[whatwg] The truth about Nokias claims

Shannon shannon at arc.net.au
Fri Dec 14 06:27:04 PST 2007

Stijn Peeters wrote:
>> As I said, a SHOULD requirement in the specification which will (given the
>> current status quo) not be followed by the major(ity of) browser vendors is
>> useless and should be improved so it is a recommendation which at least can
>> be implemented. Changing the SHOULD to MUST means that a lot of browser
>> vendors would not be able to develop a conforming implementation.
>> Governments do generally not build browsers or HTML parsers so an HTML
>> specification would likely not influence them much, and I believe they are
>> not who such a specification is aimed at.
A lot has been said about the meaning of 'should'. You are not the first 
to claim 'should' is only meaningful if vendors implement it. If this is 
the case why not replace ALL references to 'should'  with 'must'?

Rhetorical question. The reason for 'should' in a standard (or draft) is 
that it reflects what we (the public, the developers and the majority) 
want but believe some vendors won't or can't  implement. It's an opt-out 
clause. According to OpenOffice it appears 329 times in the current 
draft. Hardly a useless word! All that is being discussed here is the 
desire to tell vendors they 'should' implement OGG. Apparently Nokia and 
Apple don't feel that way but are not happy to simply opt-out - they 
want EVERYBODY to opt-out. If we replaced all shoulds with musts this 
standard would never go anywhere and if we deleted all shoulds then we'd 
have even more divergence.

What really matters is that where the pros and cons balance a neutral 
vendor (one that hasn't already committed exclusively to a proprietary 
format) might be persuaded to implement a 'should' recommendation. This 
is exactly what we had before this change, and for a good reason. I have 
yet to hear a neutral vendor oppose the OGG recommendation and I would 
be saddened if they they did.

Also format wars are won by content, not encoders. Governments and 
non-profit organizations do produce content. Formats gain some advantage 
through standards support (even 'should' recommendations).

You and Dave have both accused me of 'bashing'. I think a more 
appropriate (and less violent) word would be 'pointing'. I'm pointing 
out how self-serving Apple and Nokia are. PR-wise they are, in effect, 
'bashing' themselves. Not my problem. Good luck to them and their 
entrenched monopolies right? It's their 'right' as a corporation to 
wreck standards for the benefit of their shareholders? They sound very 
reasonable, until you realise that one way or another the public will be 
paying for it.


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