Nevertheless, on Slashdot this story appeared yesterday:
"schliz alerts us that ISO, in response to the four appeals (Venezuela, India, Brazil, South Africa) filed in recent weeks, has put the OOXML standardization process on hold. Here is ISO's press release, which says that ISO/IEC DIS 29500 will not be published for at least "several months" while the appeals process goes forward."
This was followed by a somewhat cryptic update:
"Update: 06/11 10:13 GMT by KD : Reader Alsee points out that the fourth officially recognized appealing country is Venezuela, not Denmark as originally stated. The protests of Denmark and Norway are being disregarded, as they do not come from the administrative heads of their national organizations."
Now I am confused too. The official ISO release clearly states:
"Four national standards body members of ISO and IEC – Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela – have submitted appeals against the recent approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML formats, as an ISO/IEC International Standard."
A letter in Danish (http://osl.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/AFD/ISO_klage_maj08.pdf) seems to be made incorrectly (officially I think you have to use English, Russian, or French to communicate in the United Nations or ISO) yet carried with it the weight of the nation. The official Danish Standards organization (and hence ISO voice) did not make the complaint - it was made and sent to that organization. Having dealt with Danish SDOs before, I know they take this stuff seriously so I have sincere feelings that the heart of the Danish SDO might be on side on this case (Disclaimer: my opinion, not fact). Note that officially, ISO does not recognize the author of the letter, OSL - an open source group. As translated and reported on Groklaw,
"(The letter in question)
I cannot find an official response from ISO to this letter anywhere. So what about Norway? Norway's protest seems to be more official at least according to Scuttlemonkey's post on slashdot:
"I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman (of 13 years standing) of the Norwegian mirror committee to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34. I wish to inform you of serious irregularities in connection with the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (Office Open XML) and to lodge a formal protest. You will have been notified that Norway voted to approve OOXML in this ballot. This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80% of which was against changing Norway's vote from No with comments to Yes."
The alleged letter is documented at http://blog.abrenna.com/formal-protest-against-norways-yes-to-ooxml/. If an acting chairman's letter, written in English, is not official I have no idea why.
So where lies the truth and what will happen? I researched ISO's process of dealing with protests. It is at http://isotc.iso.org/livelink/livelink.exe/fetch/186605/customview.html?func=ll&objId=186605&objAction=browse&sort=name. Ironically, this page does not seem to conform to web standards and I need some plugin to view the content. In short, Roger Frost, ISO's Manager of Communication, has stated publicly in the release the following:
"In accordance with the ISO/IEC rules governing the work of their joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, the appeals are currently being considered by the ISO Secretary-General and the IEC General Secretary who, within a period of 30 days (to the end of June), and following whatever consultations they judge appropriate, are required to submit the appeals, with their comments, to the ISO Technical Management Board and the IEC Standardization Management Board."
I guess we all have to wait and see. Prediction? This stall will have no effect on the overall status of ISO approval of OOXML. Microsoft has claimed it will add support for the Open Document Format (ODF) and that should quell some of the opposition. There has been a lot of resources and energy wasted on this debate. Regardless of the outcome, here are my predictions: