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Subject: [ubl-lsc] Draft of message regarding eBTWG payload recommendations

Members of the UBL Liaison Subcommittee and invited observers,

Attached is the first draft of the message to Patrick Gannon that
the LSC asked me to create in yesterday's meeting.  Comments,



***To: patrick.gannon@oasis-open.org
***CC: Jennifer.Hamilton@rosettanet.org, Jean.Kubler@unece.org


The OASIS UBL Liaison Subcommittee wishes to express its concern
over the recent approval by the CEFACT Steering Group of the eBTWG
statement regarding payload syntaxes to be used with the ebXML
infrastructure.  The eBTWG statement purports to identify
"payloads that support adoption of the ebXML proposed standards"
and specifically recommends the following four "industry
recognized payloads" for use with ebXML:

   EAN.UCC XML Schemas
   Open Travel Alliance (OTA) Message Specifications
   Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAGI) Business Object Documents
   SWIFT (ISO 15022 XML)

As you know, the UBL Liaison Subcommittee consists of liaisons
appointed by several vertical and horizontal industry data
standards associations, including ACORD (insurance), ARTS (retail
sales), EIDX (electronics), XBRL (accounting), RosettaNet (IT),
ASC X12, and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group.  The LSC finds the
eBTWG statement to be arbitrary, misleading, and unfair.  Further,
we fear that it may expose OASIS and UN/CEFACT to legal action on
the part of commercial organizations damaged by the endorsement of
competing technologies in a way that prejudices buyers against the
use of their products.

The eBTWG endorsement of four XML payloads "that support the
adoption of the ebXML proposed standards" is misleading because it
suggests that there are in existence other payloads that do not
"support the adoption of the ebXML proposed standards."  In fact,
the ebXML framework was designed to work with any business data
syntax whatsoever, including non-XML syntaxes, as is illustrated
by the approval of UN/EDIFACT EDI syntax in the same document.
Since it is impossible for any workable business syntax to not
"support the adoption of the ebXML proposed standards," the naming
of these four particular payload syntaxes from among the hundreds
available as if they were technically better suited to the ebXML
infrastructure is arbitrary and capricious.  The fact that the
ebXML products now beginning to appear on the market actually use
RosettaNet and xCBL as their primary payloads shows the
designation of these four others as somehow better suited for use
with ebXML to be complete rubbish.

Aside from being technically vacuous, the eBTWG endorsement of
these particular payloads is unfair because it excludes a number
of other equally suitable vertical and horizontal XML payload
syntaxes that include at least two (RosettaNet and xCBL) whose
representatives were actively involved in the work that created
ebXML.  It is obvious that no attempt was made on the part of the
eBTWG to reach out to these stalwart supporters of the ebXML
initiative or even to inform them that an approval list was being
considered.  The fact that the list excludes the very payload
syntax that was used in the ebXML Proof of Concept demonstrates
beyond question that the process by which the "recommended"
specifications were chosen was entirely political.

Beyond the manifest absurdity and lack of good faith shown by the
eBTWG's attempt to label certain payloads as better than others,
there is also the possibility that the designation of certain
standards as recommended for use with ebXML may well expose OASIS
and UN/CEFACT to legal action.  While it is clear to anyone
knowledgeable about ebXML that the endorsement of certain payload
syntaxes is technically meaningless, this will not be the case for
members of the general user community who may happen to encounter
this drivel in mailing lists or press releases.  On the contrary,
this statement issuing forth under the banner of UN/CEFACT will
strongly influence a large class of technology buyers,
particularly government buyers, to make large-scale purchasing
decisions that will cause direct and substantial financial harm to
companies that have built fully compliant ebXML products that use
payloads other than the four recommended by the eBTWG.

In their zeal to pursue political objectives, the team that
generated the document in question appears to have overlooked one
of the most fundamental tenets of antitrust law as it relates to
industrial standards, which is that standards must not be used to
encourage any person or business entity to refrain from dealing
with a particular supplier.  The members of the UBL LSC are not
lawyers, but the eBTWG's action represents a transgression of the
basic principles of standards work so obvious and so egregious
that we cannot but feel deep concern about the wisdom of its
approval by UN/CEFACT, and while we understand that the ebXML
Joint Coordination Committee did not approve the eBTWG statement,
we fear that OASIS may be exposed to some of the fallout from this
ill-conceived action simply by association.

In light of these considerations, we request that you convey this
expression of concern via the ebXML JCC to UN/CEFACT and that you
seek clarification from OASIS counsel regarding the legal
ramifications of recommending particular technologies for use with
ebXML.  We further recommend that this matter be brought to the
attention of the UN office of legal affairs, which appears to be
the responsible agency in matters pertaining to decisions of the


Jon Bosak
Chair, OASIS UBL Liaison Subcommittee

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