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Talking about standards apparently brings out some very strong feelings in a whole lot of people.

From “it’s too early” to “we need standards now” to “meh, standards will evolve where they are necessary”, some of the discussions at CloudConnect this week were tinged with a bit of hostility toward, well, standards in general and the folks trying to define them. In some cases the hostility was directed toward the fact that we don’t have any standards yet.

[William Vambenepe has a post on the subject, having been one of the folks hostility was directed toward during one session ]

Lee Badger, Computer Scientist at NIST, during a panel on “The Standards Real Users Need Now” offered a stark reminder that standards take time. He pointed out the 32 months it took to define and agree on consensus regarding the ASCII standard and the more than ten years it took to complete POSIX. Then Lee reminded us that “cloud” is more like POSIX than ASCII. Do we have ten years? Ten years ago we couldn’t imagine that we’d be here with Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing, so should we expect that in ten years we’ll still be worried about cloud computing?

Probably not.

The problem isn’t that people don’t agree standards are a necessary thing, the problem appears to be agreeing on what needs to be standardized and when and, in some cases, who should have input into those standards. There are at least three different constituents interested in standards, and they are all interested in standards for different reasons which of course leads to different views on what should be standardized.