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   J'accuse (was re: opposition to ISO XML?)

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 19:25:26 -0500 (EST)

Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > I'm just curious, for the most part, but is there any reason that
 > submitting XML to ISO in some form would generate opposition?  Tim
 > Bray asked if people _wanted_ to submit XML to ISO, which didn't
 > get very much support, but I wonder if there would be opposition to
 > such a move.

There are three alternatives:

(a) ISO takes over control of the spec from the W3C, so that it's
stable but difficult to change and buried in bureaucracy;

(b) the W3C continues to control the spec (with an ISO rubber-stamp),
so that it's easy to change unstable and subject to the W3C director's
whims; or

(c) ISO and the W3C maintain different, competing versions of XML.

I think that (a) would be problematic and (c) would be disasterous
(what would XML-conformance mean?), while (b) -- which most people
seem to be suggesting -- would be simply dishonest (somewhat akin to
companies submitting proprietary specs as W3C NOTEs to trick customers
into thinking they're Web standards).

I don't doubt that we would be able to use an ISO rubber-stamp to
trick dim-witted government procurement departments into approving XML
for internal use, but they won't really be getting what they expect
from an International Standard -- something that has been developed
deliberately and (painfully) slowly by a team of international
representatives and is guaranteed to be very stable.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com


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