[whatwg] A New Way Forward for HTML5 (revised)

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Sun Jul 26 19:52:07 PDT 2009

On Jul 26, 2009, at 8:30 PM, Peter Kasting wrote:

> So far you have not given a use case (that I've seen) so much as a  
> vague assertion that because the number of spec contributors is in  
> the hundreds rather than tens of thousands, there is some not-well- 
> defined barrier to entry in the above list.

As a data point for comparison, the <webkit-dev at webkit.org> mailing  
list has 1141 members. I would guess a greater number of people are  
directly affected by WebKit than by the Linux kernel, though arguably  
fewer are impacted by WebKit than will be by HTML5.

WebKit also has, arguably, a more open development model than either  
Linux or HTML5. There are many reviewers with the authority to approve  
a checkin, even more people with the ability to directly commit to the  
code after review, and even more people who have submitted some  
patches but don't yet have commit privileges. There is no single  
central gatekeeper, either for WebKit as a whole or any particular  

My conclusions:

* Number of mailing list subscribers doesn't necessarily have a direct  
relationship to either project openness or project impact.
* For a project with decent levels of both impact and openness, around  
a thousand mailing list subscribers is within expectations.
* The Linux Kernel mailing list likely has a huge number of  
subscribers due to unique social and historical factors, not just due  
to the development model.

I would also caution that, by their nature, standards projects are not  
quite the same thing as software projects. While the way HTML5 has  
been run is much more in the spirit of open source than many past Web  
standards, I'm not sure all the lessons can be applied blindly.


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