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except competing specifications are fine. for new technology.
competing standards are bad. they codify practice as you say.
that distinction may not be widely recognized but it useful.
From: Rick Marshall [mailto:email@example.com]
personal view (possibly jaded) - competing specs are by and large bad.
competing companies to meet the specs are by and large good.
any number of examples, but programming languages are as good a place as
any to look. cobol, sql, html are all languages/technologies whose
usefulness and market penetration soared with standards and competing
c is possibly a counter example. though more correctly a good example of
what happens when a de facto standard differs in some significant ways
from a de jure standard.
the other lesson remains that standards that codify practice are much
more useful than standards that try to drive practice. simply because
codifying practice is codifying what works. the rest is really just