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

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:clbullar@ingr.com] 
> Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 12:55
> To: 'Dare Obasanjo'; Robin Cover
> Cc: xml-dev
> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] You call that a standard?
> No free lunch, here, Dare.  We can split hairs 
> on the meaning as much as we like, but I equate 
> it with guaranteed process for this discussion. 
> I'm well aware of the problems Bob points out 
> in his article.  Have been since before the 
> XML oddity began.  Pointed them out.  Ambitions ruled 
> anyway.  Not a new thing for the mammals.
> Atom isn't a standard.  Atom is one part of a 
> community hijacking work done by another part 
> and making claims.  That is exactly why one 
> doesn't do business like that if one is claiming 
> to be 'standardizing'.  I agree with the use 
> of the term 'specification' and over the years 
> here, have made that point repeatedly.  The blogging 
> world is still stuck in the last century playing 
> the games that made a hash of meaningful standards 
> work. Good product?  Yes.  Bad documents?  Yes.
> Is Flash 'a standard'.  Heck no.  It is a ubiquitously 
> used technology.  That's cool.  Like machinima, 
> there is no substitute for Drag Drop and Go when 
> selling product.  Microsoft gets big points for 
> understanding that "No Programming Required" is 
> a plus to any production shop.
> What do customers consider standard?  Well, now 
> that is precisely the problem, isn't it?  And 
> that problem is only going to be solved when 
> we can agree on a solution and explain it to 
> them so that they have a conformance test for 
> what we tell them.  Microsoft is actually getting 
> a lot smarter about this.  They tell one that 
> the XML Schemas for Office 2003 work for their 
> products and are licensed.  No pretense is made 
> that these are standards; they are application 
> vocabularies.  My hat is off to you for that.
> We have two rules here:  promise-control and 
> only bid what you can demo.  It has made us 
> profitable and we sleep better.
> Truth is a great stress-reliever.

This problem has many aspects, mostly due to the fact that the problem
itself is not clearly formulated.  

One side of the problem seems moot, though.

- ISO produces (among other things) documents that are called "International
- The ITU-T produces (among other things) documents that are called "ITU-T
- The IETF produces (among other things) documents that are called "RFCs"
and "Internet Standards"
- The W3C produces (among other things) documents that are called "W3C
- OASIS produces (among other things) documents that are called "OASIS
- ANSI produces (among other things) documents that are called "American
National Standards"
- UNI produces documents that are called "norme (italiane) UNI"
- AFNOR produces documents that are called "normes francaises"

Each of the organizations above has a process, and **within each context**
the word "Standard" or "Recommendation" or "norma" or "norme" has a very
clear meaning.  The context assigns a meaning to the word.

If this is accepted, then the problem becomes what is the meaning of the
word standard in a "wider context".  But what is this wider context?
Information technology?  Technology in general?  Society in general?   The
industry?  The market?  The meaning probably changes as the context changes,
so this kind of discussion can last forever, since people don't seem to be
referring to the same context.


> len
> From: Dare Obasanjo [mailto:dareo@microsoft.com]
> 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'. 
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