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   Re: OASIS and XML-DEV

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 09:57:29 +0100

I have been involved in a number of private mails over the last few days
about XML-DEV - not everything is appropriate for this list. (I and Henry
really *do* care about the future of the list, very passionately, and we
want to help the list take positive steps forward.)

We have been very heartened by the number of constructive suggestions and
*** whatever happens *** we need to take a more expansive view of the future.

To summarise the position at present.

	Many people are seriously unhappy about the present state of the list, to
the extent that they feel it is in danger of collapsing or withering. The
primary *technical* concerns are (a) uptime (b) response time (c) state of

	OASIS are aware of these problems and stated on 2000-04-13 that there
would be improvements in 10 days. That is four days from now. I have
privately communicated my concerns.

	There has been some discussion about the role of OASIS in the community.
No one from OASIS (fulltime or volunteer) other than Laura Walker has
posted anything to this list recently.

It has been suggested that I take a lead in coordinating ways forward. I
think we should give OASIS till 04-23 before making any formal move.
However I suggest we think positively about several suggestions:

	(a) what role can and should OASIS play? I think it is incumbent on them
to give us a vision of what they can do. I am more concerned about the
apparent unconcern from OASIS members than I am about technical issues. I
can conceive of a situation where OASIS play a different role from the one
they do now. 

	(b) What additional features should XML-DEV include. I like the idea of
CVS pages for projects - think we have a critical mass and it would work
very well. 

	(c) are there affordable technical solutions which are preferable to the
current one? Several people have made suggestions and I think they should
be taken seriously. There are clearly servers which provide list-like
support and which cost little/nothing in cash terms.

My view of OASIS has been based on the volunteers within it that I know and
highly respect and the excellent service that it has given through
facilities like Robin Cover's work. I also highly approve of the NIST/OASIS
conformance testing. Therefore when Henry and I were approached 10 months
ago it seemed a worthwhile thing to follow up. I was also approached in XML
Europe 1999 by board members to collaborate on another project.

Since then my view of OASIS has changed - maybe I had an unclear vision or
maybe OASIS actually is different now. I regret to say that I think it is
more bureaucratic and less oriented towards individuals. Personally I feel
a sense of exclusion - it is unrealistic to expect academics to pay USD250
to join an organisation to which they provide voluntary services. I had
hoped to see OASIS have a central role in which individuals can feel welcome.

Since XML-DEV depends completely on the voluntary ethic we must continue to
explore this. If OASIS can help - great. It is up to them to suggest how. I
think there are opportunities for a hybrid solution, but they have to be
responsive. If not, we shall lose our vitality.

I was remarking, sadly, to one correspondent how few academics and students
there are in XML. Most come from the SGML days, and that includes me. This
must be an area in which XML-DEV has something to contribute.


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