OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   Re: Open Standards Processes

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]
  • From: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 19:27:07 -0400

Does anyone have a theory as to why some standards still "work" in the
IETF process? 

Some ramblings:

I think that big companies will work in an open environment when they are
forced to. If the W3C hasn't got the staff to take on a particular task,
then the IETF continues to do it and the big companies grit their teeth
and "play ball."

If I'm right on that (and I don't know if I am), then if the W3C did NOT
exist, then vendors (who must wrap themselves in open standards) might be
forced to play ball in open organizations. Or they might create a W3C-like
consortium themselves. I'm not sure if Netscape and Microsoft would
actually get together and do anything without TimBLs lead. Perhaps
Netscape and allies *vs.* Microsoft. But then Microsoft could wrap
themselves in the open standards banner by aligning with the truly open

I think that open processes do not necessarily have to use the IETF model:
"everyone is equal, everyone yells, nobody gets their way". Rather, an
open standards process could be organized as we organize governments:
hierarchically and representatively. In other words, an IETF-like
organization could set up tightly organized, bueraucractic, working groups
just as the W3C does. (although I doubt that the IETF themselves would do
that...) Big corporations could muscle their way into the "inner circle"
by having employees vote (as they should!), but there could be an upper
bound per big company (or even quotas set aside for various groups: small
companies, users, etc.).

It was not openness that made HTML impossible to standardize within the
IETF. It was a poorly designed/defined standardization process. The reason
SAX worked was because there was a benevolent dicator, an "inner circle"
of implementors and deadlines. In other words, there was hierarchy and

It might be interesting to see what would happen if a completely open
organization were to submit a spec. to the W3C (i.e. SAX). Then we might
have the best of both worlds. TimBL's blessing would encourage vendors to
implement it, but the process would be open.

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

"Perpetually obsolescing and thus losing all data and programs every 10
years (the current pattern) is no way to run an information economy or
a civilization." - Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo@ic.ac.uk the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo@ic.ac.uk the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa@ic.ac.uk)


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS