CyberTech Rambler

July 8, 2008

WikiLeaks on what Fast Track means

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:14 pm

Wikileak has a document of what someone in IEC thinks Fast Track means. Before you download and read the document, please read Wikileak’s summary of the document for guidance on how to interpret the document. In particular I want to bring your attention to the fact that the document was not specifically aimed at OOXML fast track. Also note that the document is from IEC, not ISO. This implies that ISO is not bound by the document, but it will nonetheless be surprising to find ISO has a radically different interpretation of the joint ISO/IEC fast track process.

It is written in response to a very specific question, i.e., how to handle amendments to standard. It is writen in a manner similar to legalese, i.e., it reads like medieval english. The author’s answer to the question is he does not believe amendment can be fast-tracked.

The most interesting thing I find, and I am sure a lot of reader of the document will agree, is the author’s description of what he thinks a fast track should be and especially, its implication to OOXML standardization process. Our gold mine is of course the first two paragraph where the the author describe what a fast track process should be.

Two take away messages: One, fast track is only suitable for standard that is virtually 99.9% cast in stone, and two, if you expect changes, then fast track is not suitable and you should go back to the standard standardization route.

Its implication for OOXML? I don’t have to elaborate but to say that major changes to the standard during the fast track stage is planned for by the proposer.

Most importantly, the author’s view of the fast track is very sensible and definitely falls into what most people feel a fast track process is. I still find it a bit too hash to say that only standards that can survive without changes should be fast-tracked. I believe minor adjustments that a BRM can easily come into consensus should be permitted. After all, to err is human.

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