Netscape and Standards [Was: %flow and headers and address]

Murray Altheim (
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 11:09:24 -0500

Message-Id: <v02140b02ae759f911692@[]>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 11:09:24 -0500
To: Peter Flynn <>
From: (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Netscape and Standards [Was: %flow and headers and address]

Peter Flynn <> writes:
>   > Moot anyway, in view of James Clark's talk at Princeton on Thursday...
>   Sorry, he forgot to invite me.. :-) What was it about?
>The gist of it was a declaration that Netscape is committed to
>standards, but Mr Clark then muddied the waters with a comment about
>the IETF, variously quoted as "in the real world, standards don't make
>money: money drives standards" and "standards don't drive volume,
>volume drives standards" (both of which are wrong anyway: it's
>consumer choice usually, aided by money to kid them :-)

God, I was frightened. When you first mentioned James Clark, I was thinking
not of Netscape's James Clark, but of the author of nsgmls, the SGML
parser. What a difference!

>He was also apparently less than forthcoming about SGML, and
>unwilling to make any statement other than to refer it to Marc
>Andreessen (who I think has other things to do).

It's too bad someone didn't put his speech through an SGML parser. It would
have shown most of his comments as invalid.

>It is instructive to compare this with his talk at CERN earlier in the
>year, when he made it clear that standards were something that should
>be set by companies, on a proprietary basis, and not something that
>should be debated publicly, let alone decided publicly.

This just goes to show that being in charge of a large company doesn't make
your opinions any more or less right or wrong; it just gives one an
audience. Too bad he's in charge. If he wasn't so inlined with the bottom
line of his company and thought a little about the future he was helping
shape, he might have a little more foresight. He has been given the
opportunity to create something truly great and important, and he's blowing
it. Think fifty years into the future, Jim.


     Murray Altheim, Program Manager
     Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
     email: <>
     http:  <>
            "Give a monkey the tools and he'll eventually build a typewriter."