Clarification on what the Fast Track is really about
From the outset of the process several countries pointed out that OOXML was inappropriate for Fast Track processing and that it should be rejected and re-submitted to the formal standards process. This has since then be repeated again and again, by me as well as many other people, and I have no interest in rehashing that point once again.
On the other hand it appears to me that some people are getting confused about what the Fast Track is really about and what it’s not designed for.
JTC1’s choice not to listen to the countries that raised contradictions basically led it to trying to replace the multi-year standards process by a few months and a 5 day BRM. Predictably this has failed leaving many issues undiscussed, unresolved, or simply to be accounted for.
I said predictably because the Fast Track process is not designed to fix broken specifications, so it is no surprise that it failed short of achieving that goal.
The Fast Track process is merely designed to ratify specifications that already meet ISO standards criteria or are very close to. OOXML doesn’t, and for this reason alone, if nothing else, it shouldn’t be approved.
People should also remember that voting No to OOXML now doesn’t necessarily mean No forever. It simply means not yet, it is not ready – and there is plenty of evidence this is the case -. By voting No, people are simply giving the world a chance to fix OOXML before ratifying it.
As I stated before the world has nothing to gain from rushing OOXML through ISO. The only urgency here is not to rush into making this broken specification an ISO standard.
For what it’s worth, ISO/IEC officials’ response to criticism over the use of the Fast Track process has been that if people don’t think it is appropriate they should simply vote No. So you can take it from them: Vote No.