[odf-discuss] Here is Microsoft's spin on the JTC-1 contradictions
Lars D. Noodén
lars at umich.edu
Thu Feb 8 06:35:34 EST 2007
On Thu, 8 Feb 2007, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> It is important to understand how the standards process works. The
> traditional way that ISO has always worked (and continues to work) is
> that a standard is proposed; those who have an interest take a look and
> vote; and those who are not, essentially ignore it. Among those who
> choose to participate, if anyone objects, the standard is blocked until
> the objection is resolved (if it ever is). A lot bodies might not even
> read the standard, so they simply abstain.
To achieve the process you describe there, an abstention would count only
towards quorum but not counted in the vote in any way, either for or
against. I'll illustrate a weakness below, using summers.
> In a world with over 100 countries, and where ISO members are all unpaid
> volunteers with busy day-time jobs, this is actually a very reasonable
> way to do things. It works well pretty much all the time. If it didn't
> work this way, it'd be very hard to every agree on anything.
Either model works fairly well when there is a good faith effort from all
paritcipants. I suspect that the model used by ISO and others, where
abstention counts as a yes, may be less robust in weathering abuse.
Take the case of summer holidays, which we've seen in the EC the last few
years in regards to trying to get sw patents into Europe. The trick there
was to wait until most people were away on holiday and busy with
family activites and then quickly slide through a proposal that would have
little chance of passing, if subjected to scrutiny. That happens on
student councils, city councils, university councils, and the European
Council, from what I've seen.
No system is perfect, but it does need to reflect the situation in which
it will be (ab)used.
> I note also that this is how the Fellowship works 99% of the time...
But it's a rather different organization. It's main purpose, if I
understand correctly, is advocacy for a specific open format, with some
attention paid to open standards in general.
> Back to ISO, getting 19 responses at the contradictions stage is, as far
> as I understand it, highly unusual. This spec received a lot more
> attention than is normal at this stage.
That has the potential to be very good. It will help, of course, to see
the actual list of combined contradictions.
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