First thing to note is the CIM UML model is not copyrighted by the IEC – only the published Word documents (at least so far) – so there is no IEC restriction on distribution.
However, to best meet the needs of the CIM users out there, after a lot of debate within the CIMug and WG13/14, we seem to have arrived at the following policy to address the needs of two distinctly different audiences.
Developers, WG13 members, CIMug members
- For this group, we want to maximize ease of access to the CIM UML model by having one centralized location to go to be sure to get the latest official release. By official, it means the version that was frozen, is stable, and upon which the most current edition of the IEC 61970-301 CIM Base is based on. So we have one official release each year that is frozen on Jan. 1.
- This audience needs to see that the CIM does have a stable release plan and there is an “official” place to go to for the most current release. Also that this electronic model is always synchronized to the official published IEC CIM international standards.
- We post this on the CIMug SharePoint site where all that is required for access is to register as a guest (no cost).
- For this group, we want to make the latest WG13 project versions available as well as the official release. These versions are unstable and are changed without notice, but do contain the latest thinking of the IEC WGs responsible for the CIM standards (WG13, 14, 16, 19). These are usually part of a zip file that also contains change history and issues that were resolved with the updates.
- A major benefit of membership in the CIMug is to gain access to these latest CIM UML releases in a controlled environment where the CIM model manager is in control of the postings. The user accessing these versions needs to understand they are not final versions, subject to change without notice, but that the latest versions are always posted when available.
- We post these on both the IEC WG SharePoint sites accessible to only IEC WG members and on that part of the CIMug SharePoint site which is accessible to only CIMug members.
I think this policy addresses most of the major complaints we used to hear from CIM users – namely that there was not just one place to go to get the official CIM UML and/or latest versions. By seeing contstant updates in public places, most potential CIM users decided the CIM standards were not stable and hence not “fully cooked”, so not ready to use yet. Or on the flip side, when different releases or versions are available depending on which Web site you visit, confusion results. Another complaint came from current users that wanted some predictability as to when new official releases would be available and to know which issues had been addressed and resolved in that release.
OK, so having said all that:
- It is not illegal to distribute a copy of any version of the CIM UML model. It is not copyrighted.
- Posting to a web site is discouraged for the reasons mentioned.
- We would really prefer that a link to the CIMug SharePoint folder where the CIM UML models are posted be provided rather than starting post copies on different Web sites. This also serves to point them to the CIMug site to see what is available there to support CIM users and perhaps motivate them to join.
My personal approach is that when I receive a specific request from a developer wanting the CIM UML model, I will explain to him which versions are available. This way you can be sure he gets the version he needs. That might be the official release because the customer wants to use only the current stable release that syncs with the IEC CIM standards he has purchased, or it might be he wants the latest working version to see if some new modeling needs he may have for a project are now addressed (or not), but then you have the opportunity to explain the status of that working version before he starts to use it.