Open Standards Processes (WAS Re: Nesting XML based languages and scripting languages)

Peter Murray-Rust peter at
Mon Apr 27 10:28:48 BST 1998

At 20:03 26/04/98 -0500, you wrote:
>This note is about the ISO republic vs. the W3C principality, so just
>skip it unless you want to know how happy I am to be at peace with
>both of them.
Thanks Steve - I think this sums up a good deal of what I feel (though I
haven't had many dealings with ISO). I have been fulsome in my praise for
the XML/W3C process - admittedly I hadn't labelled it as a vendor
consortium partly because of the size of its membership list and partly
because a number of members are not vendors. When I compare it with
badly-driven secretive monopolistic 'standards' in both horizontal and
vertical arenas there is no contest. I think we are always wise to be aware
of Faustian bargains, but we are not in that position.

The official standards processes are often not fast. I believe it has taken
10 years to agree the chemical symbol for element 104 (Henry will correct
me). Luckily this has not been of great technical importance during that
time.  Much more serious is that in transferring a Chlorine (Cl) from one
program to another the atom gets 'converted' to a Carbon (C). Reason - the
author of the first program didn't know the 'format' was FORTRAN based and
got it one column wrong. So XML will be a marvel if we can get the chemical
community to realise it.


Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS, Virtual Hyperglossary

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