Friday March 3rd, 2000
This weekend's discussion: What keeps you interested in Mozilla, and what expectations do you have?
Just click the responses link below to enter the forum. Let us know what you think!
#131 Refining the positions
Wednesday March 8th, 2000 10:20 AM
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Thank you for clarifying your position, Tanyel; I've updated the issue points to better reflect them.
1) "I think the W3C is adding to the [browser incompatibility] problem by creating yet another variation."
2) "I do not think making a Web browser [that can handle multiple HTML interpretations] is unreasonably difficult for people whose primary job is to make a Web browser. I believe that making a Web browser support two sets of rules is not significantly more difficult than making it support a single set of rules."
3) "I think everybody [who has something to say] should be listened to [and given a vote in the standards design process]."
And my responses:
1) This position needs to provide a viable alternative in order to be taken seriously; otherwise it is a pointless gripe. As I understand it, your alternative is as follows:
a) Browser makers should maintain backward compatibility with their previous implementations, and also support the standard once it gets approved. b) The W3C should take an open vote on each feature of the standard before finalizing it.
These subitems are addressed in the other two points.
Again, if I've misunderstood you, please correct me.
2) The people whose primary job is making web browsers don't seem to agree with you. If you have a reason that we should trust your judgement on the matter rather than theirs, please provide it. Otherwise, assertions like these come across as naive, as though a consumer was telling an auto engineer that he wants a car that gets 250 mpg, while the auto engineer keeps telling him that he could build the car, but it would take ten years, cost $2,000,000 and couldn't carry anything larger than a small child. [Disclaimer: I'm a Software Engineer, not an Automotive Engineer; those numbers are only illustrative]. But like Automotive Engineering, Software Engineering is not magic; everything has its trade-offs, and there's no such thing as a free lunch.
3) This statement, and others in your post, imply that the best way to design a standard is to give everyone a vote. I contend that this is not true, because the number of people who truly understand the design issues will be vastly exceeded by the number of people who have only a superficial grasp of the problems involved. You would probably add a few hundred insightful views, and several thousand well-meaning but ill-conceived ideas that would then be voted into the standard by people who don't know enough to recognize the problems they will cause. Your primary objection seems to be the membership fees, and perhaps there does exist a better way (based on merit) to keep the quality of the standards groups high. But opening the process to everyone would be a big mistake. There /are/ ways to provide your input, using the mailing lists and public comment periods. If you show yourself to be extremely insightful, you could also be invited into a W3C group as an outside expert, and then you'd have a vote. But you'd first need to prove yourself through public discourse and build up a reputation for being one of the top people in the field under review. Also, don't begrudge the W3C the money it collects; I'm sure it takes a lot of money to keep the w3c.org website running.