I opined the other day that the drama around the OOXML process had reached dizzying heights of spin coming out of last week's Geneva meeting.  The Microsoft partisans celebrated the meeting as a huge success, which struck me as odd, until I remembered that Microsoft also issued a press release claiming victory on the day when the fast track ballot was initially rejected.  They would do themselves so much better if they were just honest in their assessments.

One of the members of the Greek delegation to JTC-1 has written his observations of last week's BRM.  Here is a simple, factual view:

First, it is important to clarify that the BRM did not say either that the specification is OK, or that it is not OK, because it is not within its competence to say such a thing. There was good co-operation, and, to a large extent, good will, from all sides, because the BRM has a single purpose: make the specification better. Let me repeat that: the BRM has the single purpose of making the specification better, so that if it is accepted, it is the best possible. Or, the same thing viewed from another viewpoint, the BRM attempts to make it better, to maximize its chances of going through. Well, this is in theory, of course; in practice some want to maximize its chances of not going through, and I'm certain that it's not the first standard in which this happens. ...

Brian Jones and Jason Matusow of Microsoft have said that the BRM was a success because it fulfilled its purpose, which was to make changes to the text. Although this is technically correct, if the original text got 1 out of 10 and the BRM managed to improve it to 1.1, it is somewhat misleading to call it a success. Brian Jones says that there was consensus in the changes. This is also true, but the reason there was consensus was that we quickly became disillusioned, lowered our standards, and only discussed modifications which we knew could pass within the given constraints.
Link: Antonis Christofides: Some clarifications on the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting >

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