IEEE group changes voting rules

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See the Network World article “IEEE 802.20 changes rules to prevent steamrolling”. The article includes the paragraph:

The working group was suspended in June 2006 after allegations that Qualcomm was improperly trying to dominate the process and that its then-chairman, Jerry Upton, had identified himself as an independent consultant but was paid by Qualcomm. Upton has since disclosed his work as a consultant for Qualcomm.

I mention this because this general issue of stacking committees to force favorable votes is now under examination with respect to OOXML and the ISO/IEC JTC1 Fast Track process.

My hunch is that rule changes in national standards bodies will be examined in this case as well, and what is happening right now to try to guarantee OOXML passage will also have to be considered as possible setup for future votes on other specifications.

In particular, are we really just seeing the groundwork being laid for trying to speed XPS and other specs (XAML, anyone?) through the JTC1 process at a later date?


  1. Bob
    Thanks for posting but it’s a bit ironic. The moves IEEE is making is about ‘vendor influence’ and stacking votes. I have a friend on a not to be named NB who claims IBM’s outright intimidation and tactics to stack votes against OXML is something to make Oliver Stone blush.

    ARe you willing to post on IBM’s stance about letting the standards process make it’s course? With IBM and MSFT on both sides, the folks in the middle can’t even evaluate what they are looking at. Are you willing to give OXML a day in court with no shouting from the back of the courtroom?
    It’s getting old on both sides. Personally, I plan on leveraging both ODF and OXML for whatever my clients ask me to build.

    Tristan Patterson
    Penguin Consult

  2. When they get to XAML, they will have to finally confront ISMID or the original US Navy MID. There is pre-existing work and a pre-existing standard. No that won’t slow anyone down but frankly I’ve given up on the ability of the web to judge a standard, a process, or a person fairly. It really has become the politics of Other.

    This debate is getting a little out of hand, Bob, civility wise. Guys like Rick Jelliffe don’t deserve to be pilloried. No you aren’t doing that, but it is being done. If he were a she, a lot of people we know would protest that and maybe that says a lot about how little evolution has accompanied the web revolution. Say… a bit less than zero. Not that I am any better but ethics about standards are now so situational that very soon it will be much easier to make the case that buying proprietary is the smart thing to do because it keeps the customer out of these fights. Then we are right back where we were when it was IBM that was the hated enemy of all other competitors. Remember this: “No one ever lost their job for choosing IBM…”. Is that where we want to be?

  3. > “under examination with respect to OOXML and the ISO/IEC JTC1 Fast Track process”

    “fast track services”.

    Slide 16 is truly something. You did well with those 150 patents.

  4. I have made a point of not making this personal, as I think any review of my entries will reveal. Nevertheless, we are not talking about “unilateral disarmament” and then being steamrollered, as I am 100% sure would happen given what has already been observed. People can make their own decisions and act as they see fit, and do so in an independent manner, if they oppose what OOXML is and how it is being railroaded through the JTC1 process.

  5. Tristan, OOXML has shown to contain hundreds if not thousands of specific contradictions and errors. That is not what an international standard is about, and if it is, then the whole process is in question in my mind. It is not “IBM v MSFT”

    PS I’m not employed in any way by IBM either. Most commenters other than Bob and Rob, like open source/free software developers who are supposed to implement this standard, are not employed by IBM.

  6. What sense of “railroaded” are you using?

    What procedures at your standards bodies (ISO, JTC1, Ecma, ANSI, INCITS, V1) have not been followed to the letter by Ecma or Microsoft?

    I suppose in a sense, JTC1 fast-track procedures are like a railroad in that they allow skipping of the development stages to go straight to the various review stages in an orderly fashion according to a schedule. But “This train is being railroaded!” is hardly cause for alarm…

  7. I would say the alarm bells — to borrow YOUR metaphor — are going off all over the world over this. Since the OOXML gambit is so transparent the people are seeing what’s in store on XAML, XPS and any host of proprietary concoctions Microsoft has in store for ISO. And, believe me, when they grok it importance and see how it directly affects them they don’t much like it.

    People get this and the the train is definitely going off the tracks. I would get in the caboose if I were you because there’s going to be a stampede to get off that train come September.

  8. Disarmament? Technology is stuff. If people are getting hurt in this bitter-butter battle, the stuff is worthless tainted spoilt rotten maggot infested meat. If I were king and ISO/ECMA/OASIS/W3C/IETF took orders, I’d call a one year moratorium on ALL of these processes and request that the represented parties pick new representatives. Anyone who blogged the processes would be summarily removed from the room. Anyone who blogged the reputations of those remaining would be banned from participation until the standard was approved or rejected and possibly for life.

    I’m not talking about disarmament. I’m talking about the realization that openness or transparency so lauded has evolved into the assumed right to use any means to win a victory in business at the cost of the capacity to reason about reasonable and truthfully mundane matters. By that course we lose the very growth we’ve worked so hard to attain.

    Stupid is the word for it. Cruel comes to mind too. The web is fast becoming a realm of bullies and anytime anyone wonders why, they don’t have to look further than the behaviors of the people entrusted to ‘bring the web to its full potential’. “As the twig is bent…”

    We need a Ben Franklin.

  9. Well said, Sam. We probably ought to also focus on the rest of these elements that are part of the ‘ISO stack’ that is already embedded in Vista. Be sure to see the following:

    ECIS Accuses Microsoft of Plotting HTML Hijack

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | An industry coalition that has represented competitors of Microsoft
    | in European markets before the European Commission stepped up its
    | public relations offensive this morning, this time accusing
    | Microsoft of scheming to upset HTML’s place in the fabric of
    | the Internet with XAML, an XML-based layout lexicon forn
    | etwork applications.

    Microsoft hopes that nobody will realise what it has in store (until it’s too late, of course).

  10. Upset the HTML stack? Won’t happen. We can type HTML from memory sans any toolkit. As a result, HTML is now markup kudzu. XAML requires one to learn new markup per application just as XML always promised. For better or worse, HTML (aka, GenCode) is a long cycle feature.

    So both Sam and Roy are fudding here.

    The question that should make you queasy is what happens if XAML is successful and the only implementation available is from Microsoft because the Luddites shouted it down just as it was opened up. XAML/XUL/XForms are not a new concept either but from personal experience I can say that building an implemtation that does what XAML does won’t be trivial. Now you have to ask if XAML is doing something worth doing. Where are it’s competitors and how are they doing in the market?

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