Re: Working Within the System

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 07:04:21 MDT

On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 08:07:28AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Adrian Tymes wrote:
> >
> > Billy Brown wrote:
> > >
> > > Just because a bunch of companies get together and issue a 'standard' does
> > > not mean that their work should have any special protections, or that
> > > everyone should immediately adopt it.
> >
> > HTML was not made by a company. It was first written by a scientist
> > looking for a better way to share information, and freely given away.
> > There was no commercial incentive - at least, not until Netscape came
> > along. A number of other widely-supported computer standards - HTTP and
> > Linux, to name a couple of the more popular ones - similarly had no
> > corporate backing before they became popular enough for companies to
> > take notice.
> A government is a monopoly corporation, and that scientist worked for a
> government institution.

Come on, now leave off who he was employed by. He wrote that standard
to help create the Web as an common information-sharing medium.

> Of course that picking nits, but the HTML standard created by CERN would
> never have gotten anywhere outside of CERN if some companies had not
> jumped on the bandwagon. Netscape has had tremendous influence on the
> evolution of HTML

There's quite a space in the history before Netscape got on the scene.
The appearance of a commercial browser program was an important point
that didn't occur immediately. Mosaic... :)

> These other
> companies all decided to cry and whine when Microsoft came in and
> developed its own standards and its own variations on interpreting the
> standard tags (just as ALL browsers do. none display the same page in
> exactlyt he same way)

It went beyond things just being displayed differently a long time ago.
It's quite possible for me to write a page according to the HTML 4.0
standard that Internet Explorer & Navigator 4.0 claim to work to, and
have it simply *not work* on one or even both of them. Instead, I have
to find out the (undocumented!) ways each of these interpret HTML, and
work out some way which caters for both.

> microsft came out with ActiveX, and all of the
> Mac=heads who hated microsoft who worked in these new browser companies
> (i.e. mostly students right out of school, where they used macs almost
> exclusively) automatically rejected the standard, rather than embracing
> it, just because it came from microsoft.

That's absolutely incorrect.

ActiveX was rejected (by just about everyone, including people using MS
software) primarily because it's a HUGE security problem. 'ActiveX'
programs (there's nothing special about them, they're just Windows
programs your machine downloads and runs) would load automatically and
run with full priveledges on your machine. They could trash your hard
disk, read your files, send your data to someone. ActiveX was an
absolute *disaster*.

It's only a secondary point It meant people producing content for the
Web that was only viewable by people using Microsoft browsers on Intel-
based computers.


| Martin J. Ling Tel: +44 (0)20 8863 2948 |
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