Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Technology

OOXML Will Pass Amid Massive Irregularities 329

Posted by kdawson
from the all-over-but-the-shouting-and-the-antitrust-probes dept.
Tokimasa notes a CNet blog predicting that OOXML will make the cut. Updegrove agrees, as does the OpenMalasia blog. Reports of irregularities continue to surface, such as this one from Norway — "The meeting: 27 people in the room, 4 of which were administrative staff from Standard Norge. The outcome: Of the 24 members attending, 19 disapproved, 5 approved. The result: The administrative staff decided that Norway wants to approve OOXML as an ISO standard." Groklaw adds reportage of odd processes in Germany and Croatia.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

OOXML Will Pass Amid Massive Irregularities

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:54PM (#22916948)
    Sounds like something a gastroentorologist would diagnose.
    • by mcpkaaos (449561) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:00PM (#22916988)
      It is.
    • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:28PM (#22917532) Homepage
      The end product is about the same.
      • by Daengbo (523424) <daengboNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 31, 2008 @03:07AM (#22918570) Homepage Journal
        Hopefully, everyone else agrees that it's shit, but I don't think that'll happen. OOXML will pass, MS OFfice will use its own, non-standard version of OOXML, governments will claim they are in compliance with laws requiring open standards, and the rest of us will be in the same boat we've been in for fifteen years. It's all quite sick.
        • by fwarren (579763) on Monday March 31, 2008 @07:18AM (#22919578) Homepage
          Hopefully, everyone else agrees that it's shit, but I don't think that'll happen. OOXML will pass, MS OFfice will use its own, non-standard version of OOXML, governments will claim they are in compliance with laws requiring open standards, and the rest of us will be in the same boat we've been in for fifteen years. It's all quite sick.

          You have forgotten all of the benefits the the ISO process.

          Lets see. There is making a mockery of the standards making process. There is a cheapening of the term ISO standard. When I see that in the future, it won't have as much meaning to me. It does not mean something will work, or is used by the industry, or even that it is possible to implement. I know it is not multi-vendor. It will not prevent lock-in. Any data comitted to it may or may not be portable.

          Also, as serves them right. The ISO has been crippled by this. All of those members that came on board to help Microsoft. Well, they are not showing up at any of the other meetings. So when a standards body meets. Has 40 members only 10 of them show up, and you get 4 YES, 4 NO, 2 abstain and 30 not present. Well shucks. Things just about grind to a halt.

  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:00PM (#22916990) Homepage Journal
    This is insane.

    No day goes by without hearing from some croporate giant running roughshod over the laws, procedures or institutions of democratic countries.

    The United States have let a handful of mega-croporations totally wreck it's economy with the blessing of the government that was elected while pulling the wool over the electorate's eyes.

    It is time for the people to revolt, and put the croporations back to where they belong by firmly asserting the power of the government over croporations, if need by, by the croporate death penalty and the confiscation of the croporation's assets.

    The government has thoroughly been subverted by croporate cronies; those should be charged with subversive sedition and thrown in jail and the key tossed in the Marianas trench.
    • by mactard (1223412) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:05PM (#22917012)
      It seems this has little to do with the USA though. I agree with most of your points, but the countries listed can grow a pair too, you know!
      • by rolfc (842110) on Monday March 31, 2008 @03:58AM (#22918796) Homepage
        I think it has a lot to do with USA. It is a company from USA, that the USA government has failed to control, that has ruined an international standards organisation in order to maintain their current customer data lockin.
        You know that is the truth since they have to push it through by force, instead of accepting the fact that there already exist a standard, that they refuse to support.
        As far as I am concerned, all they have accomplished is to shame them self. The fact that they get an ISO-stamp, does not mean that OOXML is an open standard, and it is my belief that it never will be.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:14AM (#22918898)
          It is a corporation from USA but that's it.

          I'm from Finland and really ashamed on how all went. In Finland, most of the people in the meeting opposed (many corporations, two of the ministries, etc.) so the chairman (who was a replaced one, the previous one opposed OOXML so he had to leave) decided they didn't vote but made decision based on general consensus even though "complete unanimity wasn't achieved". I mean... What?! There was one of the changed votes (5 votes need to be changed from previous try that OOXML would pass and this was one of them).

          While it would be easy to blame it all on the evil USA and their nasty corporations... Ofcourse the corporations roam free if they are allowed to but why in hell are they? Finland (among other countries) needs to look into itself too and ponder "What the hell just happened and WHY?".

          Captcha is very appropriate... Dishonor
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I find all the 'reporting' on OOXML very hard to belive. I don't see how its possible to publicly bribe so many board member in so many countries and get away with it. The truth must surely be a little more plain -- that the process is working (at least the same as it would for any other standard) and nobody is greasing anybody's palm.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I'm with AC here. Are Groklaw, etc, really suggesting that several standards bodies in several nations are /all/ corrupt? And not one leak? Not one failed, incorruptible whistleblower? Or is it just that, whatever you may think of the standard, Microsoft, etc, that OOXML just has enough to get past? I know it's an ugly concept, but it seems more plausible. And only natural / human that when your championed standard/objections to something are overlooked/fail, that you look for a culprit, any culprit, that o
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by nmb3000 (741169)
          Microsoft, etc, that OOXML just has enough to get past?

          Wait, are you suggesting that Microsoft didn't bribe a dozen counties, at a hundred or more people, and pull off the biggest corporate cover-up in history (aside from the brilliant and astute readers of Slashdot who have worked diligently to uncover this plot) just so they could get their document format adopted as an ISO standard--something which will yield them little to no gain because the market share of Office essentially requires competitive docum
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by schon (31600)

            get their document format adopted as an ISO standard--something which will yield them little to no gain

            I guess you haven't really been following along, but there is *MASSIVE* [kairosnews.org] benefit [virtuelvis.com] to getting [ct.gov] MS's proprietary [ca.gov] standard [state.mn.us] declared "open".

            But I'm sure you'll counter with the absurd assertion that MS doesn't need to maintain lock-in, because they already have a monopoly, right?

        • What's the quote? Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by ignorance?? It's pick your poison time. Do you rely on an organization run by complete idiots? Or one run by completely corrupt officials?? Either way, I'd say ISO has become a lot less important.
        • by VultureMN (116540) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:05PM (#22917378)
          I don't think it's necessarily _illegal_ corruption (flat-out bribery) that people are complaining about; a company can still stay within the law while doing nasty, immoral stuff. Think about the sea of lobbyists and the resultant corporate influence in the US: legal, but still reprehensible.

          Add that to the fact that the vast majority of people haven't heard of, or simply don't give a rats ass about, the ISO process. Tada, they can pull these kinds of shenanigans without much risk of a public opinion backlash.
        • by conlaw (983784) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:12PM (#22917444)

          And not one leak? Not one failed, incorruptible whistleblower?

          Obviously, you didn't RTFA. The German, Norwegian and Croatian members whose votes were essentially negated have all blown the whistle and it's having just as much effect as the detailed account of Dubya's lies about Iraq has had on continuing the war he started. I think people in many countries, starting here in the good old USA, should start reading some history; e.g., "When in the course of human events...."

        • by orasio (188021) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:13PM (#22917450) Homepage

          I'm with AC here. Are Groklaw, etc, really suggesting that several standards bodies in several nations are /all/ corrupt? And not one leak? Not one failed, incorruptible whistleblower? Or is it just that, whatever you may think of the standard, Microsoft, etc, that OOXML just has enough to get past? I know it's an ugly concept, but it seems more plausible. And only natural / human that when your championed standard/objections to something are overlooked/fail, that you look for a culprit, any culprit, that overlooks your own weaknesses and / or failings?


          That's more what it seems like to me, despite my personal objections and issues with OOXML.

          In my country, Uruguay, they were not corrupt. They were just ignorant. The vote of government organization was in the line of: we don't really know what this is all about, but MS software is important to us, so we think it's OK to standardize it. Vote YES.

          I think that, because this is a key issue for MS, they exploited the system in every way they could, you don't even need corruption in most places, if the have the right vulnerabilities.

          The reason why we are all saying that it can't be possible that they accept it is that some of us read the standard, of excerpts from it. The complaint is that, even to lay people, it is very easy to see it's not a standard at all, and tries to standardize an area that already has a real standard approved (ODF), without improving on it. It should be easier to spot for standards specialists. There are issues where you can have different opinions, but this seems too clear cut to even be discussed.

          A standard should be something that allows you to test compliance. OOXML, in lots of points does not help you build a compliance test. Of course, those tags that say your should render content as Word9x come to mind. That is why it's so clear to me that I can't be approved, in its current form. Of course, it could be improved and become a standard, but it has not happened yet.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          We only know about these irregularities because voting members have leaked this information, even in the face of legal threats. The people at Groklaw don't presume that everyone is corrupt, but when they see four people deciding to override the votes of twenty other people behind closed doors they can see that just enough people has drunk the Microsoft kool-aid. Never mind that OOXML still has hundreds or thousands of unaddressed errors.
        • by stoicio (710327) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:29PM (#22917538) Journal
          When 19 out of 24 *VOTE NO* to a proposed standard
          and it still passes, there's something wrong in
          Norway.

          The simplest answer is usually the best answer.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cp.tar (871488)

            When 19 out of 24 *VOTE NO* to a proposed standard
            and it still passes, there's something wrong in
            Norway.

            The simplest answer is usually the best answer.

            As for Croatia — I live there, so I should know — lots of things are rotten here, and this process and Microsoft's interference are among the least of them.

            Apart from the irregularities listed in the Groklaw article, Microsoft Croatia is rather well connected to the government, which brought Microsoft to all the schools and most universities exclusively. So I am not in the least surprised on how the vote went, though the HULK (CLUG) guys have fought valiantly.

        • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:54PM (#22917676) Homepage
          Are Groklaw, etc, really suggesting that several standards bodies in several nations are /all/ corrupt? And not one leak? Not one failed, incorruptible whistleblower?

          Not at all. It's precisely because of the leaks and whistleblowers that we're aware of the corruption and interference that has taken place. And your "/all/ corrupt" is a strawman -- it doesn't require everyone in the standards body to be corrupted, just a few key individuals with influence over the voting process.

          (Now, please put down the Microsoft talking points and step away from the keyboard.)
        • by darkfire5252 (760516) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:10AM (#22917778)

          I'm with AC here. Are Groklaw, etc, really suggesting that several standards bodies in several nations are /all/ corrupt? And not one leak? Not one failed, incorruptible whistleblower?
          Well, I am all about questioning the groupthink, but you're missing something. Stories like the above are the leaks you're looking for. These are written by people who are/were involved with their country's standardization process and feel that there's a problem with what happened.

          If you can read German, here's the story on what happened there. For those who can't, when they went to vote, they were not allowed to vote disapprove, so the choice was to approve or to abstain. It was a tie, 6:6, which means no consensus. [...] the representative from DIN decided to cast a vote, which isn't the process. DIN isn't supposed to vote, because it's supposed to advise. But this, they rationalized, was a vote not about whether to accept OOXML on the basis of *technical* issues, but whether to accept the approval suggestion of the technical committee. So DIN voted to accept DIN's suggestion. Hence Germany ends up in the Approve column.
          That's a German 'whistleblower' who is familiar with how the process should run and is stating that it did not run that way.

          Here's an article from Norway [...] The article says there should be an investigation of the irregularities there, because while there were only two votes to approve, from Microsoft and a business partner, Statoilhydro, and all the others voted no, 21 votes [...] So they put everyone out of the room, and Standards Norway, three people were left in the room, and they usurped the decision and made it their business to decide to approve anyway.
          There's another independent report from another country. The list goes on... One should always be skeptical of believing in massive cover-ups and the like, but let's be honest here: there are plenty of legitimate signs that something untoward is going on.
        • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:15AM (#22917824)
          Cover up? Msft is not even shy about their brazen corruption anymore.

          Yes, there was corruption. Tons of it. It has all been very well documented. Read groklaw.net or noooxml.org.

          What does msft care is the slashdot/groklaw crowd doesn't like it?
      • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:45PM (#22917614) Homepage
        I don't see how its possible to publicly bribe so many board member in so many countries and get away with it.

        See, you've missed half the trick right there. It's not a matter of bribing "so many board members", it's just a matter of getting the committee chairs on your side and having them get creative with the voting or vote recording process. You don't have to bribe all the members (or even most of them) if the chairperson can tell them "'no' votes aren't allowed" for obscure procedural reasons (Germany), or if they ignore an overwhelming 'no' vote (Norway), or if they can say that voting will be extended to allow email votes by those that didn't show up at the meeting -- and any that don't send email will be taken as a 'yes' vote (Poland).

        As for swinging committee chairs to your side, here's [slashdot.org] a pretty good explanation of that process.

        Then of course there's just stacking the working groups by having all your Microsoft-Partner business buddies decide to join up and take part.
      • by lskovlund (469142) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:50PM (#22917636)
        They did not bribe. They stacked the panel [groklaw.net].
      • by mikeb (6025) on Monday March 31, 2008 @02:39AM (#22918450) Homepage
        That's a completely understandable viewpoint and it's hard to argue against its pragmatism.

        However: as a member until a few weeks ago of the British Standards Institute panel on this topic (I resigned because it's simply impossible to review a 6,000 page document properly and keep a full-time job, the work is unpaid), all that I can do, amid the noise and shouting, is to say that in my opinion a) all the comments about what a pile of crap the draft is are entirely correct and b) I am totally mystified by why national bodies are changing their minds.

        I attended the Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva, though as a non-delegate was not allowed into the deliberations. Discussions with numerous delegates confirmed my view that the draft remains unfit.

        If I had still been a panel member last week my vote would have been no.

        It appears that that would have then been 5 for 2 against inside the BSI if the leaks and rumours are to be believed. The BSI procedures are in fact that there is no voting but instead 'consensus' is sought. If that's true, the 5/1 split reported doesn't sound like consensus to me but I wasn't present and can't verify the leaks because the BSI process is closed to outsiders.
      • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:55AM (#22919080)

        I find all the 'reporting' on OOXML very hard to belive. I don't see how its possible to publicly bribe so many board member in so many countries and get away with it. The truth must surely be a little more plain -- that the process is working (at least the same as it would for any other standard) and nobody is greasing anybody's palm.
        So you think Microsoft cannot order its "partners" to stuff meetings and vote for its proposals by offering sweeter deals on Microsoft licenses, and implying license price increases ahead for those who do not cooperate? You are naive. Especially since Microsoft has been found guilty in federal court of employing similar tactics more than once.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      Go ahead. Let me know how it turns out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So, what's the difference between the government and a corporation?

      I will answer that for you: none, except one can garnish your wages and throw you in prison if you refuse to pay for their services, whether you need them or not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's all a bit strong. A simple and peaceful way to do this is passive sabotage. Just use the rope they sold us to hang them with. This rubbish that's been pushed is broken, we all know that. The discussion has been about the merits of the systems and those whos opinions matter have voted and said no. But we are being bullied to use it anyway. All we (system administrators, programmers, computer people) have to do is work to rule. Everything relies on us going the extra mile. As soon as we stop pandering
    • by countach (534280) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:58PM (#22917336)
      Microsoft's core competency has always been in corporate deals, politicking and product positioning rather than actually making a product good enough to stand on its own merits. This can work for a while, but my prediction is we are near to the end game of this strategy.
    • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:11PM (#22917428) Journal
      Be broken! Or at least bent. An old relative of mine, years ago when I was a child said that the laws are merely a fence, which keeps bovines in their place. Big dogs jump over them and little puppies slink under them, but only bovines are kept in check.

      It sounds far better in its native tongue than it does translated to english, but pay heed that this holds true regardless of the country.

      Likewise, for running roughshod over laws, most laws aren't written to help "the people" and never were. Recall the "regulative restrictions" placed upon CB (citizen's band) radios in the USA, requiring that individuals pay a 10 dollar license fee and getting "registered".

      It was a shitty law meant to squeeze blood from the proverbial turnip. People did not comply, at all. When the regulation was reduced to mere "sign a form so we know you have one" (aka registration) people still refused. As a result, the whole thing was dropped formally due to "mass non compliance".

      Irony? People still want to have legislators set the rules, when the simple rule is, as always has been, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but do it first and do it well." The legislators know this, which is why, regardless of the country or the century or the millenium, all governing bodies fuck the people good and hard, and then pretend it is someone else's fault.

      "It is the free market's fault. It is the free individual's fault. It is society's fault."

      If people disapprove of Microsoft's standards, then they should NOT USE THEM! PERIOD!! There are plenty of competing standards, and plenty of clean open source software out there. Use it, or lose it. Just like freedom. It isn't granted by others. It is freely available to those who would make use of it and be cognizant of its presence and benefits. Period. Everything else on this subject is bullshit excuse making from impotent and incompetent wimps unable to stop from penis envy with Bill Gates. Instead of trying to "beat" the big boys, start actually side stepping them. Like the airlines and the big telecoms, they are ALL obsolete. So is central government and big agencies and militaries. The world's people will never see this, regardless of how blatantly visible it is to some of us. Stop asking for others to prohibit all options you can have, and exercise the power of your choice and your wallet. You don't like Gates or Microsoft? Don't buy their shit. Don't like starbucks? Don't buy their cappucinos (in fact I make a far nicer one at home, and I get to put rum in mine too!!) Get used to it. If you don't approve of a company, STOP GIVING THEM PRESS... stop buying their products, and instead promote those that espouse the beliefs and values you support. I use Linux and BSD and rarely if ever drop back to windows to play a game WINEX doesn't support yet. That's it. My choices? Yes. Took me four years to find and purchase the right wireless cards I wanted. Did I switch back to windows because WPA supplicant didn't work right when they first started? No, I merely did without wireless and went so far as to patch mine in a crude and unapproved fashion. The fixes are in and it works okay now. I made choices. So should you. Stop being angry. It helps nothing and wastes your energy pointlessly.

      Hope my advice helps. I spent a lot of time being angry and political campaigning, here and IRL. None of it helped. Letting go, and voting with my walleet and my feet helped more. Try it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by justinchudgar (922219)
        I agree with that. I haven't used any MS software, any Adobe software, or any eggs from caged chickens in several years. I've also gotten a friend to switch one of his systems from WinXP to Kubuntu instead of buying a legit license for it. (It came from a relative with a cracked version of XP.) I've stopped buying potted plants and started just saving and planting seeds to save all that diesel spent shipping little seedlings around. I have no idea if it makes any difference to MS, Adobe, Raley's, WalMart, e
      • by itsdapead (734413) on Monday March 31, 2008 @08:54AM (#22920050)

        If people disapprove of Microsoft's standards, then they should NOT USE THEM! PERIOD!!

        You miss the point - this all started because various (usually) government bodies in the US and worldwide were starting to worry about how much data they held and distributed in a proprietary file format which was only reliably readable by products from a single vendor. They started passing rules that required public documents to be stored and exchanged in some sort of non-proprietary standard format. Such rules have to be passed by the politicos who aren't capable of assessing the technical merit of a file format - but will respect ISO certification. With ODF as an ISO standard, progress was gradually being made (albeit an uphill struggle the teeth of MS lobbying). This would have been a major breakthrough towards a healthily diverse and competitive market in office software (in which MS could easily become an equal player by simply adding ODF support to Office).

        If OOXML gets a ISO certification then non-techie politicos will take this as carte blanche that MS file formats are "open" and can be safely used (and that they can stick with their MS software because there's an "upgrade path" to .docx). This is the "path of least resistance" anyway and such people will be easily convinced that all these rumblings about inconsistencies in the approval process were just sour grapes from penguin-hugging beatnicks.

        You don't like Gates or Microsoft? Don't buy their shit.

        That's the problem with monopolies: they subvert the free market model because lots of people don't have the choice! - MS has such market dominance that everybody assumes that everybody else can read the same file formats. What do you do if someone sends you a MS word file that K/OpenOffice won't render properly? When you send your proposal for a new project to a funder as an ODF file and they say they can't open it, what do you do? Now, currently OpenOffice etc. do a tolerable job of opening .doc files - but that's entirely dependent on the OO programmers being able to keep up every time MS changes the format, and it will only take one patent lawsuit to put an end to that.

        Took me four years to find and purchase the right wireless cards I wanted.

        Q: Why did that take so long? Well, one reason is that because of the Microsoft monopoly wireless chipset manufacturers can hit 95% of the market just by supplying their own low-level windows drivers - and card resellers can (and do) switch chipsets without warning. Someone tells you that the NetSysLink 9000 card is supported by Linux, you buy one and find that NetSysLink 9000 sold in the EU on a Tuesday use a completely different chipset. I've had DVD drives that I've had to plug into a Windows system to set the region code before they'd work in Linux.

        Without the "wintel" monoculture, they'd need to publish interface specs, or establish some sort of standardised communications protocol so that various OS vendors could implement drivers.

        By your own admission, sticking with Linux has been a labour of love - the vast majority of the desktop computing market simply doesn't have your technical knowledge, let alone persistence.

      • If people disapprove of Microsoft's standards, then they should NOT USE THEM! PERIOD!!

        Well, that's easy enough to say, but it can be pretty difficult if the "use" is reuired by a government agency with the power to send you to jail if you don't reply properly.

        And the whole point of a "standard" like this is to make it legal for government agencies to send you docs in a Microsoft format that you are legally required to read and reply to. Either that, or you hire someone who can read it for you.

        I have a few
    • by Drasil (580067)

      While I agree with your sentiment I think your solution is unfeasible. While the mass remains docile and subservient true change (for the better) is unlikely to happen. If you truly feel this strongly then my advice would be as follows. Stop playing the corporate game, stop buying their products, minimise your income so you pay as little tax as possible. Align yourself with others who are doing the same, form communities for mutual support, strive for as much self sufficiency as possible.

      Revolution is nev

      • The usefulness of revolution is not in that it changes the regime for the better: it may not. It's that the new regime has to start from scratch. The problem is evolution. Namely that tyranny doesn't come all at once in a democracy. It piles on like plaque, and the deeper it gets, the harder it becomes to shed.

        Now, certainly, there is risk in revolution: you could get tyrants right off the bat. In which case, you'd better have another revolution in the wings. And that's the reason why it's a good idea
    • After years of honing their bribery^h^h^h^h^hlobbying skills, don't for a second believe that the megacorps would leave government selection to anything as random as citizen voters.

      Andd why dump them in the Pacific? After taking US nukes and other toxic waste for decades, why would the Pacific want US government stinking up the joint too?

    • by gtall (79522) on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:31AM (#22919404)
      If you are referring to the current credit crisis, the blame goes to a lot more than a few mega-corporations. Let's assign the blame:

      1. The Fed. Years of interest rates way too low made too much money available which had to go somewhere inflating somewhere's value, and it went to our next contestants...

      2. The U.S. house buying public which bought houses on all interest payment loans, second and third houses, flipped houses, etc. This was enabled by our next competitors...

      3. The real estate companies (and their lovely agents) and the builders...who believed everyone deserved a McMansion. This was heartily approved by our next scum suckers...

      4. The local and state tax districts whose pols and legislators saw to it that zoning ordinances, lax environmental laws, etc. where there to Help Make America Strong. They were echoed by...

      5. The federal Congress Critters and Administration who saw to it that a free market economy carried no responsibility for oversight since more economic activity meant more money to spend. That still wasn't enough so they deficit spent because what's a few more bucks for those policies needed to buy the next election. This enabled...

      6. Your mega-corporations on Wall Street...even thought they are dwarfed by real mega-corporations but I figured you probably wouldn't know the difference...These Wall Street geniuses thought that packaging loans and thus cutting the link between value and collateral would be a great way to sucker the investors near and abroad in buying these "debt instruments"....and to make things worse...

      7. Their other friends on Wall Street made more debt-instruments available all backed by the debt-instruments in 6, and this went several layers deep so that an entire domino tail was stacked up just waiting for a push. This also enabled...

      8. Speculators in commodities to use this new found wealth to bid up the prices of oil, food, and other commodities.

      8. The first domino fell when Joe Sixpack realized how overextended he was and couldn't afford to outlive his means and cut back...including defaults on those home loans.

      And this is the simplistic view.

      Gerry
  • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:07PM (#22917026) Journal
    If OOXML passes and the ISO finds out about the ir-regularities; and later the uselessness of the standard; can it meet again to de-recognise the standard? If so what is the procedure for this?
  • That entity will start using it to attain more power, a core democratic principle is distributing power to the people.
    A solution is to limit the amount of power, which one entity can have.

    I think splitting up MS is overdue, others might favour different solutions, but i think some corporations have too much power.

    My captcha was costume, I do not believe, there is much correlation nor causation between my captcha and my post.
  • by Kaell Meynn (1209080) * on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:09PM (#22917038)
    I personally see the passive of OOXML as sign of a failure in the standards process. This thing in no way should pass, and there ought to be some sort of punishment for the attempts to subvert the integrity of the process by MS.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      This thing in no way should pass, and there ought to be some sort of punishment for the attempts to subvert the integrity of the process by MS.

      Many organizations assume that members will stay within the spirit of the rules, and consequently have very few mechanisms for sanctions or the enforcement of them.

      I have no idea how ISO is setup to deal with such abuse, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was very little they could do. Maybe ISO needs to send out voting observers, a la the United Nations, to oversee the voting procedures of individual countries.

  • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:18PM (#22917102)
    This kind of shocking. The ISO, an organization which has existed in high regard for sixty years, is done. They will no doubt continue as a holder of legacy certifications that will continue to matter for as long as they are not superseded, but as far as a respected body they are over. In a single act they have completely discredited their own approval process and by extension everything they approve.

    No one looking to establish a new, credible, standard in an field relating to software or information exchange will ever use them as a prime standards body again. They are now a marketing term and not a professional resource.
    • by PaulGaskin (913658) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:27PM (#22917154)
      The League of Nations came and went. The United Nations has allowed it's self to be discredited by militant, hegemonic nations. Now the ISO has been compromised by a flawed process and corrupt bureaucrats enabling a monopoly corporation. This international bureaucracy is no more legitimate than the decisions they make.
    • I'm not sure about being respected after this. I guess some people will ask themselves "if this standard was approved in such a way, what about all the others?" (and, honestly, I'm asking this myself right now.)

      The fact that this is the first time such thing happens is just because people in this standard are way more vocal and know how to use the current media (internet.)
    • Something will replace them...even if is just something "unofficial". I'm expecting a sort-of return to the days when standards were just RFC's published on different sites. Something like that will probably spring up, run by someone in the free software or "open source" camp. And hopefully the two groups will be able to get over their differences for this. If OOXML is approved, noone will ever take anything ISO does seriously again, and real open standards will just be shared among the community, witho
    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      So MS have achieved their goal, either way ODF is not going to be used by businesses, because either the ISO is distrusted so it means nothing that ODF is an ISO standard anyway, or the ISO is trusted and MSOOXML is considered approved and so businesses will just continue to use what they're using now either way. The only other option is if MS is untrusted because of this, but considering that people are still using their products after the EU and US antitrust, as well as numerous other court cases they ha
  • Is that people are actually watching and know it's going on.

    This kind of thing has happened for as long as there has been political bodies and people who want to manipulate them. The only difference now is that we have a well enough entrenched journalistic system (no thanks to the big media corpos who are doing their best to squash it) to bring it to light.
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:38PM (#22917222) Homepage
    Everybody knows they gamed the process in one way or another and didn't 'earn' the vote as others have in the past. These actions says a lot for the company's ethics if you ask me. I expect that they probably made a bunch of deals with less reputable more desperate firms, organizations and individuals that will further behold them to such dealings.

    Microsoft seems to be a lot about deal making now a days from lowering the specs to Microsoft vista capable requirements and their shifty legal contracts that they conned Novell to sign without enough review.

    While this may "buy" them some market share they still have a butt-load of aging technology which mainly advertises "improved security" over any other sort of innovation or compatibility. Ultimately it means they will have to continuing paying-off for their market else face real critical comparison.
    • by lakeland (218447)
      Only those people paying attention known they gamed the process. The executives making calls over the next decade that their organisation requires all documents to be stored in an ISO certified format, they don't know MS gamed the process.

      This result, if it gets ratified, shoots down the most visible failing in Microsoft's software in years. It doesn't matter if it gets shot down using foul means, because the people who hear about that (us) don't matter enough to Microsof'ts bottom line.
    • This one's a cake walk. A gentle lob over the net. "Overwhelming international approval for new international document standard. Embraced by technical committees the world over. A revolution in standards process. Sailed through." Quote after quote from NB committee members without mentioning that they're Microsoft employees, or that they managed to get themselves inserted into the process for this one thing only.

      I'm turning off my internet for a couple weeks after it starts. I think I'm going to be

  • Does ISO really want to stop being taken seriously that badly?

    I guess the slide towards irrelevancy will continue...

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustShootMe (122551) * <rmiller@duskglow.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:52PM (#22917302) Homepage Journal
      This is what happens when academics go head to head with corporations.

      The corporations will win every time. As smart as academics are, they just aren't prepared for this kind of thing.
    • by erroneus (253617)
      No, it's not ISO, it's the individual participants. They, like so many others, are vulnerable to exploitation, temptation and corruption. I could be wrong, but the the scope and scale of these reported irregularities represents a Microsoft driven campaign of unprecedented global corruption and organized crime the likes of which has never been publicly displayed. It's almost as if they didn't even try to cover their tracks on this.
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:09PM (#22917416)
    The EU is already investigating their influence on the OSI process, countless of companies are pissed that their voices were not heard due to Microsoft bribes and whatnot, the media will love this one. I seriously think Microsoft has shot themselves in the foot here. Big time.
  • The tagging has the corruption tag... wtf? That's kind of like describing a broken window as just a little dirty? Windex isn't going to fix this broken window, unless the EU regulars are fond of dressing up kind of like superman but with Windex emblazoned on their chest.

    For some reason that mental picture of that has me rolling on the floor
  • This is every bit the win for Microsoft as Vista. It's gone past the point of absurdity. Any developer this side of Alpha Centauri knows they rigged the vote. It's a joke. What on earth could make it worth this public clown posse?

    Handled with all the execution savvy we've come to expect from Redmond these days.

    • Re:Hollow victory (Score:5, Informative)

      by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:05AM (#22917742) Homepage
      It's actually more of a victory than that. The whole point of this is that many organizations (governments, corporations) have said they want to store their documents in an ISO-recognized file format.

      Basically, this makes Office qualify for that, but still have what amounts to a closed spec. They don't really care about all the rest of it.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:01AM (#22917712) Homepage Journal
    Where before, ISO standardization was a fair and democratic process that usually resulted in international standards that made industries run smoothly and on an open level field ... thanks to the actions of Microsoft, ISO standardization is now a process that can, with sufficient resources, be outright bought in order to protect and extend an international monopoly for years to come.

    There's a word to describe the activity of making that kind of change. Microsoft uses this word to describe itself all the time.

    The word is: innovation.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:09AM (#22917774)

    Of the 24 members attending, 19 disapproved, 5 approved. The result: The administrative staff decided that Norway wants to approve OOXML as an ISO standard.
    Did they record the vote on Diebold machines?
  • First off--I have not followed the OOXML story at all, so I don't really have a clue as to what's going on.

    However, I read the links here, and I don't see the irregularities--like in Norway, are the people that voted "approve" not allowed to vote normally? Were people stopped from voting? I don't understand.

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
    • Ahh Re: Norway, I see I totally misread something. Weird, I don't get what happened. Would like to see some press coverage of the vote, though I guess that's too much to ask for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by man_of_mr_e (217855)
      Yeah, the problem is that you're only hearing one side of the story.

      For example, the meeting in Norway was not to approve or disapprove of OOXML, it was to determine if there had been any irregularities in the Norway vote. As such, only the administrators votes counted towards whether to overturn their previous yes vote to no or abstain.

      Since there was no vote to accept or reject OOXML, these stories that claim such are deceptive. I don't believe the authors are deliberately bending the truth, but I think
  • by BanjoBob (686644) on Monday March 31, 2008 @12:30AM (#22917934) Homepage Journal
    From our friends at Groklaw [groklaw.net]...

    Microsoft is approving its own "standard", I'd say. We count 20 direct Microsoft participants:
    1 BELGIUM Mr. Bruno SCHRODER MICROSOFT
    2 BRAZIL Mr. Fernando GEBARA Microsoft Brazil
    3 CANADA Mr. Paul COTTON Microsoft Canada
    4 COTE D'IVOIRE * Mr. Wemba OPOTA MICROSOFT West and central Africa
    5 CZECH REPUBLIC Mr. tepán BECHYNSKÝ Microsoft Czech Republic, Ltd
    6 DENMARK Mr. Jasper Hedegaard BOJSEN Microsoft Denmark
    7 FINLAND Mr. Kimmo BERGIUS Microsoft Ltd
    8 GERMANY Mr. Mario WENDT Microsoft Deutschland GmbH
    9 ISRAEL Mr. Shmuel YAIR Microsoft
    10 ITALY Ing. Andrea VALBONI Microsoft Italy
    11 JAPAN Mr. Naoki ISHIZAKA Microsoft
    12 KENYA Mr. Emmanuel BIRECH Microsoft East Africa
    13 NEW ZEALAND Mr. Brett ROBERTS Microsoft New Zealand
    14 NORWAY Mr. Shahzad Rana Microsoft Norge AS
    15 PORTUGAL * Prof. Miguel Sales DIAS MICROSOFT Portugal
    16 SWITZERLAND Mr. Marc HOLITSCHER Microsoft Schweiz GmbH
    17 UNITED STATES Mr. Doug MAHUGH Microsoft Corporation
    18 Ecma International Mr. Brian JONES Microsoft
    19 Ecma International * Mr. Jean PAOLI Microsoft Corporation
    20 Assistant to Project Editor Mr. Tristan DAVIS Microsoft

    Nope, there's no conflict of interest or ethics issues here. I don't know how anybody could think that Microsoft is influencing the ISO standards process.

  • Easy Fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pop69 (700500) <billyNO@SPAMbenarty.co.uk> on Monday March 31, 2008 @02:40AM (#22918462) Homepage
    When it comes time to mandate the standard you're going to use, just say it has to be ISO recognised and correctly identify leap years.

    That's the MS standard out the window as it thinks 1900 was a leap year.
  • by omz (834760) on Monday March 31, 2008 @09:43AM (#22920464)

    Irregularities and political decisions in ISO DIS 29500 March 2008 votes:

    Germany

    In a steering committee of 20 people a vote was taken to answer this question: "did the process run according to the rules and without irregularities?"

    6 answered no and 7 abstained!

    http://www.noooxml.org/forum/t-49525/limited-choice-at-german-din [noooxml.org] http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2008032913190768 [groklaw.net]

    Norway

    21 members of the committee voted NO to fast-track this DIS but it was decided to vote yes anyway.

    http://www.noooxml.org/forum/t-50031/oil-fire-in-norway-microsoft-buys-another-standards-body [noooxml.org]

    Denmark

    The technical committee didn't agree to change the disapproval vote but it was "decided" to vote yes anyway.

    The committee S-142/U-34 under Danish Standards could not agree to change their vote from No to Yes.

    A couple of hours later:

    http://www.version2.dk/artikel/6718 [version2.dk] says that the announcement from Danish Standards will not be made until Friday and that the Chair of the committee has been barred from speaking about the result of yesterday's meeting.

    After some Microsoft political intervention to revert this ( the Prime Minister of Denmark is a Microsoft friend ), we have this: http://www.en.ds.dk/4227 [en.ds.dk]

    Another political decision, influenced by Microsoft lobbyists.

    Malaysia

    The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation decided on Malaysia's final position on OOXML ("abstain" ), overturning the 81% "Disapprove" position by ISC-G and TC4.

    http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2008/03/the-minister-of.html [openmalaysiablog.com] http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2008/03/malaysian-indus.html [openmalaysiablog.com]

    Poland

    On March 20, 2008, Technical Committee (KT 182) of PKN was supposed to either accept the recommendation (which was to vote YES for the proposed standard) or not accept it, and thus recommend PKN to vote NO or abstain from voting. Of 45 members, 24 appeared on the meeting. And the votes looked like this:

    • 12 votes supporting the reccomendation,
    • 10 votes rejecting it,
    • 2 abstaining to vote.

    No consensus has been achieved concerning the recommendation. Thus, the chairman of KT 182, Elzbieta Andrukiewicz, decided to allow the missing members to vote by e-mail during the next 10 days (till the end of March).

    The email vote was taken, counting a "no mail sended" as an "approval" !!!

    Clearly, there was no technical consensus in Poland, but the chairman forced the rules to favour an approval.

    http://www.noooxml.org/forum/t-49455/polish-chairwoman-distributes-microsoft-propaganda [noooxml.org] http://polishlinux.org/poland/possible-manipulation-around-ooxml-process-in-poland/ [polishlinux.org] http://polishlinux.org/poland/poland-confirms-its-approval-for-ooxml-in-iso/ [polishlinux.org]

    Croatia

    Out of 35 members of TO Z1, 17 sent a vote, and there were three votes for, and fourteen against fast-tracking OOXML, which is relative rejection rate of 82%. Members who voted were individual experts, IBM, CLUG and HrOpen. However, since there were less than 51% of votes, the voting process was declared invalid, and the previous vote holds ( "approve" ) !

    M

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

Working...