Security/identity / XML · 2005-03-11

Finding the intersection

I’m a little late in noticing this excellent post by Stephen Walli analyzing the new OASIS IPR policy (and admirably managing to fit descriptions of the software patent problem, the tension between .orgs and patents, and the typical work of a standards committee into a nutshell). I agree that the new OASIS policy is considerably more useful and subtle than some have given it credit for.

I especially like this bit (emphasis mine):

Standards are about technology diplomacy. The goal of individual participating members is to expand their area of economic influence, while defending sovereign territory, and the balance point between those two positions is always difficult. The result is a specification document, but the process is a discussion and a negotiation each and every time at every level. The new OASIS IPR policy provides that space for discussion.

At the standards table you need to find the right intersection of everyone’s technical solutions using an intersection of everyone’s personal styles. The trick is that they both have to be non-empty.