XML Coordination Group

Date:      Sun, 10 Jan 1999 12:18:39 -0800
From:      Jon Bosak <Jon.Bosak@eng.Sun.COM>
To:        xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
Subject:   Re: Regulating the XML Marketplace

> [about the highly secretive, smoke-filled XML Coordination group, aka
> The Syndicate]

FYI, the Coordination Group just schedules meetings, manages formal communications among working groups, and takes care of other administrivia; it doesn't make policy. But the point about secrecy is well taken.

The W3C didn't start out as a standards organization but as a consortium for the development of advanced technology. Its confidentiality rules (which for many of us working within the structure are a source of considerable annoyance) have historically been justified by the fact that the members of the consortia often reveal product plans in the course of designing the recommendations.

Personally, I believe that the W3C will have to evolve toward a more open way of doing business if it's going to continue to function as a standards body, but for the present all the participants are bound by stringent contractual agreements to maintain confidentiality. That's just a legal reality that we have to live with right now.

The good news is that the basic direction of each project is determined by the requirements it is attempting to meet and, within the XML activity at least, we have recently adopted a process that makes those requirements public early in the life cycle of each project, invites public discussion of those requirements in archived mailing lists, and requires the requirements to be reviewed periodically. One of the XML WGs, the XML Fragment WG, has already published its requirements; see


This is a preview of what you will see coming from the other XML WGs. Schedules slip around a bit, especially in the WGs with the most complicated problems to solve, but all of the remaining XML WGs are currently on schedules that will result in publication of their requirements documents some time in February if all goes well.

The first review period following initial publication of the requirements documents will last about a month. Participation in the public discussions of these requirements on the mailing lists that will be set up for this purpose offers the best opportunity for input to the W3C design process as presently constituted. It will be interesting to see how many people take advantage of it.


 Jon Bosak, Online Information Technology Architect, Sun Microsystems
     901 San Antonio Road, MPK17-101, Palo Alto, California 94303
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34::NCITS V1::OASIS:: Chair, W3C XML Coordination Group
        You regard it much too much as a matter of course that
           one can tell anything to anyone. -- Wittgenstein
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