void life(void)

As informed in my penultimate post, I’ve contacted ISO and IEC (actually Mr. Gabriel Barta from ITTF), and he stated that he only “recommended” that the details were not revealed, and that him cannot do anything against it ( nor against Microsoft, or against this poor delegate). Furthermore he told me that I can speak what I want, but he keep his recommendation… OK… Thanks for the advice…

Seen that between SHALL and SHOULD there is a huge difference, hey, ho, lets go…

To beging the history, on sunday evening, before the beginning of the BRM, at the Heads of Delegations (HoD) meeting they were warned that on Wednesday we would have to make a decision about “what to do with the ECMA’s responses that could not be discussed”.

The working methods adopted in the first two days of meeting (and at the paper it works very good), each country (in fact the so-called National Bodies or NBs and if I am not mistaken was 33) could present for discussion one of the ECMA’s responses of their interest (ie, in alphabetical order each NB presented a problem). The debate then started and if the theme was controversial and causes more than 10 or 15 minutes of discussion, the NBs involved in the discussion were invited to discuss “off-line” and the proposals was recorded in a backlog. Any discussion ended in “editing instructions to the editor” and anything that does not contain “editing instructions to the editor” was simply ignored (so resolved…).

The result of that is that until Friday, even two complete rounds were held (ie that there was NBs that only proposed one discussion)… explanation to that: lack of time (which incidentally, explains all other decisions taken there, ok?).

During the debates, some discussions had expanded and covered more than one ECMA’s responses (or sometimes different responses dealt with related themes), and this explains the high degree of items discussed (or as I prefer to call “touched”) during the BRM (withdrawn from this document, the final document of BRM): 189 responses or 18.4% of the total (is that the amount of discussed items expected on an International Evaluation of a so important theme specification? Imagine if your country’s constitution was write using that method, with only 18% of it’s laws discussed).

The decisions taken day by day can be found in this document, “edited notes of the BRM” but I admit that this is a confusing document. One example is that we can see that there existed a voting regarding the transformation of the specification into a Multi-Part standard (page 7), in which Brazil presented an objection. This voting result (and related Brazilian objection) was not transported to the final document (I think that someone forget to copy that to the final document, or a decision with that importance doesn’t need to be recorded ?).

Furthermore, I reserve the right to not comment here what conduced to the adoption of this proposal, which actually transforms the OpenXML (or DIS 29500) in five International Standards that may have their “own life” (the only difference between those and five “traditional” standards is its shared numbering , DIS 29500-1, 29500-2… DIS 29500-5). Wonderfull, isn’t it ? (a 6.000+ pages-five-International-Standards fast-track… really amazing)…

When we reached Wednesday, we were presented four options of “destination” to the other answers (ie 81.6% of the total). They were only four options and one of them must be chosen (at that moment I’ve remembered the movie “Sofia’s Choice”):

1 - All rejected.

2 - All approved.

3 - The ITTF decides everything.

4 - Decision by vote in batch, with the possibility of declaration of each individual response vote and / or the definition of a overall vote, as “accepted everything”. (…and Mr. Barta, please note that I’m not using the “default vote” expression here, ok).

Of course, the option was the least ridiculous was option 4 and that’s why it was adopted (in the final document, page 5 there is a copy of the ballot to vote). Much has been discussed on the possibility that some NBs should cast blocking votes (as vote “Approve to all” to force the approval or “disapprove to all” to force the disapproval), but nothing could be done about it…

At that moment, there was a very interesting protest of a delegation which said that they didn’t went Switzerland to vote, which could be done from home (they were there to discuss) and the answer: “Patience…”.

Another NB protested saying that they only received the document containing the answers to their own questions and didn’t even had the opportunity to read and discuss the whole responses document (1027 responses on a 2500+ document). For this reason the option “We do not wish to record any position” was created on the ballot. That highlighted problem also happened on other NBs and there are NBs that simply voted on proposals that they never even read! (This is really cool, right?).

A rule was made that any decision taken at the meeting overwrites the decision taken by “the ballot” vote (ie a decision by “the floor” has greater weight).

At the end of the week, the votes were delivered and the final result (which I also reserve the right not to comment or disclose), the vast majority of the proposals were approved (most by a few votes of “approval by default”…).

I’ve write this post just to assure that there is a public explanation to the 98% approval that some companies are using worldwide.

See now how the 98% now doesn’t mean anything? And the 18.4%… this really need to be discussed (and explained by someone).

Finally, the documents cited in the final document of BRM (such as an URL to the SC34’s website which is protected by password) are publicly available here and “final results table” for those who like to play with non-sense statistical data can be found here (numbers are just numbers…).

All documents referenced here are publicly available documents of SC34’s web site. Fell free to analyze them and take your own conclusions.

Doubts or questions… just leave in a comment…

If you don’t know me and would like to know how I know all this ? I was in that room, member of the Brazilian Delegation.


11 Responses to “Finally: the details about the final results of the BRM”

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    […] in that meeting and the surreal modus operandi of how 120 people can discuss 1027 issues in 5 days. Have fun in english and […]

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    […] above post, together with a pointer from our reader, makes it the perfect timing to present the truth about the broken BRM. Here is an excerpt: During the debates, some discussions had expanded and covered more than one […]

  3. Ron

    Thank you very much for your report on the meeting.

    I hope your report will make plain the absurdity of the fast-track process OOXML is taking, and renew calls to reform the process.

    I appreciate your willingness to speak out on these issues.

  4. Anonymous

    Kudos for the act of bravery and doing the right thing !!

    You are blessed

  5. Peter

    Have you thought of getting in contact with the European Union representitives who are now actively investing Poland and Germany?

    I think your input on the situation would be quite beneficial :)

    Thank you for doing what you did

  6. Software Livre no SAPO » Blog Archive » OOXML: afinal, o que se passou na BRM?

    […] Um dos membros da delegação Brasileira, após ver várias fugas de informação (algumas delas sem qualquer sentido) da parte da Microsoft acho que chega de Lei do Silêncio e decidiu relatar os principais momentos da BRM. […]

  7. jocaferro

    kudos for you.


  8. Tomasz Konefal

    if the voting members are presented with a choice to vote for something that may or may not be broken, but their requests for information and clarification are denied or otherwise obfuscated then they MUST VOTE TO REJECT regardless of the quality of the product they’re voting on. embedded in every member’s vote is tacit approval of the PROCESS. if the process is broken then it should be REJECTED along with the product being voted on.

    better luck next time,

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    […] Open Document Format. But for how long. This latest vote is already mired in controversy, with tales of delegates being manipulated into voting against their will, votes of ‘No’ suddenly […]

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