Since I participate in the Brazilian group that analyzed the OpenXML, I have the distinct impression that a hidden agenda have guided the decisions of the JTC1 and more recently the SC34 at ISO.
Not so long ago, the major evidence for me was the number of countries that changed their votes in the last days OpenXML voting, signaling a major political agreement for the approval of standard, but now, a few months later more strange thing is happening.
The last of them is that we in Brazil, and all other NBs, will have to cast until July 29, our vote regarding a proposal for a “new work item” at SC34, which deals with the translation between ODF and OpenXML documents. If this proposal is approved, it will be generated by SC34, trough an “accelerated process”, a technical report on the subject.
I think this discussion is really natural, but we need to observe a simple detail: “The approval of OpenXML as an international standard is under appeal !!!”.
I think that this doesn’t smells good, for the seriousness that is expected from ISO. It seems that the appeals were already REJECTED, and anyway, JTC1 and SC34 have already given very clear signals, in recent months, that they do not care about ISO decisions and directives (and worse, who remains silent, consent).
In other words, once again, completely ignoring the reality, and the pretending that OpenXML is in fact an ISO standard and that moreover, that its final text has already published, the SC34 asks us now to examine a proposal to work in translation between him and ODF. The proposal actually came from Germany (DIN), which has the support of France (AFNOR) and the Ecma TC45, but was accepted by the SC34 with naturalness.
Funnier than this, JTC1 already has two working groups dedicated to fix OpenXML (yes, ISO now has Service Packs too… you know the market: launch now and repair latter).
One of those groups is dedicated to fix problems in OpenXML, and will have its first official meeting in the next days, and the other one is dedicated to collecting problems identified in OpenXML and submitted to JTC1/SC34 by NBs.
The absurdity of this all, is that we are now internationally discussing whether or not we accept to work on a technical report about the translation of a standard that already exists (IS 26300), to a standard that we really don’t know if will really exist (IS 29500), or did ISO’s decision about the appeals have been taken, and the countries that have appealed not yet been notified ? Here in Brazil, I assure that we still waiting the ISO answer.
I consider that more absurd than that, are the comments that I’ve heard from a few members of the Technical Group (GT2), which analyze that issue in Brazil, defending the approval of the new item of work. Do they have some information that I don’t have? Do they have the final version of OpenXML’s text?
Again, our GT2 coordinator, Mr. Gebara (Microsoft) - an excellent and serious professional, is doing a very good job, because there are a bunch of humorists on our group that always try to make a Monty Python tale on our decisions !
I put emphasis again in this episode, on something that I already blogged about in other opportunities. Throughout the discussion on the OpenXML at ISO, I’ve seen people put the interest of his country, his reputation and even its seriousness in the background, with the main focus on their commercial interests and partnerships. I don’t believe that those are the best values to be considered in an international standards process.
With all that written, I finally conclude that the globalization has reached its next cycle:
1.We’ve globalized corporations
2.We’ve globalized people
3.We’re globalizing the stupidity
We’re really a very complicated generation… aren’t we ?