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OASIS requires a minimum of 15% votes to ratify a spec as an official standard -- that amount of votes for CMIS v 1.0 has been reached yesterday. Unless something earth-shattering happens, or people wake up in the next few days leading up to April 30 and decide to vote against, we can safely declare CMIS as the newest OASIS standard.

We chatted with some of the Web CMS and Enterprise CMS vendors and contributors to the standard to get their commentary on the latest development.

Questions We Asked

We were looking for initial reactions right after the ballot passed the threshold of 15% of all votes for OASIS ratification, which normally puts a proposal one tiny step away from being recognized by OASIS as an official standard.

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Data from Monday afternoon ET, April 26, 2010

This was a quick exercise, as we tried to get the earliest comments from some of the content management vendors that have been heavily involved in CMIS from day one. You will notice that EMC, Open Text, Microsoft and others haven’t shared their reactions with us yet. Don’t see your company in the mix? Head right over to comments to submit your point of view.

So, onto the questions we posed:

  • Your reaction to CMIS becoming the official standard?
  • Is the vote count (15%) too low?
  • What’s next for CMIS?
  • What are your company’s plans for CMIS?
  • How do you see CMIS evolve with other standards like the JSRs in the mix?

And this is what we have heard back so far from some of the contributors to the standard.


John Newton, CTO:

It's very rare that any standard gets 100%. OASIS covers so many interests that it actually takes time for any standard to get 15% of a vote. We are not done with voting and could still get more. But we made it!

Next step is for OASIS to recognize the vote and for the vote to actually close. Until Friday, people can still change their mind. It won't be long after this vote. But I have still been amazed by some of the bureaucracy required for standards.

We have been waiting for nearly the entire life of Alfresco for this standard and now that it is here, it's fantastic! Since the spec now will not change, we already have CMIS 1.0 out with our 3.3 Community release that just came out. We intend to develop an ecosystem of applications and partners with the new standard. Open source generally does very well with standards.

Day Software

David Nuescheler, CTO:

Well, the 15% seems to be a minimum at OASIS. I think it would have been a disappointment of epic proportions if CMIS wouldn't have passed that...

We are definitely thrilled to start our work on CMIS 1.1.

As for JCR and CMIS, there is a well-documented history of the two being complementary. So, it is not either or, but both of them... JCR is an API spec, CMIS is protocol spec.

Our contributions to Apache Chemistry as the mentor and one of the initial contributors and project members are continuously increasing, as we start using CMIS in our commercial product offering. CRX offers both. CMIS as a back end integration mechanism with legacy document management repositories, but also a protocol to expose all JCR content.


Albert Brown, Industry Solutions and Emerging Standards:

Until the ballot closes any organizational voting member can change their vote. However, I do not believe that any voting member is likely to change their vote.

OASIS is made up of a large diverse set of companies with interests in Web Services, DITA, ODF, and CMIS among others. In the past, most ballots received between 50-70 “yes” votes and that is why the bar is 15%. It is also a side effect of openness and inclusion especially to customers. As the membership grows (to 323), any one vote will get a percentage of the membership voting on that topic.

On CMIS, all the major software companies have voted: Microsoft, IBM, ECM, SAP, Adobe and Oracle. This is a huge endorsement of the efforts that the three founding companies IBM, Microsoft and EMC and the other participating companies have put into CMIS.

What's next for CMIS? Great question. We will be continuing discussions about "what's next" during the next technical committee meeting.

As one of the founders, IBM is very happy and excited that the industry is approving an interoperability specification such as CMIS. CMIS is great for our customers and partners because it protects their investment in ECM and allows them to gain greater leverage from their ECM investments by allowing them to use different CMIS clients to access secure and trusted content and to take advantage of a variety of IBM ECM services.

IBM has plans for CMIS across the organization. Please stay tuned for future announcements. We have made a tech preview available on developerWorks, as well as a Firefox client from Lotus.


Florent Guillaume, Director of R&D:

The 15% threshold is the minimum we need (assuming no negative votes, (which is still the case for now) to be immediately approved as a standard at the end of the voting period (i.e., this Saturday).

It would be hard to ask all of the current 323 members to vote, there is a lot of abstention just for lack of awareness, motivation, time (to read and understand the spec). So I think 15% is not a bad threshold. Once the vote passes I see several things happening quickly:

  • lots of vendors will start advertising their (immediate or short-term) compliance,

  • implementations will start being heavily tested against each other,

  • people will quickly realize that CMIS is actually useful.

But before starting work on the next CMIS version the OASIS TC we will want to wait for:

  • broader adoption,

  • feedback from implementors,

  • proposals for new features,

And of course just because features will be proposed does not mean they'll actually make it to v2. The OASIS TC may want to release a v1.1 to just fix bugs in parallel with starting work on a v2, we'll see -- after some vacations :)

CMIS is special in that it was from the start pushed by most of the major vendors in the field, who were dissatisfied with the state of the interoperability landscape for what should be a very simple thing (moving documents in and out of repositories). There were from the start actual use cases, and a willingness from vendors to quickly put it in their products. CMIS is also simple enough that it's not that difficult to write an implementation for it. Finally, it's language-neutral, which gives it a broader scope than, say, JSRs.

With my Nuxeo hat on, I'm very happy to see that the specification we've backed from the day it became public, less that 20 months ago, is now becoming an official standard. We were convinced that CMIS was a very good match for Enterprise Content Management, and its success proves that we were right.

Today, more and more of our customers ask us for standardized interfaces to access the content of a Nuxeo repository. We've been able to give them access through CMIS for some time, but the fact that CMIS is now an official standard will make them even more confident in their choice. Nuxeo is also quite involved in Apache Chemistry, whose goal is to write a Java (and other languages) library to greatly simplify writing CMIS-based applications. Nuxeo is using Chemistry to provide CMIS connectivity, and in the future we'll be implementing more and more of the optional parts of the spec.