More OOXML folly 2008-04-02

Most people who care know by now that OOXML was approved by ISO. Avi Alkalay wrote a great post that illustrates very clearly the folly behind the OOXLM fast track process: OOXML in Numbers And Standard Norge tried hard to make up excuses for their yes to OOXML against the wishes of their own technical committee. Note particularly fun things like point #4, considering that Microsoft was long ago found to have strongly suggested to partners and customers they copy and paste a letter they provided and sent it in to "support" OOXML. Most of these letters are thus from Micosoft partners and customers, most of which have no basis for knowing anything about the OOXML standard, nor are likely to have read any part of it, nor have bothered explaining in their own words rather than Microsoft's why OOXML should be approved. There's also no indication whether or not the people sending the letters even had authority to submit them on their employers behalf. Also note #8, where they use as an excuse to overrule the vast majority of the technical committee (excluding Standard Norge employees, Microsoft and Statoil - a major Microsoft partner and customer) that many of them had made up their mind before the meeting. Yes, it's hard not to make up your mind quickly about a standard as broken as OOXML. I'd be extremely worried if committee members considering approval of a standards document of over 6000 pages hadn't spent enough time in advance of the meeting to make a decision about whether the standard was of sufficient quality to approve. They also bring up the letters again, ignoring the same points as above. All in all the amount of ballot stuffing, intimidation and pressure involved in this process makes Mugage seem almost better qualified to run a fair and open election than ISO currently is. Or maybe the ISO could help resolve the situation in Zimbabwe by offering him a new job overseeing further OOXML work, since they are certainly going to need someone skilled at ignoring reality and getting people to accept vote rigging to try to make all the bad publicity go away - there's no way the current OOXML vote is the end of this.

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