No consensus over OOXML in Poland, yet

[ Sunday, 23 March 2008, michuk ]


Last Thursday PKN (Polish Normalization Committee) had a meeting on which it was supposed to come up with the decision concerning Polish recommendation for ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (OOXML) proposed standard. The common stance has not been acheived.

In November last year, PKN voted “yes, with comments” for Microsoft’s OOXML. On March 20, 2008, Technical Committee (KT 182) of PKN was supposed to either accept the recommendation (which was to vote YES for the proposed standard) or not accept it, and thus recommend PKN to vote NO or abstain from voting. Of 45 members, 24 appeared on the meeting. And the votes looked like this:

  • 12 votes supporting the reccomendation,
  • 10 votes rejecting it,
  • 2 abstaining to vote.

No consensus has been achieved concerning the recommendation. Thus, the chairman of KT 182, Elżbieta Andrukiewicz, decided to allow the missing members to vote by e-mail during the next 10 days (till the end of March). After receiving all the votes, the final decision will be made (although it’s not exactly clear who is going to make the decision and on what basis).

One is clear though — there is a huge opposition to OOXML as a standard in KT 182, which is contrary to last year’s decision of the same committee (compare: Poland vote$ for Microsoft OOXML [it’s official]).

One of the members of KT 182 is FWIOO — a Polish foundation promoting free and open source software (not to be mistaken with FSF) which also supports OpenParliament initiative. Its representative was present on the meeting.

Yes, we do know a few more details concerning the process and the type of dirty politics that took place just before and during the meeting, but we are not going to reveal it just yet, hoping that the chairman of KT 182 and the PKN itself makes a proper decision in the end (which is to abstain from voting as there has been no consensus about OOXML in KT).

Stay tuned, the story will have part II, probably the week after Easter.

Update 25/03/2008: A letter from Tomasz Schweitzer, president of PKN has been published. In it, Schweitzer asks KT 182 to “abstain from voting” in case of not achieving a consensus over OOXML during the meeting. Here is an (translated) extract from the letter:

[...]Polish stance on OOXML should be a result of a consensus, that is no significant opposition from any interestedparty. I believe that in the existing situation, the most fair and neutral decision KT 182 could make is to abstain from voting. I would like to however emphasize once again that the final decision belongs to the committee.

The fun part is that apparently the members of the committee have not been shown the letter before the actual voting (unconfirmed, but highly likely to be true, according to a source close to KT 182).

Stay tuned for more info soon…

About the Author

Borys Musielak

PolishLinux.org creator and editor in chief. Professionally -- J2EE consultant in London City. Personally -- free software enthusiast and lobbyist.

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