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RE: [www-qa] Re: Conformance and Implementations

From: Mark Skall <mark.skall@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 09:15:58 -0400
Message-Id: <5.0.0.25.2.20011022090920.0218ee30@mailserver.nist.gov>
To: "Lofton Henderson" <lofton@rockynet.com>
Cc: www-qa@w3.org
At 08:05 AM 10/22/01 -0600, Lofton Henderson wrote:

>I completely agree about "willy-nilly" -- we can't allow arbitrary 
>functional changes under the guise of a defect correction.  But I don't 
>see leaving a mistake to stand -- especially if an open consensus process, 
>which hopefully involves the implementation builders and application 
>users, determines that it needs to be fixed.
>
>In my experience with graphics standards, there are lots of examples of 
>defects where the statement is clear and unambiguous, but wrong.  For 
>example, ISO processed a (CGM) defect report in which there was an error 
>(off by 1) in the count and indexing of weights and control points in a 
>NURBS specification.  It was clear and unambiguous.  However, if you used 
>it for computation, it would give a bad result.
>
>I think the best we can do to mitigate potential interoperability problems 
>(because of products and applications vested in the error) is find and fix 
>such errors fast.  In the SVG WG, building the suites during the late 
>phases of completion of the standardization process really helped a lot.
>
>-Lofton


Ok, let's agree and call it the "willy-nilly" doctrine.  I would consider 
your example above as an example of either a typo or something that 
happened during a brain-dead instance.  I was really referring to a 
requirement that was reached by consensus and then re-considered 
(or  someone new convinced the decision-makers to change their 
mind).  Errors should be corrected but consensus requirements should not be 
changed, at least until a new version of the standard is promulgated.



****************************************************************
Mark Skall
Chief, Software Diagnostics and Conformance Testing Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8970
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8970

Voice: 301-975-3262
Fax:   301-590-9174
Email: skall@nist.gov
****************************************************************
Received on Monday, 22 October 2001 09:14:40 UTC

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