Posted tagged ‘Geneva’

The Art of Mugging

March 3, 2008

As one might have reasonably imagined, it would be impossible for a single view of the truth to appear following the BRM.  Both pugilists are holding their arms aloft at the moment.

I had hoped that the victory would have been more clear cut at this stage, but no matter, I am quietly confident that the fix is in.  It’s now just a waiting game. 

I wish my “my attorney” (harking back to a strange night in Geneva) had waited until he came down from his intoxicated state before posting a mangled argument, ripe for dissection by the Microjelliffe-Soft. (Note to readers – his intoxicants consist mainly of ego-rush, after enjoying his status at the OFE, hanging out with Vint “OSI Amnesia” Cerf etc and giving interviews.)

 One of the highlights for me this week was the Spec Fission Auction, presented by my mechanical turk, another US delegate, graciously provided by Oracle for my use.

As those of you in the know, know – IBM has a multi-pronged approach here.  The IBM/Sun ODF axis is well known, but perhaps not the IBM/Oracle one.  Supplier selection by government mandate is only a matter of time (and money).

One NB kicked off with the idea of splitting the specification into 2 parts,then another raised it to 4, then with the assistance of some of my US colleagues, raised it to 9 and finally 10.  Unfortunately, the end result was somewhat lower, but it was fun while it lasted.

I did mention recently about the number of pro open source/pro ODF proponents at the BRM.  Indeed many of them were in the US delegation.  Certainly enough for a quorum.  Even if Microsoft, BP and the DOD dissented, they were still outnumbered by others with a more appropriate stance.

So it appears that some good work has been done, with the US, Yoon Kit’s Malaysia, winner of the BRM popularity contest, India, and (true to form) South Africa

Now to the title of this post – although we were able to deftly pick Microsoft’s pocket this time, they are now learning more about the standards process.  We have enjoyed a long period of them being ‘babes in the wood’, whilst we journeymen made hay whilst the sun shone.

I have a slightly uneasy feeling now regarding the smooth progress of ODF.  Although I feel it would be churlish for the enemy to churn out 2000 non duplicated comments when we try to move forward to 1.2/1.3, I fear it could be a case of Matthew 26:52.

In addition, it may be unwise for us to denigrate ISO too much, as this will dilute the commercial value that we have so long worked to achieve.  If we push too far, then Microsoft can simply claim that being an ISO standard is not really necessary, as it has little value ‘ according to IBM, Oracle, Sun and a host of other experts’. It is a very risky strategy that could lead to more Denmarks.  So please, ODF advocates, hold thy tongues, as in this case, discretion is certainly the better part of valor.  

A Savage Journey …

February 26, 2008

‘Erupting from my vivid nightmares into the retro 80s faded luxury of a five-star hotel in Geneva, the pictures of the first victim reappeared on the wall.  The head of the Brazilian delegation-it’s only a matter of time now.

My mind thrashes to disentangle the thrown spaghetti threads of blurred reasoning; who’s next, is it just the heads of delegation they are after, any NB member, P-members only?

The fog lifts and it’s worse.  Who is behind this, them or us?  We outnumber them, but maybe their plan is more devious.  Must find Bonky Bob, he’ll know what to do.’

Enough levity for now.  The BRM has held few surprises, other than the rather galling situation where I was forced to publicly toe the INCITS line by the temporary head of delegation, a Microsoft employee, against my better judgement.

The assembled luminaries also enjoyed some dazzling dialogue from various right-minded colleagues, until being cruelly cut off by the likes of Alex Brown and Rick Microjellife-Soft.

The OFE event has not been quite as successful as we had envisaged, so we reverted to the tried and tested technique of using attractive women proffering libations to entice the recalcitrant BRM participants.  I’m sure that the organisers can move up the “DEFCON” levels as and when appropriate.

In such a hurry to junket …

February 9, 2008

I hear from my learned friends at OpenForum that many of the NB members are really looking forward to coming to Geneva.  I inquired whether it was for the intellectual discourse, pretending to consider the details on the ox-ML dispositions or the pleasure of casting the pre-agreed NO vote.

As a self-confessed intellectual colossus, I am ashamed to say that the answer was no.

The real draw in Geneva that weekend is the special “BRM a-Go-Go”, NBs only invitational bash.  With the wheels unctuously oiled by some of the richest companies on the planet, the stalwart custodians of international standards will be cruelly focused on more base matters.

However, a tip for those involved in this event; note that IBM have generously agreed to provide all the name badges for both the BRM and the OpenForum event.  Anyone who went to Lotusphere will get my drift.

So be warned, there is more to be accomplished in Geneva than picking up nice little trinkets and maritime debauchery.  I have convinced myself to persuade influence encourage NBs to vote NO based on “technical merit”, but others may use more unconventional methods.

On the positive side, I was pleased to see that IBM have employed some photographers that have worked extensively with the National Society of Astronomers.  It’s not an association I am familiar with, strangely, with astronomy being very close to my heart. 

I happened to interrupt a meeting with the rather motley crowd of these practictioners of photos-graphein and some colleagues.  One of the photographers was saying how much work he had performed for the NSA.  On asking what the acronym stood for, I was somewhat hurriedly informed by a florid faced colleague about this august body of astronomers. 

I will have to look into joining.