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   Re: Democracy and the Future of SAX

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  • From: David Brownell <david-b@pacbell.net>
  • To: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 16:52:16 -0800

David Megginson wrote:
> Miles Sabin <msabin@cromwellmedia.co.uk> writes:
> > [Bosak]
> >
> > > I strongly believe that further work on it should be conducted
> > > in a properly constituted OASIS technical committee ...

If those can include non-member majorities, I couldn't see why not.

> > I'd like to second this.
> We're almost finished SAX2/Java.  If we strike a formal committee for
> SAX at this point, even a small one, then it will take months or years
> before a final version of SAX2 sees the light of day;

Frankly, a solid "Beta2" would be a fine place for you to leave it
if you like, IMHO.  Open Source folk would have no trouble with that.

If some company has customers demanding something "final" well, they
can take that issue as their first community relations issue.  Overdue,
but it needs doing -- likely OASIS could help with such problems.

>	furthermore,
> people outside the committee (that's most of you) will end up with
> effectively no say at all.

There's a signal/noise ratio problem.  SAX signal to XML-DEV noise is
not a favorable ratio.  If SAX continues, it deserves a forum selected
for interest in SAX (and SAX-related) discussions.  If the archive is
open, and there's cross-membership, XML-DEV won't be disenfranchised.

> Right now everyone participates in all of our deliberations, even
> though I end up (nervously) making the final decisions;

As has been said, that's only one of many ways to organize things.
It does guarantee there's always a quorum (you!), but it also means
that your personal schedule is a gating issue.

>	with a
> committee, even a very open one, a handful of people will be present
> for the real deliberations and the rest of XML-Dev'ers will simply
> have to make do blindly submitting proposals beforehand and reading
> abbreviated, cryptic minutes afterwards: it's democratic only to the
> point that the two, or three, or ten committee members get to vote, or
> perhaps to the point that the W3C or OASIS members get to vote, but
> not in the way that most of you might think.

You're reading something specific into the notion, and I'm not sure it
needs to be there. Is there an alternative you'd propose?

Note that most people don't care about any details, so whatever they
are doesn't matter to them.  The problem would be if the process were
closed to the people who _do_ need to know and affect the details.

Nobody's proposed closed processes like that (AFAIK).

> That said, I'm not particularly enjoying this.  I feel a strong
> obligation to the XML community to finish SAX2/Java and SAX2/C++
> simply to provide a foundation for the next generation of XML apps,
> but it's taking a lot of time that I cannot really spare and it's
> bringing me no effective benefit, either in professional exposure or
> in raw ego-boo.

Great time to consider handing things on!  Taper off now, and if
the community helps wrap it up sooner as part of setting up for
what happens after you "finish" ...

> After we finish SAX2, then, I'd like to walk away, somehow.  That
> could involve designating a new maintainer and leaving it on XML-Dev,
> or it could involve handing it over to a committee on OASIS or even
> the W3C (of which I would not be a member in either case).

I like to think that however it's dealt with, there will be a SAX-DEV
mailing list.  Doesn't hugely matter to me who hosts it, but I've
noticed that having active participants help run such a server is an
overall win -- motivation to improve list/community services is there.

> I'm not soliciting opinions yet, because I don't want to distract from
> the SAX2/Java beta discussion (which has been excellent), but it would
> be a good idea for everyone at least to start thinking privately about
> where SAX should go after SAX2/Java and SAX2/C++ are finished.


- Dave

> All the best,
> David
> --
> David Megginson                 david@megginson.com
>            http://www.megginson.com/

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