Subject: Re: Open Software Description (OSD) format
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 19:17:30 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Ben" == Ben Laurie <> writes:

    Ben> Go to the top: write to Tim Berners-Lee. Actually I've had
    Ben> some conversations with them, and they tend to go like this:

    Ben> Me: you should give the ASF free membership
    Ben> W3 Cartel Lackey: no, but if you tell me which WGs you want
    Ben> to join, I expect I can swing it for you to be an observer
    Ben> Me: but that's not the same thing at all
    Ben> W3 Cartel Lackey: I don't understand what you mean

    Ben> As a result I have no idea who to talk to. Perhaps frequent
    Ben> public mention is the appropriate course.

I see your point and sympathize, but doesn't Apache have some pretty
heavyweight corporate backing (IBM) and some others (Stronghold, etc)?
They could (a) pay for W3C membership for ASF and/or (b) lean on W3C
to give certain appropriate free software projects membership.  But in
the case of (b), do Bill Perry of w3.el or Hrvoje Niksic of wget or
or the Lynx guys at U. Kansas (?) or whoever wrote w3mir qualify?  Why
or why not?

Or maybe you could scarf a government or foundation grant to do it if
ASF members won't/can't pony up.

    Ben> Which is exactly why the piper should not be paid, W3 Cartel
    Ben> is an inapporpriate body to own standards for anything useful
    Ben> and the IETF is where its at.

Have you talked to the IETF about doing standards?  A lot of the W3C
standards are already RFCs; if you don't like the work (and there is a
_lot_ of real work done by W3C, not just gerrymandering markets) being
done there, submit some RFCs.  (Yes, I'm vaguely aware of both the
effort involved and the resistence you may encounter.)

I'm not sure what you mean by "own", anyway.  Has the IETF or the ISO
officially delegated responsibility for W3 standards to W3C?

If the people who care are getting together at W3C and talking and
writing standards, well, they _do_ own those standards.  I don't see
what's wrong with people getting together and writing standards for
interoperability---they're going to do it whatever the "legal"
framework is.  The only way you can do something about it is to set up
an alternative framework and convince a lot of "people who care" to
use it.  But they'll only do that if they see more technical advantage
to membership in your talking shop than political disadvantage to not
being in the W3C shop.

I can't say that the Unicode Consortium has been particularly
inappropriate for setting the Unicode standard---and Unicode-bashing
is practically a Japanese national pastime.  I've heard all the
stories about the evils of Unicode and the UC.  I don't know if the
W3C is analogous in terms of exclusivity and evil behavior, but until
I hear otherwise, I'm going to tend to rely on that analogy.

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