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Re: Recent ERB votes

From: W. Eliot Kimber <eliot@isogen.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 13:26:35 -0900
Message-Id: <3.0b24.32.19961111131904.0075ab80@uu10.psi.com>
To: cbullard@HiWAAY.net
Cc: W3C-SGML-WG@w3.org
At 12:13 PM 11/11/96 -0600, Len Bullard wrote:
>I don't question his credentials.  I watched Microsoft's participation 
>in VRML:  it took a brickbat to get them play fair.  Perhaps Jean is 
>different, but his personality or credibility are not at issue.  The 
>participation of his company is, a participation that should be, for 
>fairness sake, up front and public.  The personal policy and the 
>corporate policy may not be the same, but the personal policy is 
>the one we see on this list.  I simply hold him to a higher standard 
>because he represents one of the only two credible sources for 
>WWW HTML browsers which are being heavily defended.  If Microsoft 
>has plans or positions, enunciate them and this *gamble* takes on 
>less risk.
>Ok?  Fair enough?

I guess.  I just didn't want anyone to get the idea that Jean was somehow
working to subvert the XML process to somehow reflect MS's presumed
nefarious ends.  You are certainly entitled to hold Jean and MS to whatever
standard you wish and as a former employee of the largest (and, before
Microsoft, the most rapacious) vendor in the computer business I can
sympathize with holding MS to a higher standard in general (whether it's
fair to hold Jean to that same standard, I don't know).

I can tell you that in the ERB conference calls and e-mail discussions,
Jean never said anything like "it is MS's official position that" or "I've
been told by my superiors" or anything.  His arguments were always
technical, based on his knowledge both of SGML and what he felt he could
get MS engineers to accept and implement (which is likely different from
what MS official policy on what they *should* accept and implement might
be).  As XML is largely a marketing exercise, we took his statements about
implementability seriously (at least I did), even if we didn't always find
them convincing or compelling.  There were certainly disagreements about
what was and wasn't easily implementable.  But Jean never said (and doesn't
have the authority to say, as far as I know) "MS will never implement XML
if it doesn't have X", at least not in a way that could be construed as a
statement of policy [we all made extreme statements in the heat of argument
and a lot of them involved the word "never"].

Note also that in the discussion of grandfathering HTML, the focus was on
legacy data, not legacy browsers.  The question was always *what would the
marketing effect of making things really different for HTML authors be",
not, how would this hurt Netscape or IE.  I think we presumed that Netscape
and MS are both more than capable of handling whatever syntax we came up with.


W. Eliot Kimber (eliot@isogen.com) 
Senior SGML Consulting Engineer, Highland Consulting
2200 North Lamar Street, Suite 230, Dallas, Texas 75202
+1-214-953-0004 +1-214-953-3152 fax
http://www.isogen.com (work) http://www.drmacro.com (home)
"Rats in the morning, rats in the afternoon...if they don't go away, I'll be
re-educated soon..."                 --Austin Lounge Lizards, "1984 Blues"
Received on Monday, 11 November 1996 14:27:32 UTC

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