By anyone’s measure, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been one of the most important and influential standards development organizations of the information technology age. Without its efforts, the Web would literally not exist as we know it. But times change, and with change, even venerable – indeed, especially venerable – institutions must change with it.
The announcement is notable not only for the resources that will now be available to a broader community, but also because it demonstrates the W3C’s willingness to adapt to remain as relevant and useful as possible, part of an over-all process of reinvention that is being led by the W3C’s new CEO, Jeff Jaffe.
- The developers were not bound by the terms of an intellectual property rights policy, meaning that a participant with ill intent could set up a “submarine patent” trap without worrying about the legal consequences.
- There is no legal organization to own a trademark in the protocol to ensure that claims of compliance cannot be made when in fact a product is not compliant, thus jeopardizing the credibility of the protocol or standard.
- There may be no one to provide ongoing support for the effort if the participants later drift away.
- There is no organization to promote the work product, or to lend credibility to the result.
- There is no in-place pool of members to provide breadth of input to maximize the quality of the result, or to act as a springboard for broad and rapid adoption when the effort is complete.
The first groups to launch reflect a varied set of interests. W3C announces eight Community Groups:
- Colloquial Web
- Declarative 3D for the Web Architecture
- ODRL Initiative
- Semantic News
- Web Education
- Web Payments
- XML Performance