Bonum Certa Men Certa

ISO Totally Loses Its Credibility, Microsoft Partly Blamed

Is there an ECMA-ISO-Microsoft axis yet?

ISO is not what it used to be. It was transformed and reformed by Microsoft, which simply had to tame it to behave more 'properly'. We covered all of this before and showed how people in ISO are likely to have been pressured out of their job. We last mentioned smear campaigns only yesterday. Ad hominem is the tactic used against anyone who opposes or legitimately questions OOXML. In this case, however, the escape was probably motivated by need to flee liability.

“Ad hominem is the tactic used against anyone who opposes or legitimately questions OOXML.”Unsurprisingly, the BRM in Geneva had received chaotic responses, which Microsoft, ECMA and ISO (all with vested interest in this case) try to extinguish. It's means of rewriting history. A reader sent us a report with some of the badly fixed and non-fixed OOXML problems [PDF]. These were raised during the BRM in relation to the OOXML format. We now have a local copy of this report.

Getting back to the latest failures of ISO, where does one even begin? We have 3 new complaints.

The first one speaks about the degree of manipulation.

Honestly, how on earth can the US NB, for example, have just announced their decision to vote yes to OOXML unless they have been thoroughly corrupted - as have so many other of the ISO National bodies and sub-committees involved in this whole sorry saga.

To my mind there will be two losers if OOXML becomes IS-29500:
  • Us - That’s all of us as consumers and users of electronic documents
  • ISO - They have already lost a great deal of respect and credibility. If OOXML passes they will have none left. They will become an irrelevance in technology standards at least.


I can see the IETF (The body responsible for much of what has made the Internet work) becoming a far more important standards setter going forward…


Groklaw covers the sudden change of rules at ISO.

New Rules for Changing Your Vote on OOXML



[...]

It's so sad that no one knows in advance precisely how things are supposed to go. It leaves you having to try every possible thing you can think of to make sure you get it right. Did NBs get notices of this change, I wonder?


Even Bob Sutor expresses his slight frustration over this.

Personally I’ve had enough with on-the-fly rule and process changes with this whole thing, but if the increase in recipients is just to ensure that all changes get counted, I’m fine with that.


A professional body that is responsible for important formal decisions does not pull rules out of its sleeves. That's just something you find in the bazaar, in the flea market where bargains are made and prices are named 'on the spot'. ISO isn't helping its reputation at the moment.

This is not the first time by the way. We wrote about this before. Brown decided to change rules, apparently.

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