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IBM Announces New Policy on Standards - Updated
Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 04:41 AM EDT

IBM has just announced a new corporate policy regarding its "behavior when helping to create open technical standards". Here's a paragraph you'll like:
IBM's new standards policy promotes simplified and consistent intellectual property practices, and emphasizes that all stakeholders, including the open source community and those in growth markets, should have equal footing as they participate in the standards process.
That would be refreshing, indeed. I think this means we will not ever again see another OOXML-like parody of a standards process. Here's why. One tenet of IBM's new policy is the following:
Begin or end participation in standards bodies based on the quality and openness of their processes, membership rules, and intellectual property policies.
Here's another goody:
Advance governance rules within standards bodies that ensure technology decisions, votes, and dispute resolutions are made fairly by independent participants, protected from undue influence.
There will be a summit meeting of experts in the field from around the world, by invitation, in November under Yale's auspices to discuss recommendations for improving standards setting. What hath Microsoft wrought! Well, they don't say that. I'm letting you hear my inner thoughts. If you have any ideas that you hope the experts will consider, now is the time to speak, right now, right here.

Update: Andy Updegrove has posted some details about the recommendations by a group of experts so far:
The development of the IBM policy was informed by a private, on-line discussion conducted over a six-week period involving the active participation of 70 government, academic, industry, policy and standards body thought leaders from around the world (disclosure: I was one of five moderators facilitating that process). The often dramatic recommendations that emerged from these discussions are now also public, and will provide the basis for an active and ongoing debate over how standards can be better developed in the future. The next step in that process is an invitation-only meeting that will be held under the auspices of Yale University in late November.

The recommendations now public range from the traditional to the radical, including a call for greater government regulation of standards activities and the formation of new global organizations to avoid patent ambushes and to raise the bar in standards development. Clearly, these are ambitious and controversial recommendations. But they have also been carefully considered by experts in the field, and tailored to the real needs of the marketplace.

I feel, as do the other moderators and participants that helped generate them, that it is important and necessary to take this dialogue to the next step, and to actively pursue implementing those recommendations that can bolster the integrity, transparency and effectiveness of a process that becomes more vitally important to the modern world with every passing day. For further details and links to the IBM Policy and the Wiki Recommendations, see: Standards Blog.

And Martin LaMonica of CNET News has this detail in his article, "IBM to shun 'rogue' standards bodies":

The IBM representative said that it's "quite possible" that the company will withdraw from some standards bodies. IBM singled out the World Wide Web Consortium as a group with good procedures.

Glynn Moody at ComputerWorld UK notes the likely next step, in his article, 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.

Nicole Kobie of IT PRO phrases it nicely in her opening paragraph:

IBM today declared its love for open standards and interoperability.

*************************

IBM ANNOUNCES NEW I.T. STANDARDS POLICY

To encourage improved tech standards quality and transparency, and promote
equal participation of growth markets in globally integrated economy

ARMONK, NEW YORK . . . September 23, 2008 - IBM today announced that, effective immediately, it is instituting a new corporate policy that formalizes the company's behavior when helping to create open technical standards. Such standards enable electronic devices and software programs to interoperate with one another.

In the globally integrated economy, open technical standards are integral to enabling the delivery of everything from disaster relief services and health care, to business services and consumer entertainment. They enable governments to create economic development platforms and deliver services to their citizens.

The tenets of IBM's new policy are to:

  • Begin or end participation in standards bodies based on the quality and openness of their processes, membership rules, and intellectual property policies.

  • Encourage emerging and developed economies to both adopt open global standards and to participate in the creation of those standards.

  • Advance governance rules within standards bodies that ensure technology decisions, votes, and dispute resolutions are made fairly by independent participants, protected from undue influence.

  • Collaborate with standards bodies and developer communities to ensure that open software interoperability standards are freely available and implementable.

  • Help drive the creation of clear, simple and consistent intellectual property policies for standards organizations, thereby enabling standards developers and implementers to make informed technical and business decisions.
IBM encouraged members of standards communities to adopt similar principles, which are more stringent than required by existing laws or policies. IBM's new standards policy promotes simplified and consistent intellectual property practices, and emphasizes that all stakeholders, including the open source community and those in growth markets, should have equal footing as they participate in the standards process.

IBM described steps to put these principles into action. For example, the company will:

  • Review and take necessary actions concerning its membership in standards organizations.

  • In the regions and countries where we do business, encourage local participation in the creation and use of standards that solve the problems and meet the requirements of all affected stakeholders around the world. We will advocate governance policies in standards bodies that encourage diverse participation.

  • Work for process reform in standards organizations so that proxies or surrogates cannot be used in standards creation and approval.

  • Collaborate with standards organizations and stakeholders to streamline and consolidate intellectual property licenses and policies, with a focus on enabling software applications to become more easily interoperable by the use of open standards.
IBM's principles were inspired by the results of an online conversation facilitated by IBM during the summer of 2008, in which 70 independent, forward-thinking experts across the globe -- from academia, standards-setting, law, government, and public policy -- debated the question of whether standard setting bodies have kept pace with today's commercial, social, legal and political realities. Actionable suggestions to modernize their processes were offered during the six-week discussion (research.ibm.com//files/standards_wikis.shtml), with an eye toward increasing standards transparency, fairness, and quality.

An invitation-only summit is planned for November, under Yale University's auspices, that will flesh out recommendations from the online discussion and begin steps toward improving the standards-setting environment.

"Common, open and consensus-based technology standards from reputable standards bodies help ensure that each of us can easily purchase and interchangeably use computing technology from multiple vendors," said Bob Sutor, IBM vice president of open source and standards. "The ways in which they are created and adopted provide reasonable assurances that disparate products will work with one another, and withstand the test of time."


  


IBM Announces New Policy on Standards - Updated | 235 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Official Error Thred
Authored by: iceworm on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:19 AM EDT

Please indicate the correction in the subject.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Official Off Topic Thread
Authored by: iceworm on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:21 AM EDT

Do include links. Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Official News Picks Thread
Authored by: iceworm on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:23 AM EDT

Please include the title of the story (or a portion if it is long) in the subject.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Breath of Fresh Air
Authored by: iceworm on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:30 AM EDT

It appears the corporate culture at IBM has in fact irreversibly changed for the good. I am waiting for other corporations in this field to get the message, but I am not holding my breath.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM Announces New Policy on Standards
Authored by: Hygrocybe on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:58 AM EDT
It used to be the custom that a wronged knight challenged the accuser by
throwing down his mail plated glove on the floor in front of the person making
the wrongful accusation. If it was picked it up, then the challenge was accepted
and trial by combat was the result.

Sir IBM has not only perceived a wrong has been committed, he has very firmly
thrown his glove in challenge. But I cannot help feeling he deliberately missed
the floor and hit the wrong doer firmly in the mouth.

A romantic interpretation ? Probably.....but humour to one side, if this is
what I perceive it to be, it is an excellent move towards open standards that
are kept fully in the open at all times....... and all rules correctly applied
and obeyed by all participants.

---
Blackbutt, Australia

[ Reply to This | # ]

Could not be more direct without naming names
Authored by: mks on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 06:15 AM EDT
This statement could not be more directly pointed at the latest ISO fast track
problems without actually naming it. It is a wonderfully written and thought
out policy that shows that standard do matter and the manner in which they are
achieved is important. Even better, this statement of corporate policy is very
strongly aimed at the future (while still slapping the OOXML ISO Fast Track).
This is how all corporations should behave.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EULA triumph by EUPA
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 08:04 AM EDT
As posted on teck dirt.

What we need is an end users purchase agreement that company are forced to
accept when they advertise products enticing people to purchase then based on
faulty information that they are purchasing the product free and restrictions.

One could formulate and post such a document on line and when some company posts
a EULA one could then have them automatically reference the EUPA which they were
required to accept when the product was sold.
Of course the EUPA would triumph the EULA and declare all previsions of the EURL
null and void.
Also, it is no fault of the user if the supplier fail to find, read and
understand the EULA they accepted when they sold the product.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Excellent news!
Authored by: tiger99 on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 08:17 AM EDT
I wonder if others who depend on standards and interoperability, Sun or HP for example, will be adopting similar corporate policies. It would make a lot of sense to do so.

With lots of industry participation, that would leave just one major player not playing nicely with standards bodies.....

Due entirely to their own bad behaviour, M$ will eventually be ostracised from anywhere that people choose to compete fairly, and interoperate properly. It will play a significant part of their downfall.

The spolied brat who only plays with the other kids on his terms, and monopolises all the toys, eventually find that the other kids will not play with him at all. I have seen it happen. Fortunately, most kids learn the meaning of cooperation quickly, but some never do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Walking the talk
Authored by: overshoot on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 09:14 AM EDT
I spent almost ten years on a (large) standards body, eight as a chairman, where IBM was a major participant. I'm more familiar than most with IBM's corporate behavior in a standards setting, and it boils down to one simple point:

They're as good as it gets.

Their people were always prepared, they always brought extremely valuable material that reflected lots of hard work in between meetings, and their focus was always on making the standard as good as possible so that the industry as a whole could benefit.

I've never worked for IBM, but I love working with IBM. They "get it."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Will Microsoft be invited?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 10:33 AM EDT
n/t

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Why? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 01:25 PM EDT
    • Why? - Authored by: luvr on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 05:07 PM EDT
      • Why? - Authored by: JamesK on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 06:14 PM EDT
New Policy Idea Brainstorming
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 12:47 PM EDT
There wasn't a thread strictly for things we thought should be a part of an open

standards policy, so I made one.

• Actual implementations of the key code required.
• Actual examples of files using each caveat documented in the text.
• Version control for the standards documents themselves.
• Online testing and verification. "This file XYZ format version 2.0
compliant!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Impact on OMG
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 01:13 PM EDT
I look forward to seeing IBM, and particularly its Rational division, apply this
policy to the Object Management Group...

dave

[ Reply to This | # ]

Has the OOXML 'standard' STILL not been published?
Authored by: DMF on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 01:52 PM EDT
How long has it been now?

[ Reply to This | # ]

When: IBM today declared its love for open standards and interoperability.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 01:57 PM EDT
When IBM embraced Java... it was for a level playing field.

When IBM embraced Linux... it provided a level playing field.

When IBM disparages standards bodies for favoritism...

I got laid off from IBM last year... but IGS has its own problems because CLAIMS
data is, at best, garbage... and they are still making business decisions and
sizing project based on fiction. At the same time, IBM's BCGs and other, more
philosophical, remarks, are, to my eye, surprisingly sane. IBM can compete--
and win-- on a level playing field.

No one can win... much less compete... when shut out of the game... and slanted
standards just make it more covert.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM threatens to leave standards bodies
Authored by: Gringo on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 06:12 PM EDT

IBM threatens to leave standards bodies

[ Reply to This | # ]

... independent participants, protected from undue influence?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 09:01 PM EDT
How does one ensure that participants remain "independent participants,
protected from undue influence"?

Theoretically, the participants in the boondoggle of M$OOXML should have been
such, yet they were still influenced by M$. How does IBM propose to prevent
that from occurring here?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bob Sutor on License Templates:
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 24 2008 @ 05:01 AM EDT
> No tweaking. No saying “Well, we’re special so we’re going
> to modify this area.” You’re not special.

There's a saying in some communities that "everyone is special".
I guess Bob means folks who live and work near Redmond WA
are not more special than anyone else.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I don't see how this will change anything
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 24 2008 @ 09:46 AM EDT
It's good that IBM is doing the right thing, but IBM wasn't the problem in the
1st place. What power do they really have here - they can quit standards
organizations that are acting improperly. Does anyone really believe that this
will stop another OOXML? Quitting standards groups just means that IBM loses
the ability to push their own agenda. No big loss if Microsoft has already
bought the votes that it needs to get its way. But IBM quitting isn't going to
change Microsoft, it isn't going to change all the Microsoft partners, and it
isn't going to change a corrupt standards group.

So again, this is nice to see, but it isn't a solution and isn't going to cahnge
anything.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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