Open Standards Processes

Matthew Gertner matthew at
Fri Apr 24 17:40:33 BST 1998


Your argument is convincing, but doesn't explain why open access is not
given to works-in-progress for consultation by interested parties (i.e.
read-only access). I appreciate the need of the W3C to avoid involving too
many chefs in cooking up its standards, for exactly the reasons you mention.
I also appreciate the need of the organization to finance its activities.
However, the pricing scheme is pretty unfair. A company with $49 million in
revenue can join as an affiliate member for about 0.01% of revenues (and the
fee for full membership is pretty insignificant for the Microsofts and IBMs
of the world), whereas for, say, a small Web startup in Prague the affiliate
membership fee represents a few month's salary for the average programmer
(life is cheap out here...).

Anyone interested in setting up a corporation whose only purpose is to join
the W3C and "hire" interested individuals for a reasonable fee? (evil :-).


-----Original Message-----
From: Simon St.Laurent <SimonStL at>
To: xml-dev at <xml-dev at>
Date: Friday, April 24, 1998 3:26 PM
Subject: RE: Open Standards Processes (WAS Re: Nesting XML based languages
and scripting languages)

>Len Bullard suggested:
>>o  All drafts posted to the web at all times.  Anyone can
>>   read and anyone can contribute.  Only a few people edit
>>   and ISO makes the rules for these people, not the consortia.
>>   Ensures openness and "a level playing field".
>Frank Boumphrey added:
>>What about us poor authors!! We have to write "knowledgeably" about a
>>subject that doesn't even exist. Our books usually appear at about the
>>time as a spec which invalidates every thing we have written!!
>While I sympathize with everyone's impatience, and have lived Frank's 'poor
>authors' issue repeatedly, I would hesitate to change the XML process
>dramatically at this point.  The discussions on this list in the past few
>about 'semantics' alone have shown once again the kinds of rocks on which
>kind of project may founder if it opens up too widely.  XML-Dev would
>be a much louder list than it is if people felt their comments would have a
>direct impact on the standard, instead of the informal listening that (I
>think) does go on here.  I'm not sure all of that loud would be useful or

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