Subject: Open Software Description (OSD) format
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 15:00:30 -0800

At 10:45 PM +0000 2/28/00, Ben Laurie wrote:
>The W3 Cartel's long-standing refusal to allow free software developers
>free membership was the writing on the wall. Their so-called "standards"
>should be treated with the contempt they deserve. Hmmm ... actually, XML
>and related standards are somewhat worthwhile, and are currently
>Cartel-controlled. Time do some campaigning?

I agree; there are a number of interesting XML-related standards.  I am
interested, for instance, in the Marimba/Microsoft proposal for Open
Software Description (OSD), an XML-based software distribution format:

I have been looking for a way to implement something along the lines
of Eric Raymond's TROVE proposal, as well as a foundation for a new
build and distribution system (along the lines of the FreeBSD "Ports
Collection") that could work in multiple environments.  This may not
be the answer, but they appear to be asking many of the right questions.

In any case, I sent a note to Arthur van Hoff, asking about the legal
status of the proposal.  He was encouraging:

   Anyone is allowed to make use of OSD as far as I
   know. It is a proposal for an open standard, it
   would be silly if it were not useable by others.

but my efforts to get an official response from W3C have been ignored.
I would love to see W3C become friendlier to the Open Source community;
anyone have contacts there that might be willing to start a dialog?

Rich Morin:, +1 650-873-7841,
Prime Time Freeware:, +1 408-433-9662,