Ben Langhinrichs

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My favorite spin of the day

Tue 4 Sep 2007, 09:07 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
As many of you now probably know, Microsoft and Ecma failed to get the Open XML passed on a fast track ballot.  That doesn't mean it is dead, not at all, but it does mean they have to go back to the committee table and deal with some of the 10,000 comments (I mean that number seriously, although there are likely many duplicates).

So, of course, the spin meisters are out in force, trying to make it sound like a loss is a win.  There are a few notable exceptions, such as Jason Matusow, who lays out the facts without much spin, to his great credit.  But there are some very funny efforts as well.  My favorite is this chart from Stephen McGibbons (note DIS29500=OOXML and IS26300=ODF):

OOXML vs. ODF chart

Above this, and this is the really funny part, is the caption:
And when both are combined it is very interesting to note that there is clearly more support for OpenXML already than there was for ODF.
So, Stephen manages to turn a unanimous vote for ODF into less support than a rejection for OOXML.  That is just priceless.  Please, visit Stephen's site (click on the image above) and enjoy the rest of the creative charts and feel free to share your thoughts, although Stephen has an unfortunate habit of holding off on publishing comments he doesn't like.

Copyright © 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

612.1. Rob Weir
(09/04/2007 07:03 PM)

Even worse is his P-member chart comparing ODF and OOXML. The problem is that these two standards were balloted by two different committees with different numbers of eligible P-members! So ODF was a JTC1/SC34 ballot, where at the time there was only 25 P-members, of which 23 cast votes, all 23 for approval. OOXML was a JTC1 ballot, where there appears to now to be around 35 P-members (exact number is still in flux). So the only way you can really compare these two ballots is by the percentages. ODF received 100% P-member approval, while OOXML received only 53%.

612.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(09/04/2007 07:31 PM)

But you have to admit, it takes a devious mind to spin this particular way. Do you think this was planned out ahead of time or spontaneously came to Stephen after a double anchovy and mushroom pizza?

612.3. Nathan T. Freeman
(09/05/2007 04:48 AM)

Rob, I'm pretty sure there were exactly 41 P members for JTC1 at the time of the vote. That's how many ISO listed at the time, anyway.

JTC1/SC34, in the meantime, swelled to 48 members during the run-up to the OOXML vote.

612.4. Patrick M
(09/05/2007 08:16 AM)

Ben, I think he also must have downed some booze with that pizza for coming up with such ridiculous figures. Very cre8tive ways of distortion, though.