly worded like the Brazilian letter. Malaysia and India would put together something altogether stronger, and more likely to be taken seriously I think.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:10 am

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    We covered the incidents reported from and about the BRM at the time. It was not only stuffed by Microsoft and its partners (a partial ‘guest list’ had been obtained) but it also had people ignored. The entire thing was a farce. Microsoft hijacked the entire process in so many ways.

    Speaking of Sarkozy, he too intervened in what ought to have been a technical decision.

  10. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:25 am

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    Right, I agree, but you seem to have missed my point.

    The NBs are basically sovereign. You can’t say to an NB “I don’t think you considered this on technical merits, therefore your vote is invalid” – they can vote how they please, based on whatever they please, including the opinion of the President. ISO is nothing more than global consensus, and ISO obeys its membership not the other way around.

    Let me draw an analogy: international whaling conventions. Everyone knows that Japan doesn’t need to kill hundreds of whales for scientific research. But you can’t override Japan’s vote on the convention even though we all know they’re having whale for dinner because they’re a sovereign country.

  11. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:27 am

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    Oh, maybe also let me add Canada to my list of potential appeals.

  12. Penny Lemon said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:30 am

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    I stand corrected on Brazil.

    http://deepakphatak.blogspot.com/ – sheds a little light on India.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:31 am

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    They responded vocally to the poor quality of the BRM, IIRC (maybe it’s in GL). Malaysia even issued a press release to criticise it.

  14. Penny Lemon said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:31 am

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    http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=398AA602-17A4-0F78-3103E0E8BF80DEB5

    ISO confirm in the linked article that Brazil, India and South Africa are the only three – all DISAPPROVE votes.

  15. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:43 am

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    A comment in Bob Sutor’s blog says three appeals: Brazil, SA, and India.

    I would have bet on Malaysia personally, and the India appeal sounds a little bit ad-hoc, but there we are.

  16. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:44 am

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    Linky.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:56 am

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    Thank you.

  18. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

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    Also, apparently, India filed their appeal fine – it was Brazil who misfiled.

    So I take back the comment about it being ad-hoc.

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:05 am

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    I’m still watching the GL comments trying to figure out the verdict on Brazil.

  20. AlexH said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:07 am

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    As I understand it, it’s going forward as an appeal and will be treated as such.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:23 am

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    I seems so. ‘Penny Lemon’ said this some hours ago, but his comments entered the moderation queue.

  22. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:54 am

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    Regarding your news from Planete Beranger…

    Doesn’t anyone else find it strange that a programmer such as this Beranger guy attacks Free Software projects left and right (GNOME, KDE, and XFCE – calling them all crap, insulting the developers by calling them morons, idiots, etc)?

    I also find it strange that he has not contributed to ANY Free Software project, yet claims to have been involved with Free Software since 1994, especially since he’s a software developer.

    But then you look at his resume… and we find what? “Windows Developer”

    Now the picture becomes clear: he insults Free Software projects and developers because Free Software is a threat to his job. He’s a Microsoft shill if there ever was one.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:57 am

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    No, he makes many contributions (suggestions, bug reports, etc). It’s just his style to rant… about everything, not just FOSS. He hates everything Microsoft too…

  24. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 30, 2008 at 10:01 am

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    If he hates everything Microsoft, then why does he develop for Windows rather than Linux? It’s not like there is any shortage of Linux development jobs these last few years.

  25. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 30, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Gravatar

    My point is that if he feels so passionately about how badly these projects are being run/designed/whatever, why doesn’t he actually contribute code?

    Answer: he’s an egotistical and hypocritical arse.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Gravatar

    Go ahead and ask him, Dan. Seriously. I’ve read his blog for years and I trust his integrity. He is forced to use Windows at work (KDE themed) for all I can tell.

  27. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 30, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Gravatar

    That last message seems to be a prelude to an attack on me too, eh?

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