Today the Danish NSB (Dansk Standard) changed their vote from ”Disagree” to ”Approve”. I will be honest and note that I did not see that coming. The process and the debate in Denmark have been extremely complicated and tough and especially after the final meeting in the Danish sub-committee, where we failed to reach a consensus on a recommendation to Dansk Standard, I was very pessimistic. Luckily I was proved wrong when I got the email with the new vote of Denmark.
It is difficult to conclude much without breaking the confidentiality rules of the committee work, but let me share a couple thoughts and feelings running my brain right now.
I think that we can conclude nothing but that our strategy proved to be the right one. We have consistently focused on the technicalities of the debates and we have insisted that the discussions taken place should be about the technical merits and basis of OOXML – not the commercial- nor software-political angle that some wanted to impose on us. We have insistently argued that claims about “lack of interoperability” and “impossible to implement by anyone other than Microsoft” should be backed by technical arguments. We have insistently demanded that the technical work in the Danish mirror-committee should be – technical – and not a discussion of who has the bigger one.
So not alone am I glad that Dansk Standard listened to us and changed their vote and I am proud to have been a part of the process. I am also proud that Denmark has confirmed, that “yes”, it is important to us that Denmark has a formal influence on the development and maintenance of the file format of the Microsoft Office productivity suite; a productivity suite that handles most of the electronic documents in the Danish public sector. We have that influence in ISO – it would be gone in ECMA (and OASIS for that matters). This is to me not a small thing.
Let me close by thanking all the companies and organizations that took part in the work in Denmark. It has been a pleasure to work with all of them (well, some more than others), and I would like to especially thank IBM for all their hard work on improving the specification. I sincerely believe that we all owe them a great amount of thanks for the state and quality of OOXML today. I would also like to thank Dansk Standard for their work. Much like Alex Brown they were faced with an impossible task at hand – but they managed to make sure that the opinion of everyone at the table was heard and accounted for. They really stepped up to the task.
(and now I hear the music start to play …)
I’ll see you all in the blog-sphere … and keep your fingers crossed that Denmark was not the only country to change its vote. It’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings …