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   RE: [xml-dev] To be a standard or not to be a standard

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As the topic changed, a reminder.  Part of the problem of the confusion
and the zealousness of supporters of organizations is that it can work
its way into policies from policy issuing bodies.   Policy bodies are
sort of the third arm of the "standards" triumvirate.   The example
I posted last week illustrates the point.   The authors of the Draft
Federal Policy for XML Developers insisted that W3C specifications
have primacy.  In other words, if ISO has a standard in an area
and the W3C has shown interest in that area by establishing a
working group, the W3C work has to be used.   This has a lot of
weird side effects, of course, and the Project Manager of a Federal
work can override that given justification, but it isn't good policy and
will tend to be ignored.  That isn't good for the issuing body or the
approving authority (eg, the OMB).
One really really really has to look at the technology spec'd and
use sound technical judgement.   Again, quite often, the decision
will be made based on what the favored vendor (can be MS, can be
Sun, anyone really on the buy list) implements.   One interesting
part of the draft said that given a wall-to-wall system (eg, one that
uses MS or Sun exclusively), the manager is free to prefer those
Procurement has generally worked like this in the past, and
except for the nomination of the W3C even where their work may
be inferior or incomplete, nothing much changed.  Simply be aware
that standard status isn't the only issue and even the business
decision can be affected by procurement policies.

Len's point was a fairly simple one, I think. A business decides what is a sensible solution to standardise on based on various considerations. Sometimes it will standardise on Microsoft technology, sometimes W3C technology, sometimes ISO technology. It's a business decision, not typically a religious or moral one.

Andrew Watt


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