I’ve generally been ignoring all the fuss & bother about OOXML’s well-greased path to ISO anointment. I’d assumed that after ECMA had applied rigorous and impartial scrutiny to all six thousand pages, ensuring that this was straightforwardly implementable by all interested parties, then the ISO rubber stamp wouldn’t be long in following, giving us an International Standard no less, plus fresh insight into the level of respect such things deserve; and we could all get on with life. Now, the ISO process seems to be turning into the most entertaining kind of standards mosh-pit, with loud accusations of corruption and malpractice. Canadians in the crowd will be reminded of the flavor of a Liberal Party nomination meeting. Groklaw’s coverage is predictably overamped, but still fun; here’s news from France, Sweden, and Norway. That’s just one day’s worth. [Update: Hey, Denmark too!]
I want to say that I’m shocked, shocked, by the appalling cynicism in Mary Jo Foley’s Why Microsoft deserved to lose the OOXML standards vote: “This battle’s not about interoperability, motherhood and apple pie: It’s about Microsoft wanting to keep its desktop-suite monopoly and its competitors seeking ways to break Redmond’s stranglehold on this part of Microsoft’s business.”
Microsoft’s official take is really a top-notch piece of spin, but they do have a point, you know; the story is not over.
If I understand the ISO process correctly, had OOXML made it over both of the vote thresholds that it missed, its supporters could have adopted what’s come to be known as the WS-Fed Gambit in dealing with all the comments and objections. Near as I can tell, either the spec will have to get enough changes and patches to convince a bunch of P-Members to change their “No” to “Yes”, or someone (not naming names) will need to find a bunch more instant P-Members to join Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela, in adding enough “Yes” votes to enable the WS-Fed Gambit.
So stand by for lots more rock-’em, sock-’em smash-mouth ISO fun!