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From:
Hal Hart <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:
Sat, 15 Jul 2000 10:35:13 -0700
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Great proposal, Mike!  I 100% endorse Mike's compromise of adding the
simple, distinctive adjectives in front of all usages of the word
"standard" for technical exchanges such as this group.  It will keep both
the confusion and the flame levels down, and help focus the discussions off
this misdirection and onto the main points being discussed.

I gotta say, if it wasn't clear before, that this misappropriation of the
word "standard" is a real pet peeve of mine too.  For the past 10-20 years
(probably since my first participation in a real standards-making body 18
years ago), my stress level has gone up every time I read or hear the word
"standard" used incorrectly in a technical discussion.  If you get into
formal standards groups, you get sensitized even further to the strict
boundaries between "authoring specifications which may potentially be
submitted to standards bodies" (which SIGAda has done a few times over the
years, e.g., with NUMWG's numeric packages and ASIS) and the work of the
standards-making body: it is improper to say that NUMWG or ASISWG was
"writing a standard"  --  unless they are delegated or empowered by a
standards body to perform that role for them, which is a very rare
occurrence.  We (SIGAda) had our fingers rapped by formal standards body
reps more than once just because some members have casually said "We're
working on this-or-that standard."   -hh


Mike Feldman wrote:
>Rick et al,
>
>My Prentice-Hall Dictionary of Computing says (1998, p.627):
>
>"STANDARDS.
>
>Clearly defined and agreed-upon conventions for programming
>intefaces. Standards may be (bullets mine)
>
>- proprietary (used only within the environment provided by a single
>  computer vendor),
>
>- public (widely used across a variety of vendor equipment), or
>
>- formal (developed by a standards organization such as ANSI or ISO)."
>
>This is not the greatest definition, but it's the best I can find
>just now in the literature, and it'll do.
>
>Obviously Ada is both formal and public, and Visual Basic is
>proprietary (at least if we take 'single computer vendor' to mean
>'the Wintel family').
>
>Rick, let's avoid confusion. I'll agree to use the terms "formal standard"
>or "public standard" if you'll agree -- at least in Ada circles -- to
>preface your references to Microsoft standards with "proprietary". That
>qualification will resolve the overloading of  the term "standard",
>and will make clear that Microsoft fans understand fully that
>Microsoft's use of the term is very different from (say) Ada's.
>
>Mike Feldman

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