Out of Order 2.0

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failMicrosoft’s Steven Martin has ironically blown the whistle on an attempt at an “open” coalition that freezes out certain companies. Ironic in that Microsoft and IBM played this game years ago with the WS-I, an industry standards group that pointedly stonewalled Sun Microsystems’ involvement before caving under media pressure.

In a Google Groups post Introducing the Open Cloud Manifesto, Rueven Cohen describes an effort involving “several of the largest technology companies and organizations” to “draw a line in the sand.”

We are still working on the first version of the manifesto which will be
published Monday, March 30th with a goal of being ratified by the greater
cloud community. Given the nature of this document we have attempted to be
as inclusive as possible inviting most of the major names in technology to
participate in the initial draft. The intention of this first draft is to
act as a line in the sand, a starting point for others to get involved.
That being said this manifesto is not specifically targeting any one company
or industry but instead is intended to engage a dialogue on the
opportunities and benefits of fostering an open cloud ideology for everyone.

As inclusive as possible? Not targeted at any one company? Engage in a dialogue? What a load of crap that is. It’s the same back room cigar-smoke-filled scam of the good old days when Web Services first began its inexorable move to reshape computing. More than anything, the attempt to lock out Microsoft seems destined to backfire on those who are running this operation. The best way of pinning the tail on this donkey is to try and get quotes on the record from the possible partners in this effort. Is Google participating? No comment so far. Amazon? Apparently not. IBM? Bob Sutor, what say you?

If cloud computing follows the dynamics of the social media buildout, it’s likely we’ll see an Open Social-like alliance of vendors around an open architecture. Unfortunately for the Microsoft haters, Redmond has built considerable momentum on its own around open fundamentals for Silverlight, Live Mesh, and the incipient Azure Services. The analogy that may serve best is Facebook’s Connect, where the company stumbled earlier, adjusted and optimized, then rolled out changes to its core portal strategy that leverage the social graph API and UI tools while attacking at the heart of the monetization model pioneered by Twitter.

That’s likely what is threatening the Manifesto crowd, the difficulty of locking Microsoft out of an open relationship with users when they themselves demonstrate a disregard for the rules they are in the process of attempting to forge and then shove down Martin’s throat. Even in these early days of cross-cloud standards, the pay as you go fundamental of the Cloud changes this from a religious to a pragmatic discussion: how do we do this and what does it cost?

Microsoft understands it have no choice this time in being open; it also understands that being open in the Cloud is good business. The Manifestos get that too, and are trying to write some rules that Microsoft can’t sign, in secret, and then – do what? Those who favor being closed to being open in furtherance of being open somewhere down the road undercut their credibility.

By shining a light on this, Martin and Microsoft may have ensured that future meetings will be open for all participation. It’s going to be hard for Google or IBM or whoever else thought this was a good idea to stand up and take credit for it. The war over WS-I was long, ugly, and ultimately a loser for those who started it. Have another cigar, Reuven.

  • http://drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    Seems to me it might be a good idea for the folks writing the manifesto to take at least a moment to consider users. Microsoft is a player – a big player. If they care about users, they won’t freeze them out. Which is, of course, why I’m sure they don’t care about users.

  • http://www.smibs.com Peter Urban

    Just the usual manipulative nonsense.

    • typical forum poster

      yep, good ol’ fear/uncertainty/doubt from a known microsoft apologist.

  • TCCritic

    OMG but I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t expect Google nor IBM to embrace openness more so than Microsoft.

    Forget about openness or “do no evil”. Where public companies are concerned, what matters is the share price and not what consumers need or want.

    Google (especially Google!) is no exception.

  • http://www.cloudforum.org Jesse Silver

    Since it appears you’ve done little research, I’d like to clarify something.

    At no point did those involved attempt to “lock Microsoft out”. At the end of the day, the story will emerge as something much different than the one printed here.

    The goal of the Manifesto is to usher in a new era of openness and partnership in the cloud computing space. And ultimately, I’m confident it will succeed.

    • Steve Gillmor

      Typical of the whatever means to an end school of rationalization. And oh by the way I’ve done plenty of research on this, none of which you’re refutting. What does “most of” mean?

      • http://www.cloudforum.org Jesse Silver

        Microsoft has not been, and will never be, locked out. That is not reflected in your article.

      • Steve Gillmor

        Microsoft says otherwise, and you still don’t answer the question of what the meaning of most of is. Do some research of the WS-I links I provide and ask yourself whether your parsing of this is credible. I doubt it.

      • http://www.qrimp.com Randall Minter

        This is Microsoft’s take on it:

        It sounds more to me like the document was taken there and presented in a “You’re either with us or against us” sort of manner.

        From the link:

        “Very recently we were privately shown a copy of the document, warned that it was a secret, and told that it must be signed “as is,” without modifications or additional input. It appears to us that one company, or just a few companies, would prefer to control the evolution of cloud computing, as opposed to reaching a consensus across key stakeholders (including cloud users) through an “open” process.”

      • http://www.cloudforum.org Jesse Silver

        It was clearly a rhetorical misstatement Steve.

        Yes, the drama surrounding the WS-I has given just cause for cynicism. But in this case, it’s just untrue that anyone is being locked out. We hope, and still hope, that everyone interested, including Microsoft, will sign.

        Only time will tell…

    • GregA

      It was a committee having a secret meeting. End of story.

      This committee should be disbanded and a new one formed, and all the participants of the secret meetings should be barred from the new committee.

      As far as committees and committee rules go, this is an ethical lapse of the highest order.

  • http://www.manyniches.com Brandon Watson

    Disclaimer – I am a MSFT employee


    Reuven speaks on his blog with a claim that is in stark contrast to the Steven Martin post. I leave it to the discussion here to discuss. Here’s my posting on the topic: http://www.manyniches.com/cloudcomputing/an-open-cloud-requires-an-equally-open-manifesto/

  • Steve Gillmor

    Will sign. Right, write once sign anywhere. Have another cigar, Jesse.

  • http://ai.mee.nu Pixy Misa

    Slow news day?

  • Stu

    Last I heard, IBM and Microsoft are still pretty damn proud of WS-*. (As questionable as that pride might be)

    And I didn’t see too many people complain of being locked out of the Agile Manifesto, even though that was invite-only. Frankly, so was Marx & Engels’ manifesto, yet that didn’t stop people from adopting it ;-)

    Basically, I’m wondering in what world “more people in the room” leads to a higher quality outcome. Instead of “design by committee”, it’s “design by mob”.

    • Steve Gillmor

      Invite only in the age of real time is pure hypocrisy and is laughable when combined with the word “open”

      interesting how WS-I became a mob with the addition of Sun, or Cloud with the addition of MS. pretty lame nit picking (as questionable as it might be even to you)

      Martin was smart to jump all over this. As a friend at Google says, MS is opening up and it’s a good thing.

      • Stu

        Every open source project is invite only – i.e. if you don’t like what the core group wants in the code base, you fork; from a standards perspective, the W3C and DMTF are pay to play, the IETF is an exception but they don’t suffer fools.

        I dont think anyone’s claiming “adding MS” was about making it a mob, I’m saying that someone is lying. Ruv claims MS was invited early on, and by their post, certainly it seems they were invited, and chose to fire back instead of actually working within whatever group solicited them.

      • Steve Gillmor

        I’d agree the two stories are conflicting. Where does “Ruv” claim this? Martin’s post is very specific about what was said and “offered.” If it looks like a landgrab and tastes like a landgrab, excuse me for betting you might not want to step in it.

  • Stu

    He claims it here:

    Understand your concern, I honestly share it, but I get the impression all is not what it seems.

    Take a look at the OMG Cloud Interop workshop agenda earlier this week:

    Reuven didn’t mention the manifesto in his talk, and I was frankly surprised that he implies on his blog that he’s championing it – that’s not the impression I got.

  • Above Average English Speaking Human

    What is “cloud computing” …

    (That was sarcasm for you low brow folks)

    It sickens me that the make-a-buck greedy corporate-locusts now swarm on social media for their next big feast, and have already begun the wordsmithing to create all sorts of new terminology – “cloud computing” and whatever else they can think up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred_Grott/592318318 Fred Grott

    Hmm the new players do not get it..

    Each time this strategy has been played out by vendors outsiders come up with new innovative technology and route around this effing bulllshit.

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  • http://www.floridalotteryservice.net/ FloridaLotteryService

    I totally agree with you Steve Gillmor about Microsoft.

  • http://www.fllottoresults.net FlLottoResults

    SO true, good post.

  • http://www.siliconangle.com/ver2/?p=3587 Is it too early for “cloud standards”? « The SiliconANGLE

    […] Steve Gillmor over at TechCrunch is call bullshit on the manifesto stating: It’s the same back room cigar-smoke-filled scam of the good old days when Web Services first began its inexorable move to reshape computing. […]

  • http://www.appistry.com/blogs/sam Sam Charrington

    Now that everything is out in the open, the question is what the community does with it.

    For this we need the Open Cloud Manifesto Manifesto (yes you read that right!)

  • http://neotactics.com Randy Bias

    A lot of screed about a lot of nothing.

    I’m not a big Reuven fan, but the Manifesto is simply nothing more than a statement of principles. Ones that already largely apply to the Internet.

    Getting hot and bothered about a restatement of general Internet principles as if they were some de-facto standard handed to us via back room deals by some kind of evil overlords is the worst kind of demagoguery.

    The original posting by Steve Martin was a bit over the top and so is this one.

    Yes, Enomaly and others should have opened the discussion up. Yes, there is a disconnect between their stated position and how they went through their process.

    But shrill alarmist blog postings don’t move the discussion forward either.

    –Randy Bias
    VP Tech Strategy

    Ps. Yes, I have my own WS-* battle scars.

    • Steve Gillmor

      in fact, shrill alarmist blog posts (called back page of InfoWorld in those days) profoundly moved the discussion forward. In those days Microsoft and IBM were in the drivers seat, today others have the backing of most of the media. I’m proud to even the balance a bit. But I appreciate you acknowledging the central point that Manifestos should have opened up and that their process damages their efforts. Looking forward to seeing where IBM comes down on their role in the process.

  • Benjamin Black


    You give this group far too much credit by suggesting they have any power at all since the only real players, Google and Amazon, aren’t participating. WS-I was a stinking pile of committee design, as it had to be, given its process and participants. This open cloud nonsense won’t even rise to that level.


  • http://www.structuredmethods.com/wp/?p=133 Structured Methods › links for 2009-03-27

    […] Out of Order 2.0 Microsoft’s Steven Martin has ironically blown the whistle on an attempt at an “open” coalition that freezes out certain companies. Ironic in that Microsoft and IBM played this game years ago with the WS-I, an industry standards group that pointedly stonewalled Sun Microsystems’ involvement before caving under media pressure. (tags: Standards IBM Microsoft) This was written by Chuck Allen. Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009, at 10:05 am. Filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Post a comment or leave a trackback. […]

  • Gillmor, you've crapped the bed again

    Horrible article, Steve, just horrible.

  • quux

    You Manifesto guys need to get specific, and need to do so in a hurry. if you want to gain credibility, then you should seriously consider posting a log of who you spoke with at each company, and when, and some summary of the substance of each conversation.

  • http://silverguru.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/inaugural-post-controversy-and-the-cloud-manifesto/ Inaugural post: Controversy and the Cloud Manifesto « SilverGuru: Jesse Silver’s Weblog

    […] Manifesto controversy, read James Urquhart, Geva Perry, or for a deeply antagonistic viewpoint, Steve Gillmore. Though we’re wildly proud of the CCIF’s association with the Manifesto, we screwed […]

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