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"A Retreat From Process Quality"
By Andrew Updegrove
Coteries of companies develop specifications and shop them to consortia;
Microsoft wants the industry to adopt (and license) its Caller ID anti-
spam specifications; open source projects are everywhere, and variously
structured; and Bloggers are flaming each other over competing flavors
of content syndication. Is this any way to develop standards? The pace
of change in standard setting is continuing to accelerate, in response
to the ever-quickening rate of technological evolution. As in any other
real-world situation, this creates tension between expediency and
quality. Over the past year, we have seen a number of developments that
lead us to believe that the balance between expediency and quality may
be tipping in the wrong direction. This article will examine a few of
these examples, and suggest that the time has come to reexamine process
in order to rebalance the equation. It's time for the standard setting
world to begin using a bit more self discipline in how it goes about
the business of setting standards.
I don't see any solution to the problem of authority WRT what is
(in)appropriate for designation as a "standard" since opinions vary
widely. I can't imagine a world court promulgating and enforcing
a rule that "only such-and-such things may be called 'standards';
language academies largely fail in such efforts, and so would a
global edict. We have the anomaly of XML *not* being called a
standard by its SDO/SSO, while it clearly has the force of a
standard; other specs are called "standards" by their respective
SDO/SSO -- just because the creating body said so. At one time,
OASIS declared that it did not create standards, now we have
CDs being voted by the membership to become an "OASIS Standard."
And so forth, for hundreds of similar SDO/SSO orgs, and the
meta-definitions are not agreed upon.
(speaking for no corporate entity)
XML Cover Pages
Innodata Isogen: email@example.com
On Wed, 28 Apr 2004, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> Bob Glushko notices that all is not well in the world
> when the term 'standard' is corrupted. I don't
> see any solutions here, and I note that this is the
> price to be paid by many in our community who chose
> to gut ISO and really did not understand what they
> were doing. Their tears now do not move me.
> Jon, Tim, Jean, Eve, James, Michael, put this one on
> your tombstones:
> "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
> And those wild and wacky browser folks are waking up
> to the fact that the web is just data plumbing and
> that load balancing a system means using something
> other than thin-clients. So those who 'voted with
> their feet' have found they now have holes in their
> An HTML browser IS a cul de sac. Dagnabbit.
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