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RE: [xml-dev] W3C Rants (was: RE: W3C as Golden Goose ...)

Precisely.  And now that resources may become less 
profligate (After The Gold Rush - Neil Young) and we 
are back to farming and cattle rustling .... err .. 
ranching, we have to pick and choose projects more 
carefully.  RAND is a way to keep the research that 
corporations sponsor available as a source because 
corporations are going back to the old way of closing up 
and keeping anything patentable to themselves as 
long as possible.  That makes weak disclosure 
requirements very weak.  

The W3C is between a rock and a hard place, 
but they put themselves there by submitting to the will of  
corporations to close up processes precisely 
because of the market advantage of doing so.  When 
the W3C founders submitted to that, they were 
effectively captured.  Some such as the XML Protocol 
WG understand that and it will be interesting to 
see if they can succeed in that environment under 
the rules they have set for themselves.  

I hope they do.  Running code and all that but 
don't expect the network effect to come to the 
rescue.  The web was a fast blip, but its range 
is known now and so is its path.  It isn't that 
hard to stay ahead of it.  Nice doggie but where 
is that rock...

As for the Pentagon, etc., yes, I do expect 
them to keep on making sure these things are 
*invented*.  DARPA is always there and that is 
what they do.  A very large percentage of the
success some want to claim for the W3C starts 
there not at CERN.  We don't like to think about that 
or some think it distasteful.  It is actually 
remarkably effective and the wise understand 
the relationship and use it to ensure technology 
serves many needs, not just the Pentagon.

A more open development of application language 
standards is going on in OASIS and that is likely 
to be an area of more focus because it is by 
nature, share or lose.  Markup has that effect 
and resistance to markup in many organizations, 
particularly their marketing groups, is strong 
because it does not enable domination as easily 
as an OCX does.  But it is an irresistable force 
and for that, yes we can credit XML for making 
it a slamdunk (call the DOM anything, but it 
is a primary key to that success and so are 

Yes this is XML-Dev.  Do people understand this 
is an OASIS list, not a W3C sponsored list?  Do 
people know the fundamental differences in the 
philosophies of those who created OASIS and those 
who created the W3C?  The differences are profound.

Should all these groups work together?  Well, heck yes. 
And RAND is part of how they will do that.  Make sure 
it works.


-----Original Message-----
From: Champion, Mike [mailto:Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com]

Uhh, a case could be made that XML *is* the best practices
evolved from 10 years' experience with SGML.  The original
XML WG did a lot more than "put a stamp on it," but I'm sure
this was true of the ISO technical committees that standardized
screw thread specifications as well.

> To recall, the whole idea behind the W3C is exactly
> to have the industry come together and share their
> collective experiences and requirements from the
> markets and then develop something universal based on 
> that. Worked pretty well so far, I'd say.

I have a somewhat less romantic view of the origin of the W3C.  My
impression is that the the Web technology vendors were caught between a rock
 -- the ISO's national-level, extremely slow-moving standardization process
and a hard place -- the IETF's individual-level organized anarchy.  They
needed something that operated at the vendor level, could quickly produce
common Recommendations on how they could overcome the practical problems of
the day, and basically to exploit the network effect so that everyone could
profit rather rather continuing a lose-lose situation of fighting over which
sites supported which proprietary tags. This collaboration made a world a
better place, but let's not pretend that the W3C membership are a bunch of
John Lennon clones sitting around in their hippie beads trying to Imagine
living life in peace! 

The collaborative standardization of web technology worked very well for a
few years, when the "internet revolution" was providing the rising tide that
floated all boats, and while the intellectual capital of the academic -
government - scientific internet collaboration was laying on the ground
waiting to be harvested.  The W3C process has bogged down very seriously in
the last couple of years because of IP concerns, because the ".bomb" made
the people who can actually do standards work effectively badly needed for
more lucrative work (or they just plain burned out), and because the
technology is getting into terra incognita. XML, XSLT, XPath and HTML were
"laying around waiting to be harvested" from seeds sown by SGML, DSSSL,
filesystems/string matching, and various SGML document DTDs.  Technologies
for typing, inheriting, querying, rendering, linking, adding semantics to
syntax, etc. have to be grown from seed (or hybridized from lots of diverse
sources) and it's an open question whether the W3C process will work for