Re: OT: ISO standards who? (was Re: French character names in gucharmap)

On Sat, Dec 20, 2003 at 10:37:18AM +0000, Ramanan Selvaratnam wrote:
> On Sat, 2003-12-20 at 08:59, Roozbeh Pournader wrote:
> I welcome related OT discussions in this list. Thanks.
> But actions would have to move elsewhere I guess.

I do think this is directly related to what we do for Gnome
translations, on a higher level. Gnome was founded as a reaction to KDE
licenses not being as free as we wanted them to be. This discussion is
also about freedom, and our own ways to ensure our freedom in the long
run. At least that is why I take the bother.

> > On Sat, 2003-12-20 at 00:07, Keld Jørn Simonsen wrote:
> > 
> > > In most industrialized countries 
> ... but not loosing the plot and being selfish continuously trying to
> improove ... see Why silgrphaite? at

I don't understand what points you are trying to make here.
> > all companies are allowed to go to the 
> > > standards commitees. I think the standards organizations are obliged to 
> > > allow all companies.
> > 
> > You may not be a company. You may only be a random expert.

Yes, that is more or less what I am/was. I joined a users group
(no! I founded a users group:-) - where there is a will, there is a way.
> In the case of Tamil (not a high economic domain) and probably many
> others, the few within the negligible 'high economic' bracket seem to be
> encouraged to form closed groups and adopt disgusting practices.
> To sit with the representatives from large multinational corps on issues
> to do with  major decision making (those that we would use terms like
> 'even' to associate with standards) has become the norm!

So I understand that you as a more-or-less independent expert, sit
together with other Tamil experts from big Tamil companies.
In what connection? With Unicode? With Gnome? With local ISO?

> [I recently found out that even to participate in general discussions
> relating to Unicode take up is behind a $10 membership fee barrier,
> individual egos etc..all negative stuff.]
> (Apart from the obvious principles I find a $10 charge and ways to get
> it across impossible. I live in the UK BTW) 

So a USD 10 charge is impossible? I don't understand that.
> > > I understand that in some countries this is not so, and it is hard to
> > > get into the work there. I feel (but am not sure) that these countries
> > > are amongst them that have a real hard time getting heard at all on the
> > > international scene anyhow.
> > 
> > Nice point. So ISO process is not good either. Some things are better,
> > some things are worse.
> Totally agree.

My impression is that the ISO process then compares favourably here to
what is the alternative: just being a random Joe expert from a small
country in a big organization led by big mostly american firms.
My own experience is that you are mostly ignored. So in the ISO process
in some countries you need to be a firm in good standing of the
government, or a government agency to get heard, but at least they
get heard. In consortia etc all input would get more or less ignored,
except if you have real unique expertise, such as knowledge on Tamil or
Danish issues. 

> I hope the work of efforts like openi18n [] unite with
> other efforts like and be effective in countering  some
> of the dysfunctional aspects of ISO.
> Maybe I got it wrong here... please let me know.

I am partitioning in openi18n and I am getting ignored. I don't know
what is happening there, or how procedures work. I believe I am one of
only 5 persons in the active openi18n group - that is what I tried to
sign up for. I regard openi18n as a quite closed group that works in its
own ways and in practice it is not as open as it is on paper.
openi18n is as the rest of the free standards group a vendor run
organization - random experts (even like me who have done quite some
i18n specs) have a hard time there.
> > 
> > > Open standards are publically available specifications defined by a
> > > standardization organisation with an open process.
> > 
> > ISO standards are not publicly available for random access (e.g.,
> > quoting a section number in an email and make sure a random reader can
> > go and check it, or read the rest). W3C ones are. Unicode is. I believe
> > accessible standard are more important than open process standards in a
> > free software community. (Of course, *better* standards are the most
> > important. If ISO HTML was better than W3C HTML, people would have gone
> > for that instead.)

My point is that it is important what is in the standards, not just that
they are freely available. And it is very important that there are fair
ways of influencing the standards for as many people as possible.

ISO HTML is btw the same as one of the W3C HTML specs.

ISO is actually trying to improve their ways.
There is a questionnaire for all experts coming out now on how
to have standards more openly available, and also to improve ISO's
presence in HTML/XML . I can give you references when I have more on it.
> > 
> > Also, both W3C and Unicode have an open process of standardization.

I dont think that the Unicode nor W3C processes are open. I tried a
number of times to work with W3C but to no avail. I know Unicode
reasonably well, and work with then on a day-to-day basis.
Both organizations are run by a limited number of mostly big american

> In the case of of Unicode they, whoever that is who takes decisions must
> be really daft to let them selves be used by the negative setups like
> the one I described above.

I dont understand, maybe explain it in another way?

> > All of them listen to you, of course, to make sure the
> > standards are competent.

Yes, they all listen, but do you have a say?  I am talking about voting
rights, and also about organization culture: is there a tradition for
people from small countries like Iran or Denmark to have leading roles?
Can random experts (not from big companies) have leading roles?

> But while trying to get the standards organised one risks rocking the
> local 'boat' too much which is not good in the interest of the end user,
> to whom such headaches should be opaque. Big dilema.

Yes, that is something to watch out for.

> So just having a review process after making ill thought out decisions
> without any considerations for the intended end user is itself not
> adequate enough IMHO.

What then? I think it is important to have equal voting rights on the
adoption of the specifications.

Best regards

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