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Advisory group for meeting on Open XML Standard


13 December 2007

Advisory group established for meeting on draft Open XML Standard

An advisory group has been established that will take part in a five-day meeting to discuss concerns raised around the Open Office XML specification. The meeting will be held in Geneva in February 2008.

"With the help of relevant stakeholders Standards New Zealand has formed the advisory group, and will send two delegates from the group, and a Standards New Zealand staff member, to the meeting," says Grant Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, Standards New Zealand.

The advisory group is made up of representatives from the following organisations:
- Internet NZ
- NZ Open Source Society - technical
- NZ Open Source Society - strategist
- Microsoft NZ
- Microsoft NZ partner
- Archives New Zealand
- State Services Commission
- NZ Computer Society

Mr Thomas says "The meeting will be an opportunity for the international committee to discuss and try to resolve the concerns raised by countries that voted against the specification.

"Our advisory group will have the crucial role of considering the proposed resolutions of these concerns, and advising Standards New Zealand about whether these adequately address stakeholders concerns. The advisory group will concentrate on concerns submitted by New Zealand, but will also consider any concerns raised by other countries that they believe are important and relevant to New Zealand."

In September 2007, the European Computer Manufacturers' Association (ECMA) 376 Open Office XML specification was not approved as an international standard when voted on by members of the international standards joint technical committee No 1 (JTC1). Standards New Zealand, as a member of JTC1 with the responsibility to vote on behalf of New Zealand, voted against adopting the specification as an international standard.

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Before casting a negative vote, Standards New Zealand ran a two-day workshop for interested parties to understand stakeholder views and determine the appropriate vote.

"After considerable consultation, we submitted a negative vote with comments detailing concerns about the document," said Grant Thomas.

"At the time, we announced that voting 'no' with comments provides the opportunity for any technical issues to be resolved. If all the concerns are resolved we will have the chance to change New Zealand's vote to a 'yes'."

For more information and to view the ISO/IEC press release -

For more information on New Zealand's vote -


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