Friday, February 12th, 2010
Sometimes the W3C standards body feels like a tycoons backroom. For such a public and important standard to live in a world of secrecy is plain wrong. Now and then we get sniffs of information but can’t put together the puzzle and thus are left with rumour and speculation.
For example, we have this conversation from HTML WG minutes:
Larry Masinter of Adobe (masinter): do I need to repeat objections? paulc: the co-chairs are aware of the formal objection rubys: it would be helpful to repeat the objection paulc: it would be helpful to people who aren't reading w3-archive email plh: we won't approve the FPWDs until the FO is resolved masinter: sure, i'll forward my comment on scope paulc: plh and larry, can you post the FO on the public-html list and the affects on the plans? (plh and larry each agree)
What is that about? Hixie talks (on what he can) about how “the latest publication of HTML5 is now blocked by Adobe, via an objection that has still not been made public (despite yesterday’s promise to make it so).”
Time to make a full public statement Adobe. That way we can just see the facts and not the speculation. Don’t make the Tiger mistake of not owning your own news. Folks are eager to jump on Adobe, so if they don’t clarify their opinion, people will read into it.
You can see how confused even the folks involved are:
At least two members of this team, Ian Hickson and Anne van
Kesteren, representing Google and Opera, respectively, have been
writing this morning that Adobe is officially blocking publication
of HTML5. This type of communication could cause FUD among the
community of users, and should be addressed as soon as possible.
There was something in the minutes yesterday about a formal
objection from Larry Masinter , but the emails in this regard
went to a protected email list. However, Larry has discussed in the
www-archive list, a publicly accessible list, his objections to
the publication of Microdata, the RDFa document, and the Canvas 2D
API, but not the HTML5 document, itself. And the concerns I’ve read
in this list have to do with charter and scope — a reasonable
concern, I feel. Others of us have also expressed a similar concern.
So far as I am aware, any objections that have been made were in
Member-only space and via private contact to the W3C Team. Those with
Member access can see some of the relevant email here:
Since w3c-archive is Member-confidential, I’m not sure if I can convey
any more information than that on a public list. It is up to the
persons involved to decide whether to post any information publicly.
I can only say that my understanding is incomplete. I was not copied on
the Formal Objection, and while Paul requested that Larry post the
substance of his objection on public-html yesterday, and Larry indicated
that he would do so, to the best of my knowledge this has not been done.
The best I can piece together the substance can be found here (member only):
Ultimately, it appears that the original request can be found here:
And there was a related, but brief discussion which can be found here:
I have yet to find any bug reports related to this matter. If anybody
finds one, I would appreciate a link. Additionally, if anybody can find
a way to achieve amicable resolution of this matter with Larry and
Adobe, I encourage them to do so.
The current objection does not impact the HTML5 specification.
It does however impact the other documents: RDFa, Microsoft, and Context 2D API.
Here is Larry’s objection:
None of RDFa, Microdata or 2D Context, are in scope for the current HTML working group charter.
I suggested a compromise, which was that the working group might publishing these as Working Drafts (whether FPWD or Heartbeat) if the Status was very clear that these weren’t necessarily work items of the HTML working group, and there was no commitment to move them forward in HTML-WG.
This compromise was scuttled, in a pretty back-handed way.
I read that the chairs are responsible for keeping working groups in scope (i.e., it isn’t a working group decision).
So I object to the chairs’ decision that these documents are in scope.
I suppose a formal objection is decided by the domain lead, or appealed to the Director, and the team contact can help with this process? it’s not in the special HTML-WG-only process document how this group goes about appealing decisions which the chairs seem to have made.
If I need to use the word “formally” in there somewhere, or if there’s some “Formal Appeal Change Proposal” form I’m supposed to fill in, recapitulating all of the email arguments made to date, suggesting the documents “change” by disappearing, and written in iambic hexameter, please let me know.
Then Anne talks about how 2D was in scope (and decided two years ago), and the thread continues on about who exactly defines scope etc…..
Browsers have already (bar IE) put 2D in scope. That is the good thing…. browsers can use code to talk. These days the browsers are doing a lot of code talking.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:15 pm