RE: Results of Open XML balloting at INCITS
I also would like to see standards based on technical merit instead of manipulation. I've never seen a standards process where some manipulation wasn't evident. Citing examples would be meaningless because the outcome is the same: as said earlier, it comes down to leadership. This time manipulation of government procurements are the genesis and changes in leadership there are clearly indicated. Contrary to Elliotte's assertion, the engineers are just as capable of lieing as the marketers. In some cases they are better at it because they can make the argument turn on a shaded assumption about obscure details. At one point in the 90s, NIST representatives were making claims that hypertext based on markup could not possibly work. Running code was provided to show them it could. So after so much effort to put standards at the forefront of consensus-based development, we come back to the original dictum: "running code and rough consensus". Sometimes rougher than usual. But regardless of how the vote goes or how many celebratory articles are published afterward, OOXML will go forward at some point given the overwhelming size of the document population and users that can benefit by it. With some review, ISO will be improved, and with some comments resolved, OOXML will be improved. Choice will be preserved in the market place and life will go on as usual. What has changed? The market is meaner, cynicism is higher, and suspicion is legion. Not a fine legacy but perhaps just the zeitgeist in action. len From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:jonathan.robie@r...] What part of this has changed? We want our systems to work well together. Standards exist to allow things to work together well, and to allow interested parties to arrive at agreements for compatibility and interoperability in a fair way. Standards bodies work best when they work hard to promote cooperation and to limit manipulation. There are always companies trying to manipulate the process. In the INCITS process, we've seen this done by people on both sides of the issue. Michael, we've both been in standards for a long time, and you may remember a time when one company contacted the boss of every member of a particular committee in an attempt to influence a vote. It's not clear to me whether they would have won the vote or not if they had not interfered, but they lost the vote handily because the members of that committee were outraged. For me, that was a shining moment in my involvement with standards. I do not believe that standards bodies are generally corrupt or that we have to accept manipulation of standards bodies. I think we're entitled to be outraged when people on any side of any issue attempt to manipulate the standards process. I also think that I've seen all the companies involved in this current fight cooperate productively in developing other standards. (And I've certainly enjoyed working with you on XML-related standards, I think you've contributed very good work.) This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail.
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