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Re: Why is the W3c so 'closed'?

From: Christopher R. Maden <crism@exemplary.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 12:00:31 -0800
Message-Id: <v01530500b461e909f151@[209.157.134.2]>
To: www-style@w3.org
[Matthew Brealey]
>crism@exemplary.net (Christopher R. Maden) writes:
>
>> Privacy allows large competitive companies to join and participate
>> without surrendering strategic advantage.
>
>This I cannot accept, because the WG must, by definition, have more
>competitor participation than public discussion forums.

The alternative was non-participation from Microsoft and Netscape, just
like in the IETF process whose failure (at HTML) necessitated the formation
of the W3C.  If fully open processes worked here, the W3C never would have
been founded.

No, I don't like this; I far prefer the IETF way.  But I was involved in
HTML 2.0's development there, and saw HTML 3.0 fizzle and die, and the
simple fact is that the open process was ignored by the most influential
players and became irrelevant.

Servers are infrastructure.  The Open Source community is good at
infrastructure.  Apache dominates the server world.  HTTP is still
controlled by the IETF.

Browsers are consumer applications.  The Open Source community is not very
good at consumer applications.  Microsoft now dominates the browser world,
as Netscape did before them.  HTML, XML, CSS, XSL, and PNG are controlled
by the W3C.

That said, the W3C is much more open than it has to be.  Being a member of
a WG and having seen other WGs in action, I can tell you that outside
feedback *is* actively considered and acted on.  But it's frustrating when
you can't see the inside, and philosophically upsetting that an open
process failed.  The only way I can see for this to ever change is if an
Open Source browser were to become dominant, and I just don't see that
happening within the next five years.

-Chris

--
Christopher R. Maden, Solutions Architect
Exemplary Technologies
One Embarcadero Center, Ste. 2405
San Francisco, CA 94111
Received on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 15:00:29 GMT

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