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ISO Recommends Denying OOXML Appeals

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the as-expected dept.

Software 203

An anonymous reader passes along word that ISO has responded to the four appeals filed against the approval of OOXML as a standard. To no one's surprise, ISO says that there was nothing wrong with the process. Groklaw's coverage is (as usual) the most comprehensive. Andy Updegrove summarizes ISO's position this way: "1. All judgments made during the course of the process were appropriately made under the applicable Directives. 2. The fact that the BRM voted on all proposed resolutions in some fashion satisfies the requirements of the Directives. 3. The fact that a sufficient percentage of National Bodies (NBs) ultimately voted to approve DIS 29500 ratifies the process and any flaws in that process. 4. Many objections, regardless of their merits, are irrelevant to the appeals process."

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203 comments

Meaning. (4, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 6 years ago | (#24152039)

We don't care about fair process because it's our game anyway.

Re:Meaning. (1, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24152163)

We don't care about fair process because it's our game anyway.>

Exactly. Microsoft stacked the deck, and now the people they stacked the deck with are saying, "Oh, shut up. We did a great job approving OOXML!"

Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (4, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | about 6 years ago | (#24152461)

The corruption is so obvious that the ISO's reputation has been harmed. This is a bigger win for M$ than the coo-coo standard they never intended to follow. It is as if RJR got the AMA to approve a cigarette through bribery and a truncated "fast track" process. OOXML is against everything the ISO stood for and that contradiction is the forest that should be seen through all the clear cut trees. Commercial standards are now obviously compromised.

Here's the blowback, that M$ may not have anticipated. It is now up to GNU, Debian and other community efforts to define reasonable standards. People who have "respect" for convicted monopolists will no longer be trusted. The more M$ abuses their power, the more people want to escape.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (-1, Troll)

fictionpuss (1136565) | about 6 years ago | (#24152703)

Precisely the least effective way to ensure that your criticism gets taken seriously is to use childish monikers like 'M$', big ears.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24152863)

People who have a reason not to listen to you don't need to make up lame excuses.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (0, Offtopic)

fictionpuss (1136565) | about 6 years ago | (#24153105)

People who have a reason not to listen to you don't need to make up lame excuses.

For sure, but I'm talking about bringing the argument to the wider populace in order to enact change - not the minority with a vested interest.

As an ironic aside, the 'M$' meme, according to Google Meme Search, was originally [google.com] planted by one of the thousands of Microsoft employees who frequent Slashdot in an attempt to equate Microsoft and Money and drive up stock.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 6 years ago | (#24153049)

Here's the blowback, that M$ may not have anticipated. It is now up to GNU, Debian and other community efforts to define reasonable standards. People who have "respect" for convicted monopolists will no longer be trusted. The more M$ abuses their power, the more people want to escape.

Trouble is, the vast vast majority of Microsoft users will have no interest in this whole fiasco. The "more people" who want to escape will be lost in the noise. The things that concern the majority of /. readers are rarely the things that concern the corporate suits who make the purchasing decisions.

It's all about the technical community. (1, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | about 6 years ago | (#24153229)

You do a disservice to "corporate suits who make the purchasing decisions." The technical community is moving from commercial to their own standards. The more M$ fouls commercial standards, the easier it will be to make the case for community standards. Believe it or not, corporate leadership often comes from engineering and they respect the opinions of their staff more than those of salesmen. Everyone now knows that OOXML is a deeply flawed and impossible to implement "standard". Business is more likely to move to cheaper and better ODF editors because of the ISO scandal.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24154127)

Trouble is, the vast vast majority of Microsoft users will have no interest in this whole fiasco. The "more people" who want to escape will be lost in the noise. The things that concern the majority of /. readers are rarely the things that concern the corporate suits who make the purchasing decisions.

Pretty short sited considering that even Bill Gates admits that Microsoft's success was based off of developer adoption.

Microsoft is almost to the point of being unnecessary. I predict that they will not be able to maintain in a purely commodity market.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#24153803)

Yeah, because "GNU, Debian and other community efforts" are so well known for well defined standards.

Re:Damage done to ISO and Commercial Standards. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24154109)

Another anti-MS rant by Twitter. Mod down.

Re:Meaning. (1)

consonant (896763) | about 6 years ago | (#24152213)

Many objections, regardless of their merits, are irrelevant to the appeals process

It's more like:

Yeah you're right, but these are *OUR* marbles, so up yours.

Re:Meaning. (5, Insightful)

pegdhcp (1158827) | about 6 years ago | (#24152429)

More likely, "we are bureaucrats, as long as their lawyers are better than yours, you are doomed..." with an evil laughter from '50s horror movies.

The processing of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 project has been conducted in conformity with the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, with decisions determined by the votes expressed by the relevant ISO and IEC national bodies under their own responsibility, and consequently, for the reasons mentioned above, the appeals should not be processed further

Typical desk jockey jargon with no content whatsoever... "Vote was counted and records are signed, that is the end of it, just shut up, we do not care if a company bought out some (most) of the votes or not..."

Sign to Move On (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 years ago | (#24152515)

We don't care about fair process because it's our game anyway.

ISO need not have a monopoly on games. Sure, it's going to take some work to replace it. So the question is, "is it worthwhile doing?"

Re:Sign to Move On (4, Informative)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#24153453)

As for most things IT, there is a body of standards, fully documented and with free, accessible and royalty-free reference implementations. I am using such an embodiment right now to write this e-mail.

ISO is useful for connectors, naming conventions and mechanical parts specifications. Its role in defining open data-exchange standards is obsolete.

Meaning nothing... (1)

dk90406 (797452) | about 6 years ago | (#24152767)

ISO has no say. They can recommend to the TMB (Technical Management Board) to overlook the complaint.

Of course it is likely that the TMB chooses to dismiss the appeals, as looking into them would open a hornets nests. No one with power (ISO, TMB, MS, National committees and selected governments) would want that.

Does it matter (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24152069)

How does it matter whether OOXML is an ISO standard or not. No real world implementation exists, so anyone who wants to actually use a standard is still going to have to use ODF.

Re:Does it matter (4, Informative)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24152149)

No, it really doesn't matter now, cause it already had the necessary impact. Microsoft has already realized that OOXML is unimplementable and is in the process of moving its own products into compliance with a specification that is actually implementable: ODF.

Re:Does it matter (5, Informative)

Brandano (1192819) | about 6 years ago | (#24152853)

That's not exactly 100% accurate. Microsoft has somehow "promised" they'll implement "interoperability" with ODF, while at the same time requesting OASIS to let them have a shot at maintaining the ODF standard, or at least this is what I gather from their latest letters on the argument. I don't know why, but this worries me a bit. <sarcasm>Not that I'd ever suspect Microsoft of any foul play, like for example trying to embed their proprietary and patent encumbered technologies in the ODF standard. After all their past behaviour is a clear example of integrity!</sarcasm> (this post features sarcasm tags for easier interpretation by the humor impaired)

Re:Does it matter (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#24153471)

Starting embrace, extend and suffocate maneuvers in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Does it matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152293)

It does matter: anybody who has to use a standard format (goverment organisations, etc...) can just go on using MS Word and claim they are using an ISO standard.

Re:Does it matter (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#24152445)

Noooope. Word does not (currently) implement OOXML.

And that doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152653)

MSOffice will support MSOOXML*

* but not the ISO standard implementation of MSOOXML **

** written in VERY small print. On a disused paper. In the basement. Without a light (lost) or stairs (lost) behind a closed door saying "Beware of the leopard"

Re:And that doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 6 years ago | (#24152915)

"Beware of the Leopard" indeed, and perhaps also the Heron.

Re:Does it matter (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#24152919)

It may not implement the specifications has been pushed through as a standard, but I don' think that will stop Microsoft from claiming that (a) MS Office supports OOXML -and- (b) OOXML is an ISO approved standard.

Re:Does it matter (1)

Shados (741919) | about 6 years ago | (#24153705)

You're right, it doesn't. Howewever, like XHTML, OOXML has a transitional format part of the ISO specs. Office doesn't implement that format, but it is virtually 3 tags away from it (its stuff like 0/1 instead of true/false in attributes, and other simple junk like that which had to be changed because of the last batch of recommendations for the ISO standard stuff).

So roll up a minimalistic patch, backward compatibility would be painfully simple to get, auto-convert any document that is being modified, and you're good to go until they implement the full thing.

Re:Does it matter (5, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | about 6 years ago | (#24152305)

Because of legislation that requires governments to use only "standards compliant" formats. If OOXML is an ISO standard, then those governments can continue to use MS Office formats that no other software can use.

Re:Does it matter (5, Informative)

Mariner28 (814350) | about 6 years ago | (#24152629)

Repeat after me:

"No implementation of OOXML exists. No implementation of OOXML exists. No implementation of OOXML exists."

Did you understand that? Not even Microsoft has any product which implements the standard. docx, pptx, xlsx - none are compatible with OOXML as approved by ISO.

Even Microsoft has admitted that it will implement ODF before OOXML.

Re:Does it matter (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | about 6 years ago | (#24152701)

Yes, but I'm sure that saying "MS Office 2007 implements MSOOXML, which later became an ISO standard" will be enough to justify it's continued use.

Re:Does it matter (1)

Mariner28 (814350) | about 6 years ago | (#24153781)

Here, let me fix that for ya:

Yes, but I'm sure that saying "MS Office 2007 will implement MSOOXML, which we've admitted may not be technically possible" will be enough to justify it's continued use.

Sorry, I forgot to include that little point in my previous posting. ECMA 376, which based on the OOXML which Office 2007 uses, is not ISO/IEC 29500. Why do you think MS will implement ODF before '29500? "Oh, let's do ODF first! It's harder to implement than OOXML - we can just whip that out when we feel like it!"

Re:Does it matter (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 6 years ago | (#24153545)

Did you understand that? Not even Microsoft has any product which implements the standard.

You seem to have the quaint notion that any debate by a government department of contractor over whether .docx is an ISO standard will be based on accurate information and rational argument by open-minded people who understand the technical issues.

Welcome to our planet, stranger!

The reality is that the ISO has handed Microsoft advocates a massive FUD weapon. Before, ODF was ISO certified, .doc wasn't. End of story. Now, the salesman can tell your pointy-haired boss (who's genes tell him that nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft anyway) that MS's ISO-certified OOXML format will leverage support for legacy documents without the potential loss of fidelity* associated with ODF without telling an actionable lie.

(* 'cos half of OOXML seems to boil down to "render this blob exactly like Office 97, right down to the leap-year bugs" - and MS are really going to pull out all the stops to ensure that their ODF implementation is absolutely rock-solid, right?)

Re:Does it matter (5, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 years ago | (#24152377)

At this point, it isn't about OOXML specifically anymore. It is how the ISO was manipulated and bought so completely right in front of the world. It is ISO under scrutiny now, not OOXML.

Re:Does it matter (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#24153773)

Honestly, even before this, ISO wasn't really particularly relevant. I mean seriously, by their own admission, they were allowing multiple competing standards to develop to solve the same problem.

I'm not really sure I understand what the point of ISO is if they're going to allow multiple competing standards to develop. Perhaps it's that I don't work in IT, but how on earth is multiple standards a good thing? How exactly is it useful to the consumer or whoever is implementing them to get to choose amongst multiple incompatible standards?

Re:Does it matter (1)

Mad Leper (670146) | about 6 years ago | (#24154113)

"Bought" ?? Got any proof ? Names, numbers, dates, anything ?? And claiming "They must have been bought because they did something I disagree with" doesn't count. And no Groklaw links, I'm pretty sure where they get their marching orders from...

Honestly, the OSS lobby pushes for ISO approval of their pet format and does everything they can to prevent their mortal enemy from doing the same. And the only arguments I see against OOXML are fear-mongering, FUD and narrow minded zealotry from the OSS crowd. At least that's what I see on Slashdot, no-one else outside of here seems to give a damn..

Re:Does it matter (1)

residieu (577863) | about 6 years ago | (#24152535)

Microsoft will say they support OOXML, and OOXML is an ISO standard, therefore they support ISO standards. They will neglect to mention that the version of OOXML they support isn't even the version that was submitted to ISO, and certainly isn't the one that was approved.

Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152655)

No that would definitely not qualify under the ISO for compatibility or full support. Standards do not require an implementation to be adopted. However, an implementation does need match the standard to claim full support.

It's not crazy to propose a standard, modify it a few times to make people happy, then build the implementation later. It would surprising if this didn't happen quite a bit.

Re:Does it matter (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#24152849)

If Microsoft were to say that, I think they would be engaging in a fallacy of composition..not that most of us don't already.

Re:Does it matter (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 6 years ago | (#24153487)

No real world implementation exists, so anyone who wants to actually use a standard is still going to have to use ODF

Office implements OOXML. It has some minor deviations from the standard, but it is closer to the OOXML standard than OpenOffice is to the ODF standard, as measured by the number of validation errors you get if you validate real-world documents against the schema for the two specs.

ISO has failed (3, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#24152089)

They either need to replaced or it must be built up from scratch. If this does not happen, there can NEVER be any trust in them again.

Fuck ISO

Re:ISO has failed (4, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 6 years ago | (#24152201)

This is explains why this decision mattered, because the ISO has discredited itself. Its other standards are now called into question. It is a shame, a real shame.

Re:ISO has failed (0)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24152365)

Oh please, dramatic much?
It's quite a silly thing to get all ruffled up about. So what if it's a standard? Yea, it probably should not be, and people probably did get paid off, but the ISO is not a defender of freedom for uber-geeks, they are a standards organization, and overall they do a very good job (compare them to ICANN for instance). Get over it man, it's not a big deal. There are bigger things in life to get miffed about.

Re:ISO has failed (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24152603)

It's quite a silly thing to get all ruffled up about. So what if it's a standard? Yea, it probably should not be, and people probably did get paid off, but the ISO is not a defender of freedom for uber-geeks, they are a standards organization, and overall they do a very good job (compare them to ICANN for instance). Get over it man, it's not a big deal. There are bigger things in life to get miffed about.

Yah, it isn't going to be bad at all whenever we turn to paperless filing for things and the government uses crappy "standards" like this and anyone who doesn't use whatever the "standard" implementation is, can't file something such as taxes.

Re:ISO has failed (0, Troll)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24152883)

OOXML has problems, but you're making it out like it's a proprietary encrypted filetype... so what if the Govt makes you use it? It's pretty open, especially compared to the doc/xls/ppt filetypes in like 2001. You're making a mountain out of a molehill. In fact, if it was google submitting this standard, people probably would have been happy about it. It's not like you actually personally read the standard, did you?

Re:ISO has failed (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24152911)

Yes, I know you can read and get the information out of OOXML documents easily, but what if it is required to file them with some application that makes an OOXML file that goes through a parser that displays the data? And knowing the government they aren't even going to even try to do anything to help me....

Re:ISO has failed (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24153099)

umm... what? Perhaps I'm not following you, but the Gov't doesn't (and never will) require uses to create OOXML documents and submit them. It's typically online forms, or you fill out the form (maybe OOXML at that point) and then print it and fax/mail it in. The only way OOXML would concevably hinder you is if a business was using crazy features in it that you're particular parser didn't recongnize due to flaws in the standard - which is basically the way things have worked with MS office for a decade. The only difference now is that it's better than it was.

Re:ISO has failed (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24152913)

Standards keep your car from flying apart, jets from dropping out of the sky and bridges from collapsing.

Yes industry standards matter. Screwing around with them as real world consequences. This is about more than just software.

Re:ISO has failed (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | about 6 years ago | (#24153081)

Exactly! It is hopelessly naive to think this doesn't matter.

Re:ISO has failed (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#24153535)

Lots of government officials stand to gain by using ISO-sanctioned standards that cannot be correctly implemented and that won't be readable in a couple decades.

It will save a lot of reputations.

Re:ISO has failed (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | about 6 years ago | (#24153029)

This is a big deal, a very big deal. "Standard: something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model." How does OOXML fit into that? It doesn't, it's half baked, no one can implement it including MS from what I read. Yet I bet they keep calling their files OOXML, but of course no one else can read it. If in 20 years there are loads important MS OOXML files and all we have to work out how to read this is the ISO standard, then the data is lost. This is what standards are to avoid. ISO is a quality stamp, OOXML being ISO stamped calls into question the quality of the ISO stamp. And worse this all happened through skullduggery and corruption.

Re:ISO has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24153079)

So what if it's a standard?
It means companies can pay to have their proprietary formats declared "standard."

Let the Whinging begin! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152091)

Everyone pules that MS doesn't operate under standardards... so when MS finally submits their format to a standards body... teh FOSSies still cry about it.

It's a real shame their anti-MS hatred has to taint everything in the world. But at least the ISO is not putting up with it any longer.

Re:Let the Whinging begin! (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24152235)

It's a real shame their anti-MS hatred has to taint everything in the world. But at least the ISO is not putting up with it any longer.

Yeah, because Microsoft stuffed ISO with its own people. Maybe they should rename it MS-ISO. I'm sure they'd have no problem getting the name approval.

Re:Let the Whinging begin! (2, Insightful)

jabjoe (1042100) | about 6 years ago | (#24153183)

This is where the anti-MS feelings come from, they do not play nice with the other children. It's like their mantra is 'Make money through evil'. This has nothing to do with FOSS and everything to do with standards, proper real standards, ones you can use and make something compliant.

OOXML is a standard. Get over it (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 6 years ago | (#24152105)

There are so many things that are unfair, fraudulent, and ridiculous. OOXML's ratification as an international standard is pretty low on the scale.

Ask Morgan Tsvangirai about unfair elections.

Re:OOXML is a standard. Get over it (0, Offtopic)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24152951)

Offtopic?? This is Insightful if anything...

Re:OOXML is a standard. Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24153037)

I wonder how many /.ers get that reference... [wikipedia.org] Way to put things into perspective... how many voters did Microsoft torture or kill? 0. Posting anon from within that very country.

Re:OOXML is a standard. Get over it (0, Offtopic)

bob_herrick (784633) | about 6 years ago | (#24153159)

Another vote against the offtopic mod. Had I points I would be correcting this myself.

Re:OOXML is a standard. Get over it (2, Insightful)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | about 6 years ago | (#24153333)

i would say that microsoft spending millions corrupting an international standards body so they can keep the third world ignorant and subjugated is pretty high on the scale. we're talking about imperialism here.

Re:OOXML is a standard. Get over it (3, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#24153559)

The fact there is corruption and fraud elsewhere do not make this one a tiny bit more tolerable.

On the plus side.. (3, Interesting)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 6 years ago | (#24152107)

I can demand that all clown shoes must be measured in cubits and have it made the clown shoe standard. That doesn't mean people will use it.

Re:On the plus side.. (5, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | about 6 years ago | (#24152315)

Realistically, clown shoes should be measured in qubits. Thus, any attempt by a clown to actually measure his shoe would necessarily alter the shoe, thus changing it's size, and that would be funny. It would also allow clown shoe entanglement, thus changing every other clown's shoe size when any one clown measures his own. Quantum theory can then explain why so many clowns can fit inside of a very small vehicle.

Re:On the plus side.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24153009)

Quantum theory can then explain why so many clowns can fit inside of a very small vehicle.

Obviously, its because of qlown superposition. The real question is whether the qlowns are alive or not until you open the door to the car.

Appeal vs. Objection (2, Insightful)

Daryen (1138567) | about 6 years ago | (#24152131)

Many objections, regardless of their merits, are irrelevant to the appeals process.

Hmm, what is the difference between an objection and an appeal again?

define:objection - expostulation: the act of expressing earnest opposition or protest.

define:appeal - challenge (a decision); "She appealed the verdict"

Ahh yes, completely different.

Bleah. (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 6 years ago | (#24152141)

Even MSFT gave up on trying to use the thing as a standard (for now)... but at least ISO's actions show us just how worthless and suspect (and probably corrupt) an ISO standard can get nowadays.

Guess I should've seen it coming back in the 1990's, when companies were plastering "ISO (insert number) Certified!1!1!!11!" across every marketing material surface that would hold ink.

Ah well... back to the good ol' RFC's, methinks.

/P

Re:Bleah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152809)

Too many RFCs are being blatantly ignored. To the interweb's detriment. RFC 821/2821, RFC 1178... need I go on?

ISO 9000 (2, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | about 6 years ago | (#24152831)

ISO 9000/9001 certification (which is what you are talking about) is a somewhat vague standard that says, in simple terms, that any process or actions your company performs must have a written description of the process, instructions, checksheets, etc. It is intended to try to improve quality and consistency. It doesn't mean that in all cases (or even most) that quality and consistency are improved.

Its a fairly meaningless certfication, since the company can still be turning out crap. But at least with ISO9000 they should have a record of what was done to make the crap.

boycott iso! (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24152153)

I think we need to teach these cocksuckers a lesson. Let's boycott ISO and all ISO standards. Hopefully, it will be as successful as our amazon boycott!!

Re:boycott iso! (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 6 years ago | (#24152833)

<<boldy-woldy>>Way<<&boldy-woldy>> ahead of you!

So ISO wants to become irrelevant? (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 years ago | (#24152165)

The way I see it is that they have exactly two options:

1) Clean up their process and make resilient against amoral scum like Microsoft, that have a lot of power and absolutely no restraints on using it.

2) Let them get away with it and have all their standardization efforts become meaningless.

Seems to me that ISO is bound to beceome irrelevant unless they chose 1). This would be detrimental to the whole world and a real pity. Can they just admit that their process has been successfully hacked and take a stand and poclaim that they will not tolerate it? Obviously not. Pathetic.

Re:So ISO wants to become irrelevant? (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24152733)

2) Let them get away with it and have all their standardization efforts become meaningless.

ISO standards may be meaningless to all rational people if they continue down this road. Sadly, there are a lot of powerful organizations that have a lot of influence on many of our lives that are not even close to rational. As someone who has occasionally had to deal with standards for products used by the US government, I can tell you right now there is nothing rational about the requirements or procedures. It is millions in consulting fees being handed to people for completely useless certifications, largely as a way to prevent competitors from bidding on contracts. I actually saw a Windows 95 based "device" win a contract we wanted to bid on, because that was the only OS "certified" for security for that use. The "certification" basically amounted to MS stating it was not guaranteed to be fit for any purpose and paying contractors to fill out a boatload of paperwork. Any vendor with a pile of money could get "certified" but it took time and cost a lot of money.

The problem with ISO and OOXML is that it won't be viewed rationally and it will likely be used as a way to make MS Office a legal requirement in certain government applications without any regard for the real merits of other software packages. Even if all rational people know ISO certification no longer means anything, that doesn't mean we won't be spending millions in tax dollars needlessly because of it.

Re:So ISO wants to become irrelevant? (-1, Troll)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#24152997)

ISO standards may be meaningless to all rational people if they continue down this road

That's right! Screw the kilogram! I say we should measure mass by the ratio of stupidity and anti-MS flaming from slashdotters who can't get over the fact that something they didn't want to happen happened even though it probably won't have any effect on anything ever.

Re:So ISO wants to become irrelevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24153259)

2) Let them get away with it and have all their standardization efforts become meaningless.

ISO standards may be meaningless to all rational people if they continue down this road. Sadly, there are a lot of powerful organizations that have a lot of influence on many of our lives that are not even close to rational.

No, they are rational, they are very rational.
Even Microsoft is rational. It's just they don't care about the population majority.

Lookup, it's called globalisation.

Re:So ISO wants to become irrelevant? (1)

gtall (79522) | about 6 years ago | (#24154129)

I think the whole ISO thing is irrelevant:

M$ Pimp Bureaucrat: Ye must use an ISO standard for documents.

M$ Business School Product: We have an M$OOXML implementing thingy that produces docs and M$OOXML is an ISO standard.

M$ PB: (checking bank account) I see here that you have not yet implemented yon standard.

M$ MSB: Check your bank account again, you'll find we have indeedy implemented something like what you are suggesting.

M$ PB: (checking bank account again) Why yes, I see it says right here that you have implemented the moral equivalent of yon standard and we declare it to be passed in virtual spirit if not in actual reality.

Gerry

Huh? (1)

llamalad (12917) | about 6 years ago | (#24152233)

Many objections, regardless of their merits, are irrelevant

So even if an objection is relevant... it's somehow not relevant?

Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152547)

Merit != relevancy.
While the assertion that your name was misspelt on page 32 of the verdict and that it generally contained a lot of typos might be meritful, it probably won't be relevant in appealing a criminal sentence.

What do you expect? (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#24152237)

Did anyone expect them to say "It's a fair cop gov, you caught us red-handed"?

Time to move away from standards bodies... (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24152271)

I think instead of having standards bodies, perhaps we should just say, defacto, that the open source application that manages an open document is in fact the reference implementation. It has all the knowledge in code, for public display and re-use, and that's way better than mere requirements. Like, I'm a total Windows bigot, but I do more C++ on Linux and I now expect that Visual C++ should actually perform the same way that GNU does, rather than vice versa, because I trust GNU more.

Re:Time to move away from standards bodies... (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24152427)

That's a good idea. But my version of gcc prints "Rob Malda is a child molester." as the startup banner, so I guess that's part of the C Standard. Oh which version of gcc is the standard? 4.2.1? I hope not, because that one had a buffer overflow. Or is it Apple's fork of it? Oh, and of course gcc isn't the only open source C compiler. In fact, in my undergraduate compilers course, I wrote a C compiler. It doesn't really handle the entire language, but it's open source, so it must be the reference implementation!

Re:Time to move away from standards bodies... (1)

mortonda (5175) | about 6 years ago | (#24153837)

And you expect any implementation of OOXML to fare any better???? *Spock's one-eyebrow-raise*

Re:Time to move away from standards bodies... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#24153121)

Like, I'm a total Windows bigot, but I do more C++ on Linux and I now expect that Visual C++ should actually perform the same way that GNU does, rather than vice versa, because I trust GNU more.

Problem #1: You trust GNU more, but that doesn't mean the GNU way will win out. What happens when the most prevalent de facto standards is held up by someone unscrupulous, and you want to do something about it? We'll all be sitting around saying, "We sure wish there was some group that could study the different formats to use and make unbiased recommendations, so that the less-knowledgeable among us can make better decisions about what to implement."

Problem #2: Standards bodies (when they're working properly) allow multiple parties to collaborate on the standards. For example, if you don't want Mozilla, Apple, and Opera to start implementing different incompatible versions of HTML, then it's really helpful for them to have a common forum to discuss the changes they want to make, figure out the upsides and downsides of various approaches, and come to some compromises about what will be the "normal" way HTML will be rendered.

Standards bodies are absolutely great so long as they're uncorrupted and unbiased. If ISO is owned by Microsoft now, then it just means that it's time for some other body to step up, and hopefully create rules that will protect against the same thing happening again.

You've got it almost exactly backwards... (2, Interesting)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 6 years ago | (#24153625)

What you need is a reference (clean room) implementation which implements all the defined behaviour of the standard. This becomes the "gold" standard to test real world implementations. (Also it serves as a testbed to refine the standard and get the warts out).

In practice though, it's really hard to do this - I used to know someone who spent a long time doing a real ISO reference C compiler. (Standards are mind numbing stuff - particularly the corner cases).

Andy

Haven't I smelt this before? (1)

morgauo (1303341) | about 6 years ago | (#24152347)

ISO/OOXML = FCC/BPL ?

corruption (0)

ynohoo (234463) | about 6 years ago | (#24152361)

where corruption is the norm, justice is the first victim

zz (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 6 years ago | (#24152383)

So, an irrelevant and self serving international body decides to ignore the general feeling and collective wisdom/insight of the community and ratify an standard used by nobody (including its creator).

really, who cares?

Who are the losers here?

MS - because this has all come out in the wash, they are going ODF anyhow and its made them look daft for not even using their own standard. I mean, how could they now?

ISO - because this has generated enough mud to stick and tarnished their reputation maybe beyond compare.

Re:zz (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24152787)

Who are the losers here?

You forgot, taxpayers, who will end up paying for purchases of MS Office because of government regulations requiring use of specific ISO standards, like OOXML, for particular uses. It will basically be used as a way to lock out everyone but MS for certain contracts and we'll be paying the bills.

Re:zz (4, Insightful)

cervo (626632) | about 6 years ago | (#24152819)

MS didn't lose. Sure the version of OOXML that was standardized was never implemented. But that doesn't mean that they can't say OOXML was ratified with ISO. And Microsoft Office Implements OOXML. They will conveniently forget that the two versions of OOXML are not the same. And for a typical end user, they will not think that critically. They will just say MS implements OOXML which is an ISO standard and that is that. This is a win for MS.

Re:zz (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 6 years ago | (#24153221)

IOW: OOXML is like OSI for documents.
Neither have a implementation that exists.
MS' OOXML is the closest but no cigar.

Re:zz (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#24153203)

MS - because this has all come out in the wash, they are going ODF anyhow and its made them look daft for not even using their own standard. I mean, how could they now?

We don't know what Microsoft's endgame is here. They might implement ODF in a buggy, half-assed manor, argue that it's because ODF is a sub-standard format, and then say, "Hmmm.... I guess we need to find a new format. Luckily, we have another ISO standard all ready to go!"

It could all just be a PR play so they can claim, "We tried to do what those FOSS fanatics wanted, but gave up when we realized how awful the format is. Those guys just can't be satisfied!"

Is it still a standard... (3, Interesting)

Androclese (627848) | about 6 years ago | (#24152623)

...when it has no standard implementation?

What does this say about ISO Standards when their decisions are rejected by the community at-large?

Re:Is it still a standard... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 6 years ago | (#24153245)

Yup, its like OSI for documents.

Neither have a implementation that exists.

Re:Is it still a standard... (2, Informative)

prshaw (712950) | about 6 years ago | (#24153923)

This is not that unusual.

I have been a C++ programmer for many years, long before the standard for C++ was passed. When it was passed there was no complete implementation of it, and it was many years before there were implementations that came close.

I still have trouble forgetting the effort it took to get 'standard' code to build on AIX, Sun, and Windows.

A standard doesn't say there is an implementation, it says this is what we expect/want to be implemented.

ISO fails/refuses to see the issue (3, Insightful)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | about 6 years ago | (#24152775)

The problem is not whether the appeals hold any merit. The problem is the process handling the appeals (as well as any other ISO process) is flawed.

It's like asking a paralyzed man to piss and hit toilet.

ISO feedback (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152777)

the ISO's website has a nice feedback form, I would encourage people in a restrained and intelligent way to point out what OOXML has done to the ISO's now ruined reputation.

Good grief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24152865)

I know, this OOXML is flawed (how could it not be? It's from Microsoft and all, and so on, and so forth...)

But come on! It's just a standard, not a requirement, no one is forced to use it.

Good grief!

Nothing wrong with the process? (3, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#24153001)

Well, at this point all I can say is fsck ISO. And I think that's the general feeling of many in the IT right now. That's going to have some consequences - like, ISO standards not being worth the paper they're written on, for example.

Ah, misstatement in point 1... (2, Funny)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 6 years ago | (#24153175)

There was a misstatement in point 1 - it should read:
1. All judgements made during the course of the process were appropriately made under the applicable tables.

In other words... (2, Interesting)

GuyverDH (232921) | about 6 years ago | (#24153349)

It seems kind of odd to me that certain members of the ISO are fighting so hard to defend their questionable actions during the process. Could it be they are afraid of what may surface during an investigation of what really happened? Could it be they are afraid of what they might lose if it's overturned? Just curious...

Saying (5, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 years ago | (#24153789)

Reminded saying heard long time ago. [ Probably native speaker can give original saying for my memory is bad with such things. ]

When process is against you - argue facts
When facts against you - argue procedure.

Facts are against ISO. So they are pushing the procedure thing. After all procedure was so to say followed and voting on the so called standard so to say have happened. Or probably "had been happened" is more appropriate wording in the context??

Sense of an Appeal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24153919)

Everything considered, the sense of an appeal is to say that something that happened should be reversed because of some issues. ISO allowed for appeals (two months time for that starting from the end of the BRM, you remember?).

But now, the third point of Andy Updegrove's summary is the final[*] nail in the coffin of ISO's credibility:

3. The fact that a sufficient percentage of National Bodies (NBs) ultimately voted to approve DIS 29500 ratifies the process and any flaws in that process.

In other words: You may appeal within two months after the BRM if something went horribly wrong there. But, honestly, poor chap, after the BRM is over it's already too late, because everything that went horribly wrong was justified in that same horribly wrong process.

[*] Honestly, I believe this was still not the last one ...

Estabilish a new standards body? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#24153949)

I imagine this is not impossible: the ISO has decided they want to be irrelevant and shunned. What better way to oblige them than to start a foundation (I'm sure Sun, IBM and RedHat would love to chip in with a few bucks) that is in direct and totally blatant competition with ISO, just without the bribeability and corruptability of the ISO? After the OOXML fiasco, I think this new international standards organisation would have no major problems getting established.

Probably other donors would appear: Nokia, Novell, a few of the scandinavian organisations, etc.

I would love to see this happen, and the ISO bitchslapped into the mud, as it deserves.

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