OOXML probably passes at ISO (and Error'd)

It's IT Blogwatch: in which predictions are that the Microsoft-sponsored Office Open XML format has passed the ISO standards vote. Not to mention strange tooltips and other IT perversions...

Steven Schwankert suggests:

Balloting on whether Office Open XML (OOXML) should become an international document standard closed at midnight Saturday in Geneva, in an apparently tight vote ... two-thirds of participating countries needed to vote in favor of the issue and less than one-quarter of observer countries in opposition to it. A total of 87 nations' standards bodies will [have] cast votes ... A few key vote changes ahead of the final tally could push the measure towards approval ... The ISO already recognizes [Open Document Format (ODF)] as a standard. more
Ditesh Kumar counts the votes:
Here are the results we predict, as live as they get, of the countries voting for DIS 29500 (more popularly known as Microsoft OOXML) ... Criteria 1: 22/32 = 68.75% (PASS) ... Criteria 2: 14/69 = 20.29% (PASS) ... Overall Result: PASS ... Microsoft has been strongly lobbying members of National Bodies to vote "Approve" on OOXML (DIS 29500) without due recognition and consideration of the technical issues that needed to be discussed and fixed in OOXML ... Microsoft Singapore got all its business partners to write in standard template letters of support to ITSC to get ITSC vote "Approve" ... [this] completely disregards the standards development process ... Microsoft business partners were giving template letters and asked to fill them in. The letters are word for word the same. It makes for incredible reading. In fact, the keen-eyed reader will notice that some of the letters have the template variables still present. more
Andy Updegrove looks back:
if anyone had asked me to predict in August of 2005 (the date of the initial Massachusetts decision that set the ODF ball rolling) how far ODF might go and what impact it might have, I would never have guessed that it would have gone so far, and had such impact, in so short a period of time. I think it’s safe to say that whatever happens with the OOXML vote is likely to have little true impact at all on the future success of ODF compliant products ... The quality of OOXML is not there yet ... There will be no OOXML-compliant products for some time ... Many governments do not wish to support a monopoly ... Many Governments promote competition ... “Open” means more now than it used to ... raised public awareness over the importance of document standards. more
Pamela Jones:
Jomar Silva, a delegate from Brazil, which voted No, has ... posted what he saw and heard at the BRM. It is a deeply shocking tale of maneuvering the delegates to vote against their will by presenting a kind of Sophie's Choice of options, all [seemingly] designed ... to get a positive result for Microsoft ... [in Poland] the seven votes that never were sent by email counted as yes votes by the chairperson, and so Poland will stay with its Yes vote ... Now, class, what do the JTC1/SC34 Directives say to do if there is no consensus? Just approve it anyway? This is amazing ... If Microsoft gets this OOXML format "approved", it will be by irregularities in the voting, it seems ... when [Germany] 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. So under the rules I've read, that would have meant that they should send a vote of Abstain. But ... the representative from DIN decided to cast a vote, which isn't the process ... One thing is certain. Unless ISO steps up and fixes this mess, it will lose the world's respect, and rightly so. Either the rules mean something, or they don't, but if they don't standards don't mean anything either. more
Microsoft's Jason Matusow builds bridges:
It is bad logic that leads you to the conclusion that there should be only one document format. If you value innovation in document creation, and you want to see applications continue to advance rapidly, and you want to see broad-based problem sets be addressed creatively - then more innovation is good. I have often heard that there should be just one document format...ODF...and yet it is just amazing to me how many document formats there are, and how many more seem to crop up on an ongoing basis ... No matter what the outcome is of the current deliberations on Open XML, we will persist in our belief that diversity in innovation is a good thing. more
Microsoft's Stephen McGibbon is pragmatic:
IBM double standards seem more the order of the day ... as Volker Weber noticed, they haven't made their 2007 Annual Report financial statements available in ODS. No matter, I saved the file in OpenXML format, then used the SourceForge OpenXML/ODF Translator to save it in ODF format, then opened it in Zoho. It all seemed to work fine as you can see. more
VultureMN shrugs:
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 rat's *** about, the ISO process. Tada, they can pull these kinds of shenanigans without much risk of a public opinion backlash. more
Alastair Mayer sums up:
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). more
And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

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