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

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2010 10:06:51 -0500
Message-ID: <4C0FAE0B.2060404@burningbird.net>
To: "T.J. Crowder" <tj@crowdersoftware.com>
CC: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, public-html-comments@w3.org
T.J. Crowder wrote:
>
>     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
>
>
> 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.
>

Yes, that was my bad. I conflated two issues--the legalities of the 
organizations and the confusion surrounding the WhatWG references in the 
W3C spec (not to mention the issues surrounding the HTML5 copyright).

My reasoning behind referencing the legalities was more to reassure 
people that if the W3C responded by removing the WhatWG references, the 
WhatWG can't "take" the HTML5 specification back. Ian Hickson may choose 
to no longer participate, but what we have in the W3C remains, regardless.

I handled the reassurance poorly, though, in my initial email.
> 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.
>
That's a feasible suggestion.
>
> 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.

I am in complete agreement. I think it is time to ask Apple, Mozilla, 
and Opera if they're in agreement, too.
> --
> T.J. Crowder

Shelley

> Independent Software Consultant
> tj / crowder software / com
> www.crowdersoftware.com <http://www.crowdersoftware.com>
>
>
>
> On 9 June 2010 15:24, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net 
> <mailto: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>
>         <http://www.crowdersoftware.com>
>
>
>
>
>         On 9 June 2010 14:45, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net
>         <mailto:shelleyp@burningbird.net>
>         <mailto: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 15:07:30 GMT

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