Bonum Certa Men Certa

Roger Frost (ISO) and Stephen McGibbon (Microsoft) Proudly Lied to the Public (Updated)

Saving face at the expense of one's own credibility

One of the more astounding aspects of the epic OOXML story, which was filled with corruption, are systematic denials from guilty parties. Bald-faced lies have become the norm. Earlier on we wrote about the role of denial in marketing OOXML and now comes another new eclectic writeup that puts it all in better perspective.

It is so important that we now publish our notes about what really happened. Not only in Norway but in standard committees worldwide. So many untold stories are out there. Stories which explain the outrage. Stories we shared with our peers but not the general public.

[...]

There was 1 in the bed and the little one said, “Norway votes Yes!”

To overcome a potential bias of that story about what really happened you can find the other side of the story in Stephen McGibbon's Blog: Norway and Germany, There Are No Irregularities. Ironically the Microsoft employee posted it 1st of April.

ISO spokesperson Roger Frost was quoted by the NYTimes:

Mr. Frost …upon investigation considered the Norwegian dispute to be an internal matter. “We have received background information from them and have no reason to question the validity of their vote,” Mr. Frost said.


Remind yourself again what it is that happened in Norway, as told by a very high-level and long-time official. This is something that Microsoft and ISO said involved no irregularities before the real story was made public. Some would they that should now blush, but they probably knew the truth at the time (and all along), so blushing should be replaced by fear. They ought to fear for their careers perhaps, for their dishonesty was put up for display.

What people at the high level of Roger Frost and Stephen McGibbon told the public a few weeks ago must be remembered as a save-facing lie. Whether those apparently-independent lies were coordinated or not, well... it seems unlikely. However, it looks very bad for both ISO and Microsoft. We stress yet again that this saga is far, far from over. There are many 'smoking guns' and growing unrest in European authorities. Martin Bryan was a smart man. He escaped before things got ugly, and rest assured that the worst is yet to come.

" 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, ISO
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1 (OOXML)



Update: It seems like ISO has just gotten itself a worrisome new partnership that could enable its 'disease' of corruption to pass on.

ISO and IEEE strengthen partnership for development of international standards



The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) have signed an agreement to increase their cooperation in developing international standards. The agreement initially focuses on the subjects of information technology, intelligent transport systems and health informatics. The "partner standards development organization (PSDO)" cooperation agreement provides new opportunities to adopt and jointly develop international standards to serve the global marketplace. The agreement was approved by the respective governing bodies of ISO and IEEE following extensive discussions, and in consultation with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), U.S. member body to ISO.


To quote what a friend said about the IEEE a while ago (in the context of OOXML):




If the GPL is the antithesis of a Microsoft EULA, then the following must surely by the antitheses of Microsoft's bizniz practises:

IEEE Code of Ethics

As per IEEE Bylaw I-104.14, membership in IEEE in any grade shall carry the obligation to abide by the IEEE Code of Ethics (IEEE Policy 7.8) as stated below.

We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:

1. to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;

2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;

3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;

4. to reject bribery in all its forms;

5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;

6. to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;

7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;

8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;

9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;

10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.

Approved by the IEEE Board of Directors February 2006


It's like reading an obituary of Microsoft: "What We Did Wrong", or a Catholic Confirmation ceremony, where the initiate renounces Satan.

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