OOXML appeal possible, but looks unlikely

OOXML appeal possible, but looks unlikely

Summary: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  has not received a formal appeal of its approval of Office Open XML as a standard, but it looks more unlikely with each day that passes.To date, there have been "no appeals and I have no way of predicting whether there will or will not be," said ISO spokesman Roger Frost, who was kind enough to respond to several inquiries this week from ZDnet blogger about a possible appeal.

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  has not received a formal appeal of its approval of Office Open XML as a standard, but it looks more unlikely with each day that passes.

To date, there have been "no appeals and I have no way of predicting whether there will or will not be," said ISO spokesman Roger Frost, who was kind enough to respond to several inquiries this week from ZDnet blogger about a possible appeal.

On April 2, ISO announced that the controversial, Microsoft sponsored OOXML document format specification, known as 29500, had received the necessary number of votes to be approved as an ISO standard. The final results: 61 countries approved, 10 disapproved and 16 abstained.

At that time, ISO said opponents would have 60 days to file a formal appeal of ISO's decision.

Following that announcement,  many backers of the rival Open Document Format (ODF) ISO standard (used in OpenOffice) protested the vote and called for ISO to examine alleged "voting irregularities" in select nations including Norway.  At an Oslo, Norway meeting on  April 9 to discuss the maintenance of ISO 29500, more than 100 protesters (shown below, photographed, posted and described by one Microsoft blogger as "geeks) gathered outside the meeting hall with signs and shouts of protest to picket OOXML's approval.

protest.jpg

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and outspoken opponent of OOXML, said he holds ISO at least somewhat responsible for not addressing what he claimed were  unscrupulous lobbying efforts by Microsoft to win votes.

Still, in a recently issued memorandum, ISO defended its process and maintains that proper procedures were followed.

"We reviewed the process before it started, all the while during its course and afterwards as well. While the voting on ISO/IEC 29500 has attracted exceptional publicity, it needs to be put in context," the document reads. "ISO and IEC have collections of more than 17 000 and 7 000 successful standards respectively, these being revised and added to every month. This suggests that the standards development process is credible, works well and is delivering the standards needed, and widely implemented, by the market. Because continual improvement is an underlying aim of standardization, ISO and IEC will certainly be continuing to review and improve its standards development procedures. "

Andrew Updegrove, a Boston-based attorney at Gesmer Updegrove LLP who has been involved in the case, is none too pleased with ISO's response. 

"To my mind, this is a bit like the FAA stating that there would be no investigation following reports that the wings of a 747 fell off just before it crashed, because the vast majority of flights land safely.  But not to worry, because the FAA is always looking for ways to improve flight safety," UpDegrove quipped.

"Unfortunately, here as with so much else with the traditional standards infrastructure, the rules don't really relate to the current challenge," Updegrove said. "The appeal procedures don't really seem to address a situation such as this, and ISO/IEC does not appear to be taking the situation seriously in any event."

Chris Maresca, founding partner of Olliance Group, an open source consulting firm, was doubtful about an appeal based on what he heard. "I've heard that ISO said an appeal was DOA [Dead On Arrival], but that's about it," he said. 

Outspoken OOXML opponents Sun and IBM have not commented on possible plans for an appeal. But at least one spokesman for the ODF Alliance said it's too early to tell.

"I wouldn’t be surprised, given the number of documented irregularities, if an [national standard body] formally appeals. ISO rules require that an appeal be fully documented so I would expect an NB considering such a appeal to use more of the time (two months) allotted," said Marino Marcich, a spokesman for the ODF Allliance, in an e-mail to ZDNet.

Topic: Enterprise Software

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  • Standing

    ISO has also stated that it will only accept appeals of NB votes from the NB itself. In other words, the only ones who can appeal (for instance) Norway's vote are the people who filed it.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Either paid for or bullied into submission

    The results are the same.
    Ole Man
  • Likelihood of appeals

    On the lead sentence's statement that appeals look more unlikely with each day that passes, I think it an unwarranted conclusion.

    I'm a retired lawyer. Lawyers rarely file documents until immediately before the deadline, particularly in a situation where there may be multiple parties filing documents.

    The problem is that doing so allows others to respond to your document in their own documents. The custom of not filing until the last moment has other roots in the desire to polish, the need to get approvals from others, and in simple procrastination.

    The passage of time since the appealable decision really is not a factor here. One really can't know whether appeals are on the way until the deadline passes, unless someone announces their intent or actually files early.
    Marbux
  • I heard they were going to dig up the guys from the Warren Commission.

    See if they could come up with a Magic Ballot theory.

    "The ballots themselves were hexed by witches and turned from No votes in Yes votes as they entered the boxes. We find no fault on the part of the ISO or Microsoft."
    odubtaig
  • RE: OOXML appeal possible

    Though there may be some initial minor bugs in the OOXML
    format, with the right development team it has potential to
    really help with interoperability problems. At this point, the
    program is still flexible and has potential in a variety of
    different directions in the area of long term network stability.
    This is not an anti-virus software. Development of the
    OOXML format during the beta period may also give insight
    on future joint-projects.
    warwoodpet
  • What a headline!

    I agree with the headline:
    OOXML appeal possible, but looks unlikely

    OOXML has no appeal!

    At least, it doesn't appeal to me! ;)

    -Mike
    SpikeyMike
  • How boring is your life. . .

    If you're standing outside of a meeting of the International Standards Organization protesting a _file format_? I'm no fan of Microsoft, but that has to take the cake.
    pueblonative
    • Let's be fair here

      At least they are protesting regarding something that directly impacts their lives unlike people who protest against, oh I don't know, whaling (Norway). Do you think their lives are boring too? Or non-Tibetans? who protest about what is happening in Tibet?
      roaming
      • What is happening in Tibet

        Understanding is different than protest. Human connection is
        the key to future technological development. Advanced
        calculations are still possible, but must take into account
        more variables and the constant possibility of uncertainty.
        Likely they already do, though I'm not sure.
        warwoodpet
        • Doesn't sond as if

          You're too sure about anything.

          You said: "Human connection is the key to future technological development. Advanced calculations are still possible, but must take into account more variables and the constant possibility of uncertainty". HUH? The "key" to "development must take into the constant possibility of uncertainty"? The "key" to advance calculations must allow constant uncertainty?

          I hope you can make sense out of what you said. I sure couldn't, and I doubt if anybody else could, either.

          One thing is for sure. "We" can't be sure about anything.
          Ole Man
  • unexciting != unimportant

    It's important to put in the effort for stuff like this. It may not be exciting but that does not mean it's not important.
    To all the OOXML protesters: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! PLEASE!!! DO NOT GIVE UP!!!
    jaboc
  • Newsworthy ZDNet content on this topic possible, but looks unlikely

    So an appeal would be "dead on arrival," eh? That *does* sound like the predisposition of an organization illicitly controlled by outside interests. The European Commission is officially investigating; they are not so easily controlled. For Office XML v standards coverage *not* potentiallly gravitationally warped by commercial interests, read Groklaw (http://www.groklaw.net/).
    dpnewkirk
  • RE: OOXML appeal possible, but looks unlikely

    To address the *yawn,whatever* comments:

    * Manipulation of an international standards body to secure private financial gain (to push cash-cow MSOffice) and to sustain previously-convicted anticompetitive business practices --no big deal?

    * Alleged bribery of government officials world-wide, to ram the flawed and incomplete OOXML *standard* though ISO, and to try and reverse the adoption of an existing international document standard (ODF), instead of cooperating with the existing standard --no big deal?

    * Repeated fines over anticompetitive business practices in the EU, and now this --no big deal?

    * Threats and saber-rattling over lawsuits against open-source companies just to try and stir up FUD (more anti-competitive business practices) --no big deal?

    I guess to those who shrug as more of their rights and freedoms are removed (like those poor citizens of the USA, who hopefully will be vindicated after the next election), this is just more business as usual. BUT, you do not have to roll over and take it - abusive and arrogant companies like Microsoft can and should be shut down for these kind of actions. You can start by boycotting Microsoft and any other company which behaves in this manner.
    d_suse
    • You said it partner

      I wish some of them could see what their daddies, granddaddies, and great-granddaddies thought of them for sticking their heads in a noose that they fought two world wars to vanquish, many of whom never returned home.

      Some people need to sit in a dungeon for awhile, just to learn what freedom (or the lack thereof) is. But as long as the beast is chasing others and leaving them alone (or so they think), they're as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.
      Ole Man
  • You lose

    South Africa has filed a formal appeal:

    http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20080523052458101
    dpnewkirk