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I suggest that this applies to more than Bill.

9. ken udas - september 27th, 2007 at 5:51 am

Hello. I would like to refer for a moment to Rob’s second postulate:

Postulate number two: Standards organizations are pretty much the only way to get a level playing field when it comes to new open source applications for learning – however, that won’t happen unless the open source projects/communities are active participants.

I very much also hear in Rob’s message that Open Standards require participation and activate involvement. I also understand that to achieve that type of participation, the standard development process must also be open.

How does IMS facilitate this? That is, what types of commitments does IMS have, and processes does IMS use to help keep the development of open standards open (and participatory)?


10. rob abel - september 27th, 2007 at 7:04 am

Hi Ken, Great question. Excuse the brevity in the response as I am heading out on a trip.

Open standards organizations conduct business under rules and processes that vary by organization, not unlike the variation is how open source development efforts are managed. Just as decision-making on what gets in or out of an open source release is managed through some process or other, the decision-making on standards is also managed. IMS has been a form of organization that is a non-profit member based consortium in which it is the members that make the decisions through their votes. This is similar to most of the major international standards organizations, such as W3C and so forth. The large majority of community participation in the “openness” of standards work is at the same phase in which most of the participation is in open source - when the next official version is released. Thus, this is really use of the the specs which are openly available and free of royalties. In IMS we have some tools and processes we have put in place over the last year to support profiling of the specifications (customization for specific needs), for the community to use and thus contribute to the evolution of the work.

As with all standards organizations, IMS has various points and processes by which to engage if you are an interested party outside of the membership. These include open summits held in conjunction with our 4 quarterly meetings, our annual conference, making use of invited experts, open calls for participation, use of invited experts who may be non-members, and several tiers of paid participation in addition to membership.

We will also vary policies by workgroup depending on how we can get the best set of participants engaged. It’s important to understand that our primary focus is on getting a sufficient set of committed parties involved in the development of the specifications as opposed to an all-inclusive participation. As discussed in one of the prior posts, the value of a specification is in its adoption in the marketplace. Having some type of inclusive participation of all comers in the spec development process and ending up with something that is not used to achieve interoperability is a failure from our perspective and from an open standards perspective. So, we are looking for commitment from major market participants and the membership model seems to fit that well.

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