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Robin Fairbairns <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 9 Nov 1998 16:14:26 +0000
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sebastian writes:
> Hans Aberg writes:
>  > The idea of an ISO LaTeX is in fact not very good because the standard must
>  > be charged to pay for the salaries of the ISO bureaucrats. It means that

the _real_ work that iso cs does (and for which you pay) is the
diplomacy and the maintenance of standards in drafting.  one regularly
gets comments from keith brannon in ittf on standards whose technical
content he knows absolutely nothing about -- what he's highlighting is
sloppy drafting that has left ambiguities in the standard.

however, the difficulty finding a credible and useful committee to
standardise latex would kill the enterprise stone dead before it even
started.  i would recommend not even thinking about standardising

> this is true, but not universal (see DSSSL). still, ISO standards are
> a good thing, because they have *some* credibility for independence,
> editing, and longevity. I'd rather have an ISO standard than a W3C
> one, since
>  + the membership of W3C entirely depends on companies buying their
>    way in

i sit on bsi committees because people pay for uk academics to do
that.  you have to buy your way in to earn the right to `give' them
your expertise...

>  + the membership is largely US-based

ime, the americans shout loudest in iso, so their theoretical
numerical minority is not so significant.  (also, their national
procedures make them really difficult to negotiate with...)

>  + their standards of writing and editing are lax
>  + they change the things as it suits them

these two are the real problem with non-traditional `standards'.

>  + would _you_ trust people with hair that long :-}

there are plenty of long-haired people on iso working groups (the
things that write standards).  there are even some very long-haired
people in suits at the political levels.

the real problem with iso standardisation process is the tendency to
reject things for irrational reasons.  hence the new jtc1/sc3? to redo
all the work the w3c has already done on xml/xsl.  we (jtc1/sc24) have
already knocked the w3c's png standard into shape, but for some reason
the x*l work isn't thought `good enough'; by the time sc3? has done
anything, the world will have moved on way beyond the point where they
could have any influence.