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Subject: RE: [oasis-public-discuss] Advice on publishing open standards

Hi Steve, great question.

Self-publishing might work for you, but history shows that will be a real
long-shot for you.  I hate to be blunt, or seem jaded, so let me explain why
below, pointing out two key points.

First, is global acceptance.  Standards are really only standards when the
ideas are widely adopted.  Going through a formal standards process in a
standards organization gives your work the adoptability you are seeking. All
of the largest and most influential (which often includes very small firms
as well) use some sort of formal standards organization and process to
advance their work.  They have proven that this is really the most efficient
and effective means to driving the adoption that must be your end-goal.  

Second, are the things that drive adoption.  The unfortunate reality is that
your work is not measured on just its technical strengths, but also some
very human issues - trust, quality and breadth of input, reliability of
access etc. People strongly believe that a standard can only meet the needs
of the broad marketplace when the marketplace has input into it.  A formal
standards process allows others to give input to your work - and that is
helpful if you want to accommodate their use case, work with their products
and services etc. (and those things sure have a big influence on their
adoption of the standards) The OASIS process ensures that all contributors
are treated fairly - your work can benefit from input, but not be
steamrolled by some big company.  The OASIS process gives great clarity
around Intellectual Property - protecting the contributors and implementers
alike.  Once a specification is published in OASIS, there is no taking it
back, there is no changing licensing terms, the documentation is not at risk
of anyone's policy change or server failure making it go away--these are
great comforts to folks considering adopting your work. 

So, let me reframe your question for you, and make it into two questions:

Do you need a formal standard?  I can't answer that for you.  That question
is best answered by you and your peers who would benefit from a common
standard that would open new markets for your services, and by your existing
and potential future clients who would benefit from reusing and repurposing.

If you need a formal standard - Is OASIS the right home for your work?  That
answer too belongs with you, but I'd encourage you to discuss this further
with the OASIS staff copied on this message.  They can help you know what
commitments you would be making, what benefits would inure, how we can help
you build a community of support.

I hope that helps,

Scott McGrath
Senior Director of Member Services

Tel +1 978-667-5115 x202 
Fax +1 978-667-5114

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Steve Slevinski [mailto:slevin@signpuddle.net]
>Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:19 PM
>To: oasis-public-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
>Subject: [oasis-public-discuss] Advice on publishing open standards
>Greetings Oasis list,
>I'm curious about publishing open standards through Oasis.
>I am the sole developer working with the inventor of a sign language
>script called SignWriting.  People from around the world are using our
>software to write dictionaries and documents for the various sign
>I am currently creating open standards based on my closed source
>Our latest symbol set was released under the Open Font License.  The
>character encoding model document is available under Creative Commons
>by-sa.  The server side font engine is GPL 3. A MediaWiki extension is
>also GPL 3.
>By the end of next year, I should have the open standards fully
>documented with a complete solution available under the GPL.
>I was wondering about the benefits of working with Oasis versus self

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