CyberTech Rambler

December 23, 2005

Bias in ECMA Committee for Office XML

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:05 pm

If one need to see how potentially biased the ECMA committee can be, just have a look at the appointment of co-Chairs: Both are from Microsoft. Surely for the same of appearing impartial we cannot have co-chairs from the same company in an independent committee. Or do I have to send the whole committee back to school?

Let’s also have a look at the picture in the article and consider the ackwardness of the ceremony, assuming the standard etiquette is followed: Jean Paoli of Microsoft hands over the initial draft to ECMA Secretary General which then hands over the draft to the chair of the committee, the same said Jean Paoli. In other words, the draft do a merry-go-round. Some might says it is “proof” that ECMA is rubberstamping the standard proposed by Microsoft.

I am not sure how a committee is to look like, except that I know for sure it has to be someone high up and sufficiently detached from the company’s working team on the topic of interest. High up, to ensure any decision in the committee will be followed through at the individual company’s; Sufficiently detached to ensure that discussion will not degenerate into my implementation vs yours, as it frequently happen with people too closely involved in the process. They need to be also sufficiently “attached” to understand the technical dynamics and practical implication of the standard. Jean Paoli (of Microsoft) and Adam Farquhar (of British Library) are too detached from the document creation/preservation process. In coperate hierarchy terms, they are also too far up the chain. The other co-chair, Isabelle Valet-Harper, Sr. Program Manager for Standards Strategy and Microsoft’s primary representative to Ecma, no pun intended, does not know a thing about documents. Moreover, why is a company strategist made a co-chair of a “technical committee”?

The wrong leaders were elected!


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