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

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I was at first amused by all this discussion as a follow up to my interview about standards.

I don't have any special insights.  The only reason I was called by the reporter was that I was apparently the only person willing to be quoted by name in John Markoff's NY Times article about Microsoft and CEFACT...and that's because I no longer work for a commercial concern that could suffer because of anything I said.   

And as I said to the CNET reporter, you can't be surprised that companies want to influence the process, but you can be surprised that they'd try to do it in ways that don't look good with the lights turned on.  I always tried to make sure that the work I personally did or directed at Veo and Commerce One would pass the "lights on" test .   But now that I look back at it, I have to conclude that we vastly overinvested in standards activities, spending gobs of money to participate in the W3C or OASIS or ebxml or UBL to do "good work"  whose direct ROI for us was minuscule.  We might have been better off investing our time and talent in products rather than standards because a lot of them got co-opted or undermined.  Matt Fuchs, Alex Milowski, Terry Allen, Arofan Gregory, Sue Probert, David Burdett,  Brian Hayes, Lisa Seaburg-- we had armies fighting the standards  battles..  I approved a lot of travel expenses for a long time.

Anyone remember the eco framework?  Take a look at http://eco.commerce.net/. In 1998-1999 that group proposed most of the web services stack in a more open way (Murray Maloney was hired by CommerceNet to run this) and it is in the dustbin of history.  To follow up on something in this thread -- where the press focuses on personalities rather than events -- it annoys me immensely every time I read about the history of web services because I know they started in eco and some of the companies that were in eco simply took the best ideas from it and repackaged worse versions of them as the first web services "STANDARDS."

So the more I read in this follow up discussion, the more I'm feeling dismayed rather than amused.

=Even though
good process has emerged by dint of experience,

I think the processes of creating recommendations / specifications / standards are getting worse. The W3C seems to be working, but OASIS has devolved from the place where interoperability was job 1  (remember the SGML catalog, the table model efforts) to a place where redundant  and incompatible splinter vocabularies are encouraged because it helps the business model -- "democratically,"  of course -- but I'd prefer to have the less democratic process of the SGML Open days when the smartest people in the world just got together to fix things that really needed fixing.   We don't need standards... what we need are things that work.  And we need to organizations that claim to be helping that happen to actually do it.


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