CyberTech Rambler

July 17, 2007

Just what the hell is the chairman thinking

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:37 pm

First and foremost disclaimer, I don’t speak or read Portugese and I am writing this article trusting that PJ got it right in the news pick category, and she in turn rely on one of Groklaw’s member translation from Portugese.

It is reported that both IBM and SUN was refused permission to into a meeting influencing Portugese Standard Setting Body’s decision on OOXML. (Aside, again another hearsay: OpenMalaysia blog claim that the meeting were setup under pressure from unnamed sources to assist on OOXML adoption by ISO). The reason appears to be no more space in the meeting room . This is not helped by the fact the chairperson is employed by Microsoft.

Any chairperson who is not aware of the current ODF vs OOXML saga IS unfit for the purpose. Even assuming that the saga does not exists. any meetings to discuss standardization of IT industry’s practice will be worthless without the participation of two giants in the IT world: IBM and SUN. Given all the controversy, if there is no more room in meeting room, get a bigger one. Move furnitures around usually do the trick (especially tables). In worst case, offer them the chance to stand in the room, since sitting will presumably take up more space?

I do not, however, see the chairperson being employed by Microsoft as necessary a problem. Someone has to chair the meeting. It’s a necessary evil in the 21st century to pay the person to chair the meeting. However, it is problematic if the chairperson’s action is perceived as biased and partisan.

There is an accusation on the net that the committee was stack with pro-OOXML parties. The way the accusation goes is the same with the V1 committee of ANSI, i.e., someone get hold of the attendee list, went to their website and search for the word Microsoft. I am not sure what weights to attach to this accusation. Microsoft is a big company and surely have a lot of partners, meaning it is probably extremely difficult to find someone not involved with it. All the members here and in V1 could have so much invested in OOXML already that it is _really_ in their interest to see OOXML through the end. It may be their own selfish interest, but this is precisely the point of a meeting to discuss standards.

Assuming all accusation is true, this is a really stupid move. The biasness will be so blatant that it will force Portugal’s Standard Setting Body to act to nullify the results.  With more and more news circulating this, at the minimum someone from the standard body will be looking into the matter quietly to examine for any irregularities.


1 Comment »

  1. “it will force Portugal’s Standard Setting Body to act to nullify the results.”

    IMHO, the results are *now* nullified: this “tecnnical comission” is beginning to study +6000 pages of a trully controversional specification. Other NBs are working since April and have found *lot* of comments ( technical, editorial, general, etc. ). Others technical committees, like USA Inicits/V1, failed to reach consensus about this beast, after +3 months of work, meetings and emails.

    If you respect the standardization process, you should vote “no with comment: give me more time to analize this thing” or “abstain with comment: i have no time to give you a fair answer”.

    Any other vote is at least suspicious.

    Comment by egberto — July 17, 2007 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

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