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RE: breaking up?
- From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: Guy Murphy <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001 12:02:20 -0500
From: Guy Murphy [mailto:email@example.com]
>I learnt the value of standards, and the cost in the absense of their
Good. Can you tell the difference between a standard and a specification?
Does that matter? Do you need that to matter?
>Actually you said more than just that, implying that to follow standards
>pandering to the need to belong, and that to set standards was pandering to
>the need to dominate.... however...
No. I say these are very strong instincts. Is there a level of evolution
beyond being instinctual mammals?
>The W3C represents a collective of companies, or a cartel.... perhaps not
>the most representative of collectives.
It is an organization with processes, rules, products, etc.
>ISO represents a collective of governments, regardless of varying degrees
>democratic representation among said governments it should be remembered,
>but even assuming wide degrees of democracy among ISOs cartel....
Actually, it is a private organization too, a legal entity if you will,
whose members are nations represented by their national bodies whose
members are chosen by the companies and other organizations (legal
entities if you will) that vote.
>I personally feel as a Web developer I have more chance of exerting
>upon the W3C than I do upon ISO, I certainly stand more chance of exerting
>preasure upon the market forces that weigh upon W3Cs members... as was seen
>through IE and NS.
That varies by entity. There were other HTML browser companies then
that felt the same way and also vanished in the emergence.
Understand that the web designers were victims of their own making.
>NN4 use of the LAYER tag was nothing of my making. Nor was NN4 JSSS, which
>was NS quite simply believing that it had enough weight to ride rough-shod
>over the top of the W3C, a position that NS had been used to
>they got caught that time round on a down turn that they didn't foresee.
They had a decent little browser in NN3. I kept on using it until Win95
went the way of the dodo. But I consider the NN and IE developers to
be web developers. They both embraced and extended and one is almost
extinct. How they did that was something one can study but appeared
to me to be the market doing as it will with unregulated product
Once they screamed for things to be fixed, kill all the lawyers, down with
ISO, up with the W3C, we be fast you be slow, and so forth,
>Well, that might have had something to do with the ISO not implimenting
>the vendors wanted to impliment.
ISO doesn't implement. Vendors did implement SGML browsers and they worked
nicely, were seriously more advanced than Mosaic, etc. What they didn't
do was put Internet engines under them, develop a sharable protocol, and
give away product. Again, bad tactics since all three of these were
and in one case, IADS, the product was given away. What the Army would not
do was release the source code and that was the WWW community norm at the
time. Timing is everything. But the politics of the SGML companies also
got in their way. That is a fact.
>Think on that again.... bunch of political bodies mandate standardisation
>and then turn to a bunch of private companies with an expectant look "well
>go on then impliment it".
Your facts are wrong. First, ISO bodies are made up almost entirely of
company representatives. They are not politicians although like most
bodies, people have those talents. Two, some ISO standards are created
from private company de facto standards. Others aren't. Just like the
W3C, it varies from committee to committee. The real difference between
then and now is the Internet itself. When SGML, DSSSL, HyTime, and the
rest of the there were created, bodies didn't make use of web pages and
mail lists to coordinate and exchange information. It was a process
driven by very exacting documentation processes. ISO handles a very
much larger scope of applications as well. They aren't a political
body per se. They are documentation managers. :-)
>The private companies decided to simply ignore the political bodies, and
>together themselves with the purpose to deciding what they wanted to
>impliment... although yes, it took a while for them to see why it might be
>worth their while sticking to what they agreed.
Actually, they have never stuck to it. They never will. All the hollering
in the world won't make them. The law can and has.
>To argue the merit of the ISO within this domain is to argue the merit of
>political institutions dictating to private companies what they should be
>implimenting... short of turning this into a dictate of substance its
>not a good fit.
I am not necessarily arguing for ISO. Your views about that organization
are misinformed, but that is the general symptom of what the web has
been about. That will change. I am asking what you expect of these
in light of what can reasonably be achieved.
>I am all in favour of collective ownership... in a big way...
That is unreasonable. Ownership implies property and as John Cowan
has elegantly explained, there isn't any except the patents and
copyrights. At the end, you still have to turn to your elected
and yes, political legal entities for remedy.
>with interest the production of XUL by the open source community. My hope
>would be as disperate diverse groups become better practiced at organising
>themselves that ad hoc comitees might become more viable for standards
>production in the future, but to date they have been somewhat hit and
>miss.... and yes I know there are some notable successes.
Anyone can write a document and call it a standard. Anyone can write
code and release it. None of that has changed nor will it. The kinds
of community open ownership systems you are asking for have failed again
and again historically. See Ayn Rand for the reasons.
>This issue isn't complex. NS4 lost because in comparison to IE4+ it sucked,
>pure and simple. The better product won...
Yes, but that product existed in an environment of other products. Had
NS not challenged the operating system hegemony, they could have developed
for a long and profitable time. They chose their battles badly. Kids.
>Again I agree with you to a point, but you are (perhaps deliberately for
>rhetorical reasons) ignoring the role that cooperation and symbiosis place
>withing evolutionary processes.
Always best to hunt bigger game in groups. It was a major advantage
for any species that made that adaptation.
>I agree, and my hope is that the W3C retains focus upon what is reasonably
>its domain of concern, and what is best handled by others.
I hope they stick to specifications and technology incubation. They
will last longer and you can influence that.
>At the end of the day most mortals, such as myself, when we engage with the
>rest of the populace have to choose under which tyrany we'll operate....
>sure there's a book in there somewhere "How to Live With Tyrany".
That isn't necessary. The evolution away from consortia and towards
regulation of public utilities is a clear, probable and neccessary
Contract law drives the convergence of reliable services. The
Internet is becoming a set of publically available, costable,
and regulatible services. That will force the citation of
standards in real law enforced by real remedies.
That is where we are going. Consider the time from 1993 to now
an extended version of Haight Ashbury. It was fun while it lasted,
but after the kids move on, well-to-do couples and other legal
entities take over, restore the housing, and take dollars from
tourists while directing them to the old Jefferson Airplane
mansion, no longer painted black, but with a peace sticker
still stuck on the window in Gracie's room.
And we will call that progress.