Re: Netscape v NCSA, Progress?

Brian Behlendorf (
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 07:19:15 +0100

On Tue, 18 Oct 1994, Eric Bina wrote:
> > The test is whether they THEN are willing to submit to community review AND
> > MODIFICATION. And this must be done in an open forum, such as an open
> > standards group. (I'm biased towards the IETF, but choose any one that is
> > open and effective.)
> >
> Well, I know I am probably going to stir up trouble with this e-mail,
> but in my past experience the HTML group has not been terribly "open".
> They just repeat over and over, "Yes, we admit that hundreds (thousands?)
> of people want formatting control, but they are all wrong, and SGML/HTML
> is content not format so tough." So what should I do when the open
> standards group insists on a standard that is not what our customers
> (the ones who will indirectly be paying my salary) want?
> You want me to say, "sorry, I know this isn't what you want, but an open
> standards group of which you weren't a part has decided that this is
> really for your own good, so please give us money anyway."

Eric, many of the tags in Mozilla-HTML could have been done in HTML 3.0.
What made you chose <CENTER> over <P ALIGN=CENTER>? That which could not
have been done in HTML 3.0 could probably have been handled with style
sheets, as Rob Raisch posted about here *months* ago and for which Hoken from
Cern recently posted a great proposal for. What about one of the most
glaring problems, imagemaps, which HTML 3.0 has a really good solution for?

Don't play the "we know what's best for you coz we've been talking to real
content providers" trump card - I think we would qualify in that category,
and I know many others in similar positions as myself in the industry, and I
know we aren't interested in storing our data in a data format that a single
company, even the company with the commanding lead in an industry, decided
"was best". In the bad old days of computing, one had to do that simply
because there often weren't other options, and hardly any such thing as
standards. Not true anymore. When you talk about putting thousands, maybe
hundreds of thousands of documents online in a semantic markup format for
structured searching, the content provider isn't really interested in a
language that could change by the whims of a particular company.

I understand your predicament - it's dangerous to follow moving-target
proposed standards like HTML 3.0, especially when you're confident that you
could transparently add some new tags and make everyone happy. But as
browser implementers you could have provided the push to get out of the
chicken-and-egg syndrome and implement HTML 3.0, and you blew it.

I won't say any more than has been said on usenet already. But strike me
in as concurring with Rob Raisch, and concurring with text/x-mozilla-html.


<blink>p.s. - neither Wired nor HotWired will be using any
x-mozilla-html-specific tags. Period.</blink>

<blink><blink>Coming soon - tags invented while on acid!</blink></blink>