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

I have one offer of a telecon number for our meeting but it does not provide local rate charging so anyone phoning from outside UK will pay international rates.  Can anyone offer a cheaper alternative please?
There is a  limit on the number possible on a Skype conference call and we will probably exceed that so we had better avoid that route.

M. +44 (0)7976 157745
Skype: gov3john

From: John Borras <johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk>
To: EML TC <election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>; James Bryce Clark <jamie.clark@oasis-open.org>
Sent: Tuesday, 13 January, 2009 9:20:07
Subject: Re: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

Thanks to all for the quick responses.  Next Wednesday 21st is the favourite so let's go for that at 15.30 GMT (16.30 CET, 10.30 EST, 7.30 PST). 
Can someone provide a telecon number or should we use Skype?
In considering the ISO situation I think we should have a quick review of the v6 Wishes List, copy attached, to get a view on how long it might take to deliver a new version.

M. +44 (0)7976 157745
Skype: gov3john

From: John Borras <johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk>
To: EML TC <election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>; James Bryce Clark <jamie.clark@oasis-open.org>
Sent: Monday, 12 January, 2009 14:12:36
Subject: Re: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

Thanks again to all for their contributions to this debate.  I think it's fair to say there is a consensus on ideally what would be the best route to follow but we differ on how realistic that is.  To summarise:
- we agree Do Nothing is not an option.  We must either amend our current submission to ISO or withdraw it and re-submit at a later date. 
-  there is a strong feeling that we should do a v6 first and submit that later in the year.  We have some disagreements about how long it would take to complete and get through the OASIS approval processes, but it must include the VIP requirements which still haven't been finalised yet, so we can't start work until that has been completed.
-  we are all concerned about the lack of resources available to do a new version and our reliance on David and his new tools.  This impacts on the point above about the length of time.  If other resources were forthcoming from one or more of our larger TC member organisations then we would be much more confident about completing v6 in a shortish timescale.
- there is a lull in voting activity so now would be a good time to work on a new version before deadlines become an issue.
I think it would be useful to hold a teleconference to discuss all this and take further advice from Jamie on the way forward, after which we will probably have to hold a vote. 
So now for the really hard bit, finding a date and time for the meeting.  Let's start with the date; how about Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday next week?  Can you let me have your preferences please and then we can look to isolate a time and conference call number.

M. +44 (0)7976 157745
Skype: gov3john

From: John Borras <johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk>
To: EML TC <election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>
Cc: Laurent Liscia <laurent.liscia@oasis-open.org>; Mary McRae <mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org>; James Bryce Clark <jamie.clark@oasis-open.org>
Sent: Thursday, 8 January, 2009 9:00:46
Subject: Re: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

Thanks for the contributions.  Clearly we have some differences of opinions.  Let me just clarify a few points.
First Paul's point about the lack of adoption of later ISO versions, that's a worry and I'd be interested to hear of other experiences of this.  If it's true it has to be a serious consideration for us in reaching our decision on what to do.
Second the point about the time taken to prepare a new version.  It tool us almost 12 months to do v5 and a little less to v4. That's because we have been totally reliant on a few individuals who also have day jobs.  If we could get the resources from larger organisations  as Paul pleas for then we could do better next time round, but I'm not optimistic about that.  Also I see v6 as a major piece of work if we are going to adopt the data model approach which has been suggested. So doing it even in 6 months will be a challenge.
Third, David's point about wait and see.  Do nothing is not an option.  If we do nothing as I understand it, and Jamie will correct me if I'm wrong, ISO will proceed with our current submission and vote in due course.  That will probably fail and thus diminish our prospects for any future submission. So we have to either amend our current submission to give it a better chance of success or withdraw it and re-submit later.
I'll let this debate continue for a few more days to see what contributions we get from other TC members, then call a TC meeting and hold a vote.  That doesn't auger well as we'll probably have a split vote which will not be good for us going forward.


M. +44 (0)7976 157745
Skype: gov3john

From: David RR Webber (XML) <david@drrw.info>
To: Paul Spencer <paul.spencer@boynings.co.uk>
Cc: Laurent Liscia <laurent.liscia@oasis-open.org>; Mary McRae <mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org>; John Borras <johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk>; EML TC <election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>; James Bryce Clark <jamie.clark@oasis-open.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 7 January, 2009 17:48:57
Subject: RE: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

This comes down to John's assertion that it will take a year to get V6 thru the process.  I'm not sure I agree with that.
My sense is we can get that done in 6 months now we are all much older and wiser in that regard.  Plus I've been developing tools to dramatically reduce the manual effort needed to produce the deliverables in the specification.
Being smarter about how we deliver the specification - and this impacts support and maintenance in future too - is another strong reason to opt for this.
Of course these two choices are possibly not mutually exclusive.  In both cases we are deciding to take a time out and wait and see when ISO gets done.
Therefore - we're already in wait and see mode.  Next its a decision - once we decide to re-submit - which version do we go with? 
I'm seeing we can actually defer that for a month or so here - give us time to make progress on V6 - and then assess where we are at in time and space when the opportunity to re-submit is presented.
Of course this is a driver for us getting on with V6 - but this is not the only driver in that regard.   Come end of February, beginning of March - we may have an even bigger major driver here in the US if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly...
Thanks, DW


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for
ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC
From: "Paul Spencer" <paul.spencer@boynings.co.uk>
Date: Wed, January 07, 2009 12:33 pm
To: "John Borras" <johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk>, "EML TC"
<election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>, "James Bryce Clark"
Cc: "Laurent Liscia" <laurent.liscia@oasis-open.org>, "Mary McRae"

I will go against the flow, and back withdrawal and re-submission of v6. Once something is adopted as an ISO standard, more people will start implementing it. We know from the experience of XSLT and many other specifications that, once a specification is widely implemented, it is hard to get an upgrade widely adopted. In the XSLT case, version 2 has huge improvements over version 1, but because Microsoft has not adopted it, there has been a split in the development community.
I was always a bit uncomfortable with putting v5 to ISO when we knew that it could be improved and made easier to understand and implement. Of course, if we do decide to withdraw and resubmit, we are back to the problem that there is probably a solid month's work just to draft the improvements, and historically EML has been developed and maintained by people who do not have the backing of a large company. I, for one, have gained no business benefit from my work on EML over the last couple of years and do not see how I would benefit in the future.
So - can one of the companies or other organisations on the TC either take on or support this work, or are we forced to accept second best yet again and go for John's first option?
-----Original Message-----
From: John Borras [mailto:johnaborras@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: 07 January 2009 09:41
To: EML TC; James Bryce Clark
Cc: Laurent Liscia; Mary McRae
Subject: Re: [election-services] Progress and EML submission status for ISO/IEC JTC1: questions for TC

First let me say many thanks to Jamie for this very full picture of where we are and the options open to us.  We clearly have a very difficult decision to make now on how to proceed. 
There is one other option open to us in addition to those put forward by Jamie.  We could withdraw our JTC1 submission, produce v6 of EML and then submit that later in the year to JTC1, by which time hopefully the dust has settled around the current negotiations.  We know that v6 will have some significant improvements over v5 but on past experience could take us most of this year to get it through the OASIS approval process.  That would mean no ISO approval until next year probably.
My personal goal, and I know it is also that of the UK government, has been and still remains to get ISO accreditation as soon as possible.  We believe having that badge will help tremendously in getting national jurisdictions and suppliers on board with using EML, and that is no disrespect to OASIS it's just that election officials will have heard of ISO but few have the same understanding of OASIS and therefore are more sceptical.  One other key factor from my point of view is for us to remain in control of EML.  The people on JTC1 have little or no experience in this field and I know that for a fact from my work with the Council  of Europe committee.
So I would boil the choices for us down to two: 
- do we accept Jamie's recommended approach which probably means another 2/3 months delay but has the strong possibility of eventually succeeding,
- or do we withdraw the submission, do v6 and then submit that which means no ISO approval until next year probably.
I favour the first option and whilst that is going on we continue with our work on the USA localisation for VIP which can then be brought into a v6 later in the year.
Can you please let me have your views within the next few days.  If there is no common consensus I will call a TC meeting and hold a vote on the issue.

M. +44 (0)7976 157745
Skype: gov3john

From: James Bryce Clark <jamie.clark@oasis-open.org>
To: EML TC <election-services@lists.oasis-open.org>
Cc: Laurent Liscia <laurent.liscia@oasis-open.org>; Mary McRae <mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org>
Sent: Tuesday, 6 January, 2009 19:08:15
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 JTC.

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 submissions.

  *  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
~ http://www.oasis-open.org/who/staff.php#clark

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