W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-math@w3.org > March 2006

Re: Formal query about WG role and MathML-FAQ

From: <juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 07:21:25 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <4604.217.124.69.205.1142608885.squirrel@webmail.canonicalscience.com>
To: <www-math@w3.org>


Robert Miner said:
> Juan,
>
> I'd like to make a couple of points.
>
> First, it seems to me that you perhaps don't give proper emphasis to the
> fact that the W3C is a consortium of member organizations. Thus, your
> insistence on "official" answers is somewhat misplaced.  It doesn't
> really make sense at a certain level.  If Canonical Science were to
> become a member organization, then there is a well-defined process for
> raising concerns and blocking certain procedural actions if they aren't.
> However, since you aren't a representative of a member organization (is
> this correct?) then you have no official standing.
>

Thanks by your reply. Please note that I was not asking for an official
answer from the w3c as a whole, which -I agree with you- has not sense.

The official FAQ for the MathML exactly says

"The WG will provide technical advice to all those who are involved in the
development of input syntaxes for MathML-aware tools."

Please, note that the FAQ relates the MathML WG and "all those who are
involved in the development of input syntaxes"

There is not need to become a member of the www consortium (w3c) for
receiving assistance according to the official MathML FAQ.

According to the FAQ, I was soliciting assistance from the MathML WG,
which is a well-defined entity such as one can see in the own w3c website.
I first contacted with members of the MathML WG I also have sent direct
email messages to the chief of the working group without any reply from
them. Note also I was not asking members of the MathML WG as individuals,
I was asking them as members of the official WG, which refers above FAQ
entry.

> Of course, you are a potential customer/critic/consumer of the products
> and services provided by member organizations, such as my own company
> Design Science.  And further, W3C does try to provide a forumn for the
> community as a whole. So it is entirely approriate for you to post your
> ideas and criticisms to the www-math list. I don't mean to discourage
> that at all.
>
> However, as I have observed again and again during the decade I've
> devoted myself to the issues of electronic mathematical communication,
> the principle challenges are not technical, but political. MathML is not
> the way it is exclusively because of language design considerations --
> it is the way it is because it was the politically feasible compromise
> between the many conflicting interests of the consortium members that
> had a stake is standardizing a markup for math notation.  Similarly, you
> can rest assured that no one in the Math group is happy about the
> fragmented and generally unsatisfactory level of support for MathML in
> browsers. But the challenge is to muster the resources necessary to
> affect change. Believe it or not, the providers of software such as
> Safari, Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer haven't been inclined to
> make math support their first priority.
>

I do not doubt that had political (and probably economical) issues around
the development of the MathML specification. But I find difficult explain
to our visitors/users a "Sorry we can not offer this service to you
because some time ago had political issues in the development of this
technology..."

I am not really interested in political issues, just in solving problems.

> Similarly, you
> can rest assured that no one in the Math group is happy about the
> fragmented and generally unsatisfactory level of support for MathML in
> browsers. But the challenge is to muster the resources necessary to
> affect change. Believe it or not, the providers of software such as
> Safari, Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer haven't been inclined to
> make math support their first priority.
>

I said nothing about this in this thread. In another part, I simply noted
the current state of the implementation of the MathML specification in
browsers because a man asked about that there.

> If you want people to comment on your proposals and ultimately use the
> input language you devise, your challenge is to convince them it is a
> good idea, that you will find a way to make good tool support widely
> available, and that you won't just take of lot of valuable time from
> busy people only to become yet another guy who has strong views on how
> math notation should be coded but whose project ultimately produces
> little. There have been a lot of such people over the years and thus I
> am wary. Speaking personally, irate hectoring on public mailing lists
> isn't the most effective way to pursuade me to take an interest in your
> work.
>
> From what I've seen so far, I'd say your ideas on authoring have a
> reasonable chance for meeting the needs of a certain group of people.
> But in general, my view is that most of the potential authors of
> mathematical content that want to author by hand in a text editor would
> rather just use a TeX family language. You might win some supporters
> from that group, but you are competing with more established
> alternatives like ASCIIMathML and others that have already developed and
> deployed working software.

Since I already commented on TeX and ASCIIMath and why I (as others before
me) am not using them many times I will not add something new I already
said.

> By far the larger group of potential authors
> of math on the web prefer simpler, graphical authoring tools, which is
> part of the reason that most commercial software development has focused
> on that group.
>
> --Robert
>
> Robert Miner
> Director, New Product Development
> W3C Math Interest Group co-chair
>
> - our address has changed -
> Design Science, Inc.
> 140 Pine Avenue, 4th Floor
> Long Beach, California  90802
> USA
> Tel:  (651) 223-2883
> Fax:  (651) 292-0014
> robertm@dessci.com
> www.dessci.com
> ~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, WebEQ, Equation Editor,
> TexAide ~


Juan R.

Center for CANONICAL |SCIENCE)
Received on Friday, 17 March 2006 15:21:38 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Saturday, 20 February 2010 06:12:58 GMT