Standards NZ Media Release

[Update - I stand slightly corrected, the word "successful" was used in the SNZ press release]

Standards NZ (SNZ) put out a media release a couple of days ago under the title "New Zealand's voice heard at Geneva OOXML meeting". The release, attached to this article, describes how progress was made on two of the 54 SNZ comments made last September on the proposed ISO standard, OOXML.

Computerworld have a slightly different spin on the press release and report Standards NZ claims Geneva success.

Actually if you read the press release you will see the term "success" was avoided. I thought it might be worth adding just a little context. Usual disclaimers apply...NZOSS only speaks for NZOSS and I have not had time to properly analyse even the reported successes.

Last September SNZ voted against adopting OOXML and gave 54 reasons (comments) for so doing. Ecma, the body proposing the standard on behalf of Microsoft, made a stab at addressing some of these comments and flat refused to address many more of them. As the technical meeting in Geneva approached (the BRM) it became clear that a week would not be enough time to address the over 1000 unique concerns expressed by National Bodies like SNZ. So, each National Body was asked by ISO to identify their top six most important unresolved issues. These six would be addressed during the week long BRM in Geneva and the rest dealt with in some other unspecified manner.

Well, judging by reports from other countries' delegates it seems that SNZ was lucky to get just two of its six issues discussed. Many other delegations only had one discussed. Each of Ecma's proposed resolutions was, it seems, altered as a result of those discussions. The documentation is a bit confusing to me but it appears that there were about 40 "resolutions" discussed during the week.

The two items mentioned in the report were accessibility and browser support. There have been significant changes in the first issue, accessibility. We are as yet unable to comment on the second as the actual resolution is hidden away in a password protected file deep in the bowels of an ISO repository.

We have not had our delegation report back to the Advisory Committee yet. The outcome of the BRM is still unclear.