XML-DEVIL Proposal - was Open Standards Processes

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Sat Apr 25 18:08:43 BST 1998

At 07:02 PM 4/24/98 -0500, len bullard wrote:
>Jon Bosak wrote:
>>But the AC is
>> exactly what its name says -- advisory.  In the W3C, the Director is
>> ultimately responsible for all decisions made by the consortium,
>> regardless of the input of its member organizations.  
>Wow!  The information technologies of the free world are subject to the 
>whims of one individual.  

To be fair, while the structure is a bit weird on the face of it, there's
a good reason.  Namely, a consortium such as W3C is highly vulnerable to
litigation on antitrust and restraint-of-trade; anyone whose business
plan goes up in smoke because the W3C blessed something incompatible might
be inclined to sue, whether or not this is reasonable, simply hoping to
be bought off.  If you look closely, legally, the W3C hardly exists
at all - there is a structure of contracts with MIT, Inria, and Keio,
and the decision-making is de jure done by one individual whom it would
be worth no-one's while to sue.

In practice, the W3C management and staff do pay careful attention to
the views of its members. -Tim

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