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Re: [802SEC] Note the Author of 802.11 / JEDEC article / editor of Semiconduct or Business News

Matt -

Looks good to me - puts the point across very well.


At 13:04 04/04/2002 -0500, Matthew Sherman wrote:

>SEC Members,
>While the issue over the recent Semiconductor Business New article on 802.11
>has been largely resolved, there was one minor point in my mind that remains
>uncorrected.  I think it is more a matter of opinion, so I have decided to
>express mine to the author and the editor.  Below please find the letter I
>intend to send by e-mail.  It represents my personal opinion.  I do not plan
>to include my company affiliation, and will represent myself purely as an
>IEEE P802 participant.  Still, I felt I should let people have a look at it
>in case they would like to comment.  Please let me know if you do.
>Dear Mr. LaPedus,
>I recently read your article titled "JEDEC takes aim at defining wireless
>LAN chip standards" in Semiconductor Business News (
>  While I found the
>article interesting, there was one point you made that I felt was highly
>biased.  In the article you state:
>         "But one of the main problems with the IEEE is that chip makers and
>systems houses can "stack the deck" in the standards process, according to
>sources. In other words, every individual from a particular group or company
>has a vote in the standards process, sources said."
>I note that your sources are unnamed.  I also note that many other "sources"
>might disagree with this statement.  I for one (as an IEEE 802 participant)
>do not agree, and felt it might help if I clarified the IEEE process a
>The assumption in IEEE P802 is that people attend and represent themselves
>as individuals.  They are required by the rules governing membership to
>place their company affiliations aside, and vote their technical conscience
>on the matters they participate in.  Of course this is an idealized
>scenario, and people do sometimes reflect their companies interests in their
>opinion.  However this is less common than you might think.  Many engineers
>tend to be idealist, and do cling to the concepts of democracy and free
>thinking.  I will often see split votes within companies, and no company I
>am aware of forces there employees to vote according to a company platform.
>Still, any process is open to abuse, and sometimes voting based on corporate
>policy does occur.  IEEE P802 is aware of this possibility, and in its rules
>explicitly allows for a Working Group chairperson to "Determine if the
>Working Group is dominated by an organization, and, if so, treat that
>organizations' vote as one".  Thus there is some flexibility within IEEE to
>deal with companies that attempt to "stack the deck".  But I should note
>that this rule is rarely invoked, as it is rarely needed.  The standards
>developed in IEEE normally represent a broad consensus among many
>individuals, and in fact companies.
>Regarding the use of a one company, one vote approach, this has often been
>discussed within IEEE, but does not appear to have obvious advantage over
>the existing system.  First, it too is open to abuse.  Many participants in
>IEEE are independent consultants who run their own companies.  While they
>are often funded by other larger companies there is no way to determine
>which large companies the consultants represent.  Thus by "buying" a number
>of small consulting companies, a large corporation can still "stack the
>deck".  Also, I am aware of a number of individuals who for various reasons
>actually do attend IEEE on their own dollar, and don't have any company
>affiliation.  How would these individuals be allowed to vote and
>My own opinion is that there is much to be gained from the open, democratic
>standards process currently practiced in IEEE.  Using a one company, one
>vote standardization process has it own advantages and pitfalls, but I see
>no clear and compelling reason why it would be any fairer than the current
>process used by IEEE today.  I ask that this letter be published as an
>editorial so that a more balanced view of your statements can be had by the
>Semiconductor Business News readership.
>Matthew Sherman