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

I also would like to see standards based on technical merit instead of
manipulation.  I've never seen a standards process where some manipulation
wasn't evident. Citing examples would be meaningless because the outcome is
the same: as said earlier, it comes down to leadership.  This time
manipulation of government procurements are the genesis and changes in
leadership there are clearly indicated.

Contrary to Elliotte's assertion, the engineers are just as capable of
lieing as the marketers.  In some cases they are better at it because they
can make the argument turn on a shaded assumption about obscure details.  At
one point in the 90s, NIST representatives were making claims that hypertext
based on markup could not possibly work.  Running code was provided to show
them it could.

So after so much effort to put standards at the forefront of consensus-based
development, we come back to the original dictum: "running code and rough
consensus".  Sometimes rougher than usual.

But regardless of how the vote goes or how many celebratory articles are
published afterward, OOXML will go forward at some point given the
overwhelming size of the document population and users that can benefit by
it.  With some review, ISO will be improved, and with some comments
resolved, OOXML will be improved.  Choice will be preserved in the market
place and life will go on as usual.

What has changed?  The market is meaner, cynicism is higher, and suspicion
is legion.  Not a fine legacy but perhaps just the zeitgeist in action.


From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:jonathan.robie@redhat.com] 

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.)

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