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Re: Formal Objection to One vendor, One Veto

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2009 11:26:25 +0200
Message-ID: <4A55B7C1.6070102@lachy.id.au>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, www-archive@w3.org, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Shelley Powers wrote:
> 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.

I think this is a mischaracterisation and over exaggeration of the 
issue.  It's not quite as simple as you make it out to be, and I think 
this is unnecessarily increasing the tension of the situation.

When a vendor objects to implementing something, that doesn't result in 
the instant removal of the feature.  Rather, we need to seek ways to 
resolve the situation and find some alternative that they will 
implement.  When the requirement for Vorbis and Theora was first added 
to the spec, and Apple objected, we looked at the situation and searched 
long and hard for an alternative that would address their concerns.

It's also worth nothing that the patent concerns expressed by Apple are 
also shared by Microsoft [1].  So if we were to include a requirement 
for Theora and Vorbis in the spec, when we attempt to move to Last Call, 
the likely result would be that we would get formal objections from both 
Apple and Microsoft, at which point would have to go through this whole 
debate again and probably end up right back where we are now.

Interestingly, this issue is also occurring in relation to Web Fonts. 
 From what I've been told, Microsoft have objected to supporting TTF/OTF 
in support of their own EOT format, and commercial font foundries are 
pushing for some form of DRM.  This is why they're now debating the 
issue intensly on the www-font mailing list.  So this situation 
certainly isn't unique to the HTMLWG.

As for your concerns regarding the potential for features like canvas, 
MathML or SVG being removed, I think you're blowing this way out of 
proportion.  In fact, Microsoft already expressed their opinion that 
having an immediate mode graphics API was a good thing [2].  However, 
their concerns were related to the feature being out of scope of the 
charter and whether the HTMLWG was the best place to develop it.  Also, 
since the we've had a WG decision to include it, we've heard no further 
objections from them on the issue.

I'm also not aware of them expressing any concern over the inclusion of 
MathML and SVG, and even though I'm not aware of them explicitly saying 
they will support it, we have no reason to assume they won't.  In fact, 
I'm not particularly surprised that they haven't said they will support 
it, as they, like many companies, tend to keep information about future 
products confidential.

Regading your concerns about XHTML, I've heard Chris Wilson on numerous 
occasions say that they are in favour of eventually supporting XHTML 
[3].  Although I have no information about when that will happen, I 
don't think we should be too concerned about them turning around and 
refusing to support it.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Apr/0255.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/req-gapi-canvas/results
[3] http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/15/467901.aspx

Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
Received on Thursday, 9 July 2009 09:41:09 UTC

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