Manifesto hyperventilation

The Cloud Manifesto debacle of the last few days is another sign of the landgrab atmosphere in the Cloud interoperability/standardization space. It’s like the crowd at 6:00AM in front of an electronics store on the day of the Big Sale. This is not the first spark and it won’t be the last one.

Two aspects of this crisis (soon to be anecdote) are especially ironic.

First, as many have picked up, the irony of a Microsoft manager complaining about a document having to be signed “as is” is something to savor slowly. I know Microsoft is a large company and I can believe that Steven Martin may never personally have engaged in such practices. But our credulity gets stretched when in the same post he lauds the WS-* process as an example of “organic” industry collaboration. Pick any WS-* spec and try contacting the listed co-authors other than Microsoft and (usually but not always) IBM. Ask them how much input they had and how much they were able to change. The answer won’t always be zero, but there will be plenty of them.

And these WS-* documents were standard candidates: technical specifications that these “take it or leave it” authors would presumably eventually have to implement in their products. Which takes me to the second point of irony, one I haven’t noticed mentioned:

This is a manifesto folks! I am not familiar with all of these other manifestos (plus this one) but at least for those I know one of their defining characteristics is that they stand in opposition to other views. Some may seem non-controversial now, but at the time of their publication they were very much so. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been called “manifestos”. The very idea of a manifesto being criticized for not being inclusive enough makes my head spin.

If anything (based on this draft), what the “manifesto” can be criticized for is being too meek and consensual¬† to be worthy of that name. How many important manifestos give their readers a “whenever appropriate” escape clause in their guiding principles?

[Note: If you are in an investigative mood, start with this whois search and if the name of the registrant sounds familiar it may be because you’ve read this blog post before.]

[UPDATED 2009/3/30: It’s live.]

[UPDATED 2009/3/31: Mike DiPetrillo also thinks this is a bit too motherhood-and-applepie for being called a “manifesto”. Thomas Bittman’s translation of the manifesto is also good.]

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One Response to Manifesto hyperventilation

  1. Pingback: William Vambenepe’s blog » Blog Archive » Open Cloud Manifesto, circa 2004