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RE: Formal Objection to Working Group Decision to publish Encrypted Media Extensions specification as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD)

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 17:51:11 -0700
To: 'Kornel Lesiński' <kornel@geekhood.net>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>, <public-html-admin@w3.org>
Message-ID: <028d01ce5d98$f3100a90$d9301fb0$@ca>
[Preamble: Mindful of the Chairs request, I believe that since Kornel start
this particular thread response only on public-html, that I should respond
there once, while at the same time moving the discussion over to
public-html-admin, where I agree it should continue, if it is to continue. 

Thanks for the Chairs indulgence and understanding.]

Kornel Lesiński wrote:
> I thought W3C was not ideologically neutral and sided with free, open
> and FOSS-compatible solutions.

I disagree, and am genuinely curious where you got this impression. The
W3C's web site states:

	"W3C standards define an Open Web Platform for application
development that has the unprecedented potential to enable developers to
build rich interactive experiences, powered by vast data stores, that are
available on any device. Although the boundaries of the platform continue to
evolve, industry leaders speak nearly in unison about how HTML5 will be the
cornerstone for this platform. But the full strength of the platform relies
on many more technologies that W3C and its partners are creating, including
CSS, SVG, WOFF, the Semantic Web stack, XML, and a variety of APIs.

	W3C develops these technical specifications and guidelines through a
process designed to maximize consensus about the content of a technical
report, to ensure high technical and editorial quality, and to earn
endorsement by W3C and the broader community."

While none of us can read minds, and I've never heard of TBL actually
stating one way or the other, it does occur to me that the majority of the
'Consortium' part of the W3C is in fact commercial vendors, who have a stake
in the monetization of technology in general. These companies have come
together to maximize their efforts, to seek interoperability and commonality
of core technologies, because they understand only too well that without
standards, it is really, really hard to keep something as complex as the web
glued together. While this idea is at the heart of FOSS, it is not
exclusively a FOSS concept (communities have gathered for mutual benefit
since the dawn of civilization). However, I do not see anywhere at the W3C
web site, nor in any of my reading, that the ideal of the W3C is synonymous
to FOSS - oh, it's close - but I think that if there were a poll of the
members who keep the W3C running you would find that there would be a line
drawn that would reserve space for non-FOSS efforts, if the standardization
of the technology produced was in fact 'standardized'. 

The W3C is a standards body, not a philosophy AFAICT. (I welcome being
proven wrong BTW.)

> Netflix may choose to restrict who is allowed to implement playback of
> their video, and may have excellent reasons to do so, but that is in
> conflict with freedoms W3C fought to give to users and implementors so
> far.
> I agree that non-free technologies, commercial platforms, and closed
> source software have their place (I develop such things for a living),
> but I don't think W3C brand is appropriate for them.
> W3C EME is like PETA hunting rifle.

Hyperbole aside, this isn't about "branding", it's about how the technology
is evolved. The W3C process is well known, is for the most part egalitarian,
and the W3C is already a standards body that has broad and strong support
from a large and divergent membership - these are all strengths in my
opinion, but then I suspect that the ISO could say the same (as could other
standards organizations). 

> So I strongly support taking EME to another standards body, or even
> designing it behind closed doors (I expect CDM APIs to be developed
> behind closed doors regardless of W3Cs actions, so EME+CDM stack as a
> whole will remain closed).

Well, that *is* an interesting concept. I'm really not sure what would be
gained by that (in fact I would see that as a failure and a loss to the
W3C), but I suppose that this *could* be an idea that the AC might discuss.
However, at this time, it seems that some internal discussion has already
happened, and that the W3C management have already decided that work on EME
(sans the CDM part) *was* in scope for the HTML WG. I can't say for sure,
but I truly suspect that the decision was not made in a vacuum.

> I would prefer it to be called "Google/MS EME" or even "ISO EME" rather
> than "W3C EME", to avoid falsely suggesting that playback of EME video
> is as freely implementable as other W3C technologies are.

Why? What practical benefit is derived from that?

Received on Friday, 31 May 2013 00:51:50 UTC

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