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ISO Miscounted Cuban OOXML Vote

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-means-no dept.

Software 100

An anonymous reader notes Groklaw's coverage of the apparent mix-up ISO made with Cuba's vote in the matter of recommending OOXML as a standard. Cuba apparently voted against OOXML in September, but ISO recorded their vote as a "yes" — which is odd on its face, as Microsoft is forbidden to sell any products in Cuba. The Cuban NB head has apparently now officially responded to the BRM, but Groklaw's PJ notes that verification remains problematical, and "...the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure."

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obligatory (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22859944)

"the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure" ...well DUH...

No, NOT "Duh." (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860176)

Dealing with unfairness and undue pressure is a central theme in building societies and groups that work. If everyone were good and played fair, any system would work. We need social systems precisely because some people do not play fair. Thus, we have checks and balances in our American political system. Where are the checks and balances here?

The author is basically saying, the system is flawed because it does not take into account certain facts about human nature, and fails at one of the most basic tasks any socio-political system should strive to accomplish, namely limiting the ability of participants to put undue pressure on each other and use dirty tricks.

Re:No, NOT "Duh." (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860650)

If everyone were good and played fair, any system would work.

With the corollary that if nobody had any reason to cheat, then everyone would play fair, and the system would work.

I think this is part of why "communism" only seems to work on the scale of the "commune", where ultimately even the most corrupt person could, what, lord over the persons and crops of fifty people? Have the most sweet potato of any villager? Scale that up to the level of a nation-state, and suddenly taking control and abusing the system provides a lot more gains in wealth and power.

Similarly with ISO, in the past the system worked because, by and large, nobody had any significant reason to game the system entirely. Sure different companies had their reasons to promote their standard, but ultimately it was still about cooperation and interoperability. While I may be missing some cases, I feel confident stating that this is the first time a standard presented to ISO has the potential to make or break a multi-billion dollar monopoly.

So of course when that kind of cash is on the line, a system that before survived because there wasn't much incentive to abuse it is found to be completely vulnerable. Kind of like if that commune suddenly found itself sitting on a gold mine.

Rules always rely on trust (5, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860662)

The author is basically saying, the system is flawed because it does not take into account certain facts about human nature,

I'd argue that it's impossible to build a system that will work when people don't respect it. For example - the third-party payola loophole [wikipedia.org] farce. Another example - democracy might work when people respect it, but the rules mean nothing to "I have a PhD in violence" Mugabe.

In essenence, the rules themselves are only useful if they are followed in spirit. When they are not followed in spirit, then we need more clarifying rules until we come down to some basic rules that are followed in spirit. That's why are law books are so large - and it's still not large enough for people like Darl McBride... proof that the more we disrespect each other, the bigger the rule book needs to become.

The traditional solution is to turn your back to people fail to follow the spirit of the rules. You just tell them that they can go bother someone else. You can't force other people to learn ethics, and there'll always be that fuzzy area where the amorale can do horrible but legal things like deliberately spread disinformation about global warming [alternet.org] . These people should be charged with treason, because they are subverting the public good.

When an untrustworthy entity enters a situation where a certain level of trust is already assumed (M$ and ISO), then the rulebook needs to catch up *a lot*.

Re:Rules always rely on trust (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862014)

The Chavez people's front supports Microsoft. Venezuela was totally stuffed and voted approval in September!

The open question is why Cuba was recorded as approval. Did Microsoft pass a Dollar to them? Uhmm, what about the trade sanctions imposed by the US. Just curious...

Re:Rules always rely on trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22864136)

He's right, the Chavs* do support Microsoft but only in so far as pirating Windows. They can't actually buy Windows because they need their hard earned dole cheque to buy more burberry hats, cheap tracksuits and cheap jewellery.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav [wikipedia.org]

Re:Rules always rely on trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22863878)

proof that the more we disrespect each other, the bigger the rule book needs to become.
On the contrary, the more disrespect there are for rules, the smaller the the rule book needs to become.

For instance, when people ignore rules about rape, the rules shouldn't get all complicated. It doesn't take a flow chart and a three-year degree to work out the consequence of breaking that rule.

Simplify the rules, simplify the consequences.

Honour culture (2, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22864022)

Simplify the rules, simplify the consequences.

What you are talking about quickly becomes the rule of the strong, and an honour culture. I most definitely do *not* want to live in an honour culture. The invention of trial by jury was a significant leap forward in the human endeavor. Same with the separation of powers.

So instead of teaching others to fear you, perhaps one could teach others to respect you because of who you are. The first will manifest in conflict, and the second in harmony.

Re:obligatory (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860254)

...well DUH...
I don't see it as that big of an oversight. A lot of things only work in proportion to the willingness of people to work together for the greater good, including churches, co-ops, even society as a whole (which is what the mafia exploits in their work -- even then, it's a group of people working for the greater good of the organization which is set against the society). The majority of people are willing to play fair, so they naturally assume that everyone else will until they've been burned by their tendencies.

Re:obligatory (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22894768)

Naw, just me paying tribute to Captain Obvious.

I knew it (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22859954)

As soon as they bought the Diebold voting system, I knew we were screwed.

Re:I knew it (3, Funny)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860450)

We all know how close Cuba is to Florida, maybe they *meant* to vote No but really voted Yes, and the ISO committee couldn't agree on whether the chad was hanging or just dimpled.

Re:I knew it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22860852)

The difference is that in Cuba, Chad actually was hanged.

Discussion 2 needs food, badly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22861622)

404 Not Found

The requested URL /iframe/tech.html was not found on this server.

Re:I knew it (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862250)

Yeah, they should have gone with Sequoia instead.

Re:I knew it (1)

obdulio1950 (1084823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862406)

Where can I see how each country voted?

Thanks

Er, um... (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860034)

Damn I don't know how to say this without sounding like a troll, so please forgive me, but er, well, um...

These are engineers, right? The ISO, I mean?

I hope none of those guys designed the equipment my eye surgeon will be using [slashdot.org] when I have my vitrectomy (shudder).

-mcgrew

Re:Er, um... (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860142)

I hope none of those guys designed the equipment my eye surgeon will be using when I have my vitrectomy (shudder).

Don't worry, it was designed by Microsoft, and it runs on Vista.

Ahhh, my eyes! (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860256)

An eye surgery tool running Vista? What if it gets hacked? That's just asking to have the goatse guy literally rather than figuratively burned into your retinas.

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861038)

They modded you funny but DAMN...

Now they'll mod ME funny =(

At least its a vitrectomy and not a vasectomy...

Re:Er, um... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860216)

You'll be fine. Engineers are great when it comes to tangible stuff like that. It's when they have to act like a legislative body they run into problems. Engineers = logical and naive. Legislation = illogical and cutthroat.

Just look at SMTP. It was built assuming people would use it for good. Now we have spam, and all the oversights are just crawling out of the woodwork.

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861084)

Thank you!!!! The snarks had me worried =)

Re:Er, um... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860344)

I hope none of those guys designed the equipment my eye surgeon will be using [slashdot.org] when I have my vitrectomy (shudder).

Before you go for that procedure, get him to spell it out, on paper, and exactly what part of your anatomy will be cut away at.
 
... Wait, did you say vitrectomy? would be not something to hear. :-P

Cheers

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861402)

Vitrectomy [wikipedia.org]

Originated by Robert Machemer[1] and facilitated by Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr in late 1969 and early 1970, the original purpose of vitrectomy was to remove clouded vitreous - usually containing blood. The success of these first procedures led to the development of techniques and instruments to remove clouding and also to peel scar tissue off the light sensitive lining of the eye - the retina - membranectomy, to provide space for materials injected in the eye to reattach the retina such as gases or liquid silicone, and to increase the efficacy of other surgical steps such as scleral buckle.

An explosion of new instruments and surgical strategies through the 1970s and 1980s was spearheaded by surgeon/engineer Steve Charles, M.D.[2] More recent advances have included smaller and more refined instruments for use in the eye, the injection of various medications at the time of surgery to manipulate a detached retina into its proper position and mark the location of tissue layers to allow their removal, and for long term protection against scar tissue formation.
I have a detached retina [wikipedia.org] . The surgical procedure involves sticking three needles in my eye (photo in the Wikipedia article)

Re:Er, um... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861762)

I have a detached retina. The surgical procedure involves sticking three needles in my eye (photo in the Wikipedia article)

Yes, I gathered that from your post. I didn't mean to make light of your upcoming surgery.

Just make sure he knows it's not a vasectomy [wikipedia.org] . :-P (Yes, I know, any joke which requires explanation was a lousy one. ;-)

Cheers

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868232)

You know, I'd be a lot more scared if it WAS a vasectomy! I really should get one but damn...

Re:Er, um... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869486)

You know, I'd be a lot more scared if it WAS a vasectomy! I really should get one but damn...

Amen brother!

Cheers

Re:Er, um... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860424)

I hope none of those guys designed the equipment my eye surgeon will be using
If the equipment needs to be secured against active subversive behavior by one of the members of your surgical team, I get the feeling that it won't be your biggest concern.

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861454)

If the equipment needs to be secured against active subversive behavior by one of the members of your surgical team

So long as none of them are on this list [slashdot.org] I probably don't have a lot to worry about.

Re:Er, um... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860974)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Er, um... (1)

braque (16684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861466)

That eye surgeon comment made me think of something I read a couple of years ago: http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/21.59.html#subj1 [ncl.ac.uk]

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862026)

Now THAT'S reassuring... (not). When my retina tore (w/ no detachment) a little ove a year ago, a laser was used to weld it back together. This surgery involves needles in the eyeball [wikipedia.org] .

I mentioned it in a couple of journals (in passing):
Behind my sig [slashdot.org] linked from the Zaphod quote; this one is about having my 20/400 vision corrected to better than 20/20 using a new technology (FDA approved in 2003) in my left eye; the other is still 20/400. I'm now a cyborg. You will be assimilated. resistance is not only futile, you won't resist, when the time comes you'll beg to join us!
Bloody Sunday [slashdot.org]
The Bleeding Eyeball [slashdot.org]
Blinded By the Light [slashdot.org]
and finally the latest one,
I'm in a REAL bad mood [slashdot.org]

I doubt I'll do a proper journal until I get the surgery done and off my mind.

Re:Er, um... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22864206)

There's one thing I'd lke to know: Americans often describe their eyesight as X/Y with both numbers being distances in feet. Now, as (most of) the rest of the world doesn't use the imperial system of measurements, over here in Germany I've only ever heard of eyesight measurements in dioptres. (For example, I'm highly myopic with -11.0/-10.50 dpt*)

Do you, by chance, know how to convert between dpt and X/Y feet? Wikipedia isn't helpful as the English one uses dpt and doesn't mention feet. It's weird when you hear people talk about how nearly-blind they are and you have no idea how severe their affliction is...


* Even more off-topic than the rest of the post: According to WP, the normal human eye has about 60 dioptres, so I'm more than 1/6th below spec. Essentially, the distance where things go blurry from the myopia is also the distance where things go blurry because they're too close for the lens to focus on.
Once I've got enough money I'm probably going to get eye surgery, but since the compulsory health insurance funds don't cover that and I sure as hell won't make enough for private insurance for quite a while that's still years off.

Re:Er, um... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865246)

Well, I can't provide you with a conversion table, but can give you my spec's in both forms (Ha!-just noticed the very badly done pun!):

I have 20/200 vision-uncorrected (at 20 feet, need 200mm high letters to read), or: L. eye= -3.6 diopters, r. eye= -3.7 diopters for corrective lenses.
I hope this helps somewhat. Actually, I hope this is less painful to get used to than my trifocals were for me! :)

Re:Er, um... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865324)

Sorry to double reply here, but....

the "...describe their eyesight as X/Y with both numbers being distances in feet."
is slightly off IIRC. The way I remember it is x=20 feet, and y=height in millimeters the letters/numbers need to be to be accurately discerned. Thus my 20/200 vision would require 200mm letters for me to read at 20 feet distance- a mixture of metric and Imperial measures....Ain't America grand?!

The -3.6, and -3.7 diopters is what my lense prescription is, so it might not mean the same thing you mentioned...I just am not sure, but that is the sum of my pitiful knowledge on the matter.

BTW, in the USA, my myopia is considered 'legally blind' for the purposes of driving a vehicle on public roads in most if not all states. From experience, I agree with this. I have had to drive home a short distance without my glasses once in daytime, but I experienced EXTREME rectal puckering, and would definitely walk if the light was less than full daylight, or heavy traffic!

Who knows,maybe someone with better info will jump on my info and help you out- at least I tried to help you out. :)

Re:Er, um... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865574)

My -11.0/-10.5 are the prescription of my glasses, too, actually. I probably should have mentioned that. But that's about everything you learn about your eyesight here. (Actually, you get two sets of dipotres and one set of degrees that describes astigmatism; I don't know off the bat what the second set of dioptres means.)

I'm not allowed to drive without glasses, as well - but then again I couldn't even read the speedometer or recognize traffic signs without them! I also have to have regular checkups with my oculist, but I have those anyway in order to track the development of the myopia.

The myopia does have an upside, though; in Germany you have to either do nine months of military service or (if you refuse) nine months of social work. The third option is that the Bundeswehr doesn't want you; in my case the medical exam was over as soon as the doctor saw the prescription for my glasses and I went home with Tauglichkeitsgrad 5, meaning that they wouldn't take me if I begged them. That way I got to start university one year sooner.
I did have to do an interview, though, because I wan't formally unsuitable for service until my oculist confirmed I was her patient. It's weird when they ask you whether you want to join the army, the navy or the air force or whether you'd go on missions abroad and your answer to every question is: "Doesn't matter, I'm T5."

Re:Er, um... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870588)

"Diopters" is, iinm, the refractive index of a lens. It is the measurement of the needed correction. The "x/y" is your sight compared to the norm. 20/20 is that you can see at 20 feet (or meters or yards or any measured distance) what the "normal" person can see at 20n. So 20/400 would be being able to read a character at 20n (where the unit of measurement n is unimportant, could be feet or meters) what a normally sighted person could see at 400n.

Diopters would be meaningless to someone with no correction needed, whereas 20/16 (my distance vision in the eye with the implant when it's not full of blood) means I can see at 20n what a normally sighted person would have to be closer to see.

See this eye chart [wikipedia.org] for a better idea. The needed diopter depends on the length of the eyeball and the refractive index of its focusing lens and its cornea.

No, you're ok. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871700)

That was designed by Ratbert. ISO was run by engineers, but appears to have been taken over by plastic pink flamingos.

They get their computers from Hugo Chavez (3, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860058)

The Red Revolution People's First October Socialist Workers Computing Platform. Which is either a Linux distro or pirated Windows anyway. Communists don't care about code you have to buy from the running dog lackeys of Capitalist Colonialist Aggression.

Re:They get their computers from Hugo Chavez (2, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860218)

You didn't know? Its called "Red Flag" Linux.

Re:They get their computers from Hugo Chavez (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860658)

I have a copy of that around here. That's Chinese - pretty good for DBCS support.

Re:They get their computers from Hugo Chavez (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865350)

Does this mean I should always pick the blue teams in 'BZ Flag'?...or red? I'm confused now.

Re:They get their computers from Hugo Chavez (0)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862018)

I seem to recall reading back in 2000 that Cuba boasts of having the best software reverse engineering industry in the world, precisely to be able to pirate all the software which the US developers couldn't export to it.

Undermining our way of life... (5, Funny)

Urger (817972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860070)

These Cuban scum! They are trying to ruin our American way of life with their instance on "open standards." Their dangerous ideas of "freedom" and "choice" are directly opposed to our system of allowing us to choose whatever option we are told to choose. Damn Commies! If we don't stop them now, they will want to monitor our machine controlled elections! We have to stop these anti-Americans now, while we still have the chance!

Re:Undermining our way of life... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860348)

Know what? If something changes Cuba's mind about OOXML and very shortly after the US embargo of Cuba is ended... fuck, I just don't have words for that.

Re:Undermining our way of life... (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860626)

Know what? If something changes Cuba's mind about OOXML and very shortly after the US embargo of Cuba is ended... fuck, I just don't have words for that.
I think those Cuban cigars come in handy when Hillary is in "Office". It could open her up, you know! ;-)

Re:Undermining our way of life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22861212)

*gag*

Re:Undermining our way of life... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865524)

But, like her hubby, she wn't inhale. *cough-cough*

Blunt thang, you make my eyes sting!
Blunt thang, you make everything groovy.
Blunt thang, I think I love you!

*to the tune of 'Wildthing'*

Re:Undermining our way of life... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862244)

They ruin the US by wanting Disapproval but voting Approval. This will bring capitalism to its end. Mind Fucko!

Chavez' Venezuela on the other hand is not that cunning. [noooxml.org] They sell their standard snake oil to Microsoft and voted approval in the september ballot. I wonder what decision they will take this time...

Windows PXP (1)

Ardipithecus (985280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860120)

Pirate XP version, readily available and used in Cuba, and the price is right

What? (0, Flamebait)

atcsharp (1257538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860164)

Cuba has computers?

Re:What? (2, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860412)

Of course they do. The only country to embargo them is the United States. They can get all the computers they want from other countries. You are aware there are other countries out there, right?

Re:What? (-1, Flamebait)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860592)

But none of them want to lend the Cubans money either. They've already burned just about everyone. The US should lift the embargo just so the Cubans can stop using it as an excuse.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22860748)

Come on. You don't live in Florida, don't you? Have you ever in your life let a Cuban friend borrow money from you? There is no such thing as "pay back a loan" in Cuban vocabulary... If you lend them money is basically charity, you will be giving that away...
And they have plenty of computers in the island, Chaves and the Spanish flooded them with computers. The main thing over there is Internet access. They don't have enough backbone access to outside, as they rely on the old Wiltel cable that goes out from Corpus Christi, TX, AFAIK.

Re:What? (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865742)

COPYRIGHT 2002 The Miami Herald Apr. 8--Cuba's credit history is not one to envy. In 1986, Cuba suspended payment of its debt with the Club of Paris. In 2000, it could not pay $175 million owed to the French COFACE. In September, it defaulted on debt to Spain, South Africa and Chile.


Only on slashdot is the truth considered flamebait...

Re:What? (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860914)

Of course they do. The only country to embargo them is the United States. They can get all the computers they want from other countries. You are aware there are other countries out there, right?

You're kneejerking. The poster was probably talking about the Cuban government's ban on owning computers (with exceptions made for tourists, certain government workers, etc). It was actually lifted by Raul Castro a couple of weeks ago, but the average Cuban still probably doesn't have one.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080313/tc_nm/cuba_reforms_dc_1 [yahoo.com]

Re:What? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860956)

Why do they still keep up this embargo? Does the US have an embargo against China? No, and they are probably a much worse country than Cuba, in just about every way. Cuba doesn't really have much to offer the US, which is why it's easy to keep up the embargo. However, I think that it's kind of stupid to bother keeping up the embargo, since it probably causes more problems then it solves.

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22861678)

Cuba doesn't really have much to offer the US, which is why it's easy to keep up the embargo.

Only partly true. The other, and larger, part is that the Cuban American political block is still quite powerful at a national level in the USA, and blame Castro's revolution for destroying their wealthy, antebellum culture.

Posting this one anonymously, as I have acquaintances of Cuban upper class background, who turn very ugly when questions about recent Cuban history come up.

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22863736)

yes, no one likes having their free lunch taken away. And by 'free lunch' i mean 'feudal fiefdom'.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22873962)

feudal fiefdom is precisely what Castro has: everyone is roughly equally poor, except for a few lords and one king..(i mean, "president" who is neither elected by the people, nor appointed by a legislative body, and is passed by blood)

The upper-crust of cuba couldn't possibly constitute a significant voting block in the US unless nearly half the country was viciously exploiting the other half.

Don't mess with Cuban vote! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22860174)

He [wikipedia.org] plays for keeps and is rumored to have a temper.

Y'know... (0, Troll)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860248)

Groklaw's PJ notes that verification remains problematical, and "...the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure.

The screeching mob at Groklaw seems to be under the impression that, because until this standard came up for approval they thought "ISO" was just some setting on their CD burning software, this is the first time there's ever been controversy over one of their decisions. In fact, it's not the case that all their previous standards were reached by everyone hugging each other.

Re:Y'know... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860352)

Proof or Wanker?

Welcome to the new game show (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861076)

Announcer: Welcome to the new game show, Proof or Wanker! Okay, first challenge. Bart Sibrel was punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin for claiming the moon landing was a hoax. Proof or wanker? Contestant one has 'buzzed' in, haha.

Contestant one: Uhh, wanker?

Announcer: That is correct! Challenge number two, oooh! It's our daily double! Okay, global warming...

Re:Y'know... (3, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860540)

While it's true that controversy is not unknown at ISO, there are things happening during this particular process which seem to have surprised and/or alarmed a fair number of those who regularly follow ISO and its processes.

See this web site [consortiuminfo.org] for one example.

Re:Y'know... (3, Insightful)

cloakable (885764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860602)

And those standards went through, I'd guess, on the non-fasttrack route? Like the SQL standard? That took years to go through.

The abuse here is trying to push OOXML through on fast track, when it's obvious to anyone following the process that this should take the same route as SQL, for example. But that wouldn't be quick enough for Microsoft to stem the organisations mandidating open standards to look at their options, and choose OpenDocument over OOXML.

Re:Y'know... (1)

TheRealSlimShady (253441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860822)

That's because fast track is the process that existing standards go through. The slow track is for standards that ISO generates internally...

Re:Y'know... (4, Interesting)

asuffield (111848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861056)

The abuse here is trying to push OOXML through on fast track, when it's obvious to anyone following the process that this should take the same route as SQL, for example. But that wouldn't be quick enough for Microsoft to stem the organisations mandidating open standards to look at their options, and choose OpenDocument over OOXML.


It's more than that. The normal process is a specification-creating process. The "fast track" process is just ISO urinating on some company's product in an attempt to convince people to use it. Microsoft doesn't want to make a system, they want their existing system to be advertised.

The whole OOXML noise is a joke - but then, ISO shouldn't have a "fast track" process in the first place, and the "standards" worship that is in vogue these days is just silly. The purpose of ISO (and all similar organisations) is for people to come together and create an agreement on how they are going to make their systems work together. If there is no intention for people to make their systems work together, then there is no value in any of it.

A "standard" is not some kind of law about how computer systems have to work (despite what a lot of very stupid people seem to think), it is the symbol and partial documentation of a completed process of development and negotiation, which all parties agree they can work to. If you try to just make up the document without that agreement, then all you have is a worthless piece of paper, since nobody is going to be able to build systems around it even if they wanted to.

When all the proprietary UNIX vendors sat down together and worked out a specification for the common elements of their systems that anybody could write programs against, that was a real standards process which resulted in real benefits, because they started with the intention to make it possible to write portable software and designed a specification which they could and would all implement. When somebody just makes up a new bunch of rules off the top of their head and gets some official-sounding organisation to put out a press release, that's purely marketing, of no particular use to anybody, and it doesn't matter who the organisation is.

Re:Y'know... (5, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860614)

Your characterization of the Groklaw crowd is quite inaccurate. Plenty of people there are familiar with standards processes. And yes, they know that there has been controversy before, but rarely has there been controversy of this magnitude, to my knowledge, NEVER in the fast-track process. The purpose of the fast-track process is to expedite the formalization of what are already de facto standards, which means standards that are well thought out and carefully written, that exist in multiple implementations, and on which there is substantial consensus. Microsoft's attempt to use the fast-track process for OOXML is outrageous given that OOXML is a bloated mess, has yet to be implemented by anyone, not even Microsoft, and is a single-company effort on which there is no consensus.

Re:Y'know... (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861362)

No matter how high you set the bar, there will always be an "over the top".

Ever read Milton's essay on Machiavelli? One of the points that he makes is that it's not straightforward for an outsider to judge what is barbaric in a historical or cultural context. You might think that having an assassin poison a rival city's leader is barbaric, but there is something to said for the theory that it's less barbaric than laying siege to his city and burning it to the ground. People of a more Northern European cultural background tend to look at wars in which hundreds or thousands of bystanders are killed as unfortunate, but unavoidable facts of life. Yet we feel revulsion when somebody calculates that his way forward would be eased by the carefully planned removal of a single individual whose continued sojourn among the living presents ... complications.

It's the cold bloodedness that turns us off; if the same prince lost his head and smacked his rival over the head with candlestick at a banquet, we might think it is a bad act, but not necessarily a repulsive one. It can be argued, however, that calculated murder is really no more morally repugnant than indulging in the luxury of murderous, irrational rages.

Milton's point is that every society that has ever existed is somewhat hypocritical about its moral ideals. But while "everybody does it" is not a moral excuse, Milton points out that there is a great practical difference between a person willing to do the same bad things that "everybody" does, and a person who is willing to do things that the people around him find repugnant. The difference is that latter person is utterly unrestrained by any consideration at all.

Which brings us to standards committees. We all know that there is plenty of backstabbing and double-dealing involved. "Everybody" does it, although as in the case of warfare for the Northern baron or assassination for an Italian prince, there is such a thing as immoderation when it comes to enjoying a culturally sanctioned vice. But while various forms of vote manipulation may be somewhat sanctioned, altering vote counting is "over the top". It does something beyond harming the "spirit" of the process. It harms the pretense of the process.

As inferior as pretense is to principle in a moral sense, it at least functions as a more reliable restraint on depraved behavior. ISO may not do what it is "supposed" to do, but it does something that is useful. The process is useless unless it can at least maintain the pretense of fairness. Once you start altering votes, you might as well hire goons to rough up the opposition. In fact hiring goons might be somewhat preferable, because it can be done discreetly. People will notice if the votes they bought... er, cast weren't recorded properly.

Re:Y'know... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22862918)

That's a very interesting analysis. And it makes a lot of sense.

Assassination is a lot less barbaric than a full-blown war... but less 'honorable' somehow. War, on the other hand, is more barbaric, messy and painful and supposedly more 'honorable.'

But let's look at the two opposing view points to see whose lives are at risk:

1. Pro-assassination: The leaders are at risk
2. Pro-war: The non-leaders (everyone else) are at risk

Now given it is the leaders who are making the laws, policies and practices, it would seem rather natural for them to choose to put others at risk so that they, themselves are not at risk. It also goes to show why leaders are so willing to go to war and endorse torture... simply put, they aren't at risk -- everyone else is.

Of course, if we had a more true democracy in place where the people actually contribute to the ruling and regulation of their own country, there would be no point in assassination... too many heads of the snake to cut off. But as it can be seen, 'democracies' like the US don't have as many heads as it should making assassination a much more effective tool.

I realize this is way off topic, but your post got me thinking of something I haven't thought much on. Perhaps assassination is a better alternative to war and a proper democracy would make assassination pointless.

This is news? (3, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860280)

the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure

Like we haven't learned that from the spammers abusing e-mail, the various hacks to slashcode to prevent carpflooding, etc. etc. etc.?

Re:This is news? (2, Funny)

makapuf (412290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22863766)

[OT]Sir, I'm not a native speaker, but would you explain what carpflooding means and how it relates to slashdot/code ? Google returned three incomprehensible references (incl this citation). well, four, now that I posted this.[/OT]

Re:This is news? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22864754)

Just in case you're serious, he meant crapflooding [wikipedia.org] , which is flooding a forum with dozens or hundreds of meaningless messages to lower the signal-to-noise ratio.

You've never been carpflooded? (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22867808)

Happens all the time in Michigan. Well, it does if you live in the river bottoms. Like Taco does.

River full of carp + snow melt = carp flood.

no MSFT, no problem! (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860452)

Does this mean the entire island runs on Linux?

Re:no MSFT, no problem! (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861594)

Does this mean the entire island runs on Linux?

The Communist Party's newspaper's Web site doesn't appear to run on Linux, unless there's an IIS port to Linux:

$ telnet www.granma.cu 80
Trying 216.162.229.52...
Connected to www.granma.cu.
Escape character is '^]'.
HEAD / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.granma.cu

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 78431
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Location: http://www.granma.cu/index.html
Last-Modified: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 19:57:54 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: W/"16a39e83b28ec81:2b4"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 20:28:04 GMT

Re:no MSFT, no problem! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22867586)

That website is hosted in canada tho...

Orly? (2, Informative)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860458)

which is odd on its face, as Microsoft is forbidden to sell any products in Cuba.

It is only odd if MS had a hand in it. However, if it was just a dumbass doing the counting, then it is not odd at all.

Re:Orly? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861148)

It is only odd if MS had a hand in it. However, if it was just a dumbass doing the counting, then it is not odd at all.
Actually if MS had its hand in it, it's not odd. It actually sounds like business as usual

ISO (1)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860622)

What does ISO have to do with Microsoft?

Re:ISO (1, Funny)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860968)

You know you are on Slashdot, right?

ANY problem can be tied back to Microsoft, no matter what it is.

Cancer? Microsoft
War? Microsoft
Famine? Microsoft
Bryan Adams? Microsoft
Disease? Microsoft

Re:ISO (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22867566)

I'm intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter, as long as you agree to review the following aspects in further issues:
  • Election fraud? Microsoft
  • Global warming? Microsoft
  • Creationism? Microsoft
  • Bush? Microsoft
  • Hitler? Microsoft

Re:ISO (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22872644)

That's unfair, Microsoft has apologized in numerous occasions for Bryan Adams!

Re:ISO (1)

SoulRider (148285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861814)

Actually there is quite a history between ISO and MS. MS has been trying their hardest to get their locked-in products standardized by the ISO committee through-out their entire existence (Gates has some perverse dream of owning all of the computer industries standards). The ISO committee has repeatedly rejected MS's attempts on the grounds that standards and product lock-in are two contradictory goals. It really seemed to come to a head when Gates basically got laughed out of the committee when MS tried to standardize C#. So, MS is now trying to (and successfully it seems) discredit the ISO, expect to see a "new and improved" standards board (probably chaired by Gates himself) once the ISO is nothing but a smoldering heap...or fight to help keep it alive.

Article is blocked in large parts of Europe (0)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860746)

Groklaw is among the sites currently being blocked from Europe along with related sites. If you're in Europe, you might need to go through a proxy [google.com] to reach Groklaw articles.

It's hard to say whether all the Pro-Open Standards material and damning data on DIS 29500 is the cause or if it's the Iowa case evidence about MS' decade long jihad against 'non-believers' [groklaw.net]

Works fine here in Italy (1, Informative)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22860802)

Really, since when you need a proxy to reach Groklaw?

Re:Works fine here in Italy (1)

stuporglue (1167677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861102)

It's because of the disputes between two of the internet providers who aren't allowing traffic from each other's networks. It was on slashdot a couple of days ago and specifically mentioned Groklaw.

Re:Works fine here in Italy (3, Interesting)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861226)

He is probably referring to the peering conflict between TeliaSonera and Cogent. See this Slashdot story [slashdot.org] . I have Telia as an ISP and can't reach Groklaw. This probably mostly effects Scandinavia.

Re:Works fine here in Italy (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22866892)

Yep. I live in Finland and use TeliaSonera (or Surina (noise/buzz is english) as we call it) ADSL and can't reach Groklaw. Unfortunately I live in an area where TS is the only choice as ISP.

But luckily I live in an area where TS isn't disconnecting their phone lines! Couple of kilometers north from here and you can't get ADSL there anymore.

Not blocked in Germany (1)

XenonChloride (718512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861042)

http://groklaw.net/ [groklaw.net] in general and the article in particular are accessible from Germany via my local ISP. No need for any proxy!

Re:Article is blocked in large parts of Europe (1)

Shuntros (1059306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861424)

WTF? Is it bollocks.

Perhaps you're confusing Europe with China?

Standards were ALWAYS cutthroat politcs (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22861346)

PJ says: "...the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure."

But standards operations have ALWAYS been about cutthroat politics and dirty tricks to gain competitive advantage. (For instance: There's stuff in an international protocol standard from the '70s or so that was transparently-crufty weirdness a US delegation proposed to get the French to back down from something they didn't like - but the French instead embraced the cruft wholeheartedly and the US negotiators couldn't admit it was just a bluff...)

The ideal is to standardize exactly what you're already marketing (or are about to release), so you continue to sell it and become (or become more) the dominant and entrenched market player while everybody else is delayed while they make changes - and become incompatible with their previous prototypes or products. This is a massive advantage even if you DO have to give up your patent locks on the technology to make it into a standard.

What's different about this is just the scale and the ability of the multibillion-dollar gorilla to afford tactics that weren't cost-effective enough to be common.

You insen5itive clod! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22861460)

Interesting (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22863030)

I travel to Cuba twice a year. Yes, MS cannot sell a thing to Cuba and Caba cannot legally obtain MS products.

Cuba is almost isolated in their computer net so compatibility of formats and documents should n't be a problem. They are also communist. You'd think: that's an ideal enviroment for Linuzz. It should be natural to see Open Office, Linuzz, GIMP, etc on evry machine.

Well, think again: everybody (normal users and the goverment) use pirated Windows, MS Office, Photoshop, etc.

I wonder why... (or not)

Shouldn't there be an ISO to *count* the votes? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22863250)

Ummm .... as the subject indicates, if the ISO has trouble counting pieces of paper, shouldn't they create an ISO to count votes? It might come in handy in the future and save some embarrassment at the same time!!

when there are allegations of dirty tricks (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22863952)

"...the bottom line to me is that a process that worked perfectly well when folks all trusted each other falls into chaos when there are allegations of dirty tricks or undue pressure."
ie - when microsoft gets involved in something. the quote above basically explains the characteristics of everything microsoft gets involved in.

Is the ISO a joke? (2, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865224)

There is also an article on groklaw titled: A Delegate from Brazil Challenges "Law of Silence"

A delegate from Brazil is challenging the "Law of Silence," The ad-hoc restrictions on revealing details of the BRM meeting. He alleges that he believes Microsoft has itself violated it. It relates to Microsoft's claim that 98% of issues were resolved at the meeting, which he says is inaccurate, but his question relates to why Microsoft can talk about the BRM and no one else can.

The ISO seems to make "rules" ad-hoc, according to what Microsoft dictates, then they don't even follow their own bogus rules.

The ISO has lost all credibility with me. Unless the ISO completely reforms their processes, I will consider them about credibilitily as an Enderle article.
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