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Subject: RE: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

After reading the options, I believe our safest move is to wait until
the modified agreement is reached and then (re)submit for approval.  I
don't want to risk it being rejected because things are in flux, and I
don't think we want to relinquish our control of the standard.

I do want it to gain ISO acceptance but 30 or 60 days won't hurt as much
as a rejection or loss of control.

- Peter
Peter M Zelechoski, CISSP, MBA-TM     Vice President International
Election Systems & Software            pzelechoski@essvote.com

-----Original Message-----
From: James Bryce Clark [mailto:jamie.clark@oasis-open.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 1:08 PM
Cc: 'Laurent Liscia'; Mary McRae
Subject: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for
ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

Members of the Election & Voter Services TC:

     SUMMARY: We have several options for how best to respond,
     and adapt, to significant changes in ISO/IEC JTC1's
     procedures and plans. We must make a tactical decision about
     accelerating, changing or decelerating the OASIS submission
     of EML v5.0. We would appreciate hearing the opinions of TC
     members about these issues.

As you know, with your approval, we submitted EML v5 to ISO/IEC JTC1
late last year for its approval as an ISO/IEC standard). JTC1 "PAS"
(Publicly Available Specification) rules permit it to bring in
specifications approved by accredited external groups and essentially
endorse them by a re-approval ("transposition"). A number of standards
have completed this process successfully, and OASIS has been an
accredited PAS submitter since 2004.

JTC1 was slow to respond to our EML submission, but is now ready to
submit our work to its members (over 35 voting national standards
bodies) for a vote. However, at the same time, we've run into
significant changes in the expectations of JTC1 members about the way
that a standard is controlled and maintained *after* its transposition
approval. Recent events give us some concern that the terms of
submission we proposed, with your approval, may need to be changed, in
order for the vote to succeed.  Please note, the uncertainty is about
the "ground rules" going forward for further revision of the standard,
and *not* any dispute about the substance of your work today.

As described below, it's our advice that the TC consider modifying our
OASIS terms of submission, to anticipate JTC1's changed expectations.
Four options and our recommendation are described below;  we request
your input.


I put a detailed background discussion in the next, separate e-mail, so
that this one focuses on action.  Here's the very short version: 
  JTC1 is re-examining and rewriting its own rules, about maintenance of
outside submissions, very slowly.  There's been controversy about this.
There's still a high degree of mutual trust and regard between JTC1's
members and OASIS.  But at the same time, they are struggling to
re-define their rules for submissions, and we don't want EML to get
caught in the downdraft of uncertainty.

Our default position is that the OASIS TC who creates a submitted
standard continues to control it, and sets its own schedule for taking
in feedback from JTC1, and bringing major completed revisions back to

As described in the background summary post, that position has run into
some resistance.  We're concerned that any new submission sent in
blindly with the same terms would be rejected, now, based on the
procedural issues.  In the current standards politics environment, there
are three new factors:

    *  We are in mid-negotiation with JTC1 about possible alternative
collaborative maintenance methods.

    *   JTC1 as a community has both an unclear, under-revision set 
of rules for external submissions, and a genuine ambivalence about those

    *   Finally, within OASIS, our own Board and management are 
re-examining how best to handle external submissions.

(Details in the background post.)  The third point is unlikely to affect
the EML submission, as OASIS already approved it and sent it on to JTC1
in mid-2008, before we started to re-examine our own processes.  But the
first two points will weigh heavily on EML.  .


It's our hope that OASIS, by being a good citizen in this environment,
will help define mutually satisfactory and constructive solutions.  But
we still face the immediate question of how to handle the EML
submission.  Right now, it's in JTC1's hands as we originally submitted
it, after your TC reviewed the draft, with the same basic terms as we
used for ODF v1.0.  See the attached "Appendix A" document, which comes
from that submission.

OASIS has four options I can see.  Input from the TC would be helpful to
us on which is best.

1.  We simply could have the submission balloted now, as is, by the new
JTC1 leadership, who's apparently happy to launch it at any time.  My
personal guess, but it's only a guess, is that it would attract
significant opposition, because of the unresolved issues in the JTC1
polity about maintenance.  Regardless of the work itself.

2.  We could submit it now, but after an amendment adding what we think
might be acceptable terms.  In the attached copy of "Appendix A", I've
inserted some possible draft changes.  These would require some
commitments from the TC, as you can see, so they would need to be
acceptable to you.  It has the virtue of moving faster; and the vice of
being uninformed by whatever our conversations with JTC1 will be in the
next 30 days.  Personally I think option 3 is wiser.

3.  We could hold the submission back for 30 days, and see if either our
first round of conversations, in late January, or the March conclusion
mentioned in the resolution, will let us more reliably refine the
proposed changes set out in option 2 and the attached 
markup.   In that way, we'd be sending in something better informed 
by JTC1 expectations.  This is my first preference, tactically, though
the views of others, including the TC and our management and Board, also
may weigh in.

4.  Finally, we could send EML somewhere other than JTC1.  Frankly,
choosing another forum is a strong move.  I don't think it's off the
table, as it's hard to say how the PAS process will fare over the long
run.  However, OASIS probably is in the best position of any consortium,
given our good will and track record, to make PAS work. 
  In my view we ought to do so.  Thus, turning to another authority for
this work at this time probably is premature.

Now, none of the foregoing obviate the fact that the great work you have
done, within OASIS, manifestly deserves the further promotion and higher
profile, and has been languishing for all this "politics".  I apologize
again to you, for both the situation, and our inability so far to break
logjams to advance it more rapidly. 
Still, we try not to let our good work be rejected or fail elsewhere.
It's possible that we were right, that only a negative outcome could
have resulted from this interregnum and re-appraisal period.

We'd appreciate feedback from the members of the Committee on these
options (and any others you see).  Among other things, the TC's views on
whether the early draft of "appendix A" revisions seems like a plausible
way forward.  We'd also be happy to join you at a TC meeting if further
discussion or questions would be helpful.

Kind regards and best wishes for a successful and safe new year. 
Jamie Clark

~ James Bryce Clark
~ Director of Standards Development, OASIS ~

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