Well, it has been a busy week as can be expected leading up to the early September finish to the 5 month balloting period for Ecma Open XML. Today, the US National Standards body representative organization for JTC-1, the INCITS Executive Board, passed a motion to to create a formal ballot which will cast the US vote as "yes with comments."

Doug Mahugh of Microsoft, who has been very close to these proceedings commented in his blog on this today.

Like all of the national standards bodies who are taking this standard into consideration, each step is just one more element in a long, deliberate, and thorough process. Throughout August there will be formal balloting and discussion time periods that will all build towards the final US vote later this summer. I think it is very healthy that all comments (both "processed" and "unprocesed") will be included with the yes vote. It is important that all feedback is part of the process and that as the specification moves into maitenance, the working group has the opportunity to consider all issues.

This development is obviously a positive one in favor of seeing Ecma Open XML adopted as an ISO/IEC standard, but just like my post from earlier today about South Africa, this is not a definitive event. More disucssion and deliberation will happen. All parties will continue to press their points and seek to acheive their goals. It is most certainly going to be an active few weeks heading through August and into September. Even then, the ballot resolution process is likely to push out into next year.