Re: [Bug 28015] Vague references – $N versus 5000 x $N


Apologies for the lateness of this response but I have been "under the 
weather" as they say.

True, some vendors do benefit without contributing from better written 
specifications but my position is that we would have more vendors if 
standards were written to be reasonably accessible.

And no, I will quickly say I have no proof of that proposition, but can 
point anecdotally to the number of implementations of SQL, which 
followed a different approach to standards writing.

I deeply appreciate all of the work that you and other members of the wg 
have donated to this cause. And despite disagreement with some of the 
resolutions of my comments, do appreciate the wg taking time to consider 

Hope you are having a great week!


On 03/17/2015 04:31 AM, wrote:
> --- Comment #9 from Michael Kay <> ---
> Patrick,
> Most people when they raise bug reports use a title that summarizes the problem
> they are raising. You chose, for some reason, to use a title that asserts
> monetary value in fixing the problem. I don't know why you did that, but I
> think it was a bad mistake, because it encourages us to think hard about costs
> and benefits, and that is likely to have the opposite effect from the one
> intended.
> On a back-of-an-envelope calculation, I would estimate the investment in
> creating this family of specifications as being somewhere in the order of $10m.
> Some of this cost has been borne by large companies, some by start-ups; a lot
> of it is actually free time given by volunteers who earned nothing for the
> work. By contrast, our readers get free use of the material. Some of our
> readers (companies like Intel and Altova) have built significant commercial
> products using these specifications as design input, for which they have
> contributed nothing. I'm not complaining: we know what we are doing. But many
> members of the WG are struggling to justify travel costs or continuing
> participation to their management: do you seriously think that the argument "we
> need to spend more money so that our competitors can reduce their costs" is
> going to carry much weight?
> Our readers are getting a free lunch. You are telling us it would be a better
> free lunch if we added caviar.
> We also need to question your assumption that improving the rigour of the
> specifications will increase their value. The most successful specification
> produced by these working groups to date, measured by the number of people
> using implementations of the spec, is (by a large margin) XPath 1.0. Yet XPath
> 1.0 is also (by a large margin) the least rigorous of the specifications. To
> put it in perspective, the specification of the sum() function has increased
> from 26 words in XPath 1.0 to about 320 words in XPath 3.1. There was a cost in
> doing that, which one could attempt to measure. Can we start to measure the
> value? Was it a good return on investment? Is there any evidence that XPath 3.1
> implementations are cheaper to produce as a result? I very much doubt it.
> I think all the evidence points the other way. Most of us, like you, are
> obsessive perfectionists by nature, and we do this kind of "improvement" work
> because it is in our character to do it. Anyone holding the purse-strings and
> looking at the value of the work would tell us to stop now and ship the thing.
> Sorry that this comment is totally unrelated to the true subject of your bug
> report. But that's your fault, for choosing a title that was unrelated to the
> subject.

Received on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 23:30:46 UTC