Bonum Certa Men Certa

Assorted New Reactions to the OOXML BRM, March Vote

"There won’t be anything we won’t say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go."

--Bill Gates (Microsoft's CEO at the time)



Brown has unleashed some BRM documents which are being studied at the moment. Here are some early reactions.

One of the documents Brown has provided is an edited version of the notes from the meeting [PDF]. Obviously, that isn't sufficient, since one has no way to know all that was edited out. The other is a list of the resolutions. Apart from wanting to see unexpurgated notes, and to listen to the audio reportedly made of the meeting, what is the most interesting from the documents, as Groklaw member PolR emailed me, is that even the edited notes confirm some details we've been reading. I think they also raise some procedural questions.


And speaking of "procedural questions", ask someone who was there.

To resort to "counting votes" on the vast majority of the technical issues of DIS 29500, without discussion or opportunity for objection, this is a failure of the JTC1 process. But if we are to have a vote at all, it must be done in accordance with the rules.


Jan van den Beld, who is partly responsible for this fiasco, had the following said about him.

BTW, Ecma held a cocktail event on Thursday evening (28th) and I had an opportunity to chat with Mr Jan van den Beld. He was the head of Ecma and instrumental in seeing OOXML through the process. He re-justified the case for OOXML to us delegates, and yes, he did reiterate his favourite phrase, and Ecma's unofficial motto “Better a good standard today than a perfect one tomorrow”... I guess different people have different definitions of "good"!

He did, with good humour, apologize for being the one responsible for bringing all of us here. That was nice of him ;-)

Maybe I'm too much of an idealist, and he being in the standards business for so long, and having seen so much rubbish (^H^H^H^H vendor specifications) pushed through over the years, has lower expectations for international standards. I dunno. Hey, maybe I AM cynical, too!


This actually comes from Malaysia, which has been very frank (consider the harsh press release) whilst other nations kept a low profile and maintained more secrecy. Remember the Microsoft lobbyists in Geneva? Well, The Financial Times gave that some coverage thanks to this Malaysian blogger.

Anyway, what is interesting about this, is that a substantial amount of information is based on my "Geneva, Day x" series, and the funny one on "Geneva, Day Zero" blog entry. Yeah, FT even featured the walkin' talkin' stalkin' Microsoft Malaysia Rep! Maija followed up on it, and it seems Microsoft's official reason for his attendance was "to provide technical assistance". Heh.


IBM's Sutor is already trying to convince those 'puppet nations' (never mind puppet committees), which blindly voted on OOXML, to change their decision. It's not too late and the sheer failure of the BRM [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] ought to have them publicly embarrassed for failing to do so.

Jonathan assured me that national bodies can, indeed, change their votes to NO from YES or ABSTAIN.


More details here.

For those who thought that ODF adoption had slown down, consider the fact that a county in Germany has just begun adopting OpenOffice.org, which is one among the many programs that use ODF, the international standard.

According to this German article, the German county "Friesland" is adoption open source including OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org will be installed on the majority of the client systems.


To conclude, it's looking very bad for those who continue to defend OOXML and looking good for the existing international standard.

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