Where is there an end of it? | Standards News …

Standards News …

… Big …

It doesn’t get much bigger than this: 30 years after first joining, China has become the sixth permanent member of ISO, joining the original 5: the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Japan. More here.

… and Small …

Zooming from the world’s most populous nation to the level of the individual, Patrick Durusau has written a new piece entitled “My Standards Education” which (characteristically) presents a positive message, encouraging people who care, to get involved in standards. Anyone who has the wherewithal and is not currently contributing could does a lot worse than take up one of his suggestions and join OASIS – perhaps to contribute to the vitally important work of the new ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC. More about that particular effort from Rob Weir here.

Come on people – as Patrick would happily observe, we won’t get better standards just by writing blogs …

[Update: Patrick has just issued another post, on one aspect of different approaches ODF and OOXML take to markup.]

Comments (6) -

  • Andre

    10/22/2008 1:33:06 AM |

    You are well aware that many persons did that, joined committees and they expected their contributions to get considered. They didn't knew that rule-bending and voting against valid issues via committee stuffing would be common pratice. Thanks to mailing lists and blogs they found out that their own ISO national committee was not an exception in the business of crazy takeover. Who would want to contribute if their contributions get ignored? The fact is that today's standard process makes contributions costly and participation as well. And why should anyone participate in Committees for development for standards that get locked by patent owners.

  • Alex

    10/22/2008 1:52:09 AM |


    Whoooa - are we back to discussing 29500 again? I was rather hoping to go for a whole post without it getting mentioned ...

    Those who participated in that effort and made valid technical contributions were, by my observation, considered. As you know, a huge number of such contributions were taken into account and the 29500 specification modified accordingly. Is there anything you could point to as an important view that was not even *considered* (rather than considered and rejected?)

    This "costly" notion keeps coming up. One does have to pay to participate in this kind of standards work in the UK, at any rate. Committee membership is free and nearly all work is handled by teleconference and web-based software. I agree, in general though, that there is room for improvement in how international standards are paid for. And not all nations are as enlightened as the UK in this Wink

    As for the patent owners, well, certainly they (no corporation) should have any kind of untoward "blocking" ability.

  • Andre

    10/22/2008 2:53:54 AM |

    "Is there anything you could point to as an important view that was not even *considered* (rather than considered and rejected?)"

    An important issue that was of course not considered are the patent conditions. It is neither "editorial" nor "technical". I haven't seen the FRAND license yet. It is not made available.

    Your question is typical for technocratic defenses. You have a compromised ISO process and of course per definition everything was "considered" and acknowledged by the NB.

    I don't have to iterate the criticism of the BRM. I won't blame the impossibility to resolve all national issues on you, it was the fault of the process. What I do know is how many reported valid issues were ignored by national committees and how outraged participants were which explains the escalation. The UK was an exeption.

    It should not be possible for a single party from oversees to outspent national participants. Otherwise you say: This system doesn't work, colonialises my nation and needs reform to regain my trust. You cannot encourage persons to waste their time who saw the system side with the offender.

    And in the end everything was "considered". It works like confession in witch trials. Everything fine thanks to the sound examination of the witch.

    "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" Wink

  • Gareth

    10/22/2008 6:34:29 AM |


    Do you have some reputable information that I can refer to as regards the patent "issues". We have implemented support in our products as of Feb 2007 and have been selling them since then, in some volume.

    In addition to the OSP, there was a further public comment by Gray Knowlton at Microsoft directly to me, which, in combination with the OSP, gave us and our counsel sufficient confidence.

    There have been god knows how many other implementations, open source and proprietory since then.  Most if not all of these implementations, use patents created by Microsoft (Brian Jones and others if you want to search) which are covered by the OSP.

    I hate to urinate on your bonfire, but you're flogging a dead horse here.  You must know that.

    Who pays your wages, that is the question.  At least us commercial folks are open and transparent in that way, whereas you and your cohorts are considerably shadier.


  • Ian Easson

    10/22/2008 7:37:16 AM |

    Andre, you say that the patent protections weren't even considered.

    Both Ecma International and ISO/IEC considered this.  Both organizations issued a public statement (under the respective Preident's names) in which it was stated that there were no patent issues.

    I would call that both "considered" and "dealt with".  Maybe you don't.

  • Andre

    10/22/2008 8:57:24 PM |

    I am for instance speaking of the fact that those persons who were promised a FRAND license are not offered it upon request. It was the third option. I have many colleagues who don't trust a second in the OSP and of course Microsoft wants to sell their own bulk patent indemnification deals, so they may have an interest to not clarify the situation, and of course, it works. ISO has no role in patent policy enforcement. Personally I don't see particular problems which go beyond the uncertainty all these patent models face. Private law is internationally diverse as is patent law and international patent licensing/indemnification is largely untested law.

    We know very well that standard organisations don't want to deal with patent licensing issues or cannot. I would advocate for a set of model licenses at ISO. And I do lobby for new legislative means to protect adopted International Standards against submarine patent attacks and prevents enforcement of these patents against implementations (numerus clausus principle). Standard institutions have no means to act here because they lack the enforcement measures public authorities have.

    "Who pays your wages, that is the question. At least us commercial folks are open and transparent in that way, whereas you and your cohorts are considerably shadier."

    As you may understand I am an entrepreneur and my tax office is well aware of my financial situation. I don't pay my taxes on the Isle of Man or Ireland as other "commercial folks". In lobbying we usually roughly have two different styles. A controlled and an open style with the latter gaining ground. The old divide Richelieu vs. Huguenots. Guess what side I am on! But whereever I go. Hongkong rules don't apply.

Comments are closed