Re: W3C, responsibility (Re: Why the Infoset?)
> >The W3C is just a lousy industry consortium. Nowhere is it written > >that it should or must be all things to all persons. > > Nope, it's not written anywhere. In fact, in some ways, it's supposed to > be pretty much the opposite, though many of us prefer to think otherwise. There is no quesiton that a corporation has a responsibility to its shareholders. There has always been a question as to whether a corporation has a social responsibility to non-shareholders (i.e., the community). The W3C is not a for-profit "corporation". My understanding is that it is a partnership between three universities from three different countries. These three universities collect dues from international membership. This very unusual structure clouds the waters as to what the W3C really is and probably coulds the waters as to what is has a responsibility to do and not to do. It is interesting to note that, at least in the U.S., there are laws that exist, and recent precedent that enforce, punishment against corporations that show especially poor social responsibility, even though those corporations are pursuing the best financial interest of their shareholders. For instance, there is the recent Microsoft anti-trust judgement and the recent tabacco judgment -- both of which are more than a small slap on the hand. I am not saying that the W3C is misbehaving like Microsoft or Malboro, et al. I do, however, tend to agree that some of the W3C's behavior is questionable, at best, self-serving, at worst. Further, whether or not "it is written anywhere", it is in the W3C's best interest to be many things to many people even if many of those people are not its paying members. The W3C is in the business of creating "standards" (even if they don't have the force of law). Standards must be widely adopted and used if they are really to rise to the level of standards. Anything else causes fragmentation and confusion. Some of the W3C's big lies (bad behavior) follow: 1. XML is backwards compatible with SGML DTDs are no longer supported by the W3C, in favor of XML-Schemas. XML-Schemas are not backwards compatible with SGML. So, as a practial matter, the statement "XML is compatible with SGML" really isn't true, although this was the W3C promise in 1998 and much of 1999. 2. XML is nearly as powerful and a lot simpler than SGML This was the promise and the marketing hype. We've all read the following . . . SGML has been around for a long time, but has always been too complicated for the masses. HTML is very simple and, therefore, gained wide-spread acceptance among the masses. XML, because it simplifies SGML, yet is technically superior to HTML, is the next step in the development of the web. As it turns out . . . we have . . . Namespaces, XML-Schemas, RDF, XLink, XPointer, XPath, XSL, XSLT, XSLT-FO, XML Query, XML-Signatures, Canonical XML, SVG, Infoset, etc. . . . whew! . . . and all of these are consistent, by the way, and work well together, and the W3C has done a great job to explain how they all fit together in harmony . . . hmmmm . . . where is the simplicity?? 3. Namespaces Consensus on this list is they they don't work. Certainly, DTD validation and Namespaces don't work. Nowhere is this stated in the W3C Namespace Recommendation. 4. XML-Schemas (and the tools) are right around the corner Good to know, since XML-Schemas purportedly solve all problems and DTDs are no longer supported. Microsoft gets flamed, among other things, for such behavior -- so should the W3C. Todd
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