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Some final responses, and then I'm going to drop the matter.

Again, it begs the question; if a client does not trust a vendor, why
should it trust some anonymous "certifying" body?

They might if the certification body has a reputation for independence and
objectivity. The evidence is in the hundreds of millions of certifications
that take place from licenses to practice to partnership endorsements.

Just because people do irrational things, does not mean they *should.*
 The whole certification issue is caused by people without
technical knowledge passing judgement on things they do not know
about.  Again, who certifies the certifiers, and at what point does it

This issue of trust is not just a philosophy problem, but something
that is an active research problem in certain areas of computer
science.  If there is an equivalence between computer programs and
logical proofs as the Curry-Howard correspondence explains, programs
can be verified to be "correct" -- and will only compute a subset of
computable functions that are specified.  These proofs can then be
checked with a proof checker, which is just another program.

But then the skeptic asks "Why should I trust your proof checker?"
Then Godel's problems abound.  Fortunately, there appears to be some
progress that might satisfy the skeptic:

"Milawa is a 'self-verifying' theorem prover for an ACL2-like logic."

Again, it begs the question; if a client does not trust a vendor, why
should it trust some anonymous "certifying" body?   These are things
that people say to make salespeople go away.

Well it would not be anonymous if TDF certifies specific skills,
wouldn't it? As for what people say to make salespeople go away, you
are right to point that out, but there will be and there have been
countless arguments made not to migrate to anything else other than MS

I deal with *professional* writers in the and scientists in the U.S.
who write reams of documentation using subpar technical solutions.  I
educate them about the features of LO and other FLOSS products, what
it could do to make their jobs easier, and currently help them
troubleshoot problems for free.  The field of medical writing is
*heavily* tied into the MS Office ecosystem, even when it is

I am planning on collecting data on exactly how much of MS Office and
VBA people in this market segment use, and either raisng money to make
translation and integration seamless, coding the damn solution myself,
or some combination of the two.

I have *no* trouble contributing my findings back to the project.
But if I am successful in doing that, what is the *point* of me or my
organization going for certification?  I'm essentially *creating
material* for your MS/LO integration specialist certification and the
developer certification, which at a later point, could be used against
me when the market develops further.

After doing all of this unglamorous work for uncertain compensation,
I'm supposed to allow members of the TDF to sit ex cathedra, and judge
my competence, when I have happy and ostensibly paying clients, and
work product that is now part of the project?

Again, it begs the question; if a client does not trust a vendor, why
should it trust some anonymous "certifying" body?

The entire premise of "certification" is flawed, because it does not
make clear in whose interest the TDF is working for. Sales people who
struggle will always say "The price is too high.  No one will ever buy
this at that price."  But then again, 80% of all sales people struggle
anyway, so this belief has no foundation.

It continues to encourage the shoddy thinking that technical
solutions, can be plucked off the shelf.  This is likely a large part
of the reason why IBM claims 65% of IT projects fail.  It is based
upon the idea that software and technical solutions are commodities,
when they are not.

Clearly, certification is something that *buyers* of software would
like, if it worked.  But as I've stated many times -- competence is in
the eye of the beholder.  As someone who has had to make work-based
assessments in a health care context, it isn't some "objective"
decision that is made, but weighing up the competing criteria of
employee, employeer, and the insurance company funding the program.

With that, I end with a link to an old letter-to-the-editor written by
Tom DeMarco on the dangers of "certification"

" Though the rationale for certification is always societal good, the
real objective is different: seizure of power. Certification is not
something we implement for the benefit of the society but for the
benefit of the certifiers. It is heady stuff be be able to decide
which of your fellow human beings should be allowed to work and which
should not. Those who hope for a share of that heady stuff are the
core of the camp that favors certification."

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