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Re: ERP standards

From: Stanley A. Klein
Subject: Re: ERP standards
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 07:36:11

This responds to a lot of discussion on the issue.

1.  Regarding fees for participating in standards development - Most
standards developing organizations (SDO's) require some kind of fee (in
addition to the cost of attending meetings) for participation.  I pay $10
per year membership in the IEEE Standards Association to participate in
various standards activities and $250 per year to ANSI to participate in
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee 57,
Working Group 15 (on information security for electric power).  The fees
support the staff that runs the SDO.  IEEE, ANSI, and IEC are part of the
voluntary, consensus standards community that is open to anyone.  

The fees are not wildly burdensome for an individual.  Even more burdensome
is that they often charge exorbitant fees for copies of the standards.  In
my view that is one reason most data communications uses the Internet
Protocol Suite (IPS a.k.a TCP/IP) instead of the International Standards
Organization (ISO) Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) 7-layer model.  IPS
documents (RFC's) are freely available but OSI documents could cost $100
for an 8-page document that references 20 other documents.  (There were
other reasons as well -- such as the fact that IPS made sure their
technology worked before adopting a standard and built a freely available
reference implementation -- but the cost of obtaining documents was clearly
one of them.)

There are other "standards" bodies that are really commercial consortia.
These include Object Management Group (sponsors of CORBA), W3C (I think),
and others.  They often have membership minima in the range of thousands of
dollars and have graded memberships that guarantee large corporate sponsors
greater say in their activities.  (e.g., for $5000/year you can become an
"ordinary" member; for $50,000/year you are guaranteed a seat on the board,

Trying to completely avoid participation fees will likely mean avoiding all

2.  On internal vs external behavior - Most, if not all, standards define
behavior as viewed from outside across some kind of interface.  The typical
approach is that internal implementation is left to the individual
implementer.  Sometimes it turns out to be easier to implement the external
behavior internally, but the ability to provide the external behavior by
some kind of translator is almost always maintained.

As applied to accounting standards, this probably suggests that if we can
find a standard that applies to information exchange with an auditor, it
might be the most comprehensive.

3.  On politics in the standards community - Welcome to the real world of
people.  Participants in standards activities don't check their human
foibles at the door.  Besides the wonderful thing about standards is that
there are often so many competing ones to choose from.  :-)

Stan Klein

At 12:03 PM 2/23/2002 -0500, "Derek A. Neighbors" <address@hidden> wrote:

>We of course think standards are important.  I think the biggest problem 
>is we have a hard time endorsing standards that either:
>a. require a fee for membership to give input.  as it is against the 
>nature of free software to have to 'pay' to participate in the 
>development of the 'standard', participation should be meritted by one's 
>ability expertise in an area not whether their company can afford the fee.
>b. are vendor creator or used by vendors to neutralize a market, 
>specifically the standard is created to cause confusion among those not 
>in the 'vendors' circle
>That said, GNUe is highly flexible so it could be made to support almost 
>any 'standard' you so desire.  I do not know of this MRPII standard but 
>would love to see more on it, can you either provide a link in a return 
>email or submit it as a story on ?
>Derek Neighbors
>GNU Enterprise
>Ke Deng wrote:
>>    How do you think of the ERP Standards(such as MRPII standard written by
>>Oliver Wight)? Is it important for GNUe?

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