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Why Standards?

17 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: May 12, 2004 4:48 AM by Morten Jorgensen

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Richard Tallent

Posts: 2
Nickname: rtallent
Registered: May, 2003

Re: Why Standards? Posted: May 29, 2003 10:24 AM
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My response (a dissent really) is too long to post here, but I've posted it to my blog:

http://www.tallent.us/weblogx/PermaLink.aspx/ea79ed10-7b34-43fc-a78d-4dd61efe4d02

Alex Chaffee

Posts: 1
Nickname: purpletech
Registered: May, 2003

Re: Why Standards? Posted: May 31, 2003 9:40 PM
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Jim, you are right on the money. I've taken to calling this "premature standardization" -- although the de jure / de facto distinction is a salient one, I think the important issue is not whether it was invented by the marketplace or by a committee, but whether it was *standardized* before or after it had been proven by use.

I take exception to one factual point:

> I can't think of a single standard that was invented by committee that has survived in the marketplace.

XML was invented by committee. So was XSL. So were Servlets (or by now, after several committee-led revs of the API, they may as well have been). There are many successful applications based on these technologies.

Of course, who knows how much *more* successful they would have been if they hadn't had to jump through the goofball hoops inserted in these otherwise worthwhile APIs by the standards bodies.

Morten Jorgensen

Posts: 1
Nickname: duffman
Registered: May, 2004

Re: Why Standards? Posted: May 12, 2004 4:48 AM
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A standards is usually developed as an agreement between parties in a certain technology area. Standards are not developed to be perfect solutions to emmerging tehcnology trends or requirements. Avoiding standards and going off on a technology solo-run is something that only large software vendors like Microsoft, IBM and Sun can afford to do.

Also, when large software vendors do that it is damaging for smaller vendors. Example: The original WS-Security specification as developed by Microsoft was a fairly good specification, but the fact that it was not owned by a standards body has made it nearly unusable. Microsoft kept changing central parts of the specification, such as namespaces, seemingly at random, which has made it impossible for software vendors to interoperate. Microsoft have continued to bastardise their own specification even after the Oasis donation.

Standards are like socialism for the IT industry: It helps smaller companies compete, but at the cost of poorer technology solutions and slowing down development.

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