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

What part of this has changed?

We want our systems to work well together. Standards exist to allow 
things to work together well, and to allow interested parties to arrive 
at agreements for compatibility and interoperability in a fair way. 
Standards bodies work best when they work hard to promote cooperation 
and to limit manipulation. There are always companies trying to 
manipulate the process. In the INCITS process, we've seen this done by 
people on both sides of the issue.

Michael, we've both been in standards for a long time, and you may 
remember a time when one company contacted the boss of every member of a 
particular committee in an attempt to influence a vote. It's not clear 
to me whether they would have won the vote or not if they had not 
interfered, but they lost the vote handily because the members of that 
committee were outraged. For me, that was a shining moment in my 
involvement with standards.

I do not believe that standards bodies are generally corrupt or that we 
have to accept manipulation of standards bodies. I think we're entitled 
to be outraged when people on any side of any issue attempt to 
manipulate the standards process. I also think that I've seen all the 
companies involved in this current fight cooperate productively in 
developing other standards. (And I've certainly enjoyed working with you 
on XML-related standards, I think you've contributed very good work.)


Michael Champion wrote:
> 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?"
>     http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/11/devcon/standards.html
>     "... 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. "

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