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RE: Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

  • From: Len Bullard <len.bullard@u...>
  • To: Jonathan Robie <jonathan.robie@r...>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 09:43:56 -0500

RE:  Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?
Usually true.  I learned a lot from the people who created SGML and not all
of that was enjoyable, but it was learned.  Sometimes familiarity just makes
them less nice because they discover they really don't want to cooperate. 

As said so often here and elsewhere, the leadership makes all the
difference.  The XML process was a terrible example that had a good outcome
but it has become a good example in mythology.   Sometimes items of
importance become isolated by layers of process and it becomes necessary to
break through the layers to get to the important piece, but seldom is it
necessary to smash everything else on the way down just because it is
thrilling.  Don't crack the bathtub trying to drain it to get to the baby.
The baby will drown first.  Pick up the baby.  Then fix the bathtub.

Local governance guided by global policy becomes ever more important.  With
ever more integration, we create more opportunity for both good and bad
outcomes because all we are empowering is means. We are not evolving the
ends.  Those are local, personal, and impossible to govern from afar.

The great game comes to the virtual game.  One wonders about the doubling
effect of feedback from the virtual to the real.

The W3C has been painfully naïve and is now almost irrelevant.  Neither are
permanent conditions.  ISO, ECMA, W3C, all of these have had peaks and
troughs of relevancy and the only consistent theme has been the tenacity of
the leaders to work in accordance with shared values, to give up having
where having has been more terrible than not having, to accept compromise
knowing that another cycle or opportunity will be afforded, and to let the
better hand play the riff when it plays to the beat of the band.

These are not cryptic ideas but they are hard until well-practiced.  

My generation is playing a final role here.  We are in our fifties now and
while we can advise, we won't be swinging these swords much longer.  We
learned from James Mason, Lynne Price, Charles Goldfarb and the rest what
respectful combat is all about.   What I fear is we are leaving a bad
example to a generation already over indulged in fame and wealth with a
sense of entitlement for goods they did not create or earn.  They will learn
as we did the tricks of the game and they will play with skill, but unless
we have been clear about outcomes, that the ends do no justify the means, we
have impoverished the legacy.

The ODF vs OOXML war is a fight for ego and thrills not the good of the
customers.   I don't worry that these artifacts will destroy opportunities
because both are dodos to be swept away in the extinction of irrelevancy.
As for means used by all sides, I am reminded of this quotation:

"These things cannot be hidden for long:  the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth."
The Buddha.

Bumper stickers have to get it right because there isn't enough space to get
it wrong or enough time to read it if it is printed too small.


From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:jonathan.robie@r...] 
I've spent 10 years working on W3C standards now, and it's great to see 
how getting people into the same room, working together over time, leads 
to greater wisdom and better cooperation than we had when we walked into 
the room to start with. People who want to vote should be forced to 
experience this firsthand ;->

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