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Re: Formal Objection to One vendor, One Veto

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Wed, 08 Jul 2009 09:12:15 -0400
Message-ID: <4A549B2F.9020505@intertwingly.net>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
CC: www-archive@w3.org, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Shelley Powers wrote:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
>> Shelley Powers wrote:
>>> I believe the process to register a formal objection is to send an 
>>> email to this group, and label it as such. If there's another group I 
>>> should contact, please let me know.
>>
>> I'll check into the process (and am copying Mike and Dan as they are 
>> the W3C team contacts for this working group, but meanwhile three things:
>>
>> 1) This Mailing list is described as a "Miscellaneous.  Mail-to-web 
>> gateway" on http://lists.w3.org/.  My understanding is that its 
>> primary purpose is to allow a public URI to be associated with an 
>> email that is sent.  As a general rule, it is a great resource for 
>> taking discussions "off-line" which may later need to be referred to.  
>> In any case, I have seen this email, and will take it seriously.
> 
> Oops, then this is definitely the wrong place for this.
> 
> I'll resend to the HTML WG list, then.

Thanks!

>> 2) The document in question is merely a Working Draft at this point 
>> which means that it may be unstable and may not meet all of the 
>> Working Group's needs at this point.  As such, a formal objection 
>> seems a bit premature, but only by a little bit as it makes perfect 
>> sense to me for Formal Objections to block advancement to Last Call.
> I'm not sure how we can move to Last Call.
> 
> Right now, we have no commitment one way or another from Microsoft on 
> most aspects of HTML 5. According to Ian, Microsoft has the strongest 
> veto of all. If it were to come in and just make a statement -- no we're 
> not supporting Canvas, or MathML, or SVG, or any number of other 
> elements--, just a statement of fact, then supposedly, *poof*, they're 
> gone.
> 
> Why call this HTML 5? We might as well call it the Sword of Damocles 
> HTML and be done with it.
> 
> As it is, we've already run into one vendor/one veto with the video 
> element. Oh, and that's another one that MS has not made a commitment 
> about.

Getting Microsoft to actually review the document is something that is 
clearly important.  By the way, and somewhat related: the working group 
previously decided to include canvas, and did so over objections by 
myself and Chris Wilson at the time:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/15

http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/req-gapi-canvas/results

The reason why I bring this up is that the group decided to include 
canvas, so therefore any draft which does not include canvas could not 
be considered as a candidate draft for Last Call... unless there was 
another group decision which reversed the prior decision.

>> 3) I need to think more about what it means to have a formal objection 
>> to process as opposed to a result.  Formal objections to results, like 
>> a document which contain features like video which do not lead to 
>> interoperability due to a lack of specifying a common royalty-free 
>> codec: that is something I can get my head around.  A formal objection 
>> to removing Canvas (I chose Canvas as that is an item that the working 
>> group previously voted on and decided to include) in the unlikely 
>> event that Microsoft makes a statement that they will never support 
>> such a feature -- that too, I can understand.  But a Formal Objection 
>> to something that not only hasn't happened, but may never happen -- 
>> that is something I need to ponder on further and consult with others.
>>
> I understand I'm not following procedures. Sorry about that. But it 
> doesn't lessen my concerns.
> 
> Do we assume, then, that the one vendor/one veto rule only applies when 
> a company specifically states it will not support something? Shouldn't 
> it also apply when a company doesn't say whether they will or won't 
> support one aspect of the document or not?
> 
> If the purpose behind this one vendor/one veto approach is to ensure we 
> no longer have what we had in the past, the inability to use all of the 
> available web technology because of lack of support among one or more 
> browsers, then unless the five vendor companies specifically state they 
> will support each element, or concept, documented in HTML 5, we should 
> immediately seek to remove it now--rather than wait until some later 
> time when we finally have to corner each and ask, "Well, will you or 
> won't you?"
> 
> I focused on SVG, MathML, Canvas in the objection, but there's a more 
> serious item that was brought up in my comments last night: the XML 
> serialization of HTML 5. It is very much at risk, because we have no 
> commitment from one company to support XHTML 5. And with one vendor/one 
> vote, that means we can kiss it good-bye, too.
> 
> We can't depend on anything now. Oh, a few scraps tossed us, some new 
> goodies like client side storage. You know, to keep the kiddies 
> entertained.
> 
> I take things that people tell me as truth. Ian has stated one 
> vendor/one vote. Not saying anything about canvas, SVG, XHTML, MathML, 
> etc., is a vote. It's a vote saying, "No". Ignoring the great hulking 
> elephant in the corner while professing to adhere to consistent 
> procedures is not something I'm particularly good at.
> 
> Sorry, Sam. I am new to this, and most likely not following proper 
> procedures. But there is more than a hint of lack of consistency to the 
> procedures followed with HTML 5, so in a way, I'm only following the 
> course others have set.

Don't worry too much about the process... you have a legitimate concern, 
and we are here to help with the process.

I am also not suggesting that Ian is lying.  In fact, I presume that he 
is serious.  My point is that first and foremost that the situation to 
which you are objecting is both hypothetical and not binding to the 
Working Group.  As far as I am concerned, Ian can add or remove what he 
wants to his draft, and should he remove canvas, any member of the 
working group can produce another draft that restores it.  If this were 
done, and both drafts were submitted for consideration, only the latter 
would meet the basic requirements agreed to by the working group.

Taking a quick peek at the charter of the group[1], removing XHTML 5 
would also not meet requirements, which again means that we would have 
to have a group decision to pursue a different path before we could 
consider a draft which removes such.

And, again, I'll note that group decisions can -- and have -- been made 
without unanimity.  In particular, against the expressed opinion of 
representatives from specific browser vendors, including Microsoft. 
And, for that matter, myself.  But when a group decision is made, I 
intend to support it.

> Shelley

- Sam Ruby

[1] http://www.w3.org/2007/03/HTML-WG-charter
Received on Wednesday, 8 July 2009 13:12:57 GMT

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