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   Re: Open Standards Processes

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 17:26:48

[... in reply to the perceived concerns about the XML process...]

I am not part of the W3C membership, though I am party to XML-SIG
discussions, so hopefully can take a neutral stand on this.

XML-DEV has no formal standing in the W3C process. When we set it up the
intention (which still holds) was to provide a forum complementary to the
XML-SIG in which implementations could be discussed *as part of the process
of developing the protocols*.  That has worked extremely well, IMO. There
has been very high participation by the formal members of representatives
of the W3C - it has been given freely without thought to commercial gain. 

Organisations join the W3C for enlightened self-interest - i.e. the
financial *** and the staff investment *** is repaid by the returns.  I
cannot speak for the members but I assume that the ability to shape the
specs and to know when and what will be formally announced is well worth
the investment.

I am afraid it's a fact of life that not everyone has the same
opportunities. There are pluses and minuses to working in rich/powerful
organisations. I sympathise that individuals may feel 'second-class' in the
XML process and I hope that XML-DEV can go some way to reducing this
feeling. The Internet is essentially my only connection with the real-life
XML community. (I occasionally meet people who pass through London where I
live). Like many of you I cannot afford the registration fee to go to Paris
or the other XML meetings and so most of you are 'virtual friends'. But
without the discussion lists we wouldn't have any contact. 

I am an enthusiast, and an idealist for much of the time. The Internet
fuels those and very occasionally something wonderful happens, without
money, without formal organisation. I've occasionally been part of this in
virtual education (e.g. the Globewide Network Academy). Some of what has
happened on this list is similar. But I know that in reality 99% of
progress requires formality and funding. My own view is that the XML
process is a very impressive and laudable activity in creativity and

What I value is that those who *are* part of the main XML community have
given a great deal of their time on this list. I also feel that the views
of individuals have almost always been listened to carefully and
sensitively, in a way that is not very common in most 'standards'
development processes.  Without XML-DEV I and others would be greatly
disadvantaged and I would not like to see it used to  criticise the XML



Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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