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Re: Draft Charter

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 21:24:45 +0200
To: "Matt Womer" <mdw@w3.org>
Cc: public-geolocation@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.udbj7je1wxe0ny@widsith.local>

Opera's feedback, incorporating responses to Hixie's suggestions.

On Sat, 21 Jun 2008 00:37:45 +0200, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Jun 2008, Matt Womer wrote:
>>
>> I'm happy to say that a draft of the Geolocation charter is now
>> available [1], [...] Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, either
>> here on this list or to myself directly.
>>
>> [1] http://www.w3.org/2008/06/geolocation/charter/
>
> Here's Google's feedback:
>
> We don't think this should have a separate working group. We would rather
> see this done in the Web Apps working group.

We would rather have seen this done in the Webapps working group. We are  
explicitly concerned about the possibility that companies who do not want  
this to happen, so they can participate in the Webapps group but not in  
geolocation may do so for reasons which run essentially counter to the  
spirit of W3C's commitment to royalty-free specifications.

Despite the risk, we think it is worth proceeding with work - if any such  
organisation feels that it would like to work in the spirit of W3C, they  
are welcome to change their minds, and we would welcome the respite from  
the inevitable Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that will be raised until such  
time as the situation is clarified.

However, given this we would like explicit assurance in the charter that  
W3C legal resources are available to help assess and begin dealing with  
any patent issues that may arise. If we believe there is a serious risk  
that we will see a repeat of the video-in-HTML debacle, where on the basis  
of one company's unsubstantiated claims of encumbrance there is no  
progress on an interoperable video format, then we would withdraw our  
support for this working group as a very unfortunately unsustainable waste  
of effort.

Similarly, we think that as a preliminary exercise, a short survey of  
existing work to be published as a note would be a useful beginning. (For  
example, I ran the first international workshop on location information  
for the web in Hungary several years ago, and there had been many before  
that, so there is likely a substantial history of relevant work and  
information).

>  - We think the first paragraph's emphasis on prviacy could mislead  
>    people
>    into thinking that the API should constrain how user agents expose the
>    privacy options to the user. We would like the charter to explicitly
>    allow the deliverables to defer the user interface aspects of privacy,
>    and the privacy model in general, to the user agents, within the
>    constraints required to obtain interoperability at the API level.

Along the lines of what Chris Wilson said, we think that clarifying the  
privacy aspects are absolutely critical to the success of any geolocation  
information, since this is real and potentially personally dangerous  
information to provide to the Web. We think the wording is reasonable as  
is.

>  - We think that the charter should not require the working group to
>    publish the requirements as an explicit WG note. It should be
>    acceptable for us to publish the requirements in the spec itself as an
>    appendix, or on a wiki, or on our WG home page, etc.

We disagree. Publishing a note is simple enough, and this seems like a  
good idea in this case.

>  - We believe the timetable to have an unrealistic estimate for the time
>    from CR to PR. Given the need to create a comprehensive test suite and
>    to obtain two complete implementations, we believe it would be more
>    realistic to expect the API specification to reach PR at the earliest
>    one year after it enters CR, rather than three months later as in the
>    current proposed charter. (This also affects the proposed end date.)

We agree that three months seems excessively optimistic. Test cases will  
have to be developed, approved, and passed during CR and three months  
seems far too short a time to do so.

Seperately, we would like a "reasonable number" of preliminary test cases  
to be available at last call.

>  - We do not like that the group is expected to have face to face  
>    meetings and telecons. Our experience with other working groups in the
>    past few years suggests that the group should not be required to
>    meet, and that asynchronous communication media such as IRC and e-mail
>    should be sufficient.

We disagree. While all decisions should be subject to asynchronous review,  
it seems that teleconferences and more particularly face to face meetings  
are important to establishing a genuine working consensus.

>  - We are not sure that the charter should explicitly expect the group to
>    follow the AWWW and CharMod specifications.

We concur with this statement, although we think it is important that the  
group be liaising with the TAG and the internationalisation activity.

>  - We do not believe there should be a member-only mailing list. A public
>    group should be exclusively public.

We disagree. It is helpful to seperate administrative work from general  
technical discussion. Unfortunately it is a reality that there is IPR in  
this space, and it appears that some companies are avoiding working in  
this group, which we fear may be specifically to avoid any responsibility  
to declare their IPR in the spirit of W3C's patent policy. In such a  
climate, the availability of a member-only mailing list provides for a  
means of communication that is more limited than genuine public  
communication, but which may provide the desired level of comfort to get  
important feedback that would not be otherwise available to the group as a  
whole.

>  - We believe that the decision policy should be ammended to explicitly
>    grant specification editors broad responsibility for the  
>    specifications
>    that they edit, requiring them to address the needs of anyone bringing
>    feedback to the group, as well as requiring them to base their
>    decisions on technical merit and research rather than on votes; we
>    think that that decisions should explicitly not be derived from
>    consensus. We think that the decision policy should say that the group
>    has the right to replace the editor based on a vote, so as to
>    safeguard against editors who fail in their responsibilities to the
>    group.

We disagree. Having to replace the editor as the only remedy for problems  
is an excessively heavy requirement, and we feel that the consensus-based  
approach used by W3C is worth pursuin. In light of the patent policy in  
particular, we feel it is very important that the editor clarify any  
sources of information outside the working group's official channels of  
communication that have been drawn on for any decision-making input.

Additionally we believe that the working group members are at least as  
capable as any editor in assessing the technical merit and research behind  
any particular proposal.

>  - We think that participation should be open to anyone on the same basis
>    as the HTML working group.

We're fine with that.

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals   Try Opera 9.5: http://snapshot.opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 19:25:29 GMT

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