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Subject: Re: [cgmopen-sc] Resignation

All --

I want to express deepest appreciation for Dieter's hard work and contributions over the years, and for the real enjoyment of working with him on the CGM Open Steering Committee.  I will personally miss Dieter's steady, reliable presence in CGMO governance, as well as his technical contributions since before the founding of the original CGM Open consortium.

His parting message is exemplary of the quality and value of his contributions.  I hope everyone will read it, as it contains an excellent retrospective of the origins of CGM Open, its critical role in the establishment of CGM as an indispensable technical asset to industry, and its continuing importance to the constituents of WebCGM.

I'm gratified that Dieter will remain a member of the CGMO Member Section and the WebCGM TC, and personally look forward to his continued contributions as an "esteemed elder" of the CGM community (okay, he's not that old!).


At 08:16 PM 10/8/2012 +0200, Dieter Weidenbrück wrote:

Dear all,

It is with much regret that I have to announce my resignation from the Steering Committee of the CGM Open Member Section, effective immediately. Being a founding member of the original CGM Open Consortium, I have had the pleasure to participate intensely in the activities around CGM since 1998, almost all of these years serving as the Chairman of the Consortium and later the Member Section of OASIS.

As most of you may still remember, I have sold my company ITEDO Software to PTC in 2006, followed by nearly 4 years working for PTC being responsible for the Arbortext product line. I left PTC in 2010, which ended my active role in the CGM world. For 3 more years I stayed on board of CGM Open, however, now it is time to make room for somebody who has a more vital and direct interest in CGM than I do at this point in time.

If you don't mind, I want to spend a couple of words on my view of CGM Open.

When I entered the CGM world in 1992, it was dominated by problems of all kinds. Proprietary flavors of CGM, unsupported versions, incomplete implementations, enormous rivalry and distrust among vendors, and customers in great despair, facing enormous challenges when using CGM. Compliance was unknown, and interoperability had not been invented yet.

A couple of vendors and users of CGM decided that it was time to put an end to this mess, and we founded the CGM Open Consortium. Great people come up from my memories of the early days: Dave Cruikshank, John Gebhardt, Lofton Henderson, Forrest Carpenter, Don Larson, Alan Hester, Bruce Garner, Lynne Rosenthal and many more. Of course, I have to mention Michael Brenner, Benoit Bezaire, and Ralf Berger from my own company, who helped me to match IsoDraw's CGM capabilities to the expectations.

Within short time, CGM Open managed to resolve the issues by creating a new profile called WebCGM. This simplified profile aimed at interoperability and stability has formed a new foundation for all CGM archives around the world. Giant industries like the aerospace, defense, automotive, and the oil industries started to standardize on WebCGM instead of their own profiles. Vendors gave up their self-protective behavior and understood the benefit of cooperation over permanent fights. CGM Open not only worked on the WebCGM profile as an OASIS standard and a W3C Recommendation, it also served as the focal point of the CGM universe. Here is the place, where interoperability problems between vendors got sorted out. Here is the place, where aerospace manufacturers easily agreed on common requirements for their contractors, and CGM Open helped them to put all this into practice. CGM Open helped to flag out problems with software products by means of test suites and expert advice. CGM Open also helped users and managers to understand the usage of CGM, how to avoid problems, and - more important than anything else - how to preserve the value of archives that have to live for 20 or 30 years.

With the introduction of Cascading Profiles, CGM Open opened the door for other organizations to build their own CGM profiles. ATA and S1000D gave up on their own profiles and mapped them to cascading profiles on the basis of WebCGM.  So the core of the graphic work is always done in CGM Open, whereas other organizations may just add a couple of application structures and attributes to create a new profile.

Today, WebCGM is a mature profile. Other than typical "standards" of today, which change once a year, WebCGM has reached a state of reliability and predictability that makes it the perfect format for long living 2D archives. CGM Open has the responsibility to keep the standard up to date, and to ensure that nothing gets lost in our fast moving world. There will be ongoing maintenance work not only within the standard, but also to adopt to changing environments, e.g. mobile applications.

For long years, entire industries have entrusted us with the work and maintenance of WebCGM. Two handful of people took care of the work, staying in close touch with representatives from a lot of companies. These people know CGM inside out, and they have driven this important standard, while user companies had to rely on their work. The result is, that WebCGM is probably the most widespread and often used 2D vector format around the world. And there are no signs that this will change any soon.

But it is a "quiet" format without great hype, and for more than 2 decades I've never seen a lot of participation from industry, although everybody knew how much they were relying on CGM. However, it was not a lack of interest, but the complex structure of a binary format that was not easily accessible to non-programmers. CGM Open was and is able to deal with all aspects of the format, and this is what distinguishes CGM Open from typical technical committees working on a human-readable style sheet or schema. Sometimes, this may be hard to see from the outside.

Within OASIS, CGM Open has always taken a special role, not only for being the very first Member Section, but also for its work mode. So far, OASIS has been a good harbor for CGM Open, and given the long and only slowly changing perspective of WebCGM I can only hope that this will continue to be the case for a long time. It is essential to bring new people up to speed on the very complex CGM work, and it is essential that OASIS will keep up the support for the CGM Open Member Section in the future.

I was allowed to participate in the development of CGM for long years, and I feel honoured by this. Together, we have managed to eliminate a lot of problems, and to build a foundation that will last for long years. Now my personal interests have changed quite significantly, and I believe it is time to make room for somebody who is still actively involved in the CGM world. I will continue as a member of the CGM Open Member Section, of course.

Let me thank you all for your interest in CGM and the work around it. Especially, I want to thank the many great people that I have met along my own CGM way over the past 20 years, Bruce Garner being the very first one. It has been a rewarding time for me, and I am proud that I was able to contribute my bit to this developing story.

I wish the CGM Open Steering Committee and the Member Section all the best for the future.

Thanks again,  it has been a pleasure.


PS: If anybody needs to contact me, please feel free to do so at dieter@dwz8.de.


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