W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 1999

Re: Why is the W3c so 'closed'?

From: Albert Lunde <Albert-Lunde@nwu.edu>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 9:51:05 CST
Message-Id: <199911261551.JAA27702@nuinfo.nwu.edu>
To: www-style@w3.org
> > 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.
> Syllogism:
> 1. HTML 3.0 was too big and no-one used it.
> 2. HTML 3.0 was produced by an open process.
> Conclusion:
> Open processes suck.

I'd say the issue, historically, wasn't with "HTML 3.0" (whatever
that means), but with the long time it took to get the HTML 2.0
spec out the door at the IETF, and the extent to which Netscape
and Microsoft were going their own way in the meantime.

As I recall, the HTML 2.0 RFC, the RFC on internationalization,
and the tables spec, were the last three major parts of HTML
to come out of the IETF.

One reason the HTML 2.0 RFC was delayed, was settling some issues
on internationalization (though you have to read it carefully to see
where they are addressed).

I hesitate to make too big a thing of the transition between the
IETF and the W3C, because some important people were "wearing
two hats", so some people just kept on doing what they had
been doing.

I like the IETF process better, because there's more of a place for 
mere mortals without deep pockets to participate, and because I think
input from a more diverse group "wears off the rough edges" on
protocols and standards. On the other hand, a smaller, more focused
group with a less open process, may produce results faster.

    Albert Lunde                      Albert-Lunde@nwu.edu
Received on Friday, 26 November 1999 10:51:12 UTC

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