Re: Netscape v NCSA, Progress?

Tony Sanders (
Tue, 25 Oct 1994 14:55:50 +0100

Dave Crocker writes:
> At 8:16 AM 10/19/94, dkearns{TCNET/HR/dkearns} wrote:
> >The fact that they were decided without 'public discussion' does not make
> >them proprietary.
> Well, yes, actually it does. The word 'proprietary' and the distinction
> between proprietary and open really have to do with ownership. As in,
> control.
> People often confused 'public availability of a spec' with 'open

What I think is being confused here in the big picture of this
argument is the purpose and place of standards.

The real point of the HTML standard is to make sure that different browsers
are able to read HTML files and display them and to the best of my knowledge
*NONE* of the Mozilla extensions violate the HTML spec, specifically:
3.4.4 Undefined Tag and Attribute Names
The behavior of WWW applications reading HTML documents and
discovering tag or attribute names which they do not understand
should be to behave as though, in the case of a tag, the whole
tag had not been there but its content had, or in the case of an
attribute, that the attribute had not been present.

[There was some question in my mind that font attributes being
cumulative (i.e., <B><I>foo</I></B> yeilds bold-italic) was legal
but, to my surprise, it seems to be allowed by the DTD.]

Mozilla also does not seem to violate the spirit of this intention in that
existing browsers are perfectly able to display documents that use the
Mozilla extensions (and if they can't they are badly broken).

So I don't really see what all the fuss is about. If the HTML standard
doesn't want to follow Mozilla and defines some other solution then fine.
If it doesn't provide an alternative then fine. What's the big deal?
We certainly don't need to get off on the "what's an open system"
tangent here (an open question if I've ever heard one).

[BTW: this isn't my original thinking, I got this from Dan C.
I just did a little research and wrote it up. Thanks Dan]

You can get the list of extensions from: