RE: W3C Rants (was: RE: W3C as Golden Goose ...)
> -----Original Message----- > From: Dave Winer [mailto:dave@u...] > Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2001 11:27 AM > To: Champion, Mike; xml-dev@l... > Subject: Re: W3C Rants (was: RE: W3C as Golden Goose ...) > > > Mike did the BigCo's contribute anything of value to the Web? > > Would the Web have been better off playing hardball when it > was driving the growth of the industry? Interesting question. First, the BigCo's contributed *people* to the "Web", if by that we all mean the de facto standards and interoperable technologies. Ultimately it's the people who wrote the specs and the code, and BigCo's profits did allow them to pay people to do a lot of hard and thankless work. Second, they contributed credibility to the result. Most of us would probably not be sitting here chatting so amiably about XML if Microsoft had not been promoting it as the Next Big Thing for the last 4 years or so. XML would be leaner, meaner, and cleaner without MS/Oracle/etc. contributing "complexifying" requirements over the years, but it would probably have about the mindshare that SGML had in 1996, or Python has today, without their backing. Third, the BigCo's have *not* (at least in my personal experience) "contributed" very much in the way of overt pressure to do things their way. Their power really stems from the credibility they offer. I whined, cried, and threatened to take my ball and go home on occasion in the DOM working group :~) and was politely ignored. BigCo's could subtly let it be known that a certain feature could not be implemented in their codebase, or would inconvenience their customers ... and the room fell silent while others meditated on life in the pure wilderness vs life in the big city ... and started looking for a compromise that the BigCo's could live with. My point is that they have this power no matter how nice their representatives are, how democratic the rules are, whether this happens in the ISO, the W3C, the IETF, or in some ad hoc meeting. How do you play hardball with the folks who own the playing field? All you can do is either accept that it's more lucrative to be a second stringer in the major leagues than to be a star in the bush leagues, or to do what the Linux (and Python, etc. etc. etc.) people have done ... hope that the Voice in the cornfield is right when it says, "if you build it they will come." [sorry!]
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