Where to develop web specs?

So Dare has, in trademark fashion, rubbed the OWF people up the wrong way.

At the end of the day, I've seen no good answer forthcoming on the substance, namely, why does the OWF need to exist? I can see why a group of likeminded people wanting to retain control of the overall social and technical direction of a spec would want to stay outside them - a bit like kicking off your own OSS project (though I draw no significance from the OWF being unveiled at OSCON). I've done some work in the IETF, JCP, and the W3C, and been on the edge of OASIS. I think you absolutely have to have your act together going into any of these organisations, technically and politically - politically, because technology specifications aren't like OSS projects insofar as they have a strong economic slant - iow, someone's lunch is at stake. Maybe that's why the OWF exists, who knows. That said, I can't imagine why anyone would want to redo the process and IPR stuff that is required of globally deployed technology; it's critically important and absolutely no fun whatsoever.

I think I will blame the microformats and WHATWG crowds for this; they are communities that work insofar as producing useful web oriented specs go and have demonstated an actual alternative to the W3C. From a distance they make it look 'easy' to produce technology specs (except it's not). And there's a mild trend of important web work consciously not being done though the W3C - Atom, AtomPub, Microformats, OpenSocial, HTML5*, in conjunction with criticism of signficant work being done in there - RDF, WCAG2, WS, XHTML2. Maybe it's time for the W3C to look at the consortium aspect and address concerns about "openness", perhaps by having an auxilary to provide the kind of structure and governance that would not require something like the WHATWG to exist.

* fwiw, I know about the dual headed IP thing with the W3C

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3 Comments


    you should read up on why fielding left the TAG .. its a fun read too ..

    I personally have stopped respecting the W3C in totality .. they all look high in their own world .. a step below OMG but still high ..


    The WHATWG was formed to work on HTML5 only because the W3C refused to let us work on HTML5 within the W3C.


    Hi Bill,

    The OWF is being created to apply an open source approach to specification development; a need that developers feel is lacking in the IPR policies of standards organizations.

    You are (probably inadvertently) mischaracterizing the intent of the OWF and the people who created it. But even better than me trying to explain how here, please drop by the OWF discussion list or browse the archives. There are many participants from all over the web helping answer your very question.

    http://groups.google.com/group/open-w...

    Hope to see you there! Cheers,

    -DeWitt