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Re: Formally Object to Referencing WhatWG within the W3C HTML5 specification

From: T.J. Crowder <tj@crowdersoftware.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 15:57:45 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTilBwX5d3ysidP9gyoeQyzXstQ-BkvIffLoTzE6B@mail.gmail.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Cc: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, public-html-comments@w3.org
>
> I referenced a link in my first email, but a better one arose later in the
> day. You can view what's happening, beginning with the following email:


>  <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jun/0215.html>
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jun/0215.html


Well, that supports what I wrote in my original reply and then removed (but
kept) because I wanted to see what Ms. Powers was talking about first.

What I wrote was:

 FWIW, completely agree that there must be one specification for HTML5.
> Unless the W3C is prepared to step back and let the WhatWG take ownership,
> that spec must be "owned" by the W3C. Pages like this one [
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/] are very
> confusing. I've seen it cited in online discussions as "the HTML5 standard"
> (and why shouldn't someone think it was? It says "draft standard" on it).


> The work of the WhatWG is extremely important, it has driven and continues
> to drive this process forward where HTML had been under- and mis-specified
> for years. That work needs to be credited and honored, but as HTML5 is
> becoming the new baseline, there needs to be a single definitive source of
> normative information about it, with other sources of draft *proposals*(not standards, not specifications) very, very clearly labelled as such.


Having a competing "specification" is a sure route to fracture and failure.
I hope no one wants that. Those of us relying on these standards certainly
don't.
--
T.J. Crowder
Independent Software Consultant
tj / crowder software / com
www.crowdersoftware.com



On 9 June 2010 15:24, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net> wrote:

> T.J. Crowder wrote:
>
>>
>>    These references provides points of confusion, as well as opening
>>    the door for problems exactly like that, which has happened this
>>    week: the editor disagrees with a decision, and makes a
>>    modification to "his" version of the HTML5 spec that generates FUD
>>    regarding HTML5.
>>
>>
>> Pardon my ignorance, but what issue was that?
>>
>
> I referenced a link in my first email, but a better one arose later in the
> day. You can view what's happening, beginning with the following email:
>
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jun/0215.html
>
> A second email triggered further discussion, beginning at:
>
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jun/0215.html
>
> Shelley
>
>> --
>> T.J. Crowder
>> Independent Software Consultant
>> tj / crowder software / com
>> www.crowdersoftware.com <http://www.crowdersoftware.com>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 9 June 2010 14:45, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net <mailto:
>> shelleyp@burningbird.net>> wrote:
>>
>>    Bijan Parsia wrote:
>>
>>        Hi Shelly,
>>
>>            I'm not sure that the legal status of the groups can't be
>>            so easily
>>            dismissed. Not in this particular instance, when we're no
>>            longer sure
>>            who does have a right to lay claim to copyright of HTML5.
>>
>>
>>
>>        My point is solely that the legal status of a group is not
>>        necessary in this case to ground the proposed action nor,
>>        afaict, is it sufficient. It runs the risk of providing an
>>        overbroad rule that then gets only applied in a single case.
>>
>>    Point taken.
>>
>>
>>        It's not necessary because the relevant legal issues do not
>>        turn on the legal status of the WHATWG (e.g., ownership of the
>>        spec text; the WHATWG is not a candidate owner). It's not
>>        sufficient because I presume that even if the WHATWG changed
>>        its legal status (which it could easily do by incorporating
>>        in, say, the US or affiliating with a host organization), that
>>        people would object to the denigrating text (however accurate).
>>
>>        AFAIK, signing the membership agreement does not assign
>>        copyright to the W3C for work done on W3C specs, but only
>>        licenses it:
>>           http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620#holds
>>
>>        So I believe your assertion to copyright ownership is incorrect.
>>
>>    Could very well be, as I said: I'm not a lawyer. But it is an
>>    important issue that has been left unanswered.
>>
>>
>>        It seems that your argument about whether certain classes of
>>        links to the WHATWG specs and space are inappropriate or
>>        confusing are quite independent of the precise organizational
>>        nature of the WHATWG. I.e., they are arguments about
>>        substance, the particular behavior of this particular group,
>>        not form (i.e., that they are not incorporated). I'm unclear
>>        whether you think that the W3C should adopt as a matter of
>>        policy "no parallel specs with any external organization".
>>        That *is* formal, but as we've really only had one case
>>        (though WS-I profiling is an interestingly related case) and
>>        there's ample issues to discuss there, I'd personally prefer
>>        to stick with the core substantive issues. I would object to
>>        introducing new formal constraints along the suggested lines
>>        because I can think of many situations both historical and
>>        prospective where I don't want them in place.
>>
>>    Your point is good.
>>
>>    If I've read correctly elsewhere, the licensing issues associated
>>    with HTML5 are being discussed, so I'll drop that as an argument.
>>
>>    My main concern is removing all references to the WhatWG from the
>>    HTML5 specification, other than a link in the acknowledgment
>>    section. This includes references to the WhatWG version of the
>>    document, to the WhatWG email list, to the WhatWG copyright
>>    statement, to the WhatWG Subversion directory, and to the editor's
>>    own personal little stash of HTML5 "issues".
>>
>>    These references provides points of confusion, as well as opening
>>    the door for problems exactly like that, which has happened this
>>    week: the editor disagrees with a decision, and makes a
>>    modification to "his" version of the HTML5 spec that generates FUD
>>    regarding HTML5.
>>
>>    At a minimum, if these references are moved, and the editor
>>    chooses to degenerate the W3C effort in the future, he can do so,
>>    and all he's doing is undermining his own credibility, and the
>>    credibility of the so-called "member" organizations (Mozilla,
>>    Opera, and Apple) for the WhatWG.
>>
>>        Cheers,
>>        Bijan.
>>
>>    Regards
>>
>>    Shelley
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 14:58:34 GMT

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