Norway ISO members walk out over OOXML

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Norway ISO members walk out over OOXML

Norwegian members of the Technical Committee of that country's International Standards Organisation (ISO) body Standard Norge have resigned their posts to protest the approval of Microsoft's OOXML document formats proposal in defiance of the majority recommendation.

In all, 13 of the committee's 23 members have resigned, a majority of the membership.

In Standard Norge deliberations regarding OOXML earlier this year, only two members – Microsoft and Statoil – voted for approval, while the remaining 21 voted against it. Defying the overwhelming vote, the officials of Standard Norge went ahead and approved OOXML anyway, and transmitted that "decision" to ISO.

As a public service, we reproduce the rough Google translation of the 13 former Norway Standard Technical Committee members' letter of resignation below:

Oslo, Monday 29 September 2008

We, the undersigned, are ending our work within Standard Norway.

It is sad when organisations that work for our common interest fail the task. Through the OOXML work, Standard Norway has shown, with a clear margin, that they are not fit to represent Norway in the ISO.

"Standardisation of formats for content on the Web is more important than ever. A large part of mankind's communication is done digitally, and all - ALL - must have the ability to read and write these formats," said Håkon Wium Lie.

Standard Norway chose to defy their own technical committee and vote yes to a specification that is immature, useless, and unworthy of being called an ISO standard.

Standard Norway has lost its credibility in the IT area from the way it has administered the process. Standard Norway has set its own commercial interests ahead of what is best for society, most feasible technologically, and what is professionally advisable.

"By participating in a further work in Standard Norway will we lose our professional credibility," said Arne S. Nielsen.

Therefore, we have chosen to leave the committee.

We end our work with Standard Norway because:

* The administration of Standard Norway trust 37 identical letters from Microsoft partners more than their own technical committee.

* The process within Standard Norway has been unpredictable and the administration has changed the rules along the way.

* Standard Norway and ISO have committed a series of violations of their own rules and other irregularities in the OOXML process.

"Standard Norway has overruled hundreds of thousands of users in the public and private sectors", says Martin Bekkelund.

The mass-copied Microsoft-letter did not contain a single professional argument. Standard Norway first said that these kinds of statements would not be given any weight. However, at the end of the process they changed their mind and emphasised the Microsoft letters. Thereby, Standard Norway misled the committee members.

The process in Standard Norway is unpredictable, subjective and is continuously changed behind the scenes. "There is no way to appeal a decision, neither inside nor outside Standard Norway — the administrative staff who makes the decisions is the same who 'reviews' (i.e., lingers, ignores and shelves) appeals and complaints", says Trond Heier.

Each and every one of us will continue our [work] for better standards within organisations other than Standard Norway.

The undersigned:

1. Haakon Wium Lie 2. Martin Bekkelund (NUUG) 3. Petter Reinholdtsen (NUUG) 4. Linpro AS v/ Trond Heier Linpro AS v / Trond Heier 5. Bjørn Venn 6. Steve Pepper 7. Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen 8. Henning Kulander 9. Axel Bojer 10. Geir Isene 11. Thomas Malt 12. Anthony Lardahl (NUUG) 13. Knut Olav Bøhmer Knut
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