Help Petition MS to Support Standards

Thursday August 12th, 1999

Eric Krock writes, "The Web Standards Project has launched a petition drive to pressure Microsoft to support HTML 4.0, CSS1, DOM1, and XML in IE. Read the press releases here and here.

... then sign your name to the petition by sending an email from this page."

With Microsoft's posturing regarding messaging standards recently, you might have forgotten that Internet Explorer is not yet standards compliant. Microsoft, in fact, has yet to commit to full standards compliance.

It took the WSP nine months, but they seem to have finally gotten around to petitioning Microsoft on this issue (as you may recall, they petitioned last year).

Now if they could only petition the W3C to revamp their faulty standards process. The W3C could start by creating a certification process for browsers. A standard isn't a standard if there isn't some body enforcing the standard and giving its certification. Would you buy a bike helmet that wasn't approved by a standards body? A car with seatbelts that didn't meet safety standards? A TV that wasn't certifiably able to interpret the signal coming into it?

The W3C could then follow up by creating a verifiable implementation of the standard themselves, instead of forcing the browser makers to spend countless hours and dollars working through vagaries and inconsistencies in the "finalized" spec. (I have seen indication of this at times in the mozilla forums - I'd love it if a developer would speak up and give us a concrete example or two). Seeing as there is no longer a browser "market" - other than the incidental revenues browsers can draw in from portal sites - it seems silly to force browser makers to shoulder the burden of winnowing the standards specifications.

What do you think? Is it time for more fundamental changes in the web standards process? Let us know what you think in the talkback forum.

#1 When Will it End, Or, Prima Movers they are not

by Anon

Thursday August 12th, 1999 8:07 PM

You are replying to this message

I have to disagree with the method by which the WSP operates.

It makes me see the WSP as just a bunch of people complaining and petitioning. The innovators and the implementors (W3C, Netscape, Microsoft) are doing all the real work. Its seems like the WSP members could use their time more constructively -- perhaps by helping design Mozilla, or by testing it.

I think there are more constructive things to worry about than the W3C's "faulty standards process." Like, perhaps, what should be added to CSS3, XHTML, XML, etc; or, how the aforementioned standards should be implemented.

Further, I think the people at Netscape are likely biased against Microsoft, and have no business rallying the Internet community to pressure it to better support standards -- effectively trying to foment some grassroots campaign -- one that has been already been going on for some time throughout more knowledgable circles.

This news item says that "you may have forgotten that IE is not standards compliant." Well I certainly haven't, but if "you" have, perhaps your real motivation is not standards-compliance but instead an urge to pressure entities a lot larger and smarter than yourself (such as Microsoft).

Further, an argument that compares safety concerns for the general public to the standardization desires of a select few priveleged enough to be on the Internet is inherently flawed -- no civil trials will result from an Internet client not complying with standards, nor will the government step in and mandate that a product adhere to such standards.

I haven't bothered to even read the petition on the WSP site because past experiences reading similar documents lead me to believe that it is almost certainly a long winded, meaningless, provincial banality. implements; the W3C innovates and implements (in the abstract sense); the WSP complains, whines, petitions, and acts like an ill-fed child.