I just got off a 3-hour call with my colleagues on the V1 technical committee, in which I and the other members of the US delegation to the BRM presented our thoughts on what happened at the BRM. Then we all voted on what to recommend to the INCITS Executive Board for the final US position on DIS 29500.
The final outcome: we are recommending that the US maintain its Approve position on DIS 29500. The next step will be for the INCITS Executive Board to conduct a letter ballot to approve this result.
After all the hard work in V1 going back to the beginning of last year, it's great to have finished up our review of DIS 29500 on a positive note. I think the interests of the United States have been well served by the process, and the spec is much better now than when we started.
More details later. For now, I'm looking forward to a weekend at home!
@doug, the only really specific items I have seen mentioned I have seen mentioned about the BRM improved specification are '
a) Adding a mapping to the spec was not discussed (Brazil). As no such mapping was abvailable at the BRM there is no way the BRM could have added it anyways. So any discusions on that subject would hve been a useless waste of time anyways. There is of course a Microsoft sponsored project to produce such a mapping. I asume the suggested disposition, Ecma referencing the project which is making that mapping, was accepted at the BRM.
b) XML naming. Malaysia had submitted a comment that would involve renaming a lot of the xml element names. That surely is to much a a change for a fasttracking BRM. It is hardly a showstopper really even if some element nameing could have been more improved it does not make for that much improvement in using the format. This issue was actually discussed at the BRM but the Malaysian renaming edit proposal was not accepted
c) An issue was mentioned by a malaysian delegate about being unhappy with the Ecma disposition on the many definition of the e element (a UK issue). It seems like a very minor issue though.
[quote]As of Thursday afternoon we had 100% consensus within the US delegation that "abstain" was the only reasonable position to take, but early Friday morning I found that several members of the US delegation had decided overnight to recommend "Disapprove" instead. You might ask some of them why they chose that position, or share with them your discomfort on the US taking a position on things we haven't read[/quote]
I did wonder about that.
I asume that certain delegationsmembers had planned together to vote disapproval on a lot of dispositions in the hope that most would fail. It is rather a strange step to agree with the form voting procedure and then 'out of principle' vote to disapprove dispostions in bulk on comments of other ISO national bodies.
Especially when seeing the effort the other ISO member had put in scrutiny and solving the issues in those comments.
And if you would have been informed of such planned disapproval voting in the US delegation on thursday Microsoft and or Ecma might have had time to lobby other delegations to vote for approval on friday.
So changing the vote overnight is, well, rather a sad move by those people.
Yeah, it sure does look strange. I don't know how soon we'll be able to share details of specific votes and dispositions, but there are cases where the US asked for something in a comment, Ecma said "agreed, here you go ..." and by our blanket disapproval we were the swing vote that then rejected that disposition. In other cases, our request was granted in spite of our own No vote.
As for the considerations of who could lobby whom overnight Thursday, I was clearly not thinking in terms of the politics and got blindsided by the Friday morning reversal. When our HoD congratulated all of us late Thursday on our ability to work effectively together despite our commercial differences (immediately after we had all agreed that Abstain seemed the only reasonable position on the undiscussed comments), I had no idea we were just positioning and hadn't actually decided anything yet. Live and learn.
Some perspective for the V1 committee vote from the blogosphere:
The thing to remember is that the US decision is not made by V1. It is made by the INCITS Executive Board (EB), and they have until March 26th to make their decision.
V1, the technical committee, has been heavily stuffed with Microsoft business partners and the 12 of them comprise over half of the committee. Combined they submitted zero technical comments on OOXML. They have voted as a bloc on every technical and procedural vote since they joined V1 last summer.
Luckily, the EB is more balanced. They are the ones, for example, that picked the US BRM delegation. So, the EB decision will be the important one.
Well, Anonymous, I'm not sure you're going to find many people, in V1 or the EB or anywhere else, who agree with the "perspective" you're providing here.
The vote in V1 on Friday was overwhelmingly lopsided. Let's just say that it was a lot more than Microsoft and Microsoft partners on the Approve side, and many more than the 12 you mention, including people who voted against DIS 29500 last summer. As for "since they joined V1 last summer" I'll just say that half the votes in IBM's block came from the very last organizations to join V1 last summer, period.
As for the balance of the EB being reflected in how they picked the US delegation, many have noticed that after the EB picked a "neutral" HoD (in their second attempt), that HoD was then the lead cheerleader for the anti-DIS 29500 crowd in the days after the BRM, being quoted on the home page of NOOOXML.ORG and similar sites. Does that make the EB look "balanced"? The public will have to decide on that.
Hey, Microsoft, We Love You!
I wonder how the HoD and other disapproval voters in the US delegation would explain to INCITS voting no on fully granted dispositions made to the US own comments ?
That is just terrible.
Courts will decide if your company stuffed the committee in the US with your 12 business partners.
See you in court after the 29.
Thanks, Pieter, that was great. I'll try to return the favor before long. I think this should be our standard mode of communication on document standards, actually. Imagine if during the BRM each country were allowed to sign a song when their turn came -- now that would be cool!
Yes, Orcad, I'll "see you in court" as the cliche goes. Wear a red rose or something so that I'll know it's you, OK?
Microsoft's technology can't stand on its own technical merits so it has to bribe US Politicians to forward its monopolistic agenda. Its truly sad that our politicians are so unbelievably stupid.
Well, Bob, I agree with your sentiment about our politicians, but I'm not aware of any politicians -- or bribes -- involved on the topic at hand. Feel free to share some facts if you'd like.
By the way ... are you related to Pam?
Microsoft and its associated industry groups (which it heavily funds) have become one the biggest campaign contributors and lobbying efforts in the country. We all know that corporate campaign contributions and just a legal version of bribes. Remember the DOJ lawsuit and how it just went away when the politicians changed. how convenient. you ISO organization has no real credibility any more and is really just a mouth piece for us industry. So instead of the government doing its job of being objective, its just bowing the political pressure of companies like Microsoft. MS has tried to improperly manipulate the entire ISO process both in the US and europe. Luckily most of the europeans were smart enough to see through MS's efforts. Unfortunately the US and Swedes were not.
Found it: ANSI Essential Requirements (for itself and its Standards developers)
ANSI Essential Requirements:
Due process requirements for American National Standards
Found in the ANSI Public Documents Library,
Defines for ANSI and its various standards developers (INCITS maybe?) some required principles.
Included below, from its 26 pages, is some very good language on what is required of standards developers (and I would assume approvers).
ANSI has declared, in writing, that standards development (which includes approval votes) shall follow professional standards.
I really like 1.2, 1.3, & 1.4
I really really like 1.2
-- Excerpt from ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards
January 2008 ---
1.0 Essential requirements for due process
These requirements apply to activities related to the development of consensus for approval, revision, reaffirmation, and withdrawal of American National Standards (ANS).
Due process means that any person (organization, company, government agency, individual, etc.) with a direct and material interest has a right to participate by: a) expressing a position and its basis, b) having that position considered, and c) having the right to appeal. Due process allows for equity and fair play. The following constitute the minimum acceptable due process requirements for the development of consensus.
Participation shall be open to all persons who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question. There shall be no undue financial barriers to participation. Voting membership on the consensus body shall not be conditional upon membership in any organization, nor unreasonably restricted on the basis of technical qualifications or other such requirements.
1.2 Lack of dominance
The standards development process shall not be dominated by any single interest category, individual or organization. Dominance means a position or exercise of dominant authority, leadership, or influence by reason of superior leverage, strength, or representation to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints.
The standards development process should have a balance of interests. Participants from diverse interest categories shall be sought with the objective of achieving balance.
1.4 Coordination and harmonization
Good faith efforts shall be made to resolve potential conflicts between and among existing American National Standards and candidate American National Standards.
1.5 Notification of standards development
Notification of standards activity shall be announced in suitable media as appropriate to demonstrate an opportunity for participation by all directly and materially affected persons.
1.6 Consideration of views and objections
Prompt consideration shall be given to the written views and objections of all participants, including those commenting on the PINS announcement or public comment listing in Standards Action.
1.7 Consensus vote
Evidence of consensus in accordance with these requirements and the accredited procedures of the standards developer shall be documented.
Written procedures of an ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) shall contain an identifiable, realistic, and readily available appeals mechanism for the impartial handling of procedural appeals regarding any action or inaction. Procedural appeals include whether a technical issue was afforded due process.
1.9 Written procedures
Written procedures shall govern the methods used for standards development and shall be available to any interested person.
1.10 Compliance with normative American National Standards policies and administrative procedures
All ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASDs) are required to comply with the normative policies and administrative procedures established by the ANSI Executive Standards Council or its designee.
Thanks for the detailed info, Tom. I agree completely: 1.2 covers an important concept regarding lack of dominance.
I do believe, though, that many of the anti-Open XML lobbyists have unfairly characterized the participants in the standards process when it comes to assessing whether dominance is taking place. There are two areas where I think things haven't been portrayed in a reasonable manner: assuming influence based on an expressed opinion, and assuming influence due to business relationships.
In the first case, it seems that some observers feel that anyone who dares to agree with Microsoft, or disagree with IBM, must have been "influenced" by Microsoft. This has gone to ridiculous lengths lately, to the point that personal attacks and allegations of bribery and corruption are thrown around very casually, and are based only on the fact that a person has dared to speak their opinion and it doesn't align with the latest party line from NOOOXML or IBM. Such behavior is despicable in my opinion, and counter to the whole notion of free and open debate. There's no consensus-based process that can long survive a pervasive attitude of "you can either agree with me or you're corrupt, there are no other options."
In the second case of assuming influence based on existing business relationships, the problem is more subtle. Let's take V1 as an example (the same holds for any of the technical committees). Yes, there are several Microsoft partners on V1. But what is V1's responsibility here to the American people? It is to analyze a document format specification for preservation of America's investment in existing documents, and the vast majority of those documents were created by Microsoft software. So should we exclude everyone who has ever been part of that ecosystem? That seems insane to me, and I think most Americans would agree: we want people involved who actually understand these details and work with them every day. I think the makeup of V1, which includes longtime standards and markup experts, various technology companies that work with document formats, large corporations, and others, is exactly what it should be, if the goal is to honestly and intelligently guide US policy regarding DIS 29500.
I just got off a 3-hour call with my colleagues on the V1 technical committee, in which I and the other members of the US delegation to the BRM presented our thoughts on what happened at the BRM. Then we all voted on what to recommend to the INCITS Executiv