(j3.2006) (SC22WG5.5743) Units of measure

Van Snyder van.snyder
Sat Jul 2 16:20:49 EDT 2016

I don't understand how the paragraph quoted from the ISO directives
precludes the possibility of publishing a TS that does not promise to
incorporate the feature in a future standard.  Not promising to
incorporate is not the same as promising not to incorporate. 

Bill and others have argued that units support ought to be provided by a
preprocessor, no matter how unpalatable that is, especially if one has
several users and several developers of the software.  If a TS were
published, at least preprocessor vendors could claim compliance to that,
and would hopefully all provide the same features, in the same way.

I also don't understand the argument that we shouldn't be ambitious
because vendors found some features of 2003 difficult to implement.  If
we had postponed incorporating them until 2015, nobody would have given
any thought to how to implement them until now, and they would thereby
not be available until 2025.  I don't see any advantage in that.
Indeed, it seems to be a distinct disadvantage.  I'm very pleased that
2003 features are becoming available now, instead of appearing ten years
after my retirement.

I've spend my entire half-century career working in an organization
whose motto is "Dare Mighty Things" so perhaps I can be forgiven for
having more ambitions for Fortran than other members seem to have.

Reliability is extremely important to my organization.  We built two
machines that have operated unattended in the harsh deep-space
environment for forty years, and show all signs of lasting at least
another decade.  We promised NASA that the Spirit and Opportunity rovers
would last ninety days on Mars.  Opportunity is still working twelve
years after landing.  The Spirit rover lasted "only" six years.
Reliability doesn't come without great effort, and every tool to improve
it is welcome.  Is reliability not important to anybody else, or is
everybody who cares about it eager to achieve it without the best tools

JPL is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, operated by
Caltech.  Unlike at least a few government civil-service organizations,
JPL and Caltech are very careful with taxpayers' money, so labor cost is
important to us.  Reliability doesn't come for free, and every tool that
helps to reduce the cost of achieving it is welcome.  Is labor cost not
important to anybody else?

On Sat, 2016-07-02 at 11:50 +0100, John Reid wrote:
> WG5,
> N.M. Maclaren wrote:
> > On Jun 29 2016, Bill Long wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Van asks
> >>>
> >>> 2. Did you ask whether my offer to remove the promise to incorporate the
> >>> specification into a future revision of the standard made a difference
> >>> in their positions?
> >>>
> >>> For all those that attended the London meeting, I would appreciate your
> >>> thoughts on this.
> >>>
> >>> I think I should perhaps add a paragraph on 2. I think the sentiment
> >>> was that it would obviate the whole point of a TS - to define a feature
> >>> that WG5 intended eventually to include in the standard.
> >>
> >> I agree with John that this is the operational norm for WG5 and making an
> >> exception here weakens the norm for other proposals.
> >
> > While that is true, there were people who felt that using TSs solely for
> > that purpose was a mistake.
> We have to work within the ISO/IEC JTC 1 rules. The latest directives say
> "When the subject in question is still under development or where for 
> any other reason there is the future but not immediate possibility of an 
> agreement to publish an International Standard, the technical committee 
> or subcommittee may decide, by following the procedure set out in 2.3, 
> that the publication of a Technical Specification would be appropriate."
> I have added a paragraph that includes this quotation at the end. I have
> also split the first paragraph to add a sentence explaining that this 
> was proposed as a TS.
> Does this document now give a fair summary of why we made the decision
> in London?
> John.
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