OOXML in the ISO’s limbo

ISO has a press release about the 4 countries (India, Brazil, South Africa and Venezuela) and their appeal against the OOXML standardization.

The important part of it is this:

According to the ISO/IEC rules, a document which is the subject of an appeal cannot be published as an ISO/IEC International Standard while the appeal is going on. Therefore, the decision to publish or not ISO/IEC DIS 29500 as an ISO/IEC International Standard cannot be taken until the outcome of the appeals is known.

Which means OOXML cannot become a standard until the appeals get resolved and all countries get satisfied with the outcome.

In other words, OOXML is stucked in the limbo. It can’t be described, considered or even sold as an ISO standard.

It was sort of approved but can’t be approved. Well, the final specification text was not published yet anyways. With some luck, to technically fix OOXML can take the same amount of time as of solving the appeal.

Then we’ll go back to first question: does the world need tow standard ways to describe “helvetica, 12pt with red” or “a table with 3 columns and 5 rows” or even “page layout with 1.5cm margins” ?

As a reference, Brazilian appeal was published in Andy’s blog and is an informative yet concise enough text to understand the technical and process issues around OOXML.

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