Posted tagged ‘ECMA’

Fast Track or PAS (or ECMA vs OASIS)

February 22, 2008

I recently explained the difference between the Fast Track and PAS processes in agonizing detail.  It might, however, be illuminating to see how ECMA differs from OASIS.

As I mentioned previously, OASIS is much more amenable to large organizations taking control of specifications by allowing a one “employee”, one member, one vote system. 

ECMA has to charge higher membership fees, since it is unfortunately a one organization, one member, one vote system.  

 The problem with that, of course, is that it is more difficult to arrange a cartel than the sort of dictatorship that can be achieved in OASIS.  This is especially true now that our friend Sun seems to be straying from the path.  Not content with having the chair of the OASIS board, Sun are now bankrolling the ODF 1.2 editor

In any case, as was proven by Sun, ECMA has been proven to be too diligent in trying to wrest control from submitters, so they won’t be getting our business.

In reflecting on the two organizations, it did irk me somewhat that OASIS lacks the ability of ECMA in terms of fast track.  Perhaps the checkered history of OASIS has made ISO wary.

It is certainly galling that our standards lapdog is not one of the “monarchs of JTC1”, outdone by the mighty, world renowned institutions such as the ‘European Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems Reliability, Safety and Security’ or the ‘International Information Centre for Terminology’.  

But all this is moot, as according to our internal ‘Standards Masterclass’, focus groups have indicated that “fast tracking” should be avoided, due to the negative connotations of that term for the submitter.  Shame on you Microsoft, for making this amateurish faux pas.

“Publically available specification” has the wonderful aroma of openness, just the sort of thing to get the Stallmanites and Slashdot sheep on side and give a general warm and fuzzy tone to the proceedings. (This is especially true given the OASIS history outlined above.)

As I pointed out in my previous post, the difference in time of the two methods is negligible, so go for the more low-key and politically correct PAS every time.  If any of you thought the Microsoft developer evangelism playbook was brutal, it is as “Guess how much I love you” is to “American Psycho“, when compared to our Masterclass.

I am now looking forward to the cut and thrust of debate in Geneva, taking on these dullards with my rapier-esque wit.  I was slightly disappointed to see my colleague Bob Sutor denying free speech recently, I must give him my course on rhetoric and debating excellence, so he does not feel quite so inadequate in these situations in future. 

One interesting truism came from Alex Brown, the BRM convenor on Bob’s blog –

“I don’t see how a delegate (or even NB) who is “opposed” to OOXML can contribute in good faith to a meeting whose stated purpose is to produce an improved quality text, if their “opposition” means that they are wanting to take steps to prevent the DIS being passed (no matter what)…”

Ursus, Merda, Silva.