"Clean Specs"

Tyler Baker tyler at infinet.com
Mon Feb 8 06:25:19 GMT 1999

Tim Bray wrote:

> At 11:25 PM 2/7/99 -0500, Murray Maloney wrote:
> >I can claim that it is a ramshackle compromise because I was
> >witness to its creation. The process stunk to high heaven.
> >The result is an awful compromise, and not because I don't
> >like it.
> In fact, Murray disagrees so strongly with what the spec *says*
> (often, and on the record) that he is probably not the best judge
> of how well it says it. -Tim

Well who is the best judge then?  I thought that standards bodies were largely in existence to
promote concensus on matters which companies and organizations disagree upon.  Rather than
bring everyone together, this entire "Namespaces in XML" recommendation has splintered the
entire XML community.  By that fact alone, the W3C is not doing a good job as a standards body
for the internet.

I am a forgiving person when it comes to making one, maybe two complete blunders (such as the
case with "Namespaces in XML"), but many people are not as forgiving as I.  Most of these
people don't post to this list or even subscribe to it.  They would just look at "Namespaces
in XML" and then quietly go back to their current vendor specific solution for their
web-publishing and e-commerce needs and forget the draft ever existed.  The same goes for
recommendations like XSL which are polluted with "Namespaces in XML" as well.  They are the
real "silent majority" that the W3C seems to have complete disdain for.

The simple truth is that if the W3C does not behave more sensitive to criticism in the future
and conduct itself in a more utilitarian manner, or at least make a change in the leadership
of the organization, people like me and many others will clamor for creating another internet
standards body that is not as slow in adopting standards as ISO or ANSI, but is not as
obstinate as the W3C.

Of course "Namespaces in XML" has to me been the only super-major screwup in the W3C's short
life as a budding internet standards organization.  I guess the question now is whether or not
the W3C and its members have the courage to make the necessary changes.


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