If one certification is good, more must be better

Raymond Chen

In the discussion of driver signing, commenter ATZ Man suggested:

Further, Microsoft should allow orgs that are peers of WHQL [to] certify drivers and allow drivers to obtain certs from any such org or set of such orgs as they choose. Over time users would know which orgs were on the ball and which had agendas.

Would they? Let’s take a real-world case where there are multiple certifying authorities, to see whether what this commenter predicts actually has come to pass. The United States has several bicycle helmet standards which a manufacturer can choose to meet. At a minimum, it must meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; this is the standard required by law. Beyond that, however, it’s at the discretion of the manufacturer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know my ASTM from a hole in the ground. Who’s going to sit down and research the differences between CPSC, ASTM, SEI, Snell B-1990S, Snell B-1995, and ANSI? Did you know that there are four different certifying organizations for bicycle helmets? Did you even care? When I buy a bicycle helmet, I read the tag that says “Meets XYZ standards” and say, “Okay, cool, this helmet meets some standard that some committee established. It must be a safe helmet.” End of story. I’m not a bicycle helmet expert. I don’t want to be a bicycle helmet expert. I want somebody else to be the bicycle helmet expert and just tell me whether this helmet is okay or not. “Over time, users would know which helmet certifications were on the ball and which had agendas.” Do you believe this has actually happened?

[While Raymond was on vacation, the autopilot stopped working due to a power outage. This entry has been backdated.]


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