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Hal Hart <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 17 Jul 2000 13:46:09 -0700
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Richard Conn wrote:

> Hi, Mike,
> I'm glad you see my point about the term "standard."  I don't think
> it's necessary to try to distinguish unless it means something to make
> the distinction.
> ...

RICK:  I still disagree, and I read almost everyone else replying in this thread
to also disagree.  It now occurs to me that you are using the word "standard"
where most of the rest of us would use "specification" (in the sense of a
document  --  altho certainly the implications of the 2 words in the Ada sense
would pretty much carry the same distinction), or maybe even "definition."
There may legitimately be multiple specifications for something (a PL, a
function, a piece part, etc.), but hopefully only one of them gets standardized
(or the standard is not exactly any one of them, but the result of a consensus
process).  In fact, some competition prior to establishing a standard is good,
to let users try out and evaluate alternative specifications/definitions of a
solution proposed to be standardized, esp. if they're supported by
implementations (a mistake the DoD used to make often with its "MIL/DoD

I guess this is a lost cause, because we can't control companies who want to
haphazardly stick the word "standard" on the front of their documents.  The word
is already severely devalued, and our usage of it isn't going to make things
much better or worse than the already confusing state of affairs.  "Standard"
used to mean something, but now it's used so differently and inconsistently as
to not be meaningful, IMO.  It's a shame.