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

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I agree with a lot of that and I won't rehash the 
history.  I saw what I saw, heard what I was heard, 
and stand by my statements.  Lots of people will 
disagree, I know.   I don't think Berners-Lee 
quite knew what would come of consortia-based 
design and some of that has been good, but some 
of that is not because it is a model without 
regulation other than that applied by dint 
of it being a corporation.  Even though 
good process has emerged by dint of experience, 
the basic model of consortia standards remains 
one that disenfranchises.  It can be one that 
manages and protects IP for the good of the 
commons.  The W3C has evolved 
into that due to the people leading it 
having a strong community commitment, but 
we can't expect that in every case.   Because 
anyone can label anything anyway they like, 
that leaves it to the customer to determine 

So here we are, and yeah, let's do the soul searching, 
but moreover, let's increase the awareness of the 
benefits of real standards over faux standards, 
let's separate specs that are R&D from products 
ready for prime time (Tim's recent blog on the 
web services standards is a good move in that 
direction), and let's demand more from these 
groups such as conformance tests with test marks. 
We may want to explore what conformance and/or 
certification tests are so we can make those 
demands reasonable but effective.

Otherwise, the standards, as Bob said and others
said before him, only benefit the guys with 
deep enough pockets to create them.  Worse, 
the IP wars will just get more expensive because 
these are businessmen who have found a way to 
put money in the quarterlies with only a 
lawsuit.  They are doing their jobs; we should do 
ours too.


From: Michael Champion [mailto:mc@xegesis.org]

On Apr 29, 2004, at 9:39 AM, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> 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.

  I wasn't around back then, but AFAIK, ISO committed seppuku as far as 
"SGML for the Web" is concerned; Tim (Bray and/or Berners-Lee) didn't 
gut it.  :-)

>  "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.

It seems to me that one has to take the long AND the short view.  Joint 
R&D is a Good Thing; Recommendations about what appears to actually 
work and would work better if the relatively small differences were 
smoothed out are a Good Thing; and real honest International Standards 
are a Good Thing, but they should not be promulgated until the 
underlying specs have matured.

So in my very humble opinion:

-- IBEASoft should be more honest that what they are doing with the 
WS-* specs are joint R&D projects, and should correct journalists who 
call them "standards" or "recommendations" (except in the sense that 
their marketing departments "recommend" the products built around 

-- W3C and OASIS should likewise avoid calling what they do 'standards' 
-- they are consortium recommendations, hopefully based on an analysis 
of best practice and applied theory.  (The Design by Committee stuff 
like WXS or XQuery is pretty much equivalent to the joint R&D projects 
as far as I'm concerned, and should have some designation other than 
Recommendation until best practice is clear).  

-- The "real" standards organizations such as ISO, ITU, and CEFACT 
should focus on sweeping up after the parade, and not pursuing pet 
projects of key participants  or pursuing essentially political goals .

In other words, there is plenty of credit and blame to go around for 
the current state of affairs, there's been a lot of innovation but no 
organization or consortium has done all that great a job of following 
their own guidelines, and plenty of soul searching by a lot of people 
(not just stupid journalists) is needed to improve it.

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