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Re: [xml-dev] Results of Open XML balloting at INCITS

What has changed is that various parties have figured out that de jure standards can be mandated by government procurement policies, raising their value as a competitive weapon.   We can argue forever whether this is heavy-handed interference with the marketplace or the only way to displace a monopoly, but I think we have to accept that all sides in this matter are acting for their own business motives and using the tools of politics.  That's been a reality in the supposedly rational legal, standards, and even scientific worlds more or less forever.  To paraphrase Bismarck, "those who enjoy sausages or standards should not watch either being made". 
James Gosling had a remarkably prescient article http://java.sun.com/people/jag/StandardsPhases/ (sadly offline, and so is the Wayback Machine at the moment) about the underlying reality here: There is a narrow window between the time a technology is technologically mature enough to standardize until it becomes politically and economically impossible to make "breaking changes" to achieve standardization.
Ken North <kennorth@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Michael Kay wrote:
> (b) will it
> reduce the costs or increase the compensatory benefits of that monopoly to
> the user community.

Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
>> No, It won't. Specification of OOXML will accomplish that, but
>> standardization will not do more than simple specification would.

I'm reminded we discussed ISO standardization of XML on this list and in an open
meeting at XML DevCon in San Jose. Edd Dumbill's synopsis of that long-ago
meeting is an interesting read in light of the heated debate over ISO standards
for office document formats.

Seven years ago the mindset of many in this community was that ISO standards are
unnecessary and irrelevant. Apparently that is no longer the case.

"Should XML Become a "Real" Standard?"

"... Jonathan Borden of the Open Healthcare Group, Paul Byron of Health Level 7,
and Alan Kotok of DISA discussed the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPPA) as a case study of using standards as part of legal
mandates... The discussion noted that when standards become legal mandates
rather than voluntary, the top priority becomes compliance with the law.

... Other participants questioned the benefits that may result from ISO
standardization of APIs or XML as a whole, and noted that some ISO standards,
even those that were open and tightly designed, do not necessarily attract a
large following. Tim Bray, co-editor of the XML 1.0 specification, asked the
meeting participants for a show of hands as to who was in favor of an ISO
standard for XML. Aside from about three people, no one else responded. "

_________ Ken North ________



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