On OFE's Anti-BRM ..
I was one of the two Microsoft employees who attended Open Forum Europe's anti-BRM event (Nick Tsilas being the other).
When I thanked Graham Taylor, OFE's CEO, for allowing me to attend (in the past OFE hasn't been able to allow me to participate in some of its IDABC related events because its members have objected) Graham mentioned that he hoped that I'd be able to say that it was a professionally run event. I've thought hard about that for a few days now, but my conclusion is that it was, after all, a cynical attempt to undermine the DIS29500 BRM despite Graham's assurances that it aimed to be about the bigger picture.
- I asked Graham how one joins Open Forum Europe. He told me that membership is by invitation only.
- The meeting is held under the Chatham House rule. I think this is to give the impression of serious discussion but I think it's more to give free licence to the speakers. I tried to correct one IBM speaker and was told to keep questions to the end - disagreement's clearly frowned upon.
Not a Forum
- There was very little debate, and little appetite for debate either.
- The panels were very one-sided, and one would have to conclude that no attempt to present a balanced overview of the issues had been made.
- As far as I could tell, the OFE desk had exclusively anti-OpenXML literature. Admittedly it was the "same old same old" but again the story was entirely one sided
- Well I can't be 100% sure as I can't find OFE's [invitation only] membership on their web site, but it seemed that the main protagonists were all from the US. (In this regard Open Forum Europe is like that other great European Institution ECIS which is made up of American companies and led by an American lawyer.)
The anti-BRM finished on the Wednesday I believe with the traditional freebies offered with OFE's more usual EU lobbying events. However OFE and its invisible members, together with some of the speakers, stayed in town through the end of the week for "meetings". From Eric Lai's piece in Computerworld it seems this involved briefing the press about how the BRM had failed and quickly establishing an element of FUD and misinformation.
My conclusion, the anti-BRM was in retrospect only ever about trying to bring the ISO and the process into disrepute. Sorry Graham - I think it was shabby.