If OOXML is not adopted, it will simply ratchet the pressure to merge up a little as a few more governments specify ODF.
One who thinks the vote does matter is Vint Cerf, co-designer of the TCP/IP technology that underpin the Internet, and now chief Internet evangelist at Google.
"If OOXML is adopted, it leads to a problem of duplicate formats for document exchange," he said.
That duplication is bad for interoperability: In the Internet world, standards makers work hard on agreeing "one way to do things, and then evolving it," he said. "We don't reinvent the wheel."
IBM vice president of standards and open source Bob Sutor has an interest in the outcome of the vote, but there is one thing the BRM has already changed, he said: "OOXML has caused a crisis in the standards system."
Although "this is a BRM unlike any other," according to Sutor, there is one way in which it is just like all the others: it is held behind closed doors.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, that secrecy is one of the things that should change in the way IT standards are developed, Sutor said.
"Minutes should be published. This secrecy ... has to end," he said.