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   RE: [xml-dev] strange feeling

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From: Arjun Ray [mailto:aray@nyct.net]

"Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com> wrote:

| That's a little unfair, Arjun.  We signed on to a W3C effort. 

>only because after Nov 96 it suddenly dawned on them that a bunch of SGML
>heads had actually managed to produce something useful.  

Fair enough.  I didn't pay much attention to the W3C politics.  The 
working group politics were scary enough.  The community schisms were 
already horrific.  I credit Jon with a lot of patience, but I credit 
Microsoft's taking it seriously with really putting the nitro into 
the gasoline.  Those who already understood that it would be a 
battle to the death between Microsoft and Netscape, then read those 
incredibly simple-minded pronouncements from Andreesen et al realized 
that XML would be MS's simple and sure strategy for sinking NS.  All 
they needed was a six month head start and Netscape ceded them that.

| It did get the bit between it's teeth, but no one had to shanghai it. 

>I reckon May 97 as when XML got taken over by agendas.  Remember the
>SD1-SD5 "proposals"?

I don't.  I was changing jobs about then and just starting to get 
caught in the grips of insulin-dependence.  Also, for a good deal 
of that time, I was focused on VRML work (some of the most fun I 
ever had with a computer).  There were whole periods when I couldn't 
read the WG list.  Can't say I contributed anything of value.

| All in all, I am not displeased with the results.  I do think we are 
| now a long ways past that initial slimming down of the syntax spec (the 
| easy part, really),

>Anyone who thinks XML syntax is pretty good hasn't run up on the rocks yet.

Ok.  You are way more advanced than me on that topic.

| The big problem was the W3C going from specs to standards making, thus 
| projecting a perception that things mostly proposed were really done and 
| to be accepted as fiat. 

>And conversely, political fiat papered over with "technical" reasons.  See

True but also the game as played.  I don't say it is right but it is 
awfully common.  That is a reason for XML-Dev's oft noted resistance 
to authority.

>And, remember Eliot's "standardize responsibly" rant?

I don't but he wasn't the first or last to come to that conclusion. 
Charles is notoriously big on the "conserve nouns" metric.  In 
some ways, that is the small scale solution to the bigger problem. 
What is Eliot doing these days?

| But a day in the library is still worth a month in the lab.

>Too bad some libraries aren't open to the public.

Yeah.  To me, that will always be the not-so-secret shame of 
XML:  handing over the commons of markup to the private interests 
of the W3C.   We didn't get all those books, software, 
and specs without a price.  They weren't free.  We traded 
them the first-born, and they sent it straight to a boarding school. :-)



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