[odf-discuss] Here is Microsoft's spin on the JTC-1 contradictions
marbux at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 18:03:22 EST 2007
On 2/8/07, Lars D. Noodén <lars at umich.edu> wrote:
> If I understand correctly that was also the main part of their appeal to
> the NBs regarding the contradictions.
The main point to the NBs MS made that I'm aware of is the argument
analogized from the WAPI precedent, that a valid contradiction can not
be made so long as an ODF file and an Ecma 376 file can coexist on the
same hard drive. I don't know of any specific NB that fell for that
bit of misrepresentation other than ANSI-INCITS, but there were
probably many who abstained for that reason. I've dismantled the
Microsoft argument here, <http://opendocument.xml.org/node/238>.
The "competing standards are a Very Good Thing" argument is absolutely
essential to Microsoft's position at JTC-1. The "coexistence on the
same hard drive" argument in the contradiction lobbying is just a
variation of it. If the law is followed, Microsoft loses at ISO and
will be forced to choose between working within the OASIS ODF
standardization framework or forfeiting its Office government software
As the sitatuion now stands, it is illegal for all governments
signatory to the Agreement on Government Procurement to procure more
MS Office licenses. And that is Government with a capital "G," all
levels of government within each signatory nation, and the E.U. is
signatory to that Agreement as a bloc of nations. No one has sought
enforcement yet, but Microsoft knows it is selling into that market
illegally right now and that it's just a question of time before
someone raises a legal challenge to its right to do so. Unless it can
slide Ecma 376 through ISO. Even if it succeeds in that, it isn't the
end of the legal story, but Microsoft will be in a much better
position if things descend into a nation-by-nation battle over the
trade-restrictiveness of Ecma 376.
> Also, I have one very big question about abstentions: from what I gather,
> they count as a yes vote. So any country that abstains, regardless of the
> sounds their representatives make, is in effect voting in favor and has to
> answer for that, not for the noises made by their representatives. Deeds
> not words.
Technically, they count as abstentions in a consensus process,
although less than full unanimity is claimed to be allowed (I quarrel
with that notion because of its conflict with the applicable treaty).
The default is that Ecma 376 stays on the fast track. Contradictions
are in essence a vote against it remaining on the fast track and the
contradictions must be resolved by negotiation -- including an
appellate process that brings in the more experienced ISO negotiatiors
if requested -- within 90 days from February 5. If NB's still maintain
contradictions at the end of that period, Ecma 376 is rejected and
Ecma must refile it on a slower track that does not automatically lead
to a final adoption ballot.
So to try to wrap it up responsively to your question, combining the
abstention with the default of Ecma 376 remaining on the fast track,
I think it's fair to characterize an abstention at the contradiction
stage as a "yes" vote on keeping Ecma 376 on the fast track to a final
ISO adoption ballot. An abstention under the circumstances is
technically still an abstention, but because of the default functions
as a vote for the status quo of fast track processing. But it is
important to understand, I think, that there is no vote involved in
the sense of a majority vote process. I.e., there is no procedural
means provided to vote "yes." It's either object or stand silent.
> So, in that context, in regards to India, several articles mentioned that
> India had considered abstaining but actually filed an objection. The
> eWeek article states otherwise. If it is in error, it should be corrected
> because 1) to get the facts straight, 2) because eWeek gets redistirbuted
> and the errors will propagate indefinitely, 3) Indian representatives are
> probably at least a little interested in maintaining a good reputation.
I don't know which is accurate. It would be good to get it
straightened out. You might try writing to the eWeek reporter, link a
few of the contrary articles, and ask the reporter to resolve the
issue and publish the definitive answer.
I suspect that there may be articles in Indian publications that
provide more definitive information. So you might do a .IN domain
search on Google for articles. (I think that's the domain code for
India, but am not sure.)
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