Standards: they're de-jure, they're de-facto, they're de-LOVELY!

Didier PH Martin martind at
Tue May 25 20:40:04 BST 1999

Hi David,

David said:
> You left out an weird example -- SAX is a very widely-implemented XML
> API, but it has no owner, no organization promoting it, no press
> releases, no copyright or terms of usage (it's truly public domain),
> and no formalized process for development or maintenance.  (It also
> has no proper language-independent spec, but I consider that a bug
> rather than a feature, and one for which I take personal
> responsibility.)

> Essentially, donates a little Web space, xml-dev donates
> a lot of discussion space, and many companies and individuals donate
> the time from the people who help to discuss and develop SAX.  In this
> regard, SAX is a lot like Linux, except that Linux is GPL'ed and Linus
> now holds the trademark on the Linux name after a nasty squabble with
> someone who tried to cash in; SAX is explicitly in the public domain
> and not copyrighted, copylefted, or trademarked in any way, and relies
> exclusively on peer-pressure and user demand to ensure conformance.

> I've never (knowingly) called SAX a 'standard', de facto or de jure.
> What *is* it?
Thanks for your point. And yes I would also ask: what is it? a de facto
standard? a standard?

Good you brought this David. It is not endorsed by W3C nor by ISO or any
other institution, but used by a lot of developers who consider it as a
"standard". So what is it then? Because it is not blessed by an institution
is it a rebel "standard" opposed (imagine a star war scene here) to the
"official standard" blessing institution? So what is a "standard" then?

Didier PH Martin
mailto:martind at

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