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Re: Web Philosophy

One final word on this debate.

I think there are three reasons the "W3C openness" debate keeps coming

* First (and I think foremost) is that it is often difficult or
impossible to tell why a spec is written the way it is without knowing
the motivations behind it. This is sometimes a case of a very useful
specific feature being generalized beyond easy recognition and other
times being a difficult choice being made for reasons of political or
technical compromise. Since this information isn't publicly available,
some of us spend enormous amounts of time trying to reach the same
conclusions the WG has already reached.

In my case, count a month and a half of full time work for the
namespaces FAQ and the namespaces article I published on XML.com, and
several weeks for the article on mapping XML schemas to object schemas.
Having done a lot of research on my own and then rereading the specs, I
am reasonably confident that most of what I have published is available
in the heads of the WG members and a good portion of it on various
mailing lists.

This is not to say that I necessarily believe internal mailing lists
should be opened for public viewing. My honest guess is that for every
person like me who is simply trying to understand what is going on,
there is another person (also like me), who will reopen arguments and
delay the spec. It is anybody's guess where to draw the line. Things
like Tim Bray's annotated XML spec help a *lot* in this regard.

* Second is that some people would like to expose the inner politics of
WGs -- Microsoft is pushing this agenda, Netscape is pushing that
agenda. Personally, I don't have many problems with politics. I think
for all the damage large corporations do to the "purity" of specs, they
do an equal amount of good. After all, corporate agendas are a way of
pushing what the corporation thinks will sell, so to some extent they
are a proxy for the customer. Think of it this way. We wouldn't have the
Web we have today if it weren't for MS and Netscape. Then again, we
wouldn't have the Web we have today if it weren't for MS and Netscape ;)

* Third is human emotion. People are jealous at being excluded or just
want to be in on the gossip.

I'll shut up now.

-- Ron