Why all the secrecy ?
My largest compaint about the IEEE 802.1 body is that the most of the document is secret and locked behind paywall. For example, if we look at the 802.1aq standard for Shortest Path Bridging at http://www.ieee802.org/1/pages/802.1aq.html. The dispositions for the progress of standard are locked away for members only.
You can download and review the presentations, but you can’t look at the status of the ballots or any of chicanery that goes on between the various companies. Because its not open the vendors are able to get up to all sorts of chicanery. That what caused the 802.11 wireless standard to get delayed for years.
Open it up
If the IEEE is going to be an open standards body, then it equally should be open so that everyone can watch companies like Sun, Cisco and Brocade stab each other in the eye as they fight it out over standards that will make them millions and millions of dollars in profit.
Alternately, they could be well behaved and show us all that they are really working together. But we will never know that will we ?
Standard Committee members – its a dirty job
If you sit on the standards committees, and represent some company, imagine how much money is at stake in controlling the pace of a standard. For example, lets imagine that your company have a new Ethernet switch product running behind schedule for development. Your company might want you to delay the standard so that your competitor doesn’t get to release a product first.
Because we can’t see those meeting details, ballots, and comments, the public cannot know what is happening.
DCB Standards are getting later
It’s worth noting that Cisco predicted the DCB standards would be finished in 2009. Currently, they are expected to finish in 2010. They might I suppose, but it’s hard to tell whether they will. I have to wait for press releases from Cisco or HP to “tell me” when the standards are expected to be complete.
And another example, FCoE was supposed to finish in 2008 according to Deepak Munjal and yet it was only finished a few months ago in Q2 2009. That information was also not available to the public.
It might be that a lot of very nice men and women sit around the table and negotiate difficult technical problems, and bring valuable, erudite solutions after a great deal of research.
But I can’t tell for sure if something else is happening.
These standards affect your and my life by directly impacting the businesses that we support and that pay our wages / fees. Delays to standards can have real impacts on extended planning and IT architecture. Are we not entitled to have visibility to this process ?
What do you think ?