OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   RE: [xml-dev] ISO and the Standards Golden Hammer (was Re: [xml-dev] You

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]

On Fri, 30 Apr 2004, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> I believe that some folks want to do away with ISO altogether.  
> It lets them do whatever they like with whomever they like 
> and then push that out on to a public that can't tell the
> difference via labeling it a standard through an organization 
> that could care less.  Let the buyer beware.  That is fine 
> until the middle tier vendor has to sign an indemnity agreement 
> for that technology while the first vendor merely has 
> to claim, it's 'standard'.

I've never heard that some folks want to do away with ISO
altogether; it seems to continue playing an important role, to
judge from the decision of many groups to locate technical work
in ISO SCs/WGs.

> I am not saying and have not said, "ISO only" 
> but that consortia working with ISO stand a better 
> chance of producing a reliable standard.

I don't buy this because the considerations that make a
spec "reliable" are not due to chance, and cannot be guaranteed
by the ISO process.  Are you forgetting about some of the
untested SGML 'FEATURES' that got into ISO 8879, and by common
consent (from my POV) represent engineering monstrosities?
**Not intending to diss "SGML", of course, as I've spend
nearly three decades documenting it, and I use it with
joy every day; point is that the ISO guarantee of a process
does not guarantee a better outcome, and "chance" is not
a compelling notion, IMO.

> ISO is only 
> guaranteeing a process.  It is the consortia practices, 
> particularly the IP agreements as bound by the participation 
> agreements that one relies on.
> As I asked Dare, would you agree that if the following 
> is asked, a better deal results:
> 1.  It is ISO standard (which has a specific meaning) 
>     but created by technical committees from consortia 
>     (not the marketing guys who go to committee meetings 
>     to represent their bosses' viewpoint).
> 2.  Is Royalty-free by dint of a signed participation 
>     agreement.
> 3.  Comes with conformance tests and a test mark (a 
>     formal variation of a trade mark).

Interesting, but this set of ideals bound up in some
consortium practice does not match what actually happens
in consortia (cartel) work brought to ISO.  A lot of
work brought to ISO, enjoying the ISO "process" that
is indifferent to proprietary technology, is for
rubber-stamping company/cartel specifications.  This
scenario seems to me largely irrelevant to the facts.

ISO tends to work for:

1) large companies that can fund international travel

Bob Glushko said something in reference to OASIS and W3C which
is actually the hallmark feature of ISO work:

  Look, the whole issue of openness is really a red
  herring. 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. So, making
  it open, but making it infeasible to participate means
  it is, in effect, not open. 

2) companies that can afford to pay $13 per page for the
standard when it's published

3) cartels that want to keep their interim specs under
wraps -- out of public view for those who cannot afford
to join the club [contrast W3C and OASIS, which largely
prohibit this, by rule, especially for final specs]

4) companies and cartels that want to get a prestigious
seal of approval upon patent-infested technology that they
hope to impose upon the international community, by dint
of law and collusion (unchecked by any meaningful antitrust
law at the international level)

No, ISO does not *require* all this; yes, ISO allows it,
and some of these features will make the "reliable" result
unworkable for stakeholders who have legitimate interests
in the domain but whose business model is incompatible
with the ISO-supported features.

A lot of the good work done at W3C (and in the TEI
Consortium, etc etc) has been done by individuals and
corporate entities for whom the "RFP-driven business model"
and its "indemnifications" and "demonstrated profits"
are of little practical relevance.  More relevant: is
the specification *meaningfully* open, and can it be
implemented without asking someone's permission?

I'm glad that ISO and its affiliates have processes
amenable to rigorous certification and compliance
testing, so that when I want to lay underground cable,
I can pull out my NEC Handbook and select a type
that's safe and efficient for the 550-foot run.

While IT standards can benefit from QA (and indeed,
W3C has an active QA interest - http://www.w3.org/QA/)
not all application domains for these specifications
have the same legal/safety requirements, so it does not
make sense to demand one QA model; as your hypothetical
scenario suggests, that would be a consortium issue,
and has little/nothing to do with ISO or not-ISO.

The OASIS ebXML specifications (called standards) are
being branded as ISO Standards:


"The International Standards Organization (IS0) has approved a suite of
four ebXML OASIS Standards that enable enterprises in any industry, of any
size, anywhere in the world to conduct business over the Internet. The
submissions from OASIS will be published as ISO technical specifications,
ISO/TS 15000.

The new ISO 15000 designation, under the general title, Electronic
business eXtensible markup language, includes four parts, each
corresponding to one of ebXML's modular suite of standards:

ISO 15000-1: ebXML Collaborative Partner Profile Agreement
ISO 15000-2: ebXML Messaging Service Specification
ISO 15000-3: ebXML Registry Information Model
ISO 15000-4: ebXML Registry Services Specification

The branding changes nothing other than branding.

(speaking for no corporate entity)

Robin Cover
XML Cover Pages
WWW: http://xml.coverpages.org
Newsletter: http://xml.coverpages.org/newsletter.html
ISOGEN: rcover@innodata-isogen.com
OASIS: robin.cover@oasis-open.org

> So now, 'standard' has a meaning.  The quality of the 
> standard is as good as the consortium members that 
> produce it, but the meaning is clear, the IP is 
> open, and conformance tests ensure that something 
> claimed to be 'standard' actually is.
> As long as people continue to dis solutions that 
> might work, we might as well go back to the proprietary 
> solutions and push for indemnity clauses.  If this 
> can't be done through the standards groups, there 
> are very few other alternatives.
> len
> From: Rich Salz [mailto:rsalz@datapower.com]
> Most of these weren't ISO/ITU committees, but were either private
> industry consortia, or other standards work that got a "finishing
> polish."  In fact, the only one I know of that was ISO from start
> to finish is X.400, which surely must be considered a temporary
> success at best, if not an overall failure and waste of time.
> I believe when most folks say "what has ISO done," they want examples that
> started in ISO (or ITU, most folks comingle them), rather than another
> phase on an existing work.  If all you need is the latter, than just have
> ISO versions of IP, TCP, HTTP/1.1, and SSL.
> So, can anyone point to ISO/ITU success in the computer (software) field?
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> The xml-dev list is sponsored by XML.org <http://www.xml.org>, an
> initiative of OASIS <http://www.oasis-open.org>
> The list archives are at http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/
> To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list use the subscription
> manager: <http://www.oasis-open.org/mlmanage/index.php>


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS