W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2010

Re: Differences between the W3C and WHATWG specifications

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 10:46:23 -0700
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20100625174623.GA26186@pickering.dbaron.org>
On Friday 2010-06-25 10:20 +0100, Doug Schepers wrote:
> Not all of these changes are unequivocally positive.  For example,
> though the WHATWG were insistent that the HTML WG be open to anyone
> who wished to join, I think that the group would have been more
> effective and more civil if there were smaller core HTML Working
> Group amd a larger HTML Interest Group, with coherent policies for
> collaboration, decisions, and an appeal process from the beginning;
> with a more diverse community than the WHATWG, we need more
> structure in place.  As another example, the SVG WG conducts all its
> technical work in public, including posting its raw telcon and F2F
> minutes on the public list; but this sometimes costs us considerably
> more effort when people misinterpret those minutes, and we have to
> spend time clarifying misperceptions.
> So, unfettered openness is not always beneficial, and it does not
> come without costs.

I'm not asking for unfettered openness.  I'd much prefer a
well-managed open community where anyone is welcome to participate
and contribute.  In other words, we shouldn't be open to things that
make others less welcome or able to participate.  The Chairs and
Team Contact should be able to (as they have been) address threats
to the functioning of the group.  I'm certainly not asking for them
to stop doing so in the name of openness.

(In the SVG case, though, I think the cost of responding to
occasional confusion is one that you just have to deal with.)

> But the majority of these changes were worth
> it, and I think this shows a remarkable record of adapting to the
> ethos of the "Open Web".  In my opinion, the W3C still has clear
> improvements that could be made, but I do think we've made good
> progress, and and we are still changing.

Agreed.  My statement that it hadn't was too strong; I apologize.

> >Currently the W3C and the WHATWG have very different document
> >licensing policies.  The WHATWG document license allows anybody to
> >create a derivative specification; the W3C's does not.  While the
> >HTML working group requested a change to the license:
> >http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Feb/0388.html ,
> >the W3C has not yet made such a change.  I think many members of the
> >WHATWG community feel strongly about this issue; I certainly do.
> To keep the record clear, the W3C did do the legwork around this
> issue, and presented our membership with various options; many on
> the Team feel the same way you do, though I personally see both
> sides of the issue. But as you know, our membership expressed
> concerns about fragmentation, though we did change to a more open
> license.
> And even the WHATWG is divided on the issue, as you are aware:  of
> the four browser vendors in the WHATWG, in the W3C poll, two of them
> voted to adopt the license you prefer, one abstained, and one voted
> against the license.  So, this issue doesn't seem to be as much of a
> dividing wedge between W3C and WHATWG as you claim.
> Just as with WHATWG, speaking of W3C as a monolithic entity is an
> oversimplification... W3C is not only the W3C staff, but first and
> foremost our members and our active participants.  W3C decisions are
> informed closely by what our members and community have expressed.

Agreed.  I didn't feel I could distinguish, though, without
revealing member-confidential information in a public forum.

> >The current licensing situation means that the only practical way
> >the WHATWG and W3C can work together on the same specification is if
> >all of the text originates on the WHATWG side.  That seems like an
> >odd definition of collaboration, and I think it's closely tied to a
> >number of the other issues causing conflict in this group.
> The nature of the collaboration is that feedback comes from both the
> W3C and WHATWG lists.  I don't think anyone objects to the text of
> the spec originating in the WHATWG version, per se... that's not the
> issue.

It's good to hear that that's not an objection; I'd gotten a
different impression in AC meetings.

In any case, I suppose it's time to give up arguing about the
license issue for now, since those of us advocating for an MIT-like
license have lost.


L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Friday, 25 June 2010 17:46:56 UTC

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