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.

#9 Business Versus Desire

by Anon

Friday August 13th, 1999 6:50 AM

You are replying to this message

What I think a lot of people are missing out on with the Mozilla broswer in general is the fact that this is all nothing new.

Microsoft will probably not ever comply with the W3C's standards. That is bad business. They know it and so does Netscape. The only reason Netscape agreed to follow the standards is, feeling their positioned threatened, going open-source would allow for a last ditch effort against a mega-billion dollar supercompany (MS). If you don't know allready, those that create the standards are the ones with true power on the internet. That's why open source is doing so well: no controlling force. Ironicly, something so uncontrolled can be relied upon more than anything else. From realaudio to mp3 to windows media player, there is money in standards. Netscape GOT to be a billion dollar company by setting up a browser. Not many newcomers remember a time when many webpages had banners on webpages encouraging their fellow net users to comply with Netscape's standards (which included, for instance, tables) as opposed to the old NCSA Mosaic.

It is well known that Microsoft has a past as the "user-friendly, prettier" developer but miss out on the guts of a program. Many an article have I seen on this from IE to NT. It's great to be a web developer for it's cool little bells and whistles but very difficult to do something really involved. Netscape and Sun (of course, now allied) both have reputations for trying to be as reliable as possible. And as functional. Both companies will probably always follow this model.

Microsoft does not have a history of listening to it's users, the developers, the internet, or some well-meaning standards project. It does what a company that pays people who work for it. It makes money. He who builds the intrastructure for the internet by building it's browser picks his salary. How's 20 billion?

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