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Controlling SOA development in OASIS?

| by Mark Little Follow 14 Followers on Mar 28, 2007. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |
An interesting side-note to last week's announcement concerning SCA and SDO is the formation of the OASIS Open Composite Services Architecture group, that will oversee the evolution of these specifications. Normally in OASIS, it's a one-member/one-vote policy, with a chair (or co-chairs) to help direct the flow of the work to completion. This time, however, OASIS (or some of its members) believe it necessary to impose more structure on the work. They may be right: the open process that OASIS has in place has resulted in many technical committees being diverted from target or delayed significantly by internal struggles. Therefore, a board of members (steering committee) to watch over this and make sure the results are in line with requirements may make sense; the OMG has such a thing which has worked well in the past, and the lack of such a body in the JCP is frequently cited as a downside to that process.

However, as the OASIS announcement says:

The Open CSA Member Section Steering Committee will consist of seven
members. Initially, four seats will be filled by representatives from BEA
Systems, IBM, Oracle, and SAP, each of whom will serve a term of two years.
Elections will be held to fill the three remaining seats. To ensure
consistency of management, those elected to these three seats initially will
serve one year terms with subsequent election for terms of two years.
the original authors of the specifications already have a controlling interest in the steering committee. Given how fully formed these specifications were upon initial submission to OASIS, this could be seen as a worrying move to simply have a rubber-stamping exercise around them. It has to be asked why all 7 seats could not have been put up for open vote? Furthermore, is this a precedent that will have further implications in OASIS? Hopefully the 3 voted members and the 4 initial members will act co-operatively to make sure the results of the various committees are good and useful, even if that requires changes to the work as submitted. After all, this is supposed to be for the benefit of the community as a whole and not just imposed from above.

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