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OOXML Balloting Closes; Ratification Vote Close

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Balloting on whether Office Open XML (OOXML) should become an international document standard closed at midnight Saturday in Geneva, in an apparently tight vote. The results have not yet been officially announced.

In order for the measure to pass, two-thirds of participating countries needed to vote in favor of the issue and less than one-quarter of observer countries in opposition to it. A total of 87 nations' standards bodies will cast votes. Neither the ISO nor Microsoft have issued a statement regarding the balloting results.

A few key vote changes ahead of the final tally could push the measure towards approval. In Europe, representatives from Finland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic all indicated they were changing their earlier votes from opposing the standard to supporting it.

Others remain in opposition.

"Standards New Zealand has confirmed its negative vote for the adoption of the OOXML specification as an ISO/IEC international standard," Standards New Zealand Chief Executive Debbie Chin said in a statement Sunday on the group's Web site. A Standards NZ spokesperson said Monday afternoon that it had no further news or statement from Geneva. A Microsoft representative in New Zealand declined comment.

A representative from Standards Malaysia, the national standards body, declined comment.

Microsoft representatives in Singapore could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. delegation intended to vote for the measure after the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) agreed to support the standard after several rounds of balloting.

Kenya, a participating member, abstained from the vote. The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) called on African delegations to abstain due to insufficient African representation in the process.

Several blogs covering OOXML predicted ratification, including the pro-Open Document Format (ODF) ConsortiumInfo.org,, based on publicly-stated support or opposition statements made by the standards bodies.

OOXML failed to gain ratification at an earlier vote in September 2007. But since opposition to a standard must be made on technical grounds, after the September vote a new draft of the OOXML standard's specifications was written. An initial vote on the new draft was conducted in February, and the March 29 deadline was the last possible date that the participating and observing bodies could change their vote if desired.

The ISO already recognizes the ODF as a standard. ODF editor Patrick Durusau expressed support for OOXML's ratification as a standard also, stating that ODF would suffer if Microsoft's format were rejected.

Source: PC World

Link: Lunarsoft Frontpage

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I believe it will get ratified.

It didn't get ratified before, but Microsoft won't stop until it will. They will make sure it will pass.

ISO has lost their creditability as a standard organization, the whole process has been full of scandals and corruption.

Cuba voted No, yet their vote was counted as Yes.

18 of 20 people in Norway voted no, yet the 2 people decided it would be Yes anyways.

Many other bad situations in Poland, Germany, Croatia, etc too. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2008032913190768

People were told they couldn't vote No, only Yes or Abstain.

Everyone who didn't vote were counted as Yes votes.

There were special rules added and standard procedures changed, etc.

Misleading people that they can vote by e-mail for the next 10 days. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080322203811784

Microsoft internal documents revealed how they plan to pass standards, using stacked panels and have a moderator that they own, but which poses as independent, etc. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071023002351958

Fast tracking standards are for ~150 pages documents. They tried to fast-track OOXML, a 6000 page document, the largest in the history of ISO.

OOXML poses as open but is covered by patents and makes calls to legacy undocumented functions.

They buy votes using bribes. The bribes are clever though and do not appear as bribes. They're "Thank you for your good work, we appreciate it. We really value your intelligence and all our team respect you and talk how smart you are. If OOXML were to become an ISO standard, we would really much want to hire you as a consult with a salary of $500/hour."

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