I was all set to write a blog criticising The Cloud Industry Forum's research document on cloud standards when I came across my old colleague, Dennis Howlett's blog attacking the research. There's no way that I could top Dennis's hatchet job, I agree with just about every word of it.

I remember speaking to the CIF when It first launched. I asked Andy Burton, the chairman of CIF, why he felt there was the need for another cloud grouping when there were already several and his reply was along the lines that the other ones were run by techies and the CIF was going to run by business people for business people.

There's not too much harm with that. Companies are ultimately going to make a decision to go with cloud for sound business reasons, while it's absolutely right that the technologists should be showing the way, technology for its own sake is not going to be enough.

But the CIF approach is not the right way. As Dennis has pointed out, CIF said that it was a " a company limited by guarantee" - which would be fine if it were true, but it's not. So, now CIF has removed references to the limited company from its About Us page - a dreadful way for a supposedly reputable public body to behave.

Dennis has analysed the faults of the code of practice in some detail and I can't improve on his excellent work. But there are a couple of other points worth mentioning: firstly, one of the founding members is FAST, the organisation that campaigns against software piracy. In fact, it's more than just a founding member, it actually owns the domain name.

I can see why FAST might want to get involved, no less a person than Steve Ballmer has suggested that the rise of cloud computing would mean the end of software piracy. FAST must be rubbing its hands at the thought of stamping out those illicit copies for good - however, there's surely going to be plenty of murkiness in the future and it might even be harder to trace the provenance of software offered through the cloud.

But what's more galling is that a time when cloud services are just getting off the ground, FAST wants to stick its nose in. If we build cloud services using as many open standards as possible, we'd be able to keep FAST well away from the action - and that certainly means ceasing to own the domain.

The second point concerns another founder. Rackspace's involvement. Only two weeks ago, the company got its OpenStack initiative off the ground, now that's the sort of open source collaboration that cloud needs to get off the ground.

The CIF's self-serving, poorly-assembled code of practice helps no-one. We now that the cloud needs a set of standards and closer co-operation but this is not the way forward. 

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