I have been hearing from folks who were in Kyoto last week attending either the JTC 1 SC34 meeting and/or the Ecma TC45 meeting. In fact, for a day, the TC45 folks played host to SC34 members to discuss the Open XML specification and the work being done on the document. From all reports I have heard so far, this was a very constructive few days for many reasons.

I'd like to point out that the Open XML convener, Alex Brown, has been blogging on the experience. If this topic interests you - it is worth reading. A few things to note from his comments:

  • Maintenance of the JTC 1 Open XML (DIS 29500 rather than Ecma 376) specification is only an issue IF it becomes an international standard. This is important to note because a) Open XML is a standard today and, b) maintenance is being done by Ecma TC45. The issue is what happens after (think positive here) adoption of DIS 29500.
  • The whole secrecy discussion of last week was put to bed by Alex. As I stated in my blog, and Brian Jones did in his blog - Ecma was acting in accordance with the decision directly from ISO/IEC meeting in Brisbane. Rob Weir should have known this, and thus the whole spat about obfuscation and what role MS could possibly have in that was moot - and remains moot. Respect of the ISO/IEC directives and process remains paramount for the participants (of both sides).
  • The idea of what "process failure" will mean at the BRM. Alex is right (IMHO) that both sides (I like to think of us as the good guys and...) are concerned about the process - and that is too bad considering the very solid engineering work that is happening with the spec. I know the people on the team doing the tech work on the comments. Their dedication to being both rigorous and complete in their disposition work is admirable. The SC34 folks who visited with TC45 were pleased with the quality of the professional nature of the standards work being done. Hopefully, that more than anything will be the most important thing affecting the outcome following the BRM.