[whatwg] A New Way Forward for HTML5

Joshua Cranmer Pidgeot18 at verizon.net
Thu Jul 23 18:49:07 PDT 2009

Manu Sporny wrote:
> form consensus: fail (but that's what the W3C is for, right?)
 From what I've read, there's only one issue of major importance where
consensus has failed to form, namely the Great Codecs Debate. And as
representatives have decried the other's positions as complete
non-starters (Mozilla and Opera will not license the H.264 codec, and
Apple will not accept the Theora codec) for reasons beyond the scope of
the WG, there's really nothing that can be done about it.
> Ian is really the only one that is actively allowed to produce anything
> of significance in WHAT WG. In general, if he doesn't agree with you, it
> doesn't go in.
If you can't convince him, how would you convince the browsers whose
implementations are ultimately important? Browser vendors have in the
past shown a willingness to not implement part of the spec if it is
> To understand why this is viewed as an issue, we can look to the
> Microformats community, which has roughly 1,300 mailing list members.
> Everyone is able to contribute to the main product of that community:
> The Microformats wiki. Why isn't it the same in this community -- a
> community that prides itself on being open to everyone?
Microformats (AIUI) is easy to implement on top of browser APIs, whereas
much of HTML 5 has to be implemented by the browsers themselves. Since
the cost of a feature in HTML 5 is much greater than the cost of a new
feature in Microformats, why should we expect the two to accept as
easily new features?
> To approach the issue from another angle, we have roughly 1,000 members
> on this mailing list and could have close to 1 billion people[1] that
> could be using some form of HTML by 2012, a number of those are web
> developers (read: a huge developer base).
I think it is fairer to compare the number of people who actually come
into contact with HTML: those who write it (or those who write tools to
write it) and those who write tools to display it. It is probably a
stretch to say that even 1 million of those people will use HTML to a
sufficient degree to be impacted by the specification. Most of those 1
billion people would be at an utter loss to even name the format which
is carrying their data.
> I can git clone the Linux kernel, mess around with it and submit a patch
> to any number of kernel maintainers. If that patch is rejected, I can
> still share the changes with others in the community. Using the same
> tools as everybody else, I can refine the patch until there is a large
> enough group of people that agree, and implementation feedback to back
> up the patch, where I may have another chance of resubmitting the patch
> for re-review. This mechanism is a fundamental part of the community.
There is /the/ implementation to the Linux kernel, but there is no
implementation of HTML that can be called /the/ implementation. HTML and
Linux are incomparable; you'd be much better off comparing HTML and
POSIX: they are both descriptions of requirements for implementations.

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not 
tried it. -- Donald E. Knuth

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