Arnaud’s Open blog

Opinions on open source and standards

ISO is being challenged

I’ve meant to blog on several topics but just didn’t have the time to do so. I’m putting an end to more than a month of silence to highlight some interesting news from India.

Like many people I’ve been appalled by the way ISO officials are trying to dismiss the appeals filed against the way OOXML was processed. Once more I’ve discovered a new aspect of the ISO process which has left me puzzled.

Essentially, the ISO and IEC courts of appeal are made of a jury composed of a subset of the very same parties that judged OOXML in the first place. Now, I’m not a law expert by any means but it doesn’t take much expertise to figure out that such a set up is bogus. The whole point of an appeal process is to get a second opinion. How can this be achieved by asking the same people?

Of course, ISO’s officials attitude to recommend a straight dismissal isn’t helping the matter either. Although they are definitely being consistent I’m afraid in this case they are just being consistently wrong. They remind me of these abusive governments that spend their time trying to shush the opposition rather than understand it. They should know better though.

History is full of governments that were thrown out by oppressed people. If ISO and IEC officials think they are somewhat shielded from this kind of trouble they need to think again.

For proof I suggest you read “ISO/IEC and OOXML: The judge, the jury and the hangman” in which Venkatesh Hariharan calls for the creation of an alternate standards organization for the benefit of the emerging economies.

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July 21, 2008 Posted by | standards | , , | 4 Comments