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   Re: XML-DEVIL Proposal - was Open Standards Processes

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  • From: Jon.Bosak@eng.Sun.COM (Jon Bosak)
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 19:49:20 -0700

[Don Park:]

| If I understand the requirements correctly, all types of organizations
| are allowed to be a member of W3C.  It includes commercial,
| educational, government agencies.  Nothing indicates that it excludes
| industry association.  Having to become an employee of XML-Devil
| Inc. seems like a subversion and I do not feel right doing that.  I
| would like to be able to do this without having to sell myself out.

Sorry, I wasn't being terribly careful about my wording.  All I meant
was that participation in W3C entails a contract of confidentiality
that is legally propagated somehow down to the members of the
organization.  I'm not a lawyer and I don't know exactly how this
works in detail for non-profits, etc.  All I can tell you from
experience is that (a) somebody at the top of the member organization
is somehow going to end up being legally responsible for the
activities of the people making up the organization, (b) someone at
the top therefore has to keep an eye on those people to make sure that
they don't do something wrong, and (c) one of the effects of the need
to maintain confidentiality is that you can't comment in public forums
on anything that happens to be under discussion in any of the multiple
W3C activities that you *might* know about (i.e., all of them).

Please understand that I'm not arguing against your idea, which has
occurred to others before you and undeniably has a certain amount of
charm.  I'm just trying to tell you from personal experience that
maintaining the confidentiality requirement is an enormous pain in the
ass and will most definitely crimp your style.

| I was not planning to have open public discussions, XML-Devils will
| have our own closed mailing list where we will discuss the issues and
| submit comments and proposals to W3C.  Anyone breaking the
| confidentiality agreement will lose the membership.  One of us will be
| elected to represent us in the W3C Advisory Committee.

Right.  And one of the things I was trying to say more subtly before
but apparently need to be more direct about is that you are imagining
a group of potential competitors (rather than the employees of a
single corporation) deciding which *one* of them is going to represent
the group to the W3C Director.  What fun you'll have with that part!
And what a wonderful time you'll have specifying in detail the
procedures you will follow to determine what position that one person
represents on each issue!  Not to mention the procedures for deciding
who gets to be on which working group...

| What we, the independent XML developers, offer could be what W3C needs
| to remain truely vendor-neutral.  Netscape, JavaSoft, and others can
| probably balance Microsoft within W3C but there is currently nothing
| except good judgement to balance the needs of large corporations and
| small developers.  I do not like being dependent on other people's
| judgement.  I do not want to be a bystander while big boys play
| politics on the supposedly level ground.

I completely understand and sympathize with this view.  All I'm trying
to say is that I believe you can accomplish more with less effort by
utilizing an existing corporate infrastructure (including web site,
mailing lists, board of directors, marketing staff, industry contacts,
conference schedule, and the rest of the apparatus that you will
eventually need) that is capable right now of serving exactly the
function that you describe.

| Meanwhile, I will take a look at what OASIS offers as you suggested.

You should talk to the Executive Director, Robin Tomlin:



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