ODF News - Help the OOXML BRM concentrate on issues of substance

Microsoft has developed an XML based file format designed to replace the binary formats used by old versions of Microsoft Office. This new file format is called Office Open XML or OOXML and is currently going through a process to ratify it as an international standard backed by ISO. The designation for the standard is Draft International Standard 29500, or DIS29500. The fast track process the standard has followed has been very controversial, in the initial round of votes a large number of comments were raised. These comments will be brought to a Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva at the end of February 2008. Currently there is an overwhelming number of comments to resolve at a large meeting in a short time. Many comments are duplicates raised several times by different countries, many are quite trivial and could be addressed easily. Some are really interesting and worthy of discussion. The purpose of this website is to help the countries and the facilitators of the BRM to prepare by sorting and categorising and de-duplicating the comments so that they can focus on the issues of substance.

There are strong feelings on both sides, those who want the standard approved, and those who don’t. This site aims to adopt a neutral position because the current objectives of both camps are aligned. Nobody would be well served by a BRM that is swamped by duplicates and trivia and fails to come to a resolution because of a lack of time to deal with the real issues.

Why you should help if you don’t want the standard approved

In the last phase quantity counted, duplicates were not a problem - in fact if all the comments were submitted by one body then there might not have been a BRM. That does not apply now. Quality is what counts now.

Why you should help if you do want the standard approved

This website should help to identify the minimum number of comments which need to be addressed to allow countries to change their vote from a No to a Yes. Discussions here may help prepare reasons why some comments should not be resolved.

Alan Bell

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