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Re: Alternate proposal for ISSUE-30 longdesc

From: Matt May <mattmay@adobe.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 08:35:43 -0800
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, HTMLwg WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E5E3097C-919A-42FD-BCC0-0F3F097F473D@adobe.com>
On the proposal itself, I am, like Chaals, more positive about it than other proposals I've seen.

On Feb 22, 2010, at 10:03 AM, David Singer wrote:
> More to the point, they were written with a particular version of HTML in mind and existence, whether or not they remembered to say so.  The laws in question, as I understand, were never intended to be prescriptive of what standards-writers wrote, merely descriptive of what was in the said standards (the laws are prescriptive in other respects, of course).

I don't think any policymaker could have predicted that a feature such as longdesc would have been obsoleted. The fact that that was attempted is why we're here rehashing it now. 

I'm not a fan of overly prescriptive legal policies around code. I think I'm in pretty good company here, at least in that respect. But such policies do exist at every level from your local Boy Scouts chapter to the EU. And while those bodies probably did behave irrationally when they codified development practices, they are sadly more plodding and deliberative than the WG itself, and that friction between the spec and the policy will delay the adoption of HTML5 as those bodies figure out how to square the circle. Beware: some of them may do something really crazy and unpalatable like forking the spec. Is that worth guarding against?

> When the HTML version changes, should they wish to adopt it and prescribe how to use it, they are at liberty to do so.

The problem is, "they" are at liberty _at any time_ to prescribe (or proscribe) whatever they wish. I would suggest that it's in the best interest of the WG, if it wants to speed adoption of HTML5 in governmental circles, to recognize that legal policy takes lots of time and effort to change, and in the meantime, it might help to make such a minor concession as this to become more compatible with the rules that already exist. Idealism in this case will get you nowhere.

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m
Received on Monday, 22 February 2010 16:36:27 UTC

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