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   RE: [xml-dev] You call that a standard?

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It seems like everyone who misuses the word "standard" you are focused on the process. If you have a specification with conformance tests that was designed by committee on an open mailing list that could be subscribed to by anyone with an email address  then rubberstamped with W3C/IETF/ANSI/ISO/whatever with royalty free implementation as sugar on top and...no one implements it. 
Then is it a standard? 
If I have a technology that has a single vendor but is universally accessible from multiple devices and platforms (e.g. Flash) is it a standard? 
Standard means whatever you want it to mean. Anyone can always complain about the process [Sam Ruby created a wiki for ATOM discussions and people complained it was too open, he started a mailing list and then people complained about backchannels] so pointing out your favorite processes doesn't guarantee that it is 'standard'. As the author of the original article wrote 
"I can say that my process is completely open and anyone in the world can participate. But let's schedule my meetings every quarter and once in Tokyo and once in Berlin and once in Vienna and once in Vancouver and once in Washington. Effectively only the biggest players in the world can play." 
Will customers consider something a standard if no one can implement the spec even if it has gone through all the right processes? Do you think the average developer thinks SQL, C++ or W3C XML Schema are standard in any meaningful sense of the word besides 'spec produced by some committee' ? 
Personally I use the word 'specification'. That's the only accurate description I've come across of what most people tend to claim are 'standards'. 
There are always two solutions to the problem: yours and the boss's. 


From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:clbullar@ingr.com]
Sent: Wed 4/28/2004 9:28 AM
To: 'Robin Cover'
Cc: xml-dev
Subject: RE: [xml-dev] You call that a standard?

And the response to that must be a tightening of our
language by formally attaching some semantics.  This
isn't rocket science and certainly different organizations
can do better or worse jobs at it, but unless some
discipline and formal definitions are used, the FUDdieDuddies win.

IP keiretsu may not be better except in this respect:
given some technical domain, one knows who to trust,
and given some participation agreement, why.  Once
done, then the issue of what is and isn't a standard
is a matter of picking a documentation process group.
We don't need ISO to protect us from each other; we
need them to manage the documentation processes for
work we create after signing agreements that protect
us from each other.

Then when some private company announces they are
going to ECMA to fast track to ISO, they are easy
to spot.   I've no problems working with proprietary
XML languages because I have to.  I've big problems
with those being called standards without due process.


From: Robin Cover [mailto:robin@isogen.com]

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.

Robin Cover
(speaking for no corporate entity)

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