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   OASIS and XML-DEV [was RE: May a thousand XML-DEV's bloom - NOT!]

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 23:06:31 +0100

At 04:27 PM 4/14/00 -0700, Don Park wrote:
>I have to agree with Don Box here.  We do not want to
>replace XML-DEV with 5-10 different lists.  Mailing lists
>like SML-DEV are harmless because they represent the side
>streets while XML-DEV represents the town square.  If we
>are to move XML-DEV again, I think we must do two things
>to ensure its survival:
>1. It must be the last move.

Henry and I would agree on this. Every move involves frictional loss.

>This translates to using XML-DEV specific domain name.
>Both xml-dev.org (by Andrew Layman) and xmldev.org are
>taken (most likely reserved to protect XML-DEV).
>2. Peter must lead the move.
>To prevent the patient from dying during the trip, we
>need Peter to act as the Pied Piper.

Peter has just got back from a week away, having strenuously resisted the
temptation to log in to anything. I have not gone through the e-mail and am
reading it backwards.

Clearly there are technical (and possibly other problems) - I don't know
the basis of all these but shall be as open as possible.

I have publicly stated the reasons why Henry and I agreed
(enthusiastically) in 1999-06  to see the list move to be hosted by OASIS.
We were asked by someone that I greatly respect, who sees OASIS as a key
institution for the future. I also believe in the idea of non-aligned,
non-profit, organisations in an age where trust, reliability and
accountability are going to be of very high value.

The transfer naturally involved some sacrifice, because it was something we
had nurtured and which, like a child leaving home, involves uncertainties.
We felt that donating its home to OASIS would (a) give a longer term
stability and (b) help to add public support to the OASIS ideal.

We need OASIS. I and Henry hope to strengthen the use and acceptance of CML
by registering it with OASIS - for non-commercial DTDs which are to be
widely re-used an organisation like OASIS seems highly desirable.

So it is clearly very painful when the list runs into problems and when
some of the members have clearly lost a great deal of confidence.

I know no more about OASIS organisation and commitment than has already
been posted on this list, but here are my immediate comments:

(a) it takes time, effort and experience to run a mailing list. It is not
something that OASIS has been accustomed to doing and I suspect it has
caused more problems than were anticipated. I have no doubt that *given
commitment* and especially with the suggestions from members of this list
that OASIS are capable of rectifying the situation. Running a list is not
trivial, but it is not rocket science, either. It does require a
considerable amount of time on occasions. Henry used to invest at least an

(b) OASIS have many activities and have to prioritise them. XML-DEV is an
extremely public activity and I would expect that OASIS cannot afford not
to give it high priority. They need to be able to show technical competence
in a number of areas if they are to achieve their stated goals and to
gather a critical mass of members.

(c) Many of the people involved in OASIS give their time (or their
employers give it). There is a limit to what can be done with voluntary
work. I expect that OASIS are involved in continuing to restructure their


Several people/companies have made offers of hosting the list, and I
greatly appreciate these.  *** I think the commercial members of the XML
community have made outstanding contributions to XML and deserve public
credit. I also believe that many of them would run lists and other public
services for the benefit of the community - good motives and good business.

I stated that I had already received such offers as early as 1998, and
declined those which were based on for-profit orgs.  This is not an
absolute position. At present I think it easier to defend "freedom" on a
list if it is run in the present manner. 

At present we have the following suggestions and ideas:

(i) accept that OASIS is serious about investing time, money and effort in
the list.

(ii) accept one of the other offers.

(iii) possibly look for a hybrid of (i) and (ii)

(iv) use established newsgroup technology

(v) build (and seek funds for) an org which just runs XML-DEV.

I would clearly like to continue with (a). We agree that *if* OASIS can run
the list technically, then it is an appropriate place to do it. Essentially
the viability of (a) depends on OASIS retaining the trust of the community.
At present they still have mine.

>Even if OASIS comes through, I think we should go ahead
>with #1 so the subscribers can slowly migrate over to
>an address independent of the hosting organization.

Assuming OASIS comes through, I don't see a need for a separate address...


>Don Park    -   mailto:donpark@docuverse.com
>Docuverse   -   http://www.docuverse.com

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