The complaints keep rolling in on Groklaw about the outcome from Open XML. ***UPDATE #2: I went out to dinner and have been thinking a great deal about this. I do hold an opinion on this, but I think it is reasonable that people who read my blog expect me to be careful with my assertions. For that reason, I retract this statement.***
Strange that a website setup by IBM to fight a proxy war during the SCO case would be so focused on the Open XML discussion today. But that is for another day. ***UPDATE: Concern has been raised in the comments of this blog about my assertion of Groklaw and its contents. My assertion in the preeceeding paragraph is my opinion – take it or leave it a face value please.***
It may be that the disagreement of opinions following the approval of Open XML has exceeded what was happening during the process. The one thing that I have noticed from the anti-Open XML camp is a myopia when it comes to facts. It’s amazing to me the capacity to put up blinders to facts that skew the picture away from their world view. ***Update. In thinking about this paragraph I think it is worth noting that Microsoft (as with any organization) should take to heart concerns raised about Open XML so that our engagement in international standardization work continuously improves.***
In light of those blinders, it is worth your time to look at a blog post from Jan van den Beld. It is an educational post. If you don’t know who he is, he was Secretary General of Ecma for many years and a long-time participant in ISO/IEC business. In fact, he was there at the start of JTC 1 and has been such a good participant that the latest version of the JTC 1 directives are dedicated to him personally.
This brings me to my thought of the day. One of the most often raised accusations of the community who was in favor of Open XML was that they were “stuffing committees.” There are a number of things that come to mind when I read these accusations.
Participation is a good thing – it is a very positive word and concept. Furthermore, it is an important part of the standards world.
Yet in the case of Open XML, it seems that participation by those in favor of Open XML only happened through pernicious activities and breeched ethics – while participation against Open XML was purity and light personified. I just don’t get that.
In Norway when IBM and Google join the committee 2 days before the final vote…or when IBM brings a subsidiary company to the table with them in Italy effectively giving one company 2 votes…or when Oracle and Red Hat join the US V1 committee just before it votes….that is participation, right? I actually believe that to be true. It is no different than Microsoft or its business partners coming to the table to have their voices be heard in the process. As long as the participation is within the context of the rules for a given NB, then it is legitimate participation.
It would be nice if people would get off their high-horses on this particular issue, because the only position ANYONE should be taking is one in favor of participation. I would certainly be surprised to hear that anyone thinks participation should only be limited to those who agree with you. That would be an indefensible position to take.