“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: A key participator in the OOXML fiasco mocks an attempt to establish real standards
MICROSOFT zealots are quite the bunch. Those zealots love to characterise freedom lovers as what they themselves are, carefully using stereotypes to portray appreciators of rights, standards and transparency as the “bad guys”. We saw many examples of that last week in ZDNet and days ago we got a reminder when we saw Microsoft's "fox" speaking utter rubbish again. Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] wants to be seen as a professional, but he keeps dodging the questions that matter. Moreover, rather than apologise for helping a corrupt process be corrupt (knowing all sorts of things which turned out to be true later, including patent traps), he carries on moaning and playing dumb. What does it say about him? With UK acceptance of ODF he must be rather bitter. After all, his reputation was burned like an effigy after all he had sacrificed everything for his beloved OOXML. Strong language is all he can descend to now, writing phrases like: “Faced with such clueless fuckwittery it’s tempting simply to ask: what’s the point?” The context is “UK Open Standards”.
Andy Updegrove has responded to this one:
Presumably, being involved in standards activities that are highly relevant to the consulting and implementation business of Alex’s firm, Griffin Brown, has no impact on its fortunes at all. And engaging in some other type of community service – say, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or becoming a Boy Scout leader – would avoid all that tedious travel to the excessively dreary locations where SC 34 (the format standard working group) insists on holding its meetings. Places like Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris, Copenhagen, and Prague.
The problem, it appears, is that Alex thinks that only those that participate in working groups like SC 34 are competent to judge what should be in a standard, or which among competing standards might be superior. Never mind, of course, that legions of formal standards have never been widely adopted at all, or that consortium standards are frequently adopted over formal standards. But forget that. Those who aren’t inside the formal standards process just don’t get what standards are really and truly all about, so why don’t all you ignorant sods just bugger off?
If the name Alex Brown rings a bell, don’t be surprised. Alex was the convenor of the one week OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting held in 2008 – you know, the one that thought that a one week meeting was an intelligent way to resolve over 1,000 comments on an over 6,000 page specification in order to formalize an open standard. During that meeting, Alex made multiple decisions that were later condemned by many. Four countries filed formal appeals. Alex remains serene about that meeting, the decisions made, and the outcome.
Standards, you see, are not to be questioned by those that are expected to use them. They are to be accepted with the deference to which their developers are entitled. We, who are increasingly utterly dependent on what standards allow us to do, or not do, are never, ever to question the judgment of those that create these precious gifts.
Our role is to take what we’re given, and do what we’re told. Anything else would be “clueless fuckwittery.”
My God, Alex. Where is there an end of it?
“Do take a look,” remarks Groklaw, “and if you are in the UK, you might let the government know what standards are important to you. If you are not one for surveys, it says you can alternatively email cto at cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk” █