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   XML-dev futures discussion

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  • To: XML Dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: XML-dev futures discussion
  • From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 22:49:03 -0800
  • User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.3) Gecko/20030312

I'm going to send two emails.  This one is going to lay out the options 
in as an unbiased a form as I can manage, and I'll follow up with an 
opinionated one, albeit (yawn) maybe not this evening.

If Mike Fitzgerald wants to set up a five-way voting booth, that's fine, 
but there are all sorts of problems with vote-tracking-by-IP and frankly 
I personally will pay more attention to who says what here in a posting 
to the list.

Process: what I propose to do is to watch the traffic for a few days, 
then canvass the opinion of a few of the most active users of the list; 
stats on this are available.  If there's rough consensus among these 
activists and a clearly-perceptible majority trend of all the people 
posting on the subject, and they agree, then it's easy.  Otherwise the 
default action I suspect is to do nothing.

- Please reply to this message, cutting out as much as possible of it to 
save bandwidth and brain cells.
- Leave the subject line alone to make this easy to follow.
- If you just want to support one or two of the options below, 
identifying them by the provided labels, and say no more, that's fine.
- if you want to expand at length that's fine but please try to get the 
meat of your comment in the first couple of screens-full.

There are two issues we need to discuss here.

A. Move the list, yes or no?  I think reasonable opinions are

A.1 I'm against moving it anywhere
A.2 Yes, please move it
A.3 I don't care, I'll go with the majority
A.4 My opinion depends on where it might go

B. If moving the list, where?

These are listed in the chronological order I became aware of them.

B.1 Move xml-dev to ibiblio.org
B.2 Move xml-dev to Betty Harvey's ISP
B.3 Move xml-dev to the W3C
B.4 Move xml-dev to DISA

Supporting Documentation Starts Here

A. Leave xml-dev at xml.org under the auspices of Oasis?

I excerpt from the recent statement of Patrick Gannon, Oasis CEO:

For the past few months, however, our limited IT resources have been
stretched with the priority of introducing a new online OASIS Member
Collaboration system. This has prevented us from monitoring the XML-DEV
list as closely as we might otherwise be doing.  Although we are still
in the midst of that launch, we recognize the need to respond to your
issues, and we are currently evaluating the feasibility of hiring an
additional IT resource to better support XML-DEV. Funding for this
resource will be provided by the sponsors of XML.org, host of the
XML-DEV list.

OASIS hosts XML-DEV because we recognize how important this forum is to
the developer community. We are committed to providing professional
support for XML-DEV and for all OASIS, XML.org, UDDI, PKI, and ebXML
mailing lists.

The issues you have identified will be researched, and we will notify
you of the steps we've taken to resolve them.


B.1 Move xml-dev to ibiblio.org

This was suggested by Jonathan Robie, and I asked him to provide a few 
words about his experiences there.  Here's Jonathan:

Home to one of the largest "collections of collections" on the Internet, 
ibiblio.org is a conservancy of freely available information, including 
software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and 
cultural studies. ibiblio.org is a collaboration of the 
<http://centerforthepublicdomain.org/>Center for the Public Domain and 
The <http://www.unc.edu>University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. I 
have hosted several mailing lists on ibiblio.org since about 1997, and 
have found the staff extremely helpful and friendly. For the lists I 
own, I have established a staff mailing list, appointed chairs (I prefer 
three chairs for a list that is relatively active), and shared the 
day-to-day administration. The mailing lists run using Mailman, which is 
easy to administer and seems quite reliable. When I have had problems I 
could not solve, their staff has helped me promptly. Here's an example 
of the archives generated by Mailman: 
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/. Mailman has extremely 
flexible administration options, and is written in python if we decide 
we want to customize the software or contribute to it.

I think that ibiblio.org would give us a host that is reliable, allow us 
to appoint our own staff to administer the list, and be independent of 
any vested interest in the geopolitics of XML.


B.2 Move xml-dev to Betty Harvey's ISP

Betty Harvey is an IT consultant who's been active in the SGML world 
since before I was, and has a busy XML practice, and has had a 
small-scale ISP for years.  She writes:

	If you are looking for a spot, we can host it.  Right
now I only have Mailman running and that suits my purposes,
however, I think Mojodomo would be a good idea to install.

	I don't have time to devote full-time to it but with enough
'knowledgable' volunteers I think a really nice list service
could be provided.  These are the resources I have:

Full T1 connection
Linux Operating System
Mailman listserve (currently)
Mojodomo (when installed)
SSH login capability
Web connectivity
Cocoon installed

(anything else you can think of).  I can give anyone who
volunteers to manage the listserve the remote access.


B.3 Move xml-dev to the W3C

I suspect most of us have experience with w3c lists.  XML-dev would not 
be the largest or most active list in the w3c domain.  In my personal 
experience the lists seem almost always accessible, the archives usable 
and almost always there, and I've never seen editorial interference. 
Henry Thomson writes:

The W3C is prepared to host xml-dev as a public, unmoderated,
archived, list.  W3C public mailing lists operate an auto-white-list
spam filter, which requires a reply to your first posting to the list.
This reply also includes your acknowledgement that postings to the
list will be publicly archived.


B.4 Move xml-dev to DISA

Marcel Jemio wrote me:

I would like for the Data Interchange Standards Association to be 
considered as the provider of these services (ref: www.disa.org).  We 
are a not-for-profit, politically-neutral, technically-neutral standards 
body.  By our client list, it will be evident that we provide listserve 
services for many users and have not suffered the problems as listed in 
your blog and/or in the subsequent emails about the current provider.

Will you be providing a document that states "nice-to-have's" or is 
there something more structured that you had in mind?  Not knowing the 
other providers (other than Henry at W3C), will the list of candidates 
be distributed to group for all to decide or is something like this to 
be decided upon by a representative few?


Since I have no experience with DISA, I asked for some independent 
information about the quality of service and so on.  A person named Greg 
Alvord wrote as follows:


We use the DISA lists for a number of MISMO (Mortgage Industry Standards 
Maintenance Organization).  I also use a number of other OASIS lists and 
lists hosted by private concerns.

I know DISA has put in a number of recent improvements recently. I like 
the way the DISA lists have preformed since those upgrades.

I have not experienced as many recent problems on OASIS based lists as 
it appears others in XML_DEV have.

Be careful Marcel, form a recent posting this group will whip out three 
year old problems to beat you up with if they decide to turn on you 
<grin>. I am not sure I would want to put myself in a position to 
receive the quantity and quality of scorn this group seems to generate.

I suspect this list generates a ton of traffic. I do not know how big 
the membership list is, but I can see that this list might be a real 
challenge to host.  Some unreasonable expectations, a lot of visibility, 
and some people that just go off on the least little thing.

Moving it to DISA would be fine with me, as long at it does not drag 
down the other lists there.


and Marcel Jemio followed up again:


Wise words, as usual...  To let you both know, DISA is prepared to 
provide a monitor at some usability percentage for this listserve as well...

Tim, to let you know we are preparing for a worst case scenario of 1000 
users, 100MB archive listserve (can contain more), 200 daily email 
throughput, controlled admin/supervisor access, volunteer management 
support.  Tim when you verify with OASIS what metrics are, will you 
notify candidates at soonest availability...  thank you.


That's all.
Cheers, Tim Bray
         (ongoing fragmented essay: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/)


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