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OASIS Membership: was [Re:...disbursement of Debian funds]

Quoting Steve Langasek <vorlon@netexpress.net>:
> > > Is some explanation forthcoming as to why Debian is apparently willing
> > > to pay for this membership out of pocket, in the absence of donations
> > > earmarked for the expenditure? 

Yes, there is an explanation:

I pledged to the DPL that I would raise the US$1000 to cover the membership fee. 

> > > I can understand why certain of our
> > > developers are willing to put forth the money to pay for such a
> > > membership, but how has our membership benefitted Debian as a whole?

This indeed is a good question. 

One simple answer is that the membership gives Debian representation at one of 
the major XML-related standards bodies. And we are the only linux distro with a 
voice there. That alone could be quite valuable if more if us were involved. 
(This is partially my fault, as I've not done a great job publicizing the 
oportunities within OASIS to fellow DDs.)

Very few DDs have chosen to take advantage of the OASIS membership (partly owing 
to a lack of publicity on my part), and so it's not clear that everyone should 

In fact, it is my belief that everyone should _not_ be made to foot the bill for 
this membership, largely owing to the relatively small level of participation 
within Debian. (Which is why I shall work to raise the funds from fellow DDs and 
(hopefully) from some corporate entities. 

FWIW, there are a number of standards initiatives within OASIS that may be of 
direct interest to some DDs. The Open Office File Format Technical Committee 
being a case in point. I personally would like to serve on that committee, but 
simply do not have the time.

What I am aware of as far as Debian involvement in OASIS is that Ardo van 
Rangelrooij and myself are both on the Entity Resolution Technical Committee. The 
work of this committee is quite important as we are presently working on the XML 
Catalogs specification, which helps XML tools find the resources they need while 
processing/editing/etc. XML documents. Also, the Debian implementation of XML 
catalogs will very likely be included as one example in the OASIS implementation 
guide for XML Catalogs. So we _are_ making a difference. 

I also serve on the DocBook Technical Committee, where I've recently learned, 
e.g., that the next version (5) of DocBook will likely be incompatible with the 
present version (4.2), as it will be generated from directly from the Relax-NG 
schema form of Docbook. The Relax-NG form will serve as the 'base' form of 
DocBook, and any customizations will occur -before- the transformation to, say, a 

This last paragraph is particularly relevant to the DDP, as they are considering 
migrating to some customization of DocBook. Given the info above, they may wish 
to wait for DocBook 5, or OTOH 'lock in' a customization to the present version 

At any rate, it is my responsibility to see that funds are raised to cover the 
US$1000 OASIS membership fee. And I shall see that the funds are indeed raised. 

I would like to point out that Debian's OASIS membership puts it in the unique 
position of being the _only_ linux distro represented at OASIS, which has now 
become one of the major standards bodies as regards XML.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading this ramble:)

Hope it helps...


P.S. In the next few weeks Ardo & I will prepare an Debian/OASIS report for the 
DPL, as well as developing means to increase awareness among DDs of the 
opportunities they have within OASIS. 

> > That question is for the DPL, right?
> Indeed; hence the explicit leader@debian.org in the recipient list.
> -- 
> Steve Langasek
> postmodern programmer

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