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Re: Debian joining OASIS?

On Monday, March 11, Vince Mulhollon wrote:
> Could you explain what OASIS provides at a true cost of more than $1000 per
> member?  After a glance at their website, it appears they discuss documents
> and then publish them.

True, but the documents are specifications, rather than the onerous
ramblings of a sleep-deprived hack like myself.

I realize their mission may seem kind of vague. So here's a go at it:

  OASIS is a standards organization, mainly. Mostly they create
  specifications having something to do with XML, like DocBook.

  Opinions vary, but some would say that they are a bit more efficient
  at creating useful specs than the W3C. But that's a bit misleading,
  as most OASIS projects make use of W3C existing recommendations in
  developing their specs. But that's not always the case. For example,
  the RELAX NG project is an alternative to the W3C's XML Schema rec,
  and is meant to be much easier to implement. BTW, these are some
  things I've read on various lists, and are not my opinions, nor
  those of OASIS. (I don't want to start an argument...)

  And, their specifications are generally well respected within the

So, how would membership benefit Debian?

  First, it may not. Especially if no developers participate in any
  OASIS projects. 

  On the other hand, it would literally give Debian an official voice
  in whatever OASIS specification project debian developers
  participate. And they can join any project they wish. (I think.) At
  no additional charge: the $1000 covers _every_ member of the Debian

  Or, a group of debian developers could initiate and manage the
  development of a spec under the auspices of OASIS. The result would
  be an OASIS spec, not just debian policy. Who knows, Redhat might
  even implement it.

  For example, we could start a project whose goal is to develop a
  spec for XML-based system configuration files. Very useful. And IMHO
  needed. Many varieties currently exist, but to my knowledge there's
  no formal spec that covers all the needed ground. (Imagine sendmail
  & XFree86 sharing a common config file language.)

> Their work appears somewhat less ambitious than what Debian does, yet
> Debian doesn't charge $250 to $1000 per member.

But the pricing scheme is better than you're implying: $1000 buys
_every_ debian developer membership in OASIS. That translates to a
little over $1/developer, which is not IMHO unreasonable.

> I'm wondering what we'd get that's worth more than $1000.

We get ~800 memberships, and the ability to participate in the
development of specs that we may someday have to figure out how to

Let me be clear: I'm NOT trying to sell the idea, I'm simply
presenting (and hopefully clarifying) it.

If there are no takers, I'll by an individual membership. 

Ya know, I honestly thought there would be at least three other
developers who would want (and could afford) to join, and who would be
willing to throw their fees in for the benefit of the whole
project. But then I don't get out much, either:-)

Hope that helps.

Mark Johnson        <mark@duke.edu>
Debian SGML         <mrj@debian.org>
Home Page:          <http://dulug.duke.edu/~mark/>
GPG fp: 50DF A22D 5119 3485 E9E4  89B2 BCBC B2C8 2BE2 FE81

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