You probably noticed the new caricature. Microsoft and their YES-Men. It is not meant as a joke or exaggeration. This is exactly how it works. In 1940 the German Reich invaded Norway to get control over their oil. This summer a vendor invades Standard Committees worldwide to keep a strategic resource of its business under control: document standards. While in 1940 Norway's resistance was very strong, in 2007 the Norwegian standard process is broken. We are watching the same incidences as found everywhere. First Norway faces an increase of interest.
Before the pile of 6500 pages of OOXML specification was placed in the lap of the Norwegian committee, they numbered 4 members. Half a year later we count 46. The matter does indeed engage people.
Then the usual corruption of process? No! Norway grants them power to veto all comments.
The meeting started out with the Vice President of Standard Norge trying to lay down the rules of the game: We are here to go through the documents with comments to the standard and only those comments that we agree on will be passed on to ISO. He took up the first point (mine) and asked: “Are there any disagreement to this point?“. Unsurprisingly, a lady from Microsoft replied “We disagree“. He went on “Ok, so we have a disagreement on this point” and was ready to move on to the next. I and many with me dropped our jaws. “Are you seriously telling us that if Microsoft here says no to a point, it’s pulled from the list?“. “Yes, that is how the process works“. “And they can do that without even giving an explanation as to why they don’t agree?“.
Read the full story in Geir Isene blog. The standardization of Open XML is a never-ending farce but the Geir Isene article is probably one of the most entertaining reports. I wonder what Norwegians think about that? What does Parliament say?