OSS vs W3C? was: Next Round

len bullard cbullard at hiwaay.net
Thu Jan 21 23:58:45 GMT 1999

Matthew Sergeant (EML) wrote:
>         It's interesting I was thinking about the very same thing just the
> other day. Currently our standards as defined by the W3C (and other
> standards bodies) are defined by effectively locking a group of "members" in
> a room and waiting until they emerge with something worthwhile. It's a
> fairly impenetrable room from the outside, even though it's possible at
> certain stages of the process to make suggestions from the outside - there's
> no guarantee that those suggestions will even be considered. The "members"
> tend to be large corporations who have a vested interest in the technology
> (yes, I know Tim is the exception here).
>         Is this neccessarily a bad thing? I don't know - we've never really
> experienced anything different. And yet when I compare it to the software
> world, and read "The Cathedral and The Bazaar", I can't help wondering if
> developing standards in a Bazaar might be a better model. It would certainly
> be interesting to try.

In effect, that has always been the capability of using DTDs, schema,
have you as the negotiable, validatible means of contracting.  Define a 
set of properties and values, organize their relationships and in some
containment, create the software to send, receive, and process these,
then all you need are members of your community willing to share
based on that contract.

The problem with the Web is almost everyone wants to be a hero and be
recognized as 
such, or get wealthy by creating the killer app.  Heroism is recognized, 
not posessed and wealth is obtained from others, so the first task is to 
build a community of exchange.

That's all there is.  That's all you need.  That is what SGML has been 
about since day one.  XML just makes it easier, so there you are.  
The W3C is there when you need to share it with a bigger community.  

Don't do what the SGML community did badly; standardize yourself to
Do what we did well; create contracts and implement them. 


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