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W3C and Open Standards

LinuxAsia Conference & Expo, Delhi, India, 10 February, 2006

Ivan Herman, W3C


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Slides of the presentation given at the LinuxAsia Conference & Expo 2006, Delhi, on the 10th of February, 2006.

These slides are online at:

Ivan Herman, W3C, <>

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

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“To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web”

W3C’s Long Term Goals

The WAI home page on a SP910 phone

The W3C Technology Stack…

 Technology stack, see for more details

But… Why Bother?

Some Markets Where Standards are Important

But: Who Benefits? Is it

These are legitimate questions companies, groups, institutions may ask…

Answer 1: Internet Stack Benefits

Separate markets exist for:

Open standards allow different layers to evolve independently and therefore faster and better!

Answer 2: IT User/Vendor Benefits

And… How do you Measure the Cost of

photo with duplicate rail tracks with different widths


Gopher Example

Gopher traffic drops when fee announced

[Source: GiorgiaTech]

Wap 1 Example

Comparison of WAP vs WAP2

[Source: T-mobile]

But: It Is a Difficult Decision!

Plan A:
Pursue standard. Commit resources. Transition products. Work with competitors. Encourage it to to all take off.
Plan B:
Continue working in isolation. Keep proprietary control of technologies and customers. Hope to impose it as “de-facto” standard (at least locally, among your clients and users).

Participation costs

Yes, there are costs…:

Participation direct benefit

They are there, too!

Ie, When Compared…

Costs Benefit (fail) Benefit (success)
Plan A
  • participation
  • product transition
  • standard promotion
  • conformance to a sidelined standard
  • market size jump
  • market share jump
Plan B
  • normal product development
  • normal product promotion
  • business as usual
  • market share loss
  • catch-up cost
Often, participation carries the least risk

So What Are Open Standards?

Open Standards: an EU View

[Source: European Interoperability Framework for pan-European eGovernment Services]

Open Standards: W3C’s View

Success of Internet and Web depended/depends on open standards

Open Standard ≠ Free All Along!

So How This Work at W3C?

Document Progress at a Glance…

details of document progression, clearly marking member and public actions

Patent Problem Grew …

Increasing number of patent suits in US over time (bar graph)

W3C Had to Develop its Own PP

Patent Policy in a Nutshell

Goal: Produce Recommendations implementable on Royalty-Free basis and allow technical work to with minimal interruption

What Can You Do to Help?

What Can You Do to Help W3C?

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Thank you for your attention