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The Inside Story on Norway's Yes to OOXML

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the distracted-by-short-skirt-during-brief-summer dept.

Software 254

Steve Pepper writes "The former Chairman of the Norwegian ISO committee, who resigned two weeks ago in protest against his country's vote of Yes to OOXML, tells the inside story of how the decision was reached: how a single bureaucrat from Standards Norway sidelined the overwhelming majority of Norwegian technical experts and changed Norway's vote from No to Yes. The story is so surreal it's hard to believe." It's as depressing as it is brief.

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254 comments

Coincidentally (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137642)

He's also managed to change their domain suffix to .yes, and their country name to Yesrway.

Re:Coincidentally (2, Funny)

eugene ts wong (231154) | about 6 years ago | (#23137680)

The last thing we need is more yes men.

Re:Coincidentally (4, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | about 6 years ago | (#23137732)

Yes, you are absolutely correct. We need less yes me. Who is in agreement with Eugene. Let us all join forces and say "YES to less yes men"

Re:Coincidentally (0, Redundant)

Narpak (961733) | about 6 years ago | (#23137804)

There is no consensus; therefor; as self-appointed chairman I decide to vote NO to Less Yes Men. Get your affairs in order and start agreeing with what I say.

Three Line Novel (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#23137852)

At this point, in a bizarre and tasteless trans-Atlantic timewarp, Dr. Johnny Fever, Venus Flytrap, Herb Tarlek, and Jeffifer Marlow, dressed as the Spanish Inquisition, burst in, and say, in chorus:
"NO! One expects Les Nessman!"
They bundle up Eugene and haul him off to stunned looks from all present.

Re:Three Line Novel (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138140)

Get a life, ye humorless mod-twits.

420 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137648)

You're joking, right? I'm too stoned to read that.

Re:420 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138550)

wosh, that joke cruised over some mods head.

What can be done now? (4, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 6 years ago | (#23137668)

The real question for me is what can be done now?

- demonstrations? This is what happened in Norway. Sure it would be good to have them elsewhere.

- Virgils? this is what happened in India and almost on the same level.

- moving on a building teams to stifle OOXML adoption by national governments as their standard

- ???

Re:What can be done now? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137756)

The real question for me is what can be done now?

- demonstrations? This is what happened in Norway. Sure it would be good to have them elsewhere.

- Virgils? this is what happened in India and almost on the same level.

- moving on a building teams to stifle OOXML adoption by national governments as their standard

- ???
- Profit

Re:What can be done now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137760)

- demonstrations? This is what happened in Norway. Sure it would be good to have them elsewhere.

- Virgils? this is what happened in India and almost on the same level.
You could kill 2 birds with 1 stone and combine both your Powerpoints into 1 by rounding up a bunch of guys named Virgil to do the demonstrations.

This is what is meant by "Democracy" these days. (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 years ago | (#23137790)

Get used to it.

It's Dick Cheney's world, were just living on it - til' he needs to wipe us off.

Microsoft is just another example of the American disease that typifies their culture. By culture, I refer to something that can be grown, in a petrie dish. The American metaphor is that of the cancer, metastatic, it devours everything it can - demolishing its own food supply. Microsoft represents the apotheosis of this "culture" in commerce - as the Rep/Dem political duopoly of endless war represents this in the sphere of political relations.

Vote, little people! Vote! Ha hah ha!

Re:This is what is meant by "Democracy" these days (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#23137872)

JC: your mood is quite chipper.
Glad to see you're not, like, bummed out, or something, dude.

Re:This is what is meant by "Democracy" these days (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#23137894)

i have to agree and as an American i have to say it is one aspect of my country i am ashamed of...

Re:This is what is meant by "Democracy" these days (0, Offtopic)

OldHawk777 (19923) | about 6 years ago | (#23138368)

Norway is no better than US. From Norway, to Noway, to Yesway, and today it is M$way. USA Politicians, Corporatist, and Clergy have things in common with Blockheads and many EU Politicians, Corporatist, and Clergy most of them seek money or pleasure using an amoral code of expedition purchased as always best and right.

US & EU (phonetic, sounds like) Citizens have much to look forward too together. Soon our Warrior Military will evolve into the great big-brother AI/robot military ... no longer will we send our poor children, families, and friends to war in foreign lands. Loyalty will never again be questioned or any oaths of loyalty wanted. The AI/robot military will do many great truly amoral things for homeland/domestic security at the orders of our Politicians, Corporatist, and Clergy leaders. The TS (TimeSpace/ToughShit) mirror shows a complete reversal of the American and French revolutions and the re-emergence of the righteous aristocracy to exploit their serfs/slaves as masters.

The Amoral-life will be defined as virtuous; Therefor, all people of honor will again live like immortals, die like heroes, or become living legends with great regret, but none for those they killed. That our poor children, families, and friends are free again to have a future and humanity a great destiny, far more than an AI/robot military will be terminated.

Dang my delusional SciFic personality is ranting again.

Re:What can be done now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137762)

- Profit?

Re:What can be done now? (4, Funny)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 6 years ago | (#23137776)

Sell anti-OOXML T-Shirts?

Re:What can be done now? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137876)

"My Parents went to Norway and all I got was this stupid document standard"

Re:What can be done now? (3, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 6 years ago | (#23137766)

The question is, is this something that the average Norwegian will actually care about? Obviously it's something that worries /.ers and given Microsoft's previous record on all things imaginable it ought to worry everybody else, but in the grand scheme of things is the average person going to even know how they will be affected by the adoption of OOXML as a standard?

Re:What can be done now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137940)

I'd say the options are:

A.) Get to work on the 2.0 version of the standard and try to resolve all the contentions with the current one or if that doesn't work...

B.) Ignore it and adopt the competing format, and once that gains traction submit it as a standard.

As a co-worker said the other day "The great thing about standards is there's so many of them to chose from."

Nothing needs to be done (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23137966)

Microsoft have done it for us. The money they paid to push through their "standard" is wasted because the body the standardized it is no longer respected. Their purpose for seeking approval from a standards body has been defeated by the way in which they obtained it.

Re:Nothing needs to be done (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#23138050)

But the ISO is also the one who approved ODF. So if ISO is no longer trustworthy, who is left to say what is a good standard. If the whole standards body has lost credibility, where can we go to find out which standards to really use? If a government is looking to mandate open standards in it's document formats, which standards body should they go to to ensure the standards chosen are actually standards?

Re:Nothing needs to be done (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23138082)

Presumably a government would want to mandate open standards for a reason.. other than just to be hip.. so they should do what the US military does: demand that there be at least 2 suppliers for software that can read those formats. That should just about immediately eliminate OOXML, as I hear the biggest complaint was that there is parts of it that are just not implementable by anyone but Microsoft.

Re:Nothing needs to be done (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#23138104)

Hasn't OO.o started impletementing OOXML? I seem to remember that happening. Sure, it's nice to be philosphical and say that OOXML isn't a good standard, but when you're trying to get people to use your product, making it not read documents from MS Office isn't a good direction to be going in. Sure they may not be able to implement the whole thing, but does the US military require that the standard be implemented in full? How do they test for this?

Re:Nothing needs to be done (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23138120)

If you can't read the whole thing then it is pointless implementing the standard. You'll get "almost works" which is the same as "broken".

And, really, the US military does this multiple supplier requirement for hardware only.. they dabbled with it on the software side with the POSIX requirements, but that's about it.

Re:Nothing needs to be done (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#23138144)

Tell that to all the browser makers who implement HTML and CSS. None of them have it 100% correct. Some of them get 100% on Acid 3 (I think anyway), but still that doesn't mean they follow 100% of the standard. I guess there's a difference between "Impossible to implement due to bad definition", and "implementable, but nobody has done it yet". However, I'm sure even Microsoft strays from their own standard in some way or another, so I can't see why they would hold another vendor at fault. Sure they can't possible know what "AutospaceLikeWord95" is actually supposed to do, but they can look at what MS Word does, and make a best guess.

Re:Nothing needs to be done (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23138188)

Having not actually implemented the standard myself, I can't really comment on how terrible it is. But I can imagine that if actual information loss was involved, instead of just formatting or whatever, then a government that was looking for a standard to store their documents in would bork at OOXML. They could discover this from doing a test program and seeing if the interoperability of the products that support the standard is actually any good, or they could discover this the hard way after storing documents in one product's implementation of the standard for years and then trying to switch products.

But if, in the end, there's no real need for their documents to be stored in open formats then the only people who really care that the are stored in these formats are shills.

Re:Nothing needs to be done (3, Funny)

turing_m (1030530) | about 6 years ago | (#23138732)

"But I can imagine that if actual information loss was involved, instead of just formatting or whatever, then a government that was looking for a standard to store their documents in would bork at OOXML."

If any government were inclined to bork at OOXML, the Swedish government would be first on the list.

Another direction (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137990)

Join OOXML forces and show just how devoted you are: In order to preserve the reputation of this beautiful standard, make sure that no company can use the name if they're not 100% compliant with the complete spec. Chances are that no product can claim full OOXML support, not even MS Office. If "OOXML" doesn't appear on any product's feature list, the standard won't matter.

Re:What can be done now? (1)

Drishmung (458368) | about 6 years ago | (#23138244)

Rejoice! Accept that OOXML is a farce, a failure and a debacle. OOXML is not what is implemented in Office 2007. So, Office 2007 is not ISO compliant. I'm pretty confident it's never going to be compliant. I.e., MS is not going to patch their existing software to bring it into compliance with OOXML. OOXML is obviously a hulking, unimplementable monstrosity, so no one is seriously going to write new software to use it. Especially when ODF exists. If someone writes a contract that insists on ISO compliance, then any ODF s/w is fine. If they insist on OOXML compliance---well, then they just excluded Office. If they insist on Office, well, they can hardly claim to be following an ISO standard then. The debacle around OOXML has really served mainly to harm MS, not to help it.

Re:What can be done now? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 years ago | (#23138420)

- Virgils? this is what happened in India and almost on the same level.

Yes... excellent. Smithers! Summon the undead Greek poets!

Re:What can be done now? (2, Informative)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | about 6 years ago | (#23138438)

- Virgils? this is what happened in India and almost on the same level.

Yes... excellent. Smithers! Summon the undead Greek poets!

Roman.

Virgils? (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | about 6 years ago | (#23138452)

Arma virumque cano, Trojae qui primus ab oris Italiam fato profugus Lavinaque venit litora..."
Hmmm, no mention of India there.
(sorry, couldn't resist a bit of Sunday night snarkiness.)

Re:What can be done now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138484)

The real question for me is what can be done now?

Not much, because the anti-OOXML side lost too much credibility when they decided to go with FUD instead of purely technical arguments. For example, they slammed OOXML because it only gave the names of the hash algorithms that were allowed for password hashing, rather than actually specifying those algorithms. Yet ODF doesn't even give the names. All it says is that you should use password hashing. No mention of the allowed algorithms. No mention of how to note in the document what algorithm was used. This is just one of many examples.

And they keep generating new FUD, too. Take a look at the recent article on Groklaw (within the last 3 days) on the OSP license that OOXML is under. Groklaw says it requires payment of a royalty. There's no indication of where they came up with that, but it has no connection with reality. Worse, they say that it does not allow sublicensing, and that licenses that do not allow sublicensing are incompatible with FOSS. The problem with this is that the BSD license does not allow sublicensing either, which means that, if Groklaw is right, Linux is illegal, as it mixes BSD code in with GPL code. Worse, GPLv3 explicitly disallows sublicensing, so if Groklaw is right, GPLv3 is not compatible with FOSS!

If you are against something, it is very important to NOT LIE ABOUT it. If you lie about it, that just hurts your credibility, meaning that any arguments of yours that are not lies will likely be dismissed.

Re:What can be done now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138694)

How is the above post a troll? Every claim in it is easy to fact check, and turns out to be true.

as depressing as it is brief (1)

ninjapiratemonkey (968710) | about 6 years ago | (#23137674)

I didn't find the article all that depressing, just oddly disheartening. but I guess that makes sense... I didn't find it all that brief either.

I was kind of puzzled (2, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 6 years ago | (#23138282)

It said there were 2 for and 2 against, and about 80% of the people couldn't reach a consensus (sorry folks, 80% saying they could not find a consensus is not the same thing as a consensus against OOXML). Now it doesn't surprise me that a bunch of computer experts in a room couldn't reach a consensus. Getting any computer people to agree on something is like herding cats... it is very difficult. But maybe that is a lesson for people. Some times you have to agree on something. I don't think there is any moral high ground to rail against this bureaucrat who was trying to do his job. He was in a room where, by this article's admission, no one could agree on anything. And a decision still had to be made. The experts it seems weren't willing to come to some common ground and give a coherent recommendation, so he made one himself.

Now hear this!: I don't like OOXML. It is mainly my distrust of MS, I will admit. But they have a track record that doesn't lend itself to trust. However, I still say that computer folks have to start to learn that there are times they can't just go off in their own direction. There are times you have to work together and compromise with the person sitting with you or across the table.

Going by this article, these Norwegian experts couldn't reach a consensus and we see what happened. If 80% had said OOXML is not a good choice and it should not be backed by Norway, I could see people being upset. But it said 2 were for, 2 against, and 80% couldn't come together on anything. That means this was a typical techy cluster **** where no one wanted to give up on their own point. (It is also why we have non techy project managers... they seem to be able to point in a direction and say go... and not worry if it is perfect first.) Suggestion: smarten the **** up and learn to cooperated with someone else for a change. You can't alway "fork" choices in life.

Re:I was kind of puzzled (5, Informative)

SgtPepperKSU (905229) | about 6 years ago | (#23138404)

I suggest you go read the article again.
It wasn't 2 people for and 2 people against. They reached a consensus that 2 of the comments had been satisfactorily resolved and that 2 of the comments hadn't been satisfactorily resolved. They then couldn't come to a consensus on whether the remaining 8 comments were resolved. The 80% number was the number of people that were not satisfied enough to vote yes.
They had agreed that 2 of their comments were not satisfactorily resolved. Which way the remaining 8 comments fell could only increase this number. Roughly 80% of those present didn't want to vote yes.
The final change to yes came down to one man, who seems to have had his mind made up ahead of time.

Odd... (4, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | about 6 years ago | (#23137684)

After the vote, did the bureaucrat jump up and starting dancing like a monkey?

After the vote did the bureaucrat start throwing chairs around?

Did the bureaucrat appear slightly chubby and a whole lot balding?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, I might be able to shed some insight on this...

Re:Odd... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137728)

Hahaha! God, you are SO funny! LOLOLOL!!!!

Seriously, how do you come up with this stuff? I mean, omg, slightly chubby and a WHOLE LOT balding! Hilarious!! Oh man, Ballmer would freak if he saw that!!

Gratz again, you are just SO funny. Hahaha, man, I was literally rolling on the floor laughing! Seriously, can you explain the thought process that went to creating this masterpiece? I mean wow, you are just BRILLIANT!!

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137856)

plz unlock your lips from that bong and pass it this way, k thx

Re:Odd... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 years ago | (#23138408)

After the vote, did the bureaucrat jump up and starting dancing like a monkey?

The weirdest thing was when I marched around the stage chanting, "Bureaucrats! Bureaucrats! Bureaucrats! Bureaucrats!"

His story (1)

Kingrames (858416) | about 6 years ago | (#23137692)

"Hereâ(TM)s my version of the story.

It is not impartial."

Thank you for your honesty.

Yes, but he is honest. (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#23137808)

He's been doing the same thing for 13 years before this outrage convinced him to retire. The man's reputation and belief in fair process are as clear as the abuse he relates. The story can non be told any other way.

Re:Yes, but he is honest. (0, Redundant)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 6 years ago | (#23138652)

Twitter, don't be disingenuous and act like you had a fucking clue who this guy was before this story broke. "Oh, yeah, he's got a good reputation, he's been in this game for years".

Depressing BUT brief... (1)

nmoog (701216) | about 6 years ago | (#23137700)

Its brevity actually cheered me up a bit.

Rollover, rollover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137832)

ISO greased!

Brevity of the event might be viewed as a blessing but the repercussions could be forever haunting. Of course he kept the telling brief as well, who would want to talk about that for long?

ISO corruption (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137726)

The whole OOXML vote debacle has really showcased corruption of the ISO. Those in the ISO who want to restore the integrity of their organization need to address the massive rule-breaking this vote and Microsoft's role in it present.

Word of advice to ISO: head in the sand is not going to help!!

Re:ISO corruption (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#23137758)

I second this motion. Can we bring to a vote the matter of incompetence in the ISO voting procedures? Not just because this is about OOXML, but because it is so obviously filled with discontent and deceit.

In most other situations we would call for a 'do over' or call it a false start or some other phrase that describe how wrong and generally unfair it was.

Time for a do-over rule.

Re:ISO corruption (4, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 6 years ago | (#23137784)

The corruption came with ECMA, so ECMA as the ISO parasitarian instrument needs to be removed: no ECMA fast-track without ECMA's special relationship...

Re:ISO corruption (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138458)

There's an old Steve Jobs quote:
"John Sculley ruined Apple and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place - which was making great computers for people to use."

What do you think if a do-over was held tomorrow? Who would have voices now?

Re:ISO corruption (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137854)

head in the sand indeed... reminds me of people who can't even admit they're wrong after they're shown point-blank how wrong they were. It takes real guts, real genius, real intelligence to be able to admit when you're wrong and then move forward from there.

Re:ISO corruption (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#23138076)

head in the sand indeed... reminds me of people who can't even admit they're wrong after they're shown point-blank how wrong they were. It takes real guts, real genius, real intelligence to be able to admit when you're wrong and then move forward from there.

I was wrong, but I'm gonna move forward from here on.

Damn, I feel smarter already.

How Microsoft corrupts the world... (5, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 6 years ago | (#23137778)

...SegFaultLikeWord95DoesIt

In this case, a meatspace seg fault. The MCP is getting more powerful. We need a heroic Program to save us all.

You are at fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137780)


Everyone who buys Microsoft Office supports this abuse to some extent or another.

How about taking some responsibility for your own actions.

Re:You are at fault. (-1, Troll)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#23138150)

I admit it. I am partly respoinsible for this. When deciding to buy Office in order to get my business critical information I should have considered the optiona: a) Not buy office b) go out of busiess due to not being able to get the information that I need in order to operate.

Re:You are at fault. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138182)

Apology accepted.

Re:You are at fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138258)

Apology accepted, Captain Needa!

Re:You are at fault. (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23138798)

I find it odd you didn't mention OpenOffice, Google Docs, KOffice, iWork, etc. Most would at least mention OpenOffice sarcastically, as another "option" that couldn't possibly work, but you didn't mention it at all.

Perhaps you don't know that they exist?

Follow the money (1)

Black Sabbath (118110) | about 6 years ago | (#23137794)

It will be interesting to see where the inevitable money trail leads. My guess is several of the 20% who effectively blocked the consensus. I think the "single bureaucrat" was non-technical and probably just went with "MS is big corp. Trust big corp. Nobody ever got sacked for backing big corp." (although on this last point he may be proved wrong).
Surreal? Yes. Over? No.

Irrefutably Scandalous Organization (1, Interesting)

wildem (1267822) | about 6 years ago | (#23137806)

Our second year of CS studies covered these various organizations to a certain degree and the more I learn about their real world conducts, the more they seems like a sham !

As a recent graduate,a strong proponent of open source and above all a decent citizen, how am I supposed to react to news like this and not boycott Microsoft.

The only things that are standard about them are their dirty tactics. Throw me a goddamn chair Mr. Ballmer !

Re:Irrefutably Scandalous Organization (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#23138160)

"Throw me a goddamn chair Mr. Ballmer."

Dude, I'd be watching out from now on. When you make a challenge like that, you risk your life every time you walk under an open window.

Re:Irrefutably Scandalous Organization (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#23138178)

You are not supposed to react to news like this by not boycotting Microsoft. :o)

From where I sit, this whole thing is about doing what is right and proper for both honest business and society... not about doing what will make your personal butt-buddies the most money. Microsoft and friends have been acting one way; the trend has been going the other. The choice seems pretty clear to me, but nobody can make your mind up for you. You have to do that yourself.

Standards Norway's own words (5, Interesting)

earthsound (412930) | about 6 years ago | (#23137816)

Re:Standards Norway's own words (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | about 6 years ago | (#23137842)

and it had nothing to do with that bulging envelope the Microsoft representative slipped the bureaucrat...

Re:Standards Norway's own words (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 6 years ago | (#23137934)

Actually, I thought this was the most telling line from the article:

The VP asserted that ... the most important thing now was to ensure that OOXML came under ISO's control so that it could be "further improved".
This puts me in mind of that old quote about academia "The fights are so vicious because the stakes are so small".


The delusional hubris of a (European standards group) bureaucrat that they can somehow "control" or "improve" (shit - "influence in any non-quantum way") Microsoft's behavior just makes me groan.

Re:Standards Norway's own words (4, Informative)

Danse (1026) | about 6 years ago | (#23138086)

on why & how they changed the vote can be found at their website:
Which was just a very long-winded way of saying that the decision had been made long ago and they just had to come up with some weasely way to push it through regardless of all the comments that weren't addressed satisfactorily, the problems with the proposed standard, and what the experts said about it.

Re:Standards Norway's own words (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138358)

I like paragraph 2:

Q: Many consider ODF and OOXML to be equivalent document standards, and as ODF had already become an ISO standard, the question was raised as to whether ISO/IEC can have two competing standards.

A: This question was settled early in 2007 by ISO and IEC centrally, who stated that there was no clash of interest between the two standards.

That's a convincing argument. Does anyone know what actual argument ISO is using to state there is no conflict ... besides simply stating there is no conflict?

At the same time in a galaxy far, far away.... (2, Interesting)

Thirdsin (1046626) | about 6 years ago | (#23137836)

Just let the decision making rest with the VP, what could go wrong...?

The Emperor: [to the Senate] In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.
[Senate fills with enormous applause]
Padmé: [to Bail Organa] So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.

Re:At the same time in a galaxy far, far away.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138040)

No words of wisedom here.
Nor wizdum.

Re:At the same time in a galaxy far, far away.... (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | about 6 years ago | (#23138372)

Hey, it's working for Bush and the Republicans... (Funny, I feel dirty for saying that, now.)

So what's new? (5, Interesting)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | about 6 years ago | (#23137898)

Many (if not most) similar committees and associations are made up not of the right people for the job, but instead those that were corralled into the positions or couldn't find anything better.

On the other hand, Microsoft's primary goal is to maintain their privileged monopoly wherever and however possible. I actually had an eerie conversation with a Microsoft paralegal, who described her job as "palm-greasing officials in the Asian market". She also described how the executive were no longer concerned with making money, "they're in a position to change the world". I asked her what level of government they planned to get elected, and she replied, "why would they run for office? That would be a demotion!" And that was almost 10 years ago.

Assuming she was giving a truthful account, and her office was directly below Bill Gates, so I imagine she does know what goes on, the Microsoft executive believe that since power is available to them, they are entitled to use their influence wherever and however possible, and that their ability to do so justifies itself.

So show me a group of vigilante multi-billionaires and I'll show you dozens of half-witted committees that bend to their will, despite overwhelming reasoning to do otherwise.

wound it be ironic if (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#23137908)

after all the trouble and money spent by microsoft to (corrupt officials) get ms-ooxml passed by the ISO committee if business and enterprises switched to StarOffice/OpenOffice ODF as the standard to share/store data in, i bet that would force the cost of office furniture in Redmond to go way up...

Re:wound it be ironic if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137932)

Microsoft failure -> More expensive office furniture in Redmond??? Ironic?

I would think it would work the other way.

Care to explain your logic??

Re:wound it be ironic if (3, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#23138192)

You can find his reasoning explained in a journal article called "The Ballamer Principle: A dissertation on the proportionality of the relationship between Microsoft's annual office furniture budget and strategic failures their global modus operandi." Published by Ikea Press.

Re:wound it be ironic if (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 6 years ago | (#23138366)

Sweden's vote invalidation makes much more sense.

Voting no would have lost them the furniture deal, but voting yes would not have increase furniture sales, its all falling into place now.

alternatives.. (4, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 6 years ago | (#23137912)

I wondered what alternative standards bodies could exist and I tried to find a web peer method that might work.

The best idea I came up with was a standard body for GPL standards based around something like sourceforge.

If people are familier with wide band delphi estimation then this next bit might sound familiar.

Everybody on sourgeforge has a rating determined by amount of code submitted, and any peer review ratings on their code - this then gives them a weighting value for voting. The more technical they are, the more code they submit the higher their rating is. Everybody can then vote on their amendments or proposals for standards and a moderation scheme would run to promote or demote comments based on their ratings. Changes can then be voted in or removed democratically and the best ideas would naturally float up.

The advantages are:-
1. very large audience peer review of any standard
2. best ideas automatically promoted (even if you are a newbie reviewer if you have a good idea then it should gather momemtum of its own and be promoted)
3. system automatically handles voting, promotion, weighting scale and is therefore impartial arbiter.
4. transparency accross the board, everybody can see how the system works
5. if anybody wants to become more influential then they have to donate more source code to be a prolific reviewer. Everybody benefits.
Ok that is an isolated example, and I chose sourceforge as a well known example.

For standards instead of source there would need to be some changes obviously.

But in this day and age, agreeing on a technical international standard seems an excellent candidate for a web based system. In reviewing this kind of thing I have always thought the more the merrier.

Anyhow, only an idea, a pipe dream really.

I now await the /. regulars to tell me what a tit I'm being and why it would never work :-(

(I also wondered on how the voting would of turned out if the current provess was peer reviewed - i.e. filmed and distributed for all to see on the standards websites.)

Re:alternatives.. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 6 years ago | (#23138084)

They constantly show Microsoft adverts and the whole website is a mess. Sourceforge relevance to the open source community is sinking further and further into the deep...

Re:alternatives.. (4, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | about 6 years ago | (#23138094)

That is corruptible as well. The trick here is be sure all coders both writer and reviewer FULLY disclose their affiliations. You couldn't even begin to do this Wikipedia style. No pseudonyms, no handles, everybody has to use their real names and digging into and publicly disclosing corporate actions and affiliations would be cricket.

Even then, if 5000 MS coders blatantly write and approve each other how would you propose to handle it?

I suspect the answer here is "Write up what is actually being implemented into an RFC. Any RFC that can't be understood clearly and implemented will be dev nulled." Since many of us are already disregarding the ISO over this, I suppose that is happening already..........

Mod parent insightful (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 6 years ago | (#23138672)

"Even then, if 5000 MS coders blatantly write and approve each other how would you propose to handle it?"

Exactly. The GP advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting corruption....

Re:alternatives.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138514)

It will never work. Have you ever seen what happens on open-source committees? Look through the GNOME and KDE archives some time. Sheesh, it's frigging mess. A bunch of pissing and moaning, temper tantrums, etc. What do you expect when the people involved have no incentive other than personal glorification?

At least when you pay someone you can tell them to STFU GBTW or fire them.

More! More! More! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137928)

I'm glad that story got exposed. I'm sure there's plenty more nastiness waiting to be dragged kicking and screaming into daylight.

To anyone who has any inside knowledge into the BRM, I say more!

J-F

Real power of standards. (1)

BuffaloBill (246747) | about 6 years ago | (#23138152)

No use getting your knickers in a knot over this. Some years ago we rewired our boat club to the CSU 'standard' of 20 amp plugs. Now I don't know (or really care) how standards are established, but I would tell you that there isn't a boat builder world wide that doesn't use 30 amps. After a couple of seasons of replacing very expensive plugs, we decided that the real standard would prevail....
I don't plan to implement the ISO std. so if you want to talk to my ERP systems you will have to comply with OASIS....moral is that usage determines the standard. End of story

Notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138364)

I used to have respect for Norway. Now I'm going to have to put them on notice.


YOU HEAR THAT NORWAY?? YOU'RE ON ANONYMOUS COWARD'S ON NOTICE LIST!!

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