Received in recent days several documents from JTC1/SC34 reporting the progress at the working group that is trying to fix the OpenXML, and it’s impressive and surreal what one may find in those documents.
The document N1101/N1168 contains for example, several items in which they recognize that there are decisions made in the BRM (BRM resolutions) which were not incorporated into the final published text of the standard. In other words, even taking almost a year after the aproval of the standard to publish the text (yes, approved without reading), there wasn’t time/attention or anything else necessary to assure that the changes were published in the text (most of those changes, “conditioned” the approval). What makes me much more angry about this is that during the BRM I asked about who would be responsible for verifying that all these changes would be part of the final text and the answer was ITTF (kind of joint ISO/IEC secretariat). When I asked if the ITTF would really make this work, I received as a reply the intimidating: “You are doubting the ITTF, kid ?”…
Worse than this, the informations inside this document are sufficient for me to doubt that the approved/recommended corrections where even implemented. If before this document I suspected that the final version of the specification wasn’t what everybody thought, now I’m pretty sure about it and I think that we didn’t find even more severe problems there because most people, like me, refuses to look at those damn 6000 pages again.
On the document N1171, one of the working groups of SC34 announces that they’ve found problems in the OpenXML fonts specification and will submit an error report about it to the group responsible for repairing the standard (looks funny, but until today there are folks finding defects … ).
The document N1183 justifies the subdivision of the already existing parts of the standard to saying that to correct some errors pointed out, new “minor” features need to be added to the specification (and that is really cool, because now that the ISO has already approved the standard, they can write whatever they want , isn’t it?).
I saved the best for the end: document N1187. This one says that OpenXML “as is” contains unintentional errors that may prevent existing documents to be fully represented in this new format. It is amazing because the legacy support was alleged as the main reason for OpenXML development and approval at ISO, and also the reason why several countries supported the development and approval of the standard. In this document, they also explain the criteria that will be used to specify the changes that will be developed, so that they can do it all really quickly (in other words, they go trough the breaches of the JTC1 directives to get these changes incorporated into standard already approved without making much noise about it).
Unfortunately I can not put all these documents here, to allow access trough the blog, because they should be restricted SC34 documents (yep, zero transparency), but I believe that sooner or later they will be published somewhere (and of course, NB members should already received those).
Since I was a young boy I’ve learned to not sign blank papers, but I think that this isn’t a valuable lesson in other countries.
I would like to see answered some basic questions:
Brazil, South Africa, India and Venezuela were right or not when appealed (and had their appeals ignored by the ISO)?
Do the same gentleman at the ISO board, that ignored the appeals, are following the development work and documents commented here?
Who is responsible for all this, and how he will pay?