Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Jeremy Keith takes on the formidable task of letting us know what HTML5 is, how it got here and what is driving it. The most insightful section is “The Process”:
The WHATWG process isn’t democratic. There’s no voting on issues. Instead, Hixie acts as a self-described benevolent dictator who decides what goes into and what comes out of the spec. That sounds, frankly, shocking. The idea of one person having so much power should make any right-thinking person recoil. But here’s the real kick in the teeth: it works.
In theory, a democratic process should be the best way to develop an open standard. In practice, it results in a tarpit (see XHTML2, CSS3, and pretty much any other spec in development at the W3C—not that the membership policy of the W3C is any great example of democracy in action).
There is, or at least there should be, a difference between a democracy and a rudderless ship. Successful democracies incorporate a healthy dose of consensus building. Too many Internet-based projects, however, concern themselves only with consensus seeking. Openness is no excuse for a lack of leadership.
(via Daring Fireball)