I know a lot of people are interested in the OOXML process. As a guide for spectators, here are the facts about voting, to help you in making your own useless predictions.

Mechanics · There are two types of national members, “P” (first-class) and “O” (second-class). Their definitions are irrelevant for this discussion.

There are three possible votes: “Approval”, “Disapproval”, and “Abstention”. To pass, you have to get two-thirds or better Approval votes from the P-members who vote, as well as less than than one-quarter “Disapproval” votes from all members who vote. I’ve highlighted “who vote” because these calculations don’t include Abstention votes; this is important.

In the first round, OOXML almost but not quite met the “less than 25% negative” threshold, missing (as I calculate it) by one vote.

Among the P-members, there were 17 in favor, 15 against, and 9 abstentions.

Next Round · Up till March 29th, any of the first-round voters can change their votes to any of the three options. But no new nations can join the vote, nor can any nation change their P/O-member status. It seems likely that if enough P-member votes shift to get OOXML the two-thirds it needs, that’ll probably also clear the “less than 25% negative” threshold. So it’s those P-member votes that are interesting.

In the simplest case, if five P-members shifted from Disapproval to Approval, OOXML would be home free. But it would be entirely unsurprising if one or more nations made other shifts: all of Approval to Disapproval, Approval to Abstention, Abstention to Disapproval, Abstention to Approval, and Disapproval to Abstention are perfectly plausible. Each of those changes the arithmetic in its own special way.

My Prediction · First of all, I predicted that OOXML would sail through on the first ballot, so what do I know? Having said that, here’s what I think: It’ll be decided in Europe.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: carlos (Mar 13 2008, at 13:15)


As a Canadian, could you share with us what vote would you like for Canada? Approve/Dissaprove/Abstain/Burn this pile of s*** on Hell :-) ?



From: Jirka Kosek (Mar 13 2008, at 13:41)

Might be EU countries should count only as one vote to not discrimine large countries like USA, India or China ;-)

That way Europe will have no influence on DIS 29500, because I doubt that we will be able to agree on something including abstention.


From: Orlando Marcelo (Mar 13 2008, at 17:51)

"Having said that, here’s what I think: It’ll be decided in Europe"

Mr. Bray

Don't underestimate the power of the unexpected brand new upgraded JTC1 P-members, who are all yes-sayers:

Jamaica island

Cyprus Island

Malta Island







and the other unconditional P-yes-sayers:




Saudi Arabia

They represented 41% of votes at the setember/2007 ballot ( http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1070 )

Orlando Marcelo


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