I'm a Customer What do I want?
a) I want the best astronomy functionality
b) I want a strong market and competition between successful and
c) I don't want to change my applications just because I change my
d) I don't want to see the bile and venom displayed here.
Can an Interface standard contribute to any of the above?
I say yes it can: Interface standards save application development
cost because you write code once and it works for all devices that
conform to the standard. This benefits the supplier and it benefits
me because the supplier has more time and resources to develop
exciting new functionality that adds value to what I do. So I think
standards help a) and c) above.
b) is more difficult because standards force competition by removing
lock-in. Equally standards expand the customer base so b) could be
neutral for the vendor and positive for the customer.
As a customer I want to choose my applications based on their
performance and functionality rather than on the basis of whether
they support my hardware.
In my experience standards are not set by dis-interested parties. For
me the concept of a neutral standards body is an illusion. The
outcome may be neutral but that is only because there are as many
people pulling to the right as are pulling to the left. The applied
forces are considerable its just that they balance out.
Standards are the result of agreement between partisan interests.
So I do not think ASCOM will ever be or appear to be neutral until
all interested parties get actively involved. Only then will the
forces have any chance of balancing out to create the standard from
which benefits a) b) and c) can flow.
Application vendors get together!
Meet behind closed doors; don't come out till you have a framework
agreement for interface standards. Sort out the high level basics to
define standards that will work for you, then let the wider community
work with you to flesh that out to a final version.
If you get to the point where you can't find a solution why not stop
at agreeing what the question is and then put that to the wider
community. There are lots of experienced and skilled people in your
customer base that may just be able to see another angle to help
move things forward.
In the process above I think d) will solve itself...
... the only questions for me right now are who will pick up the phone
and dial... and who will respond to the call.