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RE: [xml-dev] Recent allegations about me

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Kay [mailto:mike@saxonica.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 1:48 AM
> To: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com; 'Rick Marshall'
> Cc: 'Len Bullard'; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Recent allegations about me
> Of course, there are many different standards for screw threads within the
> imperial system, though I think the same spanners work with all of them:

This reminds me of the cautionary tale in

"By the end of the century, the Sellers standard was effectively universal
in America, and in 1901 it was adopted by Europe at the International
Congress for Standards and Gauges. 

Britain, however, stuck with the Whitworth screw. This didn't create any
obvious problems until the winter of 1941-42, when the panzers of Germany's
Afrika Korps started to pummel the Eighth Army. Under the strain of desert
warfare, British tanks and trucks broke down. Screws loosened. Bolts wore
out. American factories were churning out vehicles and parts for the
British. But when those supplies arrived in North Africa, everyone was
surprised to discover that American nuts did not fit British bolts, and vice

There are all sorts of lessons in there (read the whole article!) that
different sides in the ODF - OOXML debate could find, I suppose.  One could
argue that the simpler Sellers standard should have swept away the old
Whitworth standard on both sides of the Atlantic (chalk up one for ODF)...
or "the market may seem messy, but it's actually much better at dealing with
a situation of permanent revolution than official standards organizations
are" (chalk up one for OOXML).   Whatever your opinion or the outcome, one
thing is clear: " no matter who sets the standards, the process of
standardization is always a political struggle, with winners and losers."

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