Re: OT: ISO standards who?

On Sat, Dec 20, 2003 at 01:40:44PM -0000, Christopher John Fynn wrote:
> Keld
> The ISO process may compare favourably to that of corporate consortiums such as
> Unicode in some respects, but  it can cost small *countries* an awful lot to
> join & participate in ISO. And, unless your country is a  member of ISO there
> is no way of officially participating  in groups like JTC1/SC2/WG2, and your
> country doesn't have a vote.

Yes, this is how it is, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
I dont know how much it costs for such countries, do you know?
But then I think it is better that the country pays, than individual
experts pays. The problem is, generally, that if you don't pay as your
peers, then you are not regarded as a peer.

I know that it is not easy to get into SC2/WG2 if you are not a regular
ISO attendee - I am quite involved myself in the operations of SC2/WG2
as email list and website maintainer. Still all documents for SC2/WG2
are freely available and you can send contributions to some people if
you wish. I don't think this is less open than Unicode. SC2/WG2 will
listen to everybody, just like Unicode, but if you are not a member,
you will not have a vote.

> Then there are places like the UK which is a member of ISO but whose national
> standards body decided to charge members of their character encoding comittee
> for the privilege of doing voluntary work. Since there wern't enough comittee
> members prepared to pay the rather large amount asked for, the UK comittee was
> wound up - so the people in the UK can no longer participate in WG2.

Yes it is strange, paying for being able to do voluntary work:-(

> I also notice that the Government of India, Ministry of Indormation Technology
> and  the Government of Tamil Nadu Department of Information Technology are
> members of the Unicode Consortium yet for some reason India, although a member
> of ISO, doesn't participate in WG2. I don't know the reason for this but it has
> always struck me as odd especially since there are so many Indic scripts in the
> standard.

yes, that is true. One difference here is an ISO system with a local
national body will allow for wider participation, as government agencies
and firms in the know will be able to participate, like in Iran; or
actually almost any random expert, such as in Denmark. For the Indian
and Tamil cases you cite it is probably only the two government agencies
you mention that participates.

> I really do think the whole text of ISO 10646  should be made freely avaiable
> on line. I know national standards bodies partly fund themselves by selling
> hard copies of ISO Standards - but since the printed Unicode Standard is widely
> available and  the whole text is freely available on line there is virtually no
> market for hard copies of ISO/IEC 10646.  Because ISO 10646 is not available on
> line everyone refers to "Unicode".

Yes, it was also suggested once by IETF that 10646 be freely available.
I know the fight for 10646 is an uphill battle. Unicode is also a more
catchy name, btw.

Best regards

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