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

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From: Rich Salz [mailto:rsalz@datapower.com]

>> 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).

>No, this does not necessarily make a better deal.  I think Robin's 
>message gave a great deal of information.  Here's an example I know 
>about. <snip> BFD. :)

And others have counter examples.  This is like security; it isn't 
a binary proposition, as in, you are secure now; now you aren't.  It 
is a percentage and the effort you put in determines that.

>> 2.  Is Royalty-free by dint of a signed participation 
>>     agreement.

>If I'm purchasing, as opposed to implementing, I probably don't care. 

Some do.  They need to know the average quality and the precise 
conformance before they will certify.  As you have probably done 
some business with the government, you also know that they do 
and they attach money to the citations, and that drives the RFPs 
unless the procurement official issues waivers.  It isn't a two 
step process from the vendor to the buyer.  That would be nice.

>Yes, I *might* have fewer vendors to choose from, but in my mind "ISO 
>standard" equates to "the big boys" anyway.  As long as there exists one 
>vendor that meets my needs, the patent portfolios are an implementation 
>detail that need not concern me.

Not true.  It was true when Bob was doing his work.  ISO made a good deal 
with the W3DC.  The only person doing much traveling is Dick.  Yes he 
gets paid for that and well he should, but seldom does he get paid 
more than it is worth given his efforts.  I agreed earlier and still 
do that ultimately the quality of the people comes first.   We do a 
lot of work on the net and on the phone.  The W3DC has the right to 
publish the specification for free.  ISO charges for their copy but 
they are identical.  What the W3DC does control is when non-members 
can see drafts.  So do most consortia.  Anyone is free to implement. 
You will be charged a fee to use the test mark.

>> 3.  Comes with conformance tests and a test mark (a 
>>     formal variation of a trade mark).

>Yes, this is the most important of your three criteria.  In my very 
>limited experiences, X/Open (now The Open Group) were among the most 
>comprehensive branding/conformance in this area, although the Windows 
>and Novell logo/branding programs are good.

The flaw is this isn't enough alone.  It can guarantee what you get 
is what you ordered, but it won't stop the bigCoTakesTheTable syndrome. 
Note that France now forbids the listing of trademarks or processor 
clock rates in government bids precisely because some use the Intel 
trademark to keep AMD out of the bidding.  

I wish this could be a neat algorithmic solution that guarantees 
every result is clean as a hound's tooth.  Any set of rules written 
for that will be so Draconian as to cause side effects one can't 
predict.  I've had to write bylaws for organizations and one has 
to leave some holes open or risk killing the organization.  What 
one looks for is a percentage of the deal that is the best deal 
one can get.  That may change at different times.  In 1990, ISO 
was the best deal we could get.  In 1998, everyone flocked to 
the W3C, but it set an example for coporationsAsConsortia that 
others emulated without the same agendas.  So now some of us 
have to find a better solution, and in my opinion, for many 
problems, the hybridization where consortia do specs and 
real standards orgs do the standards is a better deal if they 
implement those three conditions.



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