Re: DoD Representation at ISO


John Leong (leong@andrew.cmu.edu)
Wed, 9 Jul 86 12:33:05 edt


While it is true that ISO meetings are restricted to individuals who represent
recognized NATIONAL standards organizations, it is interesting to note that
ISO standards have been heavily influenced by other standard organisations with
much more open membership such as IEEE, CCITT and EMAC (which has strong US
representations with names such as IBM, DEC, Honeywell etc.) In most cases,
ISO simply rubber stamp proposals from such bodies. The IEEE802 standards are
a case in point. Other examples are the great similarlity between the Transport
Protocol, ECMA-72 and the ISO/DP8072/3; the Office Document Architecture, ECMA-101
and ISO DP8613.

It is nice to know that BBN is contracted by NBS (and, hence, ANSI - a voting
member of ISO) to support the development of protocol standards since it is
also heavily involved with the ARPANET activities. However, it is not clear
how much BBN is influencing the NBS standards using experience learned from
the ARPANET world. Furthermore, judging by the furor with TP-4, it definitely
is not doing a good job keeping the ARPNET people informed on the development
of those standards. (It is interesting to note that BBN has prepared for NBS
a set of very detail and excellent specifications for the Transport Protocol
way back in 1980/1 which is practically the same as the ISO standard). While
it is probably not part of their job to keep people informed, it does have the
disadvantage that it will not get input from people who is supposed to be actively
involved and sometimes knowledgable in networking.

In view of the fact that every one seems to be climbing on the standard bandwagon
this days, it is my contention that the people of the TCP/IP world should be
kept informed of the activites of the standard setting bodies as well as participating
directly or indirectly. Otherwise, we will only have ourselves to blame if the
world comes up standards which is both strange and may be a little bit stupid.
(Of course we can always ignore the rest of the world - until funding runs out).

Standards that have come up so far that influence our work to different degree
without any significant inputs from the ARPNET world are :

X25, Tranpsort Protocol, Session Protocol, IEEE standards, X400.

Potentially interesting protocols being developed at this momement : Internet
protocol, more on X400, Office Document Architecture, File Transfer Access and
Management protocol.

Leong



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