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Chris Daly <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 15 Jul 2000 15:33:48 -0700
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> Richard Conn wrote:
> >
> > By the way, Mike, all of these definitions are correct.
> > Saying they are not is like saying the 50+ definitions of
> > "green" are not correct and we should choose one.
> > ...
> > [said Rick]
> > >
> > > I think it depends upon how you choose to use the term.
> > > There are ISO and IEEE standards.  There are industry standards.
> > > There are "defacto" standards.  There are organization standards.

I think we should amend that joke about standards to say:

  "The great thing about definitions of the term 'standard' is
   that there are so many to choose from."

> If someone alleges that Microsoft has disregarded (for example) elements
> of the C++ (formal) "standard," then to answer that Microsoft Visual C++
> is itself a (defacto/proprietary) "standard" does not seem like much of
> a response.  The fact that Microsoft dominates the desktop industry does
> not mean that it's impossible to write portable code, but it is more
> difficult without standards, and I don't mean proprietary "standards."
> Speaking only for myself, when I hear of a new "standard," I expect
> documentation of the standard to be available, the standard itself to be
> supported and implemented by more than one organization, but not owned
> by any one of them.  Visual Basic or Java are not standards in this
> sense, since they are intellectual property of their respective
> corporations.  Windows, for example, is whatever Microsoft says it is,
> and they keep changing their story.

I agree with the essence of what you are saying here.  But disagree
with the example of Java.  After all "The Java Language Specification"
and "The Java Virtual Machine Specification" are available in
bookstores.  Many companies have implemented JVMs and Java compilers
based on these documents.

So maybe I would just disagree with you on the point of control
of the standard.  Sun has reserved the right to determine what is
Java 1.0 and 1.1 and 2.0, etc.  That's ok with me as long as they
make the necessary documents available so everyone can use them
and communicate about them with the assurance that they are
referring to the same text.

For any standard someone or some group has to have control.  I have
had the same amount of control over Java standards as I have had
over Microsoft Visual Basic or (gasp) Ada95 ... none!  But hey, I'm
not bitter.  As long as the documents are available I have everything
I need.

Chris Daly
Rational Software

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