Standards Are Changing--With or Without Old Standards Bodies

By Henry Newman

I have been thinking about the lack of progress on many software standards. Standards out of the IETF, ANSI T10, T11, T13 and other bodies, and other standards that involve hardware seem to be making forward progress. In contrast, other standards that deal with files, archives and other user-level functions have at best been stagnant in my opinion. At the same time, the search community has developed methods that ignore part of the POSIX I/O standard. HDFS (Hadoop file system) was developed specifically to ignore POSIX locking.

My question is, will this start a trend where POSIX standard are ignored by more than the search community and make standards such as those from the OpenGroup and others? Is the standards process obsolete for some areas of the stack because of the lack of changes needed to support newer requirements? Why would the current group of younger programmers want to be constrained by their parent's standards with no potential for any changes? Of course, the answer is they will not--they will leave the house and move into their own place and do what they want to do, how they want to do it. The parents do not get it and do not understand why their kids do not want to be just like them (Ward and June).

The current standards bodies must either move very quickly to make serious changes or the changes in the industry will make what they have done superfluous to the world around them.

This article was originally published on August 31, 2011