On last Monday (26/05/2008), the group that has analyzed OpenXML at Brazilian NB (ABNT) had a meeting to deliberate about sending a Brazilian appeal of the OpenXML approval. I’m a member of that group (and also coordinator of a part of its technical work).
I spent the last weekend deeply studying (or reviewing by the 100 time) the JTC1 Directives, and found several apparent violations to the directives. Based on those set of evidences, I prepared a presentation to be used at the meeting. I also placed on this presentation a number of questions that the Brazilian delegation had conveyed to ABNT requesting the dispatch to ISO, right after the end of the BRM (beginning of March).
I prepared the presentation merely in order to demonstrate that the irregularities was found and with that, contribute to the content of a possible Brazilian appeal (which should be presented in up to 72 two hours after the end of the meeting).
At the beginning of the meeting, our NB presented to us the ISO responses to our questions about the BRM and the ISO response to a considerable part of them was clear: This is the Brazilian point of view, and if you feel that you are right, send an appeal.
I did all my presentation (20+ slides), answering to all questions raised and at any moment I received even a single one counter argument to anything that was being presented.
At the end of this presentation, the representative of a company (guess which ???) has taken the line of defense for his companions in the room: “I am not prepared, at this meeting, to evaluate the arguments and decide. I need more time. “It is worth highlighting that this meeting was scheduled on May 8th (date of our last meeting) and officially convened on May 19th (lack of time !!! again !!!).
From this point on, I understand that the meeting has become almost a hospice, because it is insane to accept that at this point of our lifes, after all the things that we saw, the main argument of opposition is the “lack of condition to discuss”.
I say that became a hospice, because the OpenXML supporters was tied to a fragile and indecent argument that “we’re not prepared to discuss,” saying that in this way, Brazil could not make the protest against the whole process by “lack of consensus” (as if consensus and unanimity was the same thing). Just to clarify, at the ISO directives “Consensus is the absence of reasoned opposition.”
The final decision is that we will only “protest” against the BRM and against the lack of final version of the specification text, pretending that we didn’t identified any problems during the Fast-Track, as if we were a bunch of blind and incompetent idiots. The ABNT undertook to send our “protest” to ISO on this Thursday.
In my understanding, those who don’t know theJTC1 directives cannot even attend such a meeting. Moreover, who goes to a meeting where an agenda item is “decision making” without conditions to take any decision is at least ill-intentioned (was there to do what? Prevent that fair and honest people work?) .
Worse than that, was to see kindergarten arguments tumultuating a serious and professional discussion like the one that should take place at that meeting.
When Brazil decided to vote NO on OpenXML, the kindergarten argument of “lack of time to read everything” wasn’t used. We’ve made an tremendous effort to review the specification and we vote with a complete technical knowledge of the facts. This time, the foolishness, disrespect and irresponsibility has won.
If an objective debate was realized at the meeting, with reasoned arguments against anything that I’ve presented, I would discuss the issue for hours (or even days) with anyone who was there. The only thing that I cannot accept, for ethical, moral and hygienic reasons, is that foolish and irresponsible arguments are used to prevent an objective discussion.
I would like to clarify that on these meetings, ABNT only acts as our secretariat and usually cannot interfere in any decision taken, only leading the group on the appropriate procedures and criteria. The representative of ABNT at the meeting, has tried to put order on that insanity almost at the end of the meeting, saying that she had not seen, until that moment, any reasoned opposed argument to what I’ve presentd, but she was stopped immediately from speak by the same person that started the whole mess at the meeting. We tried to argue in her defence and the things really get hard. For the first time I almost saw a real fight inside a meeting.
With all this presented, I see no alternative but to announce my decision to withdraw from this group at ABNT. If one day the ethics and logic prevails again at that group, I would be happy to come back, but given the fact that dirty and unrespectable tactics, the ones that internationally ashamed the the name and reputation of our country, are used with effectiveness by the group who defends the indefensible, I prefer to keep me away. I highlight here that there are other members of this group, and its coordinator, that were also victims of this irresponsibility, but nothing could be done.
If it is to work seriously again, I’ll go back to the group. I cannot participate in something like this without taking this very seriously and unfortunately not all members there are guided by this principle (in fact, some there might confuse the word “principle” with “interest”, and are guided only by this last one).
I am not the owner of the truth, but I’m not “falling in love” with the lie.
If one ask me one day:
“Why Brazil did not presented a strong protest against the OpenXML approval at ISO?”
I can only answer:
“Because OpenXML supporters in Brazil were not prepared for this discussion.”
THIS IS A COMPLETE SHAME !!!
And here is my appeal: Each time you find a supporter of OpenXML ahead, say to him “Thank you for making Brazillian folks looks like clowns, international clows.”