RE: Industry Standard's Net 21

Gavin Thomas Nicol (
Mon, 28 Jun 1999 03:21:36 -0400

Mr. Thau
> (Also, I suspect his attitude was somewhat colored by a justifiable
> distaste for the goings-on in the IETF HTML working group, which had
> become dominated by SGML advocates who didn't seem to understand or
> care about the needs of the HTML installed base --- a divergence which
> became so pathological that the IESG eventually pulled the plug.

Hey. I don't remember you being particularly active in the HTML
discussions, and I am probably one of those smelly, festering SGML
advocates you allude to.

Funny thing though: I think I was somewhat instrumental in getting WWW
I18N off the ground (though Martin and Francois, along with Dan and
Glenn deserve equal credit). Also, a lot of what the SGML folk wanted
turned up in XML... one of the best things to happen in recent years.
I think the SGML'ers were full of good intentions and ideas, but seriously
misunderstood by most folk (that's a problem with being ahead of the curve).

My recollections of the early Netscape participation in standards work
is of arrogance, disdain, and NIH syndrome. If they had listened,
stylesheets and other such things might have happened much earlier.
I remember one meeting in Boston, fairly typical, where people were saying
CSS was necessary to avoid tag explosion on the WWW. My response
was "Hey, tag explosion might just be the best thing to happen to the
WWW" meaning that generic markup is *necessary*. I got a whole
roomful of snickers from people who are now rabidly embracing XML
along *with* CSS.

I don't mind the history (can't be changed) but I take offense at people
making statements like the above.