The Freedom-from-OOXML Fight Continues

Early this week, we reported that South Africa became the first nation to appeal the ISO's approval of Microsoft Office Open XML. Now they have been joined by a second appellant, Brazil, and the second round of charges are even more heated than the first.

The OOXML approval process, which has been a nightmare for all involved, was due to end months ago, but has labored on due to continued twisting of ISO regulations. Indeed, the failure to publish a final version of the standard — which the ISO was required to have done over three months ago — is one of the reasons for Brazil's entry into the appeals game. Far more interesting, however, are the allegations regarding the Ballot Resolution Meeting, which by all accounts was an unconvincing shill of a "meeting". According to the letter of appeal, not only did the convenors re-arrange the rules in mid-stream, but actively prevented certain delegations — including the Brazilian one — from presenting their proposals. Additionally, they charge that many of the decisions were made under pressure from the convenors to make quick decisions in order to "give answers to journalists."

Though the window for filing appeals against the approval expired yesterday, observers are suggesting that further appeals could be on the way. One thing is certain: Barring another round of ignore-the-rules-and-catch-us-if-you-can, the ISO won't be getting out of this one without some serious spanin to do.

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