October 28, 1996

Canadian Response to N596

  1. The term "Open Systems" has been over-used to the point where it no longer conveys any meaning.
  2. Use of the term "de facto standards" elevates commercially popular implementations to a higher level than is warranted.
  3. Document N596 perpetuates the commonly held public misperception that there is a hierarchy of "standards".
    In the context of WG15 a standard (in French, norme) is a normative document (document normatif) that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results. The term "normative document" is a generic term that covers standards, technical specifications, codes of practice and regulations. "A standard (norme) is established by consensus and approved by a recognised body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context."
  4. Therefore in the (ISO and WG15) context that N596 was presented, the document fails to clearly articulate the following points:

It is not clear that mere wordsmithing could correct these deficiencies therefore Canada cannot express support for the position presented by this document but would welcome any new contribution from France that expressly addresses each of these issues.

Note: This position is an amalgamation of recent opinions expressed by members of the Canadian POSIX Working Group. While it represents the consensus of opinion as I understand it, it has not been formally approved or endorsed by the working group and therefore may be subject to change. - [David Blackwood Head of Delegation]