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Subject: RE: [tm-pubsubj] Declare victory and retire?


Before answering in the details, let me say that I'm well aware, as we are
all in this TC, of the time and energy you have invested in it. So I would
like to dismiss anything in my previous messages that could be interpreted
by you or anyone else as a hint that you, or anybody else, did not do
his/her job. You did it certainly better and more seriously than anyone in
this TC, I'm not afraid to say it publicly, even if my intentions are not
to give good or bad points. My recent messages have been quite negative
about this TC's process. Certainly too much so, if I understand well the
reactions of Lars Marius, Steve and Patrick. But please take it as it is :
a criticism of the process, not of anyone in particular involved in it. I'm
not looking for any scapegoat.

I'll try to be more constructive today.

> Bernard, from the very beginning, there was really  no real core
> group of corporate sponsorship. I was under the impression there was at
the time
> (Mondeca, SUN Microsystems, empolis). I exclude Ontopia from this list
> because they are in the committee as individual members.  For most OASIS
> TCs there is usually at least one or two major corporate
> sponsors who are paying for conference calls, etc.

I fully agree, and have always been aware of that as an issue. Note that
it's not particular to this TC, but to the whole Topic Map standardization
work. Even if we had and still have people from major corporate involved,
the support from their companies has been always all but enthusiastic. I
remember Murray's struggling with Sun to get sponsored for XTM meetings.
And you are there as an individual, as was Thomas, with never any real
support from Schlumberger. I don't know about Vivian and Microsoft, but as
far as I understand, things were not that easy for her to be involved in
the TC. Same for Scott and Boeing, etc ...
When the TC was founded, I had hope that public organisations which have
declared interest would jump in. I was indeed more counting on that, than
on corporate support. We had people from the FAO, but their participation
was empeached by some administrative unameit. The same with Peter P. at the
European Parliament. We had declared interest from the LoC.

> Specifications move forward by companies who have agreed to
> collaborate and allot resources both human and financial. If you want to
> progress, in OASIS anyway, this is necessary.

Agreed. Not only in OASIS.

> I have mentioned this before, but it does not seem to get through.
> Individual members do not have the same voting status (we cannot vote a
> Specification as an OASIS standard, we cannot vote for the board).
> This is the main reason why we do not have a member section too. I have
> been hoping for those representing corporations to step forward
> and sponsor the group (I am an individual member -- Schlumberger is not
> sponsor -- for any technical committee).

All that I agree upon, Mary. What could we do about it? As a chair, should
I have been less involved in technical matters, and pass more time in
networking and marketing? You've experienced how difficult it is even as a
member of a major company, so I don't know how I could have achieved
anything, except perhaps with more proactive support of OASIS Board.

> In most cases the people who start the TC (especially the chair has a
> vested interest in having the committee work go forward -- if
> this is not the case, there is very slow progress, I think).

I'm not sure what you mean by "vested interest". Do you think it's not the
case now? That is, do you consider I am yet another of those silly folks
caring more about bringing tools to the community than bringing money to
their company? As a matter of fact, following my recent not-so-glorious
report upon the status of the TC work, Mondeca is seriously considering
stopping sponsoring my participation, if not retiring from OASIS
altogether. Technically, Mondeca's membership was expiring on July 1st, and
I'm far from sure about the renewal to be effective.

> I did not take the Chair of GeoLang for that very reason. I do not have
> corporate backing for the work.
> I am not personally going to promote this committee from my own
> pocketbook unless I start a company myself that will use published
> that is :)

Fair enough. Only crazy Ontopians would do that :))

> This is not usually why TCs are formed (attract adopters, ie.
> customers of topic maps :)). If this was the motivation, then it may be
> root cause of the problem.

Hmm. I'm not sure I follow you here. One one hand, you say that a TC makes
progress if corporates see their interest in the work, and OTOH you say
that attract customers is a wrong motivation. The difference between the
two is subtle, really.
I don't know about the others, but speaking for myself, attracting major
actors in the loop was a way to test all the Published Subjects stuff
against real world full scale, industrial use cases, because I felt it at
the time too much as an academic exercise. Certainly, if I am honest with
myself, I was more driven by some sort of scientific curiosity (does the
model actually works?) than by marketing strategy (this should be good for
my business). For historical accuracy, let me recall that I was pushed on
that chair on the suggestion of Steve Pepper, during this famous "Table
Ronde" meeting in Montreal 2001, and that I accepted the challenge without
being completely aware of what the stakes were.
Maybe if I had thought in business terms, as we are speaking now, I would
has declined the charge. I don't know.

> >No, it's a secondary problem, the primary one being lack of interest and
> >involvment of more people. The lack of task force entails the lack of
> >bandwidth. We've not reached the needed critical mass.
> People? This is not a club :)

OK. I should have said : "more actors" or "more interests", actually.

> >... A notable exception being
> >what Mary has done with UNSPSC subjects. But this input has been also in
> >standby for a while.
> Standby? :)  Bernard, did I volunteer or did you assign me something I
> don't  know about? :)

Mary, don't get me wrong. You brought valuable input, what is *in standby*
actually is the feedback of the TC about it. We did not look closely enough
into what you provided, that's what I mean. In fact the TC never figured
exactly what to do about it, never worked on it in meetings, to sort out
what was valuable and what was questionable. Indeed, in your place, I would
be quite angry to see that such an input is not used as it shoud be.

> I now have a paper under review by marketing and they needed to read our
> committee specification.
> It could not be found in our public documents directory last
> month. There was no *advertising* or even any simple way to get our
> specification. This is why I went ahead to ask you if I could take care
of the documents in
> KAVI. It was getting a little embarrassing.

Yes. And you did well. I was really stuck in the final technical details of
publication, as I told you.

> > > | - Wrap up Deliverable 1 (why this is not done yet, I wonder)
> Not sure what you mean by this. We have another revision
> coming and there shouldn't be another one in a while. The specification
is in our
> documents folder. There is one more version which will include the OASIS
> stuff that Patrick has added in  appendices. Is there anything else?

My remark is now obsolete. The original message is more than one month old
now (July 23), before you take things in charge.

> > >Good question. It would be very useful if you could post a summary of
> > > its current status so that we can finish this job.
> Will do ASAP in a separate thread.
> Now I am really confused. I guess I missed something.

You did not miss anything. What I meant was to publish a clear sum up of
what has be done. There has been a bunch of messages about upload of
documents, and I guess Lars Marius, who was in holidays, had maybe hard
time sorting them out. That could be done through a proper press release
through OASIS. That's why I should do now. No valid excuse not to have
prepared it, except a bad mood about all was (not) happening in the TC.

> We need a corporate sponsor to step forward. This would include
> the chair.

Well, I agree on the principle. Volunteers, one step forward :)

> We need to ask, who is benefiting the most from this committee work? Are
> they willing to step forward?

The very point is that what we do is long-term work, and has no clear
short-term ROI for anyone. And I acknowledge again I'm terrible at putting
up marketing arguments. Even internally in Mondeca, the salesman has
sometimes hard time figuring whatever I do in the standards committees can
be useed for marketing :))

> I hope somebody does that.

There again, suggestions?

> If not, the work may need to return to ISO.

That's of course an eventuality. But it goes against all the rationale of
having PSIs attract interest beyond the original core TM community.

> Patrick has taken responsibility for GeoLang and will do so for
> XMLVoc too.

With all respect I have to Patrick, for its work and organization,
certainly he will agree himself that the SBL is not exactly the kind of
*major corporate sponsor* you are looking for ...

> Another idea is to revaluate all the work of the three committees, and
> create one new committee.

This has been envisioned, yes. Do we want to go into that? It would mean
wrap up the three TCs, reassign the objectives, start on new charter,
including support of some major(s), go through new call for participation
... Why not?

It would be very important to have input from more TC members before taking
any action, though.


Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Knowledge Engineering
Mondeca - www.mondeca.com

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