Thirteen members of the Norwegian standards body's technical committee walked out recently. I am simply not aware enough of the details to make any specific comments: I expect I would have some mix of agreement (e.g. that committee people need attendance quotas before being allowed to vote) and disagreement (that people who don't want some technology standardized are more important than people who don't want it) with their points.
But I thought it would be interesting to see who these people were. I only knew a couple, so I have augmented it with LinkedIn information: my conclusion is that LinkedIn has entries for almost all these people: certainly for Norwegians it seems to have achieved a really great reach.
- Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen
- According to the LinkedInentry, he is a Competitive Sales Specialist (Lotus Evangelist) at IBM Software Group, Norway. His specialities include Competitive Sales Support (Reducing Microsoft Licencing Cost). He modestly has not included any technical credentials that make him suitable for a technical committee.
- Trond Heier
- Trod Heier is CTO of LinPro, whose website says We will become one of Europe's largest open source companies.. They are a direct competitor to Microsoft.
- Henning Kulander
- According to the LinkedIn entry, Henning is a Systemkonsulent at LinPro, a competitor to Microsoft.
- Thomas Malt
- Until 1 month ago, according to his LinkedIn entry, Thomas was formerly Head of Development Services at Linpro AS. He is now Project Manager at Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which presumably may not have interest in OOXML or ODF.
- Håkon Wium Lie
- Lie is a world-class expert on stylesheets, the original developer of CSS, a long-term participant of the W3C, and an ornament to any standards committee. He is also Chief Technical Officer of Opera, a direct competitor to MicroSoft.
- Bjørn Venn
- LinkedIn entry says Instigater of the National competence center of free and open source software in Norway (htpp://www.friprog.no) and a special consultant for Buskerud county.
- Martin Bekkelund (NUUG)
- Martin's LinkedIn account he describes himself as Free Software and Open Source Evangelist, process modelling, system design, usability, information architecture, customer relations, sales and agile project management. He is an utviklingsleder at the Norwegian National Innovation Center for Open Source (Friprog), a government-sponsored project, and a board member of the Council for Search Engine Marketing in Norway. Martin has an earlier blog entry in English on the so-called scandal. (NUUG is the Norwegian Unix Users Group)
- Steve Pepper
- Steve's LinkedIn entry says he is an Independent Topic Maps Consultant. Steve is very well known and respected in markup circles, being involved in early SGML work, and in particular editing and leading the WG3 group at SC34 on Topic Maps. He retired from these in late 2006 (IIRC). He is someone whose technical opinions really should carry some weight, and he certainly is not a fly-by just arriving to get ODF promoted and OOXML rejected, then leaving in as destructive a fashion as possible. (Steve's sporadic blog is Topic Maps and All That)
- Axel Bojer
- According to the LinkedIn entry, Axel is a translation coordinator at the University of Oslo Åpne kontorprogram på norsk. He is also Coordinator for the Norwegian bokmål translations of KDE and OpenOffice.org.
- Petter Reinholdtsen (NUUG)
- Petter Reinholdtsen is a long term Debian contributor, the maintainer of the default Debian boot system, one of the authors of the debian-installer and the Debian Edu system architect. He has been the lead developer of Skolinux, Linux distribution for schools supported by LinPro. He works at the University of Oslo developing system administration tools. (He is a former employee of Opera, Linpro and Telenor. NUUG is the Norwegian Unix Users Group)
- Geir Isene
- Geir runs FreeCode AS a FOSS consultancy with particular ITIL interests.
- Knut Olav Bøhmer
- According to his LinkedIn entry, Knut is a Lisp consultant at Telenor and a Free Software Consultant at FreeCode AS. (He is a former employee of LinPro.)
- Anthony Lærdahl (NUUG)
- According to his LinkedIn entry, Anthony is an IT Adviser at National Archives of Norway. (NUUG is the Norwegian Unix Users Group)
So if we take these 13, and subtract people who either work for competitors of Microsoft or affiliated with the NUUG/FOSS industry/community, we get...1 person (the esteemed Steve Pepper) by my count.
Of course, affiliation does not mean bought or rote votes: I am the last person to think that, except perhaps for people without technical competence. ODF's Patrick Durusau, for example, is paid by Sun but his value is largely that he is independent and knowledgeable. And even parrots have value, if they fairly advocate their stakeholder's view. (Of course, most people like to consider themselves mavericks, even when violently agreeing with each other and the conventional wisdom of their peers.)
But all that being said, I tend to think that a walkout by [people who see themselves as commercial and non-commercial] competitors may generate more scepticism, fairly or unfairly, than, say, a walk-out by prospective users.