Re: Trimming the Rec Track Process?

On Tue, 21 May 2013 23:06:25 +0400, Wayne Carr  
<> wrote:

> (Comments without having seen it.)
> There are a set of needs satisfied one way or the other by these stages.

I presume you mean the existing stages in chapter 7 - FPWD, WD, LC, CR,  
PR, REC ...

> 1. add to licensing obligations to those first generated at FPWD. So  
> need this after last change that could increase essential claims.   
> (defined in patent policy as Last Call so stuck with something that  
> implements last call exclusion period)

Yes, unless we change the patent policy (which is not impossible but any  
reform predicated on doing it is "courageous, minister").

> 2. need a stable reference other orgs feel comfortable pointing to in  
> their specs.  If we're in a situation where Recommendation takes an  
> eternity because we're waiting for test code and implementations, it  
> can't be REC.  So maybe not implemented or tested, but high level of  
> confidence.

If it hasn't been implemented and tested, I don't have a very high level  
of confidence that it won't need changes. If it *has*, I have a reasonable  
level of confidence that although it probably has nasty bugs, for some set  
of use cases it does the job.

> 3. need AC to approve something considered as some sort of W3C spec (and  
> the W3C Director/Staff to weigh in too)

For me the point of AC approval, reflected by the director and staff, is a  
pretty strong consensus that we think this is really a good idea. People  
might not back up their words with actions, or might even give the lie by  
their actions, but the statement of making something a Recommendation  
means something to the outside world, and they are prepared to use that  
back on people who don't seem to mean it.

> 4. need a rock solid, it's been implemented and tested final spec (for  
> those who need to know what has been thoroughly tested in multiple  
> implementations)

We need a kind of spec that is stable to the extent of "we know that this  
spec (possibly within these known limitations) solves these use cases".

> Sure, Last Call doesn't need to be an independent stage.  It just needs  
> to happen before the AC approval (so they know what they're approving).


> I'm not sure how Candidate Rec can serve as that sort of stable spec it  
> it happens before the Last Call exclusion period or before the AC review.

But if it happens as part of the same stage, as I propose, we get
+ the Working group committing to their spec (you can go back, but it is a  
PITA so you try to avoid that - by getting enough review and pre-testing).
+ broad public review, if we're lucky. This matters, because the real test  
of a spec isn't whether the members of the WG get it right, but whether  
someone who doesn't even speak the language the WG worked in will get it  
right if they implement. Having Jill random offer his experience of this  
is a useful, but not definitive, confirmation that we were looking in  
roughly the right part of the forest.

> So I'd suggest:
> Stages:
> Candidate Rec - experimental spec status (need last call after last  
> substantive change, need AC approval, doesn't have multiple  
> implementations or testing)

If it happens to have implementations and testing, great. Can we get  
outsiders to do the same and confirm? If we happen to have done that, we  
know that there is about a 2 month wait for Recommendation, which is a  
cheap delay for good patent commitments. (Broader implementation  
*generally* implies broad participation in the WG, and therefore good  
patent coverage. )

> Recommendation - final, tested spec status (W3C staff determines, if any  
> controversy, needs AC approval)
> Reviews:
> "FPWD" and "Last Call" patent exclusion periods  - Last Call can repeat  
> - must happen after last substantive change and before Candidate Rec

My proposal is that last call and candidate rec are the same step.

> "AC Review" - after last Call and before Candidate Rec.  If any issues  
> after Candidate Rec meets all criteria to advance to Rec, another AC  
> review if AC asks for it.

I suggest one review (in an ideal world) starting when LC/CR starts, and  
running for four weeks after the WG shows the CR criteria are met (which  
takes a minimum of 5 weeks - all this time, the patent exclusion clock is  
running anyway so I don't think we can speed that up without a change to  
the patent policy).

> Can do FPWD -> Last Call -> AC Review -> REC  (skipping Candidate Rec if  
> met all the criteria).

Right. Which is what happens now for the theoretical problem-free spec.

The point of collapsing LC and CR is that one is important (triggers  
patent exclusion period) but has very low bar to entry. The other triggers  
a level of review based on the fact that it has a hig barrier to entry  
(but almost no other objective criterion).

IMHO. Simplifying because where I am it is 0130...


> On 5/21/2013 6:26 AM, Arthur Barstow wrote:
>> On 5/12/13 11:34 PM, ext Charles McCathie Nevile wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I have been working on an idea about the Rec Track Process. I'm not  
>>> the only one.
>>> Roughly, I think it makes sense to collapse Candidate Recommendation  
>>> and Last Call together. Having put this idea about, and listened to  
>>> some responses and ideas about it I am becoming more convinced, so I  
>>> sat down to rewrite the chapter in the Process that describes Rec  
>>> Track as an exercise in seeing how this would pan out.
>>> It seems to work out OK. Basically to get into last call you need to  
>>> have done your job in the working group, and should have done a  
>>> reasonable amount of coordination with the people most likely to care.
>>> I clarify that the requirement for CR isn't "two implementations", it  
>>> is "this spec will lead to independent implementations being highly  
>>> interoperable". Two or more implementations has been used as if it  
>>> were a proof by induction - the first people got the spec right, the  
>>> next people got the spec right and work with the first lot, so the  
>>> rest will too. But this is a pretty hand-wavy approach, which at the  
>>> same time can be used to impose massive formalism on stuff that  
>>> doesn't need it. (There are probably ways to make test cases for the p  
>>> element that show it doesn't work entirely interoperably. That should  
>>> be fixed, but the idea that we should rescind the element until it is  
>>> fixed is just a bit ludicrous).
>>> As a sideline, I kind of "trimmed" Proposed Recommendation a bit - it  
>>> isn't so much a status as a waypoint. The assumption is that Proposed  
>>> Recommendations become Recommendations, but there are examples of that  
>>> not happening, and for the ones I know I think with good reason. So  
>>> there is still a chance for the AC to say "no, stop, wait!!!", just in  
>>> case.
>>> And I re-cast the chapter so it focuses on who must/may/should not… do  
>>> what.
>>> In all of that, one nice side effect is getting the size of the  
>>> chapter down by about 50%.
>>> I haven't finished, but I am interested to hear people's thoughts on  
>>> the idea.
>>> I've tossed an early draft of this to the AB, so they can consider it  
>>> in time to present it to the W3C members at the June AC meeting if  
>>> they choose to do so. Some time in the next couple of days I expect to  
>>> have a bit cleaner document that I don't mind being found in archives,  
>>> with clear disclaimers to reduce excuses for confusion, plus fewer  
>>> dodgy links, and making sure I don't breach a license somewhere. At  
>>> that point I'll happily make it generally available...
>>> If you want to see where I am up to in the meantime I'll happily email  
>>> you a copy.
>> I'd like to see what you have.
>> -Thanks, AB

Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex         Find more at

Received on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 22:01:37 UTC