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Re: Reference to the HTML specification

From: <Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 14:56:43 +0000
To: <marcosscaceres@gmail.com>
CC: <Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com>, <plh@w3.org>, <ian@hixie.ch>, <annevk@opera.com>, <public-webapps@w3.org>
Message-ID: <286A024D-A95B-47BD-A54B-A44A0FBCFFE6@nokia.com>
Hi Marcos

Are you and Ian suggesting we eliminate the publication of WD versions on the way to Rec and just keep the editors draft in TR space? 

A major implication relates to IPR licensing obligations, which serve to protect implementers. These obligations are incurred relative to steps in the process, e.g. First public WD publication etc.  Have you figured out  how editors draft in TR space would work with the W3C patent policy (maybe not an issue if you are saying we have both published drafts as well as editors draft in TR space).

The risk of not following the W3C process and not publishing FPWD is that there is no IPR protection for implementers of the editors draft and that members might drop from the WG before becoming obligated (e.g. there might be a time window risk here) , and in fact there may never be IPR protection if the editors draft never enters the W3C process. Maybe IPR is no longer an issue for implementers in this area of work, but I'd be surprised, given its ongoing importance elsewhere.

Without a process, it is not very clear who exactly has agreed to what with the editors draft. At a minimum we need clarity for readers that an editors draft is a "draft" and may include changes by an editor that are either mistaken, do not have WG agreement, or might be reverted for other reasons. 

We should review why W3C has a process - I believe in addition to IPR it includes a means to obtain consensus and make sure everyone is heard. Will this continue if we were to change along the lines you suggest? 

An alternative (and maybe this is what is under consideration) is to publish the editors draft in TR space in addition to the  W3C process drafts (FPWD, WD, LC, CR etc) and make for clarity regarding the relationship and status. In this case we might also consider focus on the editors draft with perhaps a different mechanism for linking to snapshots for W3C states (e.g. use CVS/Subversion etc snapshots and link from the editors draft via a process status page).

regards, Frederick

Frederick Hirsch
Nokia



On Sep 3, 2011, at 4:14 PM, ext Marcos Caceres wrote:

> 
> 
> On Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 20:54, Ian Hickson wrote:
> 
>> On Mon, 29 Aug 2011, Philippe Le Hegaret wrote:
>>> 
>>> But, the WHATWG HTML links to the editor's drafts and does not link to  
>>> the TR one. While documents on the REC-track should link to other  
>>> documents on the REC tracks, this doesn't apply to editor's draft, which  
>>> have no special status anyway. So, you can link to both versions in the  
>>> editor's draft if you prefer.
>> 
>> Well, the editor's drafts have one special status: they're the most  
>> correct drafts, unlike the TR/ drafts, which are often obsolete as soon as  
>> they're published (in the case of the HTML spec, they're obsolete _before_  
>> they're published, since the publication process takes several days). So  
>> it's not entirely true that they have no special status.
> I agree with Ian. The W3C process is really harmful in not giving Editor's Drafts special status in the process. Ideally, Working Groups should be able to choose if their specs are frozen or live documents on TR.  
> 
> I've made this proposal several times to the W3C (pointing out how harmful this has been, particularly when other consortia or implementers use W3C status as an indicator of stability), and I'm hoping we can all have a fruitful discussion about this during TPAC.  
> 
> Can we please arrange a formal forum for this discussion and debate during TPAC? I've said this a number of times, but I am getting to the point where I no longer want to put anything on TR because I've seen how harmful that can be (if I end up writing another spec at the W3C, I will not choose to publish it on TR without HTML5-like "BIG RED WARNING" and only to meet the IPR requirements… and continue to only link to editor's drafts).  
> 
> Kind regards,
> Marcos  
> 
> 
Received on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 14:58:10 GMT

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