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OOXML Convenor Might be Shooting the Messenger (Groklaw)

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 7:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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.”

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

ALEX Brown, a major participant in Microsoft cronyism inside ISO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22], is not so interested in facts and evidence, such as the simple observation that Microsoft is attempting to grab control ODF [1, 2, 3, 4], having attacked it viciously before.

To make matters worse, smears appear to be making a comeback [1, 2 and they came from Brown’s mouth. He not only denied the obvious but he also dismissed their source, which is typical of Microsoft employees, saying that Groklaw is “unfair”.

However, Alex Brown, the convener of SC34, told ZDNet Asia sister site ZDNet UK at the time that Jones’s post was “chock-full of misinformation and spin”.

When will the posturing end, if ever?

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, investor in SCO

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  1. Alex Brown said,

    November 6, 2008 at 9:24 am


    Roy Roy Roy Roy Roy,

    Look – if I wrote (and I would not) “Roy Schestowitz is an idiotic liar”, now *that* would be a personal attack, a “smear”. However, if I wrote “Roy Schestowitz’s blog entry at http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/05/ooxml-convenor-denial/ contains idiotic lies” then that would be an attack on the *content*. Quite different. It also has the merit of being something that any reasonable person can verify for themselves by reading that content.

    Basic rule of enlightened debate: attack the piece (as much as you want), not the person. A rule you very obviously and repeatedly choose to ignore, as here.

    So when I am quoted as saying “Jones’s post was ‘chock-full of misinformation and spin’” that’s fine, and is not (as is inaccurately stated by you) a “smear”, but an attack on the a particular groklaw *post*, which was – yes – a piece of writing that was full of shit.

    - Alex.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 6, 2008 at 9:32 am


    How is a list of the participants “full of shit”?

    For the uninitiated, here is the post from Groklaw:


  3. Alex Brown said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:00 am



    Life is too short to correct Groklaw’s multitude of mistakes. However, as a special favour, just this once, let us consider your point about the “list of participants”.

    Groklaw stated:

    “Look at this, will you? It has a list of participants in the July meeting in Japan of the SC 34 committee”

    with a link to http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc34/open/1055.htm for the word “this”.

    How many mistakes, of fact an analysis, can such a short sentence have? Let’s see shall we.

    First, mistakes of basic fact:

    #1 Groklaw says this was a meeting in Japan. Wrong, it was in London (read the document).

    #2 Groklaw says this was a meeting of SC 34. Wrong, it was a meeting of an “ad hoc group” open to a much wider constituency, and which was was not empowered to make decisions (it was an advisory group who could only advise its convenor – who was me).

    Second, mistakes of analysis:

    #3 Groklaw implies this proves MS controls SC 34. Wrong for two reasons: first this was not a meeting of SC 34. Second MS (and Ecma) have no votes or decision making powers in any meeting under JTC 1. (And no voting took place in any case, since this was an advisory group).

    #4 Groklaw implies MS/Ecma had some kind of untoward interest in this meeting. Errr, the purpose of this meeting was to decide on the maintenance arrangements for OOXML, so Ecma most certainly should have been interested — SC 34 had *invited* them to participate.

    If you just scale this mistake level up to the whole article, you’ll get a very good idea of its overall quality: shit.

    - Alex.

  4. twitter said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:07 am


    Enlighten me Alex. You are saying SC 34 does not want to maintain ODF? OOXML is not a laughing stock or byword for corruption?

    If you want to talk about smears, you should be familiar with your company’s other work. Here an example of a typical hit job on Roy in Slashdot. These kinds of people follow his posts on news groups and everywhere else free software advocates go. Here’s a little list of M$ abuse. There’s much more than the few people here have time to document but the spirit of things can be found in M$’s own words Directly and through proxies, M$ is one of the ugliest and most offensive companies in the world.

    Debate tip: get to the point.

  5. twitter said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:12 am


    LOL, Alex, SC 34 does not act in M$’s interest. Tell me another one, like why the world needs another document format standard after ISO approved ODF.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:20 am


    #1 Groklaw says this was a meeting in Japan. Wrong, it was in London (read the document).

    True, but this does not make a difference because venue is quite irrelevant to the agenda (that’s almost nitpicking). I can recall this meeting clearly because I initially read about it here.

    #3 Groklaw implies this proves MS controls SC 34. Wrong for two reasons: first this was not a meeting of SC 34. Second MS (and Ecma) have no votes or decision making powers in any meeting under JTC 1. (And no voting took place in any case, since this was an advisory group).

    Semantics and procedural details do not change the simple fact that this panel played a role in the process as a whole. Attending the meeting:

    Adam Farquhar (Ecma)
    Alex Brown (UK)
    Benjamin Henrion (BE)
    Brett Roberts (NZ)
    Dave Welsh (US)
    Doug Mahugh (Ecma)
    Francis Cave (GB)
    Isabelle Valet-Harper (Ecma)
    Istvan Sebestyen (Ecma)
    Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen (DK)
    Jean Paoli (Ecma)
    Jean Stride (GB)
    Jesper Lund Stocholm (DK)
    Jirka Kosek (CZ)
    Keld Simonsen (NO)
    Ken Holman (CA)
    Kimmo Bergius (FI)
    Manu Setälä (FI)
    Michiel Leenaars (NL)
    Murata Makoto (JP)
    Patrick Durusau (US)
    Pia Elleby Lange (DK)
    Rex Jaeschke (Ecma)
    Shahzad Rana (NO)
    Wemba Opota (CI)

    From Rob Weir:

    So a quick tally shows that there will be 25 participants, of which 12 are Ecma TC45 members (as listed) or Microsoft employees (Brett Roberts, Dave Welsh, Jasper Bojsen, Kimmo Bergius, Shahzad Rana and Wemba Opota).

    #4 Groklaw implies MS/Ecma had some kind of untoward interest in this meeting.

    That’s what ECMA is paid for, no? That’s what may define the future of multi-million-dollar products from Microsoft, no? But hey, let’s forget about the money. Microsoft and ECMA do this for the empowerment of society, I’m sure.

    Errr, the purpose of this meeting was to decide on the maintenance arrangements for OOXML, so Ecma most certainly should have been interested — SC 34 had *invited* them to participate.

    Who in SC34? And why? The quote from Martin Bryan speaks volumes. With the recent appointment of Jesper Lund Stocholm, it is clear that ISO is a lost cause. Long live OASIS.

  7. twitter said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:47 am


    Alex Brown is not an idiotic liar, but the things he writes are full shit and idiotic lies.

  8. twitter said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:51 am


    (08:44:21 AM) twitter: So, is that really Alex Brown or some impostor?
    (08:44:37 AM) schestowitz: It’s him
    (08:44:46 AM) twitter: How do you know?
    (08:44:48 AM) schestowitz: waltz.griffinbrown.co.uk

    I still can’t believe the above is really in charge of an ISO group. Someone must have baggy pants him. unless ISO has really gone down the tube lately.

  9. G. Michaels said,

    November 7, 2008 at 2:52 am


    @Alex: I can’t really help you with Roy, but you can safely dismiss this ‘twitter’ person, he’s a well-known Slashdot troll and nymshifter that operates dozens of accounts over there, and uses them to disrupt discussions and general crapflooding:


    ‘twitter’ basically appears to function now as BoycottNovell’s little attack poodle, resorting to kindergarten insults and ad hominems where Roy would rather pretend he’s being civil with people who disagree with him. They use his IRC channel to coordinate all this. Read his posts on this blog to get an idea of the quality he’s brought over from Slashdot. He’s just an unemployed armchair “evangelist” whose main achievements include getting laughed out of the Baton Rouge LUG (and Slashdot of course):


    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  10. twitter said,

    November 7, 2008 at 11:33 am


    Interesting, G. I mocked Alex Brown for calling Roy an idiot and a liar, and you took it as something aimed at yourself. Are you name shifting as you accuse me of the same?

    As Roy has noticed, that’s all you do here, so I’m force to conclude that you are simply part of M$’s regular program of abuse. Yes, that means you are paid by M$ to harass and smear people because M$’s products can’t speak for themselves.

    I’ve explained my reasons for using more than one account on Slashdot before. For those who have not seen it, visit this 2004 journal entry, this one from 2005, the troll zoo. Roy does not approve, I can live with that.

    If the person above really is Alex Brown, it’s safe to dismiss ISO. It’s long been safe to dismiss M$ for any purpose. Roy has done a good job documenting the sad destruction of ISO.

  11. André said,

    November 19, 2008 at 3:05 am


    Alex is right that your communication style is over the top and you are a quick shooter to make direct personal allegations. He seems to be quite wrong on any other issues:

    #3 Groklaw implies this proves MS controls SC 34. Wrong for two reasons: first this was not a meeting of SC 34. Second MS (and Ecma) have no votes or decision making powers in any meeting under JTC 1. (And no voting took place in any case, since this was an advisory group).

    Our experience shows that it doesn’t matter in which name these persons operate. In no way does formal representation of other bodies restrain participants to directly follow the commercial interests of a particular vendor.

    The assumption that they have “no votes or decision powers in any meeting under JTC1″ is an odd presentation of facts. In particular as the past behaviour has shown that these members do not have any independence in their decision making and expertise. Sure it is not Japan that votes for its wale hunting, it is the national representative of the Bongo Bongo Islands that puts forward a proposal written by… and … says we endorse the Bongo Bongo proposal.

    #4 Groklaw implies MS/Ecma had some kind of untoward interest in this meeting. Errr, the purpose of this meeting was to decide on the maintenance arrangements for OOXML, so Ecma most certainly should have been interested — SC 34 had *invited* them to participate.

    As ECMA is de-facto a commercial proxy with no organisational independence it doesn’t matter. It just means that yet another person of the same vendor participates in the meeting under the ECMA label. This is why many persons advocate to revoke the a-liaision status of ECMA.

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