Ecma Posts Next Set of Open XML Dispositions for Review by National Standards Bodies

Just a quick note: Ecma International posted a statement that they have dropped the second set of dispositions for review. That brings the total to 1,795 dispositions of the 3,522 comments submitted during the Sept. 2 ballot.

These dispositions represent changes to the specification based upon the comments. Rather than my trying to (and most likely mangling in some way) talk about this - check out Brian Jones' blog posting on this.

Jan van den Beld, the former Secretary General of Ecma, has posted a blog posting on this as well. He points out some interesting facts about the volume of comments and how they compare to other specs (completely normal - one comment for every 4-6 pages).

Comments (7)
  1. omz says:

    >completely normal – one comment for every 4-6 pages

    ok, thank you

    ISO: put the stamp on DIS 29500, it is "normal" , forget about the comments, errors, undefined terms, inconsistencies, references to closed formats, wheel-reinventing, no-standards-reusing, lack of quality , lack of proper review, etc, etc.

    If Microsoft and ECMA guys say that all is normal, trust them.

  2. You might want to check my blog entry: Good PR, poor arithmetic:

  3. Ian Easson says:


    Your statements are disingenuous.  First, it is not the standard that is claimed to be normal, only the number of comments per page that is in the normal range.  Second, as for your list of "comments, errors, undefined terms,..", that list of supposed woes has produced precisely the number of comments per page that is normal.  You are clearly just trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    The only thing that is significantly non-normal about the standard is the attention it has gotten, which invalidates Arnaud le Hors’ comment that there would have been many more comments if the NB’s only had time to evaluate the draft.

  4. Len Bullard says:

    Reading the comments here and elsewhere, seldom have I seen this clear case for closing processes and having a very tough chair run the meetings.  This is the example of precisely why in some cases, openness doesn’t work.

    Starve the combatants for oxygen.  

  5. To Easson says:

    You seem to be slightly confused.

    1 comment per 4-6 pages may be normal. What is not normal is the severity of the comments. In the case of MS-OOXML address to fundamental problems, exactly the list that omz mentioned.

    There’s nothing "disingenuous" about omz’s statements. The sarcasm may be attributed to an overdose of Microsoft spin accumulated over the years.

    You and Matusow are using the exact same logic that Microsoft used in its sponsered "independent" studies that "proved" that MS product where as secure as competitors product: count the number of security issues risen over a certain time frame, neglecting the severity of the problems. Of course, when the severity of the security  issues was taken into account, Microsoft did not quite come out on top.

  6. Dave says:

    Thanks for your contribution Len.

    The marvelous result of a closed process with a very tough chair is the Microsoft lock-in we witness today.

  7. len says:

    That’s one opinion, Dave.   Let’s try to be clear.  I suspect you mean the ‘document formats’ lock-in, not some alledged lock-in at ISO, right?

    The standards world has almost zero to do with the current market situation.  MS won that against competitors such as Xerox and Interleaf who were famous at the time for refusing to support standards in preference to their own proprietary formats.  That was a different time and place.   Standards were roundly ignored.  It was HTML that began the ‘standards game writ large’ play book.

    If by that you mean some kind of lock-in regards the standards process, I’d need an explanation as to what exactly is locked.  What I’m saying is that the amount of hyperbole (to put a polite term to it) is so deep that any member of the review committee has to be a real danger ranger to let that membership be public.   It’s not hard to remember a standards process becoming this acrimonious but seldom this public at the same time.  To get sound process out of this, the chair will have to be tough minded and strong.

    This looks like the OJ Simpson of Doc format battles.  Sometimes it is better to close the courtroom, get rid of the cameras and let the lawyers on both sides know that theatrics will simply get them disbarred.  The difference is a lawyer is supposed to be predjudiced in favor of their client.  A judge can’t be.  Neither should a chair be.  One way or another, some professional reputations are taking a nasty beating; thus, my ‘close it and keep the gavel handy’ comment.

    I just read that Tim Bray is joining the Canadian force.   He is certainly no fan of Microsoft or historically, ISO, but he knows what is at stake here for the reputations of those who choose to join the cast.

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