Adopting a living Open Standard entails tracking its evolution

by Rick Jelliffe

Sun meistergeek Jonathan Schwartz has a good blog Why Open Standards Matter; its permalink name is why odf matters which gives the flavour.

But the question comes up: does adopting or supporting a standard entail tracking changes or evolutions to the standard? I say yes, it must. The world evolves. And as it does, the value of the original standard diminishes. Because the benefit of a standard is largely the network effects, from easier documentability (because the standard acts as a base-level documentation), from multiple implementations, from interoperability, from ubiquity, and so on: in ISO terms from agreement.

But a company that keeps to an old standard while the rest of the world moves on, evolving and improving the standard, is in fact involved in disagreement! They dilute the usefulness the evolved standard but also the usefulness of their own implementation, by inactivity.


2006-06-16 06:35:00
I see so many versions of this as if a lot of developers are just waking up to the facts of dynamical systems. In a nutshell:

I change the environment and it changes me right back.

Deal. Second order cybernetics is an old concept but the key concept for evolving or dynamical systems. In more modern terms:

There is a reason Buffy has a Watcher AND a Scooby gang.