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Renewing ODF Advocacy

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| In view of the news that Microsoft Office 2007’s upcoming service pack will
| add support for ODF 1.1 to the product, including the ability to make ODF the
| default format, I think it is now time to again advocate that state, local,
| and national government agencies move all their data into the vendor-neutral
| ODF format.


EC probes ISO's approval of Microsoft

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| He refused to describe the nature of the investigation, but in a speech today
| about open standards, Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for competition
| policy, gave a hint: "If voting in the standard-setting context is influenced
| less by the technical merits of the technology but rather by side agreements,
| inducements, package deals, reciprocal agreements, or commercial pressure,
| then these risk falling foul of the competition rules," she said.


Neelie Kroes: "Choosing open standards is a very smart business decision"

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| Well, in the case of ISO, just formulating some required rules would be nice.
| You know, rules that can't change in the middle of the game. In my
| schoolyard, we called that cheating. I have a suggestion. How about a rule
| that a vendor proposing a standard can't stack committees trying to decide
| whether or not to approve it? No? Too simple?
| [...]
| Why is she lauding software patents when Europe doesn't for the most part
| recognize them? And in software, there is no "emerge from markets" because
| Microsoft owns the market, and not necessarily because it's the best choice
| or even *a* choice. Just try to buy a computer without Windows.



Which version of the JTC1 directives applies: v2.0 or v3.0?

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| The 5 months ballot started on the 2nd of April 2007. JTC1 directives were
| changed on the 5 of April 2007, in order to add a special chapter 13 wrote
| with the help of ECMA's Jan van den Beld about the Fast Track procedure. So
| which version applies to the current process? v2.0 or v3.0? *
| [...]
| Can you change the rules while a process is running?


Alex Brown updates the BRM rules today

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| Alex Brown has updated his blog post about the voting rules at the BRM. "This
| was the wrong clause" he says.
| [...]
| Some questions for the audience:
| 1. Which one is the "normal JTC1 procedures"?
| 2. None of them mentions which majority should be taken. Simple majority of
| * *50%, or 66% of P-members?
| 3. Where is the "letter" in the letter ballot?


ISO Statement on the BRM: Public Stay Out

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| So much for an open standard. I have a question for the ISO. Have all prior
| meetings been run like this? In the deepest shade you can find? You know they
| have not, and I know they have not.
| So, how about letting us listen to audio of the meeting, so we can compare
| claims now coming from all sides? There are so many different accounts, and
| they don't all sync up. Given that this format, if accepted, will impact us
| little people, not just a bunch of vendors, how about letting us in enough to
| make it at least possible to figure out who is telling the truth?
| Hey, EU Commission. Did you know that there is reportedly audio made of the
| BRM meeting?


Probe into votes on Microsoft standard

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| The European Commission is investigating the process under which a key
| Microsoft document format could be adopted as an industry standard - a move
| that would carry significant commercial benefits for the software company.
| Officials at the European Commission's competition directorate have written
| to members of the International Organisation for Standardisation, asking how
| they prepared for votes in September and later this month on acceptance of
| Microsoft's OOXML document format as a worldwide standard. Without ISO
| acceptance, Microsoft could stand to lose business, particularly with
| government clients, some of which are becoming increasingly keen to use only
| ISO-certified software.
| The ISO process has been widely criticised, however, with some members of
| national standards' bodies accusing Microsoft and its rivals of attempting to
| influence the vote.
| Tim Bray, a member of the Canadian national standards body, called the
| procedure "complete, utter, unadulterated bull****" in a recent blog posting.
| [...]
| In addition, in several countries, a large number of Microsoft partners
| joined the national standards organisations just ahead of a vote on the issue
| in September.
| [...]
| Microsoft said it openly encouraged its partners to participate in the ISO
| process, but was not funding any third parties doing so. The company said it
| would cooperate with the European Commission's inquiry.


The Art of Being Mugged

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| The four options presented were:
| * Option 1: Submitter's responses (Ecma's) are all automatically
| approved.
| * Option 2: Anything not discussed is not approved.
| * Option 3: Neutral third-party (ITTF) decides which Ecma responses are
| accepted
| * Option 4: Voting (approve + disapprove) must be at least 9 votes.
| Abstentions not counted.
| We were told that these options are not in the Directives and that were are
| given these choices because ITTF "needs to act in the best interests of the
| IEC". I don't quite get it, but there appears to be some concern over what
| the press would think if the BRM did not handle all of the comments. One NB
| requested to speak and asked, "I wonder what the press would think about
| arbitrarily changed procedures?". No response. I thought to myself, why
| wasn't ITTF thinking about the 'best interests" of JTC1 when they allowed a
| 6,045 page Fast Track submission, or ignored all those contradiction
| submissions, or decided to schedule a 5-day BRM to handle 3,522 NB comments.
| Isn't it a bit late to start worrying about what the press will think?
| We break for lunch.
| After lunch and after more discussion, the meeting adopted a variation of
| option 4, by removing the vote minimum. I believe in this vote the BRM and
| ITTF exceeded its authority and violated the consensus principles described
| in JTC1 Directives.

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