Monday 3 September 2007

OOXML, preliminary ISO vote results

ISO is expected to announce the vote results today. Meanwhile, here is a map showing inofficial estimations (may be incomplete relative to the figures here). According to the voting rules there needs to be a qualified majority (2/3) of all participating members that vote. Of those, currently there seems to be 12+ NO votes, and 6+ abstenstions, leaving at the most 41-12-6=23 YES votes. 23+12=35, and 23 / 35 is 65.7%.

If these figures are correct, it seems that OOXML is not approved at this time. However, the possibility of involving a so called Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) has been mentioned. Holding a BRM could mean some NO votes become YES votes, when underlying concerns are addressed. This could mean the process continues for several months - more on this later if so.

Update 4 Sept 14:25: more detailed reports confirm OOXML has not received support on any criteria. 73.91% of the votes of the participating members and 51.61 53.13% of all votes approve of OOXML. 3/4 and 2/3 majorities, respectively, are necessary. At the time of writing, ISO is yet to announce the official results, or any indications on whether a BRM will be held or not. At this point, my feeling is that (while gaining approval later is theoretically possible) holding one would be less than constructive use of their time.

(Sweden is not listed in the table of votes, since they decided to withdraw their decision completely. "Abstention" here means the respective member body has submitted their decision to abstain.)

1 comment:

Stefan Gustavson said...

If the vote does not pass with 2/3 majority of "yes" in this ballot, the regular procedure is that there will be a ballot resolution meeting in February after a 5 month ballot resolution process. The only possibility for not having that ballot resolution meeting is if ISO decides that the comments are "unresolvable", i.e. can not be addressed to the satisfaction of enough "no" voters. In that case the project is canceled ("deleted") by ISO, and DIS 29500 does not progress further towards an FDIS and a final ISO standard. (Deleting DIS 29500 would probably mean that ECMA revises the standard and submits it again some time in the future.)

In my opinion, a deletion by ISO would be the logical outcome, but this process has been far from logical so far, so I don't expect that to happen. Apart from the many technical issues, the overall low quality and huge size of DIS 29500 make me think that it would take a whole lot more than five months to get it right, but ISO and the project editor from ECMA might think otherwise.

Of course, there is always the quick and dirty fix: do not address any comments at all, but rely on Microsoft to "encourage" more "yes"-countries to become P-members and vote "yes" for the ballot resolution meeting. Newcomers to JTC1 joining between now and February will be allowed to vote, and they do not have to state any reasons for voting "yes" without comments.