Just sent the following letter to the Australian Standards rep for the proposal DIS29500 (Microsoft Office Open XML standard) which is being Fast Tracked through ISO, even with blatant interoperability, portability and cultural technical issues. This is based on the instructions posted at Groklaw. Also, instead of just cut-and-pasting the comments from the No OOXML web site, I've reviewed them and altered for Australian concerns, so that they really are my own comments. I hope that AS takes heed of my and other's submissions and votes no. Would be a shame (all senses) if this were to be supported by AS.
Sydney, August 17th 2007
Subject: Public comments on DIS29500 (ECMA 376)
Dear Michael Langdon, Member of Standards Australia,
I am a professional knowledge worker and Australian citizen, with an interest in Australian Standards' vote for the proposal of DIS29500. I have been following the debates by key players within Australia over Microsoft's proposed OOXML standard, and I have become concerned that, to date, the focus of discussion has been to avoid a dispassionate, technical discussion and instead focus on general issues around the OOXML proposal, and the benefits of having a document standard. It seems odd to me that that these meetings should proceed in this direction for consideration of a technical standard, especially when the bulk of objections to OOXML from other ISO participants (apart from there being an existing ISO standard already, with fully compliant implementations from multiple suppliers) are of a technical nature.
To this regard, I would like to submit technical comments in the light of the vote on the DIS29500 specification that should happen before the end of the month.
You can find here attached an 10-pages explanation on why the standard proposal does not fulfill the required criteria to be elected as an ISO international standard. I have also compiled a 20-page list of approximately 100 comments in the template requested by Standards Australia. In compiling this list, I have taken special consideration where the technical issues in OOXML would hurt it's portability and cultural adaptability for implementation by independent Australian vendors.
By reading the JTC1 directives, my interpretation is that it is possible to vote no with comments if the specification presents serious technical problems, and that it is not possible to have a positive vote with technical comments. In the light of the numerous technical flaws of the specification, I hearty ask you to vote no with comments to the ballot that will happen before the 2nd of September.
I also would be interested to participate in any meeting on the topic, in order to explain the contradictions mentioned in the documents attached.
Michael Lockhart Concerned Australian Citizen and IT professional