Websites claim to host leaked OOXML results

Websites claim to host leaked OOXML results

Summary: Ahead of Wednesday's official announcement, documents posted online appear to suggest Microsoft's document format is set to become an official standard, despite claims of voting irregularities

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Documents purporting to be leaked results of the OOXML vote have been posted on the internet.

The documents appear to confirm that Microsoft's nascent document format has been approved as an official standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Office Open XML (OOXML) is Microsoft's "open" document specification, in competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) being promoted by the open-source community and companies including IBM and Sun.

On the basis of votes by the standards bodies of countries around the world, OOXML failed to gain so-called "fast-track" approval last September. However, its second attempt at fast-track approval appears to have succeeded.

ISO plans to announce the official result on Wednesday. However, websites OpenSourcerer and OpenDocSociety are hosting what they claim to be leaked copies of the result. The result was originally to have been released on Monday, the deadline for voting having been Saturday night.

According to the leaked documents, 24 out of 32 of the "Principal Countries" involved in the process voted in favour of OOXML becoming the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 standard. That represents 75 percent approval, significantly above the two-thirds majority needed.

The other criterion for passage was that under a quarter of all members within ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) disapprove. According to the leaked documents, 10 out of 71 — or 14 percent — of those national member bodies disapproved of OOXML becoming an official standard.

ISO spokesperson Roger Frost refused to comment on the leaked documents' veracity on Tuesday, but Machteld Garrels of OpenDocSociety told that there was "no reason to think [the documents] are not genuine".

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The run-up to Saturday's deadline was contentious. OOXML's initial rejection by the member bodies within ISO was based on a number of unanswered questions and issues regarding elements of the specification, which runs to around 6,000 pages. These issues were to be addressed at a ballot resolution meeting in late February, but a Brazilian delegate to that meeting has said that the vast majority of those issues were dismissed without being individually considered.

Since that ballot resolution meeting, many countries — including the UK — changed their votes from disapproval to approval. This was apparently done on the basis of the issues surrounding OOXML having been resolved.

However, there have been numerous claims of procedural problems in the changing of those votes, particularly in Poland, Germany and Croatia. Norway is now also part of that list, according to Steve Pepper, the chairman of Standard Norge's joint technical committee.

"I wish to inform you of serious irregularities in connection with the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (Office Open XML) and to lodge a formal protest," wrote Pepper in a faxed letter to ISO. "You will have been notified that Norway voted to approve OOXML in this ballot. This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80 percent of which was against changing Norway's vote from No with comments to Yes."

Pepper called for the Norwegian decision to be "suspended", adding: "Because of this irregularity, a call has been made for an investigation by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry with a view to changing the vote."

According to ISO's Frost, the official result of the OOXML vote will be announced early on Wednesday morning.

Topic: Tech Industry

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • leaked OOXML results

    Anyone who thought OOXML "standard" would not be accepted is living in a dream world. What M$ wants, they get, by any and all means possible, legal or otherwise. It will not help their reputation.
  • You're trying to wind them up David...

    You've spelled the International Organization for Standardization with "s" instead of "z" and you've referred to Open Office XML -both in the same article :-)

  • You say standardization, I say standardisation

    I'd love to say those were deliberate, but they weren't. Well spotted. Story changed.

    Although, I have to say, it is funny that we're having to make a call over which version of "standardi(s/z)ation" to use!
    David Meyer
  • They Don't Care

    I agree that the various controversies around the successful Microsoft bid will not enhance their reputation. However, as the title suggests, they just don't care. Why should they. Nobody is going to do anything about the ordinary run of the mill abuses; just the really really big ones, which this isn't.
    Andrew Meredith
  • Sorry but .....

    Surely this IS a really big one. If not, what is?
    The Former Moley
  • What is ..

    I was thinking that if they were, for example, to strongarm every last PC vendor on the planet into paying them their vig whether or not the machines shipped with any Microsoft software installed. Or maybe if they were to deliberately queer everyone elses pitch by pre-installing software for free that does some of what someone elses commercial product would have done, were it to ever be installed now that there is something that mostly works already there.

    I mean, if ever they were to do stuff as outrageous as the above THAT would be the big stuff.
    Andrew Meredith
  • Oxford English or Cambridge English

    "ized" is OK for American and accepted in UK English as most dictionaries are now OED Oxford English Dick. Too many Americans paying to have an Oxford Degree (including the Clinton's) "ised" is the Standard English or Cambridge English Dick.
    The change occurred in the early/mid 60's when the top rank of the Civil Service became All Oxford Grad's. Continuing with the publication of the OED and construction of the M40 from London to Oxford
  • The history of "-ised"

    That's interesting, but I'm not sure I follow what you are saying (and it's not strictly relevant here). Do you mean that historically we all said "-ized" but the UK has moved to "-ised" in a recent fashion shift? I'm pretty sure I've noticed "-ized" in British books of the 50s.

    In this case, however, it's irrelevant. We're using the proper name of the body, and should use its' own spelling here. We wouldn't "correct" someone's name from "Steven" to "Stephen" or "Marc" to "Mark". Likewise, we don't correct "International Organization for Standardization" to "International Organisation for Standardisation".

    If nothing else, ISO is a pedantic bunch of people and we wouldn't want to annoy it.
  • "ized" is American

    the 50s were the start of American "isation" of the English Language. By the late 50's most of the Senior civil service were Oxford grad's.
    We had a Us based consultancy in to bid for an Upgrade to our 200+ Virtual server farm, some were throw out because or the excessive spelling mistakes over 240 90% because of "ization" but also color, labor and the quote in Euro's :-)