Will IBM's New Standards Policy Fix Leaking Pipes?

In a seminal move, IBM announces a new IT Standards Policy (see today's Wall Street Journal article, 23.08.09 or IBM's press release on 22.09.08) which will:

-- 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.

The name of the strategy: standards for standards is no pun indeed. This move which is way overdue, is motivated by the excesses of monopolist Microsoft in the recent OOXML vs. ODF battle which enraged the entire standards world. Essentially, a proprietary standard got ISO's open standard approval, paving the way for all kinds of mischief. IBM is now intent that this never happens again. Can they do it? I sure hope so. Standards need to be open in the real sense of the word, not just in name. When a pipe leaks there are only two things to do: fix it or leave. Sometimes the leak has been there for a long time without anybody taking action. I know, since I just quit my apartment because of a water leak that had eroded a wall of concrete.

So, let's see if Big Blue can fix the leaking pipes in the standards world. The industry would benefit. So would consumers, SMEs, and definitely governments. Who else will join the plumbing effort?

Comments:

That's nice image: create a group of plumbers. Well, sometimes you may also have to replace pipes that are leaking with new, more modern ones. This may require even more: plumbers and architects who design the project. Whatever, I agree that some changes are needed and that these would be to the benefit of industry (big, small, micro), users, consumers, governments.

Posted by Jochen on September 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM BST #

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Trond Undheim, Ph.D, Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at the Oracle Corporation, speaker, entrepreneur, blogger, and author, is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. LinkedIn profile

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