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We can and have but not in every case and in no case,
for all time in all places. Standards have come to mean
'a game' instead of a credible professional goal. Can
that change? Maybe.
1. Develop international standards to cover all of the
different groups contributions to a domain clearly
in need of standardization.
2. Stop the name calling and learn to develop relationships
based on common needs instead of common ambitions. Recognize
existing standards and quit playing the politics of
'free to ignore you but not free to ignore me', the game
of more equal pigs described by Orwell. Everyone
is free to ignore everyone else. Fact of life. Common
needs make for common efforts. The politics of the launch
of the W3C and in some aspects, XML itself, were witless,
stupid, rude, and guaranteed balkanization. No one holds
the moral high ground; just the most popular brand today.
3. Do not attempt to standardize until there is a clear
need for it. When there is, identify all of the available
candidates and determine how the standard will address
the requirements of these. It isn't as simple as
writing a schema or developing code. Standards, as
Rick Jeliffe pointed out, can enable specific systems or
classes of systems. Until there are multiple examples
of a class, there is not a class and no need for a
Alliances, consortia, vendors, government entities,
private individuals, sourceforge, wikis, all of these
are multiple contenders for the same resource. That
guarantees chaos but it is a natural outcome of today's
industry. If we want standards, we will have to accept
standards organization authority and processes and the
possibility that the market will operate with multiple
incompatible systems until a standard can be developed.
Standards processes that cannot keep up with the pace
of technical development across a system class must be
The definition of non-linearity is multiple systems
contending for the same resource. Non-linearity is
normal in evolving systems. Standards are controls
and they must emerge naturally based on intelligent
observation of the impact of outcomes on the
environment, the induction of relationships that
are by consensus agreed to have value, and then
and only then, the logical evaluation of choices
of the best offers.
Until then, Spy Vs Spy, issue by issue.
From: Gerald Bauer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Well, the hard part is now to figure out how to make
them all interoperate and how to avoid the
balkanization of the rich internet.