Bonum Certa Men Certa

IBMers Stress the Importance of (Truly) Open Standards

XML is not open and the word 'open' alone doesn't make a standard...

There are a couple of blog posts that are worth pointing out. The first one comes from Rob Weir, who uses an example from history to show the huge cost of multiple standards (not to mention a case where one is a standard and another is a proprietary format in a gown).

That is the distortion you get if you look at a standards war through the narrow blinders of commercial interest. But if you look at the full market impact, the simple economics of it, it becomes a lot clearer. What brings greater efficiency, greater fidelity, greater innovation and lower costs? Having two incompatible document format standards? Or having a single harmonized document format standard? Fighting against economics is like fighting against gravity or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You are going to lose in the end. The piemen of Erie, and their modern counterparts, are on the wrong side of economics, and history,


Bob Sutor adds his insights in a post on open standards in 2008.

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to publish several entries on “challenges and priorities in 2008 on a range of topics, some related to work areas of interest, some related to personal ones. I’m kicking this off today with standards.


Microsoft has already had its say on the issue of standards. The following was found some time in the past.

OOXML on the trash can"...we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call 'to me' to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone's benefit. We are large enough that this can work."

--Microsoft Corporation, internal memo (source [compressed PDF])

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