Doug Mahugh has another update on what's going on with the US review of the Open XML standard. They've finalized the ballot, and are will have a couple weeks to vote on whether or not to approve the ballot: http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/archive/2007/07/19/incits-executive-board-to-vote-on-approval-with-comments.aspx

Tom Robertson, who is the GM of the standards group here at Microsoft had this to say:

"The decision by the INCITS Executive Board to issue a ballot of "yes" with comments shows positive momentum behind ISO/IEC ratification of Open XML. It reflects the importance of allowing users to choose the format that best meets their needs, and the fact that innovation and evolution will take place over time. We respect the INCITS process and look forward to working within it over the coming weeks."

Also, Jason Matusow who works for Tom over in the standards group has a blog post on this, as well as an update on how the process is going in South Africa.

Wouter van Vugt talks about this decision, and gives a good update on how things are going over in the Netherlands http://blogs.infosupport.com/wouterv/archive/2007/07/20/Working-to-a-_2700_Approve-with-Comments_2700_.aspx:

Similar to the INCITS board there are a few types of members in the Dutch committee:

  • Some members felt that "Approval with comments" was the position to take, because it sends a message that Open XML should become an ISO standard, but there are some things that need to be corrected or modified in the spec. Many of these members didn't support "Disapprove with comments" because they believed it would allow anti-Open XML lobbyists on V1 to obstruct the process in the future. (Personally, I fall into this camp.)
  • Some members felt that "Disapprove with comments" was the position to take, because it would force the resolution of certain comments. Many of these members didn't support "Approve with comments" because they believed it would allow critical corrections to slip through the process without being handled.
  • The IBM rep states that 'he will just say no', and also stated that he will not provide any technical comment because that would allow the comment to be fixed, hence opening the door to making Open XML an ISO standard. Can you believe that?

-Brian