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Re: [xml-dev] "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

I believe I'm more agreeing, with you, than disagreeing.

Len Bullard wrote:
76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">

The problem isn't the giving or the using of what I given.  It is when patents are granted, the taking from the commons of what is given to the commons supported by taxpayer dollars and sponsored by the very organizations that encourage the giving.

This is an issue.  On the other hand, I don't have a problem with certain things that sound close to this.  For instance, the SBIR / DARPA funding for innovative companies to begin to solve unsolved problems is funded by the government, and is explicitly supposed to result in a product owned by the company being funded.  The theory seems sound: a small company that succeeds in making a resulting product that is then marketed to the gov. and industry is a more efficient way to innovate and get useful "product" than funding a non-entrepreneurial researcher who writes a paper that is ignored.  The commercial product that vies for attention on the open market for gov. and industry buyer attention is just a different form of review, competition, and selection than science publishing, peer review, acceptance, etc.  In many cases, it may even have less politics and bias involved.

But it doesn't always work out that way.  For different fields and types of activity, different strategies are more useful.  Certain things will never get far in one paradigm or the other.

However, point taken on the waste, graft, and pointlessness of much spending, projects, etc.  This is especially true of the very large projects.  Often, a project that is expected to be large and expensive due to importance or past history becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, often to its demise.  The blame is not always one side or the other.  Sometimes it's the companies doing contracts, sometimes it is the gov. contracting officers and management which setup the project in a regressive way, sometimes it's the executive branch who has done something fundamentally wrong.  In the last several years I've had a fairly thorough education in many types of government projects; the problems and distributed and nuanced.  I've also seen things go right, seemingly surprising many involved due to the usual nature of gov. projects.
76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">


You can't separate them, Stephen.  Like those who dislike these discussions, they blind themselves to the bad to reap the good and then want to squelch anyone who notices it.  That is why the comparisons are made to the charade played in the Beltway for the last two administrations.  It is a rip off except it is being paid in blood in that case.   We do have a different issue here, but if the process at ISO plays out unencumbered by these politics as it should, that would work, but it seldom does because of the smoke of 'openness' or 'rights' or 'illegal means'.   It's ALL FUD and it is sponsored FUD.

I agree.
76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">


I don't know of a clean way so process is what we have.   David Megginson tries to make the case that process is bad.  Process is all we have and those who try to take that away from you may be as Tim Bray labels the, "tools or fools" or both, but take notice who profits, who gets the fine positions in the big companies and leads you into the sheep shearing line and the sad bit is you are so easily led.

Process is good.  Better processes are better.  Each standards organization has different strategies, member types, history, and process that sometimes work better, sometimes worse than the others.  I've written about this for my company and clients.  I know a lot more about IETF and W3C than ISO, other than being irritated years ago at spending a lot of Swiss Francs on CCITT standards docs that should have been public.
76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">


Process is ALL you have.  If MS despite their bungling plays to the process in accordance with the process, then they implement products that meet the market needs, they win fairly.   If in the face of competition, companies like IBM, Red Hat, Sun and others put FUD on the street, fund the attacks, and encourage the pile on in the face of process, then they are the villains in this piece.   I've friends in all of those companies but at some point the ethics have to match the actions or the willingness to submit to process dies.  The magic dies. 

I agree, to some extent.  Process is key.  Most standards organizations have senior people, boards, membership voting, etc. that usually has an A) group consensus and a B) executive / judicial-like sanity check.  In this case, regardless of the "consensus", there should be a sanity check.  Additionally, organizations usually realize when the process is broken and endeavor to fix it.  It is a matter of the character of the organization whether it is considered fair to fix it mid-break, or to allow the episode to continue to conclusion and then figure out what to do about future cases.
76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">


So here we are waiting for comments to be resolved. 


76758090F8686C47A44B6FF52514A1D30904D74D@hermes.uai.int" type="cite">





-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen D. Williams [mailto:sdw@lig.net]

Ayn Rand was right.
She was, but, for the most part, this is not about that.  Open source is not anti-objectivism.  For many people, via the mechanisms above and others, it is in fact a good embodiement of objectivism.  Power to the people by using the power of the people.  Ayn was rightly denigrating the stealing / taxing / coopting of those who can to give / do / create to those who can't / won't and allowing the recipients to be guilt-free and even righteous about their "right" to receive.  Open source is about giving, giving back when you receive, and a network effect / software-can-be-duplicated-for-free market where everyone benefits more than they put in.  Just because dollars aren't changing hands as much doesn't mean that it isn't a market.  

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