W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > March 2011

RE: Option 3

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 16:07:06 +0000 (UTC)
To: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>
cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, PSIG <member-psig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1103221546520.25791@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 22 Mar 2011, Dailey, David P. wrote:
> When these issues were discussed in 2009, I was of the opinion [1], as I 
> gather Larry Rosen has said that the consensus of the Working Group was 
> that forking of the spec was not desirable.

This is incorrect. It is possibly the majority opinion of the AC 
representatives of company members of the W3C that forking should not be 
allowed, but it is not the consensus opinion of the HTML working group. In 
fact, two of the use cases the working group presented to the W3C are 
explicitly about forking. A solution that disallows forking wouldn't be 
one that addresses the requests of the group.

(It would also be pointless, since any solution that disallows forking is 
already less permissive than what we already have as the spec's license, 
and would therefore not change anything.)

> " An organization or individual modifies the content of the spec in ways 
> that intentionally misrepresent its content and that mislead others as a 
> result. We do not, I think, want to encourage prosecution against the 
> well-meaning author of a book who misunderstands the specification, but 
> rather against those who might seek to perpetuate coding practices 
> contrary to the spec which might, for example, favor one browser 
> implementation over another."
> It is specifically that, I think that would constitute a fork.
> When two competing specifications for the same thing exist, it seems 
> that a "standard" no longer exists.

Competing standards are not a bad thing. On the contrary, they ensure that 
it is technical superiority, and not fiat, that continue to be used to 
determine the organisation that has the authority to lead the Web.

If anything, fear of spec forking is an indicator of a lack of confidence 
in technical ability.

Note that nothing stops someone from doing what you describe (modulo the 
intentional misrepresentation). It is essentially how HTML5 started in the 
first place, in fact, without any violation of copyright (we started from 
scratch). I just want the next person who disagrees with the current path 
to be able to do so without having to duplicate the last 7 years of work.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 16:07:38 UTC

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