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RE: Definition of COTS

I had some facinating discussion last week with Bob Mandeville at the IEEE
802 meetings.  Bob and I along with several others were proposing a new
standard within IEEE 802.  Bob's presentation, which I am attaching
discussed the approach to developing standards commonly used in the IETF.
The key to much of that approach is to start by clearly defining terms.  His
statement was that this was typically the hardest part.

I think the comments below make it clear that this is where the COTS STG
needs to start.  To help get the ball rolling let me provide one of Bob's
slides here:

Terminology Definition Template:
--Term to be defined. (e.g., Latency)
--Definition: The specific definition for the term. Discussion: A brief
discussion about the term, it's application and any restrictions on
measurement procedures.
--Measurement units: The units used to report measurements of this term, if
--Issues: List of issues or conditions that effect this term.
--See Also: List of other terms that are relevant to the discussion of this

Methodology Definition Template:
--Setup parameters
--Reporting formats

So applying this to COTS, we start with the definition in the current draft,
which I think is currently unchanged from the 2002 FEC standard:

Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS): Commercial, readily-available hardware
devices (such as card readers, printers, or personal computers) or software
products (such as operating systems, programming language compilers, or
database management systems).  These devices and software are exempted from
certain portions of the qualification testing process so long as such
products are not modified in any manner for use in the voting system.

First question, do we (particularly the STG group) agree with that
definition?  Everyone seems to agree that modified products are not COTS.
So is the limitation at the end of the definition sufficient?

In Bob's method he recommends having a discussion of the application and any
restrictions on measurement procedure.  The STG needs to come up with some
discussion of those boundaries in this context.  I think we all agree that
some of the environmental testing can be set aside where it is clear that
hardware already meets comparable specifications and has been tested for
other purposes, such as the CE Mark requirements.  I think from our Austin
discussion we all agree that even things we all agree are COTS doesn't get a
waive on all testing.  What we need is a draft of the language setting those
boundaries and suggestions for where that discussion should be included in
the document.

Hope the above is helpful to the COTS STG.  I at least found it of interest.

Best Regards,

Stephen Berger

Attachment: WNG Presentation 12-2 - Approaches - 031111.pdf
Description: WNG Presentation 12-2 - Approaches - 031111.pdf