Paul Ford has a very good article in the New Yorker on the cut and thrust involved in the making of standards, in particular, the making of Web Standards. My post’s title is a direct quote from Stephen Walli, who is mentioned in the article as “a veteran of many such [standardisation] efforts”.
The article brings back memories (both fond and frustrating) of the time when I was embroiled in the standardization processes swirling round the OSF and X/Open groups. I got to count Stephen as one of my friends and travelling companions from that time. As Stephen wrote:
Technology standardization is commercial diplomacy and the purpose of individual players (as with all diplomats) is to expand one’s area of economic influence while defending sovereign territory.
Ah, yes, I remember it well…