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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Level of detail needed in a TC Charter

On Sat, Jun 14, 2008 at 6:48 AM, Matthew Reingold
<matthewreingold@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have no objection to how it is worded.This doesn't mean I am feigning
> neutrality in saying that. I think we're getting on that level of more of a
> political issue than a logistics one.

That is precisely correct. There are some political issues that have
to be settled before this group can be moved forward. If no one is in
charge as Rob says, then we've got to decide how we are going to make
decisions before we can make any decisions.

I work for UL, and even there we have
> to write things in a specific format for our standards as well.

The battle is not over the format to use for the charter. That is a
straw man argument. The battle is over what words go into the the
format. And the threshold requirement is that what goes in the format
must be lawful. Standards formations groups are not an appropriate
forum for big vendors to have their way. Under the Sherman Act, the
guiding light is whether the language is pro-competitive. If the
language serves to limit anti-competitive abuse, then it ougjt to go

Plenty of
> people get confused on a minute by minute basis, let alone daily probably
> thousands of people a day. The wording of the expected audience is not as
> important as us having discussed who the audience is intended to be, which
> was in its own thread. It seems rather straightforward when we come the
> wording was released.
Under antitrust law, the "audience" is the range of consumers whose
needs will be fulfilled by the market created by the standard to be
developed. Everything else is irrelevant to this category. Focus first
on market requirements that will be fulfilled and we can get to
consensus on who the audience is pretty fast. This drafting of the
charter before assessing what market requirements will be fulfilled is
a lousy way to write a charter. We haven't even achieved consensus yet
on whether there will be a deliverable that will actually achieve ODF
interorperability. If we don't have that as an agreed goal, the
criminal penalty exposure is up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a
$1 million fine per participant. The civil liability exposure is
treble the damages of all co-conspirators' acts, with each
co-conspirator liable for the entire amount individually. Voluntary
standards organizations and their participants who get out of line are
regulated as Sherman Act section 1 conspiracies in restraint of trade
by U.S. courts.

> Dave, irregardless of what we think, this is one Charter within all of
> Oasis. We are important in our own way, but we are structured off the basis
> off other TC's.

Wrong. The fact that other people have violated the law and got away
with it is no defense. Very few of the OASIS TC's I've looked at have
legally defensible charters. They were drafted by non-lawyers who
guessed about what all the big words meant and looked to what other
people had done rather than to the law for definitions.

.We're building off the basis of
> other TC's, just like new standards have their structure built off other
> standards that work well.

Wrong again. So far we're building off what Rob Weir wants. But he has
a big company that will pay any damages awarded against him. The rest
of us need to be more cautious, expressly because we have 800-pound
gorillas who created the interop mess to begin with walking amongst

We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here, I'd
> think.

We'd  be better concerned with whether we have a wheel at all than
whether our wheel looks like all those square wheels Rob wants us to
draw guidance from.

 It'd be another 3-4 weeks of that 90 days that would be lost minimum
> trying to say "what do we want to do" without an actual goal already set in
> mind.

We have no goal already set in mind. We have folks who want to to make
interoperability happen, we have big vendors who want to stall it some
more using this proposed TC as smoke and mirrors, and we have a whole
bunch of folks who have no idea what the governing law or actual
interoperability state of the ODF specification is.

If you want a compact overview of the law governing interoperability,
I have a draft synthesis of it in the form of a candidate successor to
the various definitions of an "open format" floating around that were
not drafted by lawyers.
<http://www.universal-interop-council.org/specification>. I caution
that this is the first public draft of a project with a long way to
go. I cannot say with confidence yet that there are no substantive
errors, particularly in the area of accessibility. But most of it is
quite solid.

> I am not Rob, but if you notice in other threads we've been trying to define
> this. It seems like both, actually. So its neither yours nor Michaels
> separately, it is both together.

Wrong again. You should not be trying to define it. You should instead
be concerned about what the legal definition is. And Michael Brauer is
a decidedly poor source of information about interoperability. I
worked closely with him (actually in spite of him) on the ODF TC, and
Michael Brauer's more than obvious mission is to make sure that no one
else can interoperate with his company's apps. Michael Brauer is the
guy who made ODF the interop mess that it is. From long experience,
anything Michael Brauer says about interoperability should be presumed
to be an obfuscation designed to thwart interoperability. I have not
seen the man do anything but make the interoperability mess worse. It
is a fundamental error to look to the big vendors for a solution to
the interop problem in the office productivity software sector. They
*are* the problem and Microsoft is not the only 800-pound gorilla that
plays vendor lock-in games.

Best regards,


Universal Interoperability Council

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