Well, we're almost done with the latest stage in the ISO standardization of Open XML. On Monday, all the national bodies voting on Open XML (I think there are a bit over 100 total!) will submit their current opinion on the Open XML standard. I think that even at this stage we'll probably see that the majority of countries (maybe 60% or so?) will vote "yes". That would be great news, as it gives a lot of momentum going into the final stage which is the ballot resolution meeting. It would also mean we're close to the required number of votes needed to finalize the ISO approval of Open XML. I'm not sure when we'll find out what the actual results are, but I think it will probably be some time later in the week. (Does anyone have a more solid understanding of when exactly we'll see the final results?)
I bet if you compare this to other ISO standards in the past, the level of participation and review for Open XML is huge. We had a really large active working group in Ecma creating the original submission, and that momentum has continued to grow.
Once we move onto the next stage, the work will shift over to actual changes to the formats. Everyone will work together to help improve the spec according to the comments logged. I haven't seen any comments so far that should prove too challenging, but I haven't seen the final list yet. With the number of countries participating I wouldn't be surprised if we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 comments total. Many of these will be duplicates, but either way there will be a lot of comments to work though. I think that once we hit the ballot resolution meeting in February we'll see a significantly improved spec thanks to all the eyeballs reviewing it.
Jan Van Den Beld recently did an interview talking about his expectations during the remainder of this process. He used to run Ecma, and has a lot of experience in the standards world: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/08/28/Retired-Ecma-chief-expects-Open-XML-approval_1.html
BTW, for another example of people implementing Open XML, check this out: http://staffdotnet.com/products/default.aspx Very cool! A great example of how you can leverage Open XML to automatically generate rich documents.
Logic Studio – Ecuador
"Many of our customers, especially in government agencies, require a way to store documents in a safe, open, standardized, and interoperable way. The OpenXML proposal goes a long way towards this end, so we look forward to having it established as an ISO standard."
- Edgar Sanchez – President