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

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Whether I'm raving or not, your response to that late night hacking 
was to help create an environment in which nothing is predictable 
and anyone can stamp anything anyway they like and the 
press will pick it up and run with it. You like the credit for being the 
"co-inventor of XML" but don't accept any role in the damage done by the 
gutting of ISO and the norms of standardization that stood 
in your way.  "As the twig is bent...", Tim.  One has to 
take the long view or short term gains in technical 
specification turn into big losses in cultural cooperation. 
Internet time is bullsh*t.  People make these things happen.

While there are means to bend the rules of ISO processes, 
in general, they work quite well.  Our experience with 
them in VRML97 and X3D via Dick Puk has been one of top 
professionalism and sticking to the rules for getting 
the documents done.  X3D is doing very well.   The main 
challenge is that now that 3D is seen as the best way 
to integrate product model environments, the big guys 
are stepping up to pirate the prize.  Because standardization 
and standards processes are now meaningless, they 
get to do that with IP-encumbered, proprietary technology. 
The one bigCo that has stood by VRML and now X3D from day one 
and fights this trend is Sun.  Talk to Rob Glidden.

The IP keiretsu and the standards organizations are all 
that is standing between that outcome and a better one. 
Where do you stand?


From: Tim Bray [mailto:tbray@textuality.com]

On Apr 28, 2004, at 8:06 AM, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> ISO is political.  Extremely.  They are also
> process-bound which makes them reliable and
> predictable.

Len is having so much fun raving away on this one that I almost hate to 
spoil it, but the notion that ISO is "predictable" really can't be 
allowed to go unchallenged.  Some may have forgotten those days in the 
early nineties when any whimsical HyTime-related theorizing could get 
ISOfied in weeks, in one case with insiders sitting up the night before 
ratification, long after the votes had been counted, hacking the query 
language... then there's the way that IBM used to get proprietary 
extensions into SQL by having small-country IBM field offices arranging 
to cast the votes for their countries.

Which isn't to say that ISO is notably better or worse than any other 
organization that publishes specs.

Which *is* to say that nobody is ever free of the responsibility to 
evaluate a specification on its merits without too damn much regard for 
which acronym is stamped on the side.

> The VRML guys did the smart thing.  They formed
> a consortium to work on the technology and
> liased with ISO to get the documentation process
> right.  It works stunningly well

I'm glad to hear that VRML is working stunningly well, that word hadn't 
reached my neck of the woods.

> What people don't get is that standardization
> and technical innovation are two entirely separable
> activities.

I'm on board with that. -Tim


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