Monday, March 14, 2011

If at first you dont succeed, just wait, they will kick you again!

As of today it seems the news is out. The board did actually consider the matter, and now we know officially. The NMRAnet working group hasn't been told yet, nor have the authors of the document submitted.

NMRANET standard adopted
The board reviewed two versions of S-9.x.1 for the definition of the physical layer of the
layout control bus called NMRANET. The version modified by Didrik Voss, manager of
the Standards & Conformance Dept., was adopted. With this approval, the sponsors for
the other version will be invited to present their concerns to the Board at the Sacramento
meeting. S-9.x.1 was re-designated as S-9.5.1 and will be posted on the NMRA web site.
Several manufacturers of electronics for model railroading have been waiting for this
new NMRA standard so they can adopt it for their product line.

The actual BOD meeting report summary can be found online here.

As well as not being informed even informally about the BOD meeting considerations and vote we have yet to receive our invitation to address the board in Sacramento in July. Let's hope it arrives soon, we need to dust off all the material that we guess wasn't presented to the board in February. But why does it have to be this way?

We don't know in any detail what happened at the BOD meeting, today is the first we know of anything other than the appearance of the S9.5.1 document on the NMRA web site. What is even more galling is that we now know that the NMRA board has sanctioned a document which is a derivative work from material where copyright is claimed by its authors. No permission was sought or granted, no acknowledgement given. It is as though the NMRA feels it is above the provisions of copyright law in the US and Canada (two of the authors are either Canadian or Canadian residents) and the DMCA in the USA. Pretty shabby treatment really when all things are considered.

Back in December 2010 I responded to a help wanted ad placed with Gerry Leone, communications director for the NMRA, for electronics engineers to help with the development of NMRAnet. This request was never sent to the NMRAnet working group list, nor to the DCC working group list. But it was in the NMRA magazine and so I responded. The day after Gerry acknowledged my email I received this response form Di Voss:

You must be the only Electronics Engineer in Canada or, at least, the only one that responds to my help wanted ads.
Since you are already part of the effort, I do not need to provide you a summary of our work.

It seems that my work is to continue to provide soundly based, well argued professional work. Seems that my job is to accept being treated like a mushroom, kept in the dark and fed with .... well, I think you know the answer (at least any self respecting Aussie would). I am to toil diligently in the fields, submit my work, have it used to creative a derivative document without permission or acknowledgement, not be told what the considerations of the material submitted are and to just keep on taking it and liking it.

So disheartening, so disillusioning. No wonder nobody wants to play in the NMRAnet or NMRA-DCC sandboxes any more, if this is how we are to be treated. Onwards and upwards OpenLCB!

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