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michael posted more than 8 years ago | from the one-standard-to-rule-them-all dept.

Programming 133

An anonymous reader writes "The Open Group, along with IBM, has published a 500-word document that it hopes developers will endorse. The 'Developer Declaration of Independence' enjoins corporations, governments, organizations, and individuals to adopt and protect open standards in order to promote interoperability among all vendors and give IT customers freedom of choice. The Boston-based Open Group promotes the POSIX open standard and sells compliance testing to OS vendors. It has not yet organized a 'Boston IT Party,' however."

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133 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788080)

My first first post :)

Your n-th failure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788091)

Sorry.

catchiness (2, Interesting)

crazyray (776321) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788081)

comparing *declarations* , the phrase "MINDFUL of the desire and commitment..." just doesnt quite have the same catchiness as "We hold these truths to be self evident", does it? c'mon now, if you are gonna extol open source, shouldnt you claim it as self evident?

Re:catchiness (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788119)

sorry I am so lazy that I am posting as AC, but has anyone ever discussed whether open source really is "self evident"?

Re:catchiness (4, Insightful)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788182)

comparing *declarations* , the phrase "MINDFUL of the desire and commitment..." just doesnt quite have the same catchiness as "We hold these truths to be self evident", does it? c'mon now, if you are gonna extol open source, shouldnt you claim it as self evident?

They don't say "open source" anywhere in the declaration. They're talking about open standards. Arguably open standards are more important than open source. An open source product can splinter and produce two competing incompatible products, even though they are both open source. It takes a lot of effort to reconcile the splinter and sadly there is a lot of "heated" discussion involved in the reconciliation.

But open standards are the ultimate arbitrator; a product either is or is not compliant with the standard. There are no arguments over who is right and who is wrong. The arguments were all over and done with once the standard was written. Agreed, sometimes standards are imperfect so there can be different interpretations, but standards are the strongest mechanism we have for coordinating many vendors to produce compatible products.

Be aware that even in the open source world we have attempts at our own open standards (eg, LSB) and we have implementations of many open standards (eg, POSIX, X11, C#, LDAP). The marriage of open source and open standards is a formidable pairing. Far stronger than either element alone.

We can safely assume that there will always be vendors who follow open standards but do not release open source. We can still work with those vendors. We do so every day when we network a Linux server with Cisco routers. Those vendors are still our friends. We can also work with vendors who write open source software but don't follow any open standards. They are also our friends, though IMO they are painful vendors to work with. And there will be some vendors who write open source and follow open standards. Those vendors are a dream come true.

But be wary of vendors who don't release open source and don't follow open standards. There be dragons.

C# is not an open standard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788401)

The rest of your comment is ok, but C# is not an open standard. Part of the CLI spec has been submitted, but the remoting parts (essential for .NET, otherwise it is as dead as a paperweight) and the library are not Open Standard in the Open Standard sense.

Re:C# is not an open standard. (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788422)

The rest of your comment is ok, but C# is not an open standard. Part of the CLI spec has been submitted, but the remoting parts (essential for .NET, otherwise it is as dead as a paperweight) and the library are not Open Standard in the Open Standard sense.

Thanks for the correction.

Re:C# is not an open standard. (2, Insightful)

kclittle (625128) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788443)

The grandparent said it correctly -- he said 'C#', not '.NET'. C# *is* an open standard, certified by ECMA (ECMA-334 to be exact). C# is now a ratified ISO standard (ISO/IEC 23270).

On the other hand, you are correct in saying C# is not of much use without the rest of .NET...

Re:C# is not an open standard. (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788517)

"openness" as a fig leaf. Blech.

Open Standard == Competition

one of the few things that Dave Winer has said that I wholeheartedly agree. For example, any govt that believes in competition should use Open Standards for any software that it uses. That means across the board, from the military to the medical. In this country that means rejecting arsehole corps like EDS who indulge in contracts which lose *billions* of tax pounds/euros. The UK passport debacle is one of theirs.

In fact, IBM in the UK are amongst the most notorious syphons at the tax pound well, particularly with their Health Service contracts.

I look forward to the UK govt in particular adopting open standards so that it saves some of my tax money.

All vendees should *insist* that vendors adopt open standards. It's in their interests as it *saves money*. Of course, it screws MS, which is all to the good. Which is where I started. Vendees should use their muscle to ensure that .NET follows an Open Standard.

I look forward to a snowball surviving in a volcano.

h.

Re:catchiness (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#9789092)

But be wary of vendors who don't release open source and don't follow open standards. There be dragons.

No way, Dragons are cool... and closed software sucks, they are more like dung beetles.

Re:catchiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9789814)

But be wary of vendors who don't release open source and don't follow open standards. There be dragons.

Translation: Be wary of Microsoft!

Re:catchiness (1)

boots@work (17305) | more than 8 years ago | (#9790153)

Arguably open standards are more important than open source. An open source product can splinter and produce two competing incompatible products, even though they are both open source.

I agree, but standards can fork too. If they fork less often it is only because standards committees tend to move far slower than open source projects. No simple example comes to minds but there have been things standardized slightly differently by both ANSI and ISO.

So in general it's really nice if people will cooperate rather than gratuituously fork either standards or software. But competition can sometimes be helpful (and sometimes destructive.)

Good standards also tend to be written post-hoc; otherwise you tend to get design by commitee. For things we understand well already they're fine.

Be glad you have IP not the government-mandated OSI stack. Be glad you have all the features that went into Linux despite not being standardized yet.

Re:catchiness (3, Insightful)

Drosera (799735) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788271)

Is the need for open standards or open source "self evident"? To anybody in their mid-forties, or older, who studied any of the sciences, or anybody that studied the history of science, the answer is "yes".

Almost all of the technology that we love was developed in an environment of free exchange of ideas. Individuals laboured in isolation or small groups and freely published their ideas and discoveries for others to adopt, adapt, or criticize.

Derivative works made useful products - the production of which might be closed, secret or protected by laws. It was not until the early 1980s that it became common practice for basic researchers to turn to patents and secrets to protect or withhold their ideas from their colleagues and the world at large.

For example: where would we be with computer displays if the painter George Seurat (1859-91) had been able to say to the world: "No, no, no. It is only I that may make images by the laying of pure primary colors in minute dots upon a white background. The pointillism image that you produced is therefore my image and you and all those who have viewed it owe me $699 each".

Oh my. . . This just mutated into a SCO rant. Mod me down.

Good Idea? (5, Funny)

lustucru (720605) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788093)

I suggest 24th of July becomes a public holiday for IT people.

Re:Good Idea? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788134)

There's a joke about 24/7 in there somewhere....I just know it

MOD PARENT UP - 24/7! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788405)

Re:Good Idea? (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788432)

There's a joke about 24/7 in there somewhere....I just know it

Yeah, but the problem is that only Canadians would celebrate the proposed holiday.

Re:Good Idea? (1)

CptWheel (227064) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788320)

...do you know an admin with holiday? :)

Re:Good Idea? (1)

lustucru (720605) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788395)

you're right, our sys admin is tanned thanks to CRT monitor. i should send him a postcard next month, then he'll have a sight on oustide world.

Great (2, Insightful)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788097)

I really don't see the point in this. If you want to support open standards (as you should) then simply.... use open standards. We all know it. This isn't telling us anything we don't know already. People who aren't using them aren't checking out the OpenGroup's web site. This "Developer Declaration of Independence" is just another fluffy mission statement. Yeah it sounds great, but is it actually going to DO anything to help the problem?

Re:Great (1)

cofaboy (718205) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788117)

It's not always possible to follow open standards, not all vendors use them, some will "embrace and extend" to lock you into thier "Standard". And no MS are not the only company to do this, just the biggest.

Re:Great (1)

Blastrogath (579992) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788150)

If everyone knew that open standards are good and supported them by using them then we'd have open standards. "We" may all know this, but then perhaps "we" are not the target of this declaration. Perhaps they hope to convince "corporations, governments, organizations, and individuals" that do not know and believe that open standards are good. Maybe they hope that the people who do know will see their statment and tell people who don't know about it.

Re:Great (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788175)

This isn't telling us anything we don't know already.

You mean like "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."?

It might seem obvious to you or me or the guy in the next cubicle over, but to the rest of the world this is a new and (hopefully) revolutionary idea. If you write it down, it's easier to communicate and codify.

Re:Great (1)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788240)

If you want to support open standards (as you should) then simply.... use open standards.

Or ... introduce a (not-so-false*) dichotomy between "standard" and "non-standard".

* Proprietary has to imply non-standard, doesn't it?

Re:Great (1)

morleron (574428) | more than 8 years ago | (#9789396)

Proprietary does not have to mean non-standard. It may simply mean that a company doesn't want, for whatever reason, to Open Source their implementation of a standards compliant product.

Just my $.02,
Ron

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788769)

Every little bit of fluff helps, some new eyes are likely to meet the concept while sweeping.

Re:Great (1)

morleron (574428) | more than 8 years ago | (#9789373)

if enough people sign this declaration it may have some power in persuading CIOs and other IT management types that Open Standards are beneficial to the corporations of which they are employees. Appealing to the herd instainct is sometimes very useful in dealing with PHBs. Also, a show of wide-spread support for Open Standards may cause companies that subscribe to the "embrace, extend, extinguish" school of thought to re-think their approach to the marketplace.

Just my $.02,
Ron

Open Group (4, Informative)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788101)

From TFS (and TFA):
The Boston-based Open Group promotes the POSIX open standard and sells compliance testing to OS vendors.

It should be noted that this appears to be an explanation what Open Group is, rather than what the petition is about. I would feel uncomfortable signing something that helps them "sell compliance testing", but that's emphatically *not* what the petition seems to be about - and the summary gives it that unwanted spin.

That said, this is great stuff. Open standards have always been the state of mind of every developer worth their salt (apart from those with extremely lucrative proprietary interests - IBM of yore, MSFT of today), but it's nice to see some more focused approach to promoting open standards.

And these days, we got IBM backing us. No doubt various naysayers are eager to jump on the fact that openness is "convenient" to IBM, they are not altruistic, blah blah - but that's exactly what makes me feel comfortable: if openness was incovenient and required some kind of altruistic, it could stop by the time of next change of the exec team at IBM.

Re:Open Group (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788112)

Um, that wasn't spin, that was a disclaimer. The Open Group has produced a document that endorses open standard. It's business is compliance testing for an open standard. The editors wanted to make sure everyone knew this, before people started going on about how it is just a deceitful business ploy.

Re:Open Group (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788163)

Um, that wasn't spin, that was a disclaimer.

Yes, that that's exactly what I wanted to point out. An unwary reader may very well draw some (wrong) conclusions about how this is just an attempt of Open Group to get some certification revenue or whatever. And a certification by Open Group doesn't matter that much these days anyway - Linux is the gold Unix standard, copyright/trademark/other irrelevant issues notwithstanding.

Re:Open Group (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788193)

Linux isn't a Unix. It isn't POSIX compliant. And while Linux is gettting more room on Intel-farms, people with Suns, and other big machines are still going to go for Solaris, or other real Unixes.

Re:Open Group (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788250)

Linux isn't a Unix.

Luckily, seeing how much every "real" Unix appears to be a bitch for SCO.

It isn't POSIX compliant.

To the extent that it matters, it is (at least the kernel system call interface is, right?).

And if Linux is not POSIX compliant, it's more of a problem for POSIX than Linux. I.e., POSIX is not Linux compliant :-).

And while Linux is gettting more room on Intel-farms, people with Suns, and other big machines are still going to go for Solaris, or other real Unixes.

That's not what the market figures are saying. Everyone has/should have the Unix exit plan by now - for the ones who appreciate openness the exit plan is Linux, for the rest it's Windows.

Re:Open Group (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788363)

Which market figures? The ones that are quoting how many new machines shipped with what OS? A high-end SPARC server costs $2.5 million - what weighting is that given compared to a $500 Walmart special? The ones from weblog traffic? How many people surf from their company's server? Then there's the fact that big iron like that isn't chucked every three years for newer models, like cheap workstations.

Linux is good, and I'm not denying it, but it's place, at the moment, is as a personal server, or as part of a cluster of cheap computers. It's not quite on the desktop yet; it sure as hell ain't running on the company's million-dollar hardware.

Sure it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788454)

You are in denial...

I can think of several instances recently where million dollar database server setups were just migrated from e10ks to linux clusters... and it's not because the sun setup was overkill.. the sun setups were maxed out. Oracle is pushing this.

And the cluster nodes, by the way, were by no means cheap. The entire new setups were iirc $500,000 at least (so cheaper than the sun setup, but by no means cheap). That was for roughly 12 nodes. It's only "low cost" when compared to big iron... the servers themselves were far from cheap.

Re:Open Group (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788458)

Linux is good, and I'm not denying it, but it's place, at the moment, is as a personal server, or as part of a cluster of cheap computers.

The place of Linux is where the hardware of modern IT landscape is going - sub-50k servers. 2.6 series kernels scale well to 32 CPUs (and we'll be seeing 2.6 on production servers this year), and having any more than that is usually waste, or a sign of sub-optimal software architecture (i.e. not trying to use the clustering approach).

it sure as hell ain't running on the company's million-dollar hardware.

True - but soon, most companies will not have million-dollar hardware anyway. It stands for legacy non-standard hardware for which you pay way too much compared with what you get. It's not 1999 anymore.

Re:Open Group (2, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788430)

Linux isn't technically unix, but it's unix enough for anything that matters.

It's posix compliant in enough. Can you name some posix feature that is missing that anyone cares about? Which parts of posix are you referring to?

Sales figures would disagree with your comments about Sun hardware. Sun was not on top in some sectors because of posix compliance, nor the fact that they can use the unix trademark.

Sun is in the process of losing it's high end oracle market right now, and oracle is moving customers to intel/linux clusters instead of 64 processor sun servers.

I can assure you that those other "Real" unixes are not chosen because they are "Real" but because they have large corporate backing.

Remember, SCO Unixware is real unix.. and it's crap.

"open standard" are a waste of time (2, Insightful)

oozer (132881) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788103)

POSIX really represents everything that's wrong with the computer industry. No vendor really wants to implement a standard, they only do so grudgingly to apease customers. That's why standards implementation has always been quite poor.

POSIX itself has been made largely irrelevant by the sucess of Linux. Standards orgainisations should learn from this - the world doesn't want standards that vendors can implement more or less correctly to provide a veneer of compatability. What the world wants is a free reference implementation that works and which other implemetations if they need to exist at all, can be compared to.

If vendors want to waste money funding organisations like the Open Group that's their problem, but organisations like the Open Group shouldn't expect anyone to really care about the useless documents they create.

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (3, Informative)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788126)



Linux are mostly based on Posix. Some things are not defined in Posix and some things are not so good in Posix but mostly Linux follows Posix.

And thats a good thing!

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788183)

Linux are mostly based on Posix. Some things are not defined in Posix and some things are not so good in Posix but mostly Linux follows Posix.

Yup, that's the good thing about standards (after the first good thing) -- you can mostly follow them, and still name drop.

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788132)

"POSIX itself has been made largely irrelevant by the sucess of Linux"

Linsux IS POSIX compilant

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (4, Insightful)

flacco (324089) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788148)

POSIX really represents everything that's wrong with the computer industry.

really? that's strange. if i were to pick something that "represents everything that's wrong with the computer industry", i'd have to say the POSIX standard is down around 12,543rd on my list.

No vendor really wants to implement a standard, they only do so grudgingly to apease customers.

what? vendors go to work every day merely to appease customers? what a scandal.

POSIX itself has been made largely irrelevant by the sucess of Linux. Standards orgainisations should learn from this - the world doesn't want standards that vendors can implement more or less correctly to provide a veneer of compatability. What the world wants is a free reference implementation that works and which other implemetations if they need to exist at all, can be compared to.

dude, you've been drinking the bong-water again, haven't you?

If vendors want to waste money funding organisations like the Open Group that's their problem, but organisations like the Open Group shouldn't expect anyone to really care about the useless documents they create.

you heard it here first folks: open standards are useless. now i think i'll just post this HTML reply here over this TCP/IP internet thingy so you can read it with the browser and operating system of your choice.

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (2, Insightful)

nakaduct (43954) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788369)

> HTML

Born as a hack, brought to maturity by proprietary extentions and formalized in a standard that's largely ignored.

> TCP/IP

Said to be unimplementable from standards; most all stacks in wide use are copies of the reference implementation.

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788981)

And yet here we all are.

troll (1)

Kynde (324134) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788190)

That's called a troll where I come from. And there's no need to feed it just because few moderators were so easily fooled.

Re: Internet == Open Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9789020)

I disagree, whether the poster was trolling or not their misconceptions are obviously shared by a few people and surely you'd agree we're better having educated people around than not.

Always cracks me up when people start moaning about open standards having failed on Internet forums being accessed by millions of people using open standards. Nothing like refuting your own argument with the very medium you choose to make it, just because you don't understand it (not you personally, the parent :).

Parent is a troll, mod down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788212)

The parent is just being inflamatory --- the post summarizes down to "Standards are bad". Even allowing for highly divergent views, that doesn't merit a high score unless accompanied by strongly reasoned arguments, which are lacking here.

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (1)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788214)

No vendor really wants to implement a standard, they only do so grudgingly to apease customers.

Rubbish.
That applies to vendors who want to hang on as long as possible to their piece of an ever diminishing pie. That does not apply to vendors who seriously want to be around for a long time.

A vendor's attitute toward standards telegraphs a lot of how the vendor views its own competence. IBM's support of open standards indicates their desire to compete in an improved playing field and their belief in their own competence to successfully compete in that same field. IBM comes out ahead even if everything it does to set up and promote the open standards helps IBM's competitors more than it helps IBM. IBM is moving back to the situation where "nobody every got fired for buying IBM". Look at the IBM ads. Consider that those ads had to have been sold to IBM's management. Management appreciates On/Off puns?

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788791)

"IBM's support of open standards indicates their desire to compete in an improved playing field and their belief in their own competence to successfully compete in that same field."

IBM's support of open standards is motivated by the fact that they haven't been able to compete on the basis of original ideas in a long time. By making software a commodity, they hope that their large size will make them the dominant vendor.

No, standards are a waste of time (1)

Monkeybaister (588525) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788334)

I've read RFCs and other standards documents and have come to the conclusion that they are useless. They use overly verbose English, so implementations usually deviate from the specification. With all that verbosity, you'd think they wouldn't allow things to be unspecified, but it happens anyway.

So much time spent just to specify something, then on top of that, many people spend time actually making an implementation so a specification can actually be useful.

How many people actually implement on a standard? Very few, that's why portability doesn't work. The whole point of a standard is to help portability!

Someone will probably point out TCP or IP has being a successful standard, but they have the two main problems with standards: try using out-of-band data in TCP. Can't? Oh, that's right, few people actually use it because few have implemented it. Running out of addresses in IPv4? Time to write up a new standard that actually takes current necessities. When will there be an implementation? Few years. When will it actually be in use? Even longer.

I would say the root cause for needing standards is the erection of the code/data boundary because current operating systems can't trust random code.

Re:No, standards are a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9790068)

I was going to post a reply on how you obviously don't understand how the RFC process works, and how the requirement that there be multiple independent compatible implementations of a protocol before it can be a standard made the Internet a success, while the OSI protocols (CLNP, TP4) faded away, and that IPv6 hasn't been widely adopted because it hasn't been necessary so far. Etc.

But I won't reply non-anonymously to an obvious troll called Monkeybaiter. So I'll just anonymously point out that you are obviously an idiot.

-Anonymous

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (2, Interesting)

azaroth42 (458293) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788354)

> What the world wants is a free reference implementation that works and which other
> implemetations if they need to exist at all, can be compared to.

Yes. But to have a reference implementation, you need to have the standard of which it's a reference.
SRW (http://www.loc.gov/srw [loc.gov] ) has 3 different reference implementations, in Java, C and Python and all OSS. But without the SRW standard, could you tell what was going on? I doubt it.

--Azaroth

Not true (2, Insightful)

cruff (171569) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788436)

All of my code at work is written to POSIX and other ANSI/ISO standards (C, C++), exactly for the reason that it produces portable code. This allows us to be vendor neutral when it comes to choosing hardware. We've been able to move our code to new POSIX compliant systems, often only needing to make changes due to things like big-endian/little-endian or compiler/library bug work arounds.

The vendors typically are good about fixing standards conformance problems, especially when I say I'll just have to buy another vendor's hardware. Don't underestimate the power of open standards!

Re:"open standard" are a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9789365)

Sure beats being a Microsoft Borg bot having to relearn an API every 3 months.

You show ignorance in how you talk about POSIX.

poor effort (3, Interesting)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788106)

1> why doesn't the article include a direct link to the damn thing.

2> The declaration stinks of pointy haired people sitting in afternoon long meetings. I suppose it serves as a way to explain the value of openness to other pointy-haired people. As a Declaration of Independence, the prose soars exactly the way a bowling ball droped from a tall building might (it doesn't).

3> It still seems a little rich for IBM to be supporting a document that contradicts every aspect of IBM business practices through nearly its entire existence.

Speaking of poor efforts... (1)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788216)

1. It's a direct link all right,

2. If PHB's don't understand, what's the point in trying? What is so wrong about putting out a coherent statement about open source goals? Does it threaten you?

3. Granted, IBM invented many of the industry's sharp practices. What other companies haven't appreciated perhaps is their long view, which is that in the end, it hurt more than it helped them. Now, when they realize what network effects you can get from open source, and make serious efforts to get behind OSS developers, they are greeted with cutting remarks by nobodies who think they own the club. I think THAT's a bit rich.

Re:Speaking of poor efforts... (2, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788831)

"What other companies haven't appreciated perhaps is their long view, which is that in the end, it hurt more than it helped them."

It's not IBM's long view, it's IBM's current view. When it was to their advantage to be closed, they were closed. Now that they can't benefit as much from being closed, they support open standards (although they haven't given up much of their mountain of IP).

Should they find in the future that they can make more money being closed, they will be. It's not philosophy, it's not religion, it's business.

Re:poor effort (2, Insightful)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788236)

1> why doesn't the article include a direct link to the damn thing.

It does. Towards the end it reads:

The document is available online [opengroup.org] , along with a form [opengroup.org] that can be used to "sign" it.

2> The declaration stinks of pointy haired people sitting in afternoon long meetings. Not sure if I disagree here. Its form reminds me of these stuffy CEPT resolutions I have seen quoted in the old Radio Amateurs Handbook. On the other hand, there are only so many ways such a declaration could be formatted. And isn't the content rather more important, than the form being a literary masterpiece? Besides, the audience may include said PHBs.

3>. IBM now is not the same as IBM was 25 years ago. They probably sees this as relevant to their future business opportunities. They indicate as much, at any rate. And as they are more concerned with selling hardware and services; if they can profit from open standards then they will support that.

Which does raise the question of how much more than an IBM PR thing this really is.

Re:poor effort (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 8 years ago | (#9789173)

I wonder how IBM defines "open" for purposes of this document, given that Microsoft Windows is an "open system" in their terminology.

Re:poor effort (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788258)

The declaration stinks of pointy haired people sitting in afternoon long meetings.

Declarations that matter tend to be made by such people. Geeks in the cubicles (including your truly) can "declare" anything they want, and the world around tends to ignore it ;-).

Re:poor effort (1)

pwrtool 45 (792547) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788349)

Hmm, I see your point.

"I claim this cube for Spain!!!"

Meanwhile, life in the office goes on as before. Especially since this isn't the first time said geek stood up and made a declaration.

Re:poor effort (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788663)

This is classic IBM lots of words but umm so what. They will be telling thier employees all about "mindshare" and showing "who stole my cheese" videos as training. Yes, I lived through "e-bussiness" and now see Dilbert as a documentary.

Free? (3, Funny)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788116)

When IT gets really free, we no longer see articles about cheap IT jobs outsourced to India, right?

Re:Free? (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788292)

This line - the outsourcing of IT - reminds me of a legendary conversation with the great (?) philosopher Hegel.

Hegel was spouting off about his evolutionary view of history (Darwin did /not/ invent evolution, just applied this peculiarly 19th century obsession to a new area). Specifically, the evolutionary history of the New Testament church, and some poor student had the temerity to point out that "But, sir, the facts are otherwise." According to legend - I have no idea if its true - Hegel said "so much the worse for the facts."

As nice as outsourcing may be as a campaign slogan and/or excuse for Slashdoterotti unemployment, sadly, the facts are otherwise. This is why this political "issue" has gone under a rock lately.

Re:Free? (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788856)

If you're going to claim that there are facts that don't support the conclusion, it would be helpful if you actually stated the conclusion and the facts that don't support it.

the good and the iffy (1)

flacco (324089) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788128)

i like the idea of a common "open standards statement" that explicitly lays out the advantages of using open standards. it could attain an identity, like the GPL has for licensing, and thus become a more concrete concept in developers' and IT managers' minds.

on the other hand, i don't care for the "whereas", "resolved", and "let it henceforth be known" style language used. it just sounds too much like one of those undergraduate student government resolutions denouncing female circumcision in west africa somewhere.

Ironic (2, Interesting)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788137)

It's ironic that IBM would even MENTION open standards and freedom, given their track record. They hold thousands of patents, and don't think twice about using them to crush competition. The only reason that we don't have high-quality arithmetic compression tools is that IBM has been holding a patent on a necessary algorithm for years. Also, IBM are active members of the TCPA.

Don't be fooled by their recent Linux-friendly stance. IBM are no different than Microsoft, HP, or any other big company,

Re:Ironic (2)

flacco (324089) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788164)

Don't be fooled by their recent Linux-friendly stance. IBM are no different than Microsoft, HP, or any other big company

it's true that the interests of IBM and the F/OSS community just happen to coincide at the moment, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a beer with them and accept any no-strings-attached help they might offer us.

Wont Disagree (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788227)

I won't disagree with you there. I love Eclipse, IBM's wonderful donation to the world of Free IDE's. I'll start being impressed when IBM releases their patented algorithms under some sort of GPL-for -patents.

Re:Ironic (4, Insightful)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788180)

They hold thousands of patents, and don't think twice about using them to crush competition

That's hardly a fault with IBM, rather than a fault with the patent system. If the law allows it, and you have tons of attorneys and patent people, you patent everything you can. They can prove to be useful for crushing competitors at some point, or defending yourself agains patent attacks. It's quite basic logic, in fact.

Abolishing the SW patent laws needs to happen at government level. I've said this before, but we need an all-out hostile patent lawsuit that is so ridiculous and hurts the industry so much that any idiot can see the damage, rather than this slow suffocating effect of just hindering potential growth and improvements in the state of technology. Nobody sees if progress doesn't happen, but everybody sees direct damage and can draw the conclusions.

Re:Ironic (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788371)

That's a poor argument. Just because it is allowed by law doesn't mean you should do it. Of course, you mention it as logic and not ethics, so my point is moot.

Re:Ironic (1)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788550)

Don't be fooled by their recent Linux-friendly stance. IBM are no different than Microsoft, HP, or any other big company.

Those companies are all separate. That's why they have different names and different stock symbols.

IBM's business strategy involves supporting open standards. They have worked out a services model that enables them to grow their business harmoniously with the proliferation of open standards.

Sorry about the high-quality arithmetic compression tools, dude. I guess it is an imperfect world. Do you feel that IBM is the only group of people in the world who can give you what you want? Does that make them somehow different from other large companies such as HP and Microsoft for example?

Re:Ironic (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788703)

If services for open standards consulting is growing, IBM will buy up some of the players. This is what they have done in the past with Rational, Apache(WebSphere), etc, etc. The only difference with MS is that they have to keep this stuff at bay while they change to a service company.

We hold... (2, Funny)

Scrab (573004) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788166)

these truths to be self evident, that all software is created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights...

On second thoughts, perhaps not...

I'm a software engineer and I have freedom (4, Funny)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788187)

Lots of it. Apart from when I have to go to the job centre once a fortnight on Thursday.

I'm glad I've got IBM on my side. They've certainly been doing their bit for the UK software industry.

Open standards != Open source (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788196)

Open standards can exist in a completely proprietary environment. Open standards should, however, ensure interoperability. In that regard, open standards should be a legal requirement. Vendor lockin should be considered to be restraint of trade.

I also wonder if this declaration could be viewed as anti-DMCA? That would be radical.

Anyway, when I went to the document, the counter was only at 916 so we're not exactly slashdotting them. Maybe that is some indication of how interested the community is.

Re:Open standards != Open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788809)

um. Perhaps the length of 500 pages is why no one is even bothering. The US DoI was a page long and a work of art.

Supported by IBM who supports Sen Hatch ... (2, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788200)

I detect an inconsistency. Developer freedom is going to be under severe attack if every consumer application is going to have to be acceptable to the RIAA and their equivalent in other areas, yet IBM directly sponsors Sen Hatch who is pushing the INDUCE act forward.

We tend to consider IBM as the good guys because of their fight with SCO, but they cannot fail to see that a total clampdown on access to content effectively brings a sledgehammer down on much open source development.

Not POSIX (1)

Moosbert (33122) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788237)

The Open Group publishes the Single Unix Standard (SUS); the IEEE publishes the POSIX standard. The latest version of POSIX is a subset of the latest version of the SUS, but only after a long coordination effort.

If you want to join... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788266)

...we need you to paint the words "SHARE THE SOFTWARE" one thousand times on the side of the Fleet Center.

Re:If you want to join... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788305)

The third rule: if this is your first night of IT club, you HAVE to read Slashdot.

editor-check (3, Informative)

nusratt (751548) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788322)

"The 'Developer Declaration of Independence' enjoins corporations, governments, organizations, and individuals to adopt and protect open standards"

in a 'Declaration of Independence', I doubt you meant:

enjoin \en-JOIN\, transitive verb:
1. To direct or impose with authority; to order.
2. To prohibit; to forbid.

perhaps you meant:

exhort
v. exhorted, exhorting, exhorts
v. tr.
To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal: exhorted the troops to hold the line.

Re:editor-check (1)

kinrowan (784107) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788779)

Agreed. The declaration itself could use some editorial work as well - what a poorly written piece of dren.

I agree with the concepts the declaration is intended to support and would happily sign it, if it were written in anything even remotely resembling meaningful and legible language. I mean, talk about a run-on sentence! The ifrst one is 300 words long! That's an accomplishment in itself.

Seriously though, I'm sure some will say that if the concepts are worthy then folks should sign it, and never mind the language. I firmly believe, though, that the way we say something is very nearly as important as what is said (OK, I admit I was an undergrad English major). This is written in such a way as to sound stiff and pompous.

Re:editor-check (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 8 years ago | (#9789002)

That's exactly what I was thinking. I'm most used to seeing the second definition in actual use. I was wondering how and why they wanted to forbid open-source...

Awesome idea. Fix your webform. (2, Interesting)

philovivero (321158) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788344)

I agreed wholeheartedly with the declaration. I tried to "sign" the declaration, but it consistently rejected my (multiple attempts at) entering an email address. It said "the email addresses do not match."

Don't be surprised if not too many people with qmail-destined email addresses sign up. (I'm using the "myname-organisation@domain.tld" format email address).

Isn't there already something better? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788564)

Isn't the GPL (granted its not a declairation of independance) in effect stronger than this (to use an analogy) roman numeral accountants supporting document?

Re:Isn't there already something better? (1)

Fuzzle (590327) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788767)

No, because the GPL in no way asks for adherence to POSIX or any other standard. There are plenty of apps out there (Ximian Evolution for example) that are built around supporting proprietary extensions that other vendors have created, or they work to create their own. As someone stated before Open Source != Open Standard, as there is plenty of OSS that does not adhere to Open Standards and plenty of closed source software (CSS, oooo!) that does adhere to open standards (Apple iCal).

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788657)

I wonder if IBM is also interested in promoting open standards with its overpriced hardware?

Use Me IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9788674)

If I sold hardware and services for a living, I would do everything in my power to make the requisite software as cheap as possible. For example, I would line up as many young programmers as I could and market them into taking the lowest possible wages, or even working for free, while also hedging my bets with new plants in India. This is exactly what Data Tree in San Diego did and it's exactly what IBM and many others are doing.



Maybe all of the hardware/services manufacturers should setup source-code collaboration efforts that pay young programmers to write free code? Then, the smallest members can feed the larger while the largest members use commercial pressure to make sure the smaller members never become larger. Meanwhile, all of the young programmers NOT being paid by that collaboration will have to find other careers and the entire industry (as we know it now) will die. Brilliant move if you are one of the largest members, mind-numbingly stupid if you are not.



Free Software from academia is Good --it sets a new baseline for industry and the state of the art. But free software from brainwashed young technicians is Bad --ultimately for the young technicians hoping to stay in the business of producing Software for a living wage and ultimately for the Public which will have less productivity due to a slower pace of innovation.

My story and the history of the information age (4, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#9788995)

I remember in 95,there were allot of people who considered me absolutely foolish for wanting to drop promising career opportunities in Oracle,Microsoft,and SCO Enterprise Unix for Linux.Back then I remember hearing million dollar speakers who couldn't get the future right 18 mo's out,but none the less I hit the nail on the head 10 years out into the future.I wanted to share my thinking,because I think it will benefit other people too.

History teaches that during the 1800's there were many people who believed that the entire meaning and purpose of the industrial revolution was to leverage inventions like the cotton gin to expand their plantations for unlimited growth and profit.Ironically just the opposite was true,the industrial revolution actually demanded a mobile and skilled workforce.

It didn't matter that the plantation system was vastly powerful,it didn't matter that the plantation system had many of the most wealthy,educated,resourceful,and well connected people on the planet.More importantly it didn't matter that slavery existed for 1000s of years,that they paid allot of money for those slaves,and it was upheld by the full force of law at every level of government,and was considered a property right.What mattered was was that society needed to move into the industrial age,but simply couldn't until employers could hire labor at will and on demand without fear or concern over who "owned" them.(not to mention that slavery was just plain evil)

Today many in media circles believe that the entire meaning and purpose of the information age is to use inventions like the internet to leverage their copyright holdings to the far reaches of the earth for unlimited growth and profit.Ironically,just the opposite is true,the information age demands the unrestricted flow of information.

It doesn't matter that the media system is vastly powerful, it doesn't matter that the media system has many of the most wealthy,educated,resourceful,and well connected people on the planet.More importantly it doesn't matter that copyrights have existed for 100s of years,that they paid allot of money for them,and they are upheld by the full force of law at every level of government,and are called a property right.What matters is that society needs to move into the information age,but simply can't until companies and people can use information at their disposal at will without fear or liability in regards to who "owns" every little piece of it.

History shows that just because an institution calls something a property right, doesn't mean that it is. Just because an institution calls something an incentive doesn't mean that it is. Just because an institution looks successful on the surface, doesn't mean it is. That the future is formed by facts, and not the common beliefs of the day. Most importantly that the surest way to become irrelavent is to sit the fense, attempt to appease both sides, or to aviod taking sides at all.

It is no accident that Microsoft is under siege by Linux, Hollywood is under siege by p2p networks, and publishers are under siege by from alternate sources of content on the internet. All these forces have in common that they are forcing society to move away from the control of media, content, and information. Likewise, I also think it is in my best interest, and others best interest to do so too and hold our success accountable to it.

By pushing to rely on software like Linux and other open source software and having a bias against proprietary software, information, and content when possible (even when a little inconvenient). It will create opportunities, like it did for me, as time goes on rather than disasters every time an improvement in information technology happens along. It will lead to technology solutions that are more reliable, secure, and interoperable, while at the same time being less costly. It will create a migration of technology that tends to change for improvement make rather than the sake of obsoleting unprofitable versions. It will lead to solutions that take advantage of the free flow of information on the internet and p2p networks rather than treating it like a liability or a threat.

In sum,just as the industrial revolution demanded an uncontrolled labor force, the information age demands the unrestricted flow of information. People and institutions that hold themselves accountable to paradigms that aviod restricting the flow of information will be more successfull than those that attempt to controll it or remain neutral about it. That's why it's so important to push torawd reliance on non-proprietary software and media whenever possible. And most importantly, for the big picture and the long term, it is simply the way things half to go.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9789430)

The reality is IBM doesn't really give a flip about open source or the developer community. Let's not forget that IBM is also the king of offshoring efforts.

Their support in open source only exists so they can use it for their exhorbitant consulting fees with nomimal cash investment on their own part. If, for whatever reason, they could no longer charge $250 an hour for medicore consultants they would drop Linux faster than you could blink an eye.

The point? Remember, beyond their line of crap they care zero about Linux, open source, or any other item beyond what ability exists for them to milk it dry for their own cash gain.

And this is groundbreaking how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9789853)

Sounds like they are trying to create a community where developers can freely share their work. What a novel thought. www.gnu.org might be a place they can start for ideas.
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