09.24.08

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ISO Death Watch in the Press: Part Deux

Posted in IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grave cross

Some time ago we offered an "ISO death watch". With yesterday's news about IBM, it’s really getting there. Here are some of reports about it (in no particular order):

Heise: IBM reconsiders cooperation with ISO

IBM vehemently opposed certification of the Microsoft-developed document format in Geneva and in ISO member states. According to IBM, the comprehensive specification contains major errors. IBM also wanted to prevent competition with the Open Document Format (ODF) document standard, which was became an ISO standard in 2006. Developing nations also repeatedly protested against the OOXML standardisation process. But ISO has rejected all accusations against it, despite there having been many reports about irregularities surrounding the approval process.

ComputerWorld (IDG): IBM Fires a Shot Across the ISO’s Bows

If IBM follows up these words with deeds, for example by withdrawing from the ISO standardisation process (assuming the latter is not radically reformed), then the next step would be to set up a new international standards body – one where developing countries are given a far larger say. Open source communities in those regions might like to start floating the idea so as to be well-placed if and when official discussions commence.

NewsOXY: IBM Showing Signs of Frustration Over ISO

IBM Corp on Tuesday announced a new policy that may lead to ending its participation in the International Organization for Standardization. The business technology company is frustrated by what it considers poor decision making in the ISO.

iTWire: New and open IBM standards policy revealed

IBM is instituting a new corporate policy that, it promises, will formalise behaviour with regards to creating open technical standards. So just what is Big Blue actually doing to encourage improved quality and transparency of tech standards then?

Consortium Info: IBM’s New ‘I.T.Standards Policy’ – and a Call for Wider Reform

Although most of the thunder of the OOXML adoption battle has now died away, the after effects of that controversial process continue to linger. Some of the residual effects have been intangible, such as hard feelings on the part of at least four National Bodies over their inability to obtain a formal review of their complaints over how the OOXML adoption process was conducted.

The Inquirer: IBM announces a new open standards policy

IBM obviously is concerned by the recent standards-setting travesty perpetrated by the International Standards Organisation (ISO), with Microsoft’s undue influence, in forcing the fast-track adoption of the Vole’s Office Open XML (OOXML) as a document standard.

OpenMalaysia just posted the press release and so has Matt Asay. Bob Sutor chimed in a little later.

To reiterate what I said at the beginning, IBM is more committed to open standards than ever before. IBM believes that open standards are good for customers since they provide more options, better products, and insurance against being locked in by any one vendor or provider.

ISO standards for saleIBM has also just published Wiki recommendations and the press release is appeneded at a bottom. Yesterday, in relation to this post, a reader contacted us to say: “It reminds me of the recent discussion of deletionism in wikipedia. That might be a specialization within the saturate-diffuse-confuse media strategy: add a bunch of crap, come back and weaken the competing examples, come back again and consolidate the weakened remains of the original competing examples into one competing example, come back and complain about redundancy and remove the remaining competing (original) example.

“Saw it all the time against OpenDocument. We see it now against Java, Perl, Ruby, Python, and even C and C++.”


WIKI RECOMMENDATIONS

 Following are suggestions that were proffered by individuals during the wiki.  They do not necessarily reflect unanimous or consensus views.

 Government

  • Call on lawmakers to regulate intellectual property component of standards
  • Encourage adoption of new procurement rules requiring good ratings from trusted sources
  • Recognize the existence of “Civil Information & Communication Technology Standards,” the need for government to protect them and promote them through procurement policy
  • Elevate the importance of standards in the missions of the Departments of Justice and Commerce, and National Institute of Standards & Tech.  These agencies would guide the creation, publication, and rewards associated with standards
  • Elevate the priority of protecting standards in the missions of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice
  • Raise government awareness throughout the world to the deliverables of the Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services (IDABC)

Standards Development Organizations (SDOs)

  • Develop and maintain an organization to create a quality index of existing SDOs and best practices for SDOs to motivate existing and new SDOs
  • Encourage member-pledges to make early disclosures of intellectual property
  • Discourage non members from ambushing standards — create organization to expose prior art of patent speculators
  • Create a clearinghouse to determine the value of patent to standards
  • Adopt Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies to enhance transparency during the standards development process

Standards Community

  • Create standards and intellectual property-oriented clearinghouse with watchdog or accreditation responsibility
  • Create an organization to apply open source-style ratings to intellectual property policies, such as patent non-assertion covenants.  This will encourage more consistency and certainty, and promote free and open source-friendly patent commitments
  • Apply open-government rules to standards creation process to ensure transparency, limit undue influence, and increase public confidence in standards
  • Create “commitment registry” for ex-ante disclosures and patent pledges, ideally in cooperation with the US Patent & Trademark Office
  • Encourage “minimalist” specs while discouraging competition-limiting proprietary extensions.  This will limit intellectual property conflicts, and leave room for future development, innovation, accuracy and consensus
  • Create “Underwriters Laboratory-type” organization to provide patent certification prior to SDO submission
  • Pilot Peer to Patent-style program to determine what patents may be essential to a standard, and which ones are not

Quasi-Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies

  • Define civil ICT standards, and promote their development and use
  • Harmonize national standards development policies
  • Elevate mission of UN Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards & UN Development Programme

International Trade Organizations

  • Call for review and pervasive reform of ISO/IEC JTC 1 directives and processes
  • Renforce World Summit on the Information Society Declaration of Principles — states that open standards are important to IT diffusion in the developing world
  • Enourage better application of World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade

Intellectual Property

  • Call on lawmakers to regulate intellectual property component of standards
  • Pilot Peer to Patent-style program to determine what patents may be essential to a standard, and which ones are not
  • Create an organization to apply open source-style ratings to intellectual property policies, such as patent non-assertion covenants.  This will encourage more consistency and certainty, and promote free and open source-friendly patent commitments
  • Create “commitment registry” for ex-ante disclosures and patent pledges, ideally in cooperation with the US Patent & Trademark Office
  • Encourage “minimalist” specs while discouraging competition-limiting proprietary extensions.  This will limit intellectual property conflicts, and leave room for future development, innovation, accuracy and consensus
  • Encourage member-pledges to make early disclosures of intellectual property
  • Discourage non members from ambushing standards — create organization to expose prior art of patent speculators
  • Create a clearinghouse to determine the value of patent to standards
  • Elevate the importance of standards in the missions of the Departments of Justice and Commerce, and National Institute of Standards & Tech.  These agencies would guide the creation, publication, and rewards associated with standards
  • Elevate the priority of protecting standards in the missions of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice

Academia

  • Offer standards courses at engineering schools
  • Promote academic and policy research and discusssions at law and business schools

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A Single Comment

  1. paul (the unverified) said,

    September 24, 2008 at 8:41 am

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    Just awesome!!! This has made my day. I know we’re a long way from anything changing, but I believe if they can prove that ISO can be replaced, there’s going to be some real soul-searching going on within the ISO elite. Maybe they should update their resumés. Although, I’m sure m$ has already offered them jobs anyhow.

    …and another excellent corrupt ISO graphic. Who comes up with these? Kudos to them. A great commentary in graphic form!

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