Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Stuck On Standards?

Stuck on standards?

When it was ISO, it wasn't a standard because it wasn't the W3C. When it is ECMA, it isn't a standard because it came from Microsoft.

The not so deep but ever abiding truth about standards is that either some group of self-selected companies and individuals are or are not making money applying technologies conforming to some standard or specification. The right or wrong of which organization produces the standard was forfeit with the rise of company-organized and pundit supported consortia such as the W3C. When these groups began to pillory existing organizations such as ISO and burgled the standards they had produced shifting both the center of standards activities by nations and the leadership in favor of the individuals so inclined by their own careers and goals, they derailed any chance that the Internet would evolve toward fairly constituted groups in favor of their own.

That set the rules by example and everything that has followed has followed predictably and logically from those examples.

So how does a company, agency or individual choose among the offerings of these more or less equal offerings? By doing what has been working successfully since HTML and its siblings were offered: select by the size of the following. If one is using Microsoft products and the majority of one's peers are using Microsoft, use the Microsoft specifications and standards. If one is using Sun products similarly, choose what Sun supports.

It quit being about fair and balanced for all parties when the XML Working Group and ERB blew off ISO in favor of their own self-selected parties. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Any XML can be transformed into any other XML with some degree of loss. That was the promise; this is the outcome.

Sad, but so. Quit whining about it.

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