Questions for your national standards body

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As its supporters work harder and harder to get approval for its OOXML specification in the JTC1 Fast Track process, there are some very important questions that you should be asking your national standards bodies. These are the folks that represent you on the international standards stage and their actions have very important consequences. For example, ISO standards can appear in government procurement requests and so can help direct the extraordinary amounts of money that flow to vendors each year.

I’ll ask one big question here and then point to some other technical questions.

Who are the members of your national standards body, when exactly did they join,
and what are their primary commercial partnership relationships?

Needless to say, a recent membership surge in order to support OOXML would be exceptional, to say the least, and might have important local and regional consequences in the commercial, political, and even legal areas. Publicize what you find out and discuss if balance is being maintained within your country in standards setting. You might be perfectly happy with what you learn, but, then again, you might not. In any case, you should know. The answers to this question will have implications for years to come.

The next set is “Six questions to national standardisation bodies” from the FSFE. Those are described in the link.

For general background, and I’ve linked to these before, see “DIS 29500/OOXML Fact Sheet” and “The Technical Case Against DIS 29500/OOXML” at the ODF Alliance website.

Also See: An “OOXML is a bad idea” blog entry compendium


  1. Some of the answers are fairly complex. The UK is represented by BSI. It has a hierarchy of three (or maybe even four) committees dealing with OpenXML. The bottom committee, which is doing all the work, is open to anyone, but only seems to have two MS representatives on it. Most of the rest work for fairly small companies, or are self-employed. The membership of the committees further up (which will take the decision on which way to vote) is fairly static. MS is represented, but nowhere near a majority.
    But I find it bizarre how everyone is bending over backwards to be fair to MS. Why? ISO/IEC are basically run by governments. MS is a convicted monopolist. The EU is currently mulling over penalties. MS has a long history of abusing file formats. Why on earth help them?

  2. Bob, I think you must see this latest FUD piece:

    Who writes that stuff?

  3. All the Gold Microsoft Parters commenting on INCITS is rather amusing, but chilling in that it *looks* like there’s a landslide of support (until you find the fact that MS is allegedly offering money, from one of the letters, for people to petition them).

  4. How can we find out how our country voted last time (in my case, Australia)? I had a quick look on the website with no luck.

  5. What do you mean by “last time”? Do you mean for ODF or for the OOXML Contradiction Period?

  6. Sorry, I wasn’t clear. The OOXML Contradiction period

  7. Responding to Phil.

    Andy Updegrove has this information somewhere on his blog, complete with pointers to the actual contradiction texts IIRC. Bob has a link to Andy’s blog on the left sidebar. I can’t search the exact posting for you because Andy’s site is currently non responsive. But at least you know where to look.

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