Bonum Certa Men Certa

Steve Pepper Spills the Beans on MSOOXML in Norway

A post-mortem, one fiasco at the time: first the BRM in Geneva and now Norway...

Protests in Norway (OOXML)



It has been just over a week since the scheduled large-scale protests against OOXML in Norway. These were soon followed by considerable problems for Microsoft in Europe and some more protests elsewhere, culminating in more damning accounts of possible misconduct in the ISO helm.

One of the most senior people in Norway seems to have had enough. He unlashes the real story, which is long and outraging. Here is just a snippet.

But lo… at this point, the “rules” were changed. The VP asserted that “Ecma has clearly made steps in the right direction.” The most important thing now was to ensure that OOXML came under ISO’s control so that it could be “further improved”. However, the committee was not allowed to discuss this.

The VP thereupon declared that there was no consensus, so the decision would be taken by Standard Norway.



Halfway through the proceedings, a committee member had asked for (and received) assurance that the Chairman would take part in the final decision, as he had for the DIS vote back in August. It now transpired that the BRM participants had also been invited to stay behind. 23 people were therefore dismissed and we were down to seven. In addition to Standard Norway’s three, there were four “experts”: Microsoft Norway’s chief lobbyist, a guy from StatoilHydro (national oil company; big MS Office user), a K185 old-timer, and me. In one fell swoop the balance of forces had changed from 80/20 to 50/50 and the remaining experts discussed back and forth for 20 minutes or so without reaching any agreement.

The VP thereupon declared that there was still no consensus, so the decision would be taken by Standard Norway.



The experts were dismissed and the VP asked the opinion of the Secretary (who said “Yes”) and the JTC1 rep (who said “No”).

The VP thereupon declared that there was still no consensus, so the decision would be taken by him.



And his decision was to vote Yes.

So this one bureaucrat, a man who by his own admission had no understanding of the technical issues, had chosen to ignore the advice of his Chairman, of 80% of his technical experts, and of 100% of the K185 old-timers. For the Chairman, only one course of action was possible.

[...]

The meeting was a farce and the result was a scandal. But it’s not over yet, and one thing is clear: the “little one” is unfit to represent the interests of Norwegian users.


For an overview of OOXML misconduct in Norway (March 2008 and September 2007), start here. Pepper concludes with the words "it’s not over yet" and he is absolutely right. We will continue to write about this and gradually show just how much trouble ISO is in.

I sold out

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