Norway vote is now “yes” for Open XML


Norway has also decided to change their vote to “yes” for DIS 29500 (Open XML). http://www.standard.no/imaker.exe?id=18594


Norway had initially voted “no with comments” in September, so it’s great to see that they now feel Open XML is ready to be an ISO standard.


[Update 4/1/08: Standards Norway (the folks actually responsible for making the decision) has an official response to some of the FUD: http://notes2self.net/archive/2008/04/01/standard-norge-responds-to-allegations.aspx]


-Brian

Comments (42)

  1. Rob Brown says:

    Hi Brian,

    With all the results that are coming in and others that are projected, I think it’s time to concede. Congratulations, you’ve played a good game!

    So with OOXML accepted as an ISO standard, it’s a great opportunity for Microsoft to put into action your recent announcements about interoperability etc :-)

  2. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Hey Rob,

    We definitely plan on doing a ton of work driven by the interoperability initiatives. Are there particular ones you’re refering to, or did you just mean in general?

    -Brian

  3. Mike Brown says:

    RiP ISO, 1947-2008.

    All hail to MSISO!!

    Cheers,

    – Mike

  4. Mark says:

    I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

    Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.

  5. Rob Brown says:

    @Mark:

    Great speech that. Very stirring. If only it was at all relevant to the issues that this blog is about!

    @Brian:

    I just meant in general.

  6. Mike Brown says:

    Maybe I spoke too soon.  I’ve just seen a report that Venezuela a "P" member, has switched from "Yes" to "No".

    It’s not over yet!

    Cheers,

    – Mike

  7. Andreas says:

    @Mark:

    Ever heard of Godwin’s law?

    ~Andreas

  8. okparanoid says:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2008032913190768

    Are you happy to work for such companies ?

  9. Albert Zeldenrust says:

    There were only two votes to approve, from Microsoft and a business partner, Statoilhydro, and all the others voted no, 21 votes, they approved anyway. Here’s how they shuffled the deck in Norway. 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.

  10. Rob Brown says:

    Hi Brian,

    It is conclusive that Norway did not decide "that they now feel Open XML is ready to be an ISO standard". There was a huge negative majority, then through a breathtaking piece of procedural gymnastics, Standards Norway decided to approve: not on technical grounds, but so that they could "be within the further development of the standard"… whatever that means.

    I trust that you’ll edit your blog post regarding Norway?

  11. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Rob,

    Were you there? Or is your account based on a description from Groklaw?

    -Brian

  12. Rob Brown says:

    Hi Brian,

    FWIW, it’s Håkon Wium Lie that I believe. He’s in my personal list of highly-credible people.

  13. Stefan says:

    Who in person exactly did vote? I don’t understand, know, trust…

  14. Stephen says:

    Standards Norway always said that this was not about who could mobilise the most support. It was about the technical argument and Norway’s national interest.

    Hakon’s comments are disgraceful and he has let himself down IMHO. I think he will regret them when he has cooled down. To turn this into an argumentum ad hominem is poor form.

    Hakon’s technical arguments have simply been shallow and wrong, and are a matter of record.

    I understand that quotes attributed to Steve Pepper are actually from Hakon.

    I believe Steve withdrew himself from the discussion because he’d already made his mind up. He’s entitled to do that, as too are others.

    Rob I don’t know how you compile your list, but I’d rank Standards Norway above Hakon based on conduct and grasp of the facts.

  15. carlos says:

    Norway decision was political not technical.

    The majority of the committee disapproved

    DIS 29500 in its current form ( well, intended form, there still no final text to review, NBs are voting vaporware ).

    Good work ISO ! Now you can sell the +6000 pages of DIS 29500 in your website. Good luck implementing this frankestein.

  16. There is nothing strange about what happen in Norway, though the decision of course was controversial.

    In Norway, Standard Norge (SN) makes the decision, there is no vote. There is a commitee, SN K/185, that gives advice to SN. SN listens to the arguments from both sides represented in the committee and makes their decision based on the arugments presented. SN has decided that the arguments for OOXML weighs more than the arguments against OOXML and has based their decision on that. That is according to the rules here in Norway. No reason to accuse SN for using "procedural gymnastics".

  17. hAl says:

    @Carlos

    Actually it is not vaporware. It is normal for fastterack to vote on the draft plus agreed amendments.

    The ISO editor will create a final draft and the ISO members get that for review as well and to correct possible mistakes. That is however only an editorial proces with no technical consequenses and is also one of the reasons why it would take 4-6 months after approval before a standard will become a published standard.

    So even with an approval vote the ISO member still have editorial control over the draft text if the proposed changes are not applied satisfactory.

  18. Stefan says:

    Quote Fredrik: "In Norway, Standard Norge (SN) makes the decision, there is no vote."

    So then, who in person at SN made the decision?

    Of course, if only two or three people make the decision, one doesn’t call that a vote anymore.

    This might perfectly be according to the rules, but don’t excpect all folks to happily accept, or appreciate these answers.

  19. Bjørnhild Sæterøy, Ivar Jackwitz and Knut Lindelien from Standard Norge made the final decision after hearing all the arguments from both sides. As I said earlier: This is according to the rules here in Norway. There was never supposed to be a vote.

    I understand that the opponents find this hard to accept but they have no reason to be surprised of the outcome.

  20. @Stephen:

    Steve Pepper did not withdraw from the discussion. He withdrew from the Norwegian delegation to the BRM but participated in the SN K/185 committee meeting.

  21. Anonymous Coward says:

    Why are Norwegian newspapers writing about scandal if everything went smoothly by the rules?

    http://www.idg.no/computerworld/article92597.ece

  22. Norwegian newspapers are quoting the opponents of OOXML (Haakon Wium Lie, Steve Pepper et al) and they are, of course, not happy about the desicion SN made. The "scandal" in their eyes is that SN did not make a desicion based on *their* arguments but on the arguments of the supporters of OOXML standardization.

    There was a clear majority against OOXML in SN K/185 but as said earlier, SN K/185 only gives advice to SN. They make their decision based on the arguments from both sides.

    This is no surprise to anyone, not even Wium Lie or Steve Pepper.

  23. nksingh says:

    @Rob:

    This is the same Wium Lie who filed a complaint about IE’s presence in the OS, long after Firefox became a strong product in Europe and 10 years after the DoJ trial about the same matter.  I find this complaint to be incredible and I wonder about what other incredible things Lie is willing to say in order to hurt his competitors.

  24. Rob Brown says:

    Hi Fredrik,

    "… this was not about who could mobilise the most support" is a great way to dismiss an overwhelming majority in opposition to OOXML! Up to 21 out of 23 representatives voting the way they’d been "mobilised to" by someone else? And here was me thinking that Norwegians were capable of independent thought…

    Thanks for your explanation of the process, I was already aware that there would be an executive decision from Standards Norway unless there was a unanimous agreement in SN K/185 – see http://blogs.freecode.no/isene/?p=3.

    However, I disagree with your statement that "SN K/185 only gives advice to SN". See http://www.standard.no/imaker.exe?id=18504, "The Norwegian committee SN/K 185 has a meeting on March 28th and will discuss the outcome of the BRM and what will become the final Norwegian vote".

    When the directly relevant committee votes overwhelmingly one way but the executive decision is the other, then I call gymnastics.

    In any case, my original comment was at Brian who said "Norway … now feel Open XML is ready to be an ISO standard". A more accurate summary would be "A large majority of Norwegian representatives rejected OOXML, but the SN executive decided to accept it on the basis of wanting to be involved in future work on the standard".

  25. Hi Rob,

    I don’t agree with the way you read the statement from Standard Norge. They explicitly say "discuss (…) what will become the final vote" and not "decide (…) what will become the final vote". They have been discussing it and SN K/185 has given their arguments but SN has made the final decision. In my view, there has been no "gymnastics".

  26. Rob Brown says:

    @Stephen, nksingh

    I see that you don’t share my high opinion of Håkon Wium Lie! Fair enough :-)

    nksingh, your version of events is different to how I see them (again). I fear that we’ll never agree to anything. But if you’re thinking of specific incidents from history, I prefer to remember Wium Lie as the guy that made his browser go "Bork Bork Bork" when MSN targetted Opera with malformed pages (http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2003/02/14/)!

  27. hAl says:

    Hakon Lie made his opinion known by going to that disgracefull OFE/IBM meeting in Geneva to aid in the battle against OOXML.

    Going there he made sure he would never be seen as an indepedant expert anymore.

    After that meeting his words on OOXML might as well be IBM’s words.

    Opera seems to be doing well with IBM in ECIS as well…

  28. nksingh says:

    @Rob Brown:

    If MSN was targetting Opera with bad data through malicious intent, rather than simple oversight or an honest mistake, then I agree with you that such an action is unethical and I would not support it.  I hope those folks have fixed whatever problem was happening by now, and if not Opera would be well within my approval if it complained to the EU about Microsoft’s unfair web portal practices (which has little to do with press reports of their actual complaint and proposed remedies).  

  29. Rob Brown says:

    @nksingh:

    Sorry, you misinterpreted my comment, which was just a flippant reference to something Opera had done which I thought was truly funny. It was a storm in a teacup in 2003, MSN did fix the problem and life went on. Certainly nothing to do with any complaints to the EU Commission :-)

  30. Abhishek says:

    My heartiest congratulations to all who contributed in making Open XML a winner in thse countries. :)

    I hope we’ll win.

    The one SHOCKING piece that came to my attention was that IBM India had written mails to its partners asking them to "influence" our national bodies. The grip of establishments like IBM is clear by the assertions made in the email.

    The abstract from the letter can be found here:

    http://www.askvg.com/should-india-be-held-hostage-to-unilateral-views-on-open-xml

    What is even more appalling is the brazenness with which IBM is assuming that they are the ones voting and not the national body of India -BIS for this standard!

  31. Rob Brown says:

    My heartiest congratulations to all who contributed in making Open XML a loser in thse(sic) countries. :)

    I hope we’ll win.

    The one SHOCKING piece that came to my attention was that Microsoft Singapore had written mails to its partners asking them to "influence" our national bodies. The grip of establishments like Microsoft is clear by the assertions made in the email.

    The abstract from the letter can be found here:

    http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2008/03/microsoft-lobby.html

    What is even more appalling is the brazenness with which Microsoft is assuming that they are the ones voting and not the national body of Singapore for this standard!

    (I mean, seriously, it’s lobbying, everyone does it, and there are fairly clear distinctions between legal lobbying and illegal coercion…)

  32. LarryOsterman says:

    Rob: IIRC, the Opera/MSN kerfuffle was because MSN had changed its HTML to work around an Opera bug.

    Opera went and fixed its bug and all of a sudden, the MSN pages that used to work well in Opera started failing.

    The MSN people had gone out of their way to ensure that their site looked good in Opera, and it worked great until Opera changed.  Once that change was pointed out, the MSN folks updated their site to remove the workaround.

  33. Michael says:

    So MS managed to bribe/buy off another standards group. How is this news?

  34. Albert Zeldenrust says:

    Formal protest regarding the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500

    I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman (of 13 years standing) of the Norwegian mirror committee to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34. I wish to inform you of serious irregularities in connection with the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (Office Open XML) and to lodge a formal protest.

    You will have been notified that Norway voted to approve OOXML in this ballot. This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80% of which was against changing Norway’s vote from No with comments to Yes.

    Because of this irregularity, a call has been made for an investigation by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry with a view to changing the vote.

    I hereby request that the Norwegian decision be suspended pending the results of this investigation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Steve Pepper

    Chairman, SN/K185 (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 mirror committee)

    (sign.)

  35. John says:

    It’s a real shame to see Microsoft make such a mockery of the standards system.  It is interesting to see Brian Jones just dismiss complaints about what happened in Norway.

  36. suribe says:

    this is the only way that your "standard" can pass, and I mean *the only way*.

  37. Dave S. says:

    @Larry – What MSN did was to produce different HTML output for any browser that was not IE and was not Netscape. The pages rendered correctly if Opera was configured to report that it was IE.

    Opera works hard to be standards compliant. I suspect they would resent someone ‘working around’ them.

    Perhaps the Opera retort is still available – look for the Swedish Chef version. Pretty funny resoponse.

  38. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Standards Norway (the folks actually responsible for making the decision) has an official response: http://notes2self.net/archive/2008/04/01/standard-norge-responds-to-allegations.aspx

    -Brian

  39. Michael says:

    "this is the only way that your "standard" can pass, and I mean *the only way*."

    You mean lies, payoffs, smears, and intimidation?

    I agree, the _only_ way.

  40. Mike Brown says:

    Groklaw has English translation of Standards Norway’s press release, and the levels of self-justification and self-contradiction are quite simply astonishing.  Are there no laws in Norway against self-crimination?

    Standards Norway admits that the majority of the committee wanted a "No" vote:

    "It is correct that there was a majority of the members in the committee that considered the comments not taken into consideration to a sufficient degree"

    But then say that despite the committee majority against OOXML, they had to also consider public opinion:

    "the committee therefore focused on the treatment of the received comments [from the public]. It is also so in ISO rules that if the voting results in the standard not being accepted, the received comments shall be worked on, with the intention of having them incorporated into the standard. Then the members can decide if they want to change their "no" to a "yes", and this was exactly what happened for OOXML"

    So far, so good.  I mean, public opinion is important, yes?  Except, that in the same press release, they also say this:

    "When Standard Norway sent the proposal to the national hearing, it received in all 47 statements, whereof 38 replied yes to the suggestion and 9 replied no. As known most of the yes suggestions had identical wording and was initiated by a campaign from Microsoft Norway."

    So, Microsoft has been blatantly astro-turfing in Norway, big time.  (Bigger than anybody else did, anyway).  But having recognised that these "yes" comments were mostly astro-turfed, the chairmen decides that they have to be taken into account anyway?  Sufficiently so to overall the committee vote?  What kind of logic is this?  And if the "anti-OOXML brigade" *had* run an astro-turfing campaign in Norway, would that have guaranteed a "No" vote?  (Assuming that said astro-turfing was more extensive than Microsoft’s?)

    Cheers,

    – Mike

  41. jones206@hotmail.com says:

    Mike,

    If you really feel that Standards Norway did something wrong, you should take that up with them. I’ve been extremely impressed with the standards bodies I’ve met, and I would give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how they reached whatever conclusion they did.

    Obviously there are some standards bodies where I disagree with their decisions, but you don’t see me accusing them of anything. I would suggest the same to you.

    -Brian

  42. Mike Brown says:

    @Brian,

    >> you don’t see me accusing them of anything.

    >> I would suggest the same to you

    I make no accusations.  I merely ask questions (you see all the question marks at the end of my sentences?).  There’s a difference.

    >> I’ve been extremely impressed with the

    >> standards bodies I’ve met, and I would

    >> give them the benefit of the doubt when

    >> it comes to how they reached whatever

    >> conclusion they did.

    For you personally, Brian, I’ve no doubt of the truth of this.  But Microsoft as a company certainly has not given "benefit of the doubt" where decisions have gone against them.  The standards committee chairwoman in India can testify to that.

    Cheers,

    – Mike