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   Re: Open Standards Processes

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  • From: Lisa Rein <lisarein@finetuning.com>
  • To: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 01:04:16 -0700

They can pay their money and get to say they're in the club, ok fine.

But the XML Working Group is pretty full.  And I'd hate to see it fill
up and get bogged down.  I wouldn't want people to think all you have to
do it join and -- pick your working group.

Also I really don't feel like XML was held up.  On the contrary...looks
like Namespaces got rushed...

and what about people like Henry Thompson and James Clark (insert the
people I should put here) -- they played an enormous part in XML's
development (and the did it for peanuts :-)

And what about many of the W3C employees -- they don't profit from
software sales - I'm not gonna name names -- but some of these people
--  they're working 80 hours a week  -- and it's not the most glamourous
work they're doing.  But there's a sense of commitment to this Web
interoperability thing -- a genuine responsibility to finish what was
started and make sure it gets done right -- and even if no one
appreciates ....now....

$500 memberships are just going to cloud the issues.

And as far as most of the press goes.  Most of them don't read the specs
NOW....even AFTER they're done...so I wouldn't want to see a $500 W3C
site-access membership just get written in to CNETs budget every year or
anything like that! (shudder)

Let's get back to more intersting....and beautiful...and magical


architectural forms...:-)


len bullard wrote:
> Tim Bray wrote:
> >
> > 1. The supposition that the XML process was in any material way less
> > open than the SGML process is simply wrong.
> I disagree.  Compare the selection rules for membership in working
> groups.  Who chooses the members of the working group for XML?
> > XML was aggressive about
> > seeking out invited experts to serve on the SIG mailing list, which
> > had very substantial influence on the shape of the spec.
> Yes.
> > In particular,
> > compare, in the XML process versus any other, the number of people and
> > organizations who were actively on top of the spec, really understood the
> > issues, and provided serious input.  On that basis, XML's input head count
> > is exceeded only by a few of the bigger IETF efforts.
> This is true.  The SIG is well staffed.  The best SGML experts
> in the business are there.
> Point of history:  When SGML was originally created, there was
> little use of the Internet for list activity of the kind that
> is now possible.  That meant travel and financial support for
> standards efforts that only companies could afford.  So, from
> that perspective, I concede.  As one who encourages lists, I
> do so because I have seen the inherent limitations of airlines
> and hotels as the medium of communication for this work.
> > 2. The supposition that the HTML standardization process can be said,
> > in any meaningful sense, to have worked, is simply wrong.  Anybody who
> > says this obviously has not tried to implement code that processes
> > what the marketplace perceives to be HTML.
> Point of difference:  the HTML process produced a technology, not a
> standard.  But to be more truthful, the Mosaic group implemented a
> technology being argued about by a large list.  Considering the
> average age on that list and the lack of practice, I'm sure it
> was raucous.
> BTW:  I was part of the team of Lockheed Martin that did
> implement an SGML and an HTML browser.  I am aware of the
> design's limitations.
> So, yes, it wasn't perfect technology.  Considering the
> results (The Web), that didn't matter.  When the issue of
> choosing a text design for VRML was discussed, some thought
> that ONLY HTML should be the basis for that.  Some still do.
> > This is defined not by any spec,
> > but by a basis of functionality that was in Netscape 2, and an unholy mess
> > of accretions, with only two companies really allowed to play.
> Not true.  Several companies played.  The W3C source was implemented
> several times.  However, Netscape moved fastest and had the freshest,
> and for that design, most experienced team.  So, they extended
> HTML quickly and cleverly.  Extending an SGML application by
> adding to the DTD is the way its done.  To the lasting chagrin
> of the originators of HTML, they insisted on making a standard
> of it rather than defining it as a tool, which is what it really is.
> > I think a
> > standard should be something that should serve as the basis for
> > implementation.  XML is.  HTML isn't.
> HTML is a DTD.  Implementing a DTD IS what you do with it: SGML
> application.
> XML is syntax unification.  I absolutely agree that this should be a
> standard.  But it isn't.  It's the property of a consortium, to
> paraphrase, "big companies that won't play unless they get their way"
> and that includes insuring a one year lead time on development.
> That is anti-competitive as it gets.  Say what you want about
> the SGML process, Charles Goldfarb is a stickler for insuring
> that this does not happen:  ISO rules backed by a man of
> incomparable commitment to the letter and spirit of the law.
> Point conceded:  W3C makes the rules for W3C processes.  The
> chair and all official members must abide by those rules.
> It is the rules I question.  Given ISO rules, the XML processes
> would be different.
> > 3. It *is* the case that the W3C process is, by default, less open
> > than some others, in particular IETF.  The hypothesis is that in
> > web-space, where there are lots of $N*10^7 bets on the table and
> > attack-trained marketing groups behind every bush, there are going to
> > have to be some closed doors to get anything useful done.
> That is demeaning FUD.  I doubt there are professionals on this list
> that
> cannot be handled by the other professionals.  Offlist is another issue.
> > 4.... Such memberships wouldn't
> > be free, a cost of perhaps $500 or so would bring it well within the bounds
> > of a book-publishing budget while discouraging frivolity.
> Umm.  Why discourage it?  It seems odd to me that the right to
> information which determines the direction of technology and
> technical markets should be sold as if it were a poker ante.
> Don't sell cheaper indulgences.  The W3C should change its rules.
> > And once again, I regret that the XML process has failed to meet
> > Len Bullard's exquisitely high standards.
> Well, by any standards, your reply, Tim, is very civil.
> I respect that and thank you for it.
> len
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